Tag Archive: Emma Stone

Don’t rub your eyes, you’ve seen this story before, high schooler Peter Parker is bitten by a genetic changed spider, gains super powers, learns that with great power comes… Well he learns it but those words are never really used. It’s a lot like Spiderman that came out in 2002, yet it somehow feels older than that film, the movie is dark in tone, graphics are a mess and in the end they squeezed the fun out of Spider-man. Now not everything is bad here, the actors are actually better, it’s closer to the comics in many ways, but its when it decides to stray from the comic that things get really messy and really silly.

This series really shouldn’t have been rebooted, a sequel would have worked fine. I get the interest though in rebooting it, you get a new at bat(Sorry for the baseball lingo). The bonus to that though is we get Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and he is frankly perfect for the role. I buy him as a geek, he also handled all the emotional scenes very well. Really there is a lot more weighing on Garfield since the movie itself is a mess and none of that is his fault. He and Emma Stone who plays Gwen Stacy are so good together on screen you almost forget all the other nonsense that happens… Almost. They along with the other actors really try and it shows and frankly they almost save this sinking ship… Again, almost. We get Spider-man’s intro AGAIN accept this time we are introduced to his parents who will probably come up in sequels but are barely important to this film.

Martin Sheen plays Uncle Ben, his screen time is limited but when he is there his heart is felt on screen. He and Garfield are very good together. Sally Field plays Aunt May who has even less screen time, but I’m sure as more movies come along she’ll get a little more to do. Uncle Ben’s character though and what happens to him is where the movie really starts to slip, as a reboot we go through everything again… So they had to change Spider-man’s creation a little, which frankly is pointless. Instead of Ben being killed while waiting for Parker, he is killed trying to stop a robber. Peter in a weird way could have maybe stopped the man. He knows what the guy looks like and learns that the robber had a star tattoo on his left wrist. This is what leads Parker to become Spider-man… To find this man and get revenge. So he goes out and attacks any criminal that looks like the killer. That is simply stupid.

The films other huge problem was the villain, Rhys Ifans plays Dr. Curt Connors who knew Parker’s father. He is missing his right arm, so he dedicated his scientific career to help those who are impaired. This leads him to testing a formula Parker help create on himself. This turns him into a human sized Lizard. It also seemingly makes him go insane as he then tries to turn every citizen of New York into Lizard people. First problem is the Lizard looks nothing like he does in the comics, maybe wears him lab coat once, he has human face… They got everything wrong. Even to the end where Connors is essentially looked at as a terrorist.

The action I have to say is very solid in places, a fight between Spider-man and the Lizard in the high school is very impressive. Still what plagued Spider-man 3 essentially hurts this film. They simply had too much to do. They re-started the franchise, introducing us again to Peter, they brought in his parents story line, Uncle Ben’s death, Peter’s love story with Gwen Stacy, The Lizard’s arch… It was just too much. A lot felt rushed and it became clear why they rebooted it this quickly. They are using this film as a launching pad for others.

I don’t mean to be this negative, there are a lot of positives, the acting is really strong and worth the price of admission. The direction is a mess as is the story. They tried to ground Spider-man too much, like Nolan’s Batman films somehow was a shadow over this movie. You cannot make a movie based in a “real world” when having the villain be the Lizard, it just doesn’t work. After seeing this film I simply sat back and wish that Sony let Marvel take this product back.

Rating: 5/10

Movie Review: The Help

When dealing with racism Hollywood has always had an issue with it. Usually they always show it in some sort of over the top or overly violent way. We’ve seen movies attempt it and fall flat on its face(Crash, don’t start that movie didn’t deserve any awards, especially an Oscar). Here the movie has a very real look at what racism was like in the late fifties and early sixties. The movie isn’t about racism really it’s about love and losing one’s you care about, yet the cloud of racism is there and the mix is what makes this movie a classic.

Emma Stone plays Skeeter Phelan, a young Mississippi socialite, returning home from college. It becomes clear to her that the under current of racism is strong is Jackson and how the maids or “help” are treated. She decides to write a book telling their stories. At first only Aibileen(Viola Davis) a middle-aged woman who recently lost her son. The family she works for has a daughter that she has become very close to. After seeing her friend Minnie(Octavia Spencer) being mistreated she decided to help Skeeter write her book.

