By Jack Rico
We’re a little more than half-way through March and this week’s movies offer a little somehting for everyone. One which has captivated my attention is Ethan Hawke’s Born To Be Blue, a jazz film about Chet Baker, arguably the most popular trumpeter after Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. I had met with Hawke last year and he showed me several pics of the production and we discussed favorite albums plus his legacy. Also, we should address the armored bat in the room – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This is the most anticipated film of 2016. The reason it is more anticipated than Captain America: Civil War, is the tremendous pressure and risk behind the success of WB and DC’s franchise set-up film. Almost everything I’m reading and the people I’m speaking with say that the movie is being rushed, they’re not developing it methodically the way Marvel is, they dislike the director Zack Snyder, they dislike the casting choices: Ben Affleck is the worse Batman ever, no one knows Henry Cavill (proved per his Times Square stunt), Gal Gadot isn’t voluptuous as Linda Carter, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? plus many more I’m probably missing.
Personally, I don’t understand the vitriol. I enjoy superhero films and DC is trying to give us more of it. People seem too entrenched in how Marvel’s strategy works and believe NO OTHER strategy can ever work. Visually, Snyder is top notch and he loves to give his moviegoers a bang for their buck. Actually, the criticism against him is he gives TOO MUCH action. When the f*ck did too much action become a hated film trait? It’s what people want from their movies! The original Iron Man barely had any action and that’s why I’m not a fan of it. What exactly is the issue with Affleck? Is he a horrible actor? No. He doesn’t look like Bruce Wayne? What about Christian Bale then?
People are obsessed with Marvel and are opposed to any other form of creative competition. I love Superman and Batman and I wish for their brands to lead a new age of superhero films into the future with the Justice League. Hopefully, one day, Marvel and DC will set aside their competitive differences and give us a film called – The Avengers v The Justice League – a superhero film to end all superhero films. How would you like that? So stop complaining because I know ALL you haters are going to be the first ones to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Thursday at midnight.
INDIE & LIMITED RELEASES
Born to Be Blue (R, 1hr 37m, Biography, Drama, Music)
Director: Robert Budreau
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Carmen Ejogo, Callum Keith Rennie, Tony Nappo
Synopsis: A re-imagining of jazz legend Chet Baker’s musical comeback in the late ’60s.
Sweet Micky for President (1h 29m, Documentary, Music, News) *Released on iTunes now
Director: Ben Patterson
Cast: Ben Stiller, Sean Penn, Wyclef Jean
Synopsis: Music and politics collide when international music star, Pras Michel of the Fugees, returns to his homeland of Haiti following the devastating earthquake of 2010 to mobilize a presidential campaign for Haiti’s most controversial musician: Michel Martelly aka Sweet Micky. The politically inexperienced pair set out against a corrupted government, civil unrest, and a fixed election. When Pras’s former bandmate, superstar Wyclef Jean, also enters the presidential race, their chances seem further doomed. But with the help of a few friends, including Ben Stiller and former president Bill Clinton, they never give up on their dream of changing the course of Haiti’s future.
I Saw the Light (R, 2hrs 3m, Biography, Drama, Music)
Directors: Marc Abraham
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, David Krumholtz, Bradley Whitford
Synopsis: The story of the country-western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his rise to fame and its tragic effect on his health and personal life.
They’re Watching (1hr 35m, Comedy, Horror, Thriller)
Director: David Alpay, Brigid Brannagh, Carrie Genzel, Kris Lemche
Synopsis: An American TV crew gets trapped in a centuries-old web of revenge, horror, and blood, when their home improvement show is attacked by angry Eastern European villagers out to kill the show’s star.
Mia Madre (R, 1hr 46m, Drama)
Directors: Nanni Moretti
Cast: Margherita Buy, John Turturro, Giulia Lazzarini
Synopsis: Margherita, a director in the middle of an existential crisis, has to deal with the inevitable and still unacceptable loss of her mother.
April and the Extraordinary World (PG, 1hr 46m, Action/Adventure, Animated)
Directors: Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Philippe Katerine, Jean Rochefort
Synopsis: 1941. France asleep in the nineteenth century, governed by steam and Napoleon V, where scientists vanish mysteriously. Avril (Marion Cotillard), a teenage girl, goes in search of her missing scientist parents.
Valley of Love (1hr 32m, Drama)
Director: Guillaume Nicloux
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu, Dan Warner
Synopsis: Isabelle and Gérard go to a strange appointment in Death Valley, California. They have not seen each other for years and are here to answer to an invitation from their son Michael, a photographer, which they received after his suicide, six months ago.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (PG-13, 2hrs 33m, Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi)
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg
Synopsis: Fearing the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the man of steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs. With Batman and Superman fighting each other, a new threat, Doomsday, is created by Lex Luthor. It’s up to Superman and Batman to set aside their differences along with Wonder Woman to stop Lex Luthor and Doomsday from destroying Metropolis.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (PG-13, 1hr 34m, Comedy)
Directors: Kirk Jones
Cast: Nia Vardalos, John Corbett, Michael Constantine, Lainie Kazan
Synopsis: A Portokalos family secret brings the beloved characters back together for an even bigger and Greeker wedding.