Superman Returns (2006, Third-Person Action Movie Game) – 5/10 review

Brandon Routh: Clark Kent / Superman
Kevin Spacey: Lex Luthor
Writer (Screenplay): Flint Dille
Writer (Story): Marv Wolfman
Composer: Colin O’Malley

Superman Returns (2006)

Returning to Metropolis after a five year journey to Krypton and back (confirming that it, indeed, had been destroyed), Superman settles back into his day job of protecting the people of Earth from nefarious super-villains and super-henchmen. Well, one city on Earth anyway.

5/10

There is a remarkably nice feeling about flying above the city with the wind adding its own chorus to Colin O’Malley’s rather lovely music. The feeling of flying is really well nailed. Sadly, it’s the only gameplay element that is good. The remainder of the game is spent attacking and it’s mushy and imprecise and Supes regularly doesn’t do as he’s told. You don’t feel like Superman in the action segments. You don’t fell invulnerable or super-strong. Five for the flying, nothing for everything else.

Classified 12+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 12 or over.
Classified Violence by PEGI. Game contains depictions of violence.

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 Season Finale 8.22 Doomsday (2009, TV) – 1/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
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
Alaina Huffman: Dinah "Black Canary" Lance
Kyle Gallner: Bart "Impulse" Allen
Ari Cohen: Regan
Ryan Kennedy: Rokk
Executive Producer: James Marshall
Writer: Kelly Souders
Writer: Brian Peterson
Director: James Marshall

Smallville 8.22 Doomsday (2009)

Wanting to prove that the events of the previous months weren’t the stupidest, rubbishest things that could possibly happen, plans are made to ensure that every fan of Smallville everywhere will want to kill themselves.

1/10

This is an entirely remarkable episode. The writers have just thrown all the scripts for this series into the air and randomly pulled pages from the resulting pile. Continuity and character, sadly, weren’t salvaged. Smallville has been betrayed and horribly mutilated by those entrusted with its care and this episode is just horrific, it’s professionally incompetent. If it was a car, inserting the key into the ignition would castrate you and then mock you for trying to start it in the first place. And for having no bits. John Matta, Chief Operating Officer of The CW Television Network, also announced his intention to run for the title of the world’s stupidest person by allowing a ninth series. Though, to be fair, it’ll probably be revealed he’s actually working as a double-agent for a rival television network. “The name’s Matta, J…, er, I’ve forgotten my first name.”

This Smallville episode contains mild swear words and extreme fantasy violence, strong graphic violence, gory and extremely unpleasant scenes.

Links

Smallville 8.21 Injustice (2009, TV) – 2/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
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
Jessica Parker Kennedy: Plastique
Alessandro Juliani: Dr. Emil Hamilton
Brendan Fletcher: Parasite
Producer: Al Septien
Producer: Turi Meyer
Writer: Al Septien
Writer: Turi Meyer
Director: Tom Welling

Smallville 8.21 Injustice (2009)

Clark hears Chloe crying out for help on the run from Davis Bloome. After he rescues her, he reveals he has come up with a plan to save Earth.

2/10

Even though Justin Hartley gets his abs out and there is no Aaron Ashmore or Sam Witwer, this is bor-or-ing. The scripting is also terrible. No-one seems to have any clue what any other character is saying and so just speak random non-sensical lines to each other. Clark is suffering particularly badly from this as he is being terribly inconsistent. He goes to all this trouble just to fill up forty minutes of screen time, er, I mean, separate Davis Bloome from Doomsday but won’t take two seconds to put across his point of view or explain why he’s being a tool to Oliver Queen. Or Chloe. Or Tess. Or the audience.

This Smallville episode contains adult dialogue and extremely gory and unpleasant scenes.

Links

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

The Big Heat (1953, Movie) – 7/10 review

Glenn Ford: Detective Sergeant David Bannion
Gloria Grahame: Debby Marsh
Jocelyn Brando: Katie Bannion
Writer (Screenplay): Sydney Boehm
Writer (Original Serial) in the Saturday Evening Post: William P. McGivern
Producer: Robert Arthur
Director: Fritz Lang

Big Heat, The (1953)

Sergeant David Bannion runs headlong into police corruption after an apparently routine suicide of a policeman.

