Marton Csokas

Dogtown and Z-Boys in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Let me start off by saying that I don’t recommend seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for any reason. If Spider-Man 2 is the best comic book movie of all time (it’s not, but let’s pretend) then this Spider-Man part 2 is the worst. It’s such a mess that at one point someone says to another character that the room he’s entering is dark and that it’s for the best and that his eyes will adjust, and then the character enters that room and that room is not actually dark at all. There is bright light shining through the window curtains. That’s what little care the filmmakers had, that nobody noticed this literally glaring continuity detail. There are a lot of other things wrong with the sequel, but this is neither a review nor a place to do a lot of nitpicking. This is place for you to come if you actually did see it and are now in need of some cleansing. You’ll notice that in this week’s Movies to Watch that I recommend a couple not-so-great movies. But they’re still better than ASM2, and where they’re bad they’re at least enjoyably bad. I’ve selected a group of movies that includes past work by ASM2 talent and past works that did things that ASM2 does, only long ago and more interestingly. There are also a few titles that are directly referenced in ASM2 that you ought to be familiar with if you’re not already. As always, though, there are spoilers here. […]



Most of us don’t remember the days when there were only three television channels (ABC, CBS, and NBC) producing a limited amount of programming. We grew up in the age of cable television with a new channel popping up every few months and more and more new programming available at the click of a remote control button. And just when we thought we couldn’t get any more cable channels, companies like Hulu and Netflix have thrown their hats into the original programming ring with shows like the former’s Fresh Meat and Prisoners of War and the latter’s House of Cards. Now DirecTV is getting in on the action with their first original show, Rogue, premiering next week on DirecTV’s Audience Network. Rogue tells the story of undercover cop Grace (Thandie Newton) who goes — ahem — rogue to dive deeper into the world of organized crime in order to avenge her son. I spoke with the show’s composer, Jeff Toyne, about his musical vision for the show, what is was like to watch that vision come to life, and the process of working outside the constraints of standard network television.


This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is all giddy because apparently Joseph Gordon-Levitt has decided to copy his signature hairstyle. Undeterred by folks telling him Gordon-Levitt shaved his head to play the role in 50/50, Kevin tries to lobby other Hollywood actors to copy his image. Unfortunately, What’s Your Number? star Chris Evans refuses to grow a huge belly and Dream House star Daniel Craig just won’t latch onto Kevin’s charming American accent.


This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr readies for a Labor Day vacation at a lake house surrounded by bloodthirsty sharks. Once dinner is over for the little beasties, he goes undercover in 1960s-era East Berlin to help a bunch of emotionally brittle Mossad agents to kidnap a Nazi war criminal. Unfortunately, all they uncover is dozens of hours of video recordings from a lost NASA moon landing. So Kevin decides to edit all of this footage together into a feature film and hock it to the Weinsteins, convincing them that it really happened… or did it?


Why are spies so sad and mopey now? Where are the cool, suave, and untouchable secret agents? Lately, nowhere to be found on the big screen. Director John Madden certainly is not bringing back the era of smooth heroes with his latest film, The Debt. The director’s small, claustrophobic remake focuses on lost individuals who display more heartache and moral uncertainty than your typical heroics. Madden did not make a film about a secret mission gone awry, but a film about regret and the power of lies. A few years ago director Matthew Vaughn was attached to helm the thriller, and if he ended up behind the camera, The Debt would be a very different film. Instead of going for a stylish and poppy feel, the Shakespeare in Love filmmaker went with something far more claustrophobic and full of moral uncertainty. As a result, Madden made something many, many notches above Kill Shot in the quality department. Here is what director John Madden had to say about his three damaged Mossad agents, taking a serious matter seriously, and the power of regret:

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published: 12.23.2014
published: 12.22.2014
published: 12.19.2014

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