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Behind the Scenes Of A New Spidey (Flack’s Article)

Posted on | July 7, 2012 | 1 Comment

On July 3rd The Amazing Spider-Man web slings into theaters! However before we get started on the new one here’s a little history. In August, 1962 the first Spider-Man comic was published by Marvel Comics. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko collaborated on the comic.The comic Amazing Adult Fantasy was canceled  and was renamed Amazing Fantasy for one issue. It was then called The Amazing Spider-Man and has been ever since, though different writers have done their versions of the characters over the years and spinoffs have been published. There were many failed attempts to make a movies involving directors such as James Cameron, David Fincher, and Tim Burton. But in summer 2002 Spider-Man (directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire as the hero himself as well as his alter ego Peter Parker) was released. The movie also starred James Franco and Kirsten Dunst. It was a smash success and became (at the time) the 6th highest grossing movie ever (unadjusted for inflation) though it is now 13th unadjusted. Spider-Man 2 and  Spider-Man 3  were released in 2004 and 2007, respectively. While the former was a success with critics and box office alike Spider-Man 3 made lots of money but was disliked by critics and fans. Or in other words it was time for a reboot. Just so you know I have know reviewed the movie but the following article contains predictions from before July 3rd that I had before I saw the movie.

The Amazing Spider-ManThe look for both a new director and a new Spider-Man was on. Most people thought it was too soon but some people were intrigued. The only remaining people from the first three films are producers Avi Arad and the late Laura Ziskin as well as Sony Pictures Studios. The search for a new Spidey included actors such as Aaron Johnson, Logan Lerman, Anton Yelchin, and Jamie Bell auditioning but in the end the role went to the Golden Globe nominated Brit Andrew Garfield. Though a somewhat unknown Garfield had been in romance drama Never Let Me Go, Oscar drama The Social Network, and fantasy adventure The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. The director Marc Webb has only one other feature to his name: the indie romantic comedy 500 Days Of Summer. But jumping from a budget of $7.5 million to a more Hollywood sized one of $215 million was no small task. There has been tons of advertising for the film: four trailers, an eight minute extended look, two featurettes, and numerous commercials. At first with lots of fans of the Tobey Maguire trilogy unhappy about the remake people had said the trailer made the film look like a Twilight superhero movie (which makes no sense). But as the movie was continually promoted the dust mostly settled.

Last summer was a great one for movies and 3 of my top 5 movies of the year were released in the May-August time frame (Super 8, The Help, and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2, although Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was pretty good as well). So far this summer this year I’ve seen a couple of films and none of them have been terrible (Moonrise Kingdom is the only one that may make it to my end of the year list). Can The Amazing Spider-Man be one of the best movies of the year? Probably not. But can it be the best action movie of the summer? Maybe. I thought The Avengers was great entertainment and it was a spectacularly fun way to kick off the summer movies season, even if it could have used an emotional story and better character development. I hope The Amazing Spider-Man mixes awesome action and a great story. I am also seeing this movie in 3-D and I am very excited about that because I hope Spider-Man flies into my face.

In 2002 Spider-Man made $114 million on it’s opening weekend and got an 89% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Spider-Man 2 was released for the 4th of July and made $152 million on the holiday weekend and $88 million on the regular weekend. It also got a 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Spider-Man 3 broke box office records with $151 million and got a 63% fresh. My prediction was that The Amazing Spider-Man would tie the original and get an 89% fresh. But many reviews are in and it currently has a 72% with the critic’s consensus being: A well-chosen cast and sure-handed direction allows The Amazing Spider-Man to thrill despite revisiting many of the same plot points from 2002’s Spider-Man. But what about the box office? The 3-D and 4th of July weekend should help bring in money but the studio is saying they hope for $125 million over the 6 day holiday weekend. My response to that? What????? Spider-Man made $114 million and that was in half the time with out added 3-D ticket prices. While June 29th big grossers Ted and Magic Mike may hold over Spidey will be king of the weekend. I think over the 6 day period it may get $155 million and over the three day period I predict it will make $89 million. It will probably have a domestic total of $289 million while worldwide $730 would be great and possible. Now for the other two wide releases this weekend: Katy Perry:Part of Me OWG 4 days: $13 million OWG 3 days: $9 million DTG: $37 million ITG: $80 million Savages: DTG 3 days: $26 million DTG: $56 million ITG: $95 million My RT guess for the former is 75% and for the latter 90% fresh. Savages has a star studded cast and is directed by Oliver Stone and will likely beat Katy Perry: Part of Me, a musical 3-D doccumentary. It should be a great weekend for critics and box office.

In the comments don’t forget to say what you think of the new movie if you’ve seen it or if you want to see it as well as your Rotten Tomatoes and box office predictions! Plus what you think of the previous Spider-Man trilogy! Hope you enjoyed my post! Now enjoy The Amazing Spider-Man!!!!!

