Tag Archives: Jamie Foxx

“THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2” Review (✫✫✫✫)

Don’t worry: it’s not “Spider-man 3.”

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the standard of a superhero movie that everyone should aspire to. It’s exciting, action-packed, gut-bustlingly hilarious and emotionally involving to a point where I was surprised at how personal and genuine it really was. “Amazing,” in fact, is not a good enough word to describe this movie — “Superior” is more like it.

Taking place after Curt Connors, aka The Lizard, attacked New York City, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 shows Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) as he continues to adapt to his new life as the spectacular Spider-Man. He’s just about to graduate, he’s getting a job as a freelance photographer at the Daily Bugle and his relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) is going strong. Being Spider-Man has its perks and its downfalls, and this is a rare high point in Peter’s life.

Elsewhere, however, dark forces develop under Oscorp. Engineer Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) gets electrocuted by bio-electric eels, transforming him into the chaotic villain known as Electro. Russian mobster Aleksei Sytsevich (Paul Giamatti) gets equipped with a fully armed mechanical suit, becoming the Rhino. And Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), an old friend of Peter’s, returns with a dark secret that he’s hiding from everyone.

That makes three villains in total for this sequel. Concerned? You should be. The last time we had three villains in a Spider-Man movie, that film was Spider-Man 3. I’m never going to get that image of Tobey Maguire doing the Elvis Presley-stride out of my head, ever. Does anyone have any hydrochloric acid I can pour into my eyes?

Well, you can rest easy, fellow web heads. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is not Spider-Man 3. Quite the contrary, actually. This is a significantly better Spider-Man than its predecessor, a film that bounces in between multiple tones and genres all at once and does all of them brilliantly.

An early fight scene in the film, for instance, is as wacky and funny as a Looney Tunes cartoon, with Spidey struggling to grab all these plutonium canisters off of a moving truck like he’s in the middle of a pinball table. In another scene, he’s in the middle of an action sequence so exhilarating and mind-blowing that it could have come straight from a video game cut scene. In another moment, him and Gwen are dealing with a real emotional struggle neither quite know how to handle, something that has haunted Peter since the first movie.

That’s what makes this Spider-Man better from the other one: It has many tones, story lines, characters and emotions that it’s juggling all at once. That’s a weighty order, and not one to handle easily. Yet director Marc Webb handles the challenge excellently, delivering just as relevant a character drama as he does an exciting action movie.

The cast members have expert chemistry with each other, but that should be expected because of their exceptional performances in the first film. We already expect Garfield and Stone to be perfect with each other because they were nearly inseparable in the first round of the series. It’s more efficient, then, to focus on the newer cast members: Jamie Foxx and Dane DeHaan. 

Foxx is electric as the high-voltage villain, pun intended. At first he’s just a socially silly and awkward scientist, similar to Jim Carrey’s version of the Riddler in Batman Forever. When he goes through his transformation into Electro, however, everything changes. He becomes an angry and malicious supervillain, a man who is mad and frustrated at everything and just wants to kill everyone, then jump start their heart just so he can kill them again. DeHaan, especially, was desperate and conniving as Harry Osborn, a menacing and starkly different Harry than the James Franco version we are used to in the original trilogy.

Both of these villains serve a pivotal role to Peter’s development. Electro is the physical conflict Peter has to face in the movie; Harry is the emotional one.

There’s another concern comic book fans will have about this movie, and that is the same concern they have with Captain America: The Winter Soldier: We’ve already read the comics. We already know the twists that are coming up, and as a result, our reaction is dulled when that moment comes in the movie.

Let me make a reassuring statement for my fellow comic book lovers: I could see the twist in this movie come from a mile away. Yet when I saw it, I reacted as if I was witnessing Peter’s tragic story for the first time.

There are apparent concerns to have with this movie. The multiple story strands are worrisome, the overload of villains can be an issue and Max Dillion’s character is far too silly to fully accept as being realistic.

