By Marc S. Sanders

Despite being a little distracted by a drunk patron sitting next to me, I thought Molly’s Game was very good. It doesn’t measure up to The Social Network, and I feel justified in comparing the two because the sharp, fast dialogue follows what appears to be an intentionally similar narrative from writer, and here director, Aaron Sorkin.

Sorkin in his directorial debut uses great techniques for film editing to match the beats of his dialogue.  His opening voiceover of Jessica Chastain as Molly describing the ultimate worst sports experience will get your heartbeat racing.  It draws you into the film right away.

Chastain is good, but maybe a little over the top.  I needed a little more convincing that she was actually this brilliant, inventive and resourceful woman who was also considered one of the world’s greatest skiers.  Can’t put my finger on it but something was missing with her playing the Molly Bloom role.  Was she really holding her own against these high stakes guys who take big risks in her personally constructed poker ring?  I’m just not sure.

Felt the same about Kevin Costner in the role of her father.  He’s supposed to be an incredibly brilliant psychologist and an intimidating patriarch.  Yet Costner doesn’t fit that mold for me here.  Couldn’t feel the pressure from Dad on his daughter.  Someone else might have been stronger.

Michael Cera too.  I think he is playing a combination variation of Tobey Maguire & Leonardo DiCaprio, two of the most famous celebs that participated in the real Molly Bloom’s underground poker games, but Michael Cera?  Really?  He doesn’t carry the weight or looks of guys like that.  There just was not enough power or presence from him.

None of these actors were the worst options for this cast, I just think the film could have used more appropriate performers. There was more appropriate talent out there, I’m sure.

Idris Elba is great, however.  He’s blessed with an awesome Sorkin monologue in the 3rd act of the film, and he hits every note.

A great script.  A great story worthy of being a big screen film and it’s got me interested to learn more about the real Molly Bloom, including reading her novel.


By Marc S. Sanders

How Susan Sarandon did not even get nominated for an Oscar for Ron Shelton’s Bull Durham, I’ll never know. Shelton writes the character of the lustrous, Annie Savoy with grace, wisdom and silky sex appeal. It remains one of the best female characters to ever appear on a screen and no one else could have played the part other than Sarandon.

Shelton’s sensational script opens with Annie’s declaration that she believes in the “church of baseball” and from there it waxes poetic on the sport’s religion and traditions as Annie uses her charm to seduce the Durham Bulls’ newest talent, dim witted pitcher Eppy Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh (Tim Robbins) leaving the team’s experienced catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) wanting more. That is until Annie realizes that she’s the one who wants more.

Davis is recruited to groom Nuke for the big leagues. Nuke has got a million dollar fast ball arm but he “…fucks like he pitches. Sort of all over the place.” Crash is the frustrated player with talent but the sun is setting on his opportunity for the big leagues. Dumb Nuke has a future that just doesn’t seem fair to Crash. Annie is no help when she chooses Nuke over Crash to hook up with for the season.

Shelton explores so many dimensions in his script. It does not solely focus on the three primary characters. The screenplay stirs in a mixture of what it’s like to serve on a minor league team with bats and gloves that are cursed, the urge for a rain out game or what present to get Bobby and Millie for their wedding. A call to the mound might settle some of these things.

Shelton directs his script with a very natural approach. Watch Crash and Annie flirt in a batting cage. Costner and Sarandon don’t even flinch as the balls whiz between them. Baseball is a part of these characters. They live and breathe baseball and they relish sex.

Shelton’s last 15 minutes of film offer a celebration of sexual release that appears pleasant, fun and somewhat religious as the chemistry between Costner and Sarandon remains strong. They rattle the whole house it seems and the kitchen will never be the same.

Robbins is great with his idiocy. He wasn’t as well known when this film was released in 1988. His surprise appearance of stupidity is so lovable and welcome. When he tries to think he gets himself in trouble. When he listens to his coaches, Annie and Crash, he excels. The pains he goes through upon their advice is ridiculously hilarious. Don’t forget to breathe through your eyelids, Nuke.

I also gotta recognize Robert Wuhl and Trey Wilson as the managers of the team. They are hilarious but not overt. Wuhl is great as he bellows out encouraging but incomprehensible cheers from the dugout. Wilson looks on with tired facial expressions.

This cast is invested in the cloth of America’s pastime. They know the batting averages. They read the signs. They play for the crowds. It’s as if Shelton moseyed into the town of Durham, North Carolina, put his camera up and watched how another season all played out. His lens could have been working with a documentary mindset.

