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The Superman reboot, Man of Steel, is really a 148 minute prologue, a lengthy introduction to what I’m sure Warner Brothers hopes will be a hugely profitable franchise in the way the Dark Knight was. British actor Henry Cavill makes a good-looking Superman. Whether he can act is difficult to tell as the screenplay asks of only one expression throughout; one of mournful concern. Director Zac Snyder can make things look great and he excels when directing the action, but like his previous outings – 300, Watchmen and particularly Sucker Punch – he appears to have lost the ability to tell a story in the process. In the end it feels as though he’s just piling it on, determined to give an audience its money’s worth with eye-popping images but neglecting to tell a worthwhile tale in the process. The gloomy, introspective, heavy approach may have worked for the Dark Knight, but let’s face it, even though the designers have muted the bright, comic book colors of Superman’s costume, it’s still a film about a guy flying around in a red cape wearing blue tights and little red boots; you’d think there’d be a moment of levity in there somewhere. Available in DVD, Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray 3D.
Thirteen Days is a thoroughly engrossing drama that hit the screens in 2000. In keeping with all the salutes and memories of JFK, releasing the DVD on a new Blu-Ray disc is a sensible move; it serves as a reminder of just how good the film was. The story covers the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 as seen from the White House. Bruce Greenwood plays JFK, but the central character is surprisingly not the President, it’s his special assistant, Kenneth O’Donnell, here played by Kevin Costner. When the film was originally released, critical reception was mostly positive but audiences didn’t take to it with quite the same enthusiasm. If you missed it, now’s your chance, and even though the same ground was covered in the 1974 film The Missiles of October, Thirteen Days is a better film. You’ll come away with a much better understanding of what happened. Available on Blu-Ray.
Speaking of Kevin Costner, the actor turns up again in another political drama, only this one is considerably more famous. Oliver Stone’s JFK is first and foremost a drama but it moves like a fast action thriller. The film examines the events that occurred after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The groundwork is similar to the recent docudrama Parkland, but where that movie presented the chaos that followed the harrowing event, JFK is more concerned with conspiracy theories and the attempts to cover them up. Again, Costner takes the lead, but here he’s New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, the man who could never believe that Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman) was acting alone. Because of Stone’s often inflammatory style, JFK was one of the most famous films of the nineties. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but won two. This special 50 Year Commemorative Ultimate Collector’s Edition is a packed with extras, including special collectibles, such as campaign posters, a quotation book, plus commentaries by Stone, and several documentaries. This is truly the ultimate edition. Available on Blu-Ray.