Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Singer no Superman

It should become apparent to most of you by this posting that I’m having another bout of film maker obsession.

Can’t….stop….stalking…their…every….move….

Today: eye on Bryan Singer. At age 40, Singer has a very impressive resume which includes The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men, and X-2. He’s not the most prolific guy in the world, but this is a good thing because he seems to take some time choosing his projects and he chooses wisely. Next on his agenda, is of course the Superman Returns film, which he will be following up with a remake of Logan’s Run, a project that he is both writing and directing.

The man has a project slate that most fan boys would kill for, (myself included). It must be pretty sweet to wake up every day and be Bryan Singer, knowing that you have a hand in shaping mythic pop culture icons. Singer gets to do the atypical in Hollywood, he makes films that do well in the box office, AND get positive critical acclaim for being smart, original and well made.

This video , is the latest entry on Singer’s half-hearted blog and website for the Superman Returns film, Blue Tights Adventure Network. {Some of you may remember when I critiqued this site when it was first established in the post: Film Blogs: The good, the bad and the ugly}

Say that out loud for a moment:

Blue Tights Adventure Network

It's just as bizarre to me now, as it was three weeks ago, and sounds more like a treehouse club tie-in to Highlights magazine doesn’t it?

After three and a half weeks, the Superman marketing team has yet to get in the game. The sixth entry on the site, paints no better picture of Singer, than his intial video post where he whined to his assistant about camera angles.

In this sixth diary entry, not only does the man need two people to help him step on a flat bed truck about two feet off the ground, but once again, his attempts at humor, fail. Singer’s dramatic caterwauling for his cinematographer Thomas Segal, which seem to be nothing more than a segway to a lame Steven Segal joke is well….lame. As for his Australian crew members, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more bored and disinterested group of people listening to their director in my life. Hell, I was just watching a two minute clip, and I too was overwhelmed by ennui. That’s pretty telling, seeing as how this is Superman Returns we’re talking about here, and the sight of the Superman logo on its own should be enough to quicken my pulse.

Singer makes good movies, -sometimes great movies, so the fact that he comes off douchey and boooring on camera shouldn’t really affect my opinion of him as a film maker, and it doesn’t…..well not really. I still hold his films in the same esteem, but my idol worship of him has certainly been diminished. You would never see Spielberg or Jackson screwing around lackadaisically on set, or getting pissy with their crew. These guys (Spielberg and Jackson) know how to have fun, but somehow no matter what they are doing, whether its playing an April Fool’s Day joke or directing an actor, their vision comes across. It just emanates through everything that they do. These videos of Singer sort of clue me into the fact that he might be a good competent director, but he has yet to take that next step to before he falls into the category of visionaries.

The thing that I find most noticeably missing from Singer’s confessionals are a real sense of enthusiasm, tempered with a little humility. I mean the man is directing a big blockbuster Superman movie; he is living the dream of millions. Would it kill him to show a little personal investment and genuine excitement? Perhaps Singer thinks its “cool” to be jaded, and behave as though this is just another paycheck to him, instead of the realization of a childhood dream. Is it just another paycheck to him, just another job? Or is he really just another Hollywood douchebag? I actually think his movies show a dedication to craftsmanship that intimate a deep passion for what he does. But Singer might just the bright kid who doesn’t do his homework, and is content to get B+’s for the rest of his days.

In closing, if Singer is going to bother keeping a video blog of his filmmaking process, he could afford to show some eagerness and animation. Bryan, crack a smile for God sakes. It’s not very promising if a fanbase appears to be more keen on a film, than the filmmaker himself.

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