Tag Archives: Andrew Garfield

The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021) Review

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The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Drug use & sex scenes
Cast:
Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker
Andrew Garfield as Jim Bakker
Cherry Jones as Rachel Grover
Vincent D’Onofrio as Jerry Falwell
Director: Michael Showalter

In the 1970s, Tammy Faye Bakker and her husband, Jim, rise from humble beginnings to create the world’s largest religious broadcasting network and theme park. Tammy Faye becomes legendary for her indelible eyelashes, her idiosyncratic singing, and her eagerness to embrace people from all walks of life. However, financial improprieties, scheming rivals and a scandal soon threaten to topple their carefully constructed empire.

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I heard about The Eyes of Tammy Faye for quite a while, it’s a biopic starring Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield that had some awards hype. When it received Oscar nominations including Chastain for Best Actress, I thought I’d check it out. I wasn’t expecting much from it honestly, I don’t know much (if anything) about Tammy Faye, but it looked like a typical awards bait biopic. In a way it was another standard biopic with the acting being the strongest part of it, however it was considerably better than expected.

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I should mention again that I didn’t know anything about Tammy Faye Bakker before going into this movie, so my knowledge of her only comes from the film. Most people who’ve seen the movie seem to say that the writing is average and the performances are really what make the movie worth watching, which I completely understand. But for what it’s worth, I thought the story was interesting and entertaining enough, even if it’s not good enough to elevate the whole film to being good on the whole. I found the subjects so different and interesting for a biopic, and the ridiculousness of the Bakkers as played by Chastain and Garfield made the comedy jump out. They made it mildly fun to watch and went some way to make me actually pay attention to what was happening. Unfortunately, it still played the drama too straight and serious considering how ridiculous its subjects are. The Eyes of Tammy Faye really could’ve benefitted from leaning into the absurdity and potentially into satire territory, even to at least I, Tonya levels. However, it really jumps between absurdity and being serious, resulting in a disjointed experience. Despite some entertaining aspects, the film is still on the whole a by the numbers and standard biopic. It falls into the many shortcomings that you’d expect from most biopics, with another repackaged rise and fall story with marital strife and drug addiction which we’ve seen many times before. It also has one of the worst (and unfortunately common) biopic failings with it once again feeling like a Wikipedia article skim being processed and generated into a 2 hour long movie, breezing through significant topics and moments with montages and brief scenes, but not capturing everything in a satisfying way. Even as someone who didn’t really know anything about Tammy Faye beforehand, I still felt like the movie didn’t do enough to explore her. That’s a shame because it seemed like there was a lot of interesting material with potential. The film just jumps so fast through Tammy’s life, it might’ve better served as a limited series if the filmmakers were that determined to capture her whole life instead of just a section of it.

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The acting is the strongest part of the movie, especially from the hammy yet great performances from Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield as Tammy Faye Bakker and Jim Bakker respectively. Chastain delivers one of her best works here. She is definitely very over the top but doesn’t let the performance fall into a caricature or make a mockery of Tammy. It is an empathetic, lived in and committed performance that makes Tammy feel like a person. Andrew Garfield is also really good in an integral part of the story, and shares convincing chemistry with Chastain. However Chastain’s Tammy Faye is definitely the focus in this movie. The supporting cast is also good, especially Vincent D’Onofrio and Cherry Jones in their roles.

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The direction from Michael Showalter is pretty good. The cinematography is nice and framed well, the costumes and hair are on point and capture the time period well. Most of the makeup work is great, especially for the work on Jessica Chastain to make her look closer to the real-life Tammy Faye.

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Despite its strengths and entertaining aspects, The Eyes of Tammy Faye is yet another passable but typical biopic with many of the familiar shortcomings. However, it is generally written and directed well enough, and I can’t deny that I was glad to have watched it even putting the acting aside. So while it really could’ve been much better, I think it is well worth checking out, mainly for the performances, especially from Jessica Chastain.

Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021) Review

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tick, tick... Boom

Time: 115 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Andrew Garfield as Jonathan Larson
Alexandra Shipp as Susan Wilson
Robin de Jesús as Michael
Joshua Henry as Roger Bart
Vanessa Hudgens as Karessa Johnson
Judith Light as Rosa Stevens
Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Based on the autobiographical musical by playwright Jonathan Larson. It’s the story of an aspiring composer in New York City who is worried he made the wrong career choice, whilst navigating the pressures of love and friendship.

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I wasn’t sure about how to feel about Tick, Tick… Boom! going into it because musical theatre isn’t really my thing. I’m also not familiar with the musical its based on, nor Jonathan Larson, nor Rent. However it starred Andrew Garfield in the lead role and it was receiving awards attention, so I was willing to give it a go. I’m glad to say that I’m one of the people who liked the movie despite its issues.

