He SAID: Dawn of DC’s Demise

Scott F. Evans

I’ll try to keep this short.

Batman v Superman is a nearly three hour, joyless, anti-romp filled with unlikable characters with confusing motivations spouting clunky dialogue.

But it looks pretty good so… yay?

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Director Zack Snyder is back with the not-quite sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel, and awkward prequel to 2017’s The Justice League.  Snyder’s background is music videos and commercials.  It shows.  Much of the film is beautiful. Gone is the messy, handheld documentary style he and cinematographer Amir Mokri incorporated in Man of Steel, replaced instead by the cleaner imagery of frequent collaborator Larry Fong.  Snyder’s action scenes (and there are plenty) are much more legible this time as well.  He’s thankfully jettisoned most of that blurry, too-fast-for-the-camera effect so overused in Steel.

And that about does it for what’s good about Batman v Superman, because the rest of this film is an absolute mess.  The main problem is (are we really surprised?) story. Like a lot of mega-budgeted genre films these days, this one manages to be both too long and too short.  It overreaches, and even with a laborious two and a half hour run-time, it still fails to properly tell the story.  But that’s the result of trying to adapt several long-form comic book stories into a bloated feature film. If that’s not bad enough, it also attempts to shoehorn a handful of other themes, plus deliver the thrills expected from films of this nature. The end result is a muddled, disjointed piece that crumbles under its own weight.    This film has been in the making for three years, and it still feels like they shot a rushed first draft.

Screenwriter Chris Terrio (brought in to rewrite David Goyer) penned a ludicrously convoluted plot that desperately seeks mature significance, but is hamstrung by a deeply immature core.  It’s a given that the titular characters have to slug it out before the credits roll.  A smarter film would’ve crafted a journey where, by the end of it, there’s no other choice but for these heroes to go at it.  But in this film, the entire conflict could have  easily been avoided by these two men having a fairly simple conversation like adults, instead of a pair of overgrown toddlers.

Henry Cavill returns as Superman. Of all the actors involved in this, he’s the one I feel the most sorry for.  Not only is he a guest-star in his own movie, but Cavill is stuck with the most depressive, insecure, unpleasant, immature asshole version of Superman ever brought to the screen.  Terrio and Goyer have drained all of the charm and life out of this classic character.  I’m pretty sure that Snyder hates him too. There is not a scene in this film where Superman isn’t made to look inept, or bungles the simplest of superhero actions.

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Amy Adams is also back as Lois Lane.  True to form, she retains the magic ability to get herself involved in every dangerous situation (and put everyone around her at risk) as she waits to be rescued by her bulging, brainless boyfriend.  Adams is serviceable, but not especially memorable. That’s interesting only because she’s given nearly as much screen time as the two leads.

BATMAN V SUPERMAN

Jesse Esienberg debuts as the latest – and worst – version of Lex Luthor.  This is a film-killing misstep.  This Luthor is so lacking in… everything… it’s insulting that the filmmakers want us to consider him dangerous.  You keep waiting for Lois to just slap the shit out of him and make it all stop.  He can be given credit for taking the character in a different direction, but his performance is so overly affected and phony that you count the seconds until he is offscreen.  The worst part about that is, he’s all over this film.

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Gal Gadot appears as Wonder Woman.  She’s featured heavily in the film’s marketing but her screentime ends up being mostly a lengthy cameo (and an advertisement for her own feature in 2017).  She’s adequate, but since she’s not given much else to do outside of the fight scene (you could cut her out entirely and it would barely affect the plot), it’s hard to determine if Gadot is going to be able to carry a feature on her own.  She certainly looks the part and clocks in for the climactic fight, so there’s hope for her solo project.

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Ben Affleck takes over the cape and cowl as the latest rendition of Batman.  He’s good, but not especially better than previous versions.  Affleck is refreshingly the most physical Batman we’ve ever seen. But he turns in such a dour, one-note performance that it’s hard to tell how good he’ll be going forward.   The character has always skirted the razor’s edge of insanity with his obsession with fighting crime. Here he’s full blown psychopath, racking up an impressive body count and causing nearly as much property damage as his co-star.  It’ll be interesting to see what Affleck does with this character with a more restrained director and cohesive script.