Bull Durham is one of the best scripts ever written full of brilliant one liners and philosophies that I might not entirely understand what any of it is referencing. Yet when Annie or Crash carry on, I can’t help but suddenly get interested.

Bull Durham is the best baseball film ever made performed by an outstanding cast led by a director with a clear, wide-open vision.

Play ball!!!


By Marc S. Sanders

The western motif of filmmaking really comes alive with the 1990 winner for Best Picture, Dances With Wolves starring Kevin Costner in his astounding directorial debut. Until now, this film eluded me. I just never got around to seeing it. Watching it now is to recognize the parallels of current events in the year 2020. A Native American Facebook friend of mine recently lauded the takedown of a statue of Christopher Columbus. At the risk of sounding like I’m taking political side (I insist that I’m not!), I think understand her position a little more. I’m not saying I agree or disagree with this topic. I’m just saying I understand.

After committing what was seemingly an act of suicide, but instead is recognized as heroic in the eyes of the Union army during the Civil War, John Dunbar (Costner) is offered the pick of location for his next post. He opts for Fort Sedgwick because he wants to witness the frontier out west before it will likely be taken over by the white Americans. As Dunbar waits for fellow infantrymen to arrive, he gets the old fort into shape with his trusty horse Sisco. He also encounters companionship in a lone wolf he names Two Socks. The wolf only gradually learns to trust Dunbar, but that’s a project for the infantryman to occupy himself with. That, and keeping his personal journal.

Shortly after he’s settled in, he comes upon a Sioux Indian named Kicking Bird (an excellent Graham Greene). He and Dunbar are the first to develop trust with one another. Eventually, Dunbar’s good nature allows him the opportunity to rescue a white woman who lives with the Sioux tribe known as Stands With A Fist (Mary McDonnell). She has attempted to kill herself following the death of her husband. As the film continues, she becomes the translator between Dunbar and the other Indian leaders, allowing the story and relationships to move along.

The script by Michael Blake is fascinating simply because we are granted plenty of opportunities for the tribespeople to speak in their native tongue. Forgive me, I thought for a little about Hollywood’s most famous Indian, Tonto, and his laughably limited English. Here, language is instead limited for the white man as Costner does his best charade of buffalo to find initial common ground with the tribe’s holy man played by Greene.

Hollywood westerns seem to equate American Indians as savages, the bad guys of the films, complete with tomahawks and bow and arrows and bellowed battle cries for expression. Not here. Dunbar’s loneliness at the fort without another white man in sight does not allow for the ease of prejudice to interfere. Instead, he is a character who must learn to be accepted by the greater populace. When he is, he realizes that his true name is Dances With Wolves and not John Dunbar. That’s a fascinating character arc of change. The setting and the community within that location change the character. I was really moved by it.

As well, there is struggle and disagreements among the Indian population. Perhaps it truly is in the nature of humanity to be that way. The Sioux tribe must contend violently with the Pawnee tribe in a struggle to protect their territory and their food and supplies. Yet, that is wholly different from what drives the war that Dunbar has heroically served in. It’s not until Dunbar fights alongside his Sioux friends that he realizes he’s not an infantryman. This is another example of Costner effectively directing himself to find a new and enriching identity for his character.

A third example of character change stems from the eventual and expected love story that unfolds between Dunbar and Stands With A Fist. It’s something I’ve seen in countless other films. However, Mary McDonnell is quite good as the white woman whose English is close to being entirely replaced by the Native American tongue. She seems so indoctrinated within the Sioux tribe that when she first comes on the screen I questioned if she was a natural born Indian or an actual white woman.

Costner’s film is full of magnificent imagery. Gorgeous landscapes of the filming locations of South Dakota are like perfect paintings of open fields and endless blue sky. The blu ray transfer I watched was eye popping.

One of the greatest moments was a sequence involving a buffalo stampede. Costner with cast all on horseback ride within, as well as parallel to the animals and if ever a widescreen shot should be appreciated, this is a moment to turn to. The score moves beautifully with the pounding of the horses and buffalo stampeding across the open plains.

A personal sidenote is in regards to John Barry, the film’s music composer. I know this is an unfair criticism but at times his score is so strikingly similar to his work on various James Bond films that it was a distraction for me. Other times, Barry’s work lent well in some of the action scenes.

Nonetheless, what an incredible achievement that Costner commanded. He gives a terrific performance, but his direction is what truly stands out. Particularly, with the battle scenes and animal footage, I questioned how he managed to accomplish all of it. It’s just spectacular.

