The Warner Archive Blu-ray release of the 1969 scifi film "The Illustrated Man" aptly is a time capsule of that film genre from that era. It has the distinctive wonderful earth tones and surreal quality that makes classics such as "The Omega Man" so timeless.
"Man" is the film version of the book of the same name by peerless scifi author Ray Bradbury. This film about body illustrations (do NOT call them tattoos) with minds of their own is based on the novel of the same name by peerless scifi author Ray Bradbury.
"Man" simultaneously sets the scene by having young Depression-era drifter Willie arrive at a pond to bathe and swim while voice-over narration makes a prophetic statement regarding the nature of knowledge. Titular inked-up middle-aged drifter Carl (Rod Steiger) soon shows up with a bloodlust for the femme fatale who put him in this condition.
The aforementioned tale is one of boy gets horny; boy goes on what he hopes is a booty call; boy meets girl; girl grotesquely inks up boy; girl puts out to persuade boy to let her finish the job; boy endures walk-of-shame marked torso to feet with tramp stamps.
The rest of the story follows the format of the anthology horror series "Night Gallery" in that Carl calling the attention of Willie to a particular living illustration on his body leads to a story that it represents. The theme of these tales either is the encounter of Carl with the woman who done him wrong or a futuristic story.
One of the best tales of the future is the Bradbury story "The Long Rain." This has Steiger playing the leader of a space expedition that gets stranded on a distant planet, Rather than fire, the quest is for the sun domes that promise shelter from the storm and longed-for pleasures.
We also get two "Jetsons" style tales of a nuclear family with a husband (Steiger), a wife, and two children. The first installment has the kids in trouble both for using the tech, in a playroom to transport themselves to the African jungle and then lie about it. The lesson for 21st century teen boys is to ALWAYS clear your browser history and delete any incriminating texts and e-mails right before logging off.
The second installment of the "Jetsons" is a bit darker. It is the end of the world as the clan knows it and Dad does not feel fine.
"Man" has an epic ending on a couple of levels. A gap is filled, and the aforementioned prophecy comes true in a wonderfully graphic manner. One moral of this is heeding the wisdom of pop star Rick Springfield and not talk to strangers.
The extra special bonus feature is the short documentary "Tattooed Steiger" that discusses the making of the film in general and the massive inking of the star in particular,
Including ALL FOUR episodes of the EPIC "Crisis on Earth-X" crossover of the CW Arrowverse series is the most notable of countless highlights regarding the Warner Brothers Home Entertainment (WBHE) September 18, 2018 separate DVD and Blu-ray releases of "Supergirl" S3. A former castaway on a tropic island nest tells us that the next crossover will center around Batwoman and Gotham City ahead of Greg Berlanti and his soccer stud spouse Robbie Rogers giving her a series.
Watching ALL 26 episodes this past weekend to prepare for this review proves that "Supergirl" is marathon (rather than binge) worthy. These well produced tales looking vibrant and crystal clear and sounding just as good in Blu-ray (and comparing them with DVD versions of S1 episodes) proves that shelling out the extra $5 to get it in that format is well worth it.
The bigger picture is that buying an S3 set provides a chance to get caught up before the October 14, 2018 S4 premiere of this series starring 2017 Teen Choice TV Actress: Action winner Melissa Benoist ("Glee").
The following statement by a WB suit nicely conveys the "Supergirl" spirit. WBHE Senior Vice-President of Television Marketing Rosemary Markson notes that "the series incorporates diversity, fairness and empowerment, and our fearless female Super Hero is a perfect role model in today's time. Primetime examples of some of these elements in S3 are a kick-ass engaged lesbian couple. an openly gay superhero (and his "reformed" supervillain boyfriend), a black James "Jimmy" Olsen, a black man/brother from another planet director of the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO), and two high-powered female executives who clearly show the boys that this is not their first rodeo and that they had better not fuck with them, etc.
