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Spider-Man : Into the Spider-Verse Review : Stan would be stoked

As different to the Raimi/Webb/Carr incarnations as an arachnologist is to an anthropologist

Caffeinated Clint

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Director:

Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman

Cast:

Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Brian Tyree Henry, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Zoë Kravitz, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn, Liev Schreiber

Run time:

117 mins

Rating:

Painted on a canvas cloaked in the used-toilet tissue of Andy Warhol but stained in the kind of clever libretto usually only found in a critique of one of his works, Sony’s new animated “Spider-Man” sits on the Sheldon Cooper side of the sofa – where the super clever, remarkably witty, easily excitable and let’s be honest, slightly odd-looking, pinch their pillows.
Yep, this isn’t your older brother’s Spidey.

If there’s been one major common complaint about the live-action “Spider-Man” movies of the past decade or so, it’s that they’ve all sung from the same lyric sheet. There’s the low, low, low notes (when Uncle Ben meets his maker), the pulsating high notes (when Spidey discovers his powers) and the ominous key-wallops that accompany the villain-of-the-week as he snatches – once again – the hero’s love interest.

‘With great power, comes great responsibility’…blah, blah…

You’ll be glad to know “Spider-Man : Into the Spider-Verse” is as different to the Raimi/Webb/Carr incarnations as an arachnologist is to an anthropologist.

Instead of Peter Parker (though he does feature prominently in the movie), our main antagonist here is Miles Morales, a New York teen who, like his predecessor(s), is infected with spider sap that makes him all jumpy-climby-building.

When Parker is killed – in a battle witnessed by the teen himself – the jumbled youth realizes he might be the only hope left.

Much to Miles’ surprise, the long-dead Peter Parker turns up, explaining that he’s the alternate version from the multi-verse. Gwen Stacey, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, and Peni Parker follow. Together, they’ll all help Miles hone his superhero skills and take down the bad guys (there’s quite a few).

With its radically different-looking animation style (though it takes a few minutes to get used to, it really starts to ‘pop’ after a while), a first-time “Spider-Man” movie plot (yahoo!) and a sticky-palm’s worth of wit, this is the kind of unique and wacky superhero movie treat that studios wouldn’t normally allow to brandish their banner. After their success with the equally clever “Lego” movies, Sony obviously felt comfortable letting Phil Lord and Chris Miller -here, serving as producers, overseeing Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman‘s direction – take the web themselves.

The script, by Lord and Rothman, successfully takes the mickey out of the Stan Lee created-character, and the character’s back catalogue of hits and misses (there’s a great “Spider-Man 3” joke here), while astoundingly also paying the ultimate respect to the character. Like the best comic book movie, it’s admirable infusion of humour and adventure should be taught at superhero-movie making schools.
Most of all, and like some of Pixar’s best, “Into the Spider-Verse” is firmly determined to offer something for everyone of all ages – the cute side characters for the kids, the witty in-jokes for the adults, the empowering female warriors for the strong women, and a dose of mandatory comic-book style biffo for the stringent fan.

“Spider-Man : Into the Spider-Verse” is one of the true superhero movie highlights in years.

Film Reviews

Us review : a hell of a night at the movies

The latest from “Get Out” director Jordan Peele

Mike Smith

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It used to be that, when I thought of Jordan Peele, I thought of his character, Raffi, the baseball player who used to over congratulate his teammates by yelling “Slap Ass!” and whacking them on the backside. Then he won an Oscar. Which means when I sat down to watch Peele’s newest creation, “Us,” my expectations had been raised. And, wow, was I not disappointed. In this reviewer’s humble opinion, Peele has created a new horror masterpiece.

1986. A time of movies on VHS tapes and Hands Across America (which I actually participated in). It’s a beautiful night on the boardwalk as little Adelaide Wilson (Madison Curry) and her parents take a stroll. Her mother excuses herself, reminding her husband to watch the little girl. He doesn’t and the little girl wanders down to the beach, where she enters a house of mirrors.

Not the best place to lose yourself.

There is so much I want to tell you about this film, but to do so would spoil one hell of a night at the movies. Like his Oscar-winning debut film, “Get Out,” Peele has found a way to combine drama, humor and horror in such a perfect way that I found myself, literally, on the edge of my seat during the screening. I haven’t done that since I was 16 and snuck into a re-issue of “The Exorcist.”

To even go into slight detail about the performances would be a major spoiler so I will just say that, like “Get Out,” Peele has assembled an amazing cast with much to do and many ways to do it. Peele’s direction is fluid, keeping the story moving at an almost breakneck pace. During the end credits he thanks many of the filmmakers he admires, including Steven Spielberg, whose work obviously influenced some of the shots in the film. And, if I could, I’d give the film an extra star for dressing one of the characters in a JAWS shirt!

Don’t walk, run to the theatre to see “Us.” And be prepared to run some more!

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Film Reviews

The Dirt review : fast-paced and not suitable for children

Get the Jack Daniels and skinny jeans at the ready!