Dances With Wolves is certainly worthy of the accolades it attained and the reputation it still holds. The production value is easy to admire and unforgettable. Beyond that though, is the converse nature the film adheres to as a Hollywood western. The culture of a Native American tribe never seemed so authentic to me as it does here, accompanied with their sense of humor or even their temptation at playful gossip when observing the central love story between Dunbar and Stands With A Fist. We see what the Sioux tribe does to survive, yes. Still, we also see how they interact with one another and converse, as well as how they respond to a new neighbor, for example.

Dances With Wolves is an authentic masterpiece of a modern western. It’s a must-see film.


By Marc S. Sanders

Brian DePalma directed the very loose cinematic adaptation of Eliot Ness’ squad of treasury agents during the 1930s prohibition era. The movie is The Untouchables, based on the famed TV show starring Robert Stack. It’s a gorgeous picture with incredible set designs, props, and Georgio Armani costume wear. It’s also bloody as hell.

Kevin Costner solidified his leading man status as the righteous Eliot Ness who swears by the law he promises to uphold, while making efforts to topple Al Capone’s (a convincing looking Robert DeNiro) massive Chicago empire that thrives on the buy and sell of illegal alcohol. Capone controls the city on all levels, from government officials down to the police force. His power is unlimited, but he has not filed his tax returns in four years. It’s crazy, but that just might bring him down.

Ness teams up with veteran beat cop Jimmy Malone played by Sean Connery, in one of the most celebrated and winning roles the Academy Awards ever bestowed. Malone knows where the underground liquor operations are located. He knows who accepts the bribes and kickbacks too. The question is how involved does he want to get. He’s the grizzled Irish mentor for Ness, and his timing is perfect for David Mamet’s script.

Memorable additions to the team also include a young and tough Andy Garcia and nerdy Charles Martin Smith as the IRS agent happy to pick up a shotgun for the cause.

DePalma’s film carries the epic look. There’s much splendor in the art direction of the film. It’s a glamorous piece of film, but it’s also just a movie.

Mamet’s script takes lots of liberties against the actual occurrences that came through historically. I do not recall hearing that The Untouchables ever took down a deal while riding horseback alongside the Canadian Mounties, for example. A villainous henchman for Capone is Frank Nitti (a happily slimy Billy Drago), always dressed in bad guy white and putting on the bad guy charm. His demise in the film never happened and most certainly not so adventurous or violently, but DePalma and Mamet clearly don’t care. This is lean entertainment for action sequences set in a gorgeous gangster period. The Untouchables is a slick looking gangster flick and nothing more.

A real star of the film is the Oscar nominated score of the film from The Maestro, himself, Ennio Morricone. His opening piece of drum beats with quick piano keys during the credits will get your pulse going. He also has great horn sections that capture the four heroes in tight shots of shining cinematography from Stephen H Burum. For me personally, this is my favorite soundtrack of Morricone’s massive career.

Costner is well cast. He has the handsome hero look to him. Garcia became a well-known and sharp looking tough guy. Smith did not move on to more celebrated material beyond this. He was remembered comedically here, just as he was in American Graffiti. He also directed since this film. As a team though, Costner, Garcia, Smith and Connery have wonderful chemistry together.

DeNiro actually took a step back from the spotlight here. His Al Capone is not so much a character as he is an every so often antagonizing appearance with a couple of well paced lines from Mamet’s famed dialogue. He’s got a memorable moment with a baseball monologue that convinces you of Capone’s strong arm, but his villain does not get too personal with the hero.

The Untouchables holds a special place in my heart. It was the last film I saw before my life changing move from New Jersey to Florida in 1987. Because the move was hard on me from a teenager’s perspective, I found great escape with this film as I memorized the lines of the enormously colorful characters along with getting absorbed by the violence and emotional variety of tones in the score. Having watched the movie many times since it was released, it’s become a kind of therapeutic experience for me. I take in the gorgeous craftsmanship of the film, the humor and the surprise moments many of the beloved characters face.

The Untouchables is not a perfect film I thought it was at age fourteen. It’s almost proud of its admitted inaccuracies, but it remains a favorite and very personal piece for me. I still love the film, all these years later.


By Marc S. Sanders

The first time I saw Zack Snyder’s Man Of Steel, I was disappointed.  Very disappointed.  It was only after a second viewing about a year later that I realized I was simply biased and unfair with my perception of the film.  I grew up with the Richards’, Donner and Lester, films that featured Christopher Reeve in the role of Superman/Clark Kent.  Nothing could violate what was done in those films from the ’70s and ’80s. 