The movie’s plot is somewhat basic but there are more than half a dozen touching moments. This movie is about the characters and showing what the South was like during the time period. Viola Davis is amazing here, she basically hits a grand slam every time she is on screen. Her character is quiet, but so lovely that when she is hurting you can’t help but get emotional. Davis will be nominated for best actress come Oscar time, and as of right now I think she should win. Emma Stone isn’t exactly the star here, her character goes missing for several large chunks of the movie. I know she’s focused on in the trailers and posters but this movie isn’t really about Skeeter, but when it is, Stone is perfect. So far she hasn’t really been given a role with this much range. Skeeter’s connection to the woman who raised her is so touching, I won’t spoil anything but there is a scene in the end where Stone shows such range of emotion it’s hard to not be impressed. It also must be noted that Bryce-Dallas Howard plays hands down one of the most racist characters I’ve seen in a while. The role seems basic, but would be very hard to play and pull off as real, she does a good job and you can’t help but hate her character as the film goes on.

I was surprised to be so impressed by this film, it should have been slow, but it’s not. It should have been cliche, but it barely ever touches it. The film is beautiful and filled with such great performances that ignoring the film should be a crime. The movie also does a good job at not being over the top at all. It could have simply pulled the “white people are bad” card and it never does. I suggest those with older kids see this movie. The themes are important and also it’s a good historical lesson about how people were treated in this country. What blows my mind is the 60’s were really not that long ago. Do yourself a favor and see this movie. I can’t put it more simply than that.

Rating: 9.5/10

Movie Review: Crazy Stupid Love

This movie can be placed in the “almost” category, everything is in place for something really special but when it came to closing the deal, they blinked. The film follows Cal(Steve Carell) is a simple and basic guy. We open on him eating dinner with his wife Emily(Julianne Moore) and she tells him she wants a divorce and that she cheated on him. He deflates basically. Having never been with any other woman than his wife, Cal is lost at a singles bar he continues to go to. That is until he is taken in Jacob(Ryan Gosling), who teaches him the ins and outs of the new dating game. Meanwhile, Jacob falls for a law-student named Hanna(Emma Stone) who is not very impressed with how he picks up women.

This film could easily stand alone on the actors it has in it. Both Carell and Gosling are very appealing here, as is the rest of the supporting cast. Emma Stone is just charming and is lining herself up in my opinion as the real next Julie Roberts in Hollywood. Julianne Moore doesn’t get a lot of screen time here, but when she does, she stands out. She is frankly always great in what she is in. Still beyond the cast Crazy Stupid Love could never make a decision on what type of film it is. Don’t get me wrong it is funny, the characters have charming moments. Yet when the film just starts feeling unique it gets weighed down by cliches and just nonsense.

Two other story lines in this film follow Carell and Moore’s children. A thirteen year old boy who is in love with the seventeen year old baby sitter. Problem is the baby sitter has a crush for the much older Cal. This story line continues to slow down and wreck an utterly charming film. First off I despise this cliche’d pointless move to have a young teen who “wise beyond his years”. We see this time and time again, it’s old, it’s boring, and seeing it here was a huge let down. Yet not seeing they were setting their boat aflame they continue to ram the kid down out throats.

The films biggest failure was simply blinking when they had a chance at something special. There is a twist in the final act which spices things up but still leads into the basic rom com direction… It’s just a shame and a waste. It reminds me how much I love the film The Breakup, starring Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn. That film was funny but never blinked, it was about a breakup and I know the ending pissed some people off but it was real and not cliche’d at all. Here Crazy Stupid Love blinks on several occasions which is a shame. I say that because the actors and the characters frankly are so great. It’s sad the story and plot lags behind them and simply never generates anything note worthy.

This is essentially the Spider-man 3 of rom-coms, just has too much going on. We care and like Carell and Gosling, Moore and Stone so much that jumping away from them to follow some cliche’d thirteen year old boys arch is overly frustrating. A lot like SP3 the film sets up something special and then kind of fumbles everything into an ending. I’d suggest seeing it due to the performances, but the plot and cliche’d rom-com devices will leave you wishing for more.

Rating: 6/10

Rumors are flying around the web about how the Spider-man reboot is going horribly wrong. I’ve kept my mouth shut on the topic only bringing up villain rumors. There are some things about the remake I love, first off Garfield is a perfect choice for Peter Parker and Spider-man, he just looks right for the role and The Social Network proved he is a solid actor. Emma Stone being Gwenn Stacey works for me mainly because she is just so funny and charming. That’s what I want from the female lead in Spider-man. Also it seems they have brought back the web shooters. In the original trilogy Sam Raimi avoided the web shooters and just had Spider-man mutate to the ability to shoot webs from his wrist. The web shooters prove Parker is science nerd and opens up possibilities for drama in the action. The main problem is I think the web shooters may confuse Spider-man fans who only have seen the movies, but in the end who cares, read the comics.

