Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Trailer Park

See the new Superman Returns trailer HERE. Bryan Singer is arguably one of the top five "genre" directors working today, and if X2 was any indication, Superman Returns is going to be the film to beat this summer.

Partial to Pirates? See the Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest trailer HERE.

21 Comments:

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

UGH...that trailer sent my hopes for Superman swirling down the toilet. The more I see, the more I see a big fat failure. And I'm a little bit crushed by it.

Top 5?...Sir, that is plain old chudian hyperbole. He's not even in the top 5 of directors named "Bryan"!

 
At 9:08 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Name 5 other "genre" directors currently working that have outclassed the work Singer did on X-Men, or X2.

Go.

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

And seriously - how did that trailer send your hopes down the toilet?

There are a ton of nigh-iconic shots in that brief span of time alone.

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

Quentin Tarantino
Peter Jackson
Sam Raimi
Robert Rodriguez
Chris Nolan
Guillermo del Toro
Ang Lee

Want more? He's not a very interesting visual stylist. In fact, (and I don't necessarily blame him) the X movies I regard largely as big wastes. X-men? Come on...that was terrible. X2 is vast improvement but apart from a few moments is mostly a retread with appalling character bits that make me laugh.

My big number #1 issue is Routh. He's not Superman. Not at all. His face, his posture, his eyes...all just aren't doing it for me. Bosworth looks like a terrible Lois, Spacey is hamming it up. And mostly it just looks stagey. I kinda think it was a mistake to hitch his wagon to the Donner flick. I dunno...I want to love it...but I'm not.

 
At 10:06 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

We're swimming directly in the waters of opinion, now. So, take all of the below as just that - my opinion.

Quentin Tarantino
Peter Jackson
Sam Raimi
Robert Rodriguez
Chris Nolan
Guillermo del Toro
Ang Lee


Tarantino? Doesn't qualify in my book. When I use "genre" I suppose I'm using it in the annoying "genre really means sci-fi/fantasy" kind of way. Tarantino's a brilliant director- much better than Singer - but he doesn't qualify.

Peter Jackson? Definately. That's one.

Sam Raimi? Yes, and no. He's a great, fun, accomplished director. But for every beat he gets right (and there are soooo many) he gets another one wrong (and there are soooo many). The Doc Ock/Spidey fight through Manhattan remains untopped for me. The near-maddening spells of "dramatic" time taken between Mary Jane and Peter make the movies very difficult to sit through on repeat.

Robert Rodriguez? Not sure he'd qualify, either, unless you count the kiddie-flicks (Spy Kids is a modern classic...the others...not so much). There's From Dusk Til Dawn, but that's not half as good as X2 for me.

Nolan? Same problem as Raimi, in reverse. Batman Begins was AMAZING when it was focusing on Wayne and his world. It was less than amazing when Nolan tossed out his meticulously laid-out "real world" interpretation in favor of a whiz-bang ending that plays like a bad video game, without the ability to play it.

Love me some Del Toro. Hellboy is classic. So is Devil's Backbone. And Chronos. He's definately in the top five.

Ang Lee? You won't find a bigger Hulk supporter around (my review of it is in the links section of the mainpage), but it's a disjointed flick that isn't as viscerally satisfying as either x flick for me.

So, by my (questionable) standards, only two of those directors beat out Singer's efforts clearly.

Thing is, I adore the first XMen film. I know it's not an "Action" film, and the end device is a little silly, but Singer nails the characters in such a way as to make the film sort of a Superheroic 70's film. It just works for me. I believe in the world he constructs.

And X2 is, next to Donner's Superman, the most successful comic adaptation to date (again, in my humble opinion).

 
At 10:37 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

Tarantino/Rodriguez definitely count. Sin City, yo. But to satisfy your def of "genre" I'll sub the Wachowski's and Brad Bird.

I disagree with you on Raimi. I think Peter Parker's shitty life underscores Spidey's heroics. And the drama is well-played in those scenes.

And I don't believe for one minute that Nolan was going for "real world"...I mean, I'd really like to believe that ninja clans run around doing nefarious shit, but... since they haven't recruited me we know it's shate!

