Man of Steel takes the familiar Superman legend and transforms it into an original, truly epic and personal story about identity, individual responsibility and what it means to be human. It is the rare superhero movie that manages to combine first- rate special effects and action with three dimensional characters that you care about and real heart and emotion.

The opening sequence on Krypton fully envisions this world in a way that it’s never been realized before. The depiction of Superman’s home planet is darkly imaginative and spectacularly sets  up one of the film’s main themes that of predestination over free will.

Russell Crowe is convincing and imposing as Jor-El, Krypton’s leading scientist who warns his people that Kyrpton is doomed. Aware that it’s too late to save his planet, he and his wife Lara jettison their son Kal-El, the product of the first natural birth on Krypton in hundreds of years, to Earth.

British actor Henry Cavill with his handsome chiseled face and piercing blue eyes is the embodiment of the iconic American superhero. He is a great Superman able to convey vulnerability, ambivalence, strength, and finally a man willing to accept the responsibility that comes with his extraordinary abilities. Cavill has real chemistry with Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Adams continues the tradition of the independent and gutsy reporter Lois who doesn’t exist just to be rescued by Superman. Continue reading »

Take Shelter is a haunting movie that will either stay with you for days or frustrate you with its deliberate pace. I can understand why some viewers would lose patience with this film that keeps you guessing until the end about whether Curtis, a devoted husband and father is losing his mind or is a modern day Noah who can see what everyone else around him cannot. I like the suspense of not knowing if Curtis’s nightmares and hallucinations are real or imagined and this story burrowed into my psyche.

Curtis, played by Michael Shannon, seems to have a good life. He has an attractive, loving wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain), a house, and a well-paying job. The only wrinkle in the picture is that daughter Hannah (Tovah Stewart) is deaf but the family appears to have adjusted to this and is happy.

Soon, though Curtis starts experiencing strange dreams of yellow rain pouring down from the sky and violent lightning storms that eventually spill over into his waking hours. He becomes convinced that his family is in danger and decides to expand their existing storm shelter into a fortified bunker where they can live should disaster strike. At the same time, he’s afraid the schizophrenia that drove his mother into a mental facility years ago may be manifesting itself in him. Curtis’s continued uncertainty and strange behavior threaten his job, his safety, and his marriage. Continue reading »

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