Here’s The Trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League!


Another trailer that premiered this weekend was the trailer for Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League.

Since hardly anyone wants to be associated with Joss Whedon anymore, I assume that this will be the new, official version of Justice League.  I never saw the original release version so I can’t really tell you if this trailer looks like an improvement or not.  (Seriously, I was so annoyed with Batman v Superman that I pretty much just looked at Justice League and said, “No way.”  Not even the presence of Gal Gadot could change my mind)

That said, a lot of people online are really excited about the Snyder cut so here’s the trailer:

 

Scenes That I Love: The Samurai Fight From Sucker Punch (Happy Birthday, Zack Snyder!)


Today is Zack Snyder’s birthday!

To say that Zack Snyder is a controversial filmmaker would be an understatement.  People seem to either love his ultrastylish films or they hate them.  Myself, I was not a fan of Man of Steel and I’m still laughing about the “Why did you say Martha!?” scene from Batman v Superman.  At the same time, I also think that Zack Snyder is responsible for one of the greatest (and most underrated) films of the past ten years, 2011’s Sucker Punch.  Though the film may be under appreciated today, Sucker Punch is one of those films that’s destined to eventually be rediscovered and appreciated by a new generation of film students.

In fact, you can start appreciating it now by reading my review from 2011.  This was one of the first big reviews that I ever wrote for this site and, along with my Black Swan review, it’s one of the reviews that really set the tone for the future of the Shattered Lens.

And, after you’ve read the review, check out this scene that I love.  From Sucker Punch, it’s Babydoll’s battle with the giant samurai.  Like almost all great action movie scenes, it’s both ludicrous and brilliant at the same time.

Courtesy of Zack Snyder’s Twitter Account, here’s some Aquaman Footage!


Apparently, this is the first footage that we’ve seen of Aquaman and … uhmmmm …. yeah.  This doesn’t look incredibly silly at all.

Hey, Zack, would it be too much trouble to get a Sucker Punch sequel?

 

2016 In Review: Lisa Picks The 16 Worst Films of 2016!


Well, here’s the time that I know we’ve all been waiting for!  It’s time for me to reveal my picks for the 16 worst films of 2016!

(Why 2016?  Because Lisa doesn’t do odd numbers!)

Now, I should make clear that these are my picks.  They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the other writers here at Through The Shattered Lens.  In fact, I know that a few of them most definitely do not!

What type of year was 2016?  It was a pretty bad one.  There weren’t many memorable films released but there was a lot of mediocrity and disappointment.  Do you know why 2016 was so bad?  I think it’s because, if you add up 2 plus 1 plus 6, you end up with 9, an odd number.  For that same reason, 2017 is going to be much better.  If you add up 2 plus 1 plus 7, you end up with 10, which is an even number that can be cleanly divided.

So fear not!  2017 is going to be a great year!

For now, however, here are my picks for the 16 worst films of 2016!

the-girl-on-the-train

16. The Girl on the Train (dir by Tate Taylor)

15. The Fifth Wave (dir by J Blakeson)

14. Alice Through the Looking Glass (dir by James Bobin)

13. Jane Got A Gun (dir by Gavin O’Connor)

12. Mother’s Day (dir by Garry Marshall)

11. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (dir by Burr Steers)

10. The Sea of Trees (dir by Gus Van Sant)

9. Money Monster (dir by Jodie Foster)

8. Me Before You (dir by Thea Sharrock)

7. Independence Day: Resurgence (dir by Roland Emmerich)

6. Zoolander 2 (dir by Ben Stiller)

5. The Purge: Election Year (dir by James DeMonaco)

4. Paradox (dir by Michael Hurst)

3. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (dir by Zack Snyder)

2. Yoga Hosers (dir by Kevin Smith)

And finally, the worst film of 2016 … drum roll please ….

  1. HARDCORE HENRY! (dir by Ilya Naishuller)

Seriously, Hardcore Henry is one of the few films that I have ever had to walk out on.  I literally got physically ill while watching the film, largely due to the nonstop shaky cam.  Seriously — when your film’s selling point is a technique that literally induces nausea, you’re going to have some problems.  Now, before anyone leaves any angry comments, I did make it a point to go back and watch the rest of Hardcore Henry before making out this list.  Not only does Hardcore Henry feature a nausea-inducing gimmick but it’s also a rather uninspired and dull action film.

