Posts tagged ‘movies’

Las Peliculas De Poquer Mas Recomendadas

Desde la época de oro del Oeste, jugar al Póquer ha siempre sido un juego popular en Hollywood. A pesar de que muchas de las películas de Hollywood que se localizan en póquer no son muy buenas, y a veces presentan al juego de una manera ridícula, mirar el juego desde la gran pantalla es muy divertido, especialmente si eres un jugador de Póquer.

Acá te presentamos las mejores películas que fueron producidas en Hollywood. Algunas son excelentes aparte de ser sobre el póquer, mientras que otras el juego es el tema principal de atracción. De todas maneras, si eres fanático del póquer, disfrutaras mucho de mirarlas!

1) The Sting, dirigido por George Roy Hill, 1973:

Esta película es menos a cerca del póquer y más a cerca el arte de manejar las car6tas pero te proveerá dos horas de diversión sofisticada. El ganador de los Premios Academia de 1973, presenta al joven Paul Newman como el mejor artista de todos quien conduce a Robert Redford al arte de los trucos de carta. El trabajo de David S. Warn es basado en historias de juegos reales.

2) The Cincinnati Kid, dirigida por Norman Jewison en 1965:

Este clásico es conocido por su estremecedor mano final y la inolvidable frase: “Llega a lo que se trata, no? Hacer la movida equivocada en el lugar preciso.” The Cincinnati Kid es a cerca de la batalla entre Steve Macqueen que es un joven jugador de póquer conocido por “The Kid”, y el veterano apostador de póquer conocido por “The Man” actuado por Edward G. Robinson, durante la gran depresión en New Orleans.

Es una de las mejore películas de póquer que he visto en la gran pantalla.

1) California Split dirigida por Robert Altman en 1974:

Puede que esta no sea una de las mejores películas de Altmans, pero es una de las mejores representaciones de la vida de dos apostadores profesionales actuada por George Segal y Elliott Gould. La narrativa no es particularmente directa y el final no es exactamente feliz, pero si logra describir una experiencia autentica. También, los fanáticos de póquer trivial disfrutaran de aprender que el legendario jugador de Póquer Amarillo Slim actúa un papel pequeño.

2) Rounders dirigida by John Dahl en 1998:

No es claro si el éxito de la película empujo al boom del Póquer en el siglo 21 o la popularidad del póquer hizo Rounders un éxito total. De una manera u otra, Rounders es una de las mejores películas de póquer que ha habido en la pantalla. El tema de la película se basa en una maratón en la que Mat Damon y Edward Norton tratan de ganar dinero para pagar deudas de apuestas. EL campeón mundial de Póquer Johnny Chan también aparece en escena.

3) Maverick dirigida por Richard Donner en 1994:

A pesar de que Maverick no es una película brillante en el ámbito del póquer, es una divertida y entretenida película par mirar. Te puede dar una idea básica de lo que era ser un jugador de póquer en el lejano oeste, con Mel Gibson como un maverick que trata de ganar suficiente dinero para el torneo del gran torneo final.

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The Wonderful Animated World Of Disney Movies

Even though Walt Disney has produced myriad movies, it is more popular for its animated ones. After starting the animated journey with ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ in the winter of 1937, Disney movies have not looked back. One can obtain a list of more than 150 animated movies that have been produced and distributed to add to the joy of children across the world.

After a certain age, kids grow out of Sesame Street, Tellytubbies and BooBaahs. At this time the next level of entertainment that attracts them generally are the Walt Disney movies that appeal to a slightly older age group. The great thing about these movies, which has probably led to the huge popularity of the animated movies, is the fact that they appeal to adults and children alike. A mother does not mind sitting through a Disney movie with her child but an episode of Tellytubbies can be wearisome.

To the uninitiated, it may be a surprise that each Disney movie comes accompanied with a movie book. These books are published under the ‘Mouse Works’ banner and contain a simple version of the story. This can help in encouraging children to not only see the movie but also to read books, which hopefully will extend to other forms of reading at some time.

