Category: Movie reviews

The Amazing Spider-Man


If you were to use the words ‘comic’, ‘hero’, ‘dark’, ‘city’ and ‘tragedy’ to describe a character the answer you get would be Batman and for good reason, but I posit the theory that those terms are as apt to Spidey as they are Bruce Wayne and this picture all but proves it. There is a scene part way through in which Spiderman sits perched in shadow atop a New York skyscraper, he looks over the ridged brow of the granite gargoyle before him and out at the midnight lights of the city, his city. His body is still but beneath the suit and skin his heart is surely beating against his chest; a heart now driven by death and despair.

If his suit weren’t quite so gaudy you could have spliced the scene into a Batman movie without anyone noticing the difference. Don’t you ‘darker’ haters despair though, because for every scene like this there is another that wouldn’t have felt out of place in 500 Days of Summer or an animated kids cartoon and although this should make for a tonal disaster of a movie, amazingly this Spiderman pulls the double act off with aplomb: hybridizing the heart, humor and horror that the character has come to be known for over the past fifty years. This Spidey’s not so afraid to take of his mask, to mix work and pleasure and that makes the movie so much more of the latter.

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“I told you I don’t sound that much like Peter Griffin!” the titular bear declares during one of the films many drunken montages, an obvious nod to the fact that it is the same man dubbing both with his very distinctive tones; Mr. Seth McFarlane. It’s a throwaway line but also i feel, a fitting one and would have been regardless of the specific reference; “I don’t look anything like Brian,” would certainly still have sufficed. The point that McFarlane is trying to make with this moment – albeit the secondary point, the punchline takes priority – is nothing to do with his literal range of voices (a self-admitted weakness) but much more to do with his figurative one. People will come to Ted expecting to see a feature length Family Guy movie but in actual fact it is so much more than that and this is the admirable but ever apparent flaw in the film.

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Though they may not have delivered a perfect movie, with Brave PIXAR have at the very least delivered a movie perfect for Sarah Palin’s proposed Mama Grizzlys. That may at first sound like something of a smart arse comment to those who have seen the film and something strongly out of left field for those who havn’t but I honestly believe it to be true. There has been something of a surge lately in strong female leads for little girls to look up too; princesses that aren’t passive petticoats whose only purpose is to be poisoned or perturbed but full fledged powerful protagonists of their own right. On paper Pixar’s Brave looked to be the latest in a line of these, but as always the prestigious studio set their sights a little higher and a little wider and took a shot at selling something much stranger and more subversive: a mother’s love.

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Brave (Filthsposition)

(I won’t be spoiling the plot development at the start of the 2nd act which drives the remainder of the narrative- It’s not exactly a huge twist, but still)

I loved this movie. LOVED IT. It was rough around the edges in some ways, which I suspect will gain it a reputation as a lesser Pixar effort- a notion I disagree with. I disagree because the emotional impact that the film had on me was so extraordinary that I am willing to overlook a bunch of minor flaws. I’m writing this the morning after seeing it and I’m still getting teary-eyed just thinking about certain scenes from it. Brave was easily my favorite movie of the year so far, and I’m desperate to see it again (an opinion which I suspect will end up confusing some people just as much as it confuses me whenever anyone praises Prometheus).

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The great writers, they all say it’s man, but in my experience expectations are the most dangerous game. Prometheus is a victim of expectation more than any other, not only did is suffer the horrors of hype but it also made the mistake of initially listing itself as a prequel to Alien and even though they latter changed their mind – but why did they change their mind? – and made out that the connection was all made up in rumor, the damage was too deeply done. Everyone that walked in to the theatre to see the film this week did so expecting one thing -which is not to say wanting or needing, but the three are inherently connected – aliens. And SPOILER they won’t get them. On top of that everyone would have entered the theatre expecting to see a good movie – one as good as Alien, an all-time classic – and SUMMARY they won’t get that either. Though that doesn’t mean that the film is not worth seeing, in fact I would heartily recommend seeing it at least twice. Expectations you see, are so often incorrect.

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Hatfield’s and McCoy’s

No, the show is not over ( Part three airs tomorrow night and will apparently wrap things up) but I daresay that I’ve seen enough now to say something about it. This story is apparently one that exists at the forefront of The United State’s universal consciousness, it is a story that everyone knows, whether or not they’ve explicitly been told it; like how we all know the stories in the Bible regardless of whether or not we have read it or read anything into them.

The strange thing is that the story isn’t the same regardless of who you ask, specifically when you cross state lines down in the American South; one person may view it as the tale of a god-fearing little guy striving for the respect of the ‘man’ that he feels owed, others as that of a man who is beset on all sides by a band of no-good liars and thieves, parasites out to take what he has earnt. It’s like walking into your neighbors house to hear them telling their kids about the grievous acts of Goldilocks, who looted hard-working citizens homes of their food and the brave bears that stopped her in self-defense. The History Channel have then written themselves into something of a corner when they promised to deliver the definitive version of the story to our screens. How do you do that?

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Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson, like Tim Burton, is a director known best for his singular visual style. Moonrise Kingdom, his latest opens on a framed cross stitch of a quaint cottage, the camera then zooming out and panning through a cross section of rooms within this very cottage; it’s quintessential Anderson and his critics wouldn’t be wrong to whine that it’s a trick he’s used before – so many times that shows like Community have also used it as homage – like I do when Burton opens his with bright red highlight on a gothic black background, but any such assumptions are quickly quenched by what comes next, the opening credits. Besides Bill Murray this is a cast – and what a cast – that have never before been seen on the screen in an Anderson picture and their presence is a symbol, for those who can see it, that the man has evolved and that Moonrise is to be a movie unlike any of his others; in fact I would go so far as to say that it is simply unlike anything else…ever.

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Men In Black III

Since the MiB first burst onto our screens back in Ninety Eight we have all of us gone on many great journeys into the secret recesses of the universe – the distant planet of Pandora, the cluttered cosmos of the Marvel Universe and whatever place the Prometheus barges into among the more recent – and so we have since almost gotten used to aliens, no matter how strange and stomach churning their designs. We’ve also proven that nowadays we tend not to love the silliness of space opera unless it is tempered by inner turmoil and deeper political ramifications; so this schlocky farce of a series was going to have to undergo some changes as it traveled forward into our present future and how better to keep things interesting than through the introduction of time travel?
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The Dictator

First things first, this film is not to be confused with the classic piece of cinema that is Chaplin’s TheGreat Dictator, a movie that was criticizing an entirely different kind of commonly villainized leader through an entirely different style of comedy. The difference between these two film’s titles is both telling and applicable – one is great, while the other is…not so much. That though is not to say that The Dictator is a disaster, for I am just as adamant when I say that it should similarly not be confused with the likes of You Don’t Mess With The Zohan and other such recent attempts to mine humor from a Muslim out of water (or should that be the desert?).

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Dark Shadows (Filthsposition)

(This is a guest review from my friend Filth, who you may now know for his thoughts on Game of Thrones. Here he has made his way into talking about movies too because like one of this films characters he had a sudden need to get his claws out. Enjoy.)

Let’s cut right to the point- I honestly believe that this is the worst movie I’ve seen in years. I think this is easily the worst film Tim Burton has ever directed, and I think this should be studied in Film School as an example of what NOT to do when making a movie. Here’s why:

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