That lack of restraint and cohesion is what ultimately sinks Batman v Superman.  It’s a hollow film that’s too long, too loud, and tries too hard.  It focuses too much of its energy in the wrong places with turgid plotting, try-hard atmospherics and forgettable action scenes.

RATING: Cable

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We SAID: Anatomy of a Peel

Staff Writer

Beauty for SS/16 is more about the natural skin shining through than coverage with makeup or light reflecting pigments and creams. That means a flawless finish has to begin with skin care that sets the perfect canvas for the ultimate SS/16 Beauty expression. If you’re ready to go beyond the daily ritual of cleansing, exfoliating and moisturizing, it may be time to dive deeper with a peel.

Chemical peels are a great way to ‘refresh’ your appearance by breaking the proteins on the skin’s surface to accelerate the revelation of fresh skin underneath. Done safely (read; by a professional), peels can do away with acne, blemishes, scarring, fine lines and wrinkles and even out overall skin tone. The kind of peel you choose depends entirely on your skin’s needs, potential for side effects (scarring or hyper-pigmentation), and commitment to the recovery process.

Glycolic Acid: Essentially low-to-medium risk; a light glycolic peel can refresh the skin without any actual ‘peeling’ action. The percentage of your peel (average %15-%30) should be determined based on expected results and recovery care and time. Although there are a wide range of glycolic peels available on the internet, many of them are not PH balanced and can end up doing more harm than good, even if left on the skin for a few minutes and neutralized immediately after. Consult a professional and do a patch test first.

TCA: Higher risk peel that uses Trichloroacetic Acid to encourage actual ‘peeling’ of the surface skin. TCA peels are applied in ‘layers’, so the more it’s layered onto your skin, the stronger the peel becomes. A cautious professional will used a self-neutralizing formula; once the peel is done working the surface of the skin becomes tight, breaks, and begins to peel away to reveal fresh skin underneath. During this process it is imperative that you do not agitate the skin in any way with excessive heat, steam, or exfoliation. Failure to do so can result in deep scarring, cystic acne and even contact dermatitis.

Fraxel: Instead of chemical topicals, Fraxel uses a laser treatment to delve works below the skin’s surface to stimulates your skin’s natural collagen. It is absolutely safe to say that Fraxel is not for everyone, particularly those predisposed to keloids or hyper pigmentation. There is also a chance for blistering and burns and infection. But patients who’ve undergone the treatment (and been diligent during recovery) absolutely swear by its results.

No matter what peel you decide, after care is extremely important and sunscreen is non-negotiable.

 

We SAID: SS/16 Skin

Staff Writer

With fingers crossed and bated breath, we await new ‘fresh’ ideas on Summer skin that translate from runway to reality, and do not involve the (hopefully) dated contour. Fresh picks are already in the pipe from some of biggest brands in makeup; The Makeup Show LA wrapped its 10th year with attractive offerings from the likes of NARS and Make Up For Ever… that might just do away with the contoured cake face.

Many brands are already looking forward to Summer with glowing offerings. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics laid out the new Metallics, with the dark bronze color Artifact clocking in as the most wearable. At the show, Beautylish highlighted Professional Makeup Artist liquidlagunaNatasha Denona, who is known for her glowing products. Of note are the All Over Glow powders, which give a nearly skin like finish to a wide range of skin tones. The result is more subtle than full-on shimmer, and the finely milled formula makes it easy to apply with brush or fingers.

The biggest prize may come from NARS, who released a liquid version of the bestselling Laguna Bronzer. The fluid shimmer is opaque enough to be worn as a sheer to medium coverage foundation, or can be buffed out for the most subtle glow. Layered under foundation, it gives skin just the right glowing boost. Worn alone, it can be tempered with a loose or pressed powder. Even less than flawless skin will benefit; the formula helps blur imperfections and makes your skin look like your skin on a sun-kissed beauty steroid.

She SAID: Ready, Set, MAKEUP!