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Tick, Tick…Boom! Is based off Jonathan Larson’s semi autobiographical musical, which is partially based off his own life. The story from its premise is quite accessible, focussing on someone who is a struggling creator, very familiar premise and setup and one that plenty of people can identify with. It is a lively, fun and emotionally bittersweet ride throughout. Even if his direction is a little rough around the edges, director Lin-Manuel Miranda’s passion for Jonathan Larson and the story shines through clearly, and the heart, passion and admiration is felt throughout. There are issues though. There is certainly some cheesy writing, and the pacing has problems especially in the second act, with some moments that can really drag. There is also one thing that made the movie worse the more I thought about it. I like character studies about what it takes to make it big, but there’s some mixed messaging regarding Jonathan’s actions and who he was. Larson in this musical seems to alienate people around him in his pursuit for greatness, and so it became very difficult to be sympathetic with his plight, not helped by his friends going through comparatively harder struggles. Its not enough to bring down the movie but it is something that you do notice when watching.

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If you need one reason to watch the movie, its Andrew Garfield, delivering one of his best performances, and he is very much the best part of the movie. So much of the movie relies on the lead performance, and he more than delivers. Garfield’s work feels very much alive, he is full of energy, charisma, life, and sadness, and he can really sing too. For all the issues that the writing has particularly with his character, Garfield sort of makes it work. The film belongs to him, but the other actors are good too, including Alexandra Shipp, Vanessa Hudgens, and especially Robin de Jesus.

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This is director Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first film as a director, and as a film its quite rough around the edges. There wasn’t anything that special and it’s a little too safe, but as a debut, it was okay. Not all the choices work, but some of them really, such as the sound of ticking throughout. Some of the musical sequences were really well shot, there’s a number of flashy and fun musical moments. I did enjoy the songs and they are presented well for the most part, but I did find them somewhat forgettable, although that might just be me.  The editing can be a little jarring, mostly because it is very inconsistent throughout. With that said, the non-linear storytelling and narration worked quite well for me.

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Tick, Tick, Boom has its fair share of issues, mainly with the writing and directing. However I liked watching it, and the performances are great, particularly Andrew Garfield in the lead role. I do think its worth watching at the very least for Garfield here.

The Social Network (2010) Review

Time: 109 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg
Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin
Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker
Armie Hammer as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss
Max Minghella as Divya Narendra
Brenda Song as Christy Lee
Rashida Jones as Marylin Delpy
Rooney Mara as Erica Albright
Director: David Fincher

In 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer genius Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) begins work on a new concept that eventually turns into the global social network known as Facebook. Six years later, he is one of the youngest billionaires ever, but Zuckerberg finds that his unprecedented success leads to both personal and legal complications when he ends up on the receiving end of two lawsuits, one involving his former friend (Andrew Garfield). Based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires.”

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A story about Facebook could easily be done poorly. It doesn’t sound very interesting on paper and even if it could be pulled off decently enough, it doesn’t seem like it could be anything better than just good. And yet The Social Network is more than just a decent movie, it is truly great and better than anyone would expect it to be. David Fincher, Aaron Sorkin and the talented cast and crew made the story of Facebook riveting and fantastic, it’s even better upon a second viewing and I suspect it will only get better with further watches.

Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay is excellent and one of the stand out best parts of the film, and that’s saying a lot. The dialogue is so well written, very sharp, memorable, riveting and fits perfectly for the moments, Sorkin is known for his exceptional dialogue and his work on Social Network is no exception. It is fantastic from the beginning, the opening scene between Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Erica Albright (Rooney Mara) is brilliant and helps establish so many things about Mark and it sets him off on his path for the rest of the movie. It’s interesting watching all the events progress, and how things in Mark Zuckerberg’s life would lead him to make actions to take Facebook further. You wouldn’t think that a movie about Facebook would be so interesting and entertaining to watch but it really is, you are genuinely on board with everything that’s happening. It’s like we are right there watching history happen right alongside these characters. What Mark started was something small and grew into something that not even Mark was expecting. Really fantastic writing by Sorkin.

The cast all around were great in their roles. I’m fully aware that some people don’t really like Jesse Eisenberg’s acting style but he was perfect in the role of Mark Zuckerberg. The portrayal of Zuckerberg is great, it doesn’t try to make you like him, just to show what he is like. Andrew Garfield is also really great as Mark’s friend and business partner Eduardo Saverin and his performance was really overlooked, especially by the awards. A big part of the movie is their friendship and they have great chemistry together. Armie Hammer plays two people as the Winklevosses (Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss) and really does give one of his best performances here, being really convincing as two twins. Even Justin Timberlake was really good as Sean Parker, really fitting the role well. Rooney Mara is only in a couple scenes but she does well to leave an impression as Mark’s ex-girlfriend, especially in the first scene of the film. Really everyone was great.