Action should just punctuate the human drama...it's not the end all/be all factor...even in comic-book movies. I felt the characters of the X-Men (most definitely my favorite property of all time...admittedly, in direct proportion of my disappointment with their cinematic misappropriation)...were way the fuck off. Wolverine was a typical leading man, heartthrob...he's portrayed various ways in the books but I prefer when he's a rendered as almost trollish. HE FREAKING CRIES AND HUGS CYKE IN X2... Cyclops was virtually ignored(and I think he's the lynchpin of the team). Jean Grey was alright. Storm was atrociously miscast and poorly written. Rogue, hot as hell...no real problems with her. Magneto is done to perfection and about everything I love about the films ends and begins with McKellens wonderful performance. Professor X sidelined in both films, when you have a telent as rich as Stewart onboard that sucks.

Again, I loved the comics when we saw the students of Xavier brought together by humanity's rejection and fighting for a common dream. You never really see the X-men fight together in the films, and I don't mean from kickass action setpiece POV, but from a friendship/teamwork/overcoming their differences kind of way. In the flicks Wolverine does all the heavy lifting.

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

I really need to add wrt SUPERMAN RETURNS...I am dying to be proven wrong. I'll come back here and eat every word like it was a delicious souffle baked with heat vision.

 
At 10:51 AM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

I'm psyched by the trailer (Supes) and am sold on both movies. I read some info on SR thanks to a book I'm reviewing and it sounds like it won't disappoint at all.

Regarding QT/Rodriguez, I didn't care much for Sin City much. Technically it was super but it was soulless.

The X flicks were good, but the Spidey flicks were better on all cylinders.

BB was the second best entry in the Batman movie list (I'm a sucker for Keaton and Nicholson).

No argument on PJ but if he isn't veeeeery careful he'll become like Steve King, churning out these HUGE works with no control. KK needed to be chopped down by an hour at least.

GDT is a master.

Ang Lee directs one superhero movie and suddenly he's a genre director? Love me some Hulk, though.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

CTHD isn't a genre film?

 
At 11:01 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Tarantino/Rodriguez definitely count. Sin City, yo. But to satisfy your def of "genre" I'll sub the Wachowski's and Brad Bird.

I refuse to count Tarantino on the basis of one scene. But again, he's a superior director. Just not "genre." And Sin City was very, very average for me. Loved some of the visuals, was underwhelmed by the story.

I'll give you the Wachowskis (which makes 3) but not Bird. Animated film directors play by different rules.

Wolverine was a typical leading man, heartthrob...he's portrayed various ways in the books but I prefer when he's a rendered as almost trollish. HE FREAKING CRIES AND HUGS CYKE IN X2...

Okay, we're operating from different levels of involvement. I loved the Xbooks as a kid, but haven't cared about them (til Whedon's run, at least) in at least a decade. So I think it's fair to say I bring less expectation to the flicks, and may be able to enjoy them more as straight cinema than adaptation-of-existing-work.

That said, I think Jackman's Wolverine is superb. That he cries in X2 is dramatically appropriate, even from a comic-continuity standpoint. He loves her. Showing him cry hammers home the impact of her sacrifice.

Cyclops was virtually ignored(and I think he's the lynchpin of the team).

Whereas I don't have any real recollection of Cyclops' personality from the books. I remember he was a no-nonsense type, but that's about it.

That said, I thought the way Singer and Marsden handled the scenes Cyke did get (his first meeting with Wolverine, for instance, where he's grabbed and loks thoroughly unimpressed with Jackman) was pretty good characterization for him.

Jean Grey was alright.

Agreed. Better than, I'd say.

Storm was atrociously miscast and poorly written.

Agreed and agreed. But then, I hate Storm as a character and always have.

Rogue, hot as hell...no real problems with her.

The Rogue/Wolverine story in the first XMen was what made the film for me. Paquin's work is grounded, realistic, and moving. So is JAckman's.

Magneto is done to perfection and about everything I love about the films ends and begins with McKellens wonderful performance.

Agreed, in terms of how goddamn good McKellen is.

Professor X sidelined in both films, when you have a telent as rich as Stewart onboard that sucks.

Maybe, but isn't he always sidelined?

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

CTHD....hmmm...genre or not?

There are flying people, yes.

But it's Wuxia, no? Is that "fantasy" by asian film standards?

 
At 11:03 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

If that kid turns out to be Superman's bastard son...I'll expect you all to jump headfirst into the Phantom Zone.

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

Um...yes (about CTHD).

