Friday, July 3, 2015
Mini-Reviews - "Rubber" and "All-Star Superman" (2010)
Even if you've never seen this film, you probably heard of the premise and how it is utterly ridiculous - A tire comes to life, learns that it has psychic powers and becomes a serial killer.
While watching "Rubber" my reaction was the same as it was while seeing the trailer - Huh?
I don't know how else to describe it - This is a film about a killer psychic tire. How can you respond to that other than massive confusion?
To the films' credit, they do attempt to explain why it is not that baffling, with an opening narration from a police officer, as he tells the audience watching the tire come to life, that a lot of great moments in cinema happen for "no reason" like why the aliens in "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" are brown or why in "The Pianist" Adrien Brody has to live in the slums and use his talents to buy a nice house. Of course, there are reasons for why these events happen, but it does offer a different perspective, some people don't think about why they happen.
"Rubber" lives in its own little world, where it constantly reminds the audience, both the one watching the film and the other in the film watching the "film," that you're not supposed to think about why the tire is alive and how it got these powers. To look beyond that gap in logic and reason, and judge the film as piece about new life discovering its place in the universe.
I'm reminded of the ending to the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" theme song - "If you're wondering how he eats and breaths, and other science facts, then repeat to yourself 'It's just a show, I should really just relax.'"
That being said, the tire, somehow named Roger, seems intent on killing all humans.
"Rubber" is a strange piece of surreal cinema. Without breaking the fourth wall, this gives us a film within a film, where you're not exactly sure where the acting ends and where "reality" begins. It is never even explained why there is an audience in the middle of the desert watching this first, and why none of them brought food or water. But this film does a great job and showing instead of explaining, down to the convincing effects on the tire to give this inanimate object its own character.
There aren't many films that can say they've made a tire come to life and make it look realistic.
Final Grade: B-
"All-Star Superman" (2010)
This is a very simple, straight forward Superman about the misadventures of the Man of Tomorrow, as he finds out that he is slowly dying and wants to make the most of the little time he has left.
It takes advantage of the reason Clark Kent became Superman - to show people the way to lead a better existence. Superman could easily enforce his will on Earth and take it over, but he choose not to. He instead shows us kindness, forgiveness, and knowledge, never asking for anything and reminding us that we don't need super powers to become better.
Not much else to add to that. Most of the journeys and fights in this film are unconnected and to the point, including a visit from Samson and Atlas to fight the Ultra-Sphinx, Lex Luthor fighting his way through a massive prison while Superman (disguised as Clark Kent) fights Parasite, and the final battle between Superman and Lex, who has been gifted with Superman's powers for 24 hours. All of them are neat in their own right and it is nice to see a side of Superman that isn't just a guy who punches everything.
Final Grade: B-