Saying that David Fincher’s direction is great would be redundant, it’s just so stylish and well put together. You wouldn’t think that a movie about Facebook would even need to look that great. On paper, The Social Network just sounded like it needed a good script and an okay direction but Fincher’s handle really adds a lot to the movie. I don’t know where Fincher used all the visual effects in this movie, but he generally uses these in his movies to make things look better like the environment or background. One effect that you can tell was used was the effects for making two Armie Hammers, and I say this because Armie Hammer doesn’t have a twin or a clone (that we know of yet at least). Even though it’s a film from 2010, these effects still really hold up well today and look effortless. The score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross was excellent, and with it’s dark ambience really elevated this movie even further.

The Social Network is truly fantastic and yet another one of David Fincher’s all time best films, and that means quite a lot when it comes to him. The talented cast all give tremendous performances, Aaron Sorkin’s writing is top notch, and Fincher with his work here has made one of his best crafted films. It gets better every single time I watch it. As for all these talks about a possible Social Network sequel, as long as Fincher and Sorkin are returning for it, I’d be more than on board for it.

Under the Silver Lake (2019) Review

Time: 139 Minutes
Cast:
Andrew Garfield as Sam
Riley Keough as Sarah
Topher Grace as Man at Bar
Laura-Leigh as Mae
Zosia Mamet as Troy
Jimmi Simpson as Allen
Director: David Robert Mitchell

When his beautiful, mysterious neighbour (Riley Keough) disappears without a trace, Sam (Andrew Garfield) tries to find the parties responsible, unravelling a string of strange crimes, unsolved murders and bizarre coincidences in his East Los Angeles neighborhood.

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Under the Silver Lake was a movie that I heard about for a little while. I knew that Andrew Garfield was in the lead role and came from the director of It Follows, and I also knew that the release date kept being pushed back. It left the people who have watched the movie rather polarised and I was curious to see what the reaction was about, and having seen it I can see why people left split about it. While I wouldn’t say I loved it or anything, I liked it quite a bit.

Under the Silver Lake is sort of a throwback to noire and conspiracy films, and if you’re a big fan of either of those genres, you are probably going to like this movie quite a bit. You can heavily feel the Alfred Hitchcock and David Lynch influences, and it never once feels like a rip-off, it feels like its own original movie. This movie goes to some pretty weird places, it’s the strangest movie I’ve seen in a long time. If you’re a third of the way into the movie and find it weird already, you haven’t even gotten to the weirdest parts yet. The only movie that I could compare Under the Silver Lake to is Inherent Vice, with the offbeat tone, writing and both being in the same genre and all. It’s a little unfocussed and messy, a little too confusing at times, and as a result it took me out of the movie at some points. Because I wasn’t entirely invested with the movie, I really felt the 2 hours and 20 minute runtime drag at points. With that said there are a lot of things about the writing that I liked as well. I felt like it was trying to really say something, even if it doesn’t completely succeed at that, I do like where they took the story and themes. Really I liked the story as a whole, even though it could be a little messy at times.

Andrew Garfield gives probably his strangest performance yet here as the lead character, who becomes obsessed with some sort of conspiracy. He’s not exactly the most likable of characters but the film seems to know that at the same time, it’s rather critical of the character. Garfield shines in the role, it really is his movie throughout. There is also a supporting cast which includes Riley Keough and Topher Grace and while they are good in their scenes, they don’t appear in the movie a lot. It really is Garfield’s movie throughout, he’s in every single scene.

One of the reasons why It Follows worked so well was the direction by David Robert Mitchell and he once again does some great work here. This is a stunning looking movie, they really captured Los Angeles incredibly well. There are times where you can tell Mitchell was clearly influenced by classic noire movies with regards to the editing, use of music, and the way certain shots were filmed. Also returning from working on It Follows is Disasterpiece, who provide the score for Under the Silver Lake, which was really good and worked for the tone and vibe of the whole movie.

Under the Silver Lake is definitely not going to work for everyone. As messy and unfocussed as it could be at time, I liked it. Andrew Garfield was great, the direction by David Robert Mitchell worked really well and the writing was unique and wonderfully weird, and as someone who likes noire, I enjoyed it. Honestly there’s no way to tell if you’re going to like this movie or not, you’re just going to need to go into it and see it for yourself.

Hacksaw Ridge (2016) Review

Time: 139 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Depicts graphic & realistic war scenes.
Cast
Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss
Vince Vaughn as Sergeant Howell
Sam Worthington as Captain Jack Glover
Luke Bracey as Smitty Ryker
Hugo Weaving as Tom Doss
Ryan Corr as Lieutenant Manville
Teresa Palmer as Dorothy Schutte
Director: Mel Gibson

The true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), the conscientious objector who, at the Battle of Okinawa, won the Medal of Honor for his incredible bravery and regard for his fellow soldiers. We see his upbringing and how this shaped his views, especially his religious view and anti-killing stance. We see Doss’s trials and tribulations after enlisting in the US Army and trying to become a medic. Finally, we see the hell on Earth that was Hacksaw Ridge.