The Amazing Spider-Man (Flack’s Review)

Posted on | July 5, 2012 | Add Comments

The Amazing Spider-Man

4 1/2 Stars

The Amazing Spider-Man is about how Peter Parker became Spider-Man. His parents mysteriously left him when he was just 4 years old but he now lives with his aunt and uncle and goes to a science high school in New York City. He is bullied by other kids and then falls in love with a girl named Gwen Stacy. To stop evil criminals because of a personal tragedy he decides to put on a suit and call himself Spider-Man. Peter also helps Dr. Curt Conors who works at Oscorp (the science company Gwen is working at). But then an evil monster called The Lizard tries to wreak havoc in the city. Gwen’s dad is a police captain and he thinks Spider-Man is bad so he tries to arrest him. Will Peter stop being bullied? Will Captain Stacy help Spidey? Will Peter find out the truth about his parents? Will The Lizard be stopped? Find out in The Amazing Spider-Man!!!!!!!

From the second it was announced that there was to be a new Spider-Man film about the origin story of the character people kept saying that it was too soon. After all it was May 2007 when Spider-Man 3 was released? So there were 2 options: ignore all the backlash from fans and critics and continue onto Spider-Man 4 or redo the origin story with a new cast and crew. They picked the second choice.  But is the new movie a moneymaking excuse or a lesson in great reboots? Worse than the 2002 original or way better? The new movie is both a lesson in great reboots and way better than the 2002 original.

The Amazing Spider-ManAll of the performances are strong and actually stronger. Andrew Garfield is great as both Spider-Man and Peter Parker. As Spidey he switches from sarcastic avenger to justice hero  and as Peter he brings depth, humanity, and a  good sense of the character. While Tobey Maguire was good he was a bit silly in the suit and a little ridiculous at times when out of it. However in this version Garfield owns the role. He makes Peter Parker more lonely yet tougher at the same time. The rest of the cast is also terrific. Emma Stone is better than Kirsten Dunst and her character (Gwen rather than MJ) is more developed. Dennis Leary plays Gwen’s father who is a police and his conflicts with Spider-Man make for one of the most interesting strands of the story. Rhys Ifans (like Emma Stone) takes a character from the original and adds more emotion and a new spin to it, resulting in a strong performance as the Norman Osbourney Dr. Curt Conors. As Uncle Ben and Aunt May, Martin Sheen and Sally Field are terrific choices and a bit more serious than Cliff Robertson and Rosemarie Harris were in their parts, respectively. In super small roles Irrfan Khan, Campbell Scott, Chris Zylka, and others are solid.

Marc Webb, who’s only films were music videos and indie romantic comedy (500) Days Of Summer, directs with a superbly smart knack for mixing spectacle with script and action with story. When he’s done with the Spider-Man franchise it will be interesting to see what he decides to do next. The script by James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves is great and sometimes witty. Steve Kloves wrote all the Harry Potter movies (except the 5th which was the least faithful) and does a comparably great job here. The movie is perfectly lengthed. At 136 minutes it not too long nor too short. Peter Parker doesn’t put on his mask, let alone call himself Spider-Man for a long time which is perfect because we get to know the character a lot better. And when it does get to the big action scenes where the city is being destroyed the personal scenes never lose their footing. In fact the more humane scenes aren’t so much as messily thrown in with the battles more nicely  put in with them.

The Amazing Spider-ManI saw the film in 3-D and it uses the technique better than the two other 3-D films I saw this year, John Carter, The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists!, and The Avengers. The movie was shot in 3-D rather than being hastily later converted to 3-D. Along with Hugo this uses 3-D better than any other film I’ve seen (I didn’t see Avatar in 3-D) though if you saw The Amazing Spider-Man in 2-D you could still enjoy it, even if  the action scenes weren’t as mind boggilingly awesome as they are with the added dimension. That said I still have not seen a movie where there is perfectly flawless 3-D and you couldn’t enjoy the movie without it. Nonetheless this is likely to be the 3-D movie of the year. Meanwhile an obvious advantage this film has over the 2002 Spider-Man is that 10 years later special effects have vastly improved. Out is silly computer effects, in are terrific ones. It’s awesome that with 3-D Spider-Man swings at you but the seamless blend of a CG Spidey, a stuntman one, and probably best of all the Andrew Garfield one certainly helps make that happen. Overall the special effects, 3-D, and stunts are amazing.

Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have great chemistry as do all the actors and it helps that they have a great script to work with. The music by James Horner, known for working with James Cameron on Titanic, Avatar, and Aliens, does a nice job here although either the original Spider-Man theme or a new one might have added some extra, fun excitement. The music is on par with Danny Elfman’s work for the previous trilogy. The color palette consisting mainly of blues and blacks creates a nice tone for a movie that is a bit darker than Sam Raimi’s more candy colored films.

The story is almost the same as the original though some characters have been replaced by similar, more developed ones. Though some iconic parts have been left out such as the line “With great power comes great responsibility” or the rainy upside down kiss but except for just maybe the former immortal line nothing feels missed. In fact overall this was a story completely worth re-telling.

