Posts Tagged ‘Ron Livingston’

Even Superheroes have Moms

The Flash

Director: Andy Muschietti

Cast: Ezra Miller, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, Michael Shannon, Sasha Calle, Jeremy Irons, Ron Livingston, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Kiersey Clemons, Gal Gadot, Maribel Verdu

Running Time: 2 hours and 24 minutes

Film Rating: 8 out of 10

Argentine director Andy Muschietti tackles the origin story of The Flash in Warner Brothers standalone film of the same title featuring the tremendously talented Ezra Miller as Barry Alan aka The Flash, whose best friend is Batman. Which is really cool.

The Flash has popped up as a secondary superhero character in numerous DC films including Justice League in 2017, Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad in 2016. The Flash gives Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) a perfect chance to shine as an actor and he certainly does as he plays two versions of himself quite brilliantly with perfectly nuanced dexterity. He plays the current version of Barry Alan and a much younger more naïve version of the same character as they both battle to go back in time and reverse the crucial moment when their mother Noah Allan played by Spanish actress Maribel Verdu (Pan’s Labyrinth, Y Tu Mama Tambien) is murdered at home while their father Henry played by Ron Livingston is wrongly convicted of the crime.

Despite warnings from the rest of the Justice League including Batman and Wonder Woman, The Flash messes with the space time continuum and changes the past releasing multiple versions of Batman and General Zod, a Kryptonite after Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El played by Sasha Calle, commonly known as Supergirl.

The Flash loses his known version of Batman played by Oscar winner Ben Affleck (Argo, Good Will Hunting) and discovers an older, wiser version of Bruce Wayne played with panache by Oscar nominee Michael Keaton (Birdman) complete with a cavernous Bat Cave, possibly one of the coolest scenes in the film. Together they band up and rescue Supergirl and attempt to fight the mighty evil General Zod, perfectly played by Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road, Nocturnal Animals).

While the first half of director Andy Muschietti’s superhero film is slightly shambolic, the second half is where the director finds his groove and he relies heavily on the screen presence of Ezra Miller who really is brilliant as The Flash. Let’s hope Warner Bros makes a sequel with Ezra Miller.

The screenwriters keep the narrative tight and the action constant, but always return to the pivotal moment of when Barry loses his mother, emphasizing that even superheroes have moms.

With high production values and a solid supporting cast, The Flash is a slightly gothic and very twisty addition to the DC Comics universe but a worthy attempt at establishing The Flash as a tangible superhero who should in time gain as much notoriety as Batman, Superman and the rest of the gang.

At 2 hours and24 minutes, The Flash is long, but Ezra Miller sustains the pace and this superhero action film, despite some repetitive visual effects, gets a film rating of 8 out of 10. Audiences should wait for the film’s final scene as there is a surprise cameo appearance of another Batman…

Trauma of an Assassination



Director: Peter Landesman

Cast: Zac Efron, Tom Welling, Billy Bob Thornton, James Badge Dale, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Giametti, Jacki Weaver, Ron Livingston, Colin Hanks, Jackie Earle Haley, Gil Bellows

Investigative journalist and screenwriter Peter Landesman makes his feature film debut with the harrowing reenactment of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on that fateful day on the 22nd November 2963 and how this pivotal event affected not only the lives of those working at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas but also of those that were caught up in the trauma of the event from the FBI that almost had the assassin in their grasp, to the Oswald family who were shunned by society as relatives of the man who shot JFK.

Parkland, based upon the book Four Days in November by Vincent Bugliosi is an absorbing and graphic retelling of this assassination and features an all star ensemble cast including Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo TV Series), Zac Efron (The Paperboy), James Badge Dale (The Lone Ranger) who is particularly good as Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother Robert, Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom) as Oswald’s mother Marguerite Marcia Gay Harden as the trauma nurse Doris Nelson along with Paul Giametti as Abraham Zupreder the man who unwillingly films the horrific assassination and then sells the footage to Life magazine. James Badge Dale and Jacki Weaver are particularly good as brother and mother of Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of President John F. Kennedy who subsequently gets shot on live television two days after the assassination by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby pointing to a much larger possible conspiracy which was elaborately explored in Oliver Stone’s film J. F. K. –


Viewers can be forgiven for thinking that this film is a segment from the History channel, but with all the great character actors at hand, they do their best to make Parkland an absorbing and graphic, almost shocking retelling of one the 20th centuries most famous assassinations in Dallas, Texas in 1963. An assassination which awoke America out of a cathartic state and catapulted contemporary Western society further into a culture of violent paranoia and media speculation, something which audiences watching it fifty years later are more accustomed to especially since witnessing the destruction of the New York twin towers on live television on 9/11.

Parkland is recommended viewing and perhaps too short for a 90 minute film as aspects about this historical day could have been fleshed out further beyond the initial shock and trauma of a bloody assassination in the heat of a Texan day. A riveting and engaging film which was possibly made to coincide with the 50th anniversary of this tragic event. Watch out for a cameo by Tom Hank’s son Colin Hanks as the Chief of Surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital Dr Malcolm Perry.




Coast to Coast

Going the Distance

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long’s romantic comedy Going the Distance while examining the pressures and joys of 21st century relationships fails to deliver on a solid front with the film undecided about whether the narrative is a comedy or a serious romantic drama. Highlights of the film include great visuals of New York and San Francisco and an awesome soundtrack coupled with some hilarious moments especially the dining room scene, the central premise of the film takes slightly too long to arrive at any serious conclusion.

Meeting halfway – would be the stopover in Jefferson?

Going the Distance is more about the arc of a relationship than the geographic separation that two people feel as they attempt to keep a relationship together across two coasts and timezones. Great Sunday afternoon viewing but Barrymore has done far better films and is immensely more talented than she makes out in this film… Grey Gardens proves that! This film is a coast to coaster but no smooth operator!

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December 2023
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