Bringing "Carrie" star and '70s TV mom/CONCURRENT 2010s star of stage, screen, and television Betty Buckley on as a tough but loving mother (whose best scene ends up on the cutting room floor) further reflects the strong spirit of empowerment in "Supergirl."
Doing the S3 release justice (pun intended) is beyond the scope of a single online review. The combination of independent lore, connections with the DCU in general and Superman specifically, and the action-packed events is of a grand scale. This article will touch on each point and highly recommends folks whom this overviews entice to learn more by buying the Blu-rays.
S1E1 establishes the girl power aspect of "Supergirl" right from the start. 20-something Kara Danvers (nee Kara Zor-El) explains that her parents spend the final moments before their home world of Krypton goes boom blasting tween Kara off in an earth-bound pod. Her mission is to protect and guide her baby cousin Clark Kent (nee Kal-El) on this planet far from Krypton. Things quickly going awry for Kara literally changes everything and helps set the stage for the primary S1 action.
The beginning of S3 finds Kara nursing a broken heart of her own making. Adopted sister/DEO colleague Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh of "Grey's Anatomy") is doing a little better in the romance department in that she is planning her wedding with fiancee Maggie. The boys also are doing well, Former Catco tech. guy/current Kara close friend/boy with a dark past Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan of "Smash") is a full-fledged DEO agent/lab nerd. Former sidekick/current corporate ladder climber Olsen (Mehcad Brooks of "Desperate Housewives") is a full-fledged superhero in his own right and only starts sleeping with boss Lena Luthor after scoring a corner office.
The S3 season premiere awesomely hearkens back to the pilot. The current threat to National City where Team Kara resides requires that the girl with something extra wrangle a submarine ala her bringing a plummeting jet under control in her first outing as Supergirl. (A later episode reveals potential global annihilation stemming from that first heroic act.) This S3 salvo also prompts a literal awakening that is a blessing and a curse for our heroine.
The "Midvale" episode is a fanboy dream that provides a break from the season-long worldkillers story arc that is central to the aforementioned pending apocalypse at the hands of Pestilence, Purity, and Reign. The title of this offering refers to a heartbreak prompting the Danvers sisters to visit mom Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater of the '84 "Supergirl" film). A alcohol-influenced spar prompts Alex and Kara to go to bed angry, which sets the stage for a tale set in the high school days of those then rival siblings. One spoiler is that this flashback is directly relevant in a future episode,
The fanboy element enters the picture in the form of the CW Superman coming-of-age series "Smallville." The most direct homage is having "Smallville" Lois Lane actress Erica Durance (who also takes over the role of birth mother Alura Zo-El on "Supergirl") makes a cameo appearance. Further, the same building from exterior shots of Smallville High provides the facade for the high school of our girls. Additional goodness comes in the form of Cousin Clark friend Chloe of "The Wall of Weird" fame helping the sisters The true valentine is in the form of following the "no flights, no tights" policy of the earlier series.
Kara also is the at the true heart of the aforementioned epic crossover. The stated premise of this television event is that the wedding of Barry "The Flash" Allen and Iris West is bringing Kara and her "plus one," Team Queen from "The Arrow," and some of "The Legends of Tomorrow" to Central City for a joyous event turned Moldavian Massacre. Team Berlanti staging numerous battles in which many of the best DCU residents face off against super-powered alien Nazi doppelgangers gives the fanboys what they want, The interaction among this seeming cast of 1,000s is equally special. A request to the good folks at WBHE is to please offer the aforementioned "Batwoman" crossover as a seamless movie format in the next round of Arrowverse releases.
All of the above provides a sense of the futility of giving "Supergirl" its due. An effort to keep this post to manageable length requires skipping ahead to discussing the S3 season finale. This one successfully juggles a multi-front battle against the worldkillers and wrapping up the season-long story involving The Legion of Super Heroes who travel from the past and the future to help team Kara. It also sets up the premise for the planned "Legion" CW series, makes changes that set the stage for "Supergirl" S4, and provides a cliffhanger that may require outfitting Benoist with a goatee. This is not to mention an awesome nod to the Christopher Reeve '78 "Superman" film.
