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Spider-Man Special

Posted by: Matthew Turner 21/07/2011 @ 12:30
Subject: Film
Films seen so far this year: 249
Films seen in the last week: Break My Fall, One Life, Cars 2, Another World, The Violent Kind, Melancholia, The Big Picture, Knuckle

Spider-Man Special, Part One – The Pictures
Spider-cards on the spider-table, I'm a huge Spider-Man fan. I read the comics obsessively as a child and a teenager, acquiring back issues and working my way through twenty-odd years of Spider-Man history. In fact, I only stopped reading because of the sodding Clone Saga but I really don't want to get into that right now. Anyway, my inner 12-year-old was utterly thrilled by the first Spider-Man movie, to the point where I may have been blinded to some of its faults, though that blindness didn't extend to the third film, which, like everyone else, I thought was rubbish. 

So I'm kind of conflicted about the proposed Spider-Man reboot – on the one hand, it's obviously too soon. Recast Peter and make a Spider-Man 4, by all means, but start again from scratch? What's the point? But on the other hand, well, new Spider-Man movie. So I've been following developments quite closely and was excited when this set of pictures showed up on Entertainment Weekly last week.
There now follows a brief break-down of each photo:
1. Shot of the Spider-Man suit. Hmmm. Silvery eye-patches. All kinds of wrong. Did they learn * nothing * from the Nicolas Hammond years? I'm assuming this can be fixed in post, yes? Yes?
2. Garfield in the Spider-Man suit shot from behind. Looking closely, you can see that there is BLUE on the gloves. Blue! So wrong. This isn't Spider-Man 2099, people! Blue on the gloves. I ask you.
3. Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey and Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, with Garfield posing in the suit but without a mask on. Emma Stone looks utterly adorable as Gwen Stacey and that's the first picture I've seen where she looks good with blonde hair.
4. The classic Spider-Man pose. Okay, Garfield, so you can do the pose. I still hate the silver eye-pieces and the blue gloves.
5. PROPER WEB-SHOOTERS! I don't mind telling you that the Spider-geek in me did a giant leap for joy when I saw these. They've got the hand position right and everything. That was one of the few things I felt let down by in the Sam Raimi films, especially since they'd gone to all the trouble of making Peter a science whizz.
6. Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben? Great casting. Sally Field as Aunt May ... not so much. Her hair's all wrong for a start.
7. Gwen patching up an obviously bruised and battered Peter. This worries me because unless old Flash Thompson has given Peter a bit of a hiding, then this strongly suggests that Gwen is going to know Peter's secret identity and that is ALL KINDS OF WRONG. Someone on Twitter told me that that's more in line with the current Ultimate universe (don't ask) but I refuse to recognise the existence of the Ultimate universe.
8. Peter on the roof of a subway car without a mask on and with someone in the background. I have a real issue with the way secret identities are bandied about willy-nilly in superhero films and this is not helping.

9. Rhys Ifans as Doc Connors. I still think they should have let Dylan Baker play the part - he played Connors in the other Spider-Man films and was perfect casting. Ah well.
Spider-Man Special, Part Two – The Trailer
So, with that cards on the table section above in mind, I was excited to see the trailer, which was officially released a couple of days ago. I'd heard generally negative response from non-Spider-fans (by which I mean people who don't necessarily have the same history with the comics), so I was curious to see what I'd make of it. The first thing that leaps out is that they've cast Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz as Peter's parents, Richard and Mary Parker and it seems as if the mystery of their disappearance will form a significant part of the plot. I think this is a terrible idea, as a cursory glance at their Wikipedia page will tell you, plus a) the comics story where Peter investigates his parents' death is one of the worst Spider-Man stories ever told and b) I still blame Peter's parents for kicking off the whole Clone Saga thing (see above) that made me stop reading in the first place.

