Superman Returns

Despite an awesome CGI budget and special effects, "Superman" works best when it focuses on the characters and relationships within the (flimsy) story. Brandon Routh ("Denial" and lots of TV work) does a passable job playing Christopher Reeve playing Superman.

In reality, the guy who comes out best is James Marsden ("The Note- book") who plays Lois Lane's sturdy, kind, thoughtful, dependable, and resourceful new "squeeze." (All those adjectives should tip you off.) The only bad guy is, of course, Lex Luther, this time played by Kevin Spacy ("Pay it Forward"), while Parker Posey ("Best of Show" and "Waiting for Guffman") is Luther's latest sidekick.

I liked it when Lois and her boyfriend have to save Superman. Of course Luther has kryptonite again (I'm not sure how to spell it). There are some humorous spots...far too few, in my opinion, ...mostly character driven, which rely on the audience being familiar with the whole saga.

This movie won't win any awards...


2 Brothers and a Bride

"2 Brothers & A Bride" (aka: A Foreign Affair) stars two Americans, David Arquette ("3000 Miles to Graceland") and Tim Blake Nelson ("Minority Report"); a British actress, Emily Mortimer ("Dear Frankie"); and a whole armload of lovely Russian actresses.

These two guys live on a farm in the mid-West with their mother, played by the ubiquitous Lois Smith ("The Pledge"). She dies, so their house gets filthy, the dishes aren't washed, they are eating canned goods and they need a woman to take care of the mess.

After losing one cleaning lady after another, things are pretty desperate. At the local library, Tim Blake Nelson spots an ad for Russian women. The upshot is, they go to Russia on a sponsored tour with a bunch of horny middle-aged men who are all shopping for new women. Mortimer plays a British TV journalist who wants to video tape the whole sordid process.

Arquette is a loose cannon and Nelson tries frantically to keep things under control. Mortimer just wants to film everything.

I loved the shots of St. Petersburg, the translations, the use of "spaciba" ("Thank you") in the proper context, etc., etc...

This is a film by Jan Bijker, Geert Heetebrij, and Helmut Schleppi. I don't think it was made in Hollywood, do you?


Snakes on a Plane

(From 07-05-06)
By the way, you may not be in the loop about the upcoming "Snakes on a Plane" phenomenon. Samuel Jackson stars. The aforementioned title was simply a working title for a to-be-announced movie. The internet started buzzing about the movie and the name became so well known the producers realized that most of the promotion work had already been done for them, so they made it the actual title.

The trailer starts: "This summer, you have seen big stars... pirates... superheroes... cartoons... super spies... fairy tales... but there is one thing you haven't seen... SNAKES ON A PLANE!" The audience was starting to giggle when the trailer started and was so well primed that when the title finally came on the screen, they burst into applause. It was a male "voice" I heard and I'm sure there will be no young man under 25 who will miss it! Thank God I don't fit the demographic!

(From 12-05-06)
Now with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, this movie had a flameout within the first week. Seems like the demographic had already seen all they wanted to on the internet downloads. Ah well...