July 2012 Archives
With Comic-Con starting tomorrow night, Morgan Spurlock brings the convention to your living room.
The 2012 summer movie season has had its fair share of hits so far (The Avengers, Ted, The Amazing Spider-Man) but one film has loomed large over the multiplex landscape ever since the spring breeze gave way to summer heat: The Dark Knight Rises. The premiere of the third and final chapter in Christopher Nolan's genre redefining Batman series is now just two weeks away and Hollywood is clearing the way for his arrival: between now and the film's July 20th release date, the only major movie opening in wide release is the fourth Ice Age adventure. Yup, even the other studios are dying to see what Nolan has come up with.
It's not a popular opinion, but one of my favorite Oliver Stone movies is U-Turn, his little-seen 1997 crime picture starring Sean Penn that begins with a classic "man-walks-into-a-small-town" scenario before spinning off into some pretty bizarre territory. While it's not as consistent -- or even as coherent -- a film as Stone's best work (a list that, for me, includes Platoon, Wall Street and Nixon) what I enjoy about the movie is the lack of pretension and self-seriousness that often dooms his more "respectable" (i.e. awards-baiting) efforts. Based on a book by author and screenwriter John Ridley, U-Turn is an enjoyably sleazy and sultry thriller packed with great actors (Billy Bob Thornton, Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe and Jennifer Lopez back when she actually seemed interested in playing a character and not J.Lo) and told with a showman's visual brio. One can see the reflection of U-Turn in Stone's latest movie Savages and that connection may be why this was the best time I've had at an Oliver Stone joint since Al Pacino ranted and raved his way through Any Given Sunday, one of the all-time great guilty pleasure pictures.
Following the example of Justin Bieber, the Jonas Brothers and many more teen-skewing pop stars before her, Katy Perry now has her own, slightly more adult, concert movie in theaters. There's only so much that you can do with one of these films -- what with the expected combination of standard backstage footage, interviews with family and friends and of course, the concert performances themselves -- but Part of Me really delivers on all of its... well, parts. It's an enjoyable film for Perry fans and may even bring her some new ones as well.
Celebrate the Fourth of July by watching this duo slay some of your fellow Americans.
According to the trailers for The Amazing Spider-Man -- Sony's attempt to reboot their lucrative Spider-Man franchise in the wake of their high-profile split with the series' original director Sam Raimi -- this new take on the iconic Marvel Comics hero is supposed to explore heretofore untold secrets about who the teenage wall-crawler is and how he came to be. As it turns out, the movie's biggest secret is that it's the exact same origin story you already know from Raimi's 2002 original (not to mention the five decades worth of comics), just played in a slightly different key. But if they told you that in the ads, there's probably little chance that anyone would fork over good money to see what's essentially a remake of a ten-year old movie. And they'd be right.
It's been ten years since Sam Raimi showed us a man could swing. How does the original Spider-Man hold up? Quite well, thank you for asking.