Hardcore_(2015_film)

(Feel free to also check out my picks for 2010, 2011, 2012, 20132014, and 2015!)

Agree?  Disagree?  Leave a comment and let us know!  And if you disagree, please let me know what movie you think was worse than Hardcore Henry!

Tomorrow, I will be posting my 10 favorite songs of 2016!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy
  5. 2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime

 

Dance Scenes That I Love: Carla Gugino and Oscar Isaac in Sucker Punch!


So, let’s be honest.

Times are dark.

People are angry.

The future, we are told, is bleak.

It’s easy to get down and feel sad and defeated.

But fear not!  I’m here to cheer you up, every night this week!  From today until next Sunday, I will be sharing some of my favorite dance scenes!

Let’s start things off with this deleted scene from the 2011 film, Sucker Punch!

Zack Snyder tweets Justice League Teaser for Comic-Con


Zack Snyder’s thrown his hat into the Comic Con fray with a special teaser trailer for Justice League, by way of a recent tweet. The film focuses on Bruce Wayne/Batman(Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) as they gather a group of associates to defend against a great threat. So far, it looks interesting (if not a little rushed).

Also on board are Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash / Barry Allen and Ray Fisher as Cyborg. The movie has a release date of November 17, 2017.

Batman v. Superman Latest Trailer Drops


BatmanvSuperman

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been gathering steam and buzz since it was first announced a couple years ago at San Diego Comic-Con. The film is now just a little over 4 months away from release. The fact that we’re even talking about latest trailers and clips about this film was an accomplishment all on its own.

This was a project that had been talked about for so many years, but never got on track. While some DC fans might decry what I’m about to say I do think they should thank the success of the Marvel Studios-produced films for getting this film on the fast track to being made. It made DC and Warner Bros. realize they weren’t the big bully in the blockbuster block anymore and needed something monumental to catch up.

With Man of Steel dividing comic book fans this film had to be made whether it made sense narrative-wise or not. Another so-so Superman film would not do. So, what better way to juice up the Son of Krypton franchise than by pitting him against DC’s other juggernaut property: Batman.

So, without further ado, here is the latest trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Batman v. Superman Finally States It’s Case to the Public


 

BatmanvSuperman

A funny thing happened to the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer that was set for a release at a special IMAX screening event next week. No one bothered to tell someone with a cellphone not to secretly record the trailer. A lo-res cam version of the first teaser trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice was leaked just hours after Disney released the second teaser trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Warner Brothers scrambled to take down the lo-res trailer and made sure to use their power to threaten with legal stuff if people continued to disseminate the illegal recording. During the 24 hours since the leak someone with a much more cooler head over at WB decided to just go the Avengers: Age of Ultron route (that film’s first teaser was also leaked ahead of a planned event) and release the hi-res version of the teaser trailer instead of waiting days for the planned screening event.

So, here’s the very first teaser trailer as Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment finally make their case that whatever Disney and Marvel can do they can do as well.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is set for a March 25, 2016 release date.

Trash Film Guru Vs. The Summer Blockbusters : “Man Of Steel”


New Man of Steel Poster

I know that, in this day and age, we as a society seem to get off on tearing down our myths and legends and “humanizing” them, but seriously — when did Superman develop a split personality?

Before you jump to any conclusions based on that admitted “gotcha” of an opening line, allow me to state for the record that I didn’t actively dislike Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel, it’s just that it spends its first half or so rather half-heartedly trying to portray its title character in more human terms than we’ve seen in previous iterations before finally throwing all that out the window and deciding that it actually wants to tell a story about a God who walks (and flies) among us, and the film definitely suffers as a result of this abrupt shift in tone.

But first the “plus” side of the ledger : Man Of Steel is pretty much the most awesome visual spectacle the movies have ever produced. I’m no fan of CGI as a general rule, but damn if every single effects shot in this flick isn’t enough to take your breath away, particularly the sequences on Superman’s home planet of Krypton, which Snyder and his WETA-employed staff depict in a markedly new and exciting “biotech on steroids” fashion. When the action goes earthbound, the optical awesomeness continues, never fear, so if spectacle is what you’re after, you’ll walk away from this well pleased indeed.