The special features extend WELL beyond copious deleted scenes that will make fanboys weep regarding their exclusions. We also get a gag reel and a features on the crossover and on the wonderfully conflicted worldkiller Reign.
The bonus highlight is a full hour of clips from 2017 Comic-Con panels for the Arrowverse series. The elan and love of cast and crew alike both validates that all love his or her role and shows how they can make plots such as the aforementioned Super Nazis and a rampaging super landshark seem plausible. PLEASE keep it up Gregbie and company; we need this "unreal" entertainment in these highly toxic times.
The numerous awesome aspects of the Warner Archive Blu-ray release of the 1979 scifiromdramedy "Time After Time" hinders deciding where to begin, The audio commentary provides a good starting point both because it reflects the exceptional track record of Archive regarding getting principals of a film into the sound booth decades after a theatrical release and because these extras are an important part of film history. Star Malcolm McDowell and writer/director Nicholas Meyer team up this time to provide the "true Hollywood story" of this classic.
The musings in the commentaries are comparable to Hollywood royalty attending the annual TCM Film Festival; both provide a chance to get insights from the lions' mouths before they pass away. Thinking of Adam Sandler and Robert Downey, Jr. being the TCM headliners is enough to strike dread in the hearts of cinephiles, The practiced preaching this time is having attended the 2017 festival.
Another very special aspect of "Time" is that this tale of scifi writer/social activist H.G. Wells (MCDowell) using his 19th-century time-machine to pursue Jack the Ripper (David Warner) from Victorian England to 1979 San Francisco is part of a scifi renaissance of the era. "Time" can arguably thank the "Star Trek" OS films (Meyer is a writer/director or "II") , "Star Wars," and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" for being greenlit.
The cred. of "Time" includes winning three Saturn awards and the USA National Board of Review naming it one of the Top 10 Films of 1979.
It is worth noting as well that the amped up audio and video of Blu-ray particularly enhances the bright on-location San Francisco scenes, the 70slicious special effects when the time machine is being used, and the mood-setting soundtrack. One of the most cool moments is watching the machine travel through a subspace-style dimension accompanied by audio from the eras that is is passing.
Our story begins in Victorian England with Jack the Ripper cutting the night of a lady of the evening short. Meanwhile, Wells is entertaining gentlemen callers when Dr. John Leslie Stevenson literally arrives late to the party. The next few minutes allowing anyone with enough grey matter to solve a "Scooby-Doo" mystery both to figure out that Stevenson is the Ripper and how things are destined to play out does not (ala "Columbo") diminish the joy related to seeing how we get there,
Stevenson soon puts the bragging of Wells regarding his new solar-powered ride to good use by jacking the time machine to escape to 1979 San Francisco, which also is the 1986 destination of the Enterprise crew. This is not to mention that The City by the Bay is the ultimate destination of a "Trek" crew and a "Stargate" team that are lost in space trying to return home.
Social commentary enters the picture in the form of Wells considering his atonement for aiding and abetting Stevenson having the upside of seeing his envisioned Utopia of a world in which love is free, war is no more, and everyone is thriving and happy. Even 1979 audiences know that Wells is in for a rude awakening. One cannot imagine him being able to handle our 2018 existence.
An amusing aspect of the restrained wonder of Wells on encountering the tech. of the late '70s is that it looks primitive 39 years later. There are clunky landlines, huge counter-top microwaves, CRT televisions, and very outdated cars in which cassette players likely are considered luxury items.
McDowell particularly shines as Wells simultaneously tries to curb his enthusiasm regarding the plethora of modern marvels, focuses on not letting his mannerisms betray him, and does his best to properly respond to social cues.
The flip side is that Stevenson considers the '70s his Utopia. Making his point only requires flipping the channels when Wells initially tracks him down. Every network is showing war, contact sports, Yosemite Sam taking a dynamite blast to the face, etc. Similarly, Stevenson showing Wells his true colors makes it clear that the latter is bring an etiquette book to a knife fight.
