Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987, Super-Hero Movie) – 4/10 review

Director: Sidney J. Furie
Christopher Reeve: Superman / Clark Kent
Gene Hackman: Lex Luthor
Movie Series Instigator: Alexander Salkind
Jackie Cooper: Perry White
Marc McClure: Jimmy Olsen
Jon Cryer: Lenny
Sam Wanamaker: David Warfield
Mark Pillow: Nuclear Man
Mariel Hemingway: Lacy Warfield
Margot Kidder: Lois Lane
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Writer (Story): Lawrence Konner
Writer (Story): Mark Rosenthal
Writer (Screenplay): Lawrence Konner
Writer (Screenplay): Mark Rosenthal
Producer: Menahem Golan
Producer: Yoram Globus
Susannah York:

Superman IV: Quest for Peace, The (1987)

Superman volunteers to remove all the nuclear armaments in the world and guarantee world peace. Lex Luthor spots an opportunity to use Superman’s preferred disposal site, the Sun, to create a Nuclear Man.

4/10

If Richard Lester took the series to the point of death and placed it in a coffin, the incredibly untalented Sidney J. Furie (a man who has never made a good film and, yes, I have seen The Ipcress File) hammered the final nail in, placed the coffin six feet under and buried it. On the moon. In slow-motion. While Christopher Reeve as Superman and Clark Kent remains definitive, this movie is rescued by the unfettered awesomely immodest genius of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor. Whenever he’s on-screen spouting about his staggering amazingness, the film is fun. There is also a kernel of an interesting idea here as Superman exercises his godship and wades into human affairs but what ended up on screen doesn’t make an apeth of sense. Elsewhere, this is so rubbish that you rather feel sorry for it.

This movie contains fantasy violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Superman (1978, Movie) – 10/10 review

Producer (Presents credit): Alexander Salkind
Marlon Brando: Jor-El
Gene Hackman: Lex Luthor
Director: Richard Donner
Christopher Reeve: Superman / Clark Kent
Ned Beatty: Otis
Jackie Cooper: Perry White
Glenn Ford: Pa Kent
Trevor Howard: 1st Elder
Margot Kidder: Lois Lane
Composer: John Williams
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Writer (Story): Mario Puzo
Writer (Screenplay): Mario Puzo
Writer (Screenplay): David Newman
Writer (Screenplay): Leslie Newman
Writer (Screenplay): Robert Benton
Creative Consultant: Tom Mankiewicz
Associate Producer: Charles F. Greenlaw
Executive Producer: Ilya Salkind
Producer: Pierre Spengler
Writer (Additional Script Material): Norman Enfield

Superman (1978)

Kryptonite baby Kal’el is sent to planet Earth to save his life before the planet Krypton itself is destroyed by a nearby Sun.The baby is discovered by the Kent family and brought up as a ‘normal’ human but here on Earth he has extraordinary talents and strengths. After the death of his adopted father, the now Clark Kent is impelled to go North and learns about his real identity. He decides to use his powers for good and is given the tag Superman by love interest Lois Lane. However, super criminal Lex Luthor has plans to destroy all of California in a landscam deal and has discovered a way to prevent Superman stopping him.

10/10

Superlative fantasy action adventure; easily my favourite movie. Even thirty years on, this is the greatest superhero movie ever made and, yes, you will still believe a man can fly. It’s greatest achievement, however, is that the movie has such a clean, good core; Christopher Reeve’s brilliant performance has an innocence with no darkness, no dishonesty, no possibility of corruption. Even Gene Hackman’s villain is effective and fun without being horrible or graphically violent. Thirty years on, filmmakers and writers have simply forgotten how to make superhero movies without extreme violence (see Superman Returns). That said, they also appear to have forgotten how to edit action sequences, how to portray character, how to tell a story, and how to have a point to your movie aside from generating money. The fact that this movie can never be matched for it’s heart due to the deterioration of the world’s morality and ‘movie violence solves everything’ ethos makes Superman even more special.

This movie contains mild adult dialogue and scary scenes (being buried alive).

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Smallville 8.20 Beast (2009, TV) – 1/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Sam Witwer: Davis Bloome
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Writer: Genevieve Sparling
Director: Michael Rohl

Smallville 8.20 Beast (2009)

The writers stab you in the eyes and ears for forty minutes while every actor looks like they’re trying to lie back, close their eyes and think of the money without vomiting or suffering a psychotic break. Aaron Ashmore isn’t succeeding.

1/10

It is becoming difficult to find words to describe the deep-seated hatred, the bitter resentment, the utter lack of respect and the despairing drudgery the writers of Smallville have for their audience. Somewhere along the line Aaron Ashmore and Allison Mack must have keyed all of the producers’ cars or left a coffee ring or a perfectly-formed poo on their executive table or something because their characters continue to be on the receiving end of bafflingly awful storylines. If they both move into porn after Smallville, it will be a step up.