And now for the ultimate answer. Is it better than the other Spider-Man movies? Well,  the producers said that it matters about the content of the film not how soon it comes. That’s mostly true but if this movie came out one year after Raimi’s first Spidey picture it would feel too soon. A decade later however, The Amazing Spider-Man is being released and it is better than Spider-Man (2002) because for one it tells the same story in a better different way. It’s also way greater than Spider-Man 3 (2007) because it’s not as confused or ridiculous. But does it beat Spider-Man 2 (2004) the film I recently called the best based on a comic book movie of all time. I think it’s as good which is certainly saying a lot. However there is one flaw that bugged me in this new version. When Peter gets his powers after being bitten by a spider he starts getting much stronger.  He breaks lots of things and then we see those objects later on perfectly fixed. Sure this won’t make you dislike the film too much but it is something that could have been cleaned up with just a couple of explanatory lines of dialogue. And the ending gets me excited for the sequel with lots of questions unanswered.

My favorite character is Peter Parker aka Spider-Man because while he is sometimes forgetful and does make mistakes he also saves the day, has awesome superpowers, is a good person, and is played nicely by Andrew Garfield (and CGI and stuntmen).

My favorite scene is the climax because the special effects, 3-D, script, story, actors, direction, music, and everything else come together perfectly. It’s also very exciting and suspenseful plus there’s a massive surprise that will make you sad.

The Amazing Spier-Man is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of action and violence. I agree but I would add that there are sad deaths, mild language, frightening images, and teenage romance.

The Amazing Spider-Man is better than Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 3 (2007), and maybe even the great Spider-Man 2 (2004). It cost an estimated $215 million to make and it was worth it. Whether you’re a comic book lover, or a movie buff, or someone just looking for a good time at the cinema you’ll love this movie. Andrew Garfield and the rest of the cast are great as is the direction by Marc Webb and everything else. It’s at times exciting, creepy, funny, and suspenseful but in one word it’s…….. amazing.

The Amazing Spider Man (Flick’s Review)

Posted on | July 4, 2012 | 3 Comments

4 stars

After his parents abandon him, Peter Parker is left with his aunt and uncle. He is then bitten by a spider and decides to be a superhero: Spider Man. He has powers of a spider, like climbing up walls and making webs. Along the way he must stop the Lizard from wrecking havoc on all of NYC and deal with his love for Gwen Stacy.

Everybody has their own opinion. Some people (most critics, like me), think that the world doesn’t need a new Spidey, when it’s only been five years since his last big screen adventure. Others (fans), don’t care if it’s been five years or a day since any superhero last swung or flew or hurtled in the dark. At least we are left with a good Spidey.

Andrew Garfield takes the role this time, after Tobey Maguire left the shoes (and “skin tie red and blue suit”) of Peter Parker/Spider Man. I prefer Garfield over Maguire, because of Garfield’s ability to play Peter and Spidey, both with equal verve. At times, though, Garfield plays the lonely side of the character. He does this with the same amount of talent. As far as Garfield’s acting goes, rest assured: a star is born.

What about the film as a whole? For a summer blockbuster with a brand new star, this goes beyond expectations. The CGI is really cool, a term that can’t be applied enough in today’s films because of the lack of plot development. (While I’m talking about effects, I might as well add the 3-D is certainly worth the extra money.) Since (for me), plot comes first, I won’t be looking to see if the effects are cool unless the story is working. And fortunately here it does. Keeping with the style of the Sam Raimi trilogy, The Amazing Spider Man is very dark. But the tone suits the film well, giving it a vibe that allows the story to make sense. Unlike The Avengers and some other recent superhero films, this film gets it right. It has the giddy, childish fun that you’re looking for, but it also has great chemistry with Garfield and Emma Stone (she is great in the role of Gwen Stacy, previously played by Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard’s daughter).

The effects are good… well mostly. Whenever Spider Man gets flung through midair his hands are shown in front of the camera, in slow-motion. This gives us the feeling that we’re watching a video game and that’s not what I want. Those few times, we feel as if we are Spidey, but in the weirdest of all ways. The effect is trying to make you feel like you’re behind the camera, reaching your hands out, in front of the camera. The feeling is very bizarre. Out of all the times the audience may have wanted to feel as if they’re Spider Man, I don’t think when he’s falling to his possible death is their number one option.

In the rest of the film though, we feel like we are Spidey, but more importantly Peter, all because of Garfield. Rhys Ifans, Dennis Leary, Martin Sheen, and for the most part Sally Field (she has a twinkle in her eye when she’s not sure if her nephew is dead) do a great job as the supporting cast: whenever the film runs out of gas (it does a few times), it has this great collection of actors to bring it right back up to the top. Fortunately, for the most part, The Amazing Spider Man stays at the top.

My favorite character is Peter Parker/Spider Man because even though he is repeatedly beat up in school and he has no parents, he still manages to make the best of it all.

