Apr. 12th, 2014

philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

I haven't found many people who shared my love for the first of the Amazing Spider-Man films. I actually said at the time that I preferred it to "Avengers Assemble" and I continue to hold that opinion. I think part of the appeal is that I was a fan of the Spider-Man comics in my teens and it was great to finally see the character properly realised on the big screen. (I've never really thought that the character played by Tobey Maguire in Sam Raimi's films had much resemblance to Peter Parker.) The first Amazing Spider-Man film was laugh-out-loud funny, well choreographed, emotionally touching and a major selling point was the fantastic chemistry between Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacey. It was an absolute delight for me.

So with that in mind, it should come as little surprise that I didn't think this second Spider-Man movie was as good. While the studios have clear plans for the series to go on forever, the director Marc Webb has a trilogy of movies in mind before he passes the reins to a new director and this feels very much like an awkward middle-child of a trilogy.

But I should make clear right now that all the elements within the movie are brilliant. While comedy isn't the main focus and I didn't think this was quite as funny as the first film, there were points where I laughed out loud. The chemistry between Garfield and Stone is still smoking hot and now that Peter Parker is less awkward in the relationship, he's able to be extremely charming. Some of the funniest moments actually involve their realistic interactions as a couple. A major strength of this superhero franchise over any other is definitely that it is the only one where the love interest is a highlight rather than an obligatory extra.

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philosoraptor42: (Fatpie42)
Three more films in my John Hughes retrospective. I've been working backwards from John Hughes' final directing credit "Curly Sue" to his directorial début "Sixteen Candles". So far I reviewed "Curly Sue", "Uncle Buck" and "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" in the first instalment which you can find here. Below I review "She's Having A Baby", "Weird Science" and "The Breakfast Club".

In my reverse retrospective, "She's Having A Baby" should have come after "Uncle Buck". However, in desperation I jumped straight into "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" - with unfortunate results. So having received my worst John Hughes experience of all time from the movie enjoyed by 47 out of 50 reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes (94%), I figured that "She's Having A Baby", with a score of 48% was unlikely to be any worse.

She's Having A Baby (1988)

There was brief ray of hope in the opening scenes of this movie when it had a sort of Coen Brothers, black comedy feel to it. Our central protagonists are about to get married and their extended families on either side of the Church are utterly unimpressed by the pairing and often badmouthing the other family.

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I was trepidatious about revisiting this one. This retrospective hasn't been fantastic, I didn't remember this film being the best thing ever and had every expectation that, in the light of Hughes other films, it would turn out to be awful. But I decided to trust my 14 year old self that this would be a lot more fun than the last few John Hughes films.

Weird Science (1985)

The premise of this movie initially sounds appalling. A couple of teenage losers who cannot seem to get a girlfriend decide to use their computer and make themselves a woman. But you have to realise that it is very much an accident that they are successful. It's more of a computer-centred ritual rather than an engineering job, with cultish behaviour like wearing bras on their heads playing a part. The woman they create appears to have magic powers and in the end of the end this is like a modern story about a genie granting wishes.
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So, with my faith in Hughes mostly restored, it was now time to check out his most highly acclaimed film: "The Breakfast Club". I knew nothing about what to expect. All I knew was that it was supposed to be the big highlight of this retrospective.

The Breakfast Club (1985)

It did not take long for me to start hating this film. It doesn't seem like a great decision to put your moral in voiceover narration at the title credits, but I suppose the point was that we were supposed to recognise the clichés that are listed in the characters. The initial narration tells the teacher not to judge his pupils in simple pigeon-holed stereotypes which are listed as: a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal.
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