Reel Life film notes:
• It takes just under an hour before we see Henry Cavill's Superman in costume during the new movie "Man of Steel." That beats Richard Donner's 1978 "Superman" where we don't see Christopher Reeve in tights until about an hour, five minutes into the movie.
Dear Dann: I nearly did a Danny Thomas spit-take while downing my Kryptonite-laced coffee when I read the references to the Sun-Times photogs near the end of your review ("Man of Steel"). I'm not going to say your review "crackled to life during the last five seconds" of reading, but it ended on a pleasingly smirkadelic note.
Some fanboy/geekboy Superman trivia: 1) Clark Kent's first name was his Earth mother's maiden name Martha Clark Kent. (Who names their son Clark these days? Or daughters Beatrice? Princess Fergie not withstanding as those wacky Brits will do anything for the press.)
2) Jor-El, a big deal on Krypton, actually created/found The Phantom Zone, which is the real reason why Zod hates Kal-El.
3) The ongoing saga over the "S" on Superman's chest. One famous comic book writer had the audacity to postulate that this "symbol of hope vs. the letter S" debate was all wrong. The true symbol was not the "S," but the spaces all around the "S." This writer was widely derided for stupidity and wisely so. -- Rick Dana Barlow, Wingfoot Media, Inc.
Rick: As always, thanks for the super insights. -- Dann
Reel Life mini-review: "Pandora's Promise"
Robert Stone's pro-nuclear power nonfiction film "Pandora's Promise" dances on that fine line between propaganda and journalistically sound reporting, and occasionally tips into the former camp.
Stone lines up an impressive parade of pro-nuke voices -- even several former anti-nuke advocates who've seen the atomic-powered light -- most of whom make persuasive pitches for using clean energy to save our planet from being kicked to the eco-curb by our own big carbon footprints.
With renewed interest in questionable fracking practices by the oil industry (and in the wake of Gus Van Sant's 2012 fracking drama "Promised Land"), Stone's documentary couldn't be more timely.
The biggest convert would be British activist Mark Lynas, who appears almost contrite as a former No-Nukes guy who now soft-sells the dangers of nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plants.
To the open-minded, "Pandora's Promise" provides good fodder for those opting for reliable nuclear power over the less sustainable wind and solar power sources.
Significantly, Stone points out that America's clean power industry should have gone with the breeder reactor -- able to reuse spent fuel -- but instead went with a faster marketed system that produces far more waste than the breeder.
Stone's doc suggests that an outpouring of ill-informed environmentalists pressed politicians into abandoning a nuke program that would have provided clean, plentiful energy to a world choking to death on its own carbon emissions with no signs of slowing down its doom.
Stone reveals a lack of journalistic balance in "Pandora's Promise" by eliminating any voices from the other side to poke holes in the rhetoric of those who've already poked holes in the anti-nuke rhetoric.
The result is a thoughtful documentary whose facts and figures have been compromised by Stone's one-sided approach. Even if it's not propaganda, "Pandora's Promise" sure looks, smells, tastes and feels like it.
"Pandora's Promise" opens at the Century Centre in Chicago. Not rated, but suitable for general audiences. 87 minutes. ★ ★ ½
• Daily Herald Film Critic Dann Gire's column runs Fridays in Time out!