My favorite scene is the climax because it sets a lot up for the (that’s right) 2014 sequel, while also showcasing the talented animators jaw dropping CGI and dishing out some emotional notes.

The Amazing Spider Man is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action violence and I agree.

The Amazing Spider Man is finally here and it doesn’t disappoint. Okay, okay it does sometimes, for example at the beginning I kept thinking, “did they have to do the exact same thing they did in the Sam Raimi version?” (the truth is they kind of did have to), it’s a bit confusing at times, and at it feels like it ends three times (fortunately each time was a good ending). But still, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone lead an “amazing” cast and the story is substantial. I think this is understandable for a film about high school teens: high marks.

Spider-Man Trilogy (Flack’s Triple Review)

Posted on | July 1, 2012 | 1 Comment

Spider-Man

In the following article I will review the Spider-Man trilogy. This includes Spider-Man (2002) Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Spider Man 3 (2007). Sam Raimi directed all the films and Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker aka Spider-Man along with Kirsten Dunst as his love interest, Mary Jane Watson also known as MJ. Let the  superhero triple review begin!

The first Spider-Man film tells the origin story of the hero: how Peter Parker got bitten by a spider, put on a costume, had his friend Harry Osbourne get mad at him, fell in love with Mary Jane Watson, and battled the Green Goblin. In Spider-Man 2 MJ is now going to marry an astronaut while Peter now has more trouble as Spider-Man with Dock-Ock trying to ruin the city. Harry is meanwhile out for vengeance. Peter being Spider-Man is also distracting him from his personal life as he tries to get MJ to love him again. In the final film, Spider-Man 3 Peter faces more romantic troubles, a demon creature called Venom living within him, and an addictive but evil black Spidey suit plus new villains the Sandman, rival photographer Eddie Brock as Venom, and Harry as the New Green Goblin.

Spider-ManThe overall tone for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy is entertainment. Yes at times the films are dark and brooding (but never too much and there’s no blood) and at others silly and ridiculous (but always after a supposed to be silly scene the bad guy comes in and havoc ensues). The first Spider-Man movie was  released on May 3rd, 2002 (a decade ago) and it broke Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone‘s opening weekend box office record of $90 million by bringing in $114 million in just three days. It went on to make $403 million in the USA making it (unadjusted for inflation) the 6th highest grossing movie of all time. It also cost $139 million to make, made $821 million in it’s worldwide total, and was the highest grossing movie of 2002.  It also received generally favorable reviews from critics and was applauded by fans. So what’s my take? An exciting superhero action picture with bad CGI and emotional scenes that try and sometimes fail but nonetheless a suspenseful, action packed thrill ride. Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, and Willem Dafoe among others are good and fit their roles. Maguire and Dunst have so-so chemistry and Cliff Robertson and Rosemarie Harris are enjoyable as Peter’s Uncle Ben and Aunt May.  However, it definitely did not deserve it’s 89% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. For a movie only ten years old some of the effects are pretty cheap! I mean even some of the stuff from 1977’s Star Wars holds up a little bit better and that movie came out 35 years ago! One of the main problems with the film is the Green Goblin. Because he is stuck in a suit Willem Dafoe is not able to move around his body to make the fight scenes more exciting, or show any expression on his face thereby restricting him to a one note, cheesy bad guy. Luckily Dafoe is pretty strong as the Goblin’s alter ego Norman Osbourne though it’s not an amazing performance or anything like that. The emotional stuff works occasionally but magically the origin story is just so watchable and all the elements come together to create an entertaining ride.

Spider-Man 2Spider-Man 2Spider-Man 2Spider Man 2 was released June 30th, 2002 just in time for the 4th of July. It cost $200 million to make, opened to $88 million, had a domestic total of $373 million, a worldwide total of $783 million, and became the second highest grossing movie of the 2004. It got a 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and Roger Ebert gave it 4 out of 4 stars (he gave the first one 2 1/2 stars and the third one 2 stars) and called it the best superhero movie ever. The only problem I have with this film is that there is one silly scene where they play bad music as Peter Parker walks down the street (I guess they were just preparing you for Spider-Man 3). Other than this minor complaint, Spider-Man 2 is basically perfect. It’s filled with interesting characters, awesome action, a great story, and terrific special effects. For every astonishing fight on top of a train set piece there’s a sad moment when two people talk. Dock-Ock could have used some more emotion but Alfred Molina is fantastic and the villain is wwwwaaaaaaayyyyy better than the Green Goblin. This is the only sequel I have seen that I would call an actual improvement over the original. Not only is the Spidey series back, bigger, and better it’s also more humane. Maguire and Dunst as well as James Franco have gotten heavily better in their roles and now feel more comfortable. This is not just a great Spider-Man movie, it’s not just a great superhero movie. It’s a truly great movie. And for all the great dialogue and fantastic screenwriting, this is an action movie. And it’s a cool one. Unlike a lot of  action movies there are more great battles than just the climax in this. There is a spectacular set piece where Dock-Ock and Spidey battle. After so many emotional scenes this  battle sequence really gets your blood pounding. And of course then there’s the inevitably awesome climax with thrills, chills, and spills all it’s own. The film takes big steps forward but stays true to the characters. An amazing movie.

