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Justice League • Lady Bird

November 23, 2017

Justice League (**) 
PG-13   
 
The latest exhibit in the ongoing attempts of Warner Brothers to launch DC Comics as a serious contender to the cinematic throne of competitor Marvel Comics, Justice League, is a tough cookie to assess. Being that it’s neither as embarrassingly bad as previous entries (I’m looking at you, Man of Steel and Suicide Squad) nor as moderately entertaining as last summer’s serviceable entry Wonder Woman, it’s a bit difficult to come up with a review that’s likely to grab the reader. I’ll preface this one by apologizing in advance for the mediocre take on the film that’s a direct reflection of the mediocre nature of the project itself.   

You would think that a film featuring a super hero dream team consisting of established DC Comics’ vets Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Batman (Ben Affleck), paired with the likes of big screen newcomers, Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) would be a slam dunk. If that’s your thought process then it’s highly advised that you think again. The most amazing thing that Justice League accomplishes is taking this incredible on screen pairing and turning it into a snoozefest. That’s something I never expected when this project was announced. Then again, considering that the director is—once again—Zack Snyder (a repeat offender in his previously misguided DC Comics adaptations) it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. Let’s just say that if you can say with a straight face that you thought the 2013 film Man of Steel is a great piece of pop art then this is the film for which you’ve been salivating.    

Ezra Miller as The Flash in Justice League

The film picks up after the events of the equally dull Batman V. Superman (also directed by Snyder) where things left off with the death of Superman, who had sacrificed himself for the greater good of mankind. There’s a new threat this time, an ancient god going by the moniker of Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) who has no connection whatsoever to the late 60s rock band of the same name although that might have made things more palatable. Steppenwolf is in possession of a cube type device that, when put together with similar cubes, can destroy the world in which we live. Batman/Bruce Wayne quickly makes a plan to assemble the team of superheroes to do battle with this ancient god although there’s really no doubt as to the outcome.   

Thankfully there is a bit more humor to spare in this effort, due to the last minute input of former Avengers director Joss Whedon, but it never feels organic and totally out of synch with the dark nature of the rest of the film. Add to that a villain that’s just plain dull and you the have the perfect ingredients for a slog through mediocrity. Justice League is just that.     

Lady Bird (***) R
If you’ve seen any number of films featuring actress Greta Gerwig’s acting or writing talents then you’re probably pretty familiar with her onscreen persona. It’s hard to articulate precisely but there’s a uniqueness there that’s tempered with a sense of quirkiness which likely could be off putting to some and totally appealing to others. I’m somewhere in the middle. While I admire and appreciate what Gerwig brings to the plate, her generally odd and quirky nature is best taken in small doses for yours truly.

I mention this as a preamble in my review of her directorial debut Lady Bird simply because her unique personality is evident in every frame of the film. If you’re a huge Gerwig fan then Lady Bird is going to be cat nip. And if you’re just a casual fan, the good news is that you’re likely to still find much to embrace in a film that’s equally moving and bitingly funny.

The character of the film’s title, Lady Bird, is impeccably portrayed by the brilliant up and comer Saoirse Ronan, who made such an indelible impression on audiences two years ago in the beautifully realized Brooklyn. Her work here is a performance you won’t likely forget regardless of your feelings regarding this coming of age tale. Lady Bird (a name she gave herself, having been christened, Christine) is a seventeen year old who’s bursting at the seams to get out of her hometown of Sacramento, California. She’s constantly at odds with her mother regarding the school she’ll attend after high school graduation. Lady Bird pictures herself moving to New York and embracing her artistic side while her mother (Laurie Metcalf), ever aware of the family’s tight financial situation, feels that a more practical solution should be considered. Her father (Tracy Letts), is more open minded to his daughter’s future plans, which puts him also at odds with her mother.

Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird

The film’s actual story has a few beats here and there that feel a little over familiar. For instance, there’s the subplot involving Lady Bird ditching her longtime best friend for someone a bit higher on the social ladder. And there are the romantic misadventures that she goes through which also have been similarly done before, even though that doesn’t matter. Lady Bird has enough humor and heart to get it through the overly familiar narrative spots and bring it in to a terrific finish. It’s well worth a look.

Justice League is playing in Hickory and all around the area. Lady Bird is playing in the Winston-Salem/Greensboro area.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

ARCHIVES:

Daddy’s Home 2 (**) PG-13

Murder On The Orient Express Thor: Ragnarok

Suburbicon & The Florida Project

All I See Is You & Only The Brave

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House

Blade Runner 2049

Brad’s Status & Battle Of The Sexes

American Made

mother!
Kingsman: The Golden Circle

It

Good Time

Logan Lucky • Crown Heights

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power • Wind River

13 Minutes & In This Corner Of The World

Annabelle: Creation & Detroit

A Ghost Story

Maudie & Atomic Blonde

War For The Planet Of The Apes • Dunkirk

The Big Sick • The Hero

Spiderman: Homecoming

The Beguiled & Baby Driver

All Eyez On Me

It Comes At Night & Paris Can Wait

The Lovers • The Mummy

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales & Wonder Woman

Alien: Covenant

Snatched

Guardians Of The Galaxy & Volume 2

The Lost City Of Z

Colossal

The Fate Of The Furious & Going In Style

T2 Trainspotting

Life • Wilson

The Sense Of An Ending

Kedi

Kong: Skull Island

I Am Not Your Negro & Logan

Get Out & The Red Turtle

A Cure For Wellness & Fifty Shades Darker

Rings & John Wick: Chapter 2

Gold

Split • The Founder

Silence • Patriots Day

A Monster Calls & Hidden Figures

Paterson & 20th Century Women

Jackie

Fences • Sing • Rogue One

Nocturnal Animals • La La Land & Collateral Beauty

Why Him?