7/10

Glenn Ford gives a really good performance with his strongest scene being a last look at his now empty home. There’s just the flicker of the strongest emotion but it’s kept inside, only to be released as rage and hatred against the evil-doers of the story. He is surprisingly convincing as the hard-boiled cop especially for those of us who only know him as Superman‘s dad. Director Fritz Lang doesn’t bother with striking photography or imaginative staging but does make sure that it is paced well and allows his star to shine.

This movie contains adult dialogue and gun violence, melee violence, scalding violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Smallville 8.15 Infamous (2009, TV) – 5/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
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
Tori Spelling: Linda Lake
Writer: Caroline Dries
Director: Glen Winter

Smallville 8.15 Infamous (2009)

Former gossip-columnist Linda Lake (who can turn into water) returns and threatens to expose Clark by sending his story to the papers unless he, well, er, I dunno, I was freaked by Tori Spelling’s disturbing mouth and man-chin. Anyway, he decides that perhaps it’s time to introduce himself to the world on his own terms and gets Lois to write his story.

5/10

We’ve been down this road before in Reckoning (season five episode twelve) when Clark told Lana his secret and, as a result, SPOILER she gets killed, Clark uses a use-once Kryptonian crystal to turn back time, doesn’t tell her and this time Jonathan Kent dies. However, we’ve got rather less good-will for Smallville now and despite the surprisingly welcome return of Erica Durance (now the only decent cast member and looking lovelier than ever) and the thrill of seeing her find out Clark’s secret, the insistence on US TV of having everything turn out bad all the time and then undone before next week’s episode means that the episode quickly becomes wearisome. The episode does highlight some potentially interesting subjects including the privacy of a celebrity, mud-sticking journalism and a struggle against internal evil but polishing it all off in forty minutes and a lack of ambition or imagination means that none of it really resonates.

Links

Smallville 8.14 Requiem (2009, TV) – 3/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
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
Kristin Kreuk: Lana
Chris Gauthier: Winslow Scott
Writer: Holly Henderson
Writer: Don Whitehead
Director: Michael Rohl

Smallville 8.14 Requiem (2009)

Oliver Queen reveals a previously unsuspected bomb-proof-ness when he is the only survivor of a blast at a LuthorCorp board meeting where he was announcing his hostile takeover. He knows who the bomber probably is but strongly suspects that Lex is behind the attack and uses the bomber to lead him to Lex so that he can kill him. Meanwhile, Clark and Lana enjoy some super-sex (dang, another bed broken) but Lex has plans for them also.

3/10

Chloe shocks us to our very core by knocking on Clark’s door before walking in immediately anyway. It’s not like Clark and Lana were in the middle of super-sex. Oh. Anyway, the reason for last week’s eye-bulging Super Lana storyline is partially justified this week with a meaty moral dilemma. However, so broken is the chemistry between Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling and so mechanical their performances (you can actually see him thinking about which eyebrow to move) that we simply couldn’t care less about the moral dilemma and subsequent drama for these two characters. The Michael Rosenbaum look-alike and sound-alike (two different actors) are very close but I can’t remember why Lex is in the state he is. Aside from the writers having to remove Lex from all active plot duty.

Links

Smallville 8.13 Power (2009, TV) – 2/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Kristin Kreuk: Lana
Bill Mondy: Dr. Grohl
Ted Whittall: Carter Bowfry
Ari Cohen: Regan
Writer: Todd Slavkin
Writer: Darren Swimmer
Director: Allison Mack

Smallville 8.13 Power (2009)

When Lana disappears, Clark discovers more about what she has been doing before she reappeared at Chloe’s wedding but won’t be prepared for sheer hare-brained-ness of her machinations.

2/10

Now Smallville has had some eyebrow-raising plots in its time but this is a doozy even by their audience-insulting standards. There’s a saying that ‘if everyone’s special, no-one’s special’ and that applies in spades to Smallville. The writers have consistently tested the patience of their audience by supplying an endless roster of beings with super-powers but this new development, while consistent in the show, is just depressing. Kristin Kreuk has lost whatever charm and chemistry she had in the first few seasons and Tom Welling is definitely just going through the motions. This episode was directed by Allison Mack who plays Chloe and she does nothing to disguise the stupendous ridiculousness of the plot. Also, I’d just like to point out that when I go and visit a friend, I still knock on the door and wait for an answer; I don’t just walk straight in.