Wells gets a less rude awakening on meeting liberated middle-management bank employee Amy Catherine Robbins. An interesting aspect of this is that Robbins portrayor Mary Steenburgen marries McDowell in 1980.
A slip of the tongue putting Amy at real risk of a slit of the throat makes things that much more personal for Wells. This leads to the inevitable showdown that concludes with the fate of Stevenson that is clear within 15 minutes of the beginning of "Time."
The marketing genius of this is that "Time" has something for everyone without emphasizing one element so much that it offends anyone.
The Indiepix Films July 10, 2018 DVD release of the 2013 scifi existentialist drama "Blue Desert" shows that the spirit of the LSD-influenced cinema of the late '60s and early '70s is not entirely dead. The surreal images and heavily philosophical dialogue make it no surprise that the Yoko One art book Grapefruit inspires Brazilian filmmaker Eder Santos. The rest of the story that the press materials share that "Grapefruit" inspires the John Lennon song "Imagine."
The stunning futuristic images looks so good when put in a 4K player and watched on a 4K set that one can only image the incredibly beauty of a Blu-ray version of this winner of a Golden Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival.
The following YouTube video of the Indiepix trailer for "Desert" provides a strong sense of every aforementioend attribute of the film.
"Desert" completely revolves around 20-something everyman/narrator Ele. The first sense that we are not in Kansas anymore comes on this Millennial discussing earth now having two moons. We quickly learn that the second moon is a gift that Ele compares to the Statue of Liberty.
Much of the rest of the film evokes strong thoughts of the Steven Spielberg film "Ready Player One" in that the populace often wears VR glasses while going about their business in this (mostly blue) heavily neon world. Much of the fun of the film relates to trying to figure out whether something is real or merely virtual. Ele meeting the girl of his dreams relates to the best of both worlds.
The title of the film refers to the activity of a spirit guide of Ele; An insightful observation regarding the nature of reality that this man shares with Ele is one of the most trippy scenes in the film.
The overall theme is Ele frantically seeking enlightenment; this quest involves a great deal of introspection and affirmative efforts to transcend.
The almost equally surreal Terry Gilliam film "Brazil" makes setting desert in that country very apt. It is a very techno-future world in which it seems that not every form of public transportation actually moves you from Point A to Point B.
The takeaways from "Desert" are that the future is not necessarily completely bleak and that the path to enlightenment is paved with good intentions.
The Lionsgate July 31, 2018 separate DVD and enhanced Blu-ray releases of the first season of the Starz original series "Counterpart" provides a good chance to see the best current show that you have never seen. An initial endorsement is planning to subscribe to Starz when S2 episodes premiere in early 2019; an initial note is that the Dolby HD Blu-ray looks spectacular using a 4K player to watch it on a Sony 4K set.
The exceptional special features include a video for each of the 10 S1 episodes in which creator/writer/producer Justin Marks ("The Jungle Book") shares his insider perspective on that offering. His enthusiasm and insight prove his great love and regard for his creation.
The following YouTube clip of the official "Counterpart" S1 trailer introduces the lore of the show and awesomely proves that sadistic Schillinger of the 1997 - 2003 HBO prison drama "Oz" still lives in J.K. Simmons. A different fanbase knows Simmons from numerous roles that include his Oscar-winning performance in "Whiplash."
"Counterpart pulls off the neat trick of combining quality Cold War drama, the 1963-66 sitcom "The Patty Duke Show" in which the eponymous young star plays an everyteen all-American girl and more worldly English cousin, and the 2008-13 Fox scifi drama "Fringe" that shifts the action between our reality and a more totalitarian version of our world.
The "Counterpart" and "Fringe" parallel (pun intended) is especially close. Having equivalents of Walternate and Fauxlivia from the Fox series is the tip of the iceberg.