Though the company is proud of all its movie productions, some of them have attained the stature of ‘classics’ based on their popularity. Abound with simple, yet meaningful songs these movies can expose the child to emotions, morals and ways of the world while telling a story. Toddlers seem to enjoy the light evilness of some of the characters like the witch in Snow White and Cruella De Vil in the 101 Dalmatians. Alternately, some of the most endearing characters that Walt Disney movies have created are Tramp in The Lady and the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. But most of the leading characters in inspire awe and amazement aided by the color, grandeur and dazzle.

Some of the Walt Disney films that have become all time favorites of most kids are The Lion King, Toy Story, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, The little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Lady and the Tramp, Cinderella and of course Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Some of the less known but equally enticing movies are the sequels to the Lion King, Dumbo, Lilo and Stitch, Pooh Bear and the Kim Possible series.

In spite of the high levels of endearment that the movies enjoy among most people, there are rumors galore about how there are countless hidden references to perverted things in the animated movies. The most known references are made to the tower on the cover of The Little Mermaid that resembles the male genitalia, the apparent erection of the priest in the wedding scene of the same movie and the dust taking the form of the word ‘sex’ in The Lion King. Hearsay has it that Donald Duck has used vulgar words umpteen times during angry outbreaks.

Some opine that these subtle references have become a tradition at the film studios. This tradition started due to the fact that Walt Disney did not assign relevant credits to the creative animators. These animators, then, took to including hidden codes in the animation scenes to get back. One such example is that of the shorts that Goofy wears. If you look close enough, you will probably see names of artists written on these shorts. Though the given instance seems possible, the inclusion of debauchery in the animated Disney movies is debatable and it remains a question as to whether it is a fact or the Rorschach effect.

The Truman Show

“The Truman Show” is a profoundly disturbing movie. On the surface, it deals with the worn out issue of the intermingling of life and the media.

Examples for such incestuous relationships abound:

Ronald Reagan, the cinematic president was also a presidential movie star. In another movie (“The Philadelphia Experiment”) a defrosted Rip Van Winkle exclaims upon seeing Reagan on television (40 years after his forced hibernation started): “I know this guy, he used to play Cowboys in the movies”.

Candid cameras monitor the lives of webmasters (website owners) almost 24 hours a day. The resulting images are continuously posted on the Web and are available to anyone with a computer.

The last decade witnessed a spate of films, all concerned with the confusion between life and the imitations of life, the media. The ingenious “Capitan Fracasse”, “Capricorn One”, “Sliver”, “Wag the Dog” and many lesser films have all tried to tackle this (un)fortunate state of things and its moral and practical implications.

The blurring line between life and its representation in the arts is arguably the main theme of “The Truman Show”. The hero, Truman, lives in an artificial world, constructed especially for him. He was born and raised there. He knows no other place. The people around him – unbeknownst to him – are all actors. His life is monitored by 5000 cameras and broadcast live to the world, 24 hours a day, every day. He is spontaneous and funny because he is unaware of the monstrosity of which he is the main cogwheel.

But Peter Weir, the movie’s director, takes this issue one step further by perpetrating a massive act of immorality on screen. Truman is lied to, cheated, deprived of his ability to make choices, controlled and manipulated by sinister, half-mad Shylocks. As I said, he is unwittingly the only spontaneous, non-scripted, “actor” in the on-going soaper of his own life. All the other figures in his life, including his parents, are actors. Hundreds of millions of viewers and voyeurs plug in to take a peep, to intrude upon what Truman innocently and honestly believes to be his privacy. They are shown responding to various dramatic or anti-climactic events in Truman’s life. That we are the moral equivalent of these viewers-voyeurs, accomplices to the same crimes, comes as a shocking realization to us. We are (live) viewers and they are (celluloid) viewers. We both enjoy Truman’s inadvertent, non-consenting, exhibitionism. We know the truth about Truman and so do they. Of course, we are in a privileged moral position because we know it is a movie and they know it is a piece of raw life that they are watching. But moviegoers throughout Hollywood’s history have willingly and insatiably participated in numerous “Truman Shows”. The lives (real or concocted) of the studio stars were brutally exploited and incorporated in their films. Jean Harlow, Barbara Stanwyck, James Cagney all were forced to spill their guts in cathartic acts of on camera repentance and not so symbolic humiliation. “Truman Shows” is the more common phenomenon in the movie industry.