That said, I do like the fact that the new film will basically stick to Peter's high school years (there's no sign of J. Jonah Jameson in the cast list, for example, which is just as well, as no-one could replace JK. Simmons). I'm also fine with Denis Leary as Gwen Stacey's dad and I'm wondering if he'll meet the same fate as the comics version (spoiler: killed by falling concrete dislodged by Doctor Octopus, Spider-Man blamed). I like the shot of the spider in the radioactive chamber (though I question the need to retell the origin story in its entirety) but am not so keen on Peter finding sticky stuff on his own neck, especially if they're meant to be going down the mechanical web-shooters route (I'm guessing proto-type web-shooter designs will be in that leather case that belonged to his father, by the way).

Similarly, the voice saying “Do you have any idea what you really are?” suggests Connors (who will hopefully become The Lizard) is also going to know that Peter is Spider-Man. Finally, the thing that most people don't seem to like is the first-person perspective of Spider-Man using his powers (wall-crawling, web-slinging). I can see why they've done it, as they have to distinguish themselves from what were essentially the best scenes in the 2002 Spider-Man film, but I have to admit, it doesn't really work for me either. Still, the film doesn't open till 2012 so no doubt there are plenty of different trailers to come ...

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
I gave everything mostly twos and threes this week, so there's only one new entry into the top ten, the frequently jaw-dropping wildlife documentary One Life (not to be confused with One Day or Life In a Day). That means I've had to bump Hobo With A Shotgun, but that's still worth seeing if you like that sort of thing. Hey, why not do a Hobo With A Shotgun/One Life double bill? No? Well, suit yourselves.

Interview-wise this week we have press conference interviews with Michael Caine, Jason Isaacs and Pixar head honcho John Lasseter for Cars 2 (two stars), plus some very funny press conference interviews with stars Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston for Horrible Bosses (three stars), as well as an exclusive interview with director Seth Gordon, which I had to do twice because of an infuriating technology fail (the battery compartment popped open of its own accord and invalidated the file just as the interview finished. Argh.)

Elsewhere, you can still read our exclusive interviews with Princess of Montpensier stars Melanie Thierry and Gaspard Ulliel as well as director Bertrand Tavernier our exclusive interview with the lovely Kim Cattrall for Meet Monica Velour, our semi-exclusive round-table interview with the equally lovely Tom Hanks for Larry Crowne and our press conference interviews for Bridesmaids with director Paul Feig and stars Kristen Wiig, Chris O'Dowd, Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy.

DVD of the Week: Love Like Poison (released 25th July, RRP online £9.99)
This week's DVD of the Week is French coming-of-age drama Love Like Poison, which is one of the best films of the year. (In fact, I unaccountably missed it off my Best of the Year round-up the other week, for which I am now kicking myself). Co-written and directed by Katell Quillevere, the film is set in the Breton countryside and stars newcomer Clara Augarde as Anna, a 14-year-old girl who returns from boarding school to stay with her ailing grandfather (Michel Galabru) for the summer, along with her mother, Jeannette (Lio), who is divorcing her father (Thierry Neuvic).

As well as dealing with her grandfather's ill health and her parents' divorce, Anna is undergoing a crisis of faith with regard to her upcoming confirmation, brought on partly by an awareness of her own burgeoning sexuality and her feelings for local boy Pierre (Youen Leboulanger-Gourvil). The French have really made the young-girl-coming-of-age drama their own in recent years and Love Like Poison is a worthy addition to the genre.

Augarde is superb as Anna, delivering a performance that is both remarkably assured in terms of physicality (there is nudity) and heart-breakingly vulnerable and innocent at the same time. The intelligent script takes an intriguing approach to the story, refusing to spell out everything that's going on and allowing us to fill in the gaps for ourselves, through glances, body language and what feels like a series of vignettes rather than a straightforward, dialogue-heavy narrative. It's also beautifully shot and impressively edited, all of which is augmented by a superb choral soundtrack. It also has one of the best final scenes of any film I've seen this year. In short, this is a beautifully directed and brilliantly acted coming-of-age drama that marks co-writer/director Quillevere out as a talent to watch.

Highly recommended, particularly if you missed it at the cinema. Shame there are no extras on the DVD though.


by  MattM  21/07/2011 @ 15:52
Ha! Superb analysis of the new Spiderman tidbits! Maybe a little bit overboard with your fine tooth comb but a brilliant break down none the less! ... And I thought I was a big Spidey fan!!
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