What's more appropriate for Flag Day than a movie about a guy from another planet who says he's “as American as you can get”?
That would be Kal-El, the last son of Krypton, alias Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), whose origin is revealed in “Man of Steel,” the latest iteration of DC Comics' venerable and invulnerable hero Superman. It's a serious, camp-free action movie, as director Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen”) loads up on visual splash while screenwriter David S. Goyer (who developed the story with “The Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan) revamps the mythology. The results get a little over-the-top at the end, but mostly it's an engrossing ride with a strong emotional core. (If you're a Superman fan, The Cricket wrote this essay on the character's history and influence.)
“Man of Steel” has scared off the rest of the studios this weekend – the only other wide release, the comedy “This Is The End,” opened on Wednesday. But there are two art-house releases worth checking out.
The best – and, in fact, one of the best of the year – is “Before Midnight,” the third installment of the romantic saga that director Richard Linklater has concocted with actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. This film finds Jesse and Celine (who met and fell in love on a Vienna train in 1995's “Before Sunrise”) as 41-year-olds with twin girls and a life together. Through a series of unbroken conversations, the two contrast the romance of their past to the realities of their present as they look toward an uncertain future. It's real, raw and amazing.
The documentary “We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks,” is a fascinating look at the secret-sharing website and its enigmatic founder, Julian Assange. It's also flawed, because Assange refused to take part in it. Instead, we get conflicting appraisals of Assange's character, either as a First Amendment hero or a reckless egomaniac.