I’m frankly surprised that “Batman Forever” doesn’t show up often on lists about homoerotic mainstream films. In the annals of homoerotic cinema, “Batman Forever” is right up there. While Joel Schumacher pretty much does what Warner asked by making Batman less menacing, less violent, and a lot more family friendly, it’s also incredibly homoerotic. That doesn’t hinder the experience, but it’s worth discussing how Batman goes from fighting with a Latex covered sex zombie to building romantic tension with a young man he takes in seemingly out of nowhere.
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Batman (1989): 30th Anniversary Edition [4K UHD/Blu-Ray/Digital]
It’s a new era and a brand new format for movie lovers and Warner Bros. is offering up their “Batman” movie anthology from the 1990’s on 4K UHD for those that have converted. With “Batman” also celebrating its thirtieth anniversary (where does the time go?) since its theatrical release, Tim Burton’s iconic adaptation of the DC Comics hero manages to appear once again in an even higher definition making it—uh—Battier? Burtoner? In either case, the good news is “Batman” is still a solid iteration of the Dark Knight, which is all that counts.
Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998) [Blu-Ray]
Boyd Kirkland’s “SubZero” stands as not only one of the best animated Batman films of all time, but one of the best Batman films, period. In a time where Warner were handing us goofy films like “Batman Forever,” behind the scenes, Bruce Timm took the material seriously, delivering entertaining mature fare like “SubZero.” Something of a sequel to “Deep Freeze,” Kirkland’s film is also a stark contrast to last year’s “Batman and Harley Quinn,” choosing to expand on the hit episode, rather than repeat the same beats ad nauseum like the latter chose to.
Ben 10: Race Against Time (2007)
I loved “Ben 10” when it premiered back in the early aughts. I watched it for a long time, and even followed a few of the unnecessary reboots. While the more modern iterations have stunk, I still love the mythos, and how the producers took a failed attempt at “Dial H for Hero” and transformed it in to a unique science fiction series. Cartoon Network and Alex Winter go to great pains to keep this an accurate film for the audience. Ben looks just like Ben, Gwen looks as if she lifted off the one dimensional series, and Max is pretty close. Not quite, but I accepted Lee Majors in the role, since his gravitas compensates for the inherent lack of faithfulness to the character mold.
Boy Eats Girl (2005)
“Boy Eats Girl” derives many elements from “Shaun of the Dead” as a romance comedy with a horror and zombie twist, all the while adhering to a lot of the classic teen romance tropes. There’s the alpha female, and geeky best friends, while our hero is a reluctant protagonist thrust in to an extraordinary situation that rekindles his love for his girlfriend. Nathan is a student at a local school where he constantly fawns for the love of his life Jessica who may or may not have the same feelings. After a misunderstanding, Nathan gets drunk, and accidentally hangs himself. His mom brings him back from the grave (When are people going to learn not to use mysterious books to do magic?), and all seems too good to be true.
Black Christmas (2006)
Glenn Morgan’s remake of the Bob Clark 1974 slasher film is one of most preposterous, blatantly awful films I’ve seen in the last two years. As a remake and as its own film, it’s awful. Director-Writer Morgan seems to aim for the exact opposite effect the original established, and does so through often hilarious methods of murders, and vague characterization. All the characters are loud, one-dimensional, and despicable, none of the actors give stand out performances, there’s an awfully predictable plot twist involving our killer, gross out gore for the sake of gross out gore. Of course, Billy uses every element of Christmas as a method of murder for his victims.
Bad Blood: The Movie (2016) [Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival 2016]
In a small town, a girl gets attacked by something near a gas station. The station attendant saves her life and explains her new situation to her, leaving out crucial details. Writer/director Tim Reis takes the usual werewolf tropes and applies them to an amphibious being which turns things on their heads a bit. His film is semi-serious and has plenty fun in store for fans of slightly over the top horror. His characters are fairly typical but this does not take away from the fun. This is not a film made to make you think a ton or to be philosophical, it’s made for entertainment and it does that very well. The films premise is fairly simple but it works and the characters involved work in an odd group of people forced together.
Best Fake Friends (2016)
After moving to the Portland area for her husband’s work, Joy finds herself looking for new friends in the local mom crowd. Having found her way to a big party, she meets a few of the “cool” moms who will first support her and then test her limits. Written by Sarah Hehman and Christi Sperry and directed by Paul Kampf build an adult version of the teenage-clique film which works. The characters they build feel like grown-up versions of people most of us encountered in high school: the good girls that are slightly bookworm-y, the rich girls from silver-spoon backgrounds, the cool and dangerous girls, etc.