My impression of Man Of Steel now is that it is a marvelous film.  It’s an exploration of a stranger in a strange land questioning how to adapt to a living environment that he is not from, nor where anyone around him is genetically built like him either.  Henry Cavill fills the role of the title character.  What’s especially important is that he is not attempting to do what Reeve memorably did before him.  Actually, David S Goyer’s script really doesn’t allow for the hijinks of the prior films.  Clark Kent is not portrayed as a goofy and lovable klutz this time around.  Instead, the boy from Smallville, Kansas is challenged to limit his abilities at the behest of his Earthling father, Jonathan (Kevin Costner).  It’s dangerous for Clark to show all that he is capable of from his super strength to his heat vision.  Clark’s Earth mother, Martha (Diane Lane), is more protective of her son.  A really powerful scene occurs when young Clark is in the classroom and he has a bout with sensory overload of super hearing and super x-ray vision.  He can’t get the encompassing sounds and sights out of his head.  One of many CGI effects in the film come with Snyder showing the skeletal insides of Clark’s classmates and teachers.  It’s frightening; even to an innocent alien boy from another world.  This is good conflict.  Does the world need Clark Kent?  Would Clark Kent be better off someplace else?  Can he manage to live with daily life drowning out his sensibilities?

Another dilemma opens the film on Clark’s home planet of Krypton where he was born with the name Kal-el.  His father, Jor-el (Russell Crowe) has insisted to the governing body that the planet is expected to self destruct soon, and civilization needs to be relocated to another planet.  The politicians refuse to accept his theory.  Jor-el’s friend, the military leader General Zod (Michael Shannon) sides with his opinion.  Though his approach is violent insurrection of the Kryptonians.  Zod is punished for his crimes and sentenced to an eternal prison known as The Phantom Zone before baby Kal-el is shipped away, and the planet implodes with all its inhabitants.

Following this opening, Snyder cuts his film with flashbacks and forwards showing Clark in various different roles as either a fishing boat crewman or a bartender trying his best to remain undercover even when the temptation for use of his powers repeatedly shows itself.  Clark reflects on moments from his childhood when he and his Earth parents questioned how to present himself.  

Superman’s known love interest eventually shows herself, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the Daily Planet, Lois Lane (Amy Adams).  She’s following up on an alien ship that has been discovered in the arctic after 20,000 years.  Clark and Lois connect at this moment.  Of all the Superman angles that are familiar to so many of us, this is where Goyer and Snyder perhaps do not focus enough.  Man Of Steel is a satisfyingly long film, but there’s a lot of material and drawn out action to cover as well.  So the Lois and Clark relationship is somewhat sacrificed and not as nuanced as we have experienced in other iterations.

Zod arrives on Earth requesting that Kal-el reveal himself along with the intent to destructively turn Earth into a new Krypton at the sacrifice of the planet’s human population.  Naturally, a city wide battle will ensue. and lemme tell you reader you wanna talk about destroying the village just to save it….well…that’s what happens here.  When New York got destroyed in Marvel’s The Avengers or Ghostbusters, those pictures looked like spilled milk compared to what Superman and Zod do here.

Man Of Steel is the best film of the new Warner Bros/DC universe.  It might be Zack Snyder’s best film as well.  The assembly of the picture is masterful.  Hans Zimmer’s score has these great build ups as Clark discovers more of his capabilities.  It especially lends to when the character dons the cape and costume for the first time ready to leap in the sky and fly.  Snyder shows the efforts needed for Superman to carry out this talent.  The flying doesn’t come easy.  It looks like work on the super hero.  Zimmer’s score starts out quiet and then advances to these powerful notes as Superman soars higher and higher.  The boy from Kansas is making himself into something greater that he has no familiarity with.

Michael Shannon plays another of many kinds of villains and antagonists on his resume.  I’m not sick of this guy’s antics yet.  It’s time he become a James Bond villain.  He plays Zod with an uncompromising determination and disregard for anything else but to rule.  It’s all very sci fi like but I love how unforgiving he is with the role.  Much less Shakespearean than when Terrance Stamp played the part so well with Reeve as the hero.  Shannon is more direct and bloodthirsty.  Michael Shannon just knows how to be scary on film. This kind of personality would work great in a silly comedy from the Farrelly brothers as well.

