Darin Miller | All Articles

Darin Miller
Darin Miller
Movie Critic

‘Man of Steel’: The epic return of an American icon

Man of Steel (Photo: Warner Bros.)

Fittingly, the latest adaptation of America’s iconic superhero descends upon the nation on Flag Day. But Superman’s story opens far from our spacious skies and purple mountains. Man of Steel is an origin film, and as such it begins on Krypton, a red-hued planet home to the humanoid Kryptonians. The advanced race blends the style and social hierarchy of medieval Europe with highly advanced technology. Kryptonian leaders maintain power through population control, growing the next generation in a lab and engineering some to be statesmen, some to be warriors, others to be laborers. Despite this, Krypton is doomed. Severe resource mismanagement has left its core unstable and ready to erupt.

Luhrmann’s excessive visuals work in adaptation of ‘Gatsby’

11:27 AM 05/10/2013

Great adaptations are as rare as the great books upon which they are based. Baz Luhrmann and Leonardo DiCaprio managed to deliver a strong, unique twist on Shakespeare’s defining romantic tragedy in 1996. Interestingly, their first collaboration since is based on a book consumed with recapturing the magic of the past.

‘Oblivion’ soars as tribute to classic sci-fi

8:01 AM 04/19/2013

Recent science fiction films “Looper” and “Inception” prove that 111 years after Georges Méliès introduced the world to sci-fi movies, there are stories left untold. “Oblivion” is one. But instead of a new concept, it’s a concoction of classics, remixed for a new generation.

Bigelow’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ is well-made, realistic

12:33 PM 01/11/2013

Everyone has their own 9/11 story. It starts with a memory: where you were when you heard that terrorists had flown airplanes into the Twin Towers. Nearly a decade after the fact, U.S. Navy SEALs gave us a conclusion to our stories: the death of Osama bin Laden. But the years in between, and our own judgments on the Bush and Obama presidencies, color our perspectives and ensure that no story is the same as another. So it’s nearly impossible to create a movie about the period that stays true to what happened without offending a decent number of Americans.

Why you should see ‘Skyfall’

7:29 PM 11/08/2012

Ian Fleming didn’t just create a character in James Bond, he created an icon. After 50 years, the icon has become something more: Each installment is a time capsule reflecting the worldview and cultural shifts of its time.

‘The Campaign’ is ridiculous but funny

2:34 PM 08/10/2012

Politics is often a comedy of errors. When elected officials aren’t ridiculing each other’s policy proposals, they’re making declarations that can easily be pulled from context, spun and ripped to shreds by pundits and journalists on the right, left and center. Some go even further, making such egregious errors that they are booted out of office by a rightly disgusted and enraged constituency. Examples abound, and far too often sexual indiscretions are a key factor.

‘Man on a Ledge’: Decent cast keeps average thriller from falling flat

1:00 PM 01/27/2012

In 2002, director Joel Schumacher and actor Colin Farrell proved that 81 minutes of a guy in a phone booth could be interesting. With 102 minutes, director Asger Leth and writer Pablo Fenjves struggled to do the same with a guy on a ledge. Though the title conjures up memories of “Snakes on a Plane,” an awesomely terrible film starring an F-bomb-spewing Samuel L. Jackson, “Man on a Ledge” contains little of the fun that “Snakes” boasted and doesn’t match the suspense of “Phone Booth.” But it’s still entertaining.

‘J. Edgar’ fails to tell his story

3:33 PM 11/11/2011

By all accounts, J. Edgar Hoover was a workaholic. Where biographies and Clint Eastwood’s just-released biopic on Hoover differ is how they deal with this. Biographers tend to focus on what is known --- Hoover's life’s work --- allowing a few pages for hearsay and gossip about his sexuality. Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black’s “J. Edgar” focuses on the little known and assumed about Hoover’s sexuality, using it as the key to understanding Hoover’s actions.