In both cases, the link to the Bizarro world is the result of a science experiment gone awry. The alternate dimension this time is the product of Cold War research in Berlin that creates a separate but equal reality. Restricted access between what can be considered East and West Berlin is via a heavily guarded subterranean tunnel.
The other primary element of the lore is that the general populace on both sides of the tunnel is completely oblivious to even the existence of the tunnel. The extensive symbolism begins with the lore that only person at a time can walk through the tunnel.
The larger (and more fascinating) theme is that the responses of our counterparts to the same incidents that we experience here shapes the personalities of both persons. An example is the differences between a woman who embraces a highly violent lifestyle and her other who better blends into society.
The rare occasions on which one encounters his or her mirror image are series highlights. They often make both persons wonder what might have been and prompt introspection by viewers.
Our story begins with the balance between action and introductory exposition that marks good series. The idea is that modern ADD audiences want to know what is going on but have little patience for being introduced to the setting.
The aforementioned opening scenes show the police in our reality in hot pursuit of Baldwin, an assassin from the other side. The manner in which this hired gun escapes sets a good (and sustained) precedence for the series.
We then move on to a day in the life of mild-mannered middle-aged UN spy agency desk jockey Howard Silk (Simmons). Boss (and personal fave) Peter Quayle (Harry LLoyd) has just passed him over for a promotion. On finishing his really boring job as an office clerk, Silk follows his evening routine of bringing his comatose wife Emily and the nurses at her hospital flowers and then reading to his spouse.
The proverbial game-changer comes on Silk arriving at work one morning to have Quayle let him in on the secret and introduce him to the titular Silk Prime (Simmons). Of course, the mousy wimp Silk disgusts the tough and stoic Prime. The only disappointment is that "evil" Silk does not have a goatee.
The rest of the story is that Prime is here because the Emily on this side is a target of Baldwin. The bigger picture is that a covert group on the other side is planning a coup.
The related efforts to save Emily and to capture Baldwin are the beginning of collaboration and a beautiful unlikely friendship between Silk and Prime. Seeing this pair interact and Prime slowly but surely mellow while Silk learns to man up provides great entertainment. A poker game between these studs arguably is the best scene in the entire season.
For his part, Quayle is the son-in-law of the big boss but is not a model husband. The rude awakening of this spy-master-in-training wonderfully reflects the themes of "Counterpart." Suffice it to say that Lloyd plays his role particularly well.
Additional entertainment comes as we learn more about the specific basis for the other side resenting us; this relates to a wonderfully complex conspiracy in which virtually everyone becomes a suspect. The manner in which people with whom a character has a close bond often does not hesitate to throw that person under a bus is awesome vicarious fun.
The Cold War elements also include prisoner exchange negotiations, such swaps going horribly wrong, the luxury on our side seducing tunnel commuters, the other side brainwashing children and preparing them to serve the cause, moles, etc.
All of this culminates in a season finale that wraps up the S1 drama and sets the stage for S2. The tightening of the noose prompts drastic action by infiltrators, friends getting trapped in hostile territory, and diplomacy failing. In other words, just like the real Cold War era Berlin.
Lionsgate also gives us the bonus feature "Season Outlook" in which cast and crew discuss the series and favorite moments.
[July 4, 2018 Update: Revisiting this post showed that the planned trilogy of posts ended with the one below.]
Not getting my pre-ordered copy of "Back to the Future: The Complete Adventures" 30th Anniversary Flux Capacitor Blu-Ray (BD) set on the October 20, 2015 release date after a painful two-month wait was agony. Ripping the box open Wolverine style a week ago made the wait worthwhile and eliminated any doubt regarding whether the roughly $88 price is valid.
As an aside, folks with concern regarding unwarranted reports that physical elements of the "Capacitor" set will not pass the test of time (no pun intended) should remember that this (and any other deluxe) DVD or BD set is not intended for children. Adults who use reasonable care will not scratch the discs taking them out of their sleeves or rip pages out of the well-bound 64-page collectible book. You merely need to restrict any Wolverine tactics to opening the box in which the set is delivered.
