REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man
Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves (screenplay)
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Michael Douglass, Sally Fields, Rhys Ifans

All the amazing distance movie effects and added dimensions have travelled in the last ten years, and yet that annoying hyphen in the title still exists.

Not to be nitpicky or inconsiderate to the source material, but it’s keeping that hyphen that cripples this new installment. Only ten years after Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire first started slinging webs and two years after Broadway started singing about them comes The Amazing Spider-Man, a reboot that only makes minor tweaks and changes without leaping on its own. Continue reading

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BEST PICTURE NOMINEE: The Help

The Help
Directed by: Tate Taylor
Written by: Tate Taylor (screenplay), Kathryn Stockett (novel)
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Bryce Dallas Howard

More than anything- its Civil Rights message, its 60s send-back, its self-awareness of both- Tate Taylor’s film adaptation of The Help is more proof that female-driven movies outside the rom-com purgatory are infiltrating the mainstream.   That is the edgiest thing about it by far. As many critics have already remarked, it is a fairly safe movie.  It tackles racism in Jackson, Mississippi in the time period surrounding the assassination of Medgar Evers and John F. Kennedy.

Like AMC’s Mad Men, it dresses its stars (or the white ones at least) in irresistibly colorful dresses and tortures their hair into ridiculously smoothed-out contortions.  Unlike that show, it is aware of when it takes place.  This script, written by the director Tate Taylor, anticipates everything it’s going to throw at you.

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REVIEW: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy Stupid Love
Directed by: Glenn Ficarra and John Rehqua
Written by: Dan Fogelman
Starring: Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Kevin Bacon

Awkwardly titled, Crazy, Stupid, Love is quickly able to overcome its likely audience pandering label, genre conventions and doubt in a strange arrangement of casting. The film is short of crazy, far from stupid and talks more than enough about love.

Whatever one’s expectations of Steve Carrell’s latest comedy are, they are sure to ditch them within the first scene when Cal Weaver (Carrell) underreacts to news of his wife demanding a divorce at date night. A short time later Cal finds himself in a posh youth hang out where he watches in awe of other men scrambling up women while he sips his cranberry and vodka through a straw. His drunken antics soon draw the attention of hotshot Jacob Palmer (Gosling) who offers to turn his sad life around and get women for no other reason than to move the plot along Hitch-style. Continue reading

REVIEW: The Help

The Help
Directed by: Tate Taylor
Written by: Tate Taylor (screenplay), Kathryn Stockett (novel)
Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Bryce Dallas Howard

More than anything- its Civil Rights message, its 60s send-back, its self-awareness of both- Tate Taylor’s film adaptation of The Help is more proof that female-driven movies outside the rom-com purgatory are infiltrating the mainstream.   That is the edgiest thing about it by far. As many critics have already remarked, it is a fairly safe movie.  It tackles racism in Jackson, Mississippi in the time period surrounding the assassination of Medgar Evers and John F. Kennedy.

Like AMC’s Mad Men, it dresses its stars (or the white ones at least) in irresistibly colorful dresses and tortures their hair into ridiculously smoothed-out contortions.  Unlike that show, it is aware of when it takes place.  This script, written by the director Tate Taylor, anticipates everything it’s going to throw at you.

Continue reading

REVIEW: Easy A

Easy A
Directed by: Will Gluck
Written by: Bert V. Royal
Starring: Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Thomas Hayden Church, and Patricia Clarkson

There’s a moment in this John Hughes-wannabe that actually lives up to its intentions.  Daughter (Emma Stone) and mother (Patricia Clarkson) sit on a car overlooking their valley,  comparing high school reputations and laughing while the world around them sleeps.  It’s an evolution of the Hughes parent-child relationship.  For a moment, they understand each other. The rest, unfortunately, is far behind.

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: Superbad

Superbad
Directed by: Greg Mottola
Written by: Evan Goldberg
Starring: Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Emma Stone, Seth Rogen

For the sake of our generation and the half-baked high school sex comedies that work (or won’t) to define it, there is an artist who is making sure that our comedies won’t be remembered by sex with pie, hangovers, ogres or those Sex and the City girls.

In Superbad he is only credited as a producer, but the film is loaded with a posse of writing partners, actors and talent who’ve all hitched their wagons to his success. It also resonates the style of the writer/director/producer in terms of narrative aesthetics, vulgar content, sentiment, male ego and penis jokes which he has vowed in every one his projects.

Judd Apatow, soon after finding endless success as a producer for Will Ferrell filth and once-roommate Adam Sandler, began rewriting Hollywood’s biggest scripts and becoming a critically adored creator of The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, started a brand for himself in comedy which now rivals John Hughes or Ben Stiller. Up until Superbad it’s all been for grown-ups (thankfully not with that latest Sandler hit, Grown Ups).

With Superbad, the Apatow market finally starting serving minors. Continue reading