What I’m Watching : SUPERMAN RETURNS (2006) Revisited after 10+ years!

Dracula Movie Poster

Recalling this is Frank Langella’s Birthday and how much I’m enamored of his performances (particularly his DRACULA I think is hypnotic and astounding), I went looking for films courtesy of streaming/VOD and I came across SUPERMAN RETURNS.

 

Superman Returns Movie Poster

Unlike the vocal few, I’ve always liked Bryan Singer’s SUPERMAN RETURNS. It is not perfect but its weaknesses are minor, and its strengths… deserving of praise.

Watching it today, over 10 years after its release, the film holds up. It is visually stunning to look at, gorgeously filmed and sumptuously framed, outright beautiful. Going for and achieving that feeling of awe, that particularly the first Richard Donner Superman was able to achieve, And it has that romanticized feel, and familial pacing, and doe-eyed optimism that both of the first two Donner Superman movies were able to achieve. But all of this lensed through Bryan Singers unique and ambitious take, his more otherworldly, take on the Man of Steel.

Where some people only saw ‘stalker’ Superman, those of us acquainted with reason, saw an obvious moral quandary tackled head-on. You want a being that can hear you when you call? The price and burden of this means he is always listening and always watching. So the film plays wonderfully with this idea of mensh unt Ubermensh. Of Man and Superman, and the burdens and trials of both.

The film does lose itself toward the end, but not enough to keep the journey from being rewarding, and memorable and fun.

This film falling in solid Bronze medal contention as one of the best Superman Movies of all time, beat out only by those two films that it is a natural sequel and follow-up to, Richard Donner’s SUPERMAN and SUPERMAN II.

MAN OF STEEL, as well as the other post Donner Christopher Reeves films are all left far in this films wake.

My grade after revisiting SUPERMAN RETURNS after 10+ years?

Well, Great Bryan Singer Direction, excellent visuals, stunning production design by Guy Hendrix Dyas, great performances by Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey and Tristan Lake Leabu as Lois’s son.  Also the flying scenes (all of them but particularly, That flight with Lois, a definite homage to the iconic scene in the first film, and I think it’s great),the plane scene, the yacht saving scene,the Daily Planet globe scene, the eye scene, the car scene that is a homage to a classic comic book cover, the mensh unt ubermensh overtones, and just the sheer fun of it, all of that is a solid A.

If you watch those scenes and don’t feel a sense of awe, possibly you shouldn’t be watching a film called SUPERMAN or there may be something fundamentally broken in you. 🙂

Now in the minus column you have that the Lois Lane performance sometimes grates and the general denouement/climatic battle/wrapup didn’t quite work for me (through I appreciate it more on re-watching then when I initially saw it in the theaters), those are a C- at best.

So averaged together the film as a whole is still a solid B+.

[possible spoilers]Too bad Bryan Singer didn’t get to follow this up, as I would have liked him exploring the dynamics of a SUPERMAN with a family, and a kryptonian impervious to kryptonite, and just some of the other ingenious ideas touched on in this film.[spoilers done]

Revisit it yourself on Netflix or better yet get the Blu-ray with Directors Commentary. The film will stand the test of time against the cynics, romance always does. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED.

 

 

Superman: The Movie / Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut / Superman Returns [Blu-ray]

Superman Returns (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Drácula (Blu-Ray) (Import Movie) (European Format – Zone B2) (2013) Frank Langella; Laurence Olivier; Donald P

Holiday Gift Guide: The Essential Bernie Wrightson & Gustave Dore


In an America governed by those who would bury art and bury reason and bury beauty, I think the gift of Art, this holiday season, is more priceless than ever.

Here for your gift giving consideration are some of my favorite art books.

