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  1.  (11308.21)

    It's just such a damn shame that Amazing Spider-Man 2 can be such a pretentious little shit at times. There is the length, yes, which smacks of the director not being allowed to cut away too many of the studio's precious franchise-building babies.

    The prime example being a bit of inheritance from the previous movie:
    The movie opens with a flashback of Peter's parents recording a video, leaving Peter with his aunt and uncle, and then boarding a plane. While they're in this plane, Peter's dad sets about uploading this apparently vitally important file somewhere via satellite. They exchange this relieved glance. And of course there's a killer on the plane, and they fight for their life, while also doing their damnedest to upload the file. Never mind the insane sturdiness of the laptop, which somehow manages to keep uploading while they're having a zero-gravity fight in the middle of a plummeting plane, but there's SO MUCH emphasis on this one file getting somewhere.
    So this means Peter has to spend time trying to figure out what the hell his parents were up to. It's a big part of the movie. He covers his room in a mind-map, has angsty talks with his aunt about it. And finally there's this secret lab in a subway carriage that literally lifts out from beneath the train tracks. And the payoff?
    They show no other stuff having been uploaded there, so literally the thing Peter's dad fought tooth and nail for in that airplane was a video of him saying, without presenting any evidence for it, that Oscorp is up to no good (and by the way he loves his son). The ONLY - literally the ONLY piece of useful information in the video is that the spider-gene-healing-stuff they were working on at Oscorp won't work on anyone without Parker DNA.
    Congratulations, you big damn scientist genius. You fought so hard to upload a VIDEO just for that? No additional files? Like, documents to PROVE all this? Just a video of your halfassed testimony?
    Extra stuff might turn up later, but so far this whole legacy plotline they've inserted into the "Amazing" franchise has been an utter fuckup.

    And again, all this stuff takes up so much time and focus that should've been spent on the actual in-movie plot. Which leads us to the romance, and the "payoff" for all that:
    So this is the movie where they kill Gwen. This means they have to spend time making us invested in her, in case we didn't see the previous movie and/or didn't get invested in her then.
    However, rather than presenting Gwen as Peter's anchor, with some guilt on the side for not obeying her dad's final request, they go back and forth and back and forth through the entire movie. It's a will they/won't they stretched out over the course of an entire movie, further distracting from the plot.
    He's all into her, but then he sees her dad all over the place, and then he angsts about it to her, and then she breaks up with him, and then they try to get back together as friends (and by the way he's been stalking her the entire time as Spider-Man, to which her reaction is just "aww, that's so cute"), but then she's going to London, and then he can't deal with that, and then he decides he can deal with that, and then they get back together properly just in time for Goblin to recognize that she's his girlfriend and kill her.
    And here's where the movie's extra-super-pretentiousness goes into high gear. They have so many faux-artsy moments together. Him walking slowly and ignoring traffic as he thinks they're getting back together with a navel-gazing pop song playing in the background, for instance.
    And worst of all, when they finally DO have a really greatly done, touching variation on him catching her with a web line but her dying anyway, they ruin it with one. Fucking. Stupid. Thing.

    Now let me play that scene out for you.

    So Goblin decides to drop Gwen into a clock tower. Spidey catches her, and she's dangling down amongst the clockwork while the two guys are having a good, fast-paced fight further up. The web-line snaps, and she's falling down amongst debris. Peter sends a desperate web-line after her. You feel the tension.

    And then the end of the web-line turns into a goddamned tiny web-hand reaching out for her.

    Let me repeat that. The end of the web-line turns into a goddamned tiny web-hand reaching out for her.

    The web catches her by the waist, just in time to save her whole body from hitting the floor. But her head does, and it's perfectly shot. You hear the nasty thump from it, and you know what's happened before Peter, and his gradual realization is played out really, really well.

    But it's all ruined, because you're still not done laughing incredulously at the tiny stupid-looking web-hand.

    There's other, relatively minor stupidity, but this is getting too long already. Suffice to say, I totally understand the haters of this movie. I know a lot of people whose movie experience would be utterly ruined by all this. Mine wasn't. Because I enjoyed what was enjoyable, and there WAS a lot to enjoy. Roughly an hour and a half of well-played, well-shot goofy comic-book enjoyment, in fact. And then half an hour of "enh, okay", and half an hour of "what why why why why moviemakers why".

    Oh, and finally, the mid-credits stinger. I'm not going to put it under a spoiler tag because it isn't a spoiler. It' has nothing at all to do with the movie. The mid-credits stinger is a scene from the coming X-Men movie. Even though the two universes aren't connected, that I know of. I wonder if it hints at an eventual actual connection, but for now I'm gonna chalk it up to more dumb.
    • CommentTimeMay 2nd 2014
    @ twentythought

    So, was the Green Goblin scary as the Green Goblin? Because I recall the first Tobey Maguire movie and Willem Dafoe was much, much scarier as Norman Osbourne (thus looking like Willem Dafoe) than he was as the Green Goblin.
  2.  (11308.23)
    Goblin's appearance works! Think more of a realistic version of him, as much as you can make someone like that realistic, akin to the Heath Ledger Joker.
    • CommentTimeMay 16th 2014
    Don't bother with Godzilla unless you really want to see a giant monster fight on the big screen. Might post more thoughts later.
  3.  (11308.25)
    Yeah, I was disappointed in Godzilla too. I think
    once Bryan Cranston's character was killed off, the emotional core of the movie was gone for me. I just didn't care about his son.
    There are some great scenes in Godzilla, but the movie takes a long time to get to them. Still, it's light years ahead of the movie that Sony put out in the late 90's.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2014
    I think Godzilla suffers from the same problem as Pacific Rim :

    Bland, uninteresting, standard young white male protagonist
    • CommentAuthorSteerpike
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2014
    I enjoyed Godzilla for the buildup to Godzilla's appearance, the kaiju and the destruction around them, and the visual quoting from other films. The characterization was flat, but a friend who served in the military says military people are like that. And David Straithairn was channeling Morris Ankrum, IMO.