Pitch-perfect (with one notable exception which we’ll get to in a moment) casting doesn’t hurt matters any, either — Henry Cavill makes an immediate impression in both his Superman and Clark Kent personas; Russell Crowe is suitably above it all as his Kryptonian father, Jor-El; Kevin Costner and Diane Lane are almost too spot-on for words as his adopted human parents; Laurence Fishburne’s Perry White is old-school newspaper vet all the way (even with the pierced ear); and the always-underrated Michael Shannon oozes psychotic menace as lead villain General Zod. Watching all these people at work is a genuine joy.

Granted, the script — by Dark Knight veteran David S. Goyer (from a story co-plotted with the head honcho of this whole enterprise, Christopher Nolan) — doesn’t do any of them any favors dialogue-wise (apparently Kryptonians have evolved beyond good, old-fashioned conversation and speak entirely in grandiose pronouncements — but it’s not like the mere humans in this film are any less prone to dull, dry, wooden,  faux-poetic waxings themselves), but the players by and large manage to rise above the material they’ve been handed.

I say “by and large” (and here comes that exception I talked about a moment ago) because, sadly, one has been dealt such a losing hand that I’m not sure what she could really have done about it — I’m speaking, of course, about Amy Adams’ Lois Lane. Goyer does some brave and interesting things in terms of shaking up the established Clark-Lois backstory ( let’s just say she won’t be sneaking glimpses of him at sly angles when his glasses are off to see how much he might or might not look like Superman), but the cold, emotionally distant nature of this particular big-budget beast means that the whole love story angle falls pretty flat. By the time Goyer, Nolan, and Snyder decide they want to play the Nietzchean uberman card for all it’s worth, the independent, confident journalist we meet at the outset is reduced to becoming more awestruck than she is lovestruck, and rather than being “Superman’s girlfriend” she comes off more as his disciple. Who just so happens to kiss him. I mentioned the abrupt tonal shift in the film at the outset of this review, and poor Lois definitely suffers the brunt of it.

The messianic poses Cavill is forced into during all the flight and battle sequences get pretty old pretty fast as well, it’s gotta be said, and with no real transition period in the way the story is structured between its “simple farm boy from Kansas”  and its “demi-god here to save us all from the evil forces originating from his own homeworld” (that he inadvertently brought here himself, but hey, let’s not dwell on that) segments, well — let’s just say not much thought apparently went into how jarringly that would all play out. Hans Zimmer’s typically percussive, insistent musical score only augments the problem, and while there’s no way anybody was gonna have fans forgetting about John Williams, a “stripped-down,” “less over the top” orchestral accompaniment really doesn’t work when you’re trying to portray Superman as a fucking deity.

Superman purists, for their part,  may also find themselves semi-outraged by more than the snakeskin-fetish-wear take on his costume. There’s no Jimmy Olsen here, no Lex Luthor (although the “Lexcorp” logo appears here and there on props throughout — as do the logos for Sears, 7-11, and an unending and highly annoying litany of corporate sponsors), and “Metropolis” is never mentioned by name even though the entire final act takes place there. So be ready for at least some “nerd-rage” on the internet. Still, if those were the only things that bugged me about Man Of Steel, I’d be feeling a little bit better about it as a whole right about now. Not that I’m all that pissed or disappointed —-just, well, kinda perplexed.

I can’t say that Man Of Steel isn’t a fun movie to watch, because it is — hell, it’s an absolute visual marvel, and if you want to shut your brain off and just be taken along for a wild adventure ride, you’re not gonna do much better this (or any other) summer  Still —my mind kept drifting back to the famous first-encounter-between-Supes-and-Lois scene in Richard Donner’s Superman : The Movie (still the gold standard for all superhero flicks as far as I’m concerned) : when Lois asks him “who are you?,” and he replies, simply and with a smile, “a friend,” that told us all we needed to know right there. Sure, he was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but at the end of the day , Superman as envisioned by Richard Donner, Mario Puzo, and Christopher Reeve was one of us.

By contrast, Superman a la Snyder, Nolan, Goyer and Cavill is above us. He’s not here to help humanity, but to redeem it. He’s not our hero anymore, he’s our savior — whether we want one or not.