Then there is the question of the director of the movie as God and of God as the director of a movie. The members of his team – technical and non-technical alike – obey Christoff, the director, almost blindly. They suspend their better moral judgement and succumb to his whims and to the brutal and vulgar aspects of his pervasive dishonesty and sadism. The torturer loves his victims. They define him and infuse his life with meaning. Caught in a narrative, the movie says, people act immorally.

(IN)famous psychological experiments support this assertion. Students were led to administer what they thought were “deadly” electric shocks to their colleagues or to treat them bestially in simulated prisons. They obeyed orders. So did all the hideous genocidal criminals in history. The Director Weir asks: should God be allowed to be immoral or should he be bound by morality and ethics? Should his decisions and actions be constrained by an over-riding code of right and wrong? Should we obey his commandments blindly or should we exercise judgement? If we do exercise judgement are we then being immoral because God (and the Director Christoff) know more (about the world, about us, the viewers and about Truman), know better, are omnipotent? Is the exercise of judgement the usurpation of divine powers and attributes? Isn’t this act of rebelliousness bound to lead us down the path of apocalypse?

It all boils down to the question of free choice and free will versus the benevolent determinism imposed by an omniscient and omnipotent being. What is better: to have the choice and be damned (almost inevitably, as in the biblical narrative of the Garden of Eden) – or to succumb to the superior wisdom of a supreme being? A choice always involves a dilemma. It is the conflict between two equivalent states, two weighty decisions whose outcomes are equally desirable and two identically-preferable courses of action. Where there is no such equivalence – there is no choice, merely the pre-ordained (given full knowledge) exercise of a preference or inclination. Bees do not choose to make honey. A fan of football does not choose to watch a football game. He is motivated by a clear inequity between the choices that he faces. He can read a book or go to the game. His decision is clear and pre-determined by his predilection and by the inevitable and invariable implementation of the principle of pleasure. There is no choice here. It is all rather automatic. But compare this to the choice some victims had to make between two of their children in the face of Nazi brutality. Which child to sentence to death – which one to sentence to life? Now, this is a real choice. It involves conflicting emotions of equal strength. One must not confuse decisions, opportunities and choice. Decisions are the mere selection of courses of action. This selection can be the result of a choice or the result of a tendency (conscious, unconscious, or biological-genetic). Opportunities are current states of the world, which allow for a decision to be made and to affect the future state of the world. Choices are our conscious experience of moral or other dilemmas.

Christoff finds it strange that Truman – having discovered the truth – insists upon his right to make choices, i.e., upon his right to experience dilemmas. To the Director, dilemmas are painful, unnecessary, destructive, or at best disruptive. His utopian world – the one he constructed for Truman – is choice-free and dilemma-free. Truman is programmed not in the sense that his spontaneity is extinguished. Truman is wrong when, in one of the scenes, he keeps shouting: “Be careful, I am spontaneous”. The Director and fat-cat capitalistic producers want him to be spontaneous, they want him to make decisions. But they do not want him to make choices. So they influence his preferences and predilections by providing him with an absolutely totalitarian, micro-controlled, repetitive environment. Such an environment reduces the set of possible decisions so that there is only one favourable or acceptable decision (outcome) at any junction. Truman does decide whether to walk down a certain path or not. But when he does decide to walk – only one path is available to him. His world is constrained and limited – not his actions.

Actually, Truman’s only choice in the movie leads to an arguably immoral decision. He abandons ship. He walks out on the whole project. He destroys an investment of billions of dollars, people’s lives and careers. He turns his back on some of the actors who seem to really be emotionally attached to him. He ignores the good and pleasure that the show has brought to the lives of millions of people (the viewers). He selfishly and vengefully goes away. He knows all this. By the time he makes his decision, he is fully informed. He knows that some people may commit suicide, go bankrupt, endure major depressive episodes, do drugs. But this massive landscape of resulting devastation does not deter him. He prefers his narrow, personal, interest. He walks.