Does that change The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s influence, or for that matter, its effect on the audience? The answer is no, it does not. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is still a great sequel, an excellent expansion to the Spider-Man universe and a more-than-welcome development to Peter’s never-ending growth as Spider-Man. I’m tempted to compare it to the legendary Spider-Man 2, although I’m not sure if it’s quite there yet. One thing is for sure, however: it’s head-over-heels over Spider-Man 3. If Webb keeps this up, he just might surpass Sam Raimi’s original trilogy.

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“WHITE HOUSE DOWN” Review (✫✫1/2)

You’d be crazy running for a second term, Mr. President.  

Now here’s a movie that would give President Obama a heart attack.  White House Down, much like a film released earlier this film called Olympus Has Fallen are both about the same thing.  The white house is under attack by a group of professional terrorists, the president is in danger, and our brawn yet brave hero must step in to save him.  All you need is a ripped shirt, a clean-shaven face, and a lot of guns on this guy (not just automatic) and you’re all set.

Unfortunately, that’s all the information I can give you.  This movie is so thinly written that that’s the deepest I can go without giving any spoilers.  The only other information I can provide that could give you any clue on to what this movie is like is that the brawn, brutish hero is played by Channing Tatum,  the president is played by Jamie Foxx, and Tatum owns a daughter portrayed by the sweet and talented Joey King.

I’m going to get this out of the way: Channing Tatum should never play the lead in any movie ever.  He cannot act.  There is no sincerity in his voice, no fluid movement of his body, no expression on his face to show he’s feeling anything except for when he’s shooting at something.  The fullest his acting capability reaches in the movie is the eyedrops you see in his cornea when he’s “crying” for his daughter. I’m not even kidding.  His acting is so terrible, the only use Tatum is in the movie is to provide meat for the female viewers in the audience.

(And I will admit my jealousy here: I will never look as good as Channing Tatum does.  I don’t think its possible for any man to).

Where was I again?  Ah yes, Tatum’s acting.  As always he is a stiff, awkward, and uncomfortable actor, a perfect reason why he should never be the lead character in a movie.  Admittedly though, the dialogue isn’t helping him much.  His best lines in the movie involve something like: “You have to go out there and be President”, or “If this guy keeps making those sounds, I’m going to start looking at him.”

If the above description makes this movie sound appealing to you, you should see it.  White House Down is a big case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get: a movie filled to the brim with excessive action, big explosions, cheesy dialogue, and mediocre acting, with the minor exception of Jamie Foxx, who has the most patriotic and humorous dialogue out of any other character in the movie.  In one scene, he’s reciting the history of America so beautifully to his secretary of defense over the phone that one could mistaken him as a Lincoln who underwent skin surgery.  In another scene, he’s following Tatum up an elevator shaft to evade capture when this exchange happens between them:

Foxx: What you do, I do.

(Channing Tatum ninja moves across elevator).

Foxx: I ain’t doing that.

Foxx’s character was the most appealing, the most intelligent, and the most charismatic character out of the entire movie.  Everyone other character was overly charismatic and grossly unrealistic.  One radical baddie is so stereotypical and so overpumped with tattoos, facial hair, ego, and steroids that I expected him to rip off his skin and reveal that he’s the Terminator.  A tour guide portrayed by Nicholas Wright is more worried about fine china and precious artifacts than he is about his own life and well being.  Tatum’s daughter, however, is probably the most frustrating.  She comes off as annoying, careless, and extremely absent-minded in this film.  You might say this is because she’s a child, but tell me something: how realistic is it that a teenage girl like this is smart enough to run her own youtube channel and know more about the white house than the tour guide, and yet, she doesn’t know when to stay in the bathroom or to leave a building when its going to blow up?

I remember an argument I had with a friend of mine in my first year of college.  He was an experienced videographer who understood more about the film industry than any of the professors did in that department.  We were arguing about the differences between film and art, and he told me a direct yet simple statement:

“Film is not an art” he argued.  “Film is a business.”

While I desperately want to prove him wrong through films such as Inception, Life Of Pi and Beasts Of The Southern Wild, it is movies like White House Down that remind me that the industry does in fact exist and operate like a business intended for profit.  At least Roland Emmerich didn’t release this film in 3-D: that wouldn’t have helped my side of the argument one bit.

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