Archive for December, 2017

Man on the Moon

Posted: December 4, 2017 in Movies
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I first read about Man on the Moon, the Andy Kaufman biopic starring Jim Carrey, back in 1999 in a preview in Empire Magazine. I was looking forward to it. The word was the film was incredible and it boasted, at the time, a career best performance from star Jim Carrey. A performence that would show critics and audiences the comic actor was capable of much more than Ace Ventura, The Mask or Dumb and Dumber. All fine films but Carrey was known more and more for slapstick humour.

Man on the Moon is an excellent movie and Carrey is fantastic. Truth be told I only knew of Andy Kaufman by name and due to him being the subject of the movie. The film, based on my limited knowledge, depicts a facinating story of a complicated comic. Who, despite many setbacks would go on to stay true to what he considered funny and in doing so would become a comic legend.

When it comes down to taste it depends on the viewer what they consider funny. Kaufman’s humour had that effect on people. They either got it or they didn’t and director Milos Forman and the films writers don’t shy away from painting a balanced look at Andy Kaufman. For example, one could argue Kaufman went too far in his efforts to create comedy and put on a show while some may say he was a trial blazer. What is clear, at least from the movie, is that he was a man with morales despite seeming to not care who he offended. One scene in which he flat out refuses to make light of drugs screams volumes about the man’s character and integrity. On the flipside it’s hard to see his wrsteling matches with women going down well in 2017 on principle in todays climate on gender equality.

Carrey is brilliant in the role. I can remember at the time the film was out it had done one of it’s jobs, besides presenting a excellent character study, of establishing Carrey as legit dramatic actor. The imapct of the film resonating throughout his career and the roles he would go on to take. Danny DeVito, Courtney Love and Paul Giamatti each give very strong support as Kaufman’s inner circle. Scattered throughout the film is a whole host of cameos and spot the star which was fun seeing almost twenty years on from the film’s release.

I loved this movie. Sometimes a film stays with you even though you never saw it. I never forgot about Man on the Moon and that desire to watch it. Now I have and it’s one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Forman’s direction is wonderful and the film, to me at least, seemed to be fair to Kaufman and his legacy. Painting a complete picture without manipulating the viewer to feel one way or the other. Instead just presenting pieces of one man’s life and allowing the audience to form an opinion on what they are shown.

A wonderful and more importantly, an objective snap shot into what I can only imagine must have been a complicated and exciting life.





Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is one of the best Batman movies to date. Regardless of the fact it happens to be an animated movie. It’s a brilliant Batman flick, one which captures the caped crusader perfectly and would go on to be smash with critics and fans worldwide. Today, over twenty five years since it’s Christmas ’93 release, Mask of the Phantasm is a classic.

The plot of the film focuses on Batman, naturally, but what seals the deal for this movie as one of the greats is how the narrative focuses just as much on Bruce Wayne. Batman comes under fire from Gotham officials after a series of mobsters are murdered. He sets out to clear his name and solve the identity of the killer. During his investigation the plot uses flashbacks to paint a picture of Bruce’s early years and his first battles with crime.

These interludes prove key to the main narrative and work as a well written and overall well done origin story for Bruce/Batman. Batman, as we know, is a detective first and arse kicker later and he gets to put his detective brian to use. I appreciated that.

Directors Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski clearly know and adore everything about Batman and his comic book roots. If anyone needed further evidence they need only watch Timm and Radomski’s fantastic Batman: The Animated Series. Mask of the Phantasm is linked to the show with the origin of Batman and other plots carrying over. Yet the movie can be seen as a stand alone without having ever seen an episode of the series.

All of the talented animators, much like in the series, deliver outstanding work. This is one beautiful looking movie. Excellent animation and tremendous art direction. Gotham and it’s inhabitants look and feel like they are in the midst of a 1940’s film noir. What we get here is my favourite representation of Batman and his world, yes, to date. I think, this is a tall order, but any movie (live action) that could come close to matching the tone and quality of the work on display here would be a accomplishment. The music in Mask of the Phantasm is really well done. The score is excellent and compliments the film perfectly.

The film features a host of excellent voice talent. Kevin Conroy as Batman is very good and it’s little wonder he’s played the role the longest than any actor out there. Mark Hamill as The Joker would go on to gain as much fame as he did from Star Wars due to his excellent work as the king of crime. Dana Delany, as one of Bruce’s lost loves, also puts in great work.

There aren’t enough great things I can say about this movie. The plot is great, the writing is excellent, direction is confident and the action is a match for anything you’d see in any other big screen Batman movie. Mask of the Phantasm is a must own for any Batman fan and fans of animation in general. They sure don’t make them like this any more and that’s a shame.