Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice


By now I’m sure you’ve heard that Batman v Superman got terrible reviews pretty much across the board. I still went in thinking that it couldn’t be that bad, perhaps everyone was just piling on because kicking Ben Affleck while he’s down is one of America’s favorite pastimes (that poor guy, I hope he’s driving around somewhere listening to Jay-Z’s “Can I Live”).

I was wrong. This is not a good movie and looking back I’m not sure if it ever had a chance. WB said from the get go that they weren’t trying to mimic Disney’s Marvel films, but rather create a much darker, grittier superhero universe than their mouse worshipping counterparts. And this made sense to me, because it brings to mind Christopher Nolan’s very recent Batman trilogy with WB, arguably 3 of the top 5 best superhero films ever made.   While BvS IS dark and gritty, I failed to realize that director Zack Snyder would toss aside the realism that Nolan incorporated into his films. And I guess he kinda had to with a dated character like Superman, a dude who can do whatever the hell he wants but somehow has also never done the wrong thing in his entire life.   C’mon, even Brandon Walsh had his hiccups.   On top of that, the look of this film is a little too cartoony for my taste.  BvS is still worth seeing just for the sheer spectacle and star power, but you’ll recognize about halfway through that it’ll be a hatewatch.

There are Justice League related movies on the docket for the next 4-5 years, and I’m interested to see if WB is going to pivot any of the plans involving this franchise due to the critical distaste BvS is receiving. People are going to throw out the idea of Affleck taking over some of the filmmaking reigns given his impressive track record behind the camera, but my guess is this run of the DC Comics franchise rides or dies with Zack Snyder. The movie is apparently still making a killing at the box office this weekend despite a 30% Rotten Tomatoes score, and it’s just part of our nature to forgive a bad movie if the trailer for it’s sequel looks “dope.”

Some other random thoughts I had while watching this movie:

  • Superman is the baseball of superheroes
  • The few instances of intended humor in BvS doesn’t hit, but it has a couple unintentional gems, most notably Ben Affleck’s shirtless Rocky-type weight training montage that comes out of nowhere. I bet he thinks Carly Simon’s song is about him.
  • I know I’m the millionth person to say this, but the dumbest thing about Superman is his disguise as Clark Kent. All it takes as a disguise is putting on glasses and switching from pomade to low grade wax? Tobias Funke’s disguise as Mrs. Featherbottom was more convincing.


Tier 6

A Belated Appreciation of “The Guest”


I knew absolutely nothing about The Guest before seeing it in 2014.  Noticing it towards the top of a Grantland (RIP) writer’s year-end film list, I randomly decided to VOD it without any further research.  Being a trailer averse weirdo, I think this is the best way to go into any movie (to a certain extent, obviously most would want to know whether they are seeing The Rock punch bad guys or Carey Mulligan play a British housekeeper with a secret).  This especially rings true in The Guest’s case.  Some of the developments throughout the movie come so far out of left field that I legitimately cackled in delight.

So I won’t divulge much about the plot of this movie, but I will say the ambiance carries a perfect blend of Drive, Halloween, and The Terminator.  It features a great synthpop soundtrack, which is a device I’ve noticed many filmmakers using to “retro-up” their films and it almost always resonates with me.  Dan Stevens serves as the star, who I had never heard of before but apparently he’s an alum of “Downton Abbey,” or as I like to call it “The Show that Ruined Christmas” (long story).  Usually when I come across a movie that I’ve never even heard of it’s a bad sign, but The Guest was a clear exception, becoming my second favorite movie of 2014.  Streaming on Netflix.

