Superman Returns

IntroEffects

Sometimes the best solution is also the easiest. When it comes to making movies, however, nothing tends to be easy. Then again, there have been a few instances where the solution – while still not anywhere close to easy – was at least simple. Cheap, even. Check out the following big budget effects that you could theoretically recreate in your own basement.

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IntroRecycled

No, we’re not just talking about old movies seen within newer movies here; this is extreme stock footage – using the old to create a new narrative, something for fun, or even for the sake of story. And in the interest of avoiding every film that ever used stock footage – this is the select few that did so in much more creative ways than simply sticking it the background or in a cutaway like some Ed Wood film. This is stock footage with a twist.

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Man of Steel

Warning: there are mild spoilers ahead for Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Haven’t seen the movie yet? Go see it, then come on back. Man of Steel couldn’t have a more perfect release date. This Sunday is Father’s Day, which makes it a very appropriate weekend for an action flick about a superhero with two dads and the wisdom imparted by each of them. Meanwhile, today is also Flag Day, and while the latest Superman movie isn’t overbearingly jingoistic, it is significant for explicitly returning the character’s national allegiance. “I’m about as American as you get,” he says when his loyalty to the U.S. is questioned. The line wouldn’t be so notable if it weren’t for the way the previous live-action movie we got, Superman Returns, represented the hero. When Perry White (Frank Langella) references a familiar catchphrase by asking if Superman still stands for “truth, justice and all that stuff,” that made many conservative fans upset. Never mind that the original “American way” version wasn’t even introduced until years after his comics debut (on the radio show in 1942 and then resurfacing on the 1950s TV series). “The truth is he’s an alien,” said Returns co-writer Dan Harris in 2006, “He was sent from another planet. He has landed on the planet Earth, and he is here for everybody. He’s an international superhero.”

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Superman Returns

In celebration of the release of Man of Steel, we will be publishing a series of articles that take a look back at Superman’s cinematic roots, analyze his successes and failures and hopefully add some context to your Superman-centric movie week. We begin with another splendid guest editorial from The Bitter Script Reader. If everything had gone to plan, this summer we’d probably be getting the concluding chapter of a Bryan Singer-helmed Superman trilogy. Indeed, for a while, it appeared we might get it. The film opened in Summer 2006 to a bigger 5-day opening than Batman Begins had a year earlier. Its worldwide gross was also about $17 million more than the Nolan Batman prequel as well. It even earned a decent amount of critical acclaim, coming in at 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. So while the film might not have been a Spider-Man-sized hit, it was a promising debut by some of the more superficial standards the industry uses to measure success. The film certainly was far from being an outright bomb. Some time ago, Quentin Tarantino mentioned that he was writing a 20-page review of Superman Returns, explaining why he loved it so much. We’re still waiting on that, and since I’m about one-fourth the filmmaker he is, it seems fitting that my own review is that much shorter.

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IntroSuperheroBeatdowns

The boring problem with almost every superhero is that if they existed in real life they would just win all the time. This is why we have super villains, of course, and this is why those super villains tend to get the upper hand at some point in the film. After all, what’s a good third act without some kind of obstacle to overcome? If your character can shoot fire from his or her nipples then the baddies better have some kind of ray gun that shoots ice pasties. Point is, we need a point where the hero gets their ass handed to them – something that some movies handle better than others. Here are eight of the darker moments where the hero hits rock bottom (usually in a pool of their own blood).

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IntroBehindScenes

It seems very rare that a behind-the-scenes documentary will earnestly try to show how the movie is made over trying to sensationalize the process. After all, who exactly is the demographic watching these things? Is it people who are genuinely interested in learning the techniques, or is it casual fans of a particular movie peeking behind the curtain? A good documentary caters to both – but above all should be honest in how the film was made. I’d like to explore some of the most earnest examples that I’ve come across. Either as stand alone films or DVD extras – these are documentaries that show, for better or for worse, the good and the bad aspects of the movie making process. This is stuff that no film goon should miss.

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Jurassic Park Mosquito

Movie trailers are one of the few things in the industry that you really can’t improve upon with technology. It’s just editing – that’s it. Nothing else can make a trailer better besides skill. This is also why it seems like they generally get better every year (not always the case though). It’s difficult to nail down exactly what makes a teaser trailer effective, which is why we’re going to focus simply on intensity. It’s the best part, especially when a film is already anticipated from the start due to being an adaptation or a sequel. So here we go – fifteen movie teasers that have your heart pounding before the feature presentation even begins.