But Truman did not ask or choose to be put in his position. He found himself responsible for all these people without being consulted. There was no consent or act of choice involved. How can anyone be responsible for the well-being and lives of other people – if he did not CHOOSE to be so responsible? Moreover, Truman had the perfect moral right to think that these people wronged him. Are we morally responsible and accountable for the well-being and lives of those who wrong us? True Christians are, for instance.

Moreover, most of us, most of the time, find ourselves in situations which we did not help mould by our decisions. We are unwillingly cast into the world. We do not provide prior consent to being born. This fundamental decision is made for us, forced upon us. This pattern persists throughout our childhood and adolescence: decisions are made elsewhere by others and influence our lives profoundly. As adults we are the objects – often the victims – of the decisions of corrupt politicians, mad scientists, megalomaniac media barons, gung-ho generals and demented artists. This world is not of our making and our ability to shape and influence it is very limited and rather illusory. We live in our own “Truman Show”. Does this mean that we are not morally responsible for others?

We are morally responsible even if we did not choose the circumstances and the parameters and characteristics of the universe that we inhabit. The Swedish Count Wallenberg imperilled his life (and lost it) smuggling hunted Jews out of Nazi occupied Europe. He did not choose, or helped to shape Nazi Europe. It was the brainchild of the deranged Director Hitler. Having found himself an unwilling participant in Hitler’s horror show, Wallenberg did not turn his back and opted out. He remained within the bloody and horrific set and did his best. Truman should have done the same. Jesus said that he should have loved his enemies. He should have felt and acted with responsibility towards his fellow human beings, even towards those who wronged him greatly.

But this may be an inhuman demand. Such forgiveness and magnanimity are the reserve of God. And the fact that Truman’s tormentors did not see themselves as such and believed that they were acting in his best interests and that they were catering to his every need – does not absolve them from their crimes. Truman should have maintained a fine balance between his responsibility to the show, its creators and its viewers and his natural drive to get back at his tormentors. The source of the dilemma (which led to his act of choosing) is that the two groups overlap. Truman found himself in the impossible position of being the sole guarantor of the well-being and lives of his tormentors. To put the question in sharper relief: are we morally obliged to save the life and livelihood of someone who greatly wronged us? Or is vengeance justified in such a case?

A very problematic figure in this respect is that of Truman’s best and childhood friend. They grew up together, shared secrets, emotions and adventures. Yet he lies to Truman constantly and under the Director’s instructions. Everything he says is part of a script. It is this disinformation that convinces us that he is not Truman’s true friend. A real friend is expected, above all, to provide us with full and true information and, thereby, to enhance our ability to choose. Truman’s true love in the Show tried to do it. She paid the price: she was ousted from the show. But she tried to provide Truman with a choice. It is not sufficient to say the right things and make the right moves. Inner drive and motivation are required and the willingness to take risks (such as the risk of providing Truman with full information about his condition). All the actors who played Truman’s parents, loving wife, friends and colleagues, miserably failed on this score.

It is in this mimicry that the philosophical key to the whole movie rests. A Utopia cannot be faked. Captain Nemo’s utopian underwater city was a real Utopia because everyone knew everything about it. People were given a choice (though an irreversible and irrevocable one). They chose to become lifetime members of the reclusive Captain’s colony and to abide by its (overly rational) rules. The Utopia came closest to extinction when a group of stray survivors of a maritime accident were imprisoned in it against their expressed will. In the absence of choice, no utopia can exist. In the absence of full, timely and accurate information, no choice can exist. Actually, the availability of choice is so crucial that even when it is prevented by nature itself – and not by the designs of more or less sinister or monomaniac people – there can be no Utopia. In H.G. Wells’ book “The Time Machine”, the hero wanders off to the third millennium only to come across a peaceful Utopia. Its members are immortal, don’t have to work, or think in order to survive. Sophisticated machines take care of all their needs. No one forbids them to make choices. There simply is no need to make them. So the Utopia is fake and indeed ends badly.