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Hacksaw Ridge had sparked my curiosity and I first heard of it when it was gaining Oscar buzz and fortunately I managed to watch it before the 2017 Oscars. Overall it was a pretty good movie with its story, the performances (particularly from Andrew Garfield) and Mel Gibson’s direction. There are some cliché elements and it does get a little too over the top at times in certain aspects, but overall I think it’s a pretty solid movie.

The first act focussed on the protagonist Desmond Doss and him when he’s training to be a soldier and refuses to use a gun. The second half is the event at Hacksaw Ridge. Now at times this film does seem cliché in the way they decided to portray events and characters. For example, Vince Vaughn’s character is pretty much like R. Lee Ermey from Full Metal Jacket, without a whole lot of development (I know a lot of drill sergeants are like this but here it just comes across as being cartoony). Also the Japanese in this movie are represented as just generic enemy soldiers, nothing much more than that, it doesn’t necessarily make the movie worse but it’s just worth noting. I guess this movie was more about Desmond and his part in the war rather than about both sides on the war so it doesn’t bother me too much. It’s just a little noticeable. I myself am not sure how accurate this movie is to real events, so I can’t comment on that aspect. However aside from my issues with that I’d say that Hacksaw Ridge is pretty good overall. It is a long movie at 139 minutes but consistently it had my attention.

Andrew Garfield is great in his role here, this is one of his best performances. It’s easy to like and care about him, but it’s most importantly easy to understand why he makes the decisions that he does, and Garfield’s acting definitely helped with that. Teresa Palmer plays a nurse who Doss starts a relationship with, they were great together. The supporting cast is also good. Vince Vaughn is good, as I said earlier, his character is pretty one note but Vaughn does act his role well. Sam Worthington, also great in this movie, I think with this and Everest, I can say that Sam Worthington really works best in supporting roles. The supporting performance that steals the show however is Hugo Weaving, as Desmond’s father, it’s a really powerful performance and a stand out performance in a bunch of great performances.

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Mel Gibson is directing this movie and as you can probably guess, Hacksaw Ridge is very violent, I mean of course its because it’s a war movie but also because Mel Gibson is directing. All the battle scenes are viscious and brutal, it does ocassionally feel like it’s a little too violent, like a little too over the top. But overall the direction is great. It does really feel like it’s absolute chaos and really places you in the war. The soundtrack by Rupert Gregson-Williams was great.

Overall, I think Hacksaw Ridge is pretty good. The acting was great, the direction by Gibson was solid and I was invested in this story from start to finish. Not everything is perfect, there is definitely some issues I had in the way Gibson decided to tell the story. But for the most part, this movie does get a lot of things right.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) Review

Time: 142 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Emma Stone as Gwendolyn “Gwen” Stacy
Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro
Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin
Colm Feore as Donald Menken
Felicity Jones as Felicia Hardy
Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino
Sally Field as Aunt May
Campbell Scott as Richard Parker
Embeth Davidtz as Mary Parker
Marton Csokas as Dr. Kafka
Director: Marc Webb

Confident in his powers as Spiderman, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) embraces his new role as a hero and spends time with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) in between protecting New York from criminals. However, his greatest battle yet is about to begin. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront an enemy far more powerful than he is. And when his old friend Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) returns, Peter comes to realise that all his enemies have one thing in common: Oscorp.

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I have been re-watching the Spider-Man movies in preparation for Spider-Man Homecoming in July. Over the course of these movies I’ve noticed that I’ve been generally liking the Spider-Man movies, I even consider Spider-Man 3 to be a solid movie despite the amount of hate its been getting. I remember when I first watched The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in theatres, I really liked it. Sure, I knew it had issues but I found it to be a decent and entertaining movie overall. I rewatched it recently for the first time in a few years and… it has far more issues than I picked up before. This movie is okay, and it does have some great elements. But a lot of it is mishandled. This movie is shockingly clunky and messy at times, and we are left with an incredibly frustrating and disappointing – if above average Spider-Man movie.