 

 

 

Doré’s Illustrations for Ariosto’s “Orlando Furioso”: A Selection of 208 Illustrations (Dover Fine Art, History of Art)

Creepy Presents Bernie Wrightson

Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein

The three Books have a common theme… linework. In DORE’S ILLUSTRATIONS FOR ARIOSTO’S ORLANDO FURIOSO it showcases the line work of Gustave Dore, the undisputed 19th century master of the medium.

In Dark Horse Book’s Illustrated FRANKENSTEIN, the 20th century master of line work, Bernie Wrightson provides jaw dropping quintessential illustrations to Mary Shelley’s seminal work of Horror and Science Fiction. And finally CREEPY PRESENTS BERNIE WRIGHTSON is likewise an indispensable overview of the master of pen and ink.

The three together are a welcome addition to any art lovers library!

Surprise of the Day : TATE on Amazon Prime and DVD

The thing I like about Amazon Prime, and that sets it apart from Netflix is how deep its library of classic and obscure movies and tv shows goes.

It’s a wonderful Rabbit hole of films and TV shows that have been unseen in many cases, since their airing.

 

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TATE I discovered this morning. Its episode HOMETOWN is the pilot of a series that, despite excellent casts and scripts, only lasted 13 episodes..

Filmed in 1960, the show is set almost a 100 years earlier to right after the civil war, and stars a one-armed vet, and an ornery but honest sheriff,  who must hold the line in a town set against them.
Amazon Prime only has the first episode, but what an episode. Watching it in 2016 for the first time, it is just gripping television
I liked it so much that I picked up the entire 1960 series on DVD!
If you are similarly moved, you can get it here:

Tate Entire Series DVD

tatedvd

Deputy:    I got a wife and family, Morty!

Sheriff:    You took your pay in the summer.

                     Now it’s winter.

                     You either in it, or crawl out of my sight!

                     I SAID CRAWL!

“Even with introspective, personal-story scripts from the always excellent Fink and good casts populated by James Coburn, Royal Dano, Robert Culp, Louise Fletcher, Robert Redford, Paul Richards, Martin Landau, Leonard Nimoy, Warren Oates, Peter Whitney, Chris Alcaide, Cathy O’Donnell, Pat Breslin, Mort Mills, Ted DeCorsia, Julie Adams and others, the 13 episodes of the surly gunfighter failed to catch-on with viewers, finding strong opposition from “I’ve Got a Secret” on CBS and “Wednesday Night Boxing” and “Hawaiian Eye” on ABC. Sponsored by Kraft, the series ended September 21 and Como returned to his time-slot in October ‘60.

Akin to the best of “Have Gun Will Travel”, “The Westerner”, “The Loner” and “The Rebel” scripts, “Tate” deserves a second viewing (if not a first if you missed it in ‘60) as an overlooked western gem.”

—WESTERN CLIPPINGS

GRAPHIC NOVEL Corner : This Week’s 17 MUST OWN Graphic Novels or Collected Editions!!

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Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu Omnibus Vol. 1 (Marvel Omnibus: Shang-Chi Master of Kung-Fu)

Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu Omnibus Vol. 2

Deadly Hands of Kung Fu Omnibus Vol. 1

S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus

The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Volume 1 (New Printing)

The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 2 (New Printing)

The Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol. 3

Uncanny X-Men Omnibus Vol 3 Variant

X-Men – Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)

The Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 1 (New Printing)

The Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 2 (New Printing)

The Fantastic Four Omnibus Volume 3

The Mighty Thor Omnibus   [MIGHTY THOR OMNIBUS] [Hardcover]

Fantastic Four by John Byrne Omnibus – Volume 1

Captain America by Jack Kirby Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)

Werewolf by Night Omnibus

The Avengers Omnibus Volume 2

 

Averaging almost $100 a book, no one is going to confuse Marvel’s Omnibus line of high quality, oversized chronological reprints of their most popular and coveted books with cheap.

But for those with a fondness for these four color adventures of yesteryear these collections are a definite boon and a must have. Collecting between 20 and 40 issues of comics, including the letters pages for some, roughly 600 to 1200 pages of comic goodness, the cost is a deal compared to trying to get these issues individually, especially considering in some cases… original issues can run thousands of dollars.