Wrong about Brad Bird. The Iron Giant and The Incredibles are amazing films regardless of whether they were animated, rotoscoped, stop-motioned, or rendered in mspaint. What exactly are these other rules?

I haven't read an X-book in over 15 years (likewise, except for Whedons)...I gave up on comics in the early 90's because I have common sense. So it's not some fanboyish strict adherence to the source...I just think the adaptation in both cases took the wrong roads. Don't get me started on the whole mutants as gay thing...could have been fine if left subtextually...pole-vaulted into the land of silliness with the whole Bobby drake coming out scene. Come on.

There's no context for Wolvie loving her in the movies at all. I mean, she's superhot and that seems to be the only reason. In the comics she recognizes the dark part of herself (the Phoenix) that is a kindred spirit to Wolverine.

Him hugging it out with Cyke is pure emotional manipulation. Hate to fall back on the old adage of "show, don't tell"...but we haven't been shown any reason why this tough loner type who been at odds with the team leader (in name only...we're told he's the leader but we never see it) would embrace the guy who's been cockblocking him.

Now the films do have some amazing true moments, I'm no hater...I just don't think Singer is the champ everyone in the filmgeek community thinks. To suggest he's anywhere near the upper echelon of directors...is, in my humble, crazytalk, sir.

 
At 11:22 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

QT is a genre director...superhero adaptation genre? maybenotsomuch.

The balnket term genre covers more than sci-fi/fantasy...but I'm ok with your abbreviated defintion...There's plenty of dudes in that schema better than Singer.

Who directed KRULL?

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger codemorse said...

Animated films operate on a level that's entirely separate from live-action motion pictures.

There's a level of control available that's simply not there for live-action. Nor can live-action concieve of the sort of set-pieces animation can without crippling budgets (see Spidey 3).

In animation, the actors never tell you to kiss their black ass.

As far as Iceman's coming out scene goes, I fail to see what makes it different from the multiple times we've seen that played out in the comics. It's no more a "gay" coming out scene than it is a "Mom and dad, I'm converting to Islam/marrying outside our religion/having an abortion/going to be an actor" scene.

Emotional manipulation? I guess you can look at it that way...but then, so is filmmaking. It's actors, acting happy/sad/badass to provoke a specific emotional reaction.

Mentioning Krull in this thread brings the crazytalk to new levels, sir. :)

 
At 2:05 PM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

None of what you said about animated films explains why they should be categorized apart from live-action films. How ever they're constructed the intent to stir is the same.
It's like comparing oil-painting to photgrapghy...you're emotions don't (or shouldn't) distinguish between the mediums.

Brad Bird is an acceptable addition to our little list of BetterthanSingers.

The Iceman is fine when it stays in the subtextual of him telling his folks he's a mutie...it goes into the winking-at-the-audience-and-thereby-annoying-only-me realm when the mom goes "Have you ever tried not being a mutant?". You have to admit that's pretty smug...not to mention obvious.

It's emotionally manipulating because at no other point are we a) given a real tangible reason why Wolverine loves Jean Grey (unless you count fleeting glances...which I do not), and b) why he'd suddenly make a character aboutface wrt Cyclops. Now if it was Rogue that got a facefull of lake...we'd have some kind of emotional symmetry. It was cheap and tacked on...and really kind of unnecessary.

And of course it's all emotional manipulation...the trick is hiding the seams and Singer hasn't mastered that yet. But like I said, I WANT to be wrong on SUPERMAN RETURNS.

 
At 8:45 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

None of what you said about animated films explains why they should be categorized apart from live-action films. How ever they're constructed the intent to stir is the same.
It's like comparing oil-painting to photgrapghy...you're emotions don't (or shouldn't) distinguish between the mediums.


Maybe. But the technical and creative challenges are vastly different. Same with oil-painting and photography. Would you group Monet and Ansel Adams together? I guess you could, but why?

The Iceman is fine when it stays in the subtextual of him telling his folks he's a mutie...it goes into the winking-at-the-audience-and-thereby-annoying-only-me realm when the mom goes "Have you ever tried not being a mutant?". You have to admit that's pretty smug...not to mention obvious.

Smug? No, I don't have to admit that at all. What about it is "smug?" While I'm perfectly willing to concede that the scene works as overt allegory, I don't agree that it's limited to "gayness."