This Smallville episode contains extreme violence and sensuality.

Links

Smallville 8.12 Bulletproof (2009, TV) – 7/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
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
Kristin Kreuk: Lana
Phil Morris: John Jones
David Paetkau: Danny Turpin
Byron Lawson: Terrence
Jim Thorburn: Joe Simmons
Ty Olsson: Talbert
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Director: Morgan Beggs

Smallville 8.12 Bulletproof (2009)

John Jones gets himself shot by a sniper and, suspecting an inside job and with Chloe’s help, Clark goes undercover as a policeman. Meanwhile, Lana is about to open Tess’s eyes regarding Lex Luthor and his true nature.

7/10

This is a good episode with an impressively impossible (but entertaining) revelation for Cassidy Freeman’s Tess Mercer and an interesting and worthwhile attempt, by Tom Welling’s Clark Kent, to rescue people through moral readjustment rather than hurling people through doors and windows. Kristin Kreuk gets in some practice for her upcoming Chun-Li Streetfighter movie by having a fight scene with Cassidy Freeman and they do the hurling people through doors and windows thing this week. The writers hope you’ve forgotten about the birth of Doomsday last week but I, for one, am not looking forward to his return. The writers also probably hope that you don’t notice that the reason for Jones’ shooting is that he works on his own which seems a bit slim as a motive for rmurder. I mean, if he’d spilt their milk or written ‘Danny is gay’ on the toilet wall or something, well, then I’d understand but ‘that guy spends too much time working alone’ ‘yeah, he deserves to die’? Hmmm.

This Smallville episode contains extreme melee violence.

Links

Smallville 8.11 Legion (2009, TV) – 5/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Sam Witwer: Davis Bloome
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Kristin Kreuk: Lana
Ryan Kennedy: Rokk
Alexz Johnson: Imra
Calum Worthy: Garth
Writer: Geoff Johns
Director: Glen Winter

Smallville 8.11 Legion (2009)

With Chloe consumed by Brainiac and now incubating Davis into Doomsday permanently, Clark is distracted from his initial by a huge dude materialising in the barn and nearly chopping him in half with an axe.

5/10

This an episode packed with new characters (this episode only) and interesting elements but doesn’t quite come together. It’s heart is definitely in the right place, though, and that makes it worthwhile. Unfortunately, Tom Welling isn’t very good here. He appears half-hearted, is laden with clunky dialogue and looks like he’ll be glad when it’s over. It’s a shame as he’s been so good for so long and his lacklustre performances this season may override the memory of his earlier good work. The episode brings up the thoughts of Cal-el’s principles and the reality of meeting a legend you only knew through history books and both are interesting but their potential is not realised.

This Smallville episode contains extreme and graphic fantasy violence, gory and unpleasant.

Links

Smallville 8.10 Bride (2008, TV) – 5/10

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Sam Witwer: Davis Bloome
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Kristin Kreuk: Lana
Writer: Al Septien
Writer: Turi Meyer
Director: Jeannot Szwarc

Smallville 8.10 Bride (2008)

It’s Chloe and Jimmy’s big day but it’s violently and rudely interrupted by… a large man in a monster suit. Or the terrifying murderlising Davis Bloome’s alter-ego, if you insist.

5/10

What is it about the Lois / Clark dynamic that has worked so well across the written, the drawn, television and movies? I don’t know but it’s working its magic again and Erica Durance continues her good run of form by making doe eyes at Clark. Elsewhere Smallville delivers a typically unconvincing plot even boasting wifi tech that works without electricity, a depressing Special Guest Star slot for Kristin Kreuk (bizarrely, she has absolutely no chemistry with Tom Welling anymore and her character has no charm) and, most disappointing, a really obvious man-in-a-suit for the horror climax. Nevertheless, praise must be delivered for Smallville not delivering images of people being ripped into pieces or scooping various internal organs back in or any other of the possible super-graphic super-violence the show delivered over the last few seasons.

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

Links

Smallville 8.09 Abyss (2008, TV) – 2/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Sam Witwer: Davis Bloome
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Terence Stamp: The Voice of Jor-El
Writer: Don Whitehead
Writer: Holly Henderson
Director: Kevin G. Fair

Smallville 8.09 Abyss (2008)

Chloe realises that Brainiac is starting to have a negative effect on her (the murder she committed a couple of weeks ago was apparently fine) when she loses great chunks of her memory including fiancée Jimmy. With Clark being one of her oldest friends, he’ll be one of the last things she’ll forget but he has a plan that can restore her memory. A slightly, as it turns out, cunning plan.