And while these are reprints, they are reprints offered in a quality, oversized format signifigantly superior to the original cheaply produced issues.

From Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s game changing work on the FANTASTIC FOUR (collected in 3 Omnibuses) to Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy’s seminal work on MASTER OF KUNG FU (70s Kung Fu and Spy Goodness at its best! To be collected over 4 volumes) to the gold standard of comic craft with Chris Claremont and John Byrne and Paul Smith’s THE UNCANNY X-MEN , these are the books and runs… that are deserving of this top of the line production!

Any of the 17 books listed, sell themselves, as noted by how quickly and often these pricey books sellout. Don’t sleep on these 17 books. Get your issues before they become unavailable or prices go up!

 

Tell em HT sent ya!!

 

Book of the Day : 59 Illustrated National Parks: 100 Years of Wilderness & Wonder Coffee Table Book

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160-page National Parks Coffee Table Book

This amazing 160-page book is perfect for any outdoor lover, poster art fan, or American history buff. The large 9” x 12” full-color hardcover coffee table book includes all 59 of our National Park posters, plus 12 oil paintings, historic photos, a map of the USA, facts, travel tips, and the 100-year history of the National Park Service.

5 years ago, Joel Anderson and his team of award-winning artists set out to create a poster for each of the National Parks. Along the way, Joel and his son Nathan traveled to several parks gathering reference, photos, and inspiration for a book that would eventually combine the entire poster series with a wealth of interesting information.

Designed by the talented artists of Anderson Design Group and written by Nathan Anderson, this beautiful National Park book is truly spectacular. Created to celebrate the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service, it is sure to be a timeless keepsake.

59 Illustrated National Parks: 100 Years of Wilderness & Wonder Coffee Table Book

DEAL OF THE DAY : Spectrum 21 The Best in Fantastic Art Hardcover

DEAL OF THE DAY : Spectrum 21 The Best in Fantastic Art Hardcover

spectrum21

“The best-selling Spectrum series continues with this twenty-first lavishly produced annual. Challenging, controversial, educational, and irreverent, the award-winning Spectrum series reinforces both the importance and prevalence of fantastic art in today’s culture. With exceptional images by extraordinary creators, this elegant full-color collection showcases an international cadre of creators working in every style and medium, both traditional and digital. The best artists from the United States, Europe, China, Australia, South America and beyond have gathered into the only annual devoted exclusively to works of fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the surreal, making Spectrum one of the year’s highly most anticipated books.

Featured in SPECTRUM 21 are over 300 diverse visionaries, many of them world-renowned, including Paul Bonner, Donato Giancola, James Gurney, Iain McCaig, Shaun Tan, Sam Weber, Allen Williams. With art from books, graphic novels, video games, films, galleries, advertising and the fine arts, Spectrum is both an electrifying art book for fans and an invaluable resource for clients looking for bright new talent. The entire field is discussed in an invaluable, found-nowhere-else Year In Review. Contact information for each artist is included.

Often imitated, never equaled, SPECTRUM 21 continues the freshness and excellence that was established twenty years ago.” —Amazon.com

Spectrum 21: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art

DEAL OF THE DAY : Hall of History Bermuda’s Story in Art! 14″ by 14″ rare Art Book!


“The Hall of History – Bermuda’s own “Sistine Chapel”

‘The Hall of History’ is a larger than life mural by Bermudian artist, Graham Foster, to be found in The Commissioner”s House at the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard.

The two story, 1000 square foot interior mural depicts five centuries of Bermudian history, and took approximately 7,000 hours -over three years – to complete.”
—-BSOA.BM

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On my recent trip to Bermuda, as can be imagined I saw many wonderful sights and sounds and toured many impressive places. One of the most striking is the Commissioner’s House, which offered some of the most beautiful views of the Island of Bermuda and the surrounding seas.