Not to say that there aren’t some great moments, but I won’t lie, this movie is a bit of a mess. Like Spider-Man 3, there is so much going on, too much going on. We’ve got Peter and Gwen’s romance, Peter discovering what happened with his father and Oscorp, Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) becoming Electro, Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan) trying to find a cure to his Goblin disease after inheriting it from his father, and it’s also trying to set up for future movies. Despite both Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 2 having a whole lot going on in their movies, all the flaws in 3’s plotlines were clearly caused from Rami being forced to fit them all into one movie, the plotlines themselves were actually pretty good those issues aside. With Amazing Spider-Man 2, calling the plotlines hit or miss would be an understatement. If I had to describe this movie, I’d say it’s almost like Spider-Man 3, but done poorly. I’ll try to break down the issues with some of these plotlines. The plotline about Peter discovering what happened to his father and his ties to Oscorp was unnecessary, it leads to an completely predictable ‘plot twist’ that everyone saw coming, Oscorp is basially bad, which I’m certain everyone has already figured out before the movie even started. There wasn’t really a reason for the movie to have this subplot, it just sort of emerges around the middle of the movie randomly. Removing it from the movie would’ve allowed time to develop other plotlines (the plotline itself is done okay, it’s just feels unnecessary). The future movies setup feels forced and unnecessary. It introduces Felicia Hardy (Felicity Jones) to be Black Cat later in the franchise (which we never got to see) and there’s of course the failed attempt to setup the Sinister Six with Electro, Green Goblin and Rhino. Without giving anything away, there is a scene with Harry Osborn near the end of the movie which is done to set up the Sinister Six and it just sort of comes out of nowhere, there’s no explanation for why the group is being created in the first place. It also doesn’t help that the villains themselves in this movie weren’t given enough development. I’ll go into more depth with the other plotlines involving Peter and Gwen’s Romance, Max Dillon and Harry Osborn when I talk about the performances. But you can probably tell that I had issues with all of them. That’s not to say that these plotlines are all bad, they do have their moments and many of the ideas had a lot of potential. But they could’ve and should’ve been handled a lot better. Another thing worth mentioning is the tone. It’s like this movie didn’t know which tone to go with. At times it’s dark and emotional with these intense and emotional scenes, other times it is a romantic comedy with Peter and Gwen and other times its an incredibly cheesy action movie, with one-liners and over the top performances. And when I’m talking cheesy, I’m meaning like there is literally a random scene involving a generic evil German scientist (played by Marton Csokas), who likes to listen to classical music (this is in a scene with Electro), basically a cartoonish over the top mad scientist. It’s one of the most over the top cliché characters/moments in the film, and that’s saying a lot. Looking back at that scene, I guess it works in a cheesy way (like in the way that Spider-Man 1 was cheesy), but the issue is that other parts of the movie aren’t as cheesy, so it just comes across as stupid when it pops up. Say what you will about the cheesiness in Spider-Man 1 but at least it was consistent. As for the humour, some of it works, some of it really doesn’t. And again, sometimes the humour is out of place, just like other elements of the movie. The last act is incredibly rushed. The two villains are suddenly fighting Spider-Man and each only take up to 3-5 minutes to defeat, they have even less screentime than Venom in Spider-Man 3. There is a sudden dramatic turn in the third act and while it could’ve been handled better, it does partially work (if you’ve seen the movie you know exactly what scene I’m referring to). As for the actual ending of the movie… it was not that great of an ending, it felt forced and rushed. That’s all I’ll say about that.

The editing of the movies wasn’t that good either. The scene placements are frustrating, sometimes they didn’t fit. For example, there is an intense horror-like transformation scene which is immediately followed by a Peter and Gwen romantic scene, which is completely tonally off, such a confusingly out of place editing decision. Other times the editing decisions just straight up makes the movie worse. For example, Harry in one scene asks Spider-Man for his blood to help save his life, and Spider-Man refuses. In a later scene, Peter learns why he couldn’t give his blood to Harry, those two scenes should’ve been swapped around, because otherwise Peter just seems like a terrible friend. I have no idea if it was written that way or if was changed through editing, but either way, the way the film presented these events didn’t work the best. It’s worth noting that many of these scenes are fine if you watch them on their own, but seeing them in the movie itself really decreases their quality. The first Amazing Spider-Man did lack some scenes (which would’ve really made the villain stronger had they been included) but it didn’t feel like a ton of footage was missing. However, with the sequel it is incredibly obvious that tons of scenes were cut. And it’s even more astonishing when you actually see some of the scenes that were cut. Simple scenes that explains aspects of the movie and develops some of the characters a little more, all of this should’ve been included and keep in mind that some of the footage didn’t even make it onto home video, there’s probably even more footage that was cut which would’ve made the movie better. On another note, the alternate ending is a lot better than the original ending. It’s very different and surprising but the original ending feels forced and not really earned (not to mention Paul Giamatti’s Rhino makes the ending even worse). The alternate ending is a lot quieter and emotional, and was overall the more impactful ending. I guess Sony just wanted to set up the Sinister Six and saw that as more important than the actual better ending for the film.

Andrew Garfield returns as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and he is still my favourite Spider-Man. With that said I had some issues with Peter/Spider-Man here, none of which is on Garfield, he absolutely commits to the part. My biggest issue with his Spider-Man is that he’s involved with so many plotlines at once in this movie and none of them worked together well enough for him to have a consistent arc. Spider-Man 3 made that work by tying the black symbiote suit with the storylines of Sandman and Harry, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t give Peter a consistent arc however. So Peter did feel like a weak character unfortunately, he was at his best in the Richard Parker/Oscorp storyline, which ironically is one of the subplots that was pointless. Emma Stone is again great as Gwen Stacy. The issue with their romance subplot isn’t the actors, Garfield and Stone are effortlessly watchable and lovable together. The issue is that its jumbled with all these other plotlines that it wasn’t handled the best, so throughout all the other plotlines, it would just randomly cut to the two of them for no reason. Now with that said, there is stuff going on with the two of them, with Gwen moving to England and this affects their relationship, there was a lot of potential for this subplot. However it wasn’t balanced well in the movie. Still, it doesn’t change that fact that Peter and Gwen are one of the best romances in superhero movies, there’s no denying that. Watching the two of them talk and interact is endlessly entertaining, and you do actually care about them, which is why a certain scene with them in the third act really works, despite how out of place it is (no spoilers).