10 Cloverfield Lane


Armageddon to Room’s Deep Impact.  10 Cloverfield Lane is a pseudo-sequel to J.J. Abram’s 2008 found footage cult classic “Cloverfield.” I only say pseudo because they are very different movies and one doesn’t have much to do with the other (you may even be better off seeing this without having ever seen “Cloverfield,” as it will create added suspense of what the hell is going on). In an era where movies are announced years in advance (especially sequels), it’s impressive that they were able to keep this movie under wraps for as long as they did, but I guess it’s an easier feat to pull off with such a small cast (John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.).  I have a feeling the director of this movie grew up on Spielberg and the writer was heavily influenced by MacGyver reruns.   Tier 3

The 64 Films I Saw in 2015 Worth Seeing

2015 movies seen

For those that did not receive it, here is my 2015 list of movies that was emailed over the New Year.  Brief comments on some of the less talked about movies below:

Creed:  I guess director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B Jordan will have to settle for MTV Movie Award nominations.  Out of all sports, boxing seems to translate the best to cinema and this is my favorite boxing movie ever.  There’s a long take (a sequence filmed in one take without any editing) of a boxing round that blew my mind.

Digging For Fire:  Joe Swanberg’s movies aren’t for everyone but I’m a fan.  He gravitates towards dramedies about people in their 30’s trying to get their shit together (not sure what this says about me). Streaming on Amazon

Sicario: This is going to age GREAT on cable over the next decade.

Whiplash: Favorite movie I saw in 2015

The Judge: Not sure if I can justify this ranking, I guess I was feeling extra sappy.

Southpaw:  Great boxing scenes, silly plot

The Gambler:  Soundtracking a sequence to an M83 song is a cheat code to my emotions.

The Night Before:  Had no idea Michael Shannon was funny.

Creep:  If you can get past the extremely uncomfortable first 30 minutes or so, this pays off.  Streaming on Netflix

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Midnight:  Sundance deemed this the “First Iranian Vampire Western.”  Beautifully shot in black and white with a cool soundtrack.  If it hasn’t happened already, a studio will announce they’re making an American remake within the year. Streaming on Netflix

Entourage:  I can’t justify this.  I watched this while packing for a boys weekend trip and I think this mentality affected my judgement.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl:  Could you have used less Me and a lot more Earl.

We Are Your Friends:  Tom Cruise’s Cocktail for Millenials.  Sometimes you just want to watch Ballers instead of Olive Kitteridge.

Aloha:  Only because it’s such a trainwreck.  Our children’s history textbooks will point to this Cameron Crowe movie as the root cause of Hawaii seceding from the US.

Birdman:  Yes, I enjoyed We Are Your Friends and Entourage more than the 2015 Academy Award winner for Best Picture.

Starred Up:  Note to self, don’t try to watch a prison movie on a plane.  Way too much male nudity.





Based on the true story of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster.  It just wasn’t as action packed as I was expecting, but I guess real life isn’t like Sly Stallone’s “Cliffhanger” (note to self, see if Cliffhanger is streaming on Netflix).  Tier 6

Sweaty Betty

sweaty-betty (2)

Sweaty Betty is a hybrid of “Friday,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and the rising genre of pig documentaries.  Largely set in the DC/MD suburbs of Landover and Cheverly, this is a must see for anyone from PG County (as I’m assuming applies to 90% of the people reading this).  Directed by Cheverly’s own, Joe Frank.  Tier 4

Sleeping with Other People


I was surprised by how much I liked this rom-com.  Genuine, hilarious, and minimizes the cheesier elements of the rom-com cinematic universe.  Directed by University Park’s own Leslye Headland.  Alison Brie dancing to “Modern Love” in a bikini top is my happy place.  Tier 2 – Runner Up



It’s good to see Ryan Reynolds having a renaissance starting with his performance in last year’s delightful “Mississippi Grind” up through the record breaking success of Deadpool.  He had become somewhat of a punchline since the “Green Lantern” trainwreck, but I always thought he was more unlucky as opposed to an actual box office sedative.  Some day the masses will appreciate the genius that was “Just Friends” as much as I do.  Deadpool puts a raunchy and uber-violent violent spin on the increasingly stale super hero genre, even if it still falls victim to a couple of its tropes.  Tier 3