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.
Darin Miller | All Articles
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Darin Miller is a movie critic in Washington, D.C.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The silent film “Wings” won the very first best picture Academy Award in 1929. Since then, no silent film has won a best picture Oscar. This year that might change.
Stieg Larsson, the author of the Millennium series, died before his stories were published. Considering he personally had no say over the cinematic adaptations of his work, the just-released David Fincher version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and the 2009 Swedish version both stick remarkably close to their gritty source material.
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.