And not to be undone the interior of the Commissioner’s house held many Marvels both historic and cultural. Weapons of War and documents of peace, tales of soldiers who gave their last best measure, stories of slavery endured and triumphed over, and rooms lovingly adorned with books and art, going back to the early days of the seafaring age.

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And of the many Marvels to be seen in the Commissioner’s House one of the many impressive ones, is also one of the newest. A relatively recently commissioned mural, only 6 years of age as of this writing, that spans two stories and a thousand square feet, and five hundred years of Bermudian History. By local Artist Graham Foster his BERMUDA’S STORY IN ART is nothing short of a stellar marvel, that is to be ogled and awed at in person.

Walking up and down the two flights I loved it, and also knew I had not the time to truly grasp a fraction of the detail that Foster put into the work. It was too big, too immense, too esoteric in parts, it was the history of a nation distilled in paint and sweat and time.

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Coming back from Bermuda, one of my great regrets was not picking up the art book, that was produced in 2011 (2 years after the murals opening) by the National Museum of Bermuda to give detail into Foster’s staggering work. Long unavailable, thankfully a few copies have become available on Amazon. I recently got one of them, and my verdict, on the massive 14″ by 14″, 200+ page book, written and annotated by Bermuda scholar Rosemary Jones in collaboration with artist Graham Foster is… it is a masterpiece. A work of art in its own right, to properly convey… the work of art of Foster’s Mural.

A fantastic addition to anyone’s library, whether a traveler, a bibliophile, or an art lover. Highest recommendation. Pick up your copy (if you are lucky) at the link below!

Hall of History Bermuda’s Story in Art

 

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“Hall of History Mural Bermuda

If you love wall murals, this is the one you mustn’t miss in Bermuda. Hall of History is a 1000 square feet larger than life mural created by the Bermudian artist Graham Foster. You will find it in the Commissioner’s House located at the National Museum of Bermuda in Royal Naval Dockyard.

Graham started the work in 2005 and it took him 7,000 hours of research and painting to complete this mural over more than 3 years time. On November 2009, it was officially opened by Her Majesty The Queen. At the time of opening, Graham had presented a painting “The Wreck of the Sea Venture” to the Queen. The mural depicts over 400 years of life in Bermuda and you will be able to see virtually everything that made a mark in the island over the past centuries.

Graham Foster’s Mural “Hall of History” is now captured in a 14″ x 14″ Coffee table book. It depicts the deep history and heritage of his murals with many high quality pictures of the mural. The text of the book has been written by Rosemary Jones. In case you are not able to spend enough time at the Commissioners House to absorb all the details of the mural personally, this hefty book can be a great possession to explore those details. It’s currently retailing for $65 and is available at the bookstores island wide.”
http://www.bermuda-attractions.com/bermuda_0002c4.htm

“Graham Foster is a Bermudian artist best known for his larger-than-life mural, ‘The Hall of History’ at the Bermuda Maritime Museum in Dockyard. The two storey, 1000 square foot interior mural depicts five centuries of Bermudian history, and took approximately 7000 hours [over three years] to complete.

Born in 1970, he is the son of physician Elizabeth Foster and Alec Foster. A professional artist since 1995, Mr. Foster was educated at The Bermuda College and The Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston.

His paintings tend to follow one of two directions – one inspired by Bermuda’s fish,flora,fauna, and people, captured in a characteristically surreal style,the other is looser and more expressionistic,often inspired by dreams and the subconscious.

He is a sculptor [primarily in welded steel] as well as a painter. In 2002, he became the first Bermudian artist to have a work purchased for the permanent collection of The Bermuda National Gallery, a welded steel triptych entitled ’21st Century Fetish Family’. Many of his sculptures are strongly influenced by Tribal Art.”
http://bernews.com/bermuda-profiles/graham-foster/