Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It All Trends: Hugh Jackman

Welcome to the first of many potential articles about interesting and unusual trends in film: It All Trends!

This idea has been growing on me for some time, and I've wondered if anyone else has noticed it. Have you? Hugh Jackman seems to continually take/steal children in films he leads. I'll take you through those I've found, and please tell me if I've missed any.

CAUTION: spoilers ahead!

The Prestige (2006)

Here, Jackman plays Robert Angier, a magician struggling to keep audiences amazed in rivalry with another magician; yet, obsessed with discovering the secret to his best trick. He ends up framing the other for murder, and stealing his child.

This is the most outright of those I found. What's the deal with Jackman playing the good guy lately? He does a good cruel.

Real Steel (2011)

Here, Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, a forgotten boxer and robot boxer alike who finds that his ex has died and his child, Max, might end up in his care. He agrees to allow Max into his ex-sister's care for a price to buy a robot, but must have him for the summer. When that time is up, he refuses the offer he'd made, thus going against the ruling, and taking Max.

In opposition to the first example, viewers will side with Kenton/Jackman on this one. But does this make it right to steal, even if the stolen (Max) approves?

Rise of the Guardians (2012)

Here, Jackman plays Bunnymund, the Easter Bunny (who is real, of course). At one point in the film, a young girl manages to follow him into a portal of sorts to the Warren, his home, becoming trapped there until Bunnymund befriends and returns her.

This one's a stretch. It's not completely his fault she came, and he did return her. But I think it's still worth noting.

Les Misérables (2012)

Here, Jackman plays Jean Valjean, a convict who....well, you know it by now. Moving from bad guy to good, in his view, relies upon taking and raising the child of a deceased ex-employee. This child is in the "care" of innkeepers. He pays them and walks off with her.

This plot detail as portrayed in the movie is good, but depending on the viewpoint and editing, could be a very sinister and despicable act.

That's all I have for now! Have you found any of this in Jackman's other films?

Look for more "Trending" articles later.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Man of Steel (film)

Man of Steel, Zack Snyder, Warner Bros.

Synopsis: A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.

Thoughts: To start, watch out for the first period of the film, set on Krypton. It's full of sci-fi and comic eye-candy.

It was great that Christopher Nolan chose a darker hero for his superhero debut. Given that he'd been directing such-themed movies (Memento, The Following, Inception), wouldn't it follow that the Man of Steel himself would take on a darker tone? While in a few ways it did, Zack Snyder's fantastic vision (as per usual) and Zimmer's cold, bright score helped breathe a different life into DC Comics' newest film feature.

While I'm familiar with only some films (and none of the comics) with Superman, I will say I enjoyed this one most. It is a wonderful, emotionally-involved origin story that leads you through the development of this Man of Steel quite well. Henry Cavill plays an extraordinary man learning what it means to be a hero. I appreciated seeing his normal human attitude shine through. After all, he grew up knowing no other way to act.

Amy Adams as Lois Lane didn't fit as I hoped, though she did fair. The Daily Planet group did well, but were slightly off-putting. I'm hoping they do more in future films, if they appear. Michael Shannon's was my favorite performance: a near-emotionless (yet obsessed) general with a greater good in mind, and nothing will stay in his way. The climax of the story was just as it should have been.

Here are a few ways Nolan's darker presence have seeped in. Krypton is seen as a plague, destroying to survive, but I won't go further into that. The threats in Man of Steel are very real, and have dire effects. This isn't Avengers. People die, destruction reigns. That said, the violence isn't blatant, but does happen. On that note, there is some language and frightening/intense scenes, but nothing more to worry about. I highly appreciate the lack of inappropriate material in this film.

In conclusion, Man of Steel has not let much in the past explicitly define it. A unique costume, altered chronology, real terror and threats, character accuracy and development, and more are all defined by this film more than the previous ones (or other superhero films). I recommend it to all fans and newcomers.

Rating: 8 stars