I started watching Peep Show tonight, it is wonderous. Check it on netflix if you haven’t seen it before.
The most surprising thing about “The Amazing Spider-Man” was how much my mom liked it. I saw it on Wednesday with my family and my mom, Anne, was certain she would not enjoy the film. However, by about 20 minutes in, she was tapping my leg regularly and telling me how good it was. When we first saw the film, we went to the standard picture showing, my dad and I hate having to wear 3D glasses, this left Anne wondering what the experience would be like with 3D, since there are some pretty fun action sequences. Together, we decided to take the experience a step further for our second viewing and Anne, my little sister, and myself reserved D-Box seats at the gaudy but nice Muvico theater.
D-Box is a motion effects seating company that has products for theater and video game seating. The seats move with the action of a film and seek to give you a fun and deeper experience for the exciting parts of a film. For instance, if the Lizard jumps and tackles Spider-Man to the left of the screen, the seat thrusts to the left; if Spider-Man is electrocuted by a taser-bullet, the seat jiggles as if your mucsles were spasming. The seats have three different intensity settings for how much the seats move, naturally, mine was all the way up. Tickets for the special seating, at least at Muvico, were about twice as much as a normal seat, so I was quite glad that Anne was treating. Here’s a a link to the official site that has a map of D-Box locations.
Now, for the review-y part. While D-Box is a pretty ridiculous concept, I had a lot of fun using it. I found myself giggling every time the seat jerked around, which was probably distracting to the other patrons, but I loved it. Despite the enjoyable action sequences, I don’t think I can recommend seeing “The Amazing Spider-Man” in D-Box seating. Since some of the best parts of the film were the scenes with Peter and his family or Peter with Gwen, I often forgot I was in special seating until the web swinging began again. I would advise using D-Box for the most action filled movie you can find, to get your full money’s worth. I enjoyed the experience, but I will probably wait to go back until something like “Expendables 2”comes out.
I had not heard of “Safety Not Guaranteed” until my dad mentioned it at dinner tonight; it sounded pretty good, so we set out to see the film that was described to me as the scifi-romantic-comedy of the summer. With such a lead in I was pretty sure I would like it, and I was happy to find that I did. “Safety Not Guaranteed” was written by Derek Connolly and directed by Colin Tevorrow. The film takes place in Washington (state) where a magazine writer (Jake Johnson) and two interns (Aubrey Plaza and Karan Soni) attempt to track down a man who posted a classified ad looking for a time travel companion. The journalists find the eccentric and misunderstood Kenneth (played by filmmaker Mark Duplass) who is trying to right a wrong from 2001 and is nearing completion of his time machine. Plaza’s character, Darius, poses as the time travelling companion in order to get information for the story, while learning more about Kenneth. As their friendship develops, the writer, Jeff tries to relive his high school years while trying to forcibly bring the other intern, Arnau, out of his nerdy shell with some debauchery.
While it is a stretch to call this film scifi, the dynamics of people, love, and lost time make this film enjoyable and touching. Acting props go out all around as the film, while having a very independent feel, had some great humor and chemistry between the characters. Plaza is up to her normal mono-toned ct to mask her characters true feelings, but instead of being overly cynical, like her Parks and Rec character, she shows some real development along with her great one liners directed mostly at her journalist boss. Duplass’ character, Kenneth, reminds me of a likable Dwight Schrute type who doesn’t live in the normal reality, because the one he is making is better, and his insufferable antics are justified by his sincerity and kindness as a person. Along with these two, Johnson plays the 30 something journalist wishing he was still in high school and Soni is the over eager intern who will do anything to get a good recommendation for grad school.
Despite my minimal efforts (I’m lazy) I cannot find much I would have changed about the film, so I am not going to say anything on that subject.
The story is sweet, well paced and reminds me suspiciously of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. As relationships develop, we go deeper into the science fiction is a reality theme that spins the plot into something almost magical. I was not surprised to find out tonight that “Safety Not Guaranteed” placed well at the Sundance Film Festival as it is one of the more original films I have seen lately witha great cast to back it up. “Safety Not Guaranteed” has been out in different areas for a while, but seems to be going for a gradual limited release, if it is in a theater near you, I would certainly suggest checking it out over some of the bigger films currently out.
Happy belated 4th of July, everybody! I celebrated by checking out a movie I have been quite eager to see “The Amazing Spider-Man”. TASM was directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. While many critics have viewed TASM as an unnecessary reboot since the last Raimi directed film came out in 2007, I have to disagree with these claims. While 5 years isn’t a long time to wait for a reboot, the Raimi series was played out, Sony needed to keep the Spidey movies coming otherwise the rights will return to Marvel (Disney) and as “Spider-Man 3” showed us, even mediocre Spider-Man movies can make plenty of money. All business reasons aside, I found TASM to be a wonderful take on the classic character and a well altered re-telling of his origin. The common consensus seems to be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but the way I see it, if you can make it better, why not do it?
While TASM isn’t perfect, I enjoyed it considerably more than Raimi’s films. Garfield’s portrayal of Peter Parker is much more approachable than Tobey Maguire’s, and I have to say that applies to every other character who appeared in both. Emma Stone was much funnier and more sincere than Kirsten Dunst, and I loved Sally Field as Aunt May. While Raimi’s film was fun but ultimately hokey, TASM takes a more serious tone for Spider-Man and plays more into the tragedy of Peter Parker. Tasm’s Spidey seems more in tune with the comics, as he blames himself for the tragedies that befall his friends and loved ones, yet when he is in the suit he cracks jokes. This split is what makes the Spider-Man character, and TASM nails it.
The film also builds up a great relationship between Peter and love interest Gwen Stacy. While the previous films used Mary Jane Watson, TASM went with Peter’s first love played by Emma Stone. The chemistry between the two is palpable and the young love story merges well with the main plot. The only concern I have concerning their relationship is Gwen Stacy’s imminent demise and it would be a major bummer to see Emma Stone die.
Of my few complaints, I thought that Garfield was melodramatic at times, but I still preferred it to Maguire’s ugly crying from the Raimi films. Some side characters could have been explored more, Aunt May and Captain Stacy, but there was a lot to cover in the two hour film.
Ultimately, I feel that TASM sets itself up to be a quality beginning for future films. Between setting up Oscorp as an important entity and the post credit scene, a sequel seems imminent. TASM combines elements of the previous Spider-Man films along with a more consequential tone that is common among the more recent hero flicks. Above all, I consider it to be a great summer movie, certainly worth the admission.