Screen Savor: Going Batty

Written by Gregg Shapiro

Save your money and save your time (153 minutes worth), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (WB), in IMAX no less, is a mind-melting muddle. Shame on everyone involved, beginning with hack director Zack Snyder (who needs an abundance of violence and special effects in his movies to cover for the fact that he can’t actually direct) and Oscar-winning (!) screenwriter Chris Terrio who should have called this mess Cape Fear.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has almost as much extraneous retelling and rehashing of old ideas and material as it does new concepts. In fact, it probably could have been at least an hour shorter (and possibly more entertaining) if it had been edited properly.

Here are some interesting facts that non-fanboys can learn in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Metropolis, where the hot adult Clark Kent aka Superman (Henry Cavil) resides, is just across the bay from Gotham City, where rich but miserable Bruce Wayne aka Batman (ruining yet another comic book movie franchise) has lived his whole life. In spite of being symbols of light (Superman) and dark (Batman), Clark and Bruce have more in common than you might think, including that their mothers are both named Martha!

As our story begins, we see the impact that the destruction that occurred at the end of 2013’s hideous Man of Steel on Gotham City. Eighteen months later, Bruce Wayne still hasn’t forgiven Superman, whom he holds responsible for the devastation and loss of life. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (poor Jesse Eisenberg, who appears to have his crazy eyes on the same prize awarded – posthumously – to Heath Ledger) has unearthed enough Kryptonite to bring about the demise of Superman and allow him to rule the world in his uniquely evil way. Luthor’s series of violent plans (including a bombing of the Capitol in DC) don’t actually help him achieve his goal, so he mounts the ultimate grudge match – Batman versus Superman. When that unsurprisingly backfires, he releases Doomsday, the kryptonite powered monster he created in one of his Luthor Corp labs to do the deed.

Amy Adams, as Superman’s main squeeze Lois Lane, is completely wasted here. Lengthy chase and fight scenes only serve to illustrate that there’s no substance to the movie. The introduction of other laughable Justice League characters, including Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, is handled so poorly as to be utterly ridiculous. Plus, all the overt religious symbolism, including, but not limited to, multiple references to God and saviors, as well as the use of the name Martha (remember her from the New Testament?), makes you wonder if the movie was bankrolled by the LDS. DC now officially stands for “disastrous clusterfuck.”

A confluence of operatic proportions is taking place this year. Gay writer Alexander Chee’s near-epic novel Queen of the Night has been well-received by critics and is selling briskly. In the movie Florence Foster Jenkins, Meryl Streep portrays the titular New York heiress, known as the world’s worst singer. Before the Streep movie opens in theaters this spring, we have the French film Marguerite (Cohen Media), directed and co-written by Xavier Giannoli.

Marguerite, separated into five chapters, finds the middle ground between humor and pathos as it introduces us to delusional opera lover Baroness Marguerite Dumont (a fabulous Catherine Frot) in early 1920s Paris. Not content just to be a devotee, Marguerite insists on being a participant, performing at the Amadeus Music Club’s intimate charity concerts at her mansion.

She’s a laughing stock, plain and simple. But she has her loyal protectors, including her unfaithful husband Georges (André Marcon ) and her faithful chauffeur/photographer/accompanist Madelbos (Denis Mpunga). Young journalist Lucien (Sylvain Dieuaide) and his revolutionary artist friend Kyril (Aubert Fenoy), see Marguerite as their ticket to taking down everything they hate about haughty society folk, and encourage the deluded diva to bring her act to a larger audience, in a nightclub and later in a concert hall. Lucien even arranges to have Marguerite trained by desperate gay tenor Pezzini (Michel Fau), who has a hard time disguising his distaste for her lack of singing abilities.

Because no one will tell Marguerite the truth, she insists on going forth with her concert plans. That’s where things get complicated, including a sudden decline in both Marguerite’s physical and mental health. While at least 30 minutes too long, Marguerite is worth seeing for Frot’s performance alone. Brava, diva!

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