Archive for the ‘Spider-Man’ Category

New And News: The Beginning And End Of A Great Love Letter

February 1, 2010

Here at TBOJ, I like to start each week with a little column called New And News, in which I take a quick look at the new movies entering theaters this week,and then share some of my favorite recent news stories that have caught my eye.  This week, we’ve got a pair of new movies whose titles seem like they were meant to go together: Dear John and From Paris With Love.  Couldn’t that be the opening and closing of a romantic letter from a girl named Paris?  I think so.  Anyway, the two movies couldn’t be more different thematically, and each is hoping to find an audience that could take down Avatar this weekend, though that’s probably not going to happen.  Click inside for a preview of each film, as well as some news about Redbox stations, Paranormal Activity 2 controversy, and the continued bastardization of the Spider-Man franchise.

New:

Dear John (Sony) – 2,500 theaters – Reviews

This movie has framed itself as a pure romance, which is a genre we rarely see at the box office- especially with young stars like Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.  None of the cutesy-fun humor of a romantic comedy seems to be present in Dear John, which tells the somber story of a college girl separated from her soldier boyfriend.  As the title implies, the lovers write passionate letters back and forth to one another, and somehow, I’m sure they’ll be reunited in the end.  Advertising has been very strong, and the song in the trailer is genuinely enthralling.  I don’t know if there’s been better music in a trailer since “Jesus Walks” in the trailer for Jarhead.  It’ll be interesting to see how Dear John does this weekend, but it could be a surprise box office hit.

From Paris With Love (Lionsgate) – 2,600 theaters – Reviews

Fresh off Edge Of Darkness‘ debut, we have yet another action movie with an older male actor in need of career boost.  This time, a bald, goateed John Travolta is the man toting the gun, as he plays an American agent hoping to prevent a terrorist attack in France.  With a similar film having just debuted and a pretty generic story, I wouldn’t expect From Paris With Love to do much better than Edge Of Darkness did last weekend.

News:

Wal-Mart And Target Won’t Sell Something?!?!

Redbox kiosks and Netflix, with their gigantic collections of DVDs, have been making rather handy work of killing the DVD retail industry.  Other retailers have refused to sell DVDs to Redbox employees, which allows people to rent films for just $1, but until now, Wal-Mart and Target have done so.  Well, the two retail giants are finally taking sides, and according to Variety, they are now instituting a purchasing limit of 5 DVDs per customer, in an effort to combat Redbox collections being built so quickly.  Interesting.

Saw 3D And Paranormal Activity 2: This Is War

First they chose the same release date on October 22nd.  Then, they chose the same director.  Paramount wants Kevin Greutert to direct Paranormal Activity 2, but Lionsgate has also offered him Saw 3D.  Right now, things are incredibly tense between the two studios, but someone’s going to win, someone’s going to lose, and either way, it’s going to get bloody. Deadline broke the news.

Zac-Efron May Be The New Spider-Man

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. NO!

Advertisements

New And News: Will Edge Of Darkness Finally Topple Avatar?

January 25, 2010

Every week, Monday means it’s time for New And News, where I summarize the week’s upcoming wide releases and share some of my favorite movie news articles from the past seven days.  Two new films are entering theaters this frame, and with When In Rome being one of the movies debuting, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate week for the other wide release to be called Edge Of Darkness, since When In Rome looks like it came from the bottom of the crappy romantic comedy barrel.  Still, it’s not just the new releases that are “dark” this week- so is the news!  Inside, you’ll find some great stories about Disney’s Sleeping Beauty spinoff, the Spider-Man reboot, and New Line’s The Hobbit!

New:

Edge Of Darkness (Warner Bros) – 3,000 theaters – Reviews

On January 30, 2009 Taken debuted and took the box office by storm.  The story followed a man (Liam Neeson) avenging his daughter’s kidnapping, killing every adversary that got in his way.  Exactly one year later, we have Edge Of Darkness, which is essentially the same film.  Just replace Neeson with Mel Gibson and kidnapping with murder.  Advertising has been strong, and Warner Brothers is clearly trying to tap into the same audience that pushed Taken to a $145 million total.  Mel Gibson, who directed The Passion Of The Christ, has been a massively polarizing figure since his DUI arrest in 2006, where he was accused of anti-semitism, sexism, homophobia, and pretty much every other un-politically correct thing someone can be accused of. Personally, I like Mel Gibson. I think the man has film making in his bones (Apocalypto haters, back off), and though this hardly looks groundbreaking, I’m excited to see him back on the big screen.  This film has the best shot to take down Avatar this weekend, though I’m guessing that both films will finish somewhere in the $27-30 million range.

