Don Bauder 6:30 p.m., Aug. 21
New releases opening this week: Shadow Dancer, Man of Steel, and more
The only thing that could make today better, in fact, would be if Man of Steel turned out to be more Superman pic than Zack Snyder pic. What's that? Oh. Sorry to hear it. Moving along.
The people behind The East - director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij and star/co-writer Brit Marling - are not big fans of irony or detachment. They like earnestness, sincerity, and zeal - even when it makes people look goofy. Or slightly dangerous. They give us a group of young people out to change the world - for realz.
This is the End, on the other hand, is absolutely the product of people trying to gain ironic detachment from their anxiety about the end of the world. Scott was not impressed.
Nor was he dazzled by the swooning sounds of Greetings from Tim Buckley. Sort-of related note: I really do think that Zack Snyder killed the cult of admiration around Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" when he used it for a sex scene in Watchmen. But maybe that's just me.
Finally, a word of praise for the pro-nuke doc Pandora's Promise. Too many documentaries preach to the converted. This one might actually start a conversation, because it seeks to engage a community that is already united on a macro level: environmentalists. "Given that we all care about the well-being of the environment," it argues, "let's try to hash out the best way to preserve that well-being while also providing power to the world." It's not a perfect film, but it might be a fruitful one.
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