2/10

This is another weak episode and it’s not coincidence that it is again concentrating on the overarching story. The memory loss effects are well done and it’s great to see the awesome car-catching that revealed Clark’s secret again but Allison Mack is clearly embarrassed by the plot and dialogue. Welling also is largely just remembering his lines and isn’t giving it his all. This is a series changing episode but it’s not well done and not convincing. It’s a shame as this is the biggest change in the Smallville universe this season. However, Clark’s choice and decision is an interesting and poignant one and, presumably, closes the Brainiac Chloe storyline. In the ewww stakes, lumpy-faced gonna-be big-bad Sam Witwer really starts hitting on Chloe. A strong stomach is required. And I have always hated Terence Stamp as Jor-El. Hate, hate, hate. *stamps feet petulantly* He also supplies the epilogue hook regarding the impending reveal of Doomsday so expect a, hopefully brief, return to Smallville’s horrific über-violence in an episode soon.

This Smallville episode contains unpleasant scenes.

Links

Smallville 8.08 Bloodline (2008, TV) – 1/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Sam Witwer: Davis Bloome
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Laura Vandervoort: Kara
Writer: Caroline Dries
Director: Michael Rohl

Smallville 8.08 Bloodline (2008)

Clark is sent the blue Kryptonite crystal and, being a bit of a super-genius, picks it up presuming that nothing bad will happen this time. Ah.

1/10

All the actors know that this is an awful episode and it comes across in their peforiamcens especially Welling who looks irritated and disinterested. It starts with Kara not recognising Clark or Lois and continues all previous comments regarding The Phantom Zone being summarily dismissed (there is another secret exit built by Zor’el and, in any case, Brainiac Chloe can just pull people out of it as she pleases). Chloe’s character is nearly unwatchable. However, continuing her good run Erica Durance is good again and now that Oliver Green has emerged from his drunken party-boy stupor Justin Hartley’s moments are strong. Also, depressingly, there are no lasting effects of anything despite Lois driving a pole through Sam Witwer and taking out a wall and a fire truck at Metropolis Hospital. After a few good solid episodes, Smallville returns to the overarching story and falls flat on its face.

This Smallville episode contains extreme fantasy violence, very gory and unpleasant scenes.

Links

Smallville 6.07 Identity (2008, TV) – 6/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Kyle Schmid: Sebastian Kane
Writer: Todd Slavkin
Writer: Darren Swimmer
Director: Mairzee Almas

Smallville 8.07 Identity (2008)

Clark’s efforts to keep his night-time activities a secret hit, at super-speed naturally, a big speed bump when Jimmy Olsen manages to snap a picture of him in the process of rescuing Lois. Meanwhile, there’s a memory-reading meteor freak-of-the-week in the area and he’s looking for the crystal that was taken from Tess.

6/10

After last week’s clunker, Smallville delivers a decent solid episode with a couple of great hooks including the pre-title sequence where Jimmy takes a snap of Clark doing his thing and the climax involving Chloe. I think it a mistake to reference Iraq but it’s what American television writers do when they want to make a journalist sound serious and responsible. On a better note, it was nice to see a flip side to season six episode Hydro (the one where Clark pretended to be Green Arrow) and that it results in Oliver Queen finally crawling out of his bottle.

This Smallville episode contains strong violence.

Links

Smallville 8.06 Prey (2008, TV) – 2/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Samuel Witwer: Davis Bloome
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Phil Morris: "Detective John Jones"
Tyler Johnston: Randy
Writer: Kelly Souders
Writer: Brian Peterson
Director: Michael Rohl

Smallville 8.06 Prey (2008)

Clark is now spending his nights rescuing everyone he can but arrives too late on a scene of intense supernatural violence. He finds an unconscious Davis Bloome but Bloome later confesses to Chloe that, during inexplicable blackouts, he thinks himself responsible.

2/10

This is an almost entirely broken episode with random scripting and an entirely non-sensical story. Chloe and Clark have an interesting trust issue which is the best thing about this episode but it’s so badly handled (Clark apologises then disses Chloe all in the same conversation) that it undermines what could have been a fascinatig dialogue. I hate to say it, thanks to her run of good episodes where she wasn’t being bolshy, I missed Lois this week.

This Smallville episode contains strong violence, inferred extreme violence, gory and unpleasant scenes and non-sexual nudity.

Links

Smallville 8.05 Committed (2008, TV) – 6/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
David Lewis: Jeweler
Writer: Bryan Q. Miller
Director: Glen Winter

Smallville 8.05 Committed (2008)

Chloe and Jimmy celebrate their engagement with a party. Lois celebrates their engagement by looking hot and getting inebriated. After the party, however, Chloe and Jimmy are kidnapped by the villain-of-the-week who straps them into lie-detectors and threatens to electrocute them if they don’t answer his questions about their relationship truthfully.

6/10

Despite the (presumably as I’ve never seen them) Saw and Hostel-inspired scenes of game-show torture (get an answer wrong and your partner gets electrocuted), this is largely an interesting and well-performed relationship-themed episode with Chloe and Jimmy, Lois and Clark, and Oliver and Tess under the spotlight and, refreshingly, the baddie-of-the-week isn’t a meteor-freak. Just a psychopath. Anyway, Chloe and Jimmy get an entirely unnecessary and unconvincing revelation about his parents. Lois and Clark attempt to cover over their experience with, presumably, more lies. Oliver disappointedly finds himself ‘scratching Tess’ itch.’ And so an episode whose theme was a positive message urging couples to be truthful with each other somehow leaves the episode on an unnecessarily negative moral note and that’s a shame.

This Smallville episode contains bad language, adult dialogue and unpleasant scenes of electrocution, strong violence.

Links

Smallville 8.04 Instinct (2008, TV) – 5/10 review

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Charlotte Sullivan: Maxima
Writer: Al Septien
Writer: Turi Meyer
Director: James L. Conway

Smallville 8.04 Instinct (2008)

Tess sends a signal through the blue Kryptonite crystal and Maxima, an alien princess whose kiss is deadly to humans, comes a-calling looking for Kryptonian companionship.

5/10

Though this is an easily-criticisable episode, the alien princess isn’t hot (sorry Charlotte Sullivan) and Chloe’s role as the deus ex machina is eyebrow-raising in it’s laziness, a lack of super-mega-violence again means that this is entirely watchable and, I feel, a little of the old Smallville feeling is creeping back into the show. The episode concentrates on recognisable relationship issues and, surprisingly, provides two good episodes in a row for Erica Durance. Hence a possibly generous five stars and a glimmer of genuine hope for the entertainment value of this, supposedly, final series.

This Smallville episode contains adult dialogue and unpleasant scenes and strong sensuality.

Links

Hollywoodland (2006, Movie) – 6/10

Director: Allen Coulter
Writer: Paul Bernbaum
Adrien Brody: Louis Simo
Diane Lane: Toni Mannix
Ben Affleck: George Reeves
Bob Hoskins: Edgar Mannix
Lois Smith: Helen Bessolo
Robin Tunney: Leonore Lemmon

Hollywoodland (2006)

Former Superman television star George Reeves commits suicide but his mother is certain that her boy would never do such a thing and hires private investigator Louis Simo to poke around and stir things up.

6/10

With the material being a bit thinner than director Allen Coulter (Damages) thinks it is, his elegantly-measured pace conspires to make this film feel rather long. A bit of judicous trimming around Adrien Brody’s investigations (which tend to be telling people that George Reeves was murdered and would they please tell him who done it) and family and business life probably would help but that’s not to say it’s not of good quality. Brody is fine but Diane Lane and Ben Affleck have the more flamboyant and interesting scenes as the lover and George Reeves. Affleck, in particular, reminds us how much fun he can be on-screen and earned himself plaudits from contemporary critics.

This movie contains sexual swear words, strong adult dialogue and strong, brief melee violence, graphic gun violence and inferred sex scenes, inferred oral sex scene, sex scene, very brief nudity.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Smallville 8.01 Odyssey (2008, TV) – 3/10

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Cassidy Freeman: Tess Mercer
Justin Hartley: Oliver Queen
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator): Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
Phil Morris: Martian Manhunter
Alaina Huffman: Dinah Lance / Black Canary
Alan Ritchson: Arthur Curry / Aquaman
Ari Cohen:
Writer (Screenplay): Todd Slavkin
Writer (Screenplay): Darren Swimmer
Writer (Story): Brian Peterson
Writer (Story): Kelly Souders
Director: Kevin G. Fair

Smallville 8.01 Odyssey (2008)

Lex, now power-less Clark and Chloe are all missing but all have teams looking for them. Lois is looking for Chloe, new LuthorCorp CEO Tess Mercer is looking for Lex and Oliver Queen, Black Canary and Aquaman are looking for Clark.

