With well over a decade under the belt of the world’s favorite wall crawler in cinema, what direction does Marvel take him next? With the casting of Tom Holland and confirmed rumors by Marvel, we do know they will be following a young high school Peter Parker through his struggles and his transition into one of the worlds greatest heroes.
But, before you can assume where you are going, you should look back at where you came from. Let’s take a look back at how Spider-Man set the table for comic book movies in cinema.
Spider-Man was released May 3rd 2002. It Starred Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco and Willem Dafoe. This movie was one that set the table for modern day hero movies. Directed by Sam Raimi and coupled with an amazing score by Danny Elfman, Spider-Man soared into theaters. It followed closely to the comics and the story of Peter Parker as an awkward nerdy teenager bitten by a genetically altered super spider, while dealing with his insecurities and balancing great power with great responsibility. With an $821 million world wide gross, Spider-Man proved that this was the new path of cinema.
Spider-Man 2 was released June 30th 2004. It pitted Peter Parker against his idol and Spidey against one of his deadliest foes, Doctor Octopus. Following close to the same formula as its predecessor, we followed a slightly more confident Spider-Man trying to balance his life as one of the worlds greatest heroes and his fear of what being that hero may cost him as Peter Parker.
Though critics bashed Spider-Man 3, it has a worldwide gross over $890 million. I believe most of its criticism came via the lack of back story for one of the worlds most beloved spidey villains, Venom. Fans also believed Topher Grace was a poor choice for the role. Spider-Man 3 was released May 4th 2007 and explored the dark side of having great power and vengeance in your heart.
The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2
The Amazing Spider-Man was released July 3rd 2012. It was an attempt to re-boot the Spidey franchise without straying too far from the source content. Director Marc Webb decided that he would skimp on some details, assuming the audience wouldn’t want to revisit Peter’s brief stint in wresting or showing in detail how Spidey sense looked through the eyes of Parker.
In his second attempt, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Director Marc Webb attempted to improve upon where he fell short in his 2012 Spidey debut, by bringing in a A list cast that included Jamie Foxx, Emma Stone, paul Giamatti, Dane DeHaan. He also decided to take the movie over the top with bigger explosions and more over the top action, while having Spider-Man realize his true strength. Webb seemed to abandoned his idea of the darker more down to earth Spider-Man and venture back closer to source material. Even going as far as to make his suite lighter and more like the original.
Tom Holland’s New Ultimate Spider-Man Haircut
Which brings us to the present. Of course we know very little about the exact direction Jon Watts will be taking our new Spider-Man. But let’s talk about what we do know. We know we will get our first glimpse of Spidey in Captain America Civil War, we know that Tom Holland will be playing a young high school aged Peter Parker. He will be as conflicted as ever and learning to deal with his new found powers. His costume will we be closer to the origins of Spider-Man.
What we don’t know about this incarnation is how he will fit into the already well established Avengers universe on screen. It’s the only variable that could make this Spidey significantly different from previous versions on screen.
One Thing ‘Trick’ Has In Bulk Is Gore
Genre : Horror
Rating : Unrated
Director: Patrick Lussier
It seems that few genres of film are as collaborative as horror. Despite being considered the black sheep of the film genres horror has produced some incredible creative teams over the years. Whether it’s Wes Craven turning Robert Englund into a bonafide icon or director Guillermo del Toro working with Guillermo Navarro to bring fairy tales to life there’s no denying that there is something about scary movies that brings people together. One of the most promising duos of the 2000’s was director Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer. Collaborating on 2009’s My Bloody Valentine 3D they would go on to cement their place in genre film history with the bats**t insane Nicolas Cage film Drive Angry. The two seemed to be on the verge of their big break with a sequel to Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 before going their separate ways. A decade after their first collaboration the two are back to try and make their mark on the slasher genre. Will this Trick be a disaster or more of a treat?
