Underground Film Journal

Mainstream Film


Superman Returns

So, the good news is that Superman Returns director Bryan Singer is at least respectful to the Superman movies and mythology. This is the guy who took the X-Men out of their comic book uniforms and placed them in black military outfits for their movie franchise. But for Superman, Singer knows we have to see the Man of Steel fly, in his iconic outfit and fighting a worthy opponent when he appears on-screen.

Over the Hedge

Finally, on the milder side comes Over the Hedge, which yes I have actually seen. Although the movie, based on a comic strip, is about a gang of woodland creatures trying to survive in an expanding suburban landscape, any pro-environmental messages in the film are limited to harmless jabs

X-Men: The Last Stand

To its detriment, The Last Stand has both a humongous cast to keep track of so that no character stands in strong focus and only a vague, nebulous threat. While I liked the idea of a drug offering a “cure” to mutation, neither the administering of that drug nor evil mutant Magneto’s army out to stop the drug manufacturer seems neither particularly menacing or immediate.

The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown, of course, used that fear as a prime plot motivator for his book The Da Vinci Code. I assume most, if not all, people reading this have either read the book, seen the movie or have heard what the plot is, but I’m still going to tread lightly here.

Art School Confidential

Art School Confidential, a film that is too cynical for its own good and its goofy art students are too easy a target for the filmmakers, director Terry Zwigoff and writer Dan Clowes. Goofy art students are too easy a target for any filmmaker.

The Notorious Bettie Page

Can a 90-minute or a two-hour film get into the soul of a person? I ask because The Notorious Bettie Page has made me wonder about the fascination of filmmakers making biopics and us audiences taking the time to watch them.

Ask the Dust

Ask the Dust was Fante’s first book and was heavily influenced by the work of another obscure writer, Knut Hamsun’s Hunger. Like Hunger, Ask the Dust is primarily one long interior monologue, so to choose it for a film adaptation over his other novels seems like it would be a daunting challenge. The book reads as though it’s almost unfilmable, unlike many of Fante’s later works.


Capote the film, however, deals with none of this and focuses on the personal journey the author takes after deciding to write about the killings. The movie never explains what drew Truman to the case. He simply reads about it in the New York Times, even before the killers are caught and figures it would make a good article for the New Yorker magazine. But it’s obvious what keeps Truman interested: His evolving relationship with Perry, one of the killers.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

In the movie, the White Witch is obviously Satan while Aslan the lion is a painfully obvious Jesus metaphor complete with sacrificing his life for mankind and being resurrected, except he doesn’t wait three days. It only takes Aslan a couple hours to come back. And his resurrection is sort of on the lame side, just like the living dead bikers in Psychomania.


Although, while watching Munich, my bullshit detector didn’t go off like it did while reading The Fixer (you can read my review here). But Joe Sacco’s graphic “novel” is actually a work of comics journalism while Steven Spielberg’s film is a fictional work “inspired by a true story” (as one of the opening title cards claims). But what’s the “true” story here?