Amy Adams is fine as Lois, but there’s not much here to work with honestly.  More details of her relationship with Superman come through in later films.  However, this story development soured me on my initial viewing.  The iconic irony of Superman pathos is that as sharp a reporter as Lois Lane is, she can not realize that the guy wearing the glasses who is working right next to her is actually Clark Kent?!?!?! Readers and viewers were always thankfully in on the joke.  On follow up viewings of Man Of Steel, I understand that Goyer and Snyder were never aiming for irony.  Lois knows who Clark really is from the get go. What was once an unforgivable departure for me, no longer is a concern.  There are deeper angles to question in Man Of Steel, like a purpose to others and the freedom to force a change because it can be done.

Snyder and Goyer broach on the well known Christ allegory with Superman.  The film takes place in Clark’s thirty third Earth year.  Jor-el is slain with with a stabbing to his rib.  There’s also the crucifixion  pose on a number of occasions.  I must admit, as a Jew raised conservatively with just the Old Testament, I am not very educated on the texts of Jesus Christ.  However, the basics are explored in Man Of Steel.  Is Superman a savior?  Snyder wisely even has Clark visit with his Smallville priest to question his obligations to Earth and to Zod’s calling, with window artwork of Christ in the background.  

One vice I have with Snyder’s picture is the shameless plugging.  How overt must signage from Sears, U-Haul, 7-Eleven and IHop be?  Granted, all of these summer blockbuster films have the inserts of brand labels going all the way back to the original Superman films.  Here though, the corporate advertising is a true eyesore.  Superman being thrown into the dining area of an IHop is not as memorably funny as when Zod’s underling, Non, crashed into New York’s famed Coca-Cola sign back in 1981.

The seemingly endless battle consuming about forty five minutes of the third act of the film are over the top outrageous.  I might normally be saying I’ve seen enough while casualties are never considered as buildings literally topple over into mushroom clouds of concrete dust.  Still, the cast keeps these moments alive.  Shannon and Cavill, along with Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, the Daily Planet editor, and Amy Adams, actually show risk and fear amid all of this bombastic action.  Still, Snyder is insistent on his freedom to go crazy with CGI effects.  It’s more than a bit much, but the characters up to this point keep me engaged with the film all the way through.  Later DC films in this franchise don’t do it so much for me, but that’s another column altogether.  

Again, what I especially like about Man Of Steel is how Snyder cuts back and forth with the film.  Heroic moments occur and then are reflected back to times in Clark’s childhood with Jonathan and Martha.  With Zimmer’s score, it seems to allow Clark to consider conversations and moments from his past as meaningful to what he is experiencing in the present.  When Zack Snyder stays on this trajectory it makes Man Of Steel more than just another comic book movie for summer box office.  There’s depth from Goyer’s script that Snyder wisely does not disregard.  

Man Of Steel is a new and unfamiliar kind of Superman, but its a very welcome Superman too.


By Marc S. Sanders

Zack Snyder may have been indulging in too many cookies from the jar when he made Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.  I can not deny how ambitious this film is, but did it ever need to be this ambitious?  There are too many storylines, too many characters, and not enough thought provoking dialogue to really make any sense of the gobblety gook that’s splattered all over the screen.

Reader, my favorite super hero of all time is Batman.  Nearly any variation of Batman (including moments from the dreadful Joel Schumacher films) contains an element that I just love about the character.  Ben Affleck is cast as The Dark Knight here.  He’s fine in the role.  I knew since he had done Daredevil, that he could pull off this part.  He might be too long in the tooth, and too busy an actor/director, for a new series of super hero films, but I digress.  That being said, the movies have gone into overkill on the Batman character.  It’s time the Gotham crusader hide in his cave for a little while and let some of the other super heroes out to play.  Snyder’s film proves my theory.  After all, the true highlight is neither title character in this movie.  

Actually Wonder Woman (Gal Godot) making her big screen debut is the draw above anything else here.  Even that is problematic, though.  I’ve seen this film twice now.  Can anyone tell me why Wonder Woman aka Diana Prince even makes an appearance in this film?  From a story perspective, what justifies Diana creeping into this film, other than to plaster her picture on DVD covers and merchandise a new action figure?

Events begin right after Snyder’s stellar Superman film, Man Of Steel.  An older and experienced Bruce Wayne is dubious of the benefits that Superman (Henry Cavill) can serve on Earth.  After all, his bout with the Krypton villain, General Zod, practically leveled Metropolis.  Heaven forbid if one day this powerful alien with the red cape goes out of control.  Bruce, as well as politicians led by Holly Hunter, ask a wise question.  Who on earth could ever stop him?  So Bruce, with assistance from Alfred (Jeremy Irons playing the well known sidekick more as a strategist, than a polite butler) begin preparing for a seemingly inevitable battle to eliminate the Kryptonian. 

