THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
The only thing amazing about this movie is how Andrew Garfield manages to fit his Twilight hair into a mask he made out of a mini basketball (the answer is simple – he hardly bothers wearing the mask). A horrifyingly tone-deaf reworking of the classic comic book hero, this assembled by committee mass of mediocrity features some of the most stunningly wrong-headed moments in blockbuster history. The aforementioned Garfield is awfully miscast, and led by Marc Webb to a performance that suggests “serial killer” in its twitchy/tweaky fucked-uppedness. It’s been argued that this was done to imbue the character with a degree of Cronenbergian body-horror – but if that’s the case, why abandon the organic web shooters (which were supposedly so disturbing anyway)? The answer there was “to show the audience that Peter is a genius by letting him build his own web…which we then discover that he pilfers or purchases from Oscorp anyway, so…genius. I’ll bet they never notice it’s missing.
The Woman Born to play Mary Jane gets to play Gwen Stacy instead, and Emma Stone is so wasted in the role. And while it’s been claimed that the two became romantically entwined on set, you wouldn’t know it watching the film, as the Garfield/Stone tandem has zero chemistry.
And why do you hire master of oddness Rhys Ifans to play a dude so straight – then replace him with a CG Koopa from the Super Mario Bros. movie? No one knows…
But hey – this is “THE UNTOLD STORY”…of a kid who gets a bizarro spider bite that gives him superpowers. Yep – that’s certainly never been covered before. Guess they got cold feet about making his parents torturers who’d been experimenting on him since birth. That’s a twist that screams “Summer Blockbuster Fun!”
Or “we watched Ang Lee’s HULK and wanted to take a superficial stab at a ‘darrrque’ origin for one of comicdom’s absolute beacons of light” – either or.
What a piece of shit.
Aardman rises like a phoenix to deliver what looks to be a severely quirky take on holiday whimsy.
From the looks of things, they finally got this film right. Detail and grain are restored – now we need other studios to join Fox in addressing the awful transfers of old. Dear studios – if you dropped your shit in MPEG-2 in 2008…consider reworking it, and I’ll consider buying it.
One of the great ‘movie’ movies of all time is ready for it’s clos-
I can’t do it. I don’t write for Entertainment Weekly.
Boulevard is a little slice of sinister cinematic perfection, and if you’ve never seen it and you’re reading CHUD – you really need to.
One of my absolute fave films. If you don’t like They Live, I don’t want to know you. My Blu review is coming shortly.
10 Years of Red vs. Blue
Alvin & the Chipmunks: Christmas with the Chipmunks
The Bonfire Of The Vanities
Call the Midwife: Season One
Charlie Is My Darling
A Christmas Carol
Die Nibelungen: Special Edition
Earth from Above: Preservation of Water & Forests
Entourage: The Complete Series
Fire with Fire
Guys And Dolls
Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere: Season 1
Hungarian Rhapsody: Queen Live in Budapest
Incredibly Ever After
King Stays King: Sold Out at Madison Square Garden
Kung Fu Panda: Holiday
Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland
Mary Pickford: Rags to Riches Collection
The Muppet Christmas Carol
New World Order
Outpost: Black Sun
Planes, Trains And Automobiles – those aren’t pillows in HD.
Pray for Japan
Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice
Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring The Rockettes
Rashomon (Criterion) – I feel like I’ve bought this film 23 times. Is this the Criterion Evil Dead, or is it all in my mind…?
Sengoku Basara: Last Party
Sweet Home Alabama
Von Ryan’s Express – a ring-a-ding-ding. More Sinatra WWII heroism. Is there booze?
Warren Miller’s Like There’s No Tomorrow
Wu Tang Iron Fist Collection
Your Sister’s Sister
AEROSMITH – MUSIC FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION
Having once, in this column, referred to Foo Fighters as “Aerosmith for the flannel shirt set,” I suppose it behooves me to come up with something equally pithy for the Bostonians… how about “Rolling Stones for those who can’t be bothered“? They have a decent rhythm section, and as he demonstrates here on “LUV XXX,” “Oh Yeah,” “Legendary Child” and “Street Jesus”, Perry can fake the blues with the best of them. Plus, they have a frontman who makes Jagger look like a model of restraint and decorum, which is no small thing.
ERIC BIBB – BROTHERS IN BAMAKO
The transcontinental blues exchange continues, with the latest master class from Helsinki-by-way-of-New-York’s Bibb and Mali’s Habib Koité. Bibb’s signature “Needing Time” is given a West African accent as it melds with “Touma Ni Kelen”, the two interlock like long-lost brothers on “Tombouctou,” “Foro Bana,” and a cover of “Blowin’ in the Wind,” while “We Don’t Care” reinforces Bibb’s posture as the cosmopolitan thinking man’s bluesman: “We want the gold / As long as we don’t have to mine it / Don’t care who suffers / Or who’s behind it.”
EGBERTO GISMONTI, CHARLIE HADEN, and JAN GARBAREK – MAGICO: CARTA DE AMOR
Fuck all that shit from last week, here’s the real early Christmas present: a previously-unreleased 1981 2-CD live set from the tour that followed the trio’s releases of Magico and Folk Songs. Gismonti’s front and center, with five of the tracks being his compositions (including fascinatingly different bookend versions of “Carta de Amor”), and Garbarek’s “Spor” is a high point, but the real gems, for me, are Haden’s “La Pasionaria,” originally from his Liberation Music Orchestra, and the debut recording of his “All That Is Beautiful.” Muscular structure with flexible, fluid improvisation, in richly remastered sound that has more analog warmth than you might expect these days.
OTHER NOTABLE 11.6 RELEASES:
All That Remains – A War You Cannot Win
Blue Oyster Cult – The Complete Columbia Albums Collection
Doro – Raise Your Fist
Mike Doughty – The Flip Is Another Honey
Graveyard – Lights Out
HIM – XX -Two Decades of Love Metal
Isis – Temporal
Paul Kelly – Spring & Fall
Megadeth – Countdown to Extinction 20th Anniversary Edition
Kylie Minogue – The Abbey Road Sessions
Joni Mitchell – Studio Albums 1968 – 1979
Ne-Yo – R.E.D.
Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
Geoff Tate – Kings & Thieves
HALO 4 (360)
Halo’s pretty good, guys. Halo 4 is the first of the main series not developed by Bungie. It doesn’t matter. Halo is still Halo. All it took for me to know this was about twenty minutes and the Assault Rifle. Using the Assault Rifle to cut through the Covenant (don’t worry, you’ll fight a new enemy fast) feels right. You’re almost instantly thrown into the big open battlefields filled with weapon options and devious AI that – to me – are the franchise’s defining concepts. I’ll admit I only played the game for about an hour last night (some other kind of important things were happening) but in the opening sequence I killed an Elite with a Needler and nearly screamed for joy. Halo‘s still pretty good you guys.
LITTLE BIG PLANET KARTING (PS3)
I don’t know why this exists. But it does and no one is going to care. At least it’s guaranteed to be adorable and have great music.
MASS EFFECT TRILOGY (360, PC)
It’s the first three Mass Effect games…on systems that already have them. Cool and all. I like Mass Effect. But the best part of this new package is the PS3 version of the first Mass Effect – which, of course, we have to wait another month for. But if you don’t own the games on the 360 or PC, it’s a cheap way to pick up great games.
I’ll be picking up the set for the PS3 when it hits.