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Avengers Success and Spider-Man Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 04/05/2012 @ 12:33
Subject: Film

Total films seen so far this year: 129
Films seen in the last two weeks: 388 Arletta Avenue, Avengers Assemble (again), For Ellen, Damsels in Distress (again), Goodbye First Love, Liberal Arts, The Queen of Versailles, Chasing Ice, Safety Not Guaranteed, Lovely Molly, Under African Skies, Nobody Walks, The Lorax, Beggars of Life, Juan of the Dead, Safe, Killer Joe, Fast Girls, Woody Allen: A Documentary, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Clone, God Bless America

FILM OF THE WEEK: Goodbye First Love

More Avengers Nerdery
Incredibly, Avengers Assemble took more in its opening weekend (£15.8m) than the entire UK runs of Thor, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk. With several people seeing the film multiple times it's already a huge hit and it hasn't even opened in the US yet. Frankly, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises (the full trailer for which finally appeared this week, possibly not coincidentally) has an awful lot to live up to – at any rate, it's a lot of fun to bait rabid Bat-fans on the internets by loudly proclaiming that it's going to disappoint and that Avengers will ultimately beat it at the box office. (I do have serious reservations about The Dark Knight Rises, but I'll save those for another blog).

As a result of Avengers Assemble being flat-out AMAZING (no, really, it is), I have gone a little Avengers mental this week. I picked up both this (reprinting a classic Avengers story) and a collection of the first 12 issues (which, hilariously, feature the Hulk hiding out at the circus in full clown make-up). And I've just started watching the 2010 animated series (The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes), which is interesting in that although it predates the Avengers movie by over two years, it very much takes its cues from the movie incarnations of Iron Man in particular (never much of a wise-cracker in the comics but here very much in the Robert Downey Jnr mode – he even sounds the same), while the comedy fish-out-of-water value of Thor is significantly upped, much like in the Thor movie (and again, the voice work sounds extremely similar). Similarly, Nick Fury is a constant presence and is much more like the Samuel L Jackson Fury than the Fury of the comics.

Anyway, the cartoons are a lot of fun and worth checking out, if you like that sort of thing. The phenomenal success of Avengers Assemble has meant that Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Captain America 2 have all been rapidly green-lit (along with Avengers 2, obviously), with hints from Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige that a) this year may see progress on Edgar Wright's long-awaited Ant-Man movie and b) Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye may get their own movies (though, personally, I think it's already been proved that it's hard to make a Hulk movie work, while Black Widow and Hawkeye would work much better in a movie together). So now, basically, the speculation about which characters will be introduced in the sequels starts all over again. Hurrah!

Trailerwatch: The Amazing Spider-Man
One unfortunate side-effect of the Avengers being a huge success is that the pressure on The Amazing Spider-Man (which, like The Dark Knight Rises, released a new superhero cash-in trailer this week) has been exponentially increased and it can't help but look rather disappointing in comparison. One reason for this is the fact that the story is once again retelling Spider-Man's origin story, which people feel like they've already seen (I, for one, would have preferred the continuity to remain the same and for Andrew Garfield to take over from Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 4). Also, I think The Lizard still looks like terrible CGI, even though we only see brief glimpses (but that, in itself, is extremely telling).

As a die-hard Spider-Man nerd, there are two things that give me hope for the new Spider-Man movie – the first is that they've given him mechanical web-shooters (I know, I know, but nerds care about these things) and the second is that they've finally worked out the best thing about Spider-Man – his relentless wise-cracking while beating up bad guys – so we duly get a new scene of him clowning around while taking out a thug (“Oh no, you've found my weakness – small knives!”) Also, Emma Stone does look pretty damn great as Gwen Stacey, even if GWEN NEVER KNEW PETER WAS SPIDER-MAN. Also, there is still entirely too much swinging around without a mask on for my liking ...