In the spirit of "Future," this review is separated into three parts that will be spread out over several months. This series starts with discussing the importance of "Future" and the features of the Capacitor set. Part Two focuses on the animated series, and Part Three addresses the BD versions of the film trilogy.
At the heart of the matter. "Future" is the "Wizard of Oz" (complete with a quest by the young hero to return home from a strange land) to the children and the children at heart of the '80s It is the one on which this generation grew up and thoroughly enjoys each time that it is watched. As a recent review on the "Future" documentary "Back in Time" shares, your reviewer first saw "Future" at a second-run theater primarily out of boredom and friendship but immediately was hooked. The other notable "Future" story involves driving through a blizzard to see "Back to the Future III" on its opening night.
The personal legacy of home-video ownership begins with the DVD set of the "Future" trilogy being one of the first additions to a now-library of almost literally countless film and television sets. The "Future" purchase being from a Circuit City provides a sense of the "ancient" nature of that acquisition.
The Capacitor packing itself nicely distinguishes this set from other 30th Anniversary versions. The aforementioned device allows the altered DeLorean that the franchise features to time travel. The image of said capacitor adorns the front of sturdy packaging and wonderfully lights up at the push of a button. One technological enhancement regarding this bonus is that, unlike "talking" DVD sets of roughly a decade ago, the batteries that allow the lights to go on are replaceable.
The all-new bonus disc in the set alone almost warrants the cost. It is the ONLY such disc regarding which yours truly has watched (and LOVED) every feature.
The bonus disc begins with a short inspirational message from trilogy star Christopher Lloyd in his Doc Brown character. Brown also host the roughly 10-minute 2015 bonus film "Doc Brown Saves the World," which explains why our version of 2015 lacks self-lacing sneakers and other 2015 tech. from "Future II."
The "Looking Back to the Future" documentary on the bonus disc greatly improves on "Back," which earns a grade of 88. Lloyd, Michael J. Fox and most of the other heavy hitters who participate in "Back" also provide interviews for "Looking." The pace is simply a bit faster and includes far more cool footage of the filming of the movie. Scenes of Fox rocking out and enthusiastically joking around while filming are particularly special.
The separate bonus disc documentary on restoring the aforementioned luxury automobile compensates for the scope of"Back," but not "Looking," including that topic.
The bonus disc moves on to offer the pilot episode of the aforementioned animated series and the premiere episode of the second season of that show. The four-disc set of the complete animated series also includes these episodes.
This gem of a special features disc wraps up with an all-new fall-on-the-floor faux trailer for the "Jaws 19" film that plays a role in "Future" 2 and a separate highly amusing commercial for the skateboard-like hoverboard that is an integral part of "Future" lore.The "Jaws" trailer wonderfully mocks every film franchise cliche, include the element of "this time its personal."
The aptly titled aforementioned 64-page booklet "Back to the Future: A Visual History" includes a great introduction by "Future" writer Bob Gale. Gales pounds the nail on the head in writing that "that love (for "Future") is the reason that you have this booklet in your hands." The plethora of essays, alternative posters, photos, and diagrams that make up the remainder of the booklet simply are too numerous to adequately discuss in this post. Suffice it to say, veteran and new fans will not be disappointed.
Anyone with any questions or comments regarding the "Future" franchise or the 30th Anniversary sets is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.
The Warner Archive October 3, 2017 Blu-ray release of the 1978 epic "Superman the Movie: Extended Cut" follows the Archive tradition of treating fanboys right. This release comes on the heels of the Archive "one-to-watch" and a second to "one-to-keep-in-mint-condition" worthy (Unreal TV reviewed) Blu-ray release of "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm."
The good folks at Archive also include the "Superman" special edition that the back cover describes as the "definitive vision" of the film of director Richard Donner. The following review is of the extended cut.
