Film 365

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I have a theory.

PrintOut in the hills of Hollywood—or wherever they do casting for movies—there stands a shed. Inside this shed, there are several head shots of actors (established and rising) plastered on the walls like the wallpaper of some adolescent school girl. In the center of this shed, there is a turntable-like rise in the floor. Upon this rise, sits a chair. A random person, most likely an intern, is blindfolded and ushered to the chair where she is sat. She’s given a single dart. The others leave the room; the last one flips the switch, activating the turntable-like rise in the floor. The chair begins to spin, announcing its highest speed with a bing. Once the bing goes off, the intern must throw the dart and the head shot it lands on is the person chosen for the role being cast.

Maybe this idea doesn’t work for all movies—surely comedy and drama already have established, go-to actors—but with superhero flicks? This theory works so well when the big heads at Warner Bros. and Zack Synder thought Ben Afflect would make a spectacular Batman. Or that pencil-thin Gal Gadot is a stellar choice of an Amazonian princess. It explains Andrew Garfield, Jaime Foxx, the entire cast of the future Fantastic Four reboot, and Jessica Alba of the first two Fantastic Four films. And Snyder can defend all he wants, but history has proven that Ben behind a mask is a rape of comic book lore. And we already sacrificed Daredevil to that, why the dark knight after all Christopher Nolan worked to accomplish?

This all occurred to me as I sat beside Monica as we watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2 yesterday. I must warn you, this post will contain spoilers.

Continue reading “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

Film 365

The Spectacular Now directed by James Ponsoldt

Movie adaptations are tricky when it comes to the-book-was-better crowd. Most of us scoff at the very idea that a good book could translate well as movie. Though several have managed to hold a flame to their literary counterparts, I’m often reminded by my filmmaker friend’s words, “They’re two different mediums. You can’t compare them. One doesn’t have to remain faithful to the other.” And, in a way, it’s true. Nobody every picks up a novelization of a film and point at the page and complain about how that didn’t happen in the movie.

Spectactular Now movie posterThere are a few movies that manage to tell a better story than their novels. How to Train Your Dragon comes to mind. Wanted, Kick-Ass, and Kick-Ass 2 by Mark Millar became superb (fine, I’m only talking about Kick-Ass and its sequel here) films on the big screen.

The Spectacular Now kept me guessing. I liked the book, but disliked the story. Starting off by plowing through the early character development, the film started off as a disappointment. Coupled with poor casting choices—Shailene Woodley as Aimee raised the same question as Shia being cast in Transformers. Miles Teller as Sutter Keely left a metallic flavor in my mouth. The altering of Cassidy’s voluptuous figure to the Hollywood teenage girl crushed the spirit of love who you are. How can you when the film industry keeps telling you that anything more than below average isn’t sexy? Even Aimee’s best friend suffered from film liposuction.

However, as the film progressed, I became more accepting of Teller’s Sutter and tolerated Woodley’s Aimee. And everything I disliked about the book was mended in the film. So what if it’s typical? Sometimes, you want the character you’re rooting for to realize the errors of his way and make up for them. We want redemption even if it’s not your cookie-cutter ending.

I wanted Sutter Keely to grow up in the book, not just become accepting that others are growing up around him.

The Spectacular Now is available for Amazon Instant Video, DVD, and Blu-ray.

Film 365

Things I Learned from Watching Zombie Strippers

A Godawful Movie

The first thing I learned was it was a mistake to watch this particular film. But hey, I’m a zombie aficionado so why not?  All things zombie, it’s what I live undead for.

The movie features former adult star, Jenna Jameson and Nightmare on Elm Street star, Robert Englund. Set in a twisted George W. Bush/Arnold Schwarzenegger world where public nudity is outlawed, the military concocts a virus that reanimates the dead. While it affects both sexes, it doesn’t affect them in the same way. Female zombies are still somewhat cognitive of their situations. Male zombies are just eating, brainless machines – which makes me question the possibility of a penis on one of the strippers. When an infected Marine stumbles into an illegal strip club, things go awry and all hell breaks out. The zombie then bites Jenna Jameson and she becomes a wild zombie stripper that wins the hearts of all the men. Other strippers want to jump on the cash cow so they become zombie strippers. And then there’s a scene where Jenna Jameson shoots out pool balls from her nether regions. And the whole time I’m reminded of the first thing I learned.

So, let’s get on with the list, sans explanation:

  1. Shouldn’t have watched the movie
  2. Don’t watch movies with porn stars, unless said porn star is Sasha Grey – but even that’s a stretch.
  3. Zombies make better strippers.
  4. Mexicans who work in strip clubs are married to women named Maria and have daughters with the same name, not to mention keep donkeys in the supply closet.
  5. Men are attracted to zombies, hence all men are horny necrophiliacs.
  6. The U.S. government, especially under a Bush/Schwarzenegger administration is corrupt and evil, only wanting to create zombies for their own profit.
  7. Marines don’t kill the bad guy, but are hired goons – actually, I’m still uncertain if these guys were Marines.
  8. I probably shouldn’t have watched this movie.

Oh well, I’m going to watch the 1998 “classic,” Great Expectations starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow to cleanse me of the terrible movie I just witnessed. Adios.