Manchester By The Sea Allied • Loving

Rules Don’t Apply • Moana & Bad Santa 2

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them • Moonlight

Arrival & Dr. Strange

Hacksaw Ridge

Inferno & Ouija: Origin Of Evil

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

The Girl On The Train & The Accountant

Masterminds • Deep Water Horizon • Birth Of A Nation

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Snowden & The Magnificent Seven

Bridget Jones’ Baby & Blair Witch

Sully

The Light Between Oceans

Hell Or High Water & Don't Breathe

Sausage Party & Indignation

Florence Foster Jenkins & Pete's Dragon • Café Society

Eat That Question & Suicide Squad

Star Trek Beyond & Jason Bourne

Lights Out

Ghostbusters

The Purge: Election Year

Independence Day: Resurgence • The BFG

Free State Of Jones & DePalma

Now You See Me 2 & Finding Dory

The Conjuring 2 & Me Before You

X Men: Apocalypse Love And Friendship

The Lobster & The Meddler

Money Monster • The Nice Guys Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

Miles Ahead

Elvis And Nixon Green Room

Midnight Special Everybody Wants Some

The Jungle Book

I Saw The Light • The Boss

Hello My Name Is Doris & Krisha

Divergent: Allegiant & Batman v Superman

10 Cloverfield Lane & Brothers Grimsby

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot & London Has Fallen

Triple 9 & 45 Years

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Where To Invade Next & Son Of Saul

Deadpool • The Choice • How To Be Single

Hail Caesar & Fifty Shades Of Black

The Finest Hours & The 5th Wave

Mustang & The Lady In The Van

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The Revenant • Youth

Carol • Joy • The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens • The Big Short • Concussion

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In The Heart Of The Sea • Krampus

Creed • Brooklyn

Spotlight

‘Mockingjay Part 2’ • All Things Must Pass • The Night Before

Trumbo

Spectre & The Peanuts Movie

Steve Jobs & Our Brand Is Crisis

Crimson Peak & Room

Bridge Of Spies & Goosebumps

99 Homes

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The Intern • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials • Everest

The Visit & Black Mass

Mistress America

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl A Walk In The Woods

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Ricki And The Flash & The Gift

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation • Southpaw • Vacation

Ant-Man & Trainwreck

Self/Less

Amy • Magic Mike XXL, Terminator: Genisys

Me & Earl & The Dying Girl, Ted 2

Inside Out & Dope

Love and Mercy & Jurassic World

Insidious Chapter 3

San Andreas & Aloha

Poltergeist &
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Mad Max: Fury Road

Hot Pursuit

Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Ex Machina

While We’re Young & Unfriended

The Longest Ride

Fast & Furious 7

It Follows

Divergent

Cinderella

Chappie

Focus & The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Hot Tub Time Machine 2

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Jupiter Ascending

Still Alice

The Imitation Game A Most Violent Year

American Sniper Inherent Vice

Selma & Taken 3

Unbroken

Big Eyes • The Interview

Night At The Museum The Secret of the Tomb • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Top Five • Wild • Annie

Foxcatcher

Whiplash & The Theory Of Everything

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 • Horrible Bosses 2

Dumb And Dumber To

Birdman & Interstellar

Nightcrawler

Ouija

Fury

The Judge

Annabelle & Gone Girl

The Equalizer & Happy 75th, GWTW!

The Drop • A Walk Among & The Tombstones

No Good Deed

The Identical

As Above, So Below & November Man

If I Stay & Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

The Giver • Code Black & The Expendables 3

Boyhood • Into The Storm & Magic In The Moonlight

Get On Up & Guardians Of The Galaxy

Lucy

Begin Again & The Purge: Anarchy

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Chef & Tammy

Transformers: Age Of Extinction

Jersey Boys

22 Jump Street & How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Fault Is In Our Stars & Edge Of Tomorrow

A Million Ways To Die In The West

X-Men: Days Of Future Past Maleficent

Godzilla • Summer Preview

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The Amazing Spiderman 2 & Belle

The Other Woman & Brick Mansions

A Haunted House 2 & Heaven Is For Real

Oculus & Rio 2

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Noah

Divergent

The Grand Budapest Hotel & Veronica Mars

300: Rise of the Empire

Non-Stop & Son Of God

Three Days To Kill

Robocop & The Past • About Last Night

The Monuments Men

Labor Day

I, Frankenstein

Inside Llewyn Davis & Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Lone Survivor & August: Osage County

Her • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom & The Wolf Of Wall Street

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Anchorman 2

The Hobbit: The Desolation & Of Smaug • Nebraska

Dallas Buyers Club & Oldboy & Out Of The Furnace

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About Time & All Is Lost

Thor: The Dark World & 12 Years A Slave

Ender’s Game & Last Vegas

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Carrie & The Fifth Estate

Captain Phillips, Enough Said & Machete Kills

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Prisoners & Rush

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Riddick

Getaway

The World’s End You’re Next

Lee Daniels’ The Butler • Jobs • Blue Jasmine

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters & Elysium

2 Guns

Blue Jasmine • The Wolverine & Fruitvale Station

Fruitvale Station • The Conjuring & The Way Way Back

Pacific Rim & Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger & Despicable Me 2

The Heat & White House Down

Monsters University, World War Z, Before Midnight & The East

Man of Steel & This Is The End

The Internship & The Purge

After Earth, Now You See Me & Frances Ha

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Star Trek: Into Darkness & Fast and Furious 6

The Great Gatsby & Frances Ha

Iron Man & Peeples

Pain and Gain & Mud

Oblivion & Lords of Salem

42 and Scary Movie 5

Evil Dead & Jurassic Park 3-D

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Spring Breakers Admission

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone • The Call

Oz: The Great And Powerful West Of Memphis

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