3/10

Typical for the opening show of a Smallville season, this resets everything back to normal inside forty minutes without much care or thought. The more you think about it, the worse it becomes. The producers tick off another sexy outfit for Erica Durance to wear (French maid) but it’s a lone high-, well, high-ish-point. Chloe’s new power (super-IQ) does make begrudging sense given the character’s history but that doesn’t stop it being indelicately dropped into the show. Surprisingly, Smallville bedrock Tom Welling looks entirely unconvinced throughout but let’s hope that, now he has his powers back, he starts to enjoy himself in what is reported to be the final season.

This Smallville episode contains strong violence, gory and unpleasant scenes.

Links

Superman: Doomsday (2007, Movie) – 7/10

Adam Baldwin: Superman / Clark Kent
Anne Heche: Lois Lane
James Marsters: Lex Luthor
Casting: Andrea Romano
Voice Director: Andrea Romano
Producer: Bruce Timm
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Writer (Story): Duane Capizzi
Writer (Story): Bruce Timm
Writer (Screenplay): Duane Capizzi
Director: Bruce Timm
Director: Lauren Montgomery
Director: Brandon Vietti

Superman: Doomsday (2007)

When a LexCorp expedition accidentally unleashes an extraterrestrial doomsday soldier designed to be unstoppable, Superman is clearly the only being on Earth who can stop him but, for lover Lois Lane and the rest of the world, at an unthinkable cost.

7/10

The extraordinary amount of violence eventually undermines the more interesting aspects of the story and characterisations; it feels like half the movie is spent punching, headbutting or kneeing Superman in the face. While the Superman / Doomsday battle needed to deliver enough impact to place Superman’s life in genuine jeopardy (which it does), that level of violence wasn’t needed again in the movie and the later battles (which were really battles of wits not fists) undermine the impressive visceral and emotional impact of the Supes / Doomsday throwdown. Eventually, the story raises the question of what would Superman be like if he hadn’t been raised by the Kents; was his morality nature or nurture? Though it is sufficiently strong, it gets somewhat lost during all the wearisome pounding. Anne Heche is outstanding and it’s nice to see Lois is fully hot for a change.

This movie contains extreme violence, extended extreme fantasy violence, gory and unpleasant scenes and sensuality, non-sexual nudity.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Batman Begins (2005) – 9/10 superhero origins action movie review

Cast / crew
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer (Screenplay): Christopher Nolan
Writer (Screenplay): David S. Goyer
Writer (Story): David S. Goyer
Producer: Emma Thomas
Producer: Charles Roven
Producer: Larry Franco
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Batman: Bob Kane
Christian Bale: Bruce Wayne / Batman
Michael Caine: Alfred
Liam Neeson: Ducard
Katie Holmes: Rachel Dawes
Gary Oldman: Jim Gordon
Cillian Murphy: Dr. Jonathan Crane
Tom Wilkinson: Carmine Falcone
Rutger Hauer: Earle
Ken Watanabe: Ra’s Al Ghul
Mark Boone, Jr.: Flass
Linus Roache: Thomas Wayne
Morgan Freeman: Lucius Fox

Batman Begins (2005)

Billionaire Bruce Wayne, traumatized by the murder of his parents when he was a child, drops everything in the face of a humiliating realisation about his lack of understanding of the ‘real world’. He disappears, presumed dead by everyone in Gotham, and is taken under the wing of Ra’s Al Ghul who heads up the League of Shadows, an underground organization devoted to ridding the world of injustice. Finding kinship and understanding, Wayne welcomes the training and both look forward to cleansing Gotham of evil.

9/10

Quality return to form for the winged super-hero franchise. It hits highs (two of Batman’s lines: "It’s not what I am underneath, it’s what I do that defines me" and "And you’ll never have to" both made even cooler by Batman leaping off a building as a punctuation mark) as high as Tim Burton’s Batman but this doesn’t have a Kim Basinger subplot that doesn’t work so remains terrific throughout. Now there are four classic superhero movies: Superman (1978) remains the benchmark but this fits right in with Batman (1989) and X2 (2003).