In this movie, we’ve got Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro and Dane Dehaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin as the main villains. First, let’s talk about Jamie Foxx. You have to give Foxx credit, because some of the things he has to do and say is kind of embarrassing, and Jamie threw himself completely into the role. Max Dillon isn’t given enough development and becomes a generic villain after he becomes Electro. I do like the initial idea of his character. Before turning into Electro, Max Dillon is a bit of a loner and an awkward guy, no one really likes him, he doesn’t get any respect. He believes that Spider-Man is his friend after one encounter (however he does play up the role way too much, its like he’s playing a cartoon character). If you’re thinking that it sounds familiar, that’s because that’s pretty much Riddler’s origin in Batman Forever. Cheesy dialogue and familiar scenarios aside, the major reason about why Electro doesn’t work is after the first action scene with Spider-Man. After the fight ends in an embarrassingly simple way, Electro is out of commission until he’s suddenly brought back for the climax for 5 minutes. There is no development of Electro after his villainous turn, so at that point there’s not much to like or care about him except for the nice visuals. So Foxx is wasted and misued in the role. It doesn’t help that his dialogue is cliché and silly with such classic lines like “It’s my birthday, time to blow out my candles” and “Don’t you know, I’m Electro”. That’s not to say that there aren’t some good things about him, the action with him is great, I love his look, and his voice is perfect. Electro isn’t a terrible villain but he’s not that good of a villain either. Now onto Dehaan. Out of the supporting actors he comes out with the best performance. Despite the material he was given, Dane fully commits to his part and really gives a great performance. There wasn’t anything embarrassingly bad about Harry/Goblin, but Dehaan was not given the best writing/material to work with. Harry’s friendship with Peter was fine but wasn’t very strong, not enough time is given to developing that relationship (probably because of all the other plotlines in the movie), so that aspect was just passable at best. As previously mentioned, one plotline focussed on Harry Osborn is that he learns that his father (Norman Osborn) is suffering from a form of Goblin’s disease, and that it’s genetic, so Harry has that disease too. While this plotline does have its strong points and has a lot of potential, it is handled poorly. For example, even though Norman only began to feel the effects of the disease later in his life, Harry is already experiencing it when he’s in his 20s, which is just straight up lazy writing. So how is he as the Green Goblin? In the last act he really only poses as a direct villain to Spider-Man for less than 5 minutes, even Electro got more time. A few minutes isn’t enough time for him to be a villain. Still, a lot of things do really work about him, I actually really liked Dehaan’s version of Green Goblin, but again, he needed a lot more screentime.

Despite the issues that the above supporting actors had, there are other supporting actors who had even worse treatment. Some of them were meant to star in future movies but as Sony cancelled the future movies, they now just seem out of place. Felicity Jones plays Felicia Hardy, who was meant to become Black Cat in the sequel. Jones is a great actress, and she is fine in the movie but she’s like in 2 scenes and doesn’t get to do anything. Whereas Jones is fine but forgettable, Paul Giamatti is memorable but cringeworthy and incredibly over the top. He plays the Rhino, and he was put in this movie to set him up for future movies. He’s a very minor villain (only posing a minor threat at the beginning and end of the movie) but somehow ends up being one of the most embarrassing villains I’ve seen in a blockbuster. Despite them feeling out of place, at least they were meant to return for future movies, Chris Cooper wasn’t so lucky. Cooper plays Norman Osborn and before you get excited, don’t. He’s in one scene and doesn’t return to the movie after that. Such a complete wasted opportunity, Cooper was honestly perfect for the role. I guess the only supporting character who served her purpose without being wasted was Sally Fields as Aunt May.

