DVR Hindsight #14 (11/17/15): Gotham and/or/vs. Supergirl

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Batman and Superman aren’t only doing battle on movie screens next summer. In the relative calm before the computer-generated storm that will be Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, they are already fighting by proxy on television as their B-teams (for the latter, his fair-haired, similarly-powered, older cousin and assorted cross-overs/hangers-on; for the former, no less than the collected origin stories of the caped crusader, police commissioner Jim Gordon, and the top two to three tiers of his infamous “rogue’s gallery” of enemies) take a field that a, scant few years ago, contained the barest trace of superhero DNA and no horizon to speak of, but today boasts no fewer than six separate shows (and even more if you count streaming services). “Batman vs. Superman” has been a passionate and evergreen alpha-hero debate among comic book fans for more than twice as long as I’ve been alive, but this latest round, willed into existence and shoehorned clumsily into place by the rivalry between two of the biggest networks on broadcast television, just doesn’t have a consequential feel to it yet. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #14 (11/17/15): Gotham and/or/vs. Supergirl”

Movie review: “Not Another Teen Movie” (2001)

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“And I’ll bet that you lose that bet…but that in doing so, you’ll learn an even more valuable lesson, and win. (pause) In life, I mean.”

The late Roger Ebert lamented, early and often, the inadequacies of grading movies on any sort of scale. Essentially, art is so subjective that it has a built-in natural resistance to easy criticism, and the labels we use to compensate can be obscure, imprecise or reductive, even with the best of intentions behind them. Ebert’s print reviews, which are absolutely required reading for anyone seeking more than a cursory knowledge of 20th Century film, followed a “star” model, with four being the highest possible awarded rating and zero the lowest. On television, of course, Ebert was never granted the ideal space or agency to regard a movie as much more than a simple up/down vote (cue his famous thumb), but in print his muse and talent ranged far and wide, requiring a more nuanced scale to render the final verdict. Ebert found the star format frustrating and limiting, a necessary evil of sorts, and since adopting it as the basis for my own grades on this blog, I’ve come to understand a bit from whence he came. Continue reading “Movie review: “Not Another Teen Movie” (2001)”