When In Rome (Disney) – 2,200 theaters – Reviews

Maybe Disney is trying to get an early start on Valentine’s Day with this romantic comedy, but it’s been pretty clear from the advertisements that Rome is not a very appealing destination.  In the movie, Kristen Bell plays an American tourist who takes three coins from the Fountain of Love, which is apparently a big mistake.  By removing the coins, Bell magically turned the three men (Dax Shepherd, Jon Heder, Will Arnett) who cast them into the fountain wildly in love with her.  Still, Josh Duhamel plays a nice-guy reporter who seems to have genuine feelings for her.  Hmm. I wonder who she’ll end up with?  One of the three average-looking guys that are under a spell to love her, or the handsome man that really does love her? It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.  Reviews for the predictable rom-com should on par with other recent January releases, and I wouldn’t look for this to break out the way that Dear John and Valentine’s Day will in the coming weeks.

News:

Maleficent May Get The Tim Burton Treatment

According to AICN, Disney, who’s gearing up for the release of Alice In Wonderland is looking to team up with Tim Burton for yet another live-action film.  This time, the movie would be a spin-off of the classic Sleeping Beauty, only this time, it would be told from the evil Queen Maleficent’s point of view à la Wicked.  Can we assume that Burton’s wife and muse, Helena Bonham Carter, will be playing the titular character? Probably, but I totally think Angelina Jolie could rock this part.  Either way, Maleficent sounds pretty cool to me!

We Scrapped The Old Franchise For Angsty Teen Spider-Man? Ugh.

Last week, Sony announced that they were scrapping production of the current Spider-Man franchise, instead opting to reboot the entire series with Marc Webb ((500) Days Of Summer) in the director’s chair.  Now, THR reports a few more details about the reboot.  First off, the new Spidey movie will focus on The Ultimate Spider-Man comic books, which take place in high school and focus more on angsty teen drama than the action.  Second, Sony has budgeted $80 million for the film, and while I applaud a major studio for trying to be frugal, that is simply not enough money to make an exciting superhero movie!  Ugh. I’m still bitter about Spider-Man 4 getting canned.

New Hobbit Film Likely Appearing In Late 2012

Maybe I’m just interested in this news because I’m reading The Lord Of The Rings for the first time and loving every second of it, but I think you all would care to know as well! Via Variety, the first part of the hotly anticipated Guillermo Del Toro picture, The Hobbit, will likely reach theaters in late 2012.  Delays up until now have been due to New Line’s restructuring.  Even though I’m still not on board with the idea of splitting The Hobbit into two parts, I can’t wait!

Spider-Man 4 SCRAPPED…And Rebooted? That Makes Me MAD!

January 11, 2010

Nikki Finke just broke the following news on her insider blog:

Mike Fleming and I have just confirmed that Sony Pictures decided today to reboot the Spider-Man franchise after franchise director Sam Raimi pulled out of Spider-Man 4 because he felt he couldn’t make its summer release date and keep the film’s creative integrity. This means that Raimi and the cast including star Tobey Maguire are out. There will be no Spider-Man 4. Instead, Mike Fleming is told, the studio will focus on a reboot script by Jamie Vanderbilt with a new director and a new cast. All this took place today at meeting on the lot today. An official Sony Pictures news release about it is expected. My sources tell me that Raimi told Sony Pictures: “I can’t make your date. I can’t go forward creatively.”