It's emotionally manipulating because at no other point are we a) given a real tangible reason why Wolverine loves Jean Grey (unless you count fleeting glances...which I do not), and b) why he'd suddenly make a character aboutface wrt Cyclops. Now if it was Rogue that got a facefull of lake...we'd have some kind of emotional symmetry. It was cheap and tacked on...and really kind of unnecessary.

And of course it's all emotional manipulation...the trick is hiding the seams and Singer hasn't mastered that yet. But like I said, I WANT to be wrong on SUPERMAN RETURNS.


I want you to be wrong too. :)

And we'll have to agree to disagree about Weeping Logan. I thought both X films nicely established an ongoing attraction/real desire between Logan and Jean, given the constraints of 4+ hours for so many characters. And I thought the choice of Wolvy and Cyke huggin' in out (bitch) was emotionally on because, despite the fact that both men are polar opposites, they shared feelings for Jean. Tragedy, from personal experience, makes strange bedfellows.

But let's see what Singer does.

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Ben Miro said...

But the technical and creative challenges are vastly different. Would you group Monet and Ansel Adams together? I guess you could, but why?

As artists that people misuse as wallpaper in their homes, maybe. Seriously, though...they're similar in that they both desire to provoke an emotional response through their own expression. The tools don't define that expression. And so what if the technical and creative challenges are different...how does that affect the merit of the work?

I don't get the need to segregate animation from live-action...as if their intents are magically different (or delicious). Going back to the oils/photos analogy...Look at the work of Egon Shiele and Joel-Peter Witkin (not at work, mind you) and tell me how they are thematically different. Given their different tools, their object, their capture of line and shadow, the violent recomposition of form is comparable.

When you sit down and think of your favorite movies...do animated features get their own list? Do you consider heavily CG movies animated?

It's an interesting tangent, though.

 
At 9:22 AM, Blogger Charlie Brigden said...

My five genre directors:

STEVEN SPIELBERG
PETER JACKSON
RIDLEY SCOTT
JAMES CAMERON
PAUL VERHOEVEN

I like Singer, but he's not anywhere near the class of those guys.

 
At 10:12 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

As artists that people misuse as wallpaper in their homes, maybe. Seriously, though...they're similar in that they both desire to provoke an emotional response through their own expression. The tools don't define that expression. And so what if the technical and creative challenges are different...how does that affect the merit of the work?

I don't get the need to segregate animation from live-action...as if their intents are magically different (or delicious). Going back to the oils/photos analogy...Look at the work of Egon Shiele and Joel-Peter Witkin (not at work, mind you) and tell me how they are thematically different. Given their different tools, their object, their capture of line and shadow, the violent recomposition of form is comparable.

When you sit down and think of your favorite movies...do animated features get their own list? Do you consider heavily CG movies animated?

It's an interesting tangent, though.


It is, isn't it? Let's dance the light tangential for a little while.

Your opening argument seems way overbroad to me. If the desire to express something through an artistic medium is all that's required to make comparisons, can we start comparing theater directors to film directors? Or comic book artists to renaissance (sp?) painters?

If we can, what do we end up defining? Don't subdivisions in art exist for a reason?

If the tools and challenges are substantially different in art, then I believe that the art should be judged differently. There are challenges faced by live-action directors that animated directors simply do not have to worry about. Is it raining for 4 straight days on location? How do you plan/shoot around that?

Those sorts of concerns alter the demands and the focus of directors in both mediums. They make the jobs creatively and technically distinct from one another.

I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know the artists you're referring to. I'll look them up. But my simple answer is yes, I have favorite live-action films, and favorite animated ones.

As for heavily-CGed films, I certainly think the line becomes more blurred. But those sorts of films further help to highlight the difference between directing live-action and directing animation. Look at Lucas' prequels, and it's pretty inarguable that he's an average live-action director at best - but a visionary and inventive technical/digital director.

The skills required to direct a live-action dramatic scene between Hayden and Natalie and fundamentally different from those required to direct a space dogfight.

 
At 10:14 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

STEVEN SPIELBERG
PETER JACKSON
RIDLEY SCOTT
JAMES CAMERON
PAUL VERHOEVEN

Well done.

Swimming in the waters of argument again, I'd wouldn't include Verhoeven in my top five, much as I love the nutty Dutchman. And I've considered Cameron in hibernation, but his films are ramping up.

Alright...Singer's in the top ten genre directors!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home