Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Movie Roundup: Oscar Nominated Films Continue to Screen While the Bloated "Zack Snyder's Justice League" Streams

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 10:05 AM

Some Oscar-nominated films are still getting screen time here in Tucson:

Nomadland, nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, continues to screen at The Loft as part of the Open Air Cinema series and at Roadhouse Cinemas. Minari, nominated for 6 Oscars including Best Picture, is also screening at The Loft and Roadhouse Cinemas.

Nomadland still screening at Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18 with another Oscar-nominated film, The Father. Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman both received Oscar nods for their fine work as a father and daughter dealing with the ravages of dementia.

The biggest news on the new release front is the arrival of Zack Snyder's Justice League on HBO Max.

Here's a review:


Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a new 4-hour cut currently streaming on HBO Max, is a definite improvement over the 2017 Justice League part-authored by the recently disgraced Joss Whedon.

Whedon’s cut, a ridiculous attempt at Marvel-izing the DC Universe, was a total disaster. This cut? Certainly not a disaster, but nothing to get too excited about, either. Snyder's Cut is an almost forgivable behemoth, while Whedon's essentially stalled his big screen career.

For starters, whoa, hang on there Zack, this didn’t need to be 4-hours long! Many of the new scenes do a lot to flesh out the story but, good Christ, do you get carried away with the slo-mo. Too many scenes drag on and on via slo-mo and dreary music. There were too many times where I had to stop down and take a lap around my apartment out of pure frustration.  This cut could’ve been a comprehensible 3 hours…easily.

The beauty of getting it on streaming is that you can watch it in parts. Still, even divided up (6 parts not including a prologue and epilogue), too many sequences drag in a hellishly boring way.

Big improvements include a much better Steppenwolf visual experience. The villainous Steppenwolf has some new armor that makes him look less like a California Raisin and more like a demon warrior capable of destroying humanity. He's actually kind of scary instead of being an unintentionally comic travesty.

That stupid opening scene with Henry Cavill and his bizarre, CGI scrubbed face (he had a mustache that needed to be removed in post) is gone. Cavill’s Superman gets a more substantial role here and gets to sport the black Superman suit. The Superman stuff in this cut is actually, dare I say, kind of cool, and that’s coming from somebody who didn’t like Snyder’s prior takes on the character, Batman v Superman and Man of Steel. I've come to accept that the Superman of Snyder world is just sort of dark and whiny, and I just need to put the Christopher Reeve iteration out of my head while watching him. Cavill is good here, and I think it's time for a new Superman movie with him in it provided it has a new director.

Cyborg gets a lot more screen time, and that’s not a good thing. The character was drab before, and remains bland here, with a lot more cinematic minutes and exposition to put you to sleep. Characters like Martian Manhunter and Darkseid are added. Martian Manhunter feels tacked on and useless, while Darkseid is a nice add, giving the apocalyptic Steppenwolf a better sense of purpose. The much ballyhooed appearance of Jared Leto's Joker towards the end is not as stupid as I suspected it would be.

Upon ingesting it, the new cut left me feeling that I had definitely seen a more cohesive story. It makes more sense. It’s also an over-baked, far too padded, sometimes tedious story. The awful, discordant humor of Whedon’s cut is gone (The Flash doesn’t hump Wonder Woman in this one), the vibrant color correction of the prior cut has been replaced by the more typical, darker Snyder tone. Some will gripe about the new cut’s 4:3 aspect ratio (closer to a square) than that HD screen-filling aspect ratio we’ve all grown used to. I know this because my friends have been texting me that the new aspect ratio is pissing them off (I'm okay with it).

So Snyder got this out of his system, and can move on to bigger and brighter things. As for the DC Universe, it's still all over the place tonally. Looking forward to that alleged team up of Ezra Miller's Flash and Michael Keaton's Batman. Happy that Snyder and Whedon won't be directing it.