 This is frustrating in so many ways.  Spider-Man 4 was originally set to be released on May 5, 2011, and if Sony believed that anyone could shoot, edit, and finish special effects on a $200+ million superhero movie with any shred of quality, then they were setting an impossible standard.  What’s more frustrating to me, though, is the ridiculous need to reboot the entire franchise!  The last Spider-Man movie isn’t even three years old, yet, and audiences really connected with the original cast.  Sure, Spider-Man 3 was a big disappointment, but Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 showed us how great these films could be, I had faith that Raimi and the rest of the cast could turn it around!  Really, I just don’t understand why Sony is so insistent that they must restart the entire Spider-Man story.  It makes them look ashamed of the previous films, and if the issue was really all about the release date, then I don’t understand how this is an effective solution, for it will only delay a new Spider-Man even longer.  My guess is that the problem was that Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and Sam Raimi were asking for too much money.  Whether or not that was even the case, though, why not just recast them and continue the story?  It’s not like we audiences are too stupid to understand who each of the characters are.  It’s a strategy has worked for the Bond franchise for years! 

Honestly, I love Spidey.  I have all the movies, tons of the old comics, a Spider-Man poster on my wall, a an old Spider-Man blanket under my bed.  Raimi’s films exuded love for the character of Peter Parker and a huge respect of Stan Lee’s story.  I’m frustrated that Sony doesn’t seem to share any of that.  Anyone else with me?

Sam Raimi Should Personally Pay Everybody Who Sat Through Spiderman 3

May 21, 2009


Remember when you walked out of Spider-man? Remember this was before the superhero craze. X-Men had done decently, but really, who expected Spider-man to be such a hit? Sure, it had absurdly cheesy moments, but damn you really enjoyed yourself.

Then came Spider-man 2, a film that once again took everybody by surprise. Wait, this Superhero movie was… incredible. I actually just sat through a fantastic movie. It wasn’t just a fun popcorn action film, it was amazing as its hero claims to be. The genre was legitimized, and it took off into the whirlwind we see today. And Spider-man 2 was, for many, the superhero movie to beat until they got caught up in bat-mania last summer. (Though I thought Batman Begins was just as great).

And to keep up with surprises, Spider-man 3 shocked audiences as well, though much differently. There’s a label on the side of the DVD: “Warning, watching this movie has been known to cause depression, self-mutilation, eye-gouging, vomiting, paranoid schizophrenia, and gout.” Audiences everywhere wondered how in God’s name a series could turn that bad in one film (evidently they had forgotten about the Superman series). It was just awful, we all remember. Peter Parker dresses emo and dances dumbly, which somehow shows he’s ‘evil’ or ‘brooding.’ Apparently, nobody on that set had ever brooded before. Thinking about it makes my blood boil, which is unsavory for me, so I try not to. That picture at the top isn’t a dark, brooding Spider-Man. He’s actually mourning the disaster that was that movie.

Now they’re making Spider-man 4, hopefully trying to redeem themselves and recapture 2‘s glory. It’s a risky move: fourth films are rarely good (Superman IV is regarded as one of the worst movies ever, Batman and Robin was… You remember, even as kids we hated it. Does The Phantom Menace count as a fourth film?) You get it. It’s typical (not guaranteed) in movies that the third is a step down from the others, and then the fourth is somehow even worse. So I’m hoping that Spider-man 4 realizes this and acts accordingly. They have a Pulitzer Prize winning writer penning the screenplay, so that’s a good start. It also seems Sam Raimi knows how royally he f***ed up:

“As far as Spider-Man, I’ve learned a lot of lessons about what people didn’t like and missteps that I’d made. But I learned those lessons on the previous two, I was just a little quieter about them. I made a lot of mistakes, and it’s part of the reason I so want to make this next story of Peter Parker.”

Raimi continued, “I really think I know in my heart who the character is, and I haven’t quite been able to sing the song yet, or bring it out to the extent or degree of detail that I feel in my heart that I can. And I may not be successful, but I still feel like I know it better than I’m able to play it; I feel like the kid that really practiced at the piano recital, with years of comic books, and when I got to my other recitals, I sometimes made some missteps with them. There’s a whole crowd there and they think that’s as well as I know the piece, but I really do know it a lot better than that and I would like one more chance at that character. The Spider-Man films, I’ve made mistakes, but I really do look at them as things that I’ve learned, and hope that when I apply what I’ve learned to this next one, I really make a film that people enjoy and is really true to the character in a fresh, original way. That’s my goal.”