Spider-Man 3Spider-Man 3Spider-Man 3 was released May 4th, 2007 and was immediately disliked by fans. Critics had mixed feelings about it too, rewarding it a 63% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It made $151 million on it’s opening weekend setting a new record, made $336 million domestically which was worse than all the others, made $890 million worldwide which as the best for the trilogy, and became the highest grossing movie of the year.  While there are some absolutely ridiculous dance numbers, a convoluted plot, and a disappointing ending there is still real emotion, surprising revelations, and okay special effects. And then there are the often discussed villains. Three of them. Flint Marko aka The Sandman is portrayed fairly lifelessly yet just okay by Thomas Haden Church for most of the film until the last scene he is in where he does a good job. The CGI Sandman is inhumane and a boring bunch of goop. Performance capture would have been helpful. Luckily Marko’s back story is interesting enough. Another villain Venom is basically three villains. At first he is a slimy black blob, then he turns (most interestingly) Peter bad, and later on gets into rival photographer Eddie Broch (Eddie wants to take Peter’s photography job at the newspaper business The Daily Bugle) who tries to kill MJ by hanging her from a building (strange, that never happened before) The story gets very interesting when Peter becomes evil but a more sure and consistent director than Sam Raimi maybe would have helped. Topher Grace is annoying as Eddie and doesn’t have realistically evil motivations. Just because SPOILER ALERT: Peter made him lose his job doesn’t mean he has to try to kill him at all costs. SPOILER ALERT IS OVER NOW! As for the third and possibly best villain is the New Green Goblin aka Harry Osborne played by James Franco. Franco is terrific as the troubled Harry but at times too smiley and often dry as always but during key scenes late in the film you feel for him. However with so many villains it would have been nice to see more variety with the baddies. In fact all three of them are good guys turned bad who have one person they love (Flint’s daughter, Norman Osbourne for Harry, and Gwen Stacy for Eddie). None of them are as good as Dock-Ock who yes used to be good but felt menacing and you wanted them to be good at the end (although you didn’t feel for him when he was bad too much). The baddies however are not the only problem with the movie.  The tone is very unbalanced and the mix of comedy, humor, and emotion mostly fails here. Also: did we really need to see Spidey dance like a weirdo? I don’t think so! The climax is also the same as what we have seen before, though exciting nonetheless. The other non evil characters (Elizabeth Banks as Miss Brant, Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy, James Cromwell as her father, Captain Stacy, J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, Bill Nunn as Joseph ‘Robbie’ Robertson, Dylan Baker as Dr. Curt Conors, and Rosemary Harris as Aunt May Parker) are okay but with so much else going on it’s hard for them to be as developed as they could be. The dialogue and script are also not well done. One last note: This year the day The Avengers came out celebrated half a decade (5 years) of this film. Sadly there isn’t enough to celebrate other than disappointment.

Spider-Man 3There are many great scenes in the trilogy. The “With great power comes great responsibility” line from the first one is classic, the climaxes are all exciting and there are numerous emotional scenes that made me attached to Peter Parker. But my two favorites scenes are two astonishing set pieces from Spider-Man 2: the train fight battle and the pier exploding climax. They have great CGI, amazing stunts, and awesome action. They also combine visual wonder with character development and have a great but not the best score from Danny Elfman. These are some of the greatest action scenes of superhero movies and movies, themselves.

Spider-Man 2My favorite character of the trilogy is a no brainer: Spider Man aka Peter Parker. How could you not love the superpowers, acting, and webslinging jumping. The charater is also a good person and learns not to want revenge in the third film. Tobey Maguire does a terrific job especially in the second one.

All three films are rated PG-13 by the MPAA for action violence. I agree but there is also some romance.

Spider-Man 2And what do I give the three films out of  5 stars? Well I’ll tell you!

Spider-Man 121 minutes, 3 stars

Spider-Man 2 127 minutes, 4 1/2 stars

Spider-Man 3 140 minutes, 2 1/2 stars

Out of 15 stars added up the movies gets 10 stars. But out of 5 stars I would give them an overall 3 1/2 stars, almost 4 stars. Though at times disappointing the Spider-Man trilogy is in parts genius. If you’re willing to have a great time watch all three films. Spider-Man 2 is the best, Spider-Man is not bad, and Spider-Man 3 is the worst. Yes the first one is simply enjoyable and the third one is just disappointing, although it has it’s moments but the second one is well, amazing. Overall though this is 388 minutes of superhero entertainment worth watching.

 

A Nolan Groundbreaker

Posted on | July 1, 2012 | Add Comments

One of the most anticipated films of the summer will be hitting theaters in nineteen days. That film is Christopher Nolan’s epic final installment in his Batman trilogy: The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, it sounds ominous, yes it will break opening weekend records, yes it is a Best Picture contender. All those yeses and more will be discussed if you do one simple task that will change your life forever: read on.