This movie contains strong melee violence, brief graphic gun violence, blade violence, scary scenes of psychotropic effects.

Classified 12A by BBFC. Persons under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Links

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Smallville 7.20 Arctic (2007, TV) – 2/10

Tom Welling: Clark Kent
Michael Rosenbaum: Lex Luthor
Kristin Kreuk: Lana Lang
Allison Mack: Chloe Sullivan
Erica Durance: Lois Lane
Aaron Ashmore: Jimmy Olsen
Laura Vandervoort: Kara
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Jerry Siegel
Writer (Characters’ Creator) Superman: Joe Shuster
Developer for Television: Alfred Gough
Developer for Television: Miles Millar
James Marsters: Brainiac
Robert Picardo: Edward Teague
Ari Cohen:
Writer: Don Whitehead
Writer: Holly Henderson
Director: Todd Slavkin

Smallville 7.20 Arctic (2007)

Edward Teague runs to South America after his run-in with Clark and Lex but Kara intercepts his flight, extracts the location of the device that controls The Traveler… and kills him. Clark tries to convince her that she has changed since travelling back to Krypton but she flies off and starts to assist Lex and the device.

2/10

This has been an awful season, largely dull, largely incompetently written and, again, sometimes astonishingly violent and horrible. Appropriately, this is an awful episode to close things out. I had already called the Kara plot twist but it didn’t stop it being lazily resolved. Lex finally steps foot in the Fortress of Solitude and while the events are predictably monumental, it’s delivered without impact or, bizarrely, crescendo. The scenes between Lex and Clark have always been the crux of Smallville and that dynamic has been lost this season. Considering we’ve waited seven years for these scenes, it’s a big disappointment. What’s even more disappointing is our knowledge of how Smallville consistently treats its season cliffhangers and so we can be sure that these events will be given short change in the first one or two episodes next season. I’m not sure if I’ll bother watching.

This Smallville episode contains extremely unpleasant scenes, extreme violence, extreme fantasy violence, extremely dangerous imitable behaviour.

Links

Smallville 7.19 Quest (2007, TV) – 2/10

Smallville 7.19 Quest (2007)

Lex is attacked, again, by the bank manager from Zurich, this time at Luthor Mansion. The assailant incapacitates Lex and gruesomely carves Kryptonian symbols into his chest.

2/10

This is boring and horrible. The only interest comes from Clark being explicitly asked why he hasn’t destroyed Lex. He doesn’t offer an answer (the questioner doesn’t deserve it) but Welling sells the moment and the script tackles the topic near the end of the episode. Director Kenneth Biller cannot disguise the thinness of the script (though it’s not particularly bad) but, together with the make-up department, makes a couple of scenes far more gruesome and horrible than they needed to be.

This Smallville episode contains extremely gruesome and unpleasant scenes, extremely unpleasant violence, violence and sensuality.

Smallville 7.18 Apocalypse (2007, TV) – 7/10

Smallville 7.18 Apocalpyse (2007)

After deciding that the world would be better off without him, Clark makes no effort to get to past Krypton to stop Brainiac but a distraught Chloe presses the shield into his hands and urges him to change his mind. He doesn’t want to but suddenly the shield activates and sends Clark back in time to a Smallville where he never arrived.

7/10

Well, astoundingly, a good episode. While it suffers from the same problems common to all time-travel stories, writers Turi Meyer and Al Septien largely refrain from writing stupid dialogue and actions. Additionally, Tom Welling, as director, makes a good job of staging and pacing the episode (stock footage from Terminator 3 and Superman very well integrated), sorts out some nice scenes between himself and Erica Durance and doesn’t make things horribly violent when other directors on this show would have gone out of their way to show gruesome ultra-violence (though this may be due to a plot cliffhanger that should be explained next week). Even with the necessarily contrived plot and the ever-irritating presence of Terence Stamp’s voice as Jor-El, this episode is entertaining, fun to watch and reminds you of why you’ve been watching Smallville in the first place. I hope this isn’t just a quality blip and that the producers can end this miserable season on a high.

This Smallville episode contains brief graphic violence.