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What is Movie News After Dark? If you don’t know already, then it might not be for you. Wait.. wait… wait… Don’t leave. Trust us, it’s for you. We begin tonight with a shot of Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay’s Pain and Gain, the small movie that Bayhem will direct in between the last and the next Transformers movies. It’s being called a sort of “Pulp Fiction meets Fargo” story about a bodybuilder turned kidnapper. Wahlberg is beefy. There’s a 712% forecast of explosions, despite the promised sense of reality. Say hello to your mother for me, and carry on for more news…

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Boiling Point

John Carter lightly transported itself into theaters this past weekend, securing a relatively meager $30m opening domestically, though it managed to secure another $70m internationally. While I will eventually make a defense of the economics at play here, it is hard to argue that John Carter isn’t a domestic failure, considering it came in second to The Lorax, which debuted a full week earlier. On top of that, John Carter has a suspected $250m budget with marketing costs guestimated in the $100m range, for a total investment of around $350m. The critics have been somewhat kind to the civil war veteran’s debut – while the average review seems to be “it’s alright,” there have certainly been some hyperbolic highs and very few hyperbolic lows. Consensus is you’ll probably think the movie is okay, but you might want to wait for DVD. Scattered among those are bold claims that film will live on with your children as a classic, which are probably a bit off the reservation. There is little doubt that in at least several ways John Carter failed, ways that were easily avoidable and ways that make me fairly angry with the system.

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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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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s tired, sleepy and acutely aware of the fact that it is Friday, Friday, Friday. It also hates Rebecca Black, except for the censored version. That made it laugh. A very self-aware, singularity style laugh. Chuckle on, meat suits, your day will come. Tonight’s lead story is an interest piece about two legends: that Tolkien guy, who wrote a movie about little people that’s about to become the world’s biggest goddamn movie production, and Maurice Sendak, who once dreamed of wild things. What if Sendak had illustrated The Hobbit? The above image is the answer. It also makes for a very interesting essay by Tom DiTerlizzi.

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You’ve stumbled upon Circle of Jerks, our sporadically published, weekly feature in which we ask the questions that really matter to our writers and readers. It’s a time to take a break from our busy lives and revel in the one thing that we all share: a deep, passionate love of movies. If you have a question you’d like answered by the FSR readers and staff, send us an email at editors@filmschoolrejects.com. What’s something you wish had been included in a movie that wasn’t? This is broad, and falls under a large ‘missed-opportunities’ umbrella, but I’m studying Citizen Kane in my film class, and my professor pondered aloud at one point, “Why doesn’t Thompson visit Kane’s first wife? Well,” he continued, answering himself, “it would tell us nothing different from Leland’s flashback.” It’s a big class, and I lacked the courage to speak up, “Um, respected doctor of film? His first wife died in a car accident with his son.” This made me wonder. That little fact is barely noticeable; it’s slipped in in the “News on the March” section and never spoken of again. We never see Kane’s reaction to the disaster. – Reed A

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After sitting around imagining a world where Christopher Nolan happens to be the only human being who can deal with classic superheroes in a modern way, we got to thinking about what we would want from the new reboot of Superman franchise. So we’re doing our part with a list of what we, two humble Super fans, demand from the next installment. Up, up, and away…

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The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan has been a busy man for a while. He’s pumped out one great movie every year or so since 2005, and is now Hollywood’s hottest commodity. That is to say that he’s Warner Bros.’ biggest hired gun at the moment, as he preps his upcoming tentpole Inception for release. And it would appear as if WB is looking for Nolan to be not just the savior of their Batman franchise, but of their Superman frnachise as well.

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Hollywood should grow a pair and do a startlingly different take on Superman. Instead of the same old origin story, dare to create something new and phenomenal.

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WallStreet2FrankLangella

Apparently it’s now called Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, and legendary actor Frank Langella will be joining the cast in a pivotal role.

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superman-milk

Oh, the things one stumbles upon while sifting through websites, like the title and plot synopsis of the next Superman film.

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Punisher: War Zone

Robert Fure writes in his war journal about needless relaunches and Frank Castle is on his list.

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Superman

Comic book writer and creator Mark Millar has big plans for Superman on the big screen. How big? Try The Godfather big.

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Brandon Routh as Superman

Nobody will ever truly replace Christopher Reeve as the image of Superman, but Brandon Routh has earned DC Comics’ respect enough to keep the role of the Man of Steel.

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