Meanwhile, a young, brainy Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) is planning for his own undoing of both of these super heroes by living up to the film’s title; pitting the Bat of Gotham against the God of Metropolis; mano y mano.  Like most iterations, Luthor plays with defying the odds of nature.  In this case, he is experimenting with a green element sourced from Krypton which we all know is Kryptonite, as well as extracting blood from the corpse of Zod to create his own monster movie.  That last part feels like a side gig for the supposedly genius villain.

In addition, a mysteriously exotic and beautiful woman is turning up on various occasions.  Somehow, only Bruce seems to take notice of her.  Why?  I don’t know.  There’s really no purpose for him to scope out this person amid a sea of other extras attending a Luthor gala. 

There’s also Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane).  There’s a retread of Bruce Wayne’s origin story that we’ve seen countless times before.  There’s a bitter and disabled former employee of Wayne Enterprises.  There’s a dream sequence showing vague plague like foreshadowing to come.  There’s an arms dealer/terrorist sequence in the desert for Lois to investigate, and another figure for Bruce to track.  There’s the eventual gladiator battle between the two heroes, and then there’s another battle thereafter for the two guys to team up with the the woman who carries a magic lasso to defeat a Doomsday monster; likely rejected sketches from the Harry Potter and Star Wars franchises.  Oh yeah.  There’s also some teaser material for what’s yet to come in the DC cinematic universe.

Do you see where I am going with all of this?  There’s just too much stuff here.  Eventually it all gets tedious.  A laundry list of storylines with little to no connection with one another feels burdensome.  I wish the screenwriters, Chris Terrio and David S Goyer, finished writing a script before starting another script.  As lengthy as all of these stories feel, they also seem unfinished, and, I can’t understand why.  

Forgive me.  It’s easy to compare the DC Comics film adaptations to the Marvel Comics films that Disney now owns.  The latter franchise seems well structured and outlined.  The former franchise helmed by Snyder seems rushed to catch up to everything that Marvel has already accomplished.  If the intent was to have a huge franchise of films, then why smash all of your material together in one sitting?

That gets back to my viewpoint on Batman.  Why Batman, all over again?  Snyder and the producers really aced it with the casting of Gal Godot.  She is Wonder Woman.  Snyder also struck gold on Man Of Steel with Cavill as Superman.  I wanted more exploration of that guy.  So why make this a Superman and Batman film?  We’ve seen enough Batman through the last thirty years.  Let’s give someone else a chance.  Much could have been accomplished had this installment been a Superman and Wonder Woman team up with maybe a teaser ending of a new Batman yet to come.  This Batman shows me nothing I hadn’t already seen.  There’s a new car and gadgets and cables to swing from.  It’s all been done before.  Lemme see some of what this Wonder Woman can do.  As well, if Wonder Woman is here, then tell me why she is here.  Again, she just comes out of nowhere and never explains why she’s there.  My wife and daughter tried to explain it to me.  Apparently, she wants to acquire a photograph of her with her war comrades from the first World War, and Lex Luthor is in possession of it.  Really?  That’s it?  She just needs to get a sentimental photograph back?  By the way, why does Lex have this photo, and how did she know he has it anyway?

Good stories always answer questions with more questions until it’s eventually tied off at the end.  Moments in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice seem to begin in the middle of their stories with questions that did not answer questions that likely came before, and by the end of the picture, there’s no ending or answers in sight.

I had already reviewed Wonder Woman, and in that column I specifically noted that DC films with Warner Bros always seems to come close, but never gets it completely right.  This film boasts an impressive cast, and all are good in their respective roles.  My approach to this Lex Luthor from Eisenberg might have been different if I were in charge; make him more like a Steve Jobs kinda guy rather than a slight variation of the actor’s other famous role as Mark Zuckerberg.  Still, it’s not good enough and it’s hardly forgivable for what the filmmakers churned out with this picture.  The writers have an infinite wealth of source material to select from.  Pick up a comic book, guys!!!!  They have the funds and opportunity to divide up the best moments of these outstanding characters for the next ten years of film installments.  Nevertheless, they don’t take the time to think strategically, and flesh out the environments and the characters that inhabit these settings.  

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice is just a sloppy mountain of peas, carrots, corn and green beans, with lumpy mashed potatoes and covered in lots of over seasoned gravy.