Weekend Movies: Savage Spiders and Bubblegum Pop Stars

The timing of this week’s movies has been strange. The $220 million comic book franchise blockbuster opened on Tuesday – which was to be expected considering that Wednesday was a major box office holiday. The teeny-bopper pop-music concert documentary received an odd Thursday opening. And the only major opener actually hitting the big screen on Friday is an ultra-violent crime drama. One week, three different genres, three different release dates.

While there have been many doubts about the movie itself, there was never any doubt that Sony would release ‘The Amazing Spider-Manbefore the July 4th holiday. This new incarnation of the web-slinging, spandex-bound superhero is not unlike the alternate reality versions that have been cranked out in the comics. Same hero, same powers, same character – completely different continuity. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ doesn’t erase the Sam Raimi trilogy, but pays homage to it.

In this moody and emotional take on the Spider-Man tale, Peter Parker is played by Andrew Garfield and his romantic interest, Gwen Stacey, is played by Emma Stone. The main villain is the bad guy that everyone expected to see surface next had Raimi continued on with his series: The Lizard. Truthfully, anything with the Lizard is less compelling than the character-driven story at hand. ‘(500) Days of Summer‘ director Marc Webb has done a fantastic job with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’.

I don’t dislike Katy Perry; her music is simply not my cup of bubblegum tea. It seems like every critic friend of mine who attended the schedule-conflicted press screening that I couldn’t make time for feels the same way – yet each of them was pleasantly surprised by how strong ‘Katy Perry: Part of Me‘ turned out to be. Where I didn’t want to see it at all before, I’m honestly now intrigued by ‘Part of Me’. Don’t believe me? Check out the Rotten Tomatoes score, which is actually higher than ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ or anything else opening this week. Could this be like the Justin Beiber musical documentary thing all over again?

The final wide release of the weekend is Oliver Stone’s supposed return to organized chaos, ‘Savages‘. Because ‘Part of Me’ and ‘Savages’ were screened in the same evening as ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, I failed to see two-thirds of this weekend’s new movies. Not due to Oliver Stone (whose films I typically dislike), but due to the subject matter, this love triangle versus drug cartel story has my attention. If you’re feeling brave enough to give an Oliver Stone film yet another chance, let us know what you think. It can’t be any worse than ‘Wall Street 2‘ or ‘Alexander‘.

The only indie limited release released this week is one that I’m surprised I haven’t heard of until now, called ‘The Do-Deca-Pentathlon‘. Written and directed by Duplass brothers Mark and Jay, this is the comedic story of two brothers who come up with and participate in their own 25-event Olympic Games. Considering their track history, I’m in.

1 comment

  1. JM

    I miss Oliver Stone ’91-’95.

    ’95 was such a great year.

    Seven, Braveheart, Heat, GoldenEye, Crimson Tide, Bad Boys, Babe, Sense and Sensibility, Judge Dredd, Species, Don Juan de Marco, Casino, Get Shorty, City of Lost Children, 12 Monkeys, Nixon.

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