I love the look of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This movie is visually stunning, especially with the colours, Electro’s blue lightning, Spider-Man’s red suit, Green Goblin’s green glowing glider, its just stunning to watch. A lot of the scenes are filmed greatly, like an aforementioned transformation scene. This movie doesn’t have a lot of action but it is really good when it actually happens. The action itself is fast-paced like the first movie. If there’s one problem with the action that I have, its that this movie can feel a little too CGI, like we are watching a video game cutscene as opposed to an action sequence from an actual movie. Spider-Man’s suit design has changed from the first movie, now it’s closer to a comic book Spider-Man costume. It works but it’s not my favourite look. Maybe because he looks a lot more CGI and its kind of distracting. I know people really didn’t like the designs of the villains but I liked most of them. Electro’s design in the comics looks honestly silly and wouldn’t adapt well into live-action. So his design with the blue look was great, no problems there. I also liked the look of Green Goblin, it made sense given his origin, and he looked creepy and scary, no issues with his look either. As for the Rhino… yeah, I don’t really liked what they did with the character and the same goes with the costume. I know some people have criticised the soundtrack but I liked it, the Electro and Goblin themes are my favourites. Though the use of modern pop songs did really annoy me sometimes. I will say something about this movie, a lot of people had said that the Amazing Spider-Man movies were more Sony’s films than Marc Webb’s. While I’ll disagree about the first film, the second film I completely agree. There’s a constant feeling that there’s something off, it feels like a studio created the scenes, it lacks a consistent directional style. Then again, that might have something to do with the editing.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is by far the worst Spider-Man movie yet. The film tries to have so many plotlines and set up so much but most of the time it failed to deliver. All the plotlines have their flaws and some of them feel out of place in the movie. It is really all over the place. With that said, I wouldn’t call it a bad movie, just a very disappointing one. It had a great cast and most of them get their moments, the action sequences are beautiful and entertaining but aren’t shown often enough. It had so much potential but even if some of it resulted in some great moments, most of the potential was wasted. I know a lot of people absolutely hate The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and despite everything that I’ve said, it’s not bad, I still partially like it. It’s okay overall, just very disappointing to watch.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) Review

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Contains violence
Cast:
Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors/The Lizard
Emma Stone as Gwendolyn “Gwen” Stacy
Denis Leary as Captain George Stacy
Martin Sheen as Benjamin Parker
Sally Field as “Aunt” May Parker
Irrfan Khan as Dr. Rajit Ratha
Director: Marc Webb

Abandoned by his parents and raised by an aunt and uncle, teenager Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), AKA Spider-Man, is trying to sort out who he is and exactly what his feelings are for his first crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). When Peter finds a mysterious briefcase that was his father’s, he pursues a quest to solve his parents’ disappearance. His search takes him to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), setting him on a collision course with Connors’ alter ego, the Lizard.

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5 years after Rami’s Spider-Man trilogy concluded with Spider-Man 3, Sony decided to reboot the franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man. This series (if you call 2 movies a series) has been receiving a lot of mixed reactions. I personally find The Amazing Spider-Man to be an underrated film. It has a great story, really good acting and really solid direction from Marc Webb. The only thing holding this movie back is the villain but aside from that, that’s it. I honestly don’t get why this movie is criticised so much.

This movie does tell the origin of Spider-Man and it is similar but different from the first movie. This film does have some usual moments with Peter being bitten by a spider, getting his powers, his uncle being shot and Peter becoming Spider-Man. The original Spider-Man seemed to present the story like a comic book whereas The Amazing Spider-Man does it more like a movie. Personally I liked how it told its story here. I also like how it showed Peter discovering his powers, there’s quite a lot of time dedicated to this. The pacing is pretty steady, never too fast, never too slow. On top of that, it does have more going on than in the original Spider-Man but it’s still quite easy to follow. From start to finish I was riveted and entertained by the film. Although it doesn’t feel like it, there are some scenes missing, which really hold the film back from being the best it possibly can in one aspect (I’ll get into it later). But asides from that aspect, I don’t have that many complaints about The Amazing Spider-Man.

Andrew Garfield is the 2nd actor to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man and this is a very different interpretation from Tobey Maguire’s. While a lot of people didn’t like that this version of Spider-Man was a lot more edgy, I liked that. Maguire’s version, as much as I love it, doesn’t exactly work for our time nowadays. Andrew’s however fits perfectly in the 2010s. He’s a genius with a bit of a quirky, eccentric and fast paced demeanour. And the thing is that I can perfectly see a character like that dressing up like a spider and fighting crime. While I personally Andrew’s Spider-Man more, obviously there are plenty of others who prefer Tobey’s, I guess it depends on what you prefer to see in Spider-Man. Honestly the only negative thing that I’ll say about Garfield’s Spider-Man here is that he is clearly too old for the role, he does not look like a teenager in high school at all and that can be very distracting at times. But that’s really it. Emma Stone is Gwen Stacy, who’s the love interest of the movie, but honestly just saying the love interest would be a disservice to her character. She is a well done character on her own, she’s not just a superhero’s girlfriend who’s only existence is to be saved. But on top of that, Garfield and Stone have excellent chemistry, it is very believable (though a big part of that is probably that they were both dating at the time, so the chemistry would be easy for them). Honestly its one of the best relationships in a comic book movie(s) (with this and Amazing Spider-Man 2). The supporting cast was also quite good with Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan and many others, most of them get a good chance to shine.