This Smallville episode contains extreme violence, gory and extremely unpleasant scenes and sexuality.

Links

Smallville 8.19 Stiletto (2009, TV) – 2/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Dominic Zamprogna: Bruno Manheim
Writer: Caroline Dries
Director: Kevin G. Fair

Smallville 8.19 Stiletto (2009)

After saving Chloe from a mugger, Lois spies a chance to get closer to a story with the Red-Blue Blur by, obviously, posing as new superhero vigilante Stiletto.

2/10

This has the cheesy feeling of the 1960’s Batman television show without, unfortunately, the sense of self-knowing glee that Adam West et al brought to that particular endeavour. The central idea of Lois going after a story in an unorthodox and dangerous manner was okay but, as usual for Smallville now, it was handled clumsily and lazily. The writers, director and actors are all on auto-pilot and even Erica Durance – the best thing about Smallville this season, surprisingly – has a permanent let’s-get-this-over-with look about her. There’s a bit of Lois-Clark magic at the end of the show but in almost every way Smallville is embarrassing to watch.

This Smallville episode contains strong melee violence, graphic gun violence.

Links

Smallville 8.18 Eternal (2009, TV) – 2/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Sam Witwer: Davis Bloome
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Executive Producer: James Marshall
Writer: Brian Peterson
Writer: Kelly Souders
Director: James Marshall

Smallville 8.18 Eternal (2009)

Clark is a little put-out when Tess Mercer pooh-pooh’s his story about a previously unknown serial killer. He doesn’t know it is Davis Bloome but, thanks to a journal she nicked from the Lionel Luthor estate, Tess Mercer does and knows he’ll be impossible to kill. So she blows Davis up just to check. Fortunately, the police don’t care. Nor do the writers. Nor do we.

2/10

While the addition of Davis Bloome into the last seven series of Smallville ends up being better integrated than expected it still doesn’t mitigate the absolute insult to the audience. To be fair, it ends up making you wonder whether this was always intended to be the Smallville end-game. However, we simply don’t care. This week’s story is about the conflict inside Davis Bloome but we don’t care, partially because he has a face like a bag of walnuts. Every so often, the writers remember that Clark is on this ‘talk people around’ initiative but it’s so half-hearted and never amounts to anything except Clark going "No!", that we really don’t care. When Lois isn’t around, Smallville isn’t fun or interesting. The production team simply has no more to give. They need a break. We need a break. Stop Smallville, please.

Links

Smallville 8.17 Hex (2009, TV) – 5/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Serinda Swan: Zatanna
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Director: Mairzee Almas

Smallville 8.17 Hex (2009)

Feeling miserable at her own birthday party thanks to her recent break-up with Jimmy, Lois and Oliver having to leave prematurely and Clark not even showing up, Chloe makes a birthday wish at the behest of mega-babe magician Zatanna. However, she is staggered when her desire to swap for the journalistic life of Lois comes true.

5/10

Given that this is another of Smallville‘s possession storylines, it’s absolutely not as bad as feared. I was expecting the last straw but, thanks to a reliance on character and a, frankly, smoking hot magician’s outfit for Serinda Swan (and her Zatanna not being a baddie), it is entertaining enough. As usual for this season, it never makes the most of the setup and never involves you emotionally. The regular cast outside of Erica Durance feel like they’re just reading their lines. This lack of heartfelt performance is a shame as some of the script this week is better than for a while. There’s no Jimmy, no Doomsday, no Davis Bloome, no Tess Mercer and no violence. The story is fine and, as a bonus, the mechanism for undoing the wishes and restoring Smaillville‘s status quo is, unusually, refreshingly simple and entirely acceptable (when you don’t wish it anymore, it isn’t so).

Links

Smallville 8.16 Turbulence (2009, TV) – 1/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Sam Witwer: Davis Bloome
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Writer: Turi Meyer
Writer: Al Septien
Director: Kevin G. Fair

Smallville 8.16 Turbulence (2009)

Jimmy Olsen gets an episode and sees Davis Bloome murder someone. Not a Smallville writer, unfortunately.

1/10

It is clear that nobody on Smallville – the cast, the writers (Clark gets Tess drunk!), the director (this is very slackly paced, not a usual problem on the show) – can be bothered with the show anymore. Those of us who are sticking with it are only doing so out of a sense of misguided loyalty and that we really want to see, after all the misery and violence and stupidity we’ve been subjected to (seasons 4,5, 7 and 8), some kind of happy, or at least hopeful, climax to let Clark Kent go off into the sunset and future super-deeds. However, writers without ideas cannot think positively and American shows are required by law to be ‘dark’ and ‘edgy’. So, there won’t be a happy ending and while the ‘creative’ forces tread water Smallville will continue to embarrass everyone involved with it.

This Smallville episode contains bad language and substance abuse (prescribed medication and alcohol) and strong, gory violence, unpleasant scenes.

Links