Alright, Raimi. You get this chance to get this right. It looked like Spider-man 3 was just a joke, and that nobody was taking it seriously since they knew it would make more money than the treasury. It’s one of those films where you sit and wonder how it made through so many steps and alterations and checkpoints where somebody didn’t stop and say, “Well, this is just terrible.” Who thought that was a good idea?! I always imagine Raimi telling Tobey Maguire what to do, and having four people behind him with their face in their palms. What I hope is some coffee boy had the nerve to say, “Mr. Raimi, this is really bad.” Then Raimi got really pissy, but after the movie came out he hired that coffee boy full time for having both courage and the common sense to recognize something that sucks more than God’s vacuum cleaner.

At least he recognizes his faults. I have to remember that he also Spider-Man 2, so I can’t judge too harshly. I know he has the capability to give us a more serious movie in line with the second in the trilogy. But he had that same capability for 3 and didn’t just miss the mark, he missed the entire hay stack that the target was pinned up on. So this time, please, don’t make Peter Parker dance.

5 Reasons You Love Elizabeth Banks (And Probably Didn’t Even Know It!)

January 28, 2009

Would it surprise you if I told you that the biggest female box office star of the last decade was Elizabeth Banks? I’m sure many of you probably don’t even know who she is! Well, as it turns out, Elizabeth Banks, whose new film The Uninvited opens in two days, has cumulatively grossed more money at the U.S. box office than any other woman in the 2000’s. Crazy right? While Elizabeth Banks does not exist on the levels of Jolie or Kidman, she gets way more roles, that are funnier, cooler, and more interesting, and on top of all that, she’s hotter! Since it’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time for The Box Office Junkie’s weekly list, here are 5 Reasons You Love Elizabeth Banks, whether you know her or not:

5. Scrubs!
If you’re part of the massive cult that makes up the world of Scrubs fans, then you’re already familiar with Ms. Banks, who frequently guest stars on the NBC ABC comedy as Zack Braff’s fellow doctor/girlfriend/ baby mama. She showed up at the end of the fifth season, and comes by for a visit every now and then!

4. First Lady At The Box Office, And In The White House
For Oliver Stone’s presidential film, W., Elizabeth transformed herself into Laura Bush, our country’s former First Lady, who must be so relieved that the last eight years are finally over. Starring alongside Josh Brolin, Banks looked the part as well as she acted it, and she received rave reviews for her portrayal in the political film.

3. She’s Part Of The Apatow Crowd
Elizabeth Banks has done herself well by staying close with Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, and Judd Apatow. By starring in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Zack And Miri Make A Porno, and Role Models, Banks has wisely been making herself one of the few women, along with Megan Fox and Angelina Jolie, that can legitimately draw men into theaters. It’s nice to see that despite her success, she doesn’t consider herself “above” comedy. And, yes, I’m looking at you, Academy Awards.

2. The Beautiful Betty Brant
You may not remember her very well, but Elizabeth Banks appears in all three of the massively lucrative Spider-Man movies as Miss Brant, the raven-haired secretary for newspaper mogul, Jonah Jameson. Personally, I’m a big fan of Miss Brant, and I know that she must have a cult following somewhere on the internet. My new mission is to find them! If you consider yourself part of the Betty Brant Fan Club, let me hear you sound off in the comments!

1. The Insanely Awesome Slither
Okay, movie geeks, this one goes out to you. Slither is a film from 2006 about an alien plague that turns people into all sorts of slug-like, mutant creatures. The intentional B-movie failed miserably at the box office, earning just $7 million, but true fanboys (and critics!) carried the Slither banner with utmost pride. Truthfully, this isn’t usually my cup of tea, but I watched this film, and LOVED IT. Seriously, if you’re in need of a fun evening, go watch this. Maybe it would have done better in the EEE.

There you go. Hopefully I’ve been able to shed some light on the most successful female actress of this decade, whose other hits include the football drama Invincible, Fred Claus, Catch Me If You Can, and Wet Hot American Summer. Now, it’s your turn. Did you know who Elizabeth Banks was? Will you see her in The Uninvited? And, most importantly, are you a member of the Betty Brant fan club?