Man of Steel (2013)
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David S. Goyer (story and screenplay), Christopher Nolan (story), Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (Superman character)
Stars: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon
This incarnation of Superman has some very good things going for it - specifically, Snyder's great eye for action and the wonderful cast (Cavill, Shannon and Costner are absolutely perfect). Unfortunately, it has two glaring weaknesses - specifically, Snyder's complete lack of subtlety and Goyer's weak writing. Every positive is accompanied by a negative and the net result ends up being absolutely average by Hollywood blockbuster standards. The eye-candy action is counterbalanced by glacial pacing. The few great character moments are outweighed by the scenes that Goyer thinks will hit you in the emotions like a truck, but instead have you rolling your eyes. For my money this is the best Superman movie to date, but that bar was very low.
Score: 5 / 10
Frances Ha (2012)
Director: Noah Baumbach
Writers: Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig (screenplay)
Stars: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
Frances, the titular character, is a (mostly) likable, quirky and charming character - an aimless 27-year-old whose dream job as a dancer isn't going to work out, whose roommate/best friend is moving out, and who just generally needs to get her shit together. So, for an hour and a half, we watch her come to terms with these facts and, in the end, begin to get her shit together. Along the way, she has (mostly) uninteresting conversations with her (mostly) uninteresting and unlikable friends. If it is meant to criticize Frances' generation, the script is lacking teeth. If it is meant to be a comedy, it is lacking humor. What we're left with is a formless film - a good character given nothing to do.
Score: 4 / 10