Considered a smart and quiet teenager Patrick Weaver goes on a stabbing spree at a Halloween party in 2015. Claiming several victims, he is able to escape despite capture, being shot several times and falling out of as second story window. Despite this Detective Mike Denver (Omar Epps) and Sheriff Lisa Jayne (Ellen Adair) are unable to find a body. Over the next four years a killer, now simply known as “Trick”, wreaks havoc every year on Halloween tormenting the two. Convinced that Patrick is behind these massacres Mike is back on the hunt, certain that he can capture the elusive killer.
Needless to say, it isn’t the most original of plots. Between Trick being a stand in for Michael Myers and Detective Denver as a new version of Dr. Loomis it would be easy to mistake Trick as Lussier and Farmer’s old Halloween script with a few name changes. They even have Tom Atkins from Halloween 3: Season of the Witch in a fun cameo as Mr. Talbot. Rounding out the cast are Ellen Adair as Sheriff Jayne and Kristina Reyes as Cheryl, a survivor from Trick’s initial killing spree. Despite being two very different characters the two put their all into the role with Sheriff Jayne being the consummate professional and Cheryl as your classic final girl. Aside from a poorly cast Jamie Kennedy in a supporting role the cast do all they can to carry Trick’s cliché-ridden script.
With visual effects from Jean-Francois Beaulieu and visual effects supervisor Pete Sussi the one thing Trick has in bulk is gore. With Trick utilizing a mix of Saw-esque traps and good old-fashioned slashing Trick accumulates a nice little body count. Each kill emphasized by some gnarly looking practical effects. This would be great if Trick had a great slasher of its own. With a painted face and a variety of masks Trick is somehow not only the smartest guy in the room but also the faster than Usain Bolt and more proficient with weaponry than three John Wicks. So instead of Myers we get a 13-year old’s version of what the coolest and most XTREME Halloween movie would be like. We get an explanation for this near the end of the film but by then it’s too little too late.
Watching Trick I couldn’t help but think of Mark Millar’s (writer of Kick-Ass and Old Man Logan) comic book Nemesis. Working with artist Steve McNiven the two created classics. Letting the two work on their own project without any continuity to worry about seemed like a perfect idea. Yet when left unrestrained and to their own devices they stumbled over their own feet. The same can be said of director Patrick Lussier and writer Todd Farmer with Trick. With one too many ideas without all the resources Trick ends up feeling more like a collection of cool scenes without a proper through line and instead of creating the next horror legend we get another horror what if.
Links : IMDB
Trick is now available on VOD, DVD and Bluray
Thriller ‘Knives and Skin’ Cuts Deeper Than Most
Genre : Thriller
Rating : Unrated
Director: Jennifer Reeder
A small rural town is turned inside out when local student Carolyn Harper goes missing. Despite the best efforts of the suburban sheriff and Carolyn’s mother she cannot be found. As the days go by a wave of fear and distrust slowly begin to seep into the town’s foundations. As more and more townspeople try to figure out how to deal with their shared trauma a collective awakening takes over the town’s youth.
As simple as that synopsis may sound Knives and Skin is so much more. Written and directed by indie favorite Jennifer Reeder (2017’s Signature Move), Knives and Skin is a hard movie to explain. What starts out as a conventional teen thriller becomes a surrealist take that’s two parts Twin Peaks, one-part Rian Johnson’s Brick with a dash of Heathers to help it all go down. And although Knives and Skin is a grounded mystery it tackles so much more including toxic masculinity, LGBTQ issues and shared trauma.
Just as unique is how Reeder and cinematographer Christopher Rejano present their tale of tragedy. Nostalgic for the bright and vibrant look of the 80’s Knives and Skin uses deep blues and reds feel like they belong more in an Argento film than grounded thriller. Just as intricate are the relationships and characterizations of the town’s inhabitants. Mostly focused on Afra (Haley Bolithon), April (Aurora Real de Asua) and Joanna (Grace Smith) the most compelling performance Carolyn’s mother Lisa (Marika Engelhart). Over the course of the film we watch Lisa go from choir teacher and concerned mother to unraveling mess to a weird kind of acceptance. Marika’s performance is able to straddle tightrope between tragic and touching all at the same time.