Film Review: Man of Steel (dir. by Zack Snyder)


New%20Man%20of%20Steel%20PosterHere the short of it, for anyone looking to make a decision based on what’s being written here (spoiler free part): 

Man of Steel is a great film, though has it’s flaws. The film is a coming of age story of an individual who knows what he’s capable of, but in fearing the world’s reaction to his existence, keeps it at bay until he can discover who and what he is. Where Marvel celebrates the removal of the Masked Hero (with Iron Man), DC looks towards giving the audience a reason why Superman has to be Clark Kent, which I thought worked very well. Carried by some fantastic casting, the film manages to raise the stakes for Superman (and the damage level of anywhere there’s a fight – I’m talking Dragonball Z levels of damage) in a way that up until now really wasn’t depicted well. Rather than taking the lazy route of Superman Returns (which just took Superman II’s ending and ran with it, saying that III and IV just didn’t happen), Man of Steel tries to re-invent things a little, which works on some levels, but not on all.

The faults of the film lie in the same problems that plagued the entire Dark Knight Trilogy. There’s a scene or two that ends without “closing the loop” and work within a bubble of action – a catastrophe occurs for one or two people, but before you can wonder how everyone else in the area fared, you’re left to believe “Well, let’s just assume they’re all okay and everything was fixed.” It’s the same as the Joker throwing Rachel Dawes out of a window and leaving the audience to believe that the Joker’s crew just left the way they came with no fuss or muss. The film also suffers from the physical fight issues of “Batman Begins”. It all moves so fast that in some cases, you’re left with this shaky-cam feel. It almost warrants a second viewing just to try to see the punches / kicks you may have missed the first time around. And the last act has a lot of that. This is the thing that may hurt the film with older movie goers. Imagine having something you’ve grown up with for who knows how long displayed at a speed so fast, it moves like a video game? That could be jarring.

And for those of you want to read more (it may get just a little – very little – on the spoilery side here): 

I’ll start with this. I’m not a huge fan of Superman overall. Although I’ve seen all of the previous film (many of them at the movies), I’ve always thought of Superman as a seriously overpowered character. With the pieces of his own planet being the only thing that could hurt him, what were the chances anyone could find that stuff? For this, I found the Marvel characters more interesting and relatable. How many stories can you really write about the Hulk, or Namor / Aquaman for that matter? That’s where I put Superman in the scheme of things.

That said, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel did manage to invoke an emotion in me that I’ve never felt for the character in all these years – Sadness. It was like watching a Bond film and actually worry about Bond, imagine that. You figure this guy has all these powers, he can frickin fly, dammit. He has heat vision, x-ray vision and freezing breath. One could choose, with all that power to just dominate humanity. It’s Clark’s parents – all of them – that give him the power of choice. To decide as he grows to become who he wants to be and how to use those abilities.  That has to be pretty difficult. One scene hit home for me, involving Clark learning an ability. It’s short, but reflects the isolation of someone who is considered very different from those around him.

I loved Man of Steel. It’s does have its issues, but for me it’s such a step in a better direction for the Superman franchise. That isn’t to say that the films before it were terrible or horrid (save for Quest of Peace, which was utter crap), but Man of Steel brings so much more action and love for the character overall. Where Superman Returns was more of a drama with slices of action, perhaps Man of Steel is best consider a reversal.

When it comes to the story – penned by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer, and with Goyer doing the screenplay – I liked where it went. It didn’t try to recreate anything from the first two movies, nor did it sway so far away from it that you wondered what it was all for (Amazing Spider Man, with its thousands of radioactive spiders that could make any scientist Spider-Man with a well timed bite). The origin parts are delivered piecemeal though flashbacks, which allowed the whole story to flow pretty evenly. It’s when the movie gets into the third act – the “Hero has to face said Event” sequence that Goyer loves so much that it starts turning right back into the Batman Begins train sequence. At least the level of the event is big enough so that only Superman could really deal with it, but personally, I’ll admit that I wanted a bit more for what was done.