Christopher Nolan has become a director that will most likely be remembered for the ages. He is known for helming Memento, The Prestige, Inception, and of course The Dark Knight trilogy. The Batman finale will certainly be his most successful and popular film to date. My prediction for it’s opening weekend gross is $217.4 million. Currently Nolan’s most successful (and popular) film is The Dark Knight. The Avengers has now shattered all records by not only earning the highest opening weekend gross, but also being the first film to earn over $200 million on it’s opening weekend. It’s total opening weekend gross  was $207.4 million.  If my prediction for The Dark Knight Rises is correct, then The Avengers record will be beaten.

Asides from moneymaking, the film has a good chance of being nominated for Best Picture. It’s competition in terms of winning is is Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Lincoln, The Great Gatsby, and more. Arguably the reason the Academy Awards have changed their Best Picture nominations from five to ten is to let more popular films in like The Dark Knight, a film that wasn’t nominated, but according to many, deserved to be nominated. Now that there will be five to ten nominees this year (unless the rules are changed again), The Dark Knight Rises has a very good chance of being nominated.

The movie will certainly be action packed, but according to the trailer the movie will follow in the footsteps of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight: it will be macabre. Yet that won’t stop half of the world from seeing it. After all, it is one of the most anticipated films of the summer.

Spider Man 3 (Flick’s Review)

Posted on | June 27, 2012 | Add Comments

3 stars

There’s three new villains: the Sandman, Venom, and the new Green Goblin. Each one has a different connection with Peter Parker. Peter is also ready to ask Mary Jane Watson to marry him, but Peter’s Spider Man life interferes.

After an amazing follow up to a decent superhero film, could the final installment in the Spider Man trilogy be any better? Alas, it possibly could, but it isn’t (although it’s as or almost as good as the first). The first half is promising: Sam Raimi, hot off his brilliant Spider Man 2, carries over some of that brilliance in this final adventure. But as soon as Peter starts dancing on the street, the film falls apart. What is this cheesy scene doing in such a serious film? The first half is very serious, as relationships start to crinkle and friendships start to fade away. I never thought I would say this, but Spider Man 3 is melancholic at times. In the first twenty minutes it becomes obvious this is the final film in the series. The emotion, action and especially villains (there’s three) are having the very last drops of juice squirted out. Unfortunately, that juice runs out in the second half. Fortunately, it is revived in the tear jerking climax that includes lots of action, a track that contains something that sounds a bit like West Side Story, and a finale that is (you won’t believe this) depressing.

That said, the second half (other than the climax), truly does run out of gas. The Gwen Stacy character (we’ll see her again played by Emma Stone in the new The Amazing Spider Man) is bland and only adds another ten minutes to the one-hundred-thirty-nine minute total running time. There are a lot of scenes that certainly should have been left on the cutting room floor. In fact, about thirty minutes of this could have gotten the axe… and the result? An even more serious, depressing movie still filled with endless battles crazy villains. Speaking of villains…The great thing about the three villains is that each one has a personal connection with Spider Man himself. That means when the confrontation comes, Raimi and his crew can stage a personal battle with heart. But this a superhero movie, so they don’t. Instead the chaos begins. But whenever the villains are on screen their presence is sensed and their evil is obvious. But they are deeper and even darker than you think. Too bad the entire movie isn’t.

My favorite character is Peter Parker/Spider Man because he is struggling with villains and his friends, and yet he mostly manages to keep a straight mind and remember what is most important.

My favorite scene is the climax because it is depressing alongside overflowing with grim action that fan boys won’t be able to pry away from.

Spider Man 3 is rated PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence and I agree.

Unfortunately, this is the worst of the trilogy. That’s because of a clunky and silly second half. That’s not to say, the first half and especially the climax are great. With a hint depressing emotions, lots of action and more than enough wonderful villains, this could have been better. But for all of the reasons I just listed this is pretty good.

Spider Man 2 (Flick’s Review)

Posted on | June 20, 2012 | Add Comments

4 stars

Peter Parker/Spider Man is having a tough time deciding whether or not to be a hero or to be with the woman he loves, Mary Jane Watson. There’s also a new villain, Doctor Octopus who was formerly a scientist. But when his project got out of hand, he became a six armed “octopus” (four mechanical arms, two human arms). Spider Man must decide what is most important to him: crime  fighting or being with MJ.

Spider Man 2 is not your average superhero movie. It’s focused more on relationships and human feelings than mind blowing action. The villain in the film is not as key to the plot as Mary Jane is. And Spider Man is questioning whether or not he wants to be Spider Man. This makes for an interesting plot, that could end up feeling like a soap opera, but doesn’t. Instead it feels like the characters are having real conversations, and not just carelessly throwing lines of dialogue out of the window. Unlike in Spider Man (the first installment), Spider Man (the character) doesn’t run off doing things, making up his mind on the way. Here he struggles with maintaining friendships with the people he has been friends with forever.All of these elements are significant, but the love interest between Peter and MJ is the heart of the film. Everything else happens because of it. I’m worrying about Spider Man 3 (which I haven’t seen yet). Will the love story continue with the same interesting what’s-gonna-happen-next intensity? I sure hope. If the love story hadn’t worked the film would have failed. So for a superhero film revolved around a love story, this is great.

