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James Berardinelli review - *1/2 out of **** James Berardinelli review - ** out of **** James Berardinelli review - *** out of **** James Berardinelli review - **1/2 out of **** James Berardinelli review - ** out of **** James Berardinelli review - ***1/2 out of **** James Berardinelli review - **1/2 out of **** James Berardinelli review - ** out of **** James Berardinelli review - **1/2 out of **** James Berardinelli review - *** out of **** View all posts >


[quote]Putting aside any long-term implications, The Multiverse of Madness is a frustrating mix of eclectic elements that at times feel more like Raimi referencing his Evil Dead movies than his previous superhero work. It’s undeniably fascinating and at times exhilarating but my overall feeling is one of vague disappointment. As for the “WandaVision” connection – it’s as important a prerequisite as the first Dr. Strange. It’s possible to follow the story without having watched the streaming series but a lot of the details will be lost. This raises questions about the relationship between major motion pictures and ancillary programing, but that’s a discussion for another time and place. Suffice it to say that Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may find rapturous approval among comic book fans but could be less appealing to mainstream movie-goers.[/quote] [quote]Prior to the film’s release, fan circles were abuzz with rumors of a cavalcade of cameos. The truth doesn’t match up with expectations. Most of these fleeting appearances are designed with the Marvel devotee in mind. Those who boast more than a passing familiarity with the comic book source material will find enough Easter eggs to make an oversized omelet. For more casual viewers, however, familiar faces are somewhat scarce. In addition to one whose identity was spoiled by advance publicity material, there are only a few more and none is on quite the same level as Maguire or Garfield. Those anticipating appearances by long-lost Avengers, past Spider-Men, Deadpool, or Wolverine are in for a disappointment. The most curious absence of all is Vision. Considering how important this character is to Wanda’s fragile psyche, the lack of even a token/dream appearance by Paul Bettany is curious. Recent Marvel movies have begun to stray evermore into weird, cosmic territory that, although not uncomfortable for comic book fans, this direction may be increasingly off-putting to conventional movie-goers. The filmmakers are having an increasingly difficult time wrapping their arms around all the consequences and implications of some of their story decisions. In that way, The Multiverse of Madness recalls Eternals – not necessarily a good reference point since the latter is widely regarded as being among the least successful MCU movies. The problematic aspects of the Multiverse are wide-ranging. The most disturbing of which is that it represents a permanent, always-available deus ex machina. So even though it now makes a Batman vs. Spider-Man showdown easy to imagine, it creates a sense of impermanence where major events can be undone with the stroke of a pen. We’re way beyond Bobby Ewing stepping out of the shower.[/quote] [quote]At the time of its release, Somewhere in Time was justifiably savaged by critics. It wasn’t beloved by the general public, either, who mostly ignored it during its theatrical run. Only its relatively low budget kept it from being a major failure for the studio (Universal Pictures). When it was released on home video, however, it found a more receptive audience and became a cult classic, spinning off an international fan society that uses the acronym INSITE ("International Network of Somewhere In Time Enthusiasts") As with many cult classics, the passion of the most devout adherents is out-of-step with pretty much everyone else. Despite all the narrative problems and the limitations associated with Reeve’s performance, director Jeannot Szwarc should be given credit for keeping the movie marginally watchable. The pacing is brisk and the cinematography is lush and interesting. There are times when the romance seems to work largely because of Barry’s score and the way Szwarc has framed the scenes, focusing on the attractiveness of the leads and/or the scenery. Overall, however, Somewhere in Time is frustrating as a series of missed opportunities and the passage of more than forty years hasn’t softened the view.[/quote] [quote]Like Akira Kurosawa’s three films with strong Shakespearean connections (Throne of Blood, The Bad Sleep Well, and Ran), The Northman illustrates that a compelling production can be mounted without the benefit of the Bard’s dialogue. The Northman is gripping cinema of the sort that we get too little of today, when too often a director’s vision is diluted by box office imperatives and the lure of four-quadrant appeal.