I do have problems with the remake though too. I hate the choice for director in Marc Webb. I’m not a hater it’s just he makes one solid romantic comedy and he gets the biggest remake of the decade? It screams Tim Story and the Fantastic Four. Spider-man is about a young super hero, it’s not about teen angst and trying to get a girl. Okay well it is but that’s a minor part. It seems Sony is just trying to get teens interested in the film, problem is the fan base is kids and nerds who loved the comics and that ranges from many ages. Kids and nerds want the same thing, great action and villains. So why hire Webb? He’s cheap I guess and a lot of Indie kids liked 500 Days of Summer so he’ll make a Spider-man movie they love. Also I hate that it’s in 3D… Seems pointless if they are lowering the budget and trying to make Spider-man more about Peter Parker and his life, but then proclaim the film will be in stunning 3D. Why? If you don’t want big action why have the 3D? My final complaint is the stories about who the villain would be. I’m happy they are not attempting the Green Goblin and Doc Ock again. They just have thrown around too many weird options, I loved the idea of the Lizard, that should always be the first villain in my opinion. Then though rumors of Proto-Goblin have been swirling around. What a horrible idea! That villain is a B-baddie and would just make the film feel off. Stick to the original stories the comics gave you! I’m hoping for the best with this remake but there is a piece of me hoping it fails so Marvel can buy the franchise back.

Movie Review: Easy A

John Hughes has been missed, teen comedies have been on a heavy down slide recently. Well Easy A tries to bring it back in full swing. The film accomplishes most of its goals here and is pretty funny. The film balances itself out with a great supporting cast and the absolute charm of Emma Stone who is starting to seriously shine as an actress.

The film follows Stone’s character, a high-school senior who unwittingly becomes known as the school slut once a rumor spins wildly out of control. Instead of backing down she embraces it and uses the rumor and new reputation to her advantage, after a wave of young men eager to be seen as studs or at least not gay, pay her to tell people she had sex with them. This plot should not last an entire film but there are some twists to it along the way. It also helps the film has a lot of just talented and funny people in it. Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson play Stone’s parents and they are so charming and funny that you end up wishing they were your parents. It’s refreshing to see parents in a movie who are actually you know cool and understanding. Instead of trying to punish or keep their daughter locked up they let her do what she wants by simply trusting her and knowing who she is. It is something I just admired about the film.

Another great thing about the movie is that Easy A is a big mix of things. First off the film constantly tries to remind you how great movies were in the 80’s. The film has a point things just seemed better when characters could break out into song randomly. Besides playing up to films like Sixteen Candles it also is trying to retell The Scarlett Letter the same way the film Clueless did the same with Emma. Somehow even though a lot of these ideas have been done before they come off as fresh and funny here. I believe it is Emma Stone who just has great comic timing. In scenes that for me shouldn’t have worked, well she made them work. Without her the movie probably would have lost a lot of steam along the way.

Another aspect of the film that I really loved was Amanda Bynes, I’m not kidding. Her character is a Jesus loving loon who tries to control the social construct of the Ojai high school. I never really believed Bynes retired even when she announced it. Here she actually did a very good job coming off as a serious crazy person and I hope her career gets back on track. I dug her in Hairspray.

So in conclusion do not let Easy A pass you by, this is not your average teen high school comedy. This movie has a lot of heart behind it, essentially it is a huge love letter to John Hughes which I loved. The film simply bypasses cliches and allows its characters to grow into something special. Not hilarious but a strong piece of work especially for a younger generation that might need a reminder about films like the Breakfast Club and the list of other classics.

Rating: 7.5/10

Rising star Emma Stone(Zombieland, Easy A) is in the running to play one of two female leads in the upcoming Spider-man reboot. If this is true I fully support this. She seems like the only option in mind to play Watson. She is very likable and a solid actress. Her back ground in comedy is help full as well to help audiences forget Dunst who played Watson very well in my opinion in the previous movies.

Now I still don’t fully support the Spider-man reboot. Rumors were the only reason Raimi was booted from the franchise was him demanding to only having one villain in Spider-man 4. That baddie was going to be the Vulture. Personally I think that character would work well on screen. Now Marc Webb is directing and I simply don’t have faith that he can do the movie justice. Will see though, the rumor that the Lizard would be the main villain in the film gives me some hope.