Screening Room: “Man of Steel,” “This is the End,” “The East,” “Before Midnight”

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KANSAS CITY, MO --

**MAN OF STEEL (PG-13)**

RUSS
It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane…and thankfully, it’s not a turkey. But with a super budget of over $225 million, Hollywood should have given us a SUPER Superman movie, right? Well, “Man of Steel” isn’t super…but it’s not a Kryptonian bomb, either.

SHAWN
"Man of Steel" soars but not as high as it could of. It's super slow start, clunkyness and repititiveness severely hamper this hit and miss reboot. "Man of Steel" also lacks humor and virtually has no romance. I know the thing is to make comic book movies extra dark. But just because it worked for Batman doesn't mean it works for all.

RUSS
The cast is strong, but director Zach Snyder establishes an oppressive tone in this noisy and overlong reboot that’s mostly devoid the sense of fun we’ve come to expect from the strange visitor from another planet. It has some terrific moments, so when it’s good, it’s very good. The visually dazzling “Man of Steel” fights a never-ending battle against comic book weariness.

SHAWN
"Man of Steel" focuses on some interesting themes but plays like a moody extended episode of the TV show Smallville. Speaking of Smallville, which is a fictional town in Kansas, the movie spends way too much time there. Enough with the flashbacks. Henry Cavill is fine as Superman but he does nothing to erase the memory of Christopher. Less explosions. More story. And more fun.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags

**THIS IS THE END (R)**

RUSS
Seth Rogan, James Franco and their Hollywood friends face the apocalypse in the excessively raunchy comedy, “This is the End.”

SHAWN
"This is the End" is one big inside joke and not a funny one. It's dufus cinema as a group of guys who think they are funnier than they actually are excel at a 4th grade level. Well maybe not excel.

RUSS
Weird, dark, tasteless and goofy, “This is the End,” allows Rogan and his showbiz posse to do some pointed self-parody while simultaneously celebrating its stoner lifestyle. While it has some inspired moments, “This is the End” kept making me wish it would.

SHAWN
Everyone involved have told their tired jokes in other movies several times before. Nothing new and Juvenile to the core. This type of low brow humor has become tiresome.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 1 Popcorn Bag

**THE EAST (R)**

RUSS
The new queen of indie cinema might well be Brit Marling. The writer, actress and producer has made some very intriguing films over the last three years and "The East" is no exception.

Marling plays a former FBI agent now working for a private intelligence firm that safeguards big business enterprises. Whe infiltrares and anarchist group called The East that is intent on exposing corporate crimes. Her interaction with the group causes her to reexamine her positions. Some elements of the movie don't quite gel, but "The East" is a thoughtful social commentary.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

**BEFORE MIDNIGHT (R)**

SHAWN
The third movie in a romance trilogy that began with "Before Sunrise" in 1995 and was followed by "Before Sunset" in 2004. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their roles in Richard Linklater's look at love and commitment.
Solid performances and and writing make this the "must-see" non-blockbuster of the year.

SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags

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