Finally, the “Truman Show” encapsulates the most virulent attack on capitalism in a long time. Greedy, thoughtless money machines in the form of billionaire tycoon-producers exploit Truman’s life shamelessly and remorselessly in the ugliest display of human vices possible. The Director indulges in his control-mania. The producers indulge in their monetary obsession. The viewers (on both sides of the silver screen) indulge in voyeurism. The actors vie and compete in the compulsive activity of furthering their petty careers. It is a repulsive canvas of a disintegrating world. Perhaps Christoff is right after al when he warns Truman about the true nature of the world. But Truman chooses. He chooses the exit door leading to the outer darkness over the false sunlight in the Utopia that he leaves behind.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

“The Talented Mr. Ripley” is an Hitchcockian and blood-curdling study of the psychopath and his victims. At the centre of this masterpiece, set in the exquisitely decadent scapes of Italy, is a titanic encounter between Ripley, the aforementioned psychopath protagonist and young Greenleaf, a consummate narcissist.

Ripley is a cartoonishly poor young adult whose overriding desire is to belong to a higher – or at least, richer – social class. While he waits upon the subjects of his not so hidden desires, he receives an offer he cannot refuse: to travel to Italy to retrieve the spoiled and hedonistic son of a shipbuilding magnate, Greenleaf Senior. He embarks upon a study of Junior’s biography, personality, likes and hobbies. In a chillingly detailed process, he actually assumes Greenleaf’s identity. Disembarking from a luxurious Cunard liner in his destination, Italy, he “confesses” to a gullible textile-heiress that he is the young Greenleaf, traveling incognito.

Thus, we are subtly introduced to the two over-riding themes of the antisocial personality disorder (still labeled by many professional authorities “psychopathy” and “sociopathy”): an overwhelming dysphoria and an even more overweening drive to assuage this angst by belonging. The psychopath is an unhappy person. He is besieged by recurrent depression bouts, hypochondria and an overpowering sense of alienation and drift. He is bored with his own life and is permeated by a seething and explosive envy of the lucky, the mighty, the clever, the have it alls, the know it alls, the handsome, the happy – in short: his opposites. He feels discriminated against and dealt a poor hand in the great poker game called life. He is driven obsessively to right these perceived wrongs and feels entirely justified in adopting whatever means he deems necessary in pursuing this goal.

Ripley’s reality test is maintained throughout the film. In other words – while he gradually merges with the object of his admiring emulation, the young Greenleaf – Ripley can always tell the difference. After he kills Greenleaf in self-defense, he assumes his name, wears his clothes, cashes his checks and makes phone calls from his rooms. But he also murders – or tries to murder – those who suspect the truth. These acts of lethal self-preservation prove conclusively that he knows who he is and that he fully realizes that his acts are parlously illegal.

Young Greenleaf is young, captivatingly energetic, infinitely charming, breathtakingly handsome and deceivingly emotional. He lacks real talents – he know how to play only six jazz tunes, can’t make up his musical mind between his faithful sax and a newly alluring drum kit and, an aspiring writer, can’t even spell. These shortcomings and discrepancies are tucked under a glittering facade of non-chalance, refreshing spontaneity, an experimental spirit, unrepressed sexuality and unrestrained adventurism. But Greenleaf Jr. is a garden variety narcissist. He cheats on his lovely and loving girlfriend, Marge. He refuses to lend money – of which he seems to have an unlimited supply, courtesy his ever more disenchanted father – to a girl he impregnated. She commits suicide and he blames the primitiveness of the emergency services, sulks and kicks his precious record player. In the midst of this infantile temper tantrum the rudiments of a conscience are visible. He evidently feels guilty. At least for a while.

Greenleaf Jr. falls in and out of love and friendship in a predictable pendulous rhythm. He idealizes his beaus and then devalues them. He finds them to be the quiddity of fascination one moment – and the distilled essence of boredom the next. And he is not shy about expressing his distaste and disenchantment. He is savagely cruel as he calls Ripley a leach who has taken over his life and his possessions (having previously invited him to do so in no uncertain terms). He says that he is relieved to see him go and he cancels off-handedly elaborate plans they made together. Greenleaf Jr. maintains a poor record of keeping promises and a rich record of violence, as we discover towards the end of this suspenseful, taut yarn.

