The Very Serious, Monotonous Business of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice”

kiss already
Plot details discussed, major spoilers mostly avoided. Your call, but don’t yell at me.

I was never going to like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This was a given, and has been for some time. What I didn’t expect was that I’d leave the theater feeling vaguely bad for Zack Snyder.

I realize this is a strange reaction. Snyder is a very successful film director, and Dawn of Justice has already made a great deal of money. (Even so, whether or not it has met its lofty financial expectations is still up for debate.) In addition, I have never particularly been a fan of Snyder’s. Sucker Punch was one of the most unpleasant theatrical experiences of my life. (Though I’d later watch the director’s cut and slightly adjust my judgment from “abomination” to “bad,” which ain’t nothing.) Watchmen and Man of Steel were often flashy but similarly suffered from his need to crank up the volume first and ask questions later. 300 was fine. Ultimately, he’s going to come out of this all right. Continue reading

The Fascinating Mess of “Spectre”

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In the fall of 2012, Skyfall—the 23rd film in the James Bond series—became one of the biggest motion picture releases of its year, and the most financially successful installment in the franchise’s 50-year history. Worldwide, it raked in $1.1 billion and confirmed Bond’s place as one of cinema’s most prominent heroes. Casino Royale might have brought him back from the dead, but the crazy success of Skyfall suggested that Bond was not just surviving, but thriving, and there was no reason to think that would change anytime soon. Continue reading

The Best Films of 2015 (#30-21) and Omissions

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 5.28.58 PMI’m back! For now, that is. I’m still attempting to figure out how much blogging I will be doing in the year to come, but for the most part I consider my official “hiatus” to be over. I will try to start blogging again in the coming months, but I’m not sure what kind of volume we’re talking about yet. In the meantime, I’ve elected to spend this week revealing my picks for the top 30 movies of 2015. This feels like a good way to kick off what I’m hoping to be a productive year of writing, both here and on other, personal projects. Continue reading

So Long for Now


It doesn’t take a genius to see that I’ve not been blogging very much. Recently, it’s been hardly at all. My last post went up over a month ago, and in the time since I haven’t been able to make myself put together a new post. There are several reasons for this: The day job taking up a good chunk of my brain space, I’m using my time off for other things, etc. My love for movies hasn’t waned in the slightest, but when it comes to turning that into coherent writing, I’ve hit a wall.

So, for now, I’ve decided to go on something of a hiatus. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I don’t imagine I will be back here before the end of the year. I’m going to spend my time working on some personal writing projects, and perhaps one day I’ll be able to turn that into something the public might like to consume. Then again, maybe not. Either way, I’m just at a place where I feel more invested in doing things like that than I do in writing a blog post that not many people will read.

If you are still interested in my film-related opinions, you have two options. First, I will usually tweet reactions at @MattKraus813. Second, I’m thinking of resurrecting my long-dormant Letterboxd account. I will use that space as my film-related headquarters, so check it out. Not right now, though. I’m going to spend the rest of the night getting rid of the tumbleweeds.

So, that’s that. I don’t imagine I’m done here. I just think it’s time to spend some time elsewhere. Thanks again for reading, and as a wise man once said, I’ll see you at the movies.

Unfamiliar Stars, Familiar Vehicles

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The blessing and the curse of being a successful comedian like Amy Schumer is that your personality eventually becomes inextricable from your brand. The mere mention of your name comes with a great deal of baggage, and when audiences line up to see something to which you have attached your name, they will expect to be presented with a certain, established point of view. For Schumer, much of this is due to the success of her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer, a program of singular hilarity and ferocity. Dozens of sketches have aired in that show’s time on the air, but they all unmistakably come from the same thematic place. By the time she got around to making Trainwreck, her first cinematic starring vehicle, Schumer’s reputation started to precede her. This project was viewed as a Schumer vehicle first and foremost; so much so that director Judd Apatow, one of the major cinematic comedy figures of the 21st century, wound up taking an authorial backseat in terms of public perception. Continue reading