As unique as Knives and Skin is in presentation it has its drawbacks. By taking inspiration from David Lynch it also replicates his signature acting style. How his style could make a performance feel stacato and suddenly give off a burst of intensity. Or how someone who was a normal teenager in the scene before would do a complete 180 and feel like a nihilistic monster in the next. Although David Lynch has shown that this style of telling a story can work it can just as often feel off putting. Just as confusing is the narrative of the story. Although the story itself is straight forward I found the way it was being told to be a bit jumbled in execution. Needless to say, Knives and Skin isn’t the kind of movie you put on as background noise.
A bit of a sleeper on the festival circuit Knives and Skin emerges as one of the most unique thrillers of the year. Jarring in presentation and story it isn’t for everyone. And that is probably it’s biggest strength. Not only does writer-director Jennifer Reeder show a skill at genre conventions but she also shows a willingness to look at topics we don’t typically talk about in genre cinema. Whether you love it or hate it Knives and Skin will speak to you in some way.
Links : IMDB
Knives and Skin is now in theaters and on VOD
Gary Oldman Boards a Sinking Ship in ‘Mary’
Genre : Horror-Thriller
Rating : Unrated
Director: Michael Goi
Things have been pretty rough for David (Gary Oldman) as of late. Working as the captain of a fishing tour boat he dreams of starting his own boating business to provide for his family. At a local boat auction he finds an old vessel, The Mary. Desperate and unable to resist the opportunity to be hi own boss he buys the ship despite the financial risk. With the help of his wife Sarah (Emily Mortimer) and daughters Lindsey (Stefanie Scott) and Mary (Chloe Perrin) are able to clean up the ship making it look as good as new. Joined by the young Tommy (Owen Teague) and David’s second in command Mike (Manuel Gracia-Ruflo) the family sets sail towards the Bahamas before the ship’s mysterious past comes to light.
Told in a series of flashbacks during a police interogation Mary should be great. In fact writer Anthony Jaswinski (The Shallows) has proven that an ocean setting is more than enough to craft a compelling tale of terror. Using it as the backdrop for a haunted house story seems like a no brainer. Sadly that isn’t quite what we get. With Jaswinski and director Michael Goi seemingly unsure what they wanted we get a mix of terror and family drama that doesn’t quite commit to either.
For the most part Mary sticks to jump scares. Whether it’s doors banging by themselves or mysterious footprints appearing out of nowhere, Mary treads very familiar waters through most of it’s run time. There are moments of intrigue such as when the ship that haunts The Mary takes control of Tommy but any chances for development are quickly glossed over in the next scene with just as much care going into the dramatic scenes. With tensions high from the time David buys the boat, we get hints through the film before Lindsey confronts her mother about committing infidelity. Although hardly the revelation they want it to be the scene is sold beautifully by Emily Mortimer. In fact, Mortimer does a wonderful job throughout the film.
Her first horror movie in nearly a decade Emily Mortimer is more than ready to carry the film on her shoulders. Playing an unreliable narrator to a criminally underused Jennifer Esposito she gives Mary her all with a performance that wouldn’t be out of place in some of her best roles. She particularly pops when paired up with Gary Oldman. While not given too much to do besides look concerned there are glimpses of suspicion when David catches Sarah talking to Mike. The two are so good together that you can’t help but be disappointed we aren’t watching the two in a straight up dramatic movie.
Between the performances from Emily Mortimer and Gary Oldman and the shots emphasising the isolation of the ocean you can see glimpses of brilliance in Mary. But like the ocean itself these hope spots are swept away just as fast. Instead what we get is a cliche ridden mess that doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. Leaving the door open for a sequel Mary has sunk before it even left port.
Rating 4/10 Links : IMDB
Mary is now on Bluray, DVD and on VOD