Casting wise, I don’t think they could have done much better than this. Henry Cavill, who I remember from 2002’s The Count of Monte Cristo and Showtime’s The Tudors, is damn near perfect as the Man of Steel, though he has so much seriousness to him that you wanted to say…”Hey, Hakuna Matata, dude. It’ll all work out. Just lighten up a little.” There’s very little playing around here.  Then again, given the way the character was written this time around, he doens’t have all that much to laugh about, I suppose.

Amy Adams really isn’t the Lois Lane I expected. She’s not written in the style of the intrepid reporter that has to get herself in trouble, but still manages to find herself facing problems in the pursuit of a good story. She wasn’t bad at all, really, but one smart thing the story does is forces her to have to be in the mix of this in less of a spectator role and more of a participant. That I enjoyed.

I gave Michael Shannon a lot of flak for his performance in last year’s Premium Rush, but I owe him an apology. All that craziness in that film is just gone here, his General Zod is subdued and even. I also enjoyed that they gave him something more to work with other than “Dominate the creatures of this planet because we hate the son of Jor-El”. His Villain has a fully plausible reason for what he’s doing, so much so that you could almost empathize with it. He’s not very different from Magneto against the X-Men in that fashion, and I felt it added quite a deal to this story. Don’t get me wrong. Terrence Stamp was great, and his “Kneel Before Zod” was always cool, but the premise in Superman II was a little odd. I figure they’d get bored with us kneeling after a while and just leave the planet once discovering our love for reality tv (Pawn Stars for me).

Someone pointed out online that both of Kal-El’s parents were Robin Hood. Both Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner do indeed play Clark’s fathers and both are used better in this than in previous versions. Each character has a view in what Clark can be become, and both individuals seem to be right, but between the two I thought Costner fared better. One thing about Crowe, he’s given quite a bit to do in this film, which surprised me. I did really didn’t expect to see much of him in this.

Diane Lane is a sweet Martha Kent. While I love Lane in her movies, I don’t know. I kind of feel anyone could have played that. She performs the role well, though. Laurence Fishburne makes for a good Perry White, channelling his character from Hannibal, as does Christopher Meloni as a Military General. I really want to see more from Meloni, actually. The scene stealer, by far (and future Hottie of the Day, if I can find enough pictures of her) is Pandorum’s Antje Traue as Zod’s henchwoman, Faora. Every scene she’s in makes her to be that Darth Maul /   Hellboy kind of supporting baddie, providing as much of a challenge to Superman as Zod. And for the time she has on screen, Ayelet Zurer sells it totally as Lara, siding with her husband to send their child away for a chance at a better life. That can’t be an easy decision for anyone or anything, but I could at least feel she was bothered by it.

Personally, I didn’t want another origin tale. The way I view it, some of these characters are so burned into our minds that we really don’t need to know the back story. However, Man of Steel does provide an origin tale that seems to make sense with the way things are today. We don’t trust what we don’t understand and unless we can catalog and easily reference it to something comparable, we usually consider it something bad. As this story tells it, Superman may or may not have the luxury to openly say “Hey, I’m Kal-El, from Krypton, let me walk among you.” as easily as Tony Stark could proclaim he was Iron Man.

As for the DC Cinematic Universe, if this is the first film that’s going to lay the groundwork, it’s a nice start. It doesn’t leave any breadcrumbs for audience expectation for a Justice League movie, but if  DC is smart, they’ll get whatever the next movie they want to do started right after this. That’s the hope, anyway.

With a new direction in tone also comes a new score. Hans Zimmer knocks the soundtrack out of the ballpark with this one. Bringing together nearly 12 drum legends for percussion (including Sheila E. And Jason Bonham), Zimmer creates a theme for the hero that will undoubtedly be reused in sports venues for years to come. It’s uplifting in places and creepy in others. Some themes borrow a little bit from his own Angels & Demons, but this is something Zimmer is known for. Having listened to the score for most of the week, I’m already humming it off and on.

And what about the kids? The kids should be fine seeing this. There’s a childbirth sequence in the very beginning that may require some explaining to the littlest of viewers, and there’s violence all over the place, but all it’s worth, there’s not a whole lot of blood and very little gore. Nothing anyone who plays Call of Duty on the regular couldn’t handle.

Oh, one more thing. The 3D is good here, particularly in the flight sequences, but you’re not really missing anything if you happen to catch it in 2D. Note that there isn’t anything after the credits with this film.