Who would dare to open a new movie opposite both Batman and Superman? A one-hit-wonder filmmaker who’s smack-dab in the heart of a mid-life crisis, that’s who.
The idea was first teased via a billboard shown in the middle of run-down Times Square in 2007’s ‘I Am Legend‘. Nine years later, you can finally see Batman and Superman go toe-to-toe in the first true tentpole of the year, ‘Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice‘. Director Zack Snyder has returned to pit the Man of Steel against the Caped Crusader in a screenplay penned by the Oscar-winning writer of ‘Argo’ and the dull hack who latched on and somehow received writing credits for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy. The rebooted Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) is introduced to the ‘Man of Steel‘ world of Henry Cavill’s Superman in a very dark and complex way. Much like the upcoming ‘Captain America’ sequel, the two superheroes disagree with each another’s ethics and methods, leading up to a climactic battle of principle, salvation and redemption. With too much movie crammed into the 151-minute runtime, the film frequently feels extremely rushed, but ultimately raises the stakes, delivers the goods and sets itself up for a potentially awesome series of ‘Avengers’-like movies to come.
In 2002, Nia Vardalos exploded onto the big screen with the sleeper hit indie comedy ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding‘. Produced on a $5 million budget, it ultimately grossed $368.7 million in worldwide ticket sales. Since then, writer and star Vardalos has made several more movies – none of which ever found traction – and a ‘Big Fat’ TV series spinoff that was quickly canceled. Once again attempting to live off her past success, Vardalos and the entire cast have returned for ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2‘. The sequel hinges on the trope that the character’s marriage in the first movie was never actually legit, so her family is forcing her to have another big, fat Greek wedding just so we can have a sequel. As it turns out, she and her non-Greek fiancé are having marital issues, so this official wedding might serve as the band-aid to help heal their relationship. Placing it on more than 3,100 screens opposite the 4,200 screens of ‘Batman v. Superman’, Universal is betting on counter-programming to work its magic.
In limited release, the successful producer of ‘Children of Men’ and many other titles has taken to writing and directing with a great-looking bio-pic starring Tom Hiddleston. ‘I Saw the Light‘ tells the rise and pitfalls of the career of iconic country music performer Hank Williams. Elizabeth Olsen, Cherry Jones and Bradley Whitford co-star. Reviews have been mixed, but I’m still looking forward to Sony Pictures Classics expanding its platform release in the coming weeks.