Ripley himself lacks an identity. He is a binary automaton driven by a set of two instructions – become someone and overcome resistance. He feels like a nobody and his overriding ambition is to be somebody, even if he has to fake it, or steal it. His only talents, he openly admits, are to fake both personalities and papers. He is a predator and he hunts for congruence, cohesion and meaning. He is in constant search of a family. Greenleaf Jr., he declares festively, is the older brother he never had. Together with the long suffering fiancée in waiting, Marge, they are a family. Hasn’t Greenleaf Sr. actually adopted him?

This identity disturbance, which is at the psychodynamic root of both pathological narcissism and rapacious psychopathy, is all-pervasive. Both Ripley and Greenleaf Jr. are not sure who they are. Ripley wants to be Greenleaf Jr. – not because of the latter’s admirable personality, but because of his money. Greenleaf Jr. cultivates a False Self of a jazz giant in the making and the author of the Great American Novel but he is neither and he bitterly knows it. Even their sexual identity is not fully formed. Ripley is at once homoerotic, autoerotic and heteroerotic. He has a succession of homosexual lovers (though apparently only platonic ones). Yet, he is attracted to women. He falls desperately in love with Greenleaf’s False Self and it is the revelation of the latter’s dilapidated True Self that leads to the atavistically bloody scene in the boat.

But Ripley is a different -and more ominous – beast altogether. He rambles on about the metaphorical dark chamber of his secrets, the key to which he wishes to share with a “loved” one. But this act of sharing (which never materializes) is intended merely to alleviate the constant pressure of the hot pursuit he is subjected to by the police and others. He disposes with equal equanimity of both loved ones and the occasional prying acquaintance. At least twice he utters words of love as he actually strangles his newfound inamorato and tries to slash an old and rekindled flame. He hesitates not a split second when confronted with an offer to betray Greenleaf Sr., his nominal employer and benefactor, and abscond with his money. He falsifies signatures with ease, makes eye contact convincingly, flashes the most heart rending smile when embarrassed or endangered. He is a caricature of the American dream: ambitious, driven, winsome, well versed in the mantras of the bourgeoisie. But beneath this thin veneer of hard learned, self-conscious and uneasy civility – lurks a beast of prey best characterized by the DSM IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual):

“Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior, deceitfulness as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others to personal profit or pleasure, impulsivity or failure to plan ahead… reckless disregard for safety of self or others… (and above all) lack of remorse.” (From the criteria of the Antisocial Personality Disorder).

But perhaps the most intriguing portraits are those of the victims. Marge insists, in the face of the most callous and abusive behavior, that there is something “tender” in Greenleaf Jr. When she confronts the beguiling monster, Ripley, she encounters the fate of all victims of psychopaths: disbelief, pity and ridicule. The truth is too horrible to contemplate, let alone comprehend. Psychopaths are inhuman in the most profound sense of this compounded word. Their emotions and conscience have been amputated and replaced by phantom imitations. But it is rare to pierce their meticulously crafted facade. They more often than not go on to great success and social acceptance while their detractors are relegated to the fringes of society. Both Meredith and Peter, who had the misfortune of falling in deep, unrequited love with Ripley, are punished. One by losing his life, the other by losing Ripley time and again, mysteriously, capriciously, cruelly.

Thus, ultimately, the film is an intricate study of the pernicious ways of psychopathology. Mental disorder is a venom not confined to its source. It spreads and affects its environment in a myriad surreptitiously subtle forms. It is a hydra, growing one hundred heads where one was severed. Its victims writhe and as abuse is piled upon trauma – they turn to stone, the mute witnesses of horror, the stalactites and stalagmites of pain untold and unrecountable. For their tormentors are often as talented as Mr. Ripley is and they are as helpless and as clueless as his victims are.

Superman: A Film Franchise

Superman Returns, the new film by Bryan Singer, is the fifth movie to tell the story of a simple young boy from another planet who falls to earth and grows up to be the Man of Steel, helping people and averting disasters that would end the world.

Here is a quick look at the first four films, that were made in the 70s and 80s.