    But then, I thought Mako Mori was just as much a protagonist in Pacific Rim as Raleigh Becket, so what do I know?
    • CommentAuthorDarkest
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2014
    thought the whole point that the pairs of rangers in Pacific Rim were deliberately one whole between two people.
  4.  (11308.29)
    Godzilla is worth watching, just about. Watch it for the goddamn BEAUTIFUL shots (seriously, it's gorgeous all the way through), excellent monster moments when they happen, and a great end fight. Skip it for Kick-Ass pouting and looking bored through the movie and Watanabe gawking and spouting silly one-liners but not actually getting anything else and way too much boring hoo-rah military stuff.
    • CommentAuthorWood
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2014
    I think this Movie Reaction comic by Boulet and Natalie Nourigat is spot-on about a lot of things that I found boring in the movie, especially boulet's part.
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2014 edited
    We watched John Dies at the End last night and… wut :D Okay, the first 2/3 of the film were all kinds of awesome, but then it did that stoner film thing where it turned into a meh-worthy farce with a long drawn out wet fart. A shame.
    • CommentAuthormanglr
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2014
    @vorn, the John Dies At the end books are much better.
  5.  (11308.33)
    I caught X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST last night and found it OK, nothing spectacular. It didn't feel as visceral as the Claremont/Byrne original, but at least the Quicksilver sequences were an utter hoot.

    OTOH, UNDER THE SKIN is a must-see. Even a week or two after seeing it, the music still creeps me out and the images of the naked people in the all-black room is both beautifully ascetic and utterly disconcerting. Not for those who want heavy narrative threads and noisy action, but for those willing to accept enigmas this will do.
  6.  (11308.34)
    One of the things I think everyone agrees on that X-Men Days of Future Past gets right is: Quicksilver actually enjoying his powers.

    He steals the show with that

    One of the things I liked about it that isn't being talked about much was that it retconned all the other X-Men films.

    There's a line that James McAvoy's version of Professor X says at the end that basically equates to the filmmakers saying 'Sure, Brett Ratner fucked up with X3 and then X Men Origins was a pile of heaving, breathing, needs-to-be-a-dying turd but hey, we can start over. We know we were finding our feet. Thanks for sticking with us.'

    @ Vorn - I too watched John Dies At the End for the first time recently and the whole way through the credits I kept asking myself, 'Is this where John dies?' Overall, I think it's the kinda film you should watch stoned to enjoy the most. When not, it's passably entertaining fair.
  7.  (11308.35)
    @Ben Gwalchmai Dang. I had kicked myself for missing John Dies At the End because Coscarelli's Bubba Ho-Tep fabulously had Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley. Maybe I can stop kicking myself now.

    Kelly Reichardt's Night Moves sneaked into a local cineplex. It's a fascinating character study with suspense elements in it. Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, and Peter Sarsgaard play three monkeywrenchers who plan to blow up Oregon's Green River Dam. The characters' very different personalities make it unclear how they'll deal with the fallout from their actions. Reichardt, who's previously done character studies and non-straightforward genre pieces, doesn't let her more commercial story (relatively speaking) detract from her wonderful eye for irony and visual storytelling.

    Jim Mickle's adaptation of Joe R. Lansdale's Cold In July is a more straightforward noir piece. Michael C. Hall is good as the family man trying to do the right thing. Sam Shepard makes a wonderfully intimidating ex-con father of the man Hall's character killed. But Don Johnson is hilarious as an eccentric P.I. and hog farmer. The film manages to balance Lansdale's mix of suspense, violence, horror, and even moments of dark humor. Happily, Mickle's working on adapting Lansdale's Hap and Leonard novels for Sundance TV.
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2014
    Joe R. Lansdale! - I'll have to watch that. I love the Hap and Leonard novels.

    I've not been to the flicks for a while, so I went to see the X-Men. I enjoyed it, and found it quite well written.
  8.  (11308.37)
    Went to see Edge of Tomorrow and okay, it was a better than usual Damn Entertaining Military Sci-Fi Romp (tm). That said, jesus christ, it had the most boring marketing and name I've seen on a scifi movie in ages. I kept seeing the film here and there but for the life of me I couldn't remember the name. Today when we agreed to go to movies, we agreed to go to see "that one Cruise film" and I just had to scroll around until I recognized the name. That must be some kind of a record :D
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeJun 13th 2014
    Saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 tonight with the wife and kid. I really, really enjoyed it.
  9.  (11308.39)
    Hmm, actually a better name for Edge of Tomorrow would be SHITTIEST TUTORIAL EVER.
  10.  (11308.40)
    I'm curious to hear the reactions to Maleficent. I might try to watch it with my boyfriend, but that won't be for a couple weeks.