It hits US shores on May 3, but here’s the first teaser of Iron Man 3!
Sure, there are all kinds of fancy super-hero flicks and two-hour Sir Ridley Scott ridleygrams that everyone is flocking to see. But ’round PCZ HQ the only movie we have to see this year is Space Milkshake. It’s coming out sometime, somewhere and when it does, we’re going to watch the hell out of it, just you…er, watch! Starring Robin Dunne, Amanda Tapping, Billy Boyd and Kristin Kreuk, Space Milkshake threatens to re-define the “outer” in Outer Space!
When Sony first announced their plans to reboot the Spider-Man franchise, just five years after the largely-lauded final chapter of Sam Raimi’s wall-crawler trilogy, mass hysteria broke out among film and comic fans. I try to keep a realistic mindset about such things, but I’ll admit that even I had trouble putting my faith in a fresh take on a classic comic hero.
I grew up loving Spider-Man; he was the first hero that felt like a real person to me. Director Marc Webb’s interpretation of Spider-Man (and his alter ego, Peter Parker) gave me everything I was looking for in a big-screen return for this highly relatable, and very human, man in tights.
Let’s start with Andrew Garfield: Where Sam Raimi’s Peter Parker (as played by Tobey Maguire) was more of a weirdo outsider, I found myself rooting for Garfield’s version of the character almost immediately.
Webb builds up the character slowly, but gives us plenty of substance to latch onto before the action starts swinging. I found that I was enjoying the experience of becoming invested in Peter Parker and his supporting cast, including his parents Richard and Mary (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) and his beloved Aunt May and Uncle Ben (played effectively as modern seniors by Sally Field and Martin Sheen.)
Peter’s parents didn’t play a considerable role in the comic world until the 1990s, which wasn’t exactly a watershed period for creative storytelling in comics. Their inclusion here helps give some real depth to Peter’s psyche, and adds an impressive layer to his relationship with May and Ben. Field and Sheen fully inhabit their roles as Peter’s surrogate family, and the drama and warmth in their storyline is quite affecting.
The end result of all this character work is a Spider-Man who puts on his mask, but doesn’t disappear behind his superhero persona. I never felt like Tobey Maguire came across with as much connectivity, and certainly did not provide an endless stream of jokes during his action sequences. These are small details to some, but they’re everything to a fan of the wall-crawler.
Speaking of action sequences, I cannot express to you how truly AMAZING the movements and appearance of Spider-Man are on the big screen. Every time our webhead swings into action, I was truly excited. This is truly a comic book made real, right before your very eyes.
Spidey’s trademark grace and agility don’t come naturally, though; the brainy Parker has to learn to use his newfound abilities, and Garfield gives us the sense that he is truly enjoying every moment of it.
Webb dispenses with Mary Jane Watson (and thankfully, Kirsten Dunst,) choosing instead to offer us a more traditional romantic interest played by the radiant Emma Stone. This is a Gwen Stacy that everyone will fall in love with: She’s beautiful, she’s whip-smart, and you get the impression that she doesn’t need to be rescued by her superhero boyfriend. I’ve been a fan of Emma Stone since Superbad, and I firmly believe that she’s well on her way to well-deserved mega-stardom.
Gwen’s father, a police captain on the trail of our friendly-neighborhood masked vigilante, is played with annoyed concern by Denis Leary, and watching Spidey (and Peter) get under his skin is good fun.
I was cautiously optimistic about the movie’s Big Bad, the Lizard (played with controlled madness by Rhys Ifans,) mainly because the CGI chores for a talking lizard-man are considerable. I’m happy to report that the villain is more than passable in his reptilian form, and the characterization was spot on. Once again, this is where relationships are an important part of the film’s vision. Marc Webb did not invent the connections between these characters, but he wisely chose to play them with heart and realism, rather than drawing connections for the sake of keeping the story dramatically compact for the mass audience.
3-D isn’t going away anytime soon, so I consider it a victory whenever a film’s protrusion beyond the screen doesn’t make me want to flinch. I’m still not ready to love the 3-D experience, but I wasn’t bothered by its inclusion here.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is a triumph for the comic movie genre, and proof positive that the occasional quick relaunch doesn’t have to be a creative (or, hopefully, financial) disaster. There are plenty of Easter eggs in the film, and they’re tantalizing; let’s hope that the inevitable sequel swings even higher.