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
It's all change this week (largely as a result of there being no blog last week), with no less than five new films making it into the top ten. They include: Joss Whedon's blockbuster-to-beat Avengers Assemble, Whit Stillman's delightful Damsels in Distress, horse whispering documentary Buck, French first love angst drama Goodbye First Love and deeply weird drama Clone, in which Eva Green decides to give birth to the clone of her dead boyfriend (Matt Smith).

It's all change interview-wise this week as well. New interviews
include: an exclusive interview with Damsels director Whit Stillman, an exclusive interview with horse whisperer Buck Brannaman, press conference interviews with most of the Avengers, a press conference interview with Robert Redford (over for Sundance London), an exclusive interview with Crispin Glover (also over for Sundance), and an exclusive interview with The Monk director Dominik Moll.

And that was just last week! This week we have semi-exclusive interviews with most of the stars of American Pie Reunion, including:
Eugene Levy and Jennifer Coolidge (Jim's Dad and Stifler's Mom), Thomas Ian Nicholas (Kevin) and Tara Reid (Vicky) and Eddie Kaye Thomas (Finch) and Chris Klein (Oz), and directors Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz.

Elsewhere you can still read our exclusive interview with Marley director Kevin Macdonald; a press conference interview with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen stars Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt; our exclusive interview with Battleship star Taylor Kitsch and our exclusive interview with director Pete Berg; an exclusive interview with Return (and Freaks & Geeks) star Linda Cardellini; a semi-exclusive interview with This Must Be The Place director Paolo Sorrentino; our semi-exclusive interview with director Werner Herzog for Into the Abyss; and an exclusive interview with Gideon Defoe, author of The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists.

1. Avengers Assemble
2. Titanic 3D
3. The Kid With A Bike
4. Damsels in Distress
5. The Hunger Games
6. Buck
7. Marley
8. Goodbye First Love
9. The Cabin in the Woods
10. Clone

DVD of the Week: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (out now, online RRP £10.99)
This week's DVD of the week is the American remake of 2009's Swedish thriller The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher and based on the best-selling novel by Stieg Larsson. Daniel Craig stars as Mikael Blomkvist, a Swedish investigative journalist who's hired by the wealthy Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to investigate the disappearance of his 16 year old great-niece Harriet, some four decades earlier. When Blomkvist asks for an assistant, Vanger's right-hand man (Steven Berkoff) recommends Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a punky, emotionally damaged, bisexual computer genius beset with tattoos and piercings. The two duly join forces and soon make progress on the case, which becomes increasingly disturbing with each new lead.

Given that he's already made two of the best serial killer films of the last 15 years (Seven and Zodiac), it's difficult to understand exactly why Fincher was drawn to remake The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, particularly as he stays largely faithful to the already excellent Swedish version, even to the point of choosing to keep both the setting and characters Swedish. That said, he has made a number of tweaks to the story, some of which (Lisbeth and Mikael's sexual relationship) work better than others (dropping Lisbeth's flashbacks, a drawn-out ending that fails to satisfy).

The performances are excellent, despite the fact that everyone speaks with an occasionally distracting Swedish accent. Craig is perfectly cast as the Hollywood version of original actor Mikael Nyqvist and he duly delivers a solid, likeable performance, while Mara wisely chooses to play Lisbeth very differently to Noomi Rapace's iconic portrayal, effecting a haunting vulnerability that works well. In addition, the film is beautifully shot, with Jeff Cronenweth's shadowy cinematography showcasing some suitably dark interiors, though you do wish someone would turn a light on occasionally. Essentially, this is a David Fincher remix – if you've seen the original, you'll enjoy Fincher's take on it and if you haven't, then this is an entertaining thriller that's faithful to the original novel and succeeds thanks to stylish direction, a superb script and terrific performances from its two leads.

Extras include: a director's commentary with David Fincher. Nothing with the actors though and no deleted scenes or Making Of, which is a shame, particularly as the Blu-Ray has over four hours of Behind the Scenes footage, including interviews, rehearsals and screen tests. They couldn't spare even ONE of those hours for the DVD? Shame on you, DVD-makers. Anyone would think you were trying to force us to buy Blu-Rays...


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