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‘Spider-Man 2’ Faces Web of Heroes at the Box Office

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Interesting points for Sony’s possible future Spider-Man films, which will indeed depend on The Amazing Spider-Man 2′s success

Originally posted on Variety:

In “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Peter Parker faces off against a double dose of villains played by Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan.

But when the upcoming sequel debuts in theaters abroad (April 16) and in the U.S. (May 2), Spidey will find himself entangled with even more formidable foes — Marvel rivals Captain America and Wolverine— not to mention a terrifying Japanese monster named Godzilla.

Of all the studios in summer 2014’s battle of the superheroes, Sony Pictures, which backs “Spider-Man 2,” arguably has the most at stake. Chairman Michael Lynton and co-chair Amy Pascal need the latest installment of their web-slinging franchise to deliver outsized grosses to offset the studio’s substantial investment, and reverse a recent string of domestic duds that include “RoboCop” and “The Monuments Men.”

Aside from the necessary financial boost, Sony is desperate to lift morale at the studio, which has been reeling from an onslaught…

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Possible crossover?! ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ features post-credit ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ clip [UPDATED]

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UPDATE: Variety has details of the behind the scenes deal that made this happen. It is the very opposite of a far-reaching plan for a super-hero crossover.

Is it finally going to happen, will Sony, Fox and Marvel finally have some of our favorite comic book heroes collide? Not exactly in this new story from Empire.com which reports that in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 credits will have a special clip of X-Men: Days of Future Past.

It’s been said it doesn’t mean that Spidey will be swinging with the X-Men or vice versa. It’s just a way Fox can promote their latest X-Men film to the same audiences that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is catering to. Hopefully one day these studio executives put their egos aside to give Marvel fanboys a dream of Spider-Man, X-Men, and even the Fantastic Four teaming up with the Avengers. Probably won’t ever happen, but can’t we dream? The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is now in theaters in the UK and will be released on May 2nd in the US. X-Men: Days of Future Past will be released on May 22 in the US and May 23rd elsewhere. Below is the final trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

The first trailer for David Fincher’s Gone Girl

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The highly anticipated film adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel has it’s first trailer and it looks amazing. The film is directed by David Fincher (Fight ClubThe Social Network & The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and has a star studded cast that includes Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry. The film is about a man (Affleck) is the main suspect of the disappearance of his wife (Pike) and tries to prove his innocence.

The trailer is fantastic and kudos to the guy who dubbed the trailer with the perfect song for this trailer, She by Elvis Costello. Similar to the teasers for Fincher’s last two films, The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the trailer has a song that perfectly fits the tone and teases the audiences with its beautiful cinematography and feels like a music video. I’m very excited to see if Affleck can deliver a good performance so that fanboys can get off his back about the Batman casting. Regardless, October can’t get any closer. Gone Girl will be released October 3rd and the trailer is below.

GONE GIRL – directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn – unearths the secrets at the heart of a modern marriage. On the occasion of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his beautiful wife, Amy (Rosamund Pike), has gone missing. Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick’s portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble. Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question: Did Nick Dunne kill his wife?

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Trailer time: New red band trailers for Neighbors & first trailer for Chef

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In an effort to get out the word on a couple new trailers for May 9th films, I’ve decided to introduce a new segment on multiple trailers. For smaller scaled films, I decided to give the bigger films their own post while the smaller films get the Trailer Time segment.

First up Jon Favreau’s latest film, Chef, a smaller film than his last 3 films (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, and Cowboys & Aliens). It’s got a loaded cast that includes Marvel stars Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson as well as Sofia Vergara, Dustin Hoffman and John Leguizamo. The film is centered around a chef (Favreau) who feels like his potential hasn’t been used properly when it comes to cooking. He decides to embrace his dream and become a world class chef, working at a food truck. The film looks very interesting and Favreau’s roots include smaller films such as SwingersMade, and Elf. The trailer is below.

The other trailer is for Seth Rogan’s latest in Neighbors. The film is about a middle age couple (Rogan and Rose Byrne) deal with new neighbors in the form of a fraternity. They report one night of them being too loud and the neighbors begin a battle to annoy the other to the point one or the other must leave (or something along those lines). Neighbors currently holds a spot on one of my most anticipated films of the summer. The film looks like Rogan is trying to continue his success after the hilarious This is the End. The trailer is below and warning, the trailer is NSFW.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier review

Phase 2 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe began with a few bumps in the road with the flawed, but fun Iron Man 3 and the ‘soul-less’ Thor: The Dark World, but it looks like Kevin Feige and crew have helped construct easily the best comic-book film since The Avengers. Similar to the relationship of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Captain America: The Winter Soldier improves on the first film and elevates the character of Cap to new heights. The good natured boy scout still keeps his philosophies in tact despite a chance to explore the character’s darker issues. And I for one am happy they went this route. Marvel knows their characters well and don’t need to be ‘gritty & dark’ to be good.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is still continuing to adjust to the present day world but has issues with the way SHIELD handles their business. It’s because of this Cap has trust issues with Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). SHIELD’s newest project, ‘Project Insight’ gives off shady vibes to Cap and begins to wonder how the organization would see certain threats. Cap is an old-fashioned guy who likes to punish those who have committed the crimes, while SHIELD wants to be able to handle the issues before they occur. Soon after, SHIELD is under attack and Cap is framed, forcing him to join Natasha on the run to uncover these attacks. They also have to deal with a silent assassin that only goes by ‘The Winter Soldier’ (Sebastian Stan). This forces Cap to explore his past and deal with the threat of saving Freedom for all.

