Gangster Squad: A Crime Against Cinema

by Ethan Alter January 11, 2013 6:01 am
<i>Gangster Squad</i>: A Crime Against Cinema

The easiest way to ease into a discussion of Gangster Squad, the fedora-era set, City of Angels-based cops vs. crooks action movie from Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer, is to describe what the movie is not. For starters, it's not a serious take on old-school film noir in the tradition of Chinatown and L.A. Confidential. Neither is it a twisty detective story like The Big Sleep or square-jawed, no-nonsense crime picture like The Public Enemy. It's also not a richly stylized comic book take on the period like Dick Tracy. And it's definitely not a successful piece of pop art mythmaking like the film it most clearly aspires to be, Brian De Palma's The Untouchables. Above all, in case you couldn't tell already, it's also not a good movie.

The Amazing Spider-Man: If Only It Were Amazing

by Ethan Alter July 3, 2012 12:01 am
<i>The Amazing Spider-Man</i>: If Only It Were Amazing

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.

Spinning Stories With the Cast and Crew of <i>The Amazing Spider-Man</i>

Comic book fans may still be skeptical about the need for a reboot of the Spider-Man movie franchise only ten years after its launch, but the cast and crew of The Amazing Spider-Man made a case for their movie's existence when they swung through New York on a recent promotional tour. Here are some excerpts from their meet-the-press conferences:

Trailers Without Pity: The Amazing Spider-Man

by Ethan Alter June 6, 2012 11:31 am
Trailers Without Pity: <i>The Amazing Spider-Man</i>

Listen bud, Spider-Man may be strong (he's got radioactive blood) and can swing from a web (take a look overhead) but is he mighty enough to survive the biggest challenge of all... a franchise reboot? We'll find out on July 3 when The Amazing Spider-Man swings into theaters featuring an all-new wall crawler (Andrew Garfield replaced Tobey Maguire), an all-new director (Marc Webb taking over from Sam Raimi), an all-new origin story (what's the deal with Peter Parker's missing dad anyway?) and an all-new tone (dark like Batman Begins rather than bright and colorful like the original Spider-Man).

The Amazing Spider-Man: New Spidey, New Look, New Footage

by Ethan Alter February 6, 2012 6:30 pm
<i>The Amazing Spider-Man</i>: New Spidey, New Look, New Footage

Strangely absent from the Super Bowl's batch of movie trailers was a teaser for The Amazing Spider-Man, the impending reboot of the lucrative Spider-Man movie franchise with Andrew Garfield taking over web-slinging duties from Tobey Maguire. The movie has certainly piqued the interest of fans, from the fact that it sends Peter back to high school and re-tells the story of how he became Spider-Man to the decision to swap the series' previous love interest Mary Jane out for Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) to the darker tone suggested by the first trailer. (Also? No more organic web shooters. Andrew's clearly got a bigger brain than Tobey.) We haven't seen any other footage from the film since that two-minute teaser debuted last July, but that changed today, when Sony held a simulcast of a new trailer and sizzle reel from The Amazing Spider-Man (due out July 3) at select theaters around the word. We attended the New York screening -- there were also presentations in Los Angeles, London and Rio de Janeiro, Berlin and Tokyo -- and here's our take on what we saw.

<I>The Help</I>: Gets By With a Little Help From Some Tremendous Actresses

Is this the most original movie on the planet? No. Does it cover a lot of ground that's been covered before, but here in a melodramatic way? Yes. Will some people be upset by it? Probably. Is it an enjoyable way to spend a few hours? Yes.

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