It should be undisputed that "Superman" (and its sequels) is the Genesis of the big-budget superhero franchises that are going strong nearly 40 years later. The extended cut is an augmented-for-TV version that adds 40 minutes to this film that includes an origin story, a coming-of-age-tale, AND a heroic effort to save the world.
"Superman" opens with an almost certainly added cold opening about central newspaper The Daily Planet and then goes into the classic opening credits with the equally timeless John Williams score; it is interesting to note that both Donner and Williams learn their craft working on "unreal" classic '60s television series.
The credits lead into the scene on Superman/Kal-El/Clark Kent home world/future space debris Krypton in which General Zod and two other lawbreakers get trapped in a mirror and hurled into space; one can only hope that Archive gives the further adventures of this trio the same treatment that "Superman" receives in this release.
The clarity and depth of the opening credits and the theater-quality sound of the Williams score provide the first sense that this Blu-ray looks spectacular on a 4K Ultra HD set; the literally glowing white uniforms of Kal-El dad/Kryptonian leader Jor-el (Marlon Brando) almost being blinding confirms that Archive knows its stuff.
Taking out the trash allows the leaders of Krypton to focus on the rejected assertion of malcontent Jor-El that Krypton literally is coming apart at the seams. This leads to that scampy scientist keeping his word that HE will not leave Krypton but putting infant Kal-El in a small space ship for a three-year journey to the primitive planet Earth. Like any good dad, Jor-El provides his son plenty of educational material for this extended journey.
This brother from another planet is very fortunate to crash land in a Kansas corn field just as childless couple Martha and Jonathan Kent (Glenn Ford) drive by. Soon learning that this lad is the boy with something extra does not deter this American Gothic couple from bringing him home and raising him.
This leads to the teen years of Clark, who becomes a rebel with fulfilling his destiny as a cause. A scene in which he outruns a train is doubly awesome because it illustrates his power of being "faster than a speeding locomotive" and because Donner shooting one segment in which the train is headed for the camera is an homage to the birth of cinema in which a similar angle causes early audiences to scramble out of fear of the train crashing through the screen into the theater.
The real fun begins when our hero (Christopher Reeve) begins working at the Planet with hardened career gal Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). An early scene in which Kent must play the coward and cover up grabbing a bullet during a mugging highlights the comic abilities of Reeve.
Reeve further shows great humor in an early montage in which Superman handily apprehends petty criminals; it additionally is nice that Donner allows the action to speak for itself, rather than bury it under a '70s rock anthem. This is akin to purists who do not add laugh tracks to sitcoms.
This portion of the film also establishes villain Lex Luthor (an awesomely cartoonish Academy Award winner Gene Hackman) as a gleefully sadistic foe. The threat that Superman poses regarding a scheme of Luthor to literally alter the American landscape prompts the latter to lure the former into his lair.
This encounter triggers the events that lead to the legendary climatic scenes that even casual fanboys know by heart. A praiseworthy aspect of all this is that it is more clever and thrilling than the standard battle royale between hero and henchmen of a villain leading to the final showdown between the two protagonists.
The cleverness in "Superman" extends even further to includes foreshadowing that goes beyond Jor-El repeatedly warning Kel-Al to not interfere with human history. Suffice it to say that Superman prevents Luthor from anteing in.
Every aspect of "Superman" discussed above reflects the underlying awesome feature of it; the film stays true to the spirit of the Superman comics and serials that inspire it. Reeve and the behind-the-scenes folks show that telling a good superhero yarn does not require that the sex and the violence exceed family-friendly levels.
The bigger picture (pun intended) is that the three-hour extended cut flies by and leaves you wanting more.
The super-sized collection of bonus features include audio commentary by Donner, several documentaries of the film history of Superman, screen tests, and deleted scenes.
Unreal TV 2.0 evolves from http://classictvdvdreviews.blogspot.com/ (which still is up.) Both sites are labors of love dedicated to preserving the golden and silver ages of television and film and celebrating new content that values art over commerce. The same principle applies regarding boutique hotels.