K.T Simpson

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If you’ve read “The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band” by Neil Strauss, or even if you know anything about Mötley Crüe, you know you’re in for a wild ride with Netflix’s “The Dirt” – the comedy-drama biopic based on the aforementioned book. And a mere 5 minutes in, you’ll know that this film isn’t going to sugar-coat anything, with happenings that are probably too inappropriate to even mention in a film review beginning the story.

“The Dirt” introduces us to the backstory of Mötley Crüe, and through the trials and tribulations of their fast-moving career. With success comes tragedy, and the band generally spend more money on drugs than most of us will ever see in our lifetime – which ultimately makes them a little bit (read: a lot) unlikeable. But such is the story of how the glam metal band found fame in the ‘80s, where music comes second to partying and groupies.

Honestly, nothing is off limits for Mötley Crüe and “The Dirt” shows it. No girl is off limits – regardless if you’re already in a relationship or if it’s the partner of someone else in the band – no drug is unobtainable, and no hotel room will ever be the same when the band has something to do with it.

Casting-wise, “The Dirt” nails it. Douglas Booth as Nikki Sixx is the standout, depicting the troubled life of an abandoned teen who finds solace in music and way too much heroin – and a cocktail of other drugs and alcohol. Supported by Colson Baker aka Machine Gun Kelly as Tommy Lee, Iwan Rheon as Mick Mars, and Daniel Webber as Vince Neil, the group bounce off each other very well and are a believable representation of Mötley Crüe.

As with any hour-and-a-half biopic about a decade of events, there’s simply not enough time to touch upon everything important about Mötley Crüe and their individual stories. As such, the film feels like it rushes through a lot, and is mostly focused on the antics the boys get up to, rather than the creation of the music that we all know so well.

Director Jeff Tremaine is also responsible for the “Jackass” movies, and that really shows through “The Dirt” in its direction style. It’s fast-paced and at time feels a little out of its depth – however coincidentally representing the band to an absolute T.

While you may have mixed opinions on each band member, you have to hand it to them for perseverance and for setting a new precedent with glam metal – and music in general. “The Dirt” really finds its material in their bad-boy antics, but what we really want to see is the suspended spinning drum kit and the pyro-technics that support their live show. If you want to see the latter, then perhaps track down one of their live DVDs and watch that. Ultimately, “The Dirt” wants you to see the nitty gritty, the cocaine snorting, the uninhibited sex, the family tragedies, and the arguments.

What I can promise you, however, is that you will want to blast “Dr Feelgood” at top volume in your living room, and swig some Jack Daniels straight from the bottle – or at least put a respectable size shot of it with some Coke in a glass, we are adults afterall.

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Film Reviews

Five Feet Apart review : a glorified episode of Grey’s Anatomy

An effective portray of Cystic Fibrosis nestled into a predictable love-story

K.T Simpson

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I have this controversial rule, that I’ll generally avoid a movie where the poster depicts someone with a tube up their nose. This has nothing to do with ignorance, or disgust, but merely the fact that I go to the movies to be entertained, not deeply depressed. Having said that, the woes of reviewing films means I have to sometimes go against my better judgement, and watch a movie about some dying kids.

Seventeen year-old Stella (Haley Lu Richardson) has Cystic Fibrosis, and as a result spends a lot of her time at the hospital getting treatment after treatment. As an incurable disease, most of what she does is manage the symptoms with the aim to lengthen her life. Her current stint in hospital sees her in a ward with fellow ‘CFers’, including best friend Poe (Moises Arias) and new hunk-a-spunk Will (Cole Sprouse), whom she initially [predictably] finds frustrating, as his lack of routine is incredibly vexing to control-freak Stella.

As with any teen-drama, Stella’s feelings of anger and frustration quickly turn to the smitten, and thus a love story begins, but unlike most others and the teens can’t go too close to each other – as CFers are a huge risk to one another in terms of passing on symptoms and illness.

“Five Feet Apart” plays out a little like Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”: the star-crossed lovers who can’t be together, and stubborn nurse Barb (Kimberley Hebert Gregory) forbidding the two to go near each other. What we have here, dear readers, is an over-the-top episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” – you will see each turn in the story come from a mile away, and the forced emotions come from a soundtrack of all the sad songs in today’s catalogue – not to mention the ‘starter kit’ for sad films: forbidden teen romance and death.

Don’t let my description put you off, as my heart of stone has a wall bigger than Trump’s planned border protecting it. “Five Feet Apart” is a touching (excuse that horrific pun) story, and those who are particularly vulnerable to a sob story will come out of the cinema red-faced and blotchy.

Where “Five Feet Apart” excels is in its ability to bring awareness to a terrible, and dare I say misunderstood, disease. My review is in no way a mocking of the severity of those who suffer, and I applaud director Justin Baldoni for his sensitivity in portraying its effects.

Further, actress Richardson is the standout of the film, outshining her “Riverdale” co-star Sprouse. Though predictable, “Five Feet Apart” is charming and if you want a depression-session : this is where to find it.

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