My favorite character is Peter Parker/Spider Man because it’s interesting to see what decisions he makes in tough situations. I think he makes the right decisions.

My favorite scene is when Peter Parker and Mary Jane are walking together (in the second half of the film) because it has real emotion, it’s key to the story, and both actors acting are decent (they’re not great).

Spider Man 2 is a rare superhero treat: it has fast paced action but it also has emotional aspects and characters complicated enough to latch onto. Go Spidey!

Men in Black 3 (Flick’s Review)

Posted on | May 30, 2012 | 2 Comments

3 1/2 stars

After breaking out of a prison on the moon, Boris the Animal (an evil alien) seeks revenge on Agent K. Boris wants to travel back in time to the moment when K shot his arm off. While at that moment, Boris will kill K. Fortunately, Agent J travels back in time to to try and save K before it’s too late.

I haven’t seen Men in Black 2. Does that mean I will enjoy Men in Black 3 less? Or more? Or neither? If you’ve seen the second installment and the third tell me in the comments below. However, have no fear! I will see part two soon. (And I’ve written you a review of part 3, and you might not have even seen it yet! So, ha.)

In the meantime, no money would be wasted if you went to see Men in Black 3. The plot is complex and most young kids going to see this film will get lost in the second half of the movie (I was confused too).  There’s also only two agents vs. alien battles (a fight in a Chinese restaurant and a climax that is a little odd). The Chinese restaurant fight looks more like a video game than MIB, but fortunately, it’s only about two minutes. In the meantime, no money would be wasted if you went to see Men in Black 3. It’s a nice effort but this installment isn’t better than the the first. Why? Because this one is at times overly goofy and confusing. That leads me to my next point.Men in Black 3 is complex. A new concept is inducted into the MIB world: time travel. I’m slightly familiar with the concept: I watched the first Back to the Future, and just recently I read the book When You Reach Me (an interesting novel that is perplexing, smart, and has one too many subplots that don’t pan out.) The latter has some really interesting time travel ideas, while Back to the Future is more goofball. Anyway, that’s a whole other conversation.

If all modern day blockbusters were this clever, my The Movie Crisis article would never have been written. That’s not to say it’s without flaws; the film almost overflows at the end with time travel conceits, Tommy Lee Jones was underused, and some more action wouldn’t have hurt the film. There’s still a difference, however. “The difference between this and the movies with blow ’em up action throughout the whole thing and not story is that this one is smart.”

My favorite character is Agent J because he’s witty and Will Smith is funny.

My favorite scene is the climax because it was emotional, action-packed, and it gave new depth to old characters.

Men in Black 3 is rated PG-13 and I agree.

Men in Black 3 is a roller coaster ride from beginning to end. It also has an emotional ending and time travel that makes you think. Two very odd alien thumbs up.

Spider Man (Flick’s Review)

Posted on | May 21, 2012 | 1 Comment

3 1/2 stars

Peter Parker is an outsider; nobody likes him. He lives with his grandparents and he has a crush on his next door neighbor, M.J. Then, one day, while on a school field trip, Peter gets bitten by a spider… and everything changes. Now Peter is Spider Man and he must save NYC from The Green Goblin.

Spider Man has never been my favorite superhero. Superman is the best, with his super strength and see through vision. At the same time, he’s a modest, honest guy (no rhyme intended) trying to seem normal. (I also like Batman, but for now I’m sticking to Superman.) Spider Man is very similar to Superman, but this review is focused on Spidey, not Superman.

Sam Raimi’s Spider Man is an intimate superhero film. At times it’s a high school teen movie, at times it’s a melodrama, at times it’s a crazy action movie, but it’s always a joyful movie. Whether Spidey is swinging from building to building, or Peter is talking to M.J., there’s always one thing connecting the film together: Tobey Maguire. Maguire plays Parker as a weak teen whom nobody likes, he shows us that Peter is an outsider, he’s bullied, he doesn’t have any friends. This works perfectly. The problem with Maguire is that when he’s Spidey, it seems as if he’s not.In my opinion he should play a heroic Spidey. Spidey as we know him.As for the rest of the cast everybody is pretty good: Willem Defoe plays William Osborn and the Green Goblin with an evil snare (he’s at his best when he plays both characters at the same time), Kirstin Dunst plays M.J., she might not give a wonderful performance, but when she does have a key role, and the worst supporting performance is James Franco who plays Harry Osborn with his usual blank look and stiff acting (although he’s better here than he was at the Oscars).

Action scenes have never been so fun. When Spidey masters web slinging we get to watch him go up and down, up and down, up and down, up and down, side to side, side to side. It looks amazing (let’s hope it looks amazing in the upcoming The Amazing Spider Man), too bad they put all of it on the menu.

