Movie review: “Batman” (1989)

batman

“And now comes the part where I relieve you, the little people, of the burden of your failed and useless lives. But, as my plastic surgeon always said, ‘If you gotta go…go with a smile!'”

Historically, comic book creators and writers have had to strike a precarious balance between fantasy and reality in order for their tales to work, to create a world where super-powered heroes can battle outlandish villains in a way that, ideally, still carries weight and is grounded enough to be relatable. Tip the scale too far to one extreme or the other and the proceedings risk total collapse, played to the tune of either a cartoony jaunt or a funeral dirge. Continue reading “Movie review: “Batman” (1989)”

Chuck Noll: An Appreciation

chuck-noll.0As best I can piece together, the first football game I ever watched was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl XIV. In 1980 I was still a fairly tiny thing, pure as the driven snow, and life was interesting to a degree I found almost overwhelming. From what I could tell, everybody sure seemed excited and invested, practically over-awed, by what was happening on this particular field. There are surely few athletic feats more impactful for an impressionable youngster to witness than Joe Greene engulfing a cowed quarterback or the sick thud of Jack Lambert concussing a tight end. It was striking. Continue reading “Chuck Noll: An Appreciation”

Movie review: “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)

X-Men Days of Future Past

“You took the things that meant the most to me…”

“Maybe you should have fought harder for them.”

The clunky, under-heated climax of a trilogy that had breathed new life into its dormant genre and helped pave the way for the pummeling waves of superhero movies we’re enduring currently, 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand, while a financial success, was a creative miscalculation on several fronts. It’s not even a bad movie per se, but it’s also not nearly the film it could’ve been. The project appeared fast-tracked for mediocrity once director Bryan Singer – who pushed the first two X-Men installments to increasing heights at a time when the requirements for a superior modern superhero movie were still being codified – exited in favor of shepherding Warner Brothers’ next to most recent Superman reboot, and was replaced by Brett Ratner, a high concept hired gun (Rush Hour, Red Dragon) known for neither spectacle nor character work. Continue reading “Movie review: “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (2014)”

Bless this mess, then regress – January, 2014

broken

I decided by happy accident that every 25th post on this blog was going to be a sanctioned occasion to depart momentarily from established conventions, to drop all the movie reviews, the concert reviews, the TV and sports ramblings and other somesuch, in favor of writing much more from the heart. I received a nice response in comparative terms to my own post #25, a self-indulgent but cathartic essay on the bludgeoning heft and occasional impenetrability of my writing called “Powder Burns and Uncertain Terms”. At the time, I was writing new posts at a pretty steady clip but, as is part and parcel of being a blogger, seeing no real indication that people were reading what I wrote. Some days, I admit, that thought brought me down; on others, it made me defiant. Most days I just plowed ahead with my normal routine, which sadly (for whom I won’t opine) doesn’t often include this blog. Continue reading “Bless this mess, then regress – January, 2014”