Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Move Along, Kids 

This Justice League wasn't made for Saturday mornings.
  • This Justice League wasn't made for Saturday mornings.

Justice League: The New Frontier (Warner Bros.)
Based on Darwyn Cooke's comic-book miniseries — a masterpiece starring all of DC Comics' major-leaguers at the dawn of their immortality during the Cold War — this animated adaptation plays stronger, faster, and further than any direct-to-DVD in recent memory. It's a grown-up superheroes story, with scenes of startling violence (early and often) punctuated by bursts of curse words drawn to Cooke's retro-specific specs — don't watch with the kids, however tempting. Superman's a government lackey; Wonder Woman's a liberated, pissed-off warrior; Batman's a paranoid father; and the Flash and Green Lantern are minor figures with starring roles. Also included: a long JL doc dating back to the Justice Society '40s, as well as other teasers, but the movie leaps tall buildings in a single viewing. — Robert Wilonsky

The Darjeeling Limited (Fox)
With the exception of his debut — Bottle Rocket, still his most human film — all of Wes Anderson's movies have received the Criterion Collection treatment: fancy and full-blown, the show-off's how-to turned celebratory autopsy. Not so this shrug of a self-parody, in which Anderson takes the set-in-a-house Royal Tenenbaums and set-on-a-ship Life Aquatic, and sets it on an Indian train downbound for familiar familial smashups and makeups. It stars a heavily bandaged Owen Wilson (playing suicidal, er . . .) and his big-screen bros Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman, who also co-wrote (and proves that Anderson, not Noah Baumbach, deserves the blame for the lifeless Life). The only bonuses: the too-long short Hotel Chevalier (infamous for naked-ish Natalie Portman) and a randomly assembled making-of featurette that's more a production-design piece, perfect for a filmmaker who fetishizes the details. Not that Darjeeling deserves much more. — Wilonsky

Death at a Funeral (Fox)
Director Frank Oz is not the genius of cinema that he is of puppetry, and this isn't his funniest film (that would be Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), but it's a worthwhile if workmanlike farce. Take one dead guy, gather all his family and friends, and their corresponding neuroses and baggage, and: high jinks ho! The biggest laughs come from Alan Tudyk as a man beset by nerves who takes the wrong pill and spends the funeral tripping balls. Also good is Peter Dinklage as a mysterious stranger; less convincing is Matthew Macfadyen as the mopey straight man at the center of the story. It's a 90-minute film that would've been too long at 91; two commentary tracks bestow an unnecessary air of dignity. — Jordan Harper

Beowulf: Director's Cut (Paramount)
Robert Zemeckis' gaudy telling of the immortal hero story is pure kitsch, Heavy Metal by way of lit class. John Malkovich, Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins, and — good God, Crispin Glover — chomp and gnash their way through the story, reconfigured by comic-book-Jesus Neil Gaiman and Pulp Fiction co-scribe Roger Avary just as you'd imagine, which is to say: That's cool. It's perfect casting, then recasting, as Zemeckis shot the actors and turned them into characters who look like they live between chapters of a video game. And the unrated cut's even loopier than the theatrical release; hard to tell whether to be grossed out or tickled pink by all the bloodred. But far better than the movie is the making-of, featuring the actors packed into spandex on a soundstage, their sausage-casing bodies covered in computer-reading cotton balls. They're all living their own real-life Extras episode. — Wilonsky

Tags: ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Latest in DVDish

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 9, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation