Andrew Garfield

99 Homes

“It’s not your home anymore.” Director Ramin Bahrani has long been preoccupied with portraying the price of the American dream on the big screen – the theme is obvious in both At Any Price and Man Push Cart – but his 99 Homes finally fully capitalizes on that obsession to great effect. This time around, Bahrani is concerned with the bursting of the mortgage bubble, turning his attention to the swamplands of Florida, where regular people (oh, hey, just like Andrew Garfield‘s Dennis Nash) are desperately trying to hold on to their family homes, even as opportunists like Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) use their misfortune to fuel their own businesses. Dennis is already desperate when the film opens, mere days away from losing the Nash family home, effectively sealing that his inability to pay the bills has ruined his life, his young son Connor’s (Noah Lomax) life and even his mother Lynn’s (Laura Dern) life. Three generations of Nash are relying on Dennis, and he’s about to let down every single one (it must be noted that, while Bahrani is apparently intent on pushing the generational aspect of the film, Dern is underused and casting a mother as the sole female protagonist doesn’t make much sense). Dennis loses the house — Connor loses the house, Lynn loses the house — and a seemingly normal day is destroyed by the arrival of real estate agent Rick (who represents the various banks who own scads of unpaid mortgages), a pair of surly cops and a ragtag […]

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SNL Wings Andrew Garfield

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Electro - Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t a good movie. It’s sloppy, has a half-baked villain, and, for a huge blockbuster picture, it lacks scope and style. In fact, a lot of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies feel more modern and photo-realistic than what director Marc Webb has done so far. With every sequel you hope lessons will be learned from whatever past mistakes. Sometimes a series needs to go through a learning curve before getting to the goods. Sadly, that’s not the case with The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Webb has managed to make an even worse film. While this sequel is more polished, its script is disastrous in parts. It’s easily the most frustrating movie Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (and co-writer Jeff Pinkner) have ever written. The wildly varying tone, the cheap character motivations and poor plotting all scream Joel Schumacher. It has some things going for it, most of which are overshadowed by all the glaring issues. Spoilers included, here are 10 things I didn’t like about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and 5 things I did.

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The Fly Movie 1986

There’s a lot being made of superhero science, both by me and also the rest of the world. Now that superheroes have become a regular thing in the multiplex and not just something that nerds on the fringe of society reads, it’s not uncommon for someone to ask what a real-life superhero would be like. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 marks the fifth time the Marvel web-slinger has made his way onto the modern movie screen. While some of the changes made by Sam Raimi for his series have been switched back to the traditional model (like the organic web shooters being replaced with mechanical ones), the superhero is basically the same. Bitten by a genetically-altered spider, Peter Parker is imbued with special powers unique to spiders. Watching the new movies and contemplating the powers Peter Park has and doesn’t have got me thinking… Ignoring the actual process of infection for Peter Parker, how likely are his powers really ones that realistically come from spiders? What would a real-life “Spider Man” be like?

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Electro

Talking to himself in delusional outbursts, an increasingly mad genius develops super powers that make him finally feel as if the world might take him seriously. Or at least notice him. The eternal dweeb, he sets out to get revenge on a personal hero who slighted him (an unforgivable sin to the bullied psyche) and to find the fame he deserves. That’s how Jim Carrey’s Riddler is born in Batman Forever, and it’s also how Jamie Foxx‘s Electro is born in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. They are both brilliant losers who worship at the feet of superheroes (Bruce Wayne for Ed Nygma and Spider-Man for Max Dillon). Both are transformed by injured anger, both are crushed under the heel of asshole middle management bosses and both boil over when they don’t receive the respect they feel entitled to. Early on in Spidey’s latest adventure — especially whenever Foxx is on screen —  it’s easy to pick up on the Batman Forever DNA. Luckily, Peter Parker is the only acrobatic orphan who shows up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Of course the movie also doesn’t share the look of Joel Schumacher’s Gothic cartoon cabaret, and with some interesting character choices, it acts as a redemptive mulligan for one of the worst superhero adventures in modern memory.

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amazing spiderman 2_2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is over five months away, but the marketing is already picking up steam to ensure butts are in seats this coming May. It would be silly to call a film that earned $750 million worldwide a failure, but director Marc Webb‘s first Amazing Spider-Man was definitely a bit underwhelming. Story-wise it felt like little more than an unnecessary reboot, and that shows in its ranking as the lowest grossing of the four Spider-Man feature films. Sony already has plans (and release dates!) for two more films in their ‘amazing’ franchise, but first up will be Spidey’s “greatest battle” yet as he (Andrew Garfield) goes head to head with Electro (Jamie Foxx) and The Rhino (Paul Giamatti). Judging by the new teaser below though his greatest threat may actually be Stan Lee‘s blathering intro. Check it out below along with another new pic (courtesy of EmpireOnline), but fair warning, the second pic may or may not constitute a spoiler for some of you.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Jamie Foxx

The clearest thing about the Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer (and its entire production history) is how thoroughly Marc Webb and company ignored complaints about having too many villains in a single movie. Not only have they dropped three into the mix here, they’ve also made the overwhelming nature of that reality part of the thematic challenge Peter Parker must face. That dramatic turn may help transform the juggling act of multiple baddies (with multiple origin stories) into a usable energy, but they’re going to have to do a far better job of balancing the story than they did with the messy first outing of the rebooted hero. On that front, it looks like the all-but-erased-by-the-studio “secret origin” is back in the mix as Peter delves deeper into what his father was working on at Oscorp. Again, that’s fertile ground, but it adds another layer to the dip. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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It’s no secret that everybody loves Ramin Bahrani. Roger Ebert hailed him as the “director of the decade” back in 2009. He’s been honored at film festivals, received a Guggenheim fellowship, and is pretty much considered by everyone to be an all-around smart guy. For his next, film 99 Homes, Bahrani will tackle the impenetrable quagmire that is the U.S.’s recent housing collapse. The film already has its star – Andrew Garfield – who will be playing a man who loses his home, but then finds himself a far more horrible situation when the only job he can get is one with the manipulative broker who stole his house away. And, as you can guess from the title of this article, it’ll be megalomaniacal rant virtuoso Michael Shannon who’ll be taking on the part of the broker. It’s an ideal casting choice. Shannon is the master of being completely unhinged, from Take Shelter‘s quiet, subtle crazy to Man of Steel‘s constant barrage of screaming and heat vision (and every point between the two). Plus, 99 Homes gives him the opportunity to take his particular brand of psychosis and wrap it in something a little more topical. And if Shannon ever wants to scream himself hoarse as a Spider-Man villain, he’ll have an in with Garfield. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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Harry Osborn and Peter Parker

What have we here? Dane DeHaan – Harry Osborn in the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – tweeted a picture of himself and Andrew Garfield from the film, accompanied with the caption “Breakin’ it down #Osborn style… Yo” Sure, kid. DeHaan, who plays the character originated by James Franco in the previous Spider-Man series, will of course go on to become Spider-Man’s adversary, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from this photo of Peter and Harry. The pals look pretty chummy as they hang out in the Oscorp offices, although judging from that wistful expression on Garfield’s face as he looks off into the distance, there’s probably trouble afoot that only a teenager with spider-like abilities could possibly tackle.

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The-Social-Network-andrew-garfield-17372266-1920-800

With his first few films, Man Push Cart, Chop Shop, and Goodbye Solo, director Ramin Bahrani put his focus squarely on the hardships that face immigrants when they come to the United States and try to build a new life out of nothing. But with his latest, At Any Price, Bahrani moved his focus to a group of people who have been in the land of opportunity as long as anybody, the bread belt’s farming families, and showed how they are just as vulnerable to the hardships that come from today’s economic climate as anybody else. His next film, 99 Homes, seems like it’s going to continue down that path, because according to a report from THR, it’s just cast The Social Network and The Amazing Spider-Man’s Andrew Garfield in its lead role, that of a man who has his life flip-turned-upside-down when he becomes the victim of predatory lending practices.

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The-Amazing-Spider-Man-Rhino-Pantsed-Fight

I love this behind-the-scenes video from The Amazing Spider-Man 2 because without the CGI movie magic, it makes Spidey seem like a real wizard with even more extraordinary powers. He simply waves his hands, and Paul Giamatti‘s  pants drop. No webbing required. This is Harry Potter territory. Plus, the sense of humor here is great — this is what a teenager does with great power and great responsibility. Some light humiliation followed by a few slick dance moves. The confidence is solid, but Spidey should really learn not to leave automatic weapons lying in the street. [SuperHeroHype]

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benicio

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s headlined by news of three big actors working with three well-respected directors, but it also has news about new jobs for ladies like Keira Knightley, Reese Witherspoon, and the Dowager Countess. Benicio Del Toro is the talented and unique sort of actor who manages to be interesting to watch even when he’s in a project that isn’t that great. The dude was fun in Savages. Basically, you can set your watch to him. But pair him with a director who’s good at working with actors, and you’re likely to get pure magic. That’s why The Wrap’s news that Del Toro is in talks to join Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice is basically the best thing that’s happened all day. Big actors often times give their best performances when working with Anderson, Del Toro is a big actor—it’s perfect. Also, he’s supposed to be playing a lawyer in the film, which, if you’ve seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you know can get pretty entertaining. Zang.

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Amazing Spider-Man 2

The fine folks over at Coming Soon have scored an official image of the Spidey suit from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and the result is something big and bold albeit a bit familiar. Plus, if you’re fighting crime, this looks pretty comfortable to do it in. In the sequel to the incredibly tepid reboot, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is crawling his way through high school while juggling his love for  Gwen (Emma Stone) and his promise to stay away from her. A new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), enters the scene, and Pete’s old buddy Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) brings that whole semi-abandoned plot line from the first film about a secret Parker past back  from wherever it was left. Sounds fun! The movie hits May 2, 2014.

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Though reactions to Marc Webb’s reboot of Sony’s Spider-Man franchise, The Amazing Spider-Man, were mixed, the one thing that nearly everyone was in agreement on was that Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone made for an upgrade in principal actors over Sam Raimi’s choice of Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst for his trilogy. Stone especially seemed like a breath of fresh air, as Dunst’s version of Mary Jane Watson wasn’t written to be like the character comic fans loved from the very beginning, and getting the chance to restart the story using Peter Parker’s real first girlfriend, Gwen Stacy…well, it just felt right. That leaves the question of Spider-Man’s second girlfriend hanging over Webb’s new franchise, however. Everyone knows that the love triangle he gets thrust into with Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane is a big part of Spider-Man’s early stories, so do Webb and crew have plans to introduce the confident and vivacious Mary Jane of the comic books into their future films, even if it could mess up the goldmine of chemistry they’ve discovered between Garfield and Stone? If a new report from Variety is to be believed, the answer is yes, and if things end up playing out like they’re looking to, that might be a good thing. According to the trade, Webb and company are currently in negotiations with The Descendants star Shailene Woodley to board the Amazing Spider-Man sequel as the aforementioned Mary Jane Watson. As anyone who saw The Descendants can tell you, despite the […]

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Despite the fact that it opened to mixed reviews and didn’t bring in as much coin as the movies in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, director Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man was profitable enough that it was sure to spawn at least one sequel. Given the fact that the reboot wasn’t successful enough to be crowed about as a home run, and Webb was reportedly looking for a raise to work on a second film, however, it was always in doubt who would actually end up helming a second go-around with the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man. We can all stop speculating now though, because Columbia Pictures has announced [via THR] that Webb has been signed for the sequel and will reunite with stars Andrew Garfield and (most likely) Emma Stone to begin shooting sometime in early 2013. At this point the film has been slotted in for a May 2, 2014 release.

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The Amazing Spider-Man

Here be Spoilers for The Amazing Spider-Man. Consider yourself warned. With The Amazing Spider-Man performing considerably well — and better than a supposedly worried Sony had expected — we’re bound to hear news of a sequel in the coming weeks. We already know the plans for a trilogy, but where that trilogy will actually go remains something of a mystery. The dull Peter Parker’s parent subplot/question will likely be answered, sure, but why not move away from this topic? Better yet, why not take a crack at all these suggestions below that I just know every exec at Sony is feverishly scribbling down? They may need to. Although Marc Webb‘s reboot of Spider-Man is pretty good, the impending release of something like The Dark Knight Rises means “pretty good” doesn’t exactly cut it. Sam Raimi handled the character properly, and showed how to make a great movie or two with him in the meantime. Even with all these origin amnesia criticisms that have been made, The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t exactly take notice of what worked in Raimi’s first two Spider-Man installments, and it should have; there’s plenty to improve on. Some of these things include:

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The Amazing Spider-Man

Although The Amazing Spider-Man opened the lowest out of all the other movies in the Sony franchise with a $65m weekend, it’s already scored $341m worldwide. Not bad for a week’s work. Sam Raimi‘s series opened with $114.8m, $88.1m, and $151m (chronologically), and even though Marc Webb’s rebooted version starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone didn’t hit that mark, it benefited from an extended holiday week and made more than enough to earn sequels. This film was in a funny situation though. As pointed out last week, it had the ability to change the direction of major studios – a fitting task for the reboot of a franchise that shifted the rudder of the last decade. For some fans, it proved to be a story success, but the response has been far from unanimously positive. However, this initial haul (and the money still to come) proves that Sony (and all other studios) can keep mining their name-brand superhero content as long as they want, rebooting whenever they see fit. Spider-man and Batman are the new Bond.

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Denis Leary in The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man can get ridiculous. By its very nature, there’s an inherent silliness to Marc Webb‘s reboot of the iconic character. There’s a giant talking lizard wearing a lab coat, and in terms of comic books movies, you can’t get much more cartoony than that. What stops The Amazing Spider-Man from playing as an all out cartoon is both the emotional grounding from Webb’s part and the comedic touches made with Captain Stacy, played by Denis Leary. Without ever making an obnoxious ironic smirk about that kid in unitard, Webb utilizes Leary as a way to pull the film back down to earth. In the 1990s, we saw Denis Leary in his fair share of commercial movies, and, as even he would admit to and poke fun at, not many of them were particularly good. As of late, while Leary’s schedule was packed with his Rescue Me duties, we saw a real lack of him appearing on the big screen. What does it take to get Leary in your movie now? The possibility of a good time is certainly a part of it. Denis Leary, who seemed to be enjoying himself during The Amazing Spider-Man‘s press day, sat down with us to discuss firing shotguns, when making a movie doesn’t “suck,” and the importance of knowing structure:

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Drinking Games

Today, Columbia Pictures is releasing the reboot of the Spider-Man franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man. In case you don’t want to spend $15 to $20 to see this movie in IMAX 3D, you could always rent the original Sam Raimi Spider-Man and watch it. Heck, the first hour of these films is virtually identical anyway. Ten years ago, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man broke box office records on its opening weekend, on the way to be one of the few movies to gross more than $400m in the United States. We’ll see if Andrew Garfield and Mark Webb can do that with their new movie. But in the meantime, have a few drinks with the older movie and see how it holds up.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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