Superman II

Moon Landing in 2001

There’s nothing like the Moon for cinema. It’s been a fascination for fiction from way before motion pictures were invented, but it’s had a very special place in the history of film. From the beginning, at least as early as 1896 when Georges Melies created a lunar-based dream for A Nightmare (watch it here), filmmakers have been portraying our planet’s natural satellite in all kinds of ways. One of the most famous movie images of all time is a silhouetted bicycle in front of a giant full moon, in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Even one of the Hollywood studios incorporates a crescent moon in its logo. One of the reasons the Moon is so interesting for cinema is that for the majority of the art form it was still a relatively unknown thing. Then, 45 years ago today (or yesterday, depending on where you are in the world), man touched ground on its surface and the idea of a journey to the Moon was no longer science fiction. Well, that’s actually dependent on who you ask, as well. Immediately we had hints about the Moon landing being a hoax, or if not totally manufactured then involving some other secret situation — like Apollo 11 really being a mission to investigate crashed Transformers (watch that here). Even after we officially knew there were no Cat-Women on the Moon and that it wasn’t in fact made of cheese, films have still had fun imagining the lunar body for sci-fi and fantasy stories set in […]

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goodfellastable

This week’s list of movies to watch is not inspired by a single new release, because there isn’t anything big enough out this weekend to warrant such a focus. Instead, I’ve got a year-end feature for you inspired by the entirety of 2013 in film. I can’t sum up every title released this year with only ten recommendations, but the movies I’ve selected are, I believe, the best representatives of the more notable titles and trends seen in the past dozen months. Most of the selections are familiar. Chances are you’ve seen more than a few. But obviously this edition has to involve more popular fare because they have to be influential movies to have informed so much of this year’s crop, even if unintentionally. Just take it as a call to watch them again, along with whatever you haven’t seen before, as a special sort of year in review of the most important movies of 2013 released before 2013.

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superman-the-movie-1978-marlon-brando-as-jor-el-sentences-general-zod-non-and-ursa

It’s only a coincidence that I’m writing this on the day Man of Steel hits home video, and it has nothing to do with the approaching 35th anniversary of Superman: The Movie. Rather, it’s something I’ve been wondering during the discussions of the latest Marvel movie post-credits “stingers.” Thor: The Dark World finishes with three separate teases. The first (not a stinger) comes before the credits and hints at something that will presumably be dealt with in Thor 3. The next comes midway into the credits and introduces a character and teases plot that is part of the larger Marvel/Avengers franchise storyline. And the third is just a funny post-credits scene that I expect to be the vaguely reported link between the film and an upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. Personally, I have no problem with these or any stingers. The midway scene in Thor 2 is pretty goofy, though, and has been met with the usual confusion that, hopefully for Marvel’s sake, translates into curiosity instead of annoyance. And perhaps the way they’re done is a little tired, so maybe it is time to try something different. Like a prologue stinger. I don’t know if that phrase makes sense (I’m not totally sure of where the term stinger comes from), but here’s what I mean: set up the next film before the latest even begins. For the one and only example, as far as I know, look to the opening of the first Superman, which features the trial of […]

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dark crystal room

While watching Thor: The Dark World, my desire was to switch this week’s list of movies to watch to a list of TV series to watch. The whole movie is like Game of Thrones meets Doctor Who, the former an understandable influence since director Alan Taylor has helmed six episodes of that show (the fact that Christopher Eccleston is in the movie has nothing to do with the latter). He’s also won an Emmy for his work directing The Sopranos and a DGA Award for his work on Mad Men. Other series I was reminded of while watching include The Wire, because of Idris Elba, Lost, because of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and The IT Crowd, because of Chris O’Dowd. But most of these are already so well known, and they really don’t have a lot to do with Thor 2 other than talent connections. I also wasn’t interested in checking out 2 Broke Girls just to make a well-rounded yet thin point. So, here’s your usual list of movies I thought to recommend after the Thor sequel. Not surprisingly, there are no appropriate documentaries included this time. You’re welcome. Minor SPOILERS if you haven’t seen Thor: The Dark World. 

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supermanii-commentary1

Any fan of the Superman movie series knows of the myriad problems experienced during the filming of Superman II. The most notable was the estranged relationship that director Richard Donner had with producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind. Donner’s plan was to film the first two movies simultaneously, but he was eventually dropped from the production and replaced with Richard Lester. In 2006, Warner Bros. worked with Donner to restore his own vision to Superman II, releasing his cut of the film. The result is an incomplete movie patched together from alternate takes and even some screen tests. However, as flawed as this cut of the film is, it is nice to see the original director get some closure in one of the original superhero movie franchises. Donner and his creative consultant Tom Mankiewicz lend their voices to the commentary on this film, which can be purchased separately or in the box set of Superman films available on DVD and Blu-ray. They offer a look into the overall production of the two films, rather than the restoration process.

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IntroStructures

Let’s face facts – explosions are great. No one is denying that in the least, but sometimes they just get a little… mundane. Really once you’ve seen the White House explode under an alien disaster beam or get rammed by a giant tidal wave, you don’t really need to see that again. It’s been covered. So let’s take alien beams and tidal waves right off the table and start thinking about some of the more ingenious ways Hollywood has wrecked the place.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the nightly movie news column that other movie news websites read for tomorrow’s news… Editor’s Note: The original header image from this edition of News After Dark was not for public viewing, as we found out later. We were asked to take it down by Warner Bros. And since we’d rather show you really cool stuff, here’s a Bane art piece by alicexz. We begin this evening with what appears to be a very unhappy Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. It’s another promo image to follow last week’s release of Catwoman’s ass-tacular costume. My guess is that Warner Bros. has simply given up on the marketing of this one, as they seem to be just letting raw materials out. Then again, if you had to follow-up with the incredible marketing campaign behind The Dark Knight, you’d probably throw in the towel, too. Luck for them, everyone is already going to see TDKR. Just because.

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On June 7, 2011, everything that you love about Superman, be it the Richard Donner films of the late 70s and 80s or Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, will come full circle. No, you’re not being flown to the set of Zack Snyder’s Superman: Man of Steel. You will instead have the chance to own an eight-disc collection of Superman movies that will be in crisp, beautiful high definition and include over 20 hours of special features. I don’t know about you, but that’s a gift that keeps on giving. No matter what you’re after, original theatrical or expanded editions, this one appears to have it all. If you’re curious to see just how much extra Superman goodness there is, just click on through the jump and see the set’s detailed layout. And then you’ll know why I’m personally very excited.

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