Superman (1978) – The original film sees Christopher Reeve play Superman.
With the planet Krypton facing destruction, scientist Jor-El takes drastic measures to preserve the Kryptonian race – he sends his infant son Kal-El to Earth to become a champion of truth and justice. Kal-El grows up as Clark Kent and eventually learns the truth about his family and realises that he must use his abilities for good. Clark moves to Metropolis where he becomes a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper, and also becomes his alter-ego, Superman, a defender of law and order. However, deep below Metropolis Lex Luthor is plotting evil. Can Superman thwart his nasty plans and save millions of innocent people?

Superman II (1980) – Christopher Reeve returns – The adventure continues.
Superman saves France by throwing a nuclear bomb deep into space. Unfortunately the bomb explodes, freeing three Kryptonian criminals from captivity. Meanwhile Superman has decided to relinquish his superhero powers to live happily ever after with Lois Lane. As the criminals, led by General Zod, join up with Lex Luthor to take over the world, Clark Kent has to decide whether to try to regain Superman’s powers and face his biggest battle yet.

Superman III (1983) – If the world’s most powerful computer can control even Superman…no one on earth is safe.
Superman has saved the world against villains from Earth and from Krypton, but will he cope when a super-computer, and its programmer, set out to destroy him? In between his attempts to save the world, Clark returns to his old High School and meets an old flame.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) – Nuclear Power. In the best hands, it is dangerous. In the hands of Lex Luthor, it is pure evil. This is Superman’s greatest battle. And it is for all of us.
In an attempt to take over the world arms market Lex Luthor clones Superman to make Nuclear Man. Luthor hopes Nuclear Man will take on and beat Superman. Thankfully, Superman saves the Statue of Liberty, repulses a volcanic eruption of Mount Etna, and rebuilds the demolished Great Wall of China. And saved the world.

Criminal Stars

Thievery is alive and well in Hollywood. The glamorization of crime invariably tickles the curiosity of the public. Criminals have been portrayed as exciting, daring and cunning tantamount to hero status. They are the risk takers who should not be completely judged upon their criminal expression but rather looked at as individuals with some merit. They are cast sympathetically as their relationships are examined and ultimately lend credence to the justification, in their minds, of the criminal choices they have made. But worst of all, they are often shown as being ‘cool’, even as they hurdle towards the death of their freedom.

Take, for example, the jewelry or art thief. Movies like the Italian Job, the Score and Ocean’s Eleven display criminals as generally model citizens, other than when they are committing crimes. There may be such criminals but are they so suave in their real lives? Are they seemingly morally upright in their relationships with others? Are they really just good guys who happen to commit crimes? In real life the majority of criminals are not suave, cool or sympathetic figures. They are cutthroat, ruthless and to a degree, sociopathic. Mob figures are the best example of the paradox between the glamorization of criminal life and reality of criminal behavior.

All agree that the Soprano’s, a show about mob life in New Jersey, is a great show. The production value is high, the actors are skilled and the plot lines are well conceived. People get whacked, money gets laundered and criminals get promoted for good work. Yet, in order for the audience to tune in every week they must connect with the characters. Hence, the boss of the family, Tony Soprano is shown as a father, a husband and as attempting to improve his relationships with the outside world by visiting a therapist. This is a ploy to create sympathy for a ruthless murdering crime boss. And it works, as the Sopranos is a hit. What then are the real criminals doing?

True mob figures don’t give a damn about the outside world. Their loyalty lies with their crime families. They lie, cheat and murder for riches and would stomp on the average person, literally, to further their gains. A true jewelry thief is usually a two bit criminal who robs the local family owned jewelry store, as can be verified by FBI criminal statistics. Real criminal life is fraught with betrayal, pain and stints in prison. Most criminals are caught at some point with over 13 million arrests made in the US in 2005 alone, according to the FBI.

The business side of Hollywood is reactionary in nature. The glamorization of criminal life is partly in response to a demand by the public. Interest in stylized underworld figures comes from a public perhaps bored with their average daily existence. The idea that there are people who survive in a world where they ignore the law, fascinates us. But when the glamour is shaken off, and the dust clears, there is only an empty fancy suit left, where a thief once stood.