I’m usually very rough on video game inspired movies because—well—pretty much all of them suck. Save for “Mortal Kombat,” which is kind of fun if you’re in the right mood. After two goofy attempts to adapt the iconic adventure video game series “Tomb Raider” to the big screen, Warner reboots the movie series by—adapting the reboot of the video game from 2013. While I’d be hard pressed to call Roar Uthaug’s cinematic take on Lara Croft a masterpiece, I had a really good time with “Tomb Raider,” and that’s all I wanted in the end.
Based on one of the most iconic and controversial miniseries of all time, “The Death of Superman” is a curious adaptation of the series that suffers from definite pitfalls but comes out in the end as a pretty damn good movie, overall. One of the very few DC animated movies not centered on Batman, “The Death of Superman” is much more centered on the original source material than 2007’s “Superman Doomsday,” and if the final scene is any indication, we’re looking at a pretty length depiction of the story arc from the comic books right down to the Super mullet.
Most of the time we get such a backlog of short films and feature length indie films that we work hard to take them all on and review them before the year is up. In what we hope will become a new feature, “Shorts Round Up of the Week” is a column where we’ll be reviewing a round up of short films of varying quality. If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened.
The first time I was ever introduced to the work of Ari Aster was in 2010 when I watched his demented short “The Strange Thing About the Johnsons.” Much like “Hereditary,” it’s a very disturbing tale that focuses on a family and a heinous secret among the family that threatens to consume them whole. My words do the short no justice. “Hereditary” is very much in that vein, exploring the terror of mental illness, the idea of manifest destiny, the inescapable fate of inherited disease, and how overbearing and abusive loved ones can keep their power over us long after they’ve passed away.
Up until the 1960s, the cinema depiction of Jesus followed a consistent standard in terms of how He was depicted – the long-haired, bearded, white-robed Jesus of Renaissance paintings – as well as in the manner of how He conducted himself. The big screen Jesus was a symbol of piety and respect, with filmmakers and actors working with a clearly defined parameter.
Leave it to Disney and Pixar. They have the stable of Marvel superheroes at their disposal and they approach “The Incredibles 2” not as a cash grab but a sincere look at the idea of superheroes in the modern era. Sure superheroes seem like a great idea in theory, but “The Incredibles 2” uses its concept as a means of exploring the world with superheroes and how it can have its definite upsides and crushing downsides. The first film had the concept of the idea of the meaning of being exceptional, our natural advantages, and how mediocrity has become the norm for society that only accepted stellar, once upon a time. “The Incredibles 2” takes it a bit further dissecting the need for heroes and whether self-reliance is the only thing we have in this world.
BOOTLEG FILES 641: “Golgotha” (1935 French film by Julien Duvivier).
LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: The English-dubbed version is available from a public domain label.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Subsequent controversies prevented a commercial U.S. re-release.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: A proper restored version of the French-language original does not seem likely at this time.
Last week’s column focused on “The Lawton Story,” the first American sound film to present Jesus Christ as a full-frontal character. But it was not the first sound film about His life. That distinction goes to a long-forgotten French film from 1935 called “Golgotha,” directed by Julien Duvivier, who is best known for the 1937 classic “Pépé le Moko,” the 1942 all-star Hollywood film “Tales of Manhattan” and the 1948 version of “Anna Karenina” starring Vivien Leigh.