The villain is Curt Connors/The Lizard, played by Rhys Ifans. I have mixed feelings on him. Ifans is well cast in the role and he is good when he’s on screen, he does the best he possibly can. Connors is given a lot of good setup, with him knowing Peter’s father, and his desire to get a cure which would fix his physical impairment (a missing arm), I’d even say that the setup is perfect. However the payoff with him becoming The Lizard is just slightly above average. After the first transformation, The Lizard becomes a rather generic villain who becomes motivated to do his plan…. Because he feels like it. He’s not bad and he does have some good moments, but he definitely felt very weak. However its worth noting that he had many of his scenes removed, and these scenes at the very least made him stronger as a character. And these scenes could’ve easily been put into the film. But Sony does what Sony often does, and cut these scenes out. Watch the movie and directly afterwards watch the deleted scenes, you’ll be shocked at what they cut out.

The Amazing Spider-Man series does make use of the advanced technology. The action scenes are fast and intense, everything that I think most of us would want to see in a modern day Spider-Man movie. The CGI doesn’t look fake at any point (except for maybe the Lizard, and even then it’s more an issue with the design). It is a nice looking movie, especially when Spider-Man is in action, seeing him swing around really is something great. While it’s an unpopular opinion to have, I really dig the Spider-Man suit in this movie. It seems like the type of costume that this version of Peter Parker would wear and use as Spider-Man. It’s a very unique look and I would’ve loved to have seen that suit return for the sequel. The music by James Horner was really great.

The Amazing Spider-Man is honestly quite an underrated superhero movie. It has most of the elements of a great superhero movie, with a well written and acted superhero lead, a riveting and entertaining story and great action. The only problem I can find with it is the villain, and even then he’s not horrible, he’s just okay and feels weak in comparison to a lot of the other elements. Come to think of it, The Amazing Spider-Man is probably the second best Spider-Man, only behind Spider-Man 2 (very unpopular opinion, I know). But it’s honestly not that far off. Marc Webb has done a great job with Spider-Man.

Silence (2016) Review

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silence

Time: 161 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence and Cruelty
Cast
Andrew Garfield as Sebastião Rodrigues
Adam Driver as Francisco Garupe
Liam Neeson as Father Cristóvão Ferreira
Tadanobu Asano as The Interpreter
Ciarán Hinds as Father Alessandro Valignano
Issey Ogata as Inoue Masashige
Shinya Tsukamoto as Mokichi
Yoshi Oida as Ichizo
Yōsuke Kubozuka as Kichijiro
Director: Martin Scorsese

Silence tells the story of two Christian missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden.

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Silence was one of my most anticipated films of 2016. Every time Martin Scorsese makes a film, I’m in, no matter what the premise. This film was actually a passion project of Scorsese’s, he wanted to make this movie for over 20 years. So I was definitely interested in what he had in store for us. Scorsese didn’t disappoint with Silence. This is a brutal, harsh and real movie about faith and the conflict that can be caused from it. With the complex story, flawless direction as well as the brutal performances, this is a fantastic movie.

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What I love about this movie is how complex it is. It doesn’t try to pick sides (Christianity or Budhism) or paint everything in black and white, it just allows the story to play out and its fascinating to see these people. The theme of faith is throughout the movie and it is fascinating, with the different ways characters see faith, to the way that their views change. This is particularly shown in the conversations. The screenplay is near perfect This movie is long, at around 2 hours 40 minutes. Now even though I felt the long length throughout the movie, I was completely invested in the story, my attention never wavering. The last 5-10 minutes however, I do think could’ve been better, the film could’ve been wrapped up a little faster. That’s probably my only problem with the movie however.

(L-R) Adam Driver as Father Garupe and Andrew Garfield as Father Sebastião Rodrigues the film SILENCE by Paramount Pictures, SharpSword Films, and AI Films

The performances in this film are amazing. Both Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver are great as these missionaries. Garfield particularly stands out, this is the best performance I’ve seen from him (though I haven’t seen Hacksaw Ridge yet). His character changes a lot in the movie, as seen in both the way he acts as well as the things he says and believes. His views on faith are one of the most interesting aspects to watch as it changes after he witnesses and experiences certain events. Liam Neeson is not in this movie a huge amount but he is great, very complex and interesting. The other supporting cast shouldn’t be overlooked. Yosuke Kubozuka is great as a bit of an ambigious character who pops up frequently throughout the movie (that’s all I’ll say). Also great is Issey Ogata as one of the Inquisitors that’s trying to remove Christianity from Japan. Like many of the characters, he is ambigious, he’s not portrayed as a one dimensional bad guy, he’s a lot more interesting.

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Martin Scorsese’s direction for Silence unsurprisingly is flawless. The cinematography was immaculate, every shot is framed perfectly, the way the camera moves always fits the moment. The locations also are beautiful and perfect, it feels like it’s right out of that time period and locations. This film in the technical department is perfect.

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Silence is hands down one of the best films of 2016. Unfortunately, this movie has been overlooked by many people. I will say that this movie is one that’s really only worth watching once, not because of the length, but because of the emotionally draining story. As long as you know what you’re getting into, I suggest watching this movie, it is well worth your time. The fantastic story, performances and direction are so well crafted that I guarantee that this movie will be looked back upon as possibly one of Scorsese’s best films, which is saying a lot.