The beauty of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is that the film doesn’t struggle with it’s tone as Thor: The Dark World does. My main issue with the last Thor film was that a lot of the time, the writing made it feel like part slapstick comedy, part action film. Here, first time directors Anthony and Joe Russo (known mainly for directing a few Community episodes) seem like they’ve been here before and manage to find the right tone for the film. There are moments in which they drop some really funny and cool references that includes one in the last act that had me rolling (if you watch Community, you’ll know what I mean).

The best part of the whole film is Cap himself. Chris Evans owns this role and plays him up like a natural. My biggest fear with Evans donning the suit was always the ties to the first Fantastic Four franchise. After three appearances, Evans is now forever known as Captain America. His ability to make him feel like a good natured guy mixed with human emotions is played to perfection. The character of Captain America could have been taken in a manner that felt cheesy and silly but Marvel manages to keep him pretty up even-kiel. He never ventures off into cynicism as DC heroes like (Sorry Man of Steel). Is he a bit naive? Yeah but he’s Captain America. He is all about being a good guy and he knows his role in SHIELD.

The stunt work in the film is remarkable at times and is a relief to see some nice stunt work in a while. The action sequences in the film never feel forced and are awesome. The cinematography is excellent as usual from Marvel films, and the scope of the film is unbelievable. Evans and Johansson have excellent chemistry and give the film moments that are human. Some of the film can feel a bit unbelievable and can be bogged down by too many Avengers references. Yet Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a fine film that features some awesome action sequences, great acting, and a social commentary on our own government. Truly, a great pre-summer blockbuster in the form of a Captain America sequel, well done Marvel.

Rating: A

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Noah review

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Before I go into this review, I must let any reader know that I have some bias towards the film being a christian. Specifically a Catholic and the controversial audience response to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is troubling to say the least. Audiences complained that it wasn’t faithful to the bible’s story and that it made the story seem to be a fantasy/sci-fi film. While some of those elements are true, the real story of Noah isn’t building the ark. Rather it’s about the character’s ability to truly perform the task he’s command with and his emotional response of dealing with the situation. Aronofsky explores the idea of how do we determine who is good.

The Descendants of Cain have dominated the Earth and have turned God’s beautiful land into a place of sin and evil. Noah (Russell Crowe), a descendent of Seth (the third child of Adam & Eve), is shown in visions that the earth will be flooded, cleansing the earth of evil. Noah realizes that he, along with his family and the animals, have to build an ark before the flood.

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The one thing I have to say about the film is that it’s beautiful. The film is gorgeously shot and the cinematography is great. The film’s visual effects are used to great effect and show that Aronofsky can work on other possible big budget films with great effect. Yet the reason why I love Aronofsky’s films are because of how he dives into his protagonist and show the audience in a depressing, saddening manner how they’d respond. In the examples of Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler each protagonist is shown going through a truly disturbing setting and the ending can be either uplifting, bittersweet or disturbing as hell.

In Noah, Aronofsky doesn’t go to the lengths he does in previous films, but it feels right. Noah is constantly questions why was he selected for this task. The film explores how far Noah is willing to go with this idea and believes himself to be strong enough to perform them. If you go in expecting the word for word adaption from the Bible, you’ll be damn disappointed then. If you go into this film expecting a post-apocalyptic fantasy film about a protagonist struggling to figure out who is truly good, then you’ll enjoy the film.

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The cast is fantastic, specifically Crowe and Jennifer Connelly. Crowe balances his character with perfection as a even-kiel man that sometimes boards craziness. Noah is genuinely a good man with a good heart and Crowe plays him as that. Noah never means harm but he struggles with his humanity. He’s a servant for God but doesn’t know if he can do everything he is tasked with. Connelly is Noah’s wife in the film, and provides a voice of reason during the 2nd half of the film. Connelly provides a good human touch for the film and gives it heart at certain points of the film. Logan Lerman, who plays Noah’s son Ham, is good at times as the son who desperately wants a wife. Sometimes during the film I felt for him, and at others it got a little sappy that he only cared about himself. I understood he wanted a wife but he nearly went too far at times.

All in all, Noah is a visually stunning spectacle that features a deep examination of who is truly good through the eyes of our protagonist. The film looks beautiful and the cast is fantastic. At times the film can feel a bit long and drawn out, but the film’s last act is worth it. The film isn’t as good as previous Aronofsky films, but it still a damn good movie.

Rating: B+

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Red Band ‘Sex Tape’ trailer

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Jake Kasdan’s follow up to Bad Teacher that also features Cameron Diaz & Jason Segal has a trailer. Oh and by the way it’s red band, for good reason too. The trailer is for the upcoming film, Sex Tape which may be the most ballsy mainstream film idea since Zack & Miri.

The film’s plot revolves around a sex-less couple (Diaz and Segal) who decide to spice it up by making a sex tape. They accidentally send out the tape to all their friends and family’s iPads. They decided they have to destroy all the iPads unless they can figure out how to get rid of the cloud. There were pretty damn funny moments in the trailer and seeing an almost naked Cameron Diaz is nice too.

Unfortunately most of the trailer feels like an apple commercial. Seriously, you want to talk about product placement, most scenes in this trailer features either a Mac, an iPhone, or an iPad. I’m just a bit dumbfounded on why Sony didn’t use any of their products for the film. Anyway, there are some genuinely funny moments in the trailer but the product placement just upset me too much. Hopefully the film isn’t like this trailer much. And hopefully Cameron Diaz is fully exposed. GIGGITY! Sex Tape also stars Rob Corddry, Elie Kemper, Rob Lowe, and Jack Black. Sex Tape will be released July 25th. The trailer is below.

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