The Spidey here is fun, no doubt about that. But work could be done. I hope part two is an improvement, as for part three… I’ll start with part two.

My favorite character is Peter Parker/Spider Man because he has to do deal with so many things and it’s cool when he web slings himself around NYC.

My favorite scene is a tie between the scene when Ben Parker (Peter’s uncle) says to Peter “With great power comes great responsibility” because those words echo (not literally) throughout the rest of the film as an ongoing moral and the last scene (I won’t spoil it) because it opens up endless possibilities for Spider Man 2 and it wraps the film up better than any action sequence ever could.

Spider Man is rated PG-13 and I agree.

Spider Man is fun and it leaves a heap of possibilities for the sequel, but it’s nowhere near perfect.

More Marvel Movies (Flack’s Guide)

Posted on | May 18, 2012 | Add Comments

The AvengersIf you’ve seen The Avengers and are hungry for more Marvel superhero movies here’s your guide to whats up next. SPOILER ALERT If you have not seen The Avengers or the other Marvel films then minor plot elements may be revealed. This is a comprehensive, chronological guide to what’s up next for Marvel (bought by Walt Disney).Iron Man

Iron Man 3 Release Date: May 3rd, 2013 News: Ben Kingsley joins the cast as the evil villain, The Mandarin and Tony Stark\Iron Man (played of course by Robert Downey Jr.) must head to China to battle him. Guy Pierce plays Aldrich Killian. Don Cheadle and Gwenyth Paltrow reprise their roles. Getting a new director (Shane Black) could shake things up pleasantly after the unoriginal Iron Man 2. The plot sounds exactly the same as the first two (Iron Man must fight a villain and terrorists) but as with the others hilarious lines and a bit of depth may transcend a generic storyline. The movie will open the summer movie season on the first week of May, the way Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Avengers have. The film will probably make more money than Iron Man and Iron Man 2 but not as much as The Avengers. I will definitely see this one. After Iron Man 2 was criticized for being stuffed with The Avengers references, Keven Feige  has said Iron Man 3 is to be very different than The Avengers. There will still probably be an end credits sequence and cameos.

ThorThor 2 Release Date: November 15th, 2013 Keneth Branagah who directed the first one is leaving the series and Alan Taylor (director of such TV shows as Game of Thrones and The Sopranos) is taking over the directing credits. Almost all the actors are returning so that means you’ll get to see Tom Hiddelston, Anthony Hopkins, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba, and of course  Chris Hemsworth as Thor himself. The film starts filming in August this year. The film will probably make more money than Thor but being sandwiched in the middle of possible November blockbusters Ender’s Game and Catching Fire certainly won’t help. There will also be a new main villain (ie not Loki though he will still be in the movie). Tom Hiddelston and Chris Hemsworth have also stated that sometime in the Thor series that they would like Thor and Loki to be friends. If they can combine awesome, amazing action with an emotional storyline, then Thor 2 will be great.

Captain AmericaCaptain America 2 Release Date: April 4, 2014 The new Captain America film tells the story of the superhero in the present. His only friends are Nick Fury and SHIELD. Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, has said Captain America will learn about his World War II friends while he was frozen for about 70 years. I don’t think the movie will be unique because the story sounds similar to Thor where a super hero gets put into modern times. So far only Chris Evans and Samuel L. Jackson are signed on as actors. Vulture.com says, the three possible directors are F. Gary Gray, George Nolfi, and Anthony and Joseph Russo. I think they should get Steven Spielberg to do a WW 2 sequel to the first one that is set in the 1940’s but he probably wouldn’t want to do it because he’s so busy. Also it seems like Marvel is trying to make this film fail. They are releasing it in April, one of the worst months for movies (both critically and commercially). I am still nonetheless very excited to see how this film turns out.

The HulkOther Marvel Projects: Marvel has announced that they will be releasing a new movie on May 16th, 2014. Why not May 2nd, the first week of summer movies like they normally do? Because they want to give Captain America 2 some time to make some money and Sony is ridiculously planning to release The Amazing Spider Man 2 on May 2nd. The movie that will probably be released then is probably going to be The Avengers 2, because of The Avengers box office success (it’s already the 6th highest grossing movie of all time). Meanwhile Guardians Of The Galaxy, Inhumans, Dr. Strange, and Ant-Man directed by Edgar Wright are all non Avengers related movies that might be released sometime in the future. They might not do as great at the box office or maybe even with critics but they will still will likely be much, much more original because they are not leading up to a big crossover team up blockbuster movie like The Avengers. I would also not be surprised if there were movies solely about Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, which there probably will be. Also a new Hulk film starring Mark Ruffalo might happen because Ruffalo said that he wanted to and Marvel would love to make some more money.

I am looking forward to all these films. I’m least excited to see the original films and Captain America: The First Avenger 2 sounds bad. I can not wait, however to see Iron Man 3, Thor 2, and The Avengers 2.

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