Shahada Karim

Thousands of professional and aspiring makeup artists will take over Downtown Los Angeles this weekend for The Makeup Show LA. The annual trade show, which has grown frothe makeup show 2m a few obscure vendors to top-tier industry influencers, is in its 10th year. Celebrations kick off Friday with a Gala at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel, as artists pay homage to the iconic image of the  Femme Fatale. President of the Makeup Artists/Hair Stylists Guild Susan Cabral-Ebert is the guest of honor.

The trade show gets underway early Saturday morning, and the early bird gets first crack at the latest makeup and skin care offerings from some of the biggest names and fastest rising stars in the industry. Over the last decade, the Makeup Show has steadily grown in influence. An increasing number of professional artists have abandoned the the makeup showbehemoth trade show IMATS (which has become to professional makeup what Comic-Con is to comic books) and opted instead for this pro-only event.  Where IMATS can be mostly spectacle and sensation, The Makeup Show focuses on pro-specific offerings and practical guidelines to thrive in an ever expanding industry.

This year, The Makeup Show LA highlights tattoo-artist-turned-makeup -influencer Kat Von D, whose social media platforms go beyond makeup talk, to emphasize the importance of celebrating individuality and promoting tolerance.

Doors open to guests Saturday March 19th and Sunday March 20th at 9am. Official hashtags for The Makeup Show LA are #TMSLA #INSPIRE and #themakeupshow

He SAID: Of Monsters & Men

Scott F. Evans

As you take your seat in the darkened theater for a showing of… check that. As you prepare to leave for the theater to see 10 Cloverfield Lane, I urge you to remove any and all expectations about what this film might actually be. Expect nothing beyond good writing, directing, and acting. Go in with a clean slate.

If you can.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is on the run from a failed relationship. She’s knocked unconscious when her car is sideswiped and flips off the road. She awakens in doomsday prepper Howard’s (John Goodman) underground shelter. Emmitt (John Gallagher Jr.), partially incapacitated with a shoulder injury, is also locked in with them. Howard tells Michelle that she can’t leave because the country has been decimated… by something. The apocalypse is here, but they’re all safe as long as they don’t go topside.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

In his feature film debut, director Dan Trachtenberg has crafted a taut, enjoyable little thriller. 10 Cloverfield Lane is set primarily in a small underground bunker and Trachtenberg uses the location to its fullest potential. His camerawork is interesting, but never splashy. He finds ways of framing his restrictive set and cast of three in ways that don’t distract, but are never dull. He subtly builds clever visual clues into his film that all end up paying off by the climax. Trachtenberg’s a neophyte, but he shows such great potential that I look forward to his next project.

His top notch cast certainly helps. Winstead does exemplary work as film lead Michelle. She plays the character almost perfectly for this genre. She’s vulnerable, but has mettle to spare. Goodman steals the film as Howard, Michelle’s captor (savior? both?). Goodman is always a likable presence and Trachtenberg uses this to keep viewers guessing about his true intentions. Gallagher is given the thankless role of Emmitt, who is so amiable that he ultimately ends up undercutting some of the film’s tension. The character’s only real purpose seems to be to provide Michelle with a friend to talk to.

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10 Cloverfield Lane is a contained, relatively quiet film until a late third act shift. The change feels like an unnecessary studio-mandated addition, like the executives decided not to trust the audience. Though tonally jarring, it mostly works. That’s because by now, we’re completely invested in the two lead characters.

Coming in at just under two hours, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a fun little ride and definitely worth a watch.

RATING: Theater

She SAID: OCC’s Psychedelic Spring

Shahada Karim

occ-MagneticFields-SS2016-v2-PR-1Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics has never done things the conventional way. When it arrived on the scene with the original Lip Tar, makeup artists (and competitors) took note and recognized the cruelty-free, vegan product as a force to be reckoned with. OCC has since grown into a cult favorite, and continues to reveal new products that impress in practical application and performance.

The latest release of the new Magnetic Fields Collection is no exception. The selection of six new RTW Lip Tars (in new convenient wand packaging) features classic Spring shades with a psychedelic upgrade. From ‘Lily’, a high-impact lavender to ‘Wasabi’, a super-charged yellow, each shade delivers vivid long-lasting color worthy of the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics reputation.

Magnetic Fields Lip Tars are available online and in select stores.