Blog Archives

The Dark Apple

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

(emphasis on the latter here)

Rumor is that acclaimed actor Christian Bale is the leading candidate for portraying the late Steve Jobs in the major motion picture based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of the technology icon, with a screenplay penned by Aaron Sorkin. Fans of Bale, especially for his role as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s epic Dark Knight trilogy, cannot help but dream about the prospects of the actor bringing the same kind of intelligent, conflicted and controversial edge to the Apple co-founder (who was also intelligent, conflicted and controversial) as he did with Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego.

Every once in a while, Conan O’Brien and his team does something entertaining. The video clip below is one of those moments:

Steve Jobs’ black turtlenecks apparently had more armor than I realized…

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The Hope for Justice

“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”

Ladies and gentlemen, two years out from its release date, at least we can take comfort in the fact that the title is awesome.

It’s common knowledge that the Man of Steel sequel will take super leaps and bounds towards a Justice League movie. Add in the fact that there will be an epic battle between arguably the two biggest superheroes of all-time and the potential for this film is becoming increasingly limitless.

Still, there are a few questions that remain/should be asked:

  • Will Ben Affleck succeed as the guardian of Gotham? After Christian Bale’s masterful performance (and throw Christopher Nolan’s vision and expertise into that mix as well), all things Batman will be scrutinized. Quite frankly, after The Dark Knight trilogy, it should be. Playing this character is tricky because if an actor cannot make an audience believe they really are a dedicated and skillful crime-fighting force in an adult bat costume, while also gallivanting as a billionaire playboy in modern day Gotham City, well, then that universe falls apart in a hurry (remember George Clooney and Val Kilmer?). As we watch his portrayal on the silver screen, we’ll find out quickly what truly motivated this controversial casting decision.
  • Why not give Superman a second movie by himself to battle with Lex Luthor and a surprise villain, in which Wonder Woman and/or Batman could be teased at the end of the sequel? Man of Steel was a gritty, realistic (for a superhero movie) story of how an alien adapted to his adopted planet, adopted parents and adopted citizens with his evolving super powers. It was an origin story. Consequently, this warranted only one scene of vintage Clark Kent flirting with Lois Lane. Shouldn’t fans get a full movie of Superman battling an enemy/enemies on Earth as a newly declared human within Metropolis with Lois Lane close by? Trust me, Superman can carry a movie by himself. Just judging by the title, a little patience would have been nice…
  • Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? If he can duplicate his performance from The Social Network, he could shine as the digitally-deft villain from the Millennial generation. Like Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder and Terence Stamp, Gene Hackman is forever treasured as an icon in the Superman cinematic universe. Fans will and should compare the performances of the aforementioned actors and actress from the 1978 classic to today’s portrayals. Like the Ben Affleck casting, the Eisenberg choice will go either really well or really badly. Quick question, was Billy Zane considered for Lex Luthor? Actually, that not a quick question, that’s a very serious question.
  • Will Wonder Woman get a worthy and well-deserved character introduction with a background story or will she be introduced as more of a super sidekick? This is a powerful moment for a female superhero to shine in the spotlight for multiple generations of women and girls to see and relate to. Are they crowding the Justice pool with too many characters too quickly? Does Wonder Woman deserve an origin story?

The expectations will be super (pun intended) around this time in 2016 for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Will this movie do the modern superhero story and its beloved characters justice by soaring to new cinematic heights?

Either way, it seems fitting to put our hope in the man of steel.

Oscar’s Favorite Number This Year? 10

The Oscar nominations were announced early this morning. As is true every year, there are obvious selections in popular categories, as well as obvious snubs (Tom Hanks anyone?).

Two points today:

1. Back in 2006, my family and I saw a Broadway show called “Three Days of Rain” starring Bradley Cooper, Julia Roberts and Paul Rudd. I know what you’re thinking: who was in charge of casting? If only there could have been some quality “name” actors, right?

The story took place in an intimate apartment setting, but featured larger than life personalities. This dynamic pushed the limits of storytelling to a place that left us and the audience in an awe. We were able to escape into this world of, well, rain and a will for the father of Roberts and Rudd’s characters.

The play was great and one I will never forget, especially when Julia Roberts waved to me from her black Escalade passing us by on the street outside the theater!

2. American Hustle and Gravity dominated this morning’s party with an astonishing 10 nominations…each.

Wow.

Having seen Gravity, it’s not surprising this Space thriller and drama with the beautiful and talented Sandra Bullock has garnered a tremendous amount of respect and potential for glory come next month’s golden ceremony. In terms of cinematography, it’s virtually incomparable this year. Admittedly, I have not seen American Hustle yet, but will definitely venture to a theater near me as soon as possible. The latter film features a couple of my favorite actors (plus today’s Lois Lane) and it looks like a fun and wild ride with a top-notch cast.

There are other good movies in Best Picture category, but these two seem to rise above the rest.

Regarding Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, it’s a bit surreal to see Bradley Cooper and Julia Roberts listed…and in the same year no less. Not surprising, but just surreal that brings a smile to my face and those of my family’s who were in attendance that wonderful night in New York City (it could be argued that Paul Rudd should have received a Best Supporting Actor nod for 2013s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, but…).

Regardless, talk about “Three Stars of the Future.”

American Hustle is an exciting, elaborate portrayal of political corruption, with some ties to real life events. It features an outstanding cast: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner. Even though I have not seen it (coupled with the fact I predict I will likely really enjoy it when I do), it does seem to strike the right tone for what has transpired in 2013 (and the past few years before) in politics with our trusted “leaders.”

Conversely, Gravity has more weight to it by the fact that it ties to what most Americans (and people around the world) are facing each day: uncertainty, financial and personal struggles and feelings of isolation for how to continue with heartbreak and such frustrating prospects for improvements in the job market. The plot/story, characters, symbolism and visual imagery is absolutely stunning and provides a powerful narrative that connects with so many viewers all around the world in 2013.

Memorable movies tend to speak to a generation. Or, in Gravity’s case, more than one generation. Both movies represent us in starkly different ways, but which one do we ultimately want to celebrate and remember at this point in history?

If the choice for Best Picture comes down to celebrating an American hustle or a story of personal enlightenment and new-found strength in an environment of the seemingly impossible, the American people and those around the world may want something with a little more gravity to it.

Defining Bruce

Because of the nature of life, each of us faces an infinite number of choices and makes a finite number of decisions in our lifetimes. Just as it’s fascinating to study history on a decade-by-decade basis, the same goes for ourselves when reflecting on the person we are at various ages. For some of us, there is dramatic change and, for others, not so much. Our lives are impacted by controlled settings, while also being influenced by variable happenstance.

Relative to our own lives, with every passing minute, we make cognizant and subconscious choices about the person we want our peers to see, both familiar and unfamiliar. Do we appear to be nice? Are we seen as attractive? Do I look intelligent? Are we the same great kid we used to be? These are just a few sample questions we may ask ourselves before venturing out into the public. For most of the people we encounter, they have never met us and, therefore, don’t know who we really are. The window of opportunity is small, but the right impression can make a lasting impression. Some of us put more thought and consideration into whether or not our aura is appropriately glowing (thank you Topanga!).

Understanding what we want on a random Friday night, or in life, can be easy. Or, it can be difficult and spark deep, introspective reflections. The answers can be clear one moment and cloudy the next.

Coming to the right conclusions requires a continuous education of ourselves and of the world that surrounds us, both in relative peace and chaos.

Expect the unexpected and remember the key is being able to recognize when it’s time to swim and when it’s time to act, whatever that means.

(Please turn the volume up)