Posts Tagged paul giamatti

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Is Spidey Back?

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Imageworks

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Imageworks

When a film that rakes in big box office numbers faces an alarming volume of critical backlash, it is a challenge for filmmakers and production companies to know what parts of their formula to tweak for the sequel. Case in point, 2012’s THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. While the franchise reboot was not universally panned, fans and critics who saw glaring issues with the film were much more vocal than you might find with other lifeless blockbusters. Sony Pictures and, by extension, director Marc Webb had to have had this in mind when developing THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, and the result is a sequel that is substantially better than that its predecessor. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t a great film, and perhaps this review will be equal parts whining about what I don’t like and damning the film with otherwise faint praise. Either way, I think it is worth noting that the filmmakers at least tried to make a better film than the previous installment. 

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 presents itself more like a trailer for the four upcoming Spider-man franchise films that have been announced than as a work that can stand on its own two feet. I’m not normally one to complain about franchise building in the age of modern-day filmmaking; Disney/Marvel thrives by positioning each of their films as a teaser for the next to come, and Warner Bros. is looking to emulate that strategy with the JUSTICE LEAGUE franchise. What the AVENGERS films do effectively is contain their narratives in way that are individually satisfying if not seen in the context of the overarching cinematic universe. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, on the other hand, clumsily juggles several narrative threads that serve no purpose than to set up the sequels. Read the rest of this entry »

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12 Years a Slave – Review

12 Years a Slave

Note: Very, VERY minor spoilers are contained within this film review, although nothing that isn’t shown in the trailers or heavily implied by the context of the film. Still, disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer. 

There really is no way around it; 12 Years a Slave is one of the most brutal, uncomfortable films I’ve seen in quite some time. This is by design. Director Steve McQueen aims to bring us a story of suffering and of helplessness in the pre-Civil War slave trading days, and boy, does he deliver.

The film follows Solomon Northrup, played expertly by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is a free black man living in upstate New York in the years prior to the Civil War. The film makes no illusions about him and his family having a status of equality within the Northern society, but compared to the scenarios Northrup finds himself in throughout the rest of the film, his life is about as ideal as could be imagined. After making a business deal with a pair of shifty men, Northrup finds himself drugged, kidnapped, and subsequently sold into slavery, where he spends the next 12 years of his life.

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Spoiling John Dies At The End

Warning:  This review contains spoilers about John Dies at the End.  If you don’t want find out that John dies at the end, come back to this review after watching the movie.  Wait, shit, did I just spoil it?

“Did that… did that doorknob just turn into a penis?” – Me, watching this movie

John Dies At The End

John Dies at the End by David Wong is one of my favorite novels, combining juvenile, stoner humor with a creative demon mythology that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Lovecraftian story.  When I first heard about the film adaptation, directed by Don Coscarelli of all people, I immediately began acting like an enlightened douche.  I, of course, had read the book, and I, of course, was looking forward to it far more than… lesser people.  This is going to be one of THOSE reviews, where the reviewer constantly compares the film to the book upon which it is based. Brace yourselves. Read the rest of this entry »

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