The future America is an irradiated waste land. On its East Coast, running from Boston to Washington DC, lies Mega City One- a vast, violent metropolis where criminals rule the chaotic streets. The only force of order lies with the urban cops called “Judges” who possess the combined powers of judge, jury and instant executioner. Known and feared throughout the city, Dredd (Karl Urban) is the ultimate Judge, challenged with ridding the city of its latest scourge – a dangerous drug epidemic that has users of “Slo-Mo” experiencing reality at a fraction of its normal speed.
During a routine day on the job, Dredd is assigned to train and evaluate Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), a rookie with powerful psychic abilities thanks to a genetic mutation. A heinous crime calls them to a neighborhood where fellow Judges rarely dare to venture- a 200 story vertical slum controlled by prostitute turned drug lord Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her ruthless clan. When they capture one of the clan’s inner circle, Ma-Ma overtakes the compound’s control center and wages a dirty, vicious war against the Judges that proves she will stop at nothing to protect her empire. With the body count climbing and no way out, Dredd and Anderson must confront the odds and engage in the relentless battle for their survival.
The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and director Pete Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film. Filmed in 3D with stunning slow motion photography sequences, the film returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.
DREDD will open on Friday, September 21st, 2012.
Let me clear your conscience right now: Skepticism is a perfectly natural reaction to the phrase “Kristen Stewart Snow White Action Fantasy.”
Even though I found the trailers surprisingly engaging, I still settled into my theater seat with a sense of dread cutting into my genuine anticipation. I was convinced that something would derail this experience for me. In a summer that’s paying early dividends with an amazing Avengers film and a remarkably okay Men In Black sequel, this one seemed certain to be a casualty of averages.
I was wrong. I enjoyed the hell out of this movie.
No, scratch that…I LOVED this movie.
Believe me, I’m as surprised as you are. SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is visually majestic, with a somber tone and palpable mood in every scene. The effects were surprisingly well-conceived, adding depth and life to the fantastic stage that director Rupert Sanders has constructed for his feature debut. The trailers haven’t really shown you the wealth of visual wonders that are waiting within the forest, and I hope you’ll be as pleasantly surprised as I was when I glimpsed them for the first time. In a mere two dimensions, no less!
Kristen Stewart’s Snow White is not a headstrong, I-don’t-need-saving heroine; she’s very capable, but she’s also a lost soul who finds herself alone and on the run in a world that has changed, and not for the better, in the years since she was imprisoned by the evil witch who deceived Snow’s father and murdered him in their wedding bed. And oh, what a witch she is! Charlize Theron’s sinister portrayal of the beauty-obsessed Ravenna might seem a bit over-the-top at first, but you realize very quickly that Ravenna is dangerously, desperately insane. She’s not evil for the sake of it; she’s out of her mind, and Theron runs the whole movie at a confident fever pitch.
Chris Hemsworth is the Huntsman, and he proves once again that he’s the guy to watch. His turn as the hero finds him as more of a roughneck Han Solo than a half-cocked Thunder God, and it suits him well. The film thankfully sidesteps a love triangle between the Huntsman and William (Sam Claflin) for the most part; the two men each have a personal stake in Snow’s survival and well-being, but the story never resorts to juvenile chest-beating for the favor of the pretty girl. A pretty girl who, I hasten to add, wears ratty, soiled clothing and has a layer of grime on her throughout 90% of the film. And she should.
Even with all of these pieces of the puzzle fitting together so neatly, I was still worried about the Dwarves. Would they be comic relief? Adorable human Ewoks who serve to remind us all that there is still cuteness in this realm of darkness? What if they go the other way, and give us half-size creeps who drink and belch and say things unbecoming of an Ewok? So many terrible possibilities!
Once again, my expectations were stuffed into a bag and thrown into the creek. If you don’t already know which actors are playing the Dwarves, don’t spoil it for yourself! I didn’t know going in, and I laughed out loud with joyful surprise when the characters made their debut. HUGE talent in these roles, if you’ll pardon the bad joke. In my defense, the film’s script didn’t bother with a barrage of short jokes or height-related gags, so I feel like I’m okay on this one.
This is a movie that has its own set of rules, and it plays by them very efficiently. Will everyone enjoy this movie? I’m not sure. I think you have to give yourself over to the experience. I found it so easy to do that, and I’m really glad I did. There’s a sense that SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN could start a franchise series; if the filmmakers can conjure up this kind of magic on every outing, I’ll be right there to see it.