Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man

I’ll give you a full review after the jump but let me take a moment right now to just give it to you straight: this movie is fucking awful and you shouldn’t see it. In fact I think it might be best if as few people as possible see it because if it doesn’t live up to Sony’s expectations then maybe we’ll be spared more of this crap.

The following review will contain some minor spoilers but you shouldn’t see this movie so it doesn’t matter.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Trailer: Potentially Spoilery

Amazing Spider-Man

Alright folks it’s finally here: A trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This is where I’d normally just sigh and say let’s watch but this time around I have to point out that you should maybe not watch this because while it doesn’t really have much in the way of plot details I (and half the internet it seems) are pretty sure that it spoils the end credits scene of the movie (yeah, wtf is that) and at the very least some set up for the already green lit Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4. Ugh.

Ok, let’s watch.

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Devil’s Knot Trailer + Poster: Colin Firth Investigates The West Memphis Three

Devil's Knot

In 1993 three young boys went missing and were later found murdered. A short time later three teenagers were arrested and charged for the murders after one of the teens, a kid with an IQ of 72, confessed that they had killed the three boys after twelve hours of interrogation with no parents of lawyers present.

The teens were tried with the prosecution asserting that the killings were part of a satanic ritual and the teens were found guilty despite evidence they may not have been involved and a potential alternate suspect who was not pursued.

This is exactly the type of difficult subject matter that Canadian film maker Atom Egoyan excels at making.

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Review: The Place Beyond The Pines

The Place Beyond The Pines

I have a lot I’d like to say about The Place Beyond the Pines but I can’t because it would spoil the plot and that would diminish your enjoyment of this great film. Yes, it’s great and you should see it. Derek Cianfrance has assembled a feature of great power and thought and you should see it.

In fact, that’s the TL;DR version of this review. It’s great. Go watch it before you read this. I’m going to avoid saying anything that would spoil the plot but there’s plenty beyond the plot to spoil and I feel you’d go into this best if you go into it blind.

So go. I’ll wait here. Last chance. Ok good.

The Place Beyond The Pines is a fantastic film about fathers and sons and they’re influence on one another and about sins and feelings that are passed from one generation to another. It follows Handsome Luke (Ryan Gosling), a motorcycle stunt rider turned bank robber, and Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), a rookie cop who ends up involved in his case, and their relationship with their respective sons.

To say it’s a powerful film would be the understatement of the year. Gosling and Cooper as the two leads both give tremendous performances as characters under stresses they never anticipated and circumstances they’ve put themselves in.

Gosling, as with previous performances in Drive and earlier films such as The Believer seems to have mastered the art of calm, quiet rage. The rage in this case comes explicitly from his circumstance and implied self loathing rather than from an unexplored backstory.

Cooper by contrast manages to convey his characters barely covered guilt and fear with a visceral realism, and I can’t help but be reminded that he was nominated for an Oscar last year.

Both these men I am sure will win all the accolades they deserve in the next few years.

Following them is their sons, and Dane DeHaan playing Luke’s son Jason. This kid is going places. He hasn’t been in much, but between this and Chronicle the kid has some chops and I expect he’ll be one of the next big kids on the block.

The supporting cast, rounded out by Ben Mendelsohn, Mahershala Ali and Eva Mendes is pretty stellar as well. I wish Ben Mendelsohn has more to do in the film but that’s a minor quibble.

All of this is of course due largely because of Cianfrance’s directorial style. Much of the film is filmed in long single shot takes shot with unsteadied cameras. The desired effect of this –which often does not work– is to create a more intimate feeling for the film. In this case it works incredibly well, creating the feeling of being right there beside the characters as they are going through their trials.

Further, while many films will have a character (or two) explicitly state the moral or message of the film, Cianfrance elects to show instead of tell; the characters actions inform us rather than the script and i very much appreciate a film that trusts it’s audience in this way.

Cianfrane has only directed 3 features so far, and only two of those have released wide, but he can count myself as a major fan moving forward. This film is ambitious in it’s message and scope and it pulls it off on all fronts.

This one of the films I’ve been most looking forward to this year and I’m happy to report that it’s the first one to knock it right out of the park.