Mythology - The Superhero
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Who was the first superhero? We wont even try to answer that question.
Outside of ancient Greek mythology, surely two of the earliest and most renowned (well, at
least since 1900 anyway) remain DC Comics Superman and Batman. Although Marvel
Comics have upped the ante since the mid-1990s with the phenomenal popularity of the
AMAZING SPIDERMAN pictures, the Man Of Steel and The Caped Crusader still maintain their
place at the top of the pantheon. Join us for some of the most fun superhero cinema with Tim
Burtons welcome reinvention of The Dark Knight, BATMAN and BATMAN
RETURNS, Richard Donners SUPERMAN and Richard Lesters
SUPERMAN II (both starring the late Christopher Reeve) as well as Sam
Raimis startlingly original DARKMAN, one of the very few superhero films
not to have originated from a comic strip. Well also be screening sixties Euro
confection, DANGER: DIABOLIK, Mario Bavas pop art masterpiece adapted
from Italys long-running Diabolik comic about the super-anti-hero. Plus, dont
miss Craig Mazins underrated superhero comedy from 2000, THE SPECIALS.
Friday, November 17 7:30 PM
DARKMAN, 1990, Universal, 96 min. Dir. Sam Raimi. This
exciting, fast-paced and underrated sci-fi thriller resurrects PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and
HOUSE OF WAX in a terrific, kinetic blend with all of the EVIL DEAD directors
stylistic trademarks. Liam Neeson stars as the tragic lead, once a genius
scientist, now a conflicted superhero without a face seeking violent revenge against the
bad guys who sealed his fate. Comic book culture collides with film noir characters, and
Raimi brings his very own visual and thematic sensibility to this classic tale.
DANGER: DIABOLIK, 1967, Paramount, 100 min. Dir.
Mario Bava. "Diabolik out for all he can take, seduce or get away
!" Is there a groovier 60s flick than this surreal Euro thriller
based on the popular Italian comic strip anti-hero??! From sexy, cat-suited super-thief John
Phillip Law to gorgeous gal-pal Marisa Mell to Michel Piccolis put-upon
police inspector to Bavas ingenious mattes and glass plate production design, this
is near the zenith of 1960s Italian pop cinema delights. Ennio Morricones
psychedelic paradise of a score includes "Deep Deep Down," one of the greatest
spy-themes ever. With a very funny Terry Thomas as a stuffed-shirt official.
Saturday, November 18 7:30 PM
SUPERMAN, 1978, Warner Bros., 151 min. The film that set the
standard for all big screen comic-book adaptations before or since, director Richard
Donners spectacular SUPERMAN has been digitally restored, with eight minutes of
never-before-seen footage added, including a pivotal scene with Marlon Brando as
Supermans father, Jor-El. Virtual unknown Christopher Reeve was brilliantly
cast as the heroic Man of Steel and his bumbling counterpart Clark Kent, with terrific
support from Margot Kidder as Lois Lane and Gene Hackman as Supermans
arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor.
BATMAN, 1989, Warner Bros., 127 min. The first major
installment in the BATMAN series is also the first big budget feature by acclaimed
director, Tim Burton. Michael Keaton offers an intriguing, cast-against-type
Bruce Wayne, and Jack Nicholson goes way over the top in the legendary role
of one of the Dark Knights most warped adversaries, The Joker. The all star cast
doesnt prevent Burton from paying his respects to the essence of the comic-book and
spreading a dark magic of his own. An adult-fairytale world framed by impressive set
pieces. With Jack Palance.
Sunday, November 19 6:30 PM
SUPERMAN II, 1980, Warner Bros., 127 min. The story,
written for the screen by Mario Puzo, THE GODFATHERs creator, takes place
immediately after the first films events but in a very different spirit. The
franchise is now helmed by Richard Lester (A HARD DAYS NIGHT), the English-adopted
American director. With Lester behind the lens, the Superman saga becomes even more
thrilling and more amusing, administering tall-tale dynamics much truer to the essence of
the original comic. Three super-villains from Krypton (Terence Stamp, et. al.)
arrive on Earth to bedevil Christopher Reeves Man Of Steel and heartthrob
Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). With Susannah York. (Please note that the only
existing print is slightly faded.)
BATMAN RETURNS, 1992, Warner Bros., 126 min. With
enhanced freedom and trust from the studio, Michael Keaton reprises the role of the
Caped Crusader, and director Tim Burton achieves the best film of the series. Michelle
Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny De Vito as The Penguin deliver memorable
performances, and Burton seems more inspired than ever by the clash of beauty and beasts.
The near-operatic, increasingly dark tone was probably too much for some audience members
at the time, and the series sailed onto safer, brighter territory afterwards. With Christopher
Wednesday, November 22 7:30 PM
THE SPECIALS, 2000, Mindfire Entertainment, 82 min. Director
Craig Mazin helms this very funny spoof of outcast, outsider superheroes. Thomas
Haden Church (SIDEWAYS) is The Strobe, Rob Lowe is The Weevil and Paget
Brewster is Ms. Indestructible, all part of an obscure superhero team called The
Specials, struggling to deal with everday problems as well as the impact of fan and new
member, Nightbird (Jordan Ladd) joining their group. Discussion following with producers Mark Altman and Mark Gottwald, director Craig Mazin, and editor Jeremy Kasten.