[/quote] Dylan O'Brien, Logan Lerman, and Dylan Minnette must have all been cloned in the same lab together with how similar the three of them look. And they were all kinda getting promoted around the same mid-2010s YA era, so maybe people just got confused as to who was who, LOL. [url][/url] [quote]There’s probably still a contingent of Harry Potter die-hards who will enjoy everything that The Secrets of Dumbledore has to offer and, at least in terms of stylistic elements and technical aspects, it remains consistent with the previous movies (director David Yates has helmed every Wizarding World movie since 2007’s Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix). But there’s nothing in this third Fantastic Beasts installment that will grow the audience. In fact, the plodding pacing offers little to excite anyone outside the dwindling core fandom. It’s time to bid farewell to Dumbledore and his associates, students, proteges, and enemies.[/quote] [quote]Multiverse stories are never as simple as they seem to be, primarily because the underlying concepts are rarely explored with any rigor. They are plot devices that allow for Groundhog Day­-like scenarios to play out. Everything Everywhere All at Once offers a devil-may-care approach and a deliciously wicked sense of humor, a top-flight performance from Michelle Yeoh, and an emotionally true central theme, all of which are sufficient to trump any multiverse-related problems. Although it runs too long, it’s nevertheless an enjoyable and satisfying romp through the lives of one woman who makes “being the worst of her selves” an asset.[/quote] [quote]The acting, mostly by unknowns (at least insofar as I’m concerned), is superlative. The biggest “name” in the film is Noomi Rapace, but she isn’t highlighted any more than the other four performers who share time as Nevena – Alice Englert, Sara Klimonska, Carloto Cotta, and Anastasija Karanovich. Despite being buried under a thick layer of makeup, Anamaria Marinca’s Old Maid Maria is a piece of work – a spiteful, despicable creature played by the actress with relish (but not too much relish). You Won’t Be Alone is one of the year’s biggest early surprises. Despite never previously having made a feature film, Stolevski’s sure-handed approach delivers a winner. He takes chances, doesn’t underestimate his audience, and tells a story worth telling.[/quote] [quote]Repo Man accrued a fan base as a result of its devil-may-care, try-anything approach. Whether it works as a traditional motion picture is up for debate. However, it’s short enough (about 90 minutes) that it never overstays its welcome and is generally a fun, wild ride, even though it may at times be difficult to figure out where the journey began and where, as the 1964 Chevy leaves the streets like Doc’s DeLorean in Back to the Future, it ends.[/quote] [quote]Movies made in the pre-CGI era were often given “mulligans” for subpar special effects but Supergirl came far enough into the post-Star Wars period that its visuals should have been more impressive than what they are. Indeed, there’s little excuse beyond cost-cutting for them to look worse than in any of the first three Superman movies. If there’s one bright spot to be found, it’s Jerry Goldsmith’s score. One of a small group of in-demand veteran composers in the early ‘80s, Goldsmith agreed to compose Supergirl. Keeping Williams’ Superman themes in mind, his final work is distinct yet musically linked. It's unsurprising that Supergirl was never accorded a sequel although one was planned at the time the movie went into production. (The property would later be completely rebooted for TV as a successful series that ran for six seasons from 2015-2021. In that series, Helen Slater played the role of Kara’s adoptive mother.) The movie is so scrambled and poorly executed that it would have been a shock for it to be embraced by either comic book fans or mainstream viewers. In comparison to Superman, the godfather of the franchise, it seems almost to be a satirical offshoot – something so bad that it can’t be taken seriously. (In fairness, similar comments could be made about both Superman III and Superman IV.) The across-the-board awfulness of Supergirl disabused those who optimistically believed the Salkinds’ stewardship of the Superman series couldn’t slip lower than the disappointment of Superman III. If Superman was an eagle streaking across the sky, Supergirl is the result of that eagle’s bowel movement.[/quote] View all replies >