Category: Kevin Costner

Black or White (Movie 2015)

3 Kernels

Stars:  Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer

I sneaked off one afternoon out of boredom and went and saw Black or White when my show buddy was away for the weekend.

Kevin Costner has always been one of my favorite actors. Even though he is showing his age, he still comes across the screen as a good watch. Black or White was a movie that he produced with his own money. The movie was released at a time in the United States when we were experiencing the discontent between the black community and law enforcement. Whether it helped to mend old prejudices, I doubt, but it was food for thought.

The story revolves around Elliott Anderson, played by Costner. He and his wife are the guardians of their granddaughter who has a black father and white mother (their daughter). The father is alive, but the daughter has passed away, as well as Elliott’s wife recently. Grandfather is faced with grieving and drinking over the death of his spouse, while now becoming the primary caregiver of his granddaughter, Eloise.

While he struggles to pull things together between multiple bottles of booze, Rowena (played by Spencer) decides to sue for custody thinking that her granddaughter would be better off with her large family. Unfortunately, Eloise’s father is still a drug addict, even though he tells everyone, including mama, that he’s clean. Elloitt knows better and fights for full custody of Eloise.

The movie, of course, is a statement between one little girl caught between two races — black or white. She wants to stay with grandpa, but also wants to be with her daddy and family.  If anyone has an identity crisis, it’s the little girl being pulled between two arguing grandparents over which is better — the black world or the white world.

Of course, the movie deals with the stereotypes each side places upon one another. The attorney for Rowena wants to turn the custody battle into a race war, when all Elliott wants is his granddaughter who he sees as neither black or white. He loves hers and wants her to grow up in his household.

The movie challenges the audiences own thoughts of race and does a good job of making you look inside and examine your own prejudices and how you view people of a different color. It’s not a great flick, but it is a thought-provoking flick worth the watch if you want to walk the thin line between black and white.

Man of Steel (Movie 2013)

PG-13 | Intense sequences of sci-fi
violence, action and destruction,
and for some language.
4 Kernels
Well, I just got back from watching Man of Steel.  After being hyped up for months on end with trailers, pictures, and secrets about this movie, it’s over.  Superman has arrived in a new cool suit.

Wow, where do you begin?  Well, how about Russell Crowe delivering a baby on the dying planet of Krypton.  I often wonder if alien planets were out there, would their technology look as cool as the stuff we imagine?  Kudos to the minds who thought up these visuals.  Perhaps they had an alien muse from Area 51. Aside from the nifty technology, Crowe was great throughout the picture alive and dead (you’ll have to figure that one out).

Move onto planet earth with Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, more legends on the screen giving great performances.  The movie offers insight into Superman’s younger years with terrific performance from the young lad (Dylan Sprayberry), who plays his part.  It’s an internal struggle that Clark must journey on his own to find his identify.  His earthly father teaches him wisdom and restraint with his gifts, until he finally meets his real father and learns of his origins and why he is on planet earth.

Enter cute Amy Adams who plays Lois Lane, destined to fall in love with Superman.  As one army woman says at the end, “I think he’s hot.”  And hot he is!  Henry Cavill did a great job in the role with the internal identity struggle and the will to do good among the humans he has lived with for thirty-plus years.  It’s not until the end in order to save the planet does he finally succumb to willfully killing another to save others.   Amy is cute in her own right, falling in love with a handsome well-dressed alien in red and blue, but she is also acquainted with the man in jeans and a tee shirt.  I’m sorry, but you just can’t help but wonder what making love to Superman would be like – perhaps we shouldn’t go down that road.

The technology of the aliens is quite cool.  The alien ships, suits, and costumes are unique. Though many humans are killed in the battle for earth, there isn’t a lot of blood and gore.

The only complaint I really had about the movie was the lengthy fight scenes between Superman and the aliens.  They seemed to go on forever, and frankly I think they could have cut a good half-hour out of the movie.  All right, you get the point, it’s a fight of evil and good, but a few good cuts on the editing floor would have done the movie better.  My guess is the guys in special effects were like kids having too much fun seeing how many walls and buildings they could throw Superman and his enemies through. It’s two hours and twenty-three minutes long, so hit the restroom or be like the fifty people I saw running out during a lull in the story — including yours truly.

Of course, as you watch the movie you think things like — How can he fly in space without air?  How can he get beat up for a half hour straight and not have a scratch or drop of blood on him?  How can he walk through fire?  How can he breathe under water? How could society recover at the end with so much devastation?  The list goes on and on – but hey, it’s Superman!  I suppose if we ever do get invaded by aliens, I’d like this dude on my side.

It’s quite obvious at the end that sequels are coming, because it ends with Clark Kent getting a job at the Daily Planet to blend into society. Of course, Lois Lane, who has probably kissed him a few more times by now, knows his secret!
One more note, Hans Zimmer does a great job at a musical score.  A bit dark like the Dark Knight, but nonetheless quite good.  I love the guy’s music anyway.

Is it worth the ticket?  Sure.  Just for the story and the visuals, plus the top-notch stars in the movie.  Is it worth two-hours and twenty-three minutes?  I could have done with one and forty-five and less fighting between Superman and Zod (played by Michael Shannon), who by the way is one of those damn villains who just won’t die!

All in all, Superman is just super. It is not a movie filled with jokes and lighthearted scenes. It’s serious. He overcomes obstacles constantly when he should have died at least twenty times in the movie from all that he went through to save the human race.  Probably a little over-the-top but that’s the movies.  It’s all make believe, epic sci-fi special effects, and cute Henry Cavill in one damn good looking suit.

And it’s not an “S” on his shirt – it’s a symbol that means hope.  But on earth, it’s an “S” to us, standing for Superman.

“You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”

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