Over his storied career, Judd Apatow has elevated a series of promising young comedy talents to their first major big-screen performance, including Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Kristen Wiig, Amy Schumer and Kumail Nanjiani. This year, Apatow directs Saturday Night Live breakout Pete Davidson in a bracing comedy about love, loss and laughter on Staten Island. ‘
Scott (Davidson) has been a case of arrested development ever since his firefighter father died when he was seven. He’s now reached his mid-20s having achieved little, chasing a dream of becoming a tattoo artist that seems far out of reach. As his ambitious younger sister (Maude Apatow, HBO’s Euphoria) heads off to college, Scott is still living with his exhausted ER nurse mother (Oscar® winner Marisa Tomei) and spends his days smoking weed, hanging with the guys—Oscar (Ricky Velez, Master of None), Igor (Moises Arias, Five Feet Apart) and Richie (Lou Wilson, TV’s The Guest Book)—and secretly hooking up with his childhood friend Kelsey (Bel Powley, Apple TV+’s The Morning Show).
But when his mother starts dating a loudmouth firefighter named Ray (Bill Burr, Netflix’s F Is for Family), it sets off a chain of events that will force Scott to grapple with his grief and take his first tentative steps toward moving forward in life. The film also stars Steve Buscemi as Papa, a veteran firefighter who takes Scott under his wing, and Pamela Adlon (FX’s Better Things) as Ray’s ex-wife, Gina.
Summary: Peter Parker balances his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens with his superhero alter-ego Spider-Man, and finds himself on the trail of a new menace prowling the skies of New York City.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th July 2017
Australian DVD Release Date: 18th October 2017
Country: United States
Director: Jon Watts
Screenwriter: John Francis Daley, Christopher Ford, Jonathan Goldstein, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers, Jon Watts, Steve Ditko (original comic book), Jack Kirby (original comic book), Stan Lee (original comic book), Joe Simon (original comic book)
Cast: Isabella Amara (Sally),Tunde Adebimpe (Mr. Cobbwell), Abraham Attah (Abe), Michael Barbieri (Charles), Jacob Batalon (Ned), Garcelle Beauvais (Doris Toomes), Christopher Berry (Randy), Hannibal Buress (Coach Wilson), Michael Chernus (Phineas Mason/The Tinkerer), Kenneth Choi (Principal Morita), Kerry Condon (Friday (voice)), Jennifer Connolly (Karen/Suit Lady (voice)), Tyne Daley (Anne Marie Hoag), Ethan Dizon (Tiny), Robert Downey Jnr. (Iron Man/Tony Stark),Tiffany Espensen (Cindy),Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America),Jon Favreau (Happy Hogan),Donald Glover (Aaron Davis),Laura Harrier (Liz),Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Michael Keaton (Adrian Toomes/Vulture), Stan Lee (Gary), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Jason), Selenis Leyva (Ms. Warren), Hemke Madera (Mr. Delmar), Michael Mando (Mac Gargan), Logan Marshall-Green (Jackson Brice/Shocker #1),Nitin Nohria (Dean Crimson), Gwenyth Paltrow (Pepper Potts), John Penick (Mr. Hapgood), Tony Revolori (Flash), Angourie Rice (Betty), Martin Starr (Mr. Harrington), Marisa Tomei (May Parker), J.J. Totah (Seymour), Gary Weeks (Agent Foster), Bokeem Woodbine (Herman Schultz/Shocker #2), Zendaya (Michelle)
Runtime: 133 mins
OUR SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Kyle McGrath’s Spider-Man: Homecoming Review:
Spider-Man: Homecoming follows the title character and his alter ego Peter Parker on his early steps of becoming the hero he yearns to be. After being enlisted by Tony Stark/Iron Man to assist in Captain America: Civil War (2016) Peter Parker is dropped off home, given a shiny new Spider-Man costume and pretty much told “don’t call us, we’ll call you”. Ambitious to prove himself worthy of being an Avenger he sets out to fight crime wherever he can while also struggling with the pitfalls of being an otherwise normal high school kid. His enthusiasm may soon gets the better of him when he discovers an underground operation in dealing weapons made from the stolen technology leftover from previous Avengers battles.
The elephant in the room with Spider-Man Homecoming is that this is the 3rd big screen incarnation of Spider-Man since 2002. This time the web crawler officially being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The previous films each had their ups and downs but the general consensus seems to be that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films were better with Tobey Maguire making a better Peter Parker whereas The Amazing Spider-Man films found a better Spider-Man performance in Andrew Garfield with some other fan preferences such as Gwen Stacy as a love interest rather than skipping straight to Mary Jane Watson and mechanical web-shooters rather than organic (a distinction I never cared about).
Spider-Man Homecoming brings some new interesting things to the table while some others feel weaker. I believe Tom Holland walks the line quite well and works quite well as the younger less experienced and still in high school Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
Otherwise the films visuals and musical score felt a little generic never coming close to standing out as well as Sam Raimi and Danny Elfman did all the way back in 2002. Speaking of which the CGI of Homecoming itself looks not much better after 15 years of technological progress, often characters looking like something from a computer game or the transition between CGI to live action, such as Michael Keaton’s character leaving his “Vulture” wingsuit, appears quite jarring. Most of these large CGI sequences seem to take place at night too, it could have just been poor lighting in my cinema but it was extremely dark and felt like a possible shortcut with CGI usually looking more real with less lighting.
The film’s story itself reminded me of Kick-Ass be it without the style or comedy of Matthew Vaughn & Mark Millar with Peter trying to be a “friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man”. I found this to be an interesting new take on the character and something we’ve not yet seen in the MCU: a small time loser hero trying to do his thing in the shadow of giants like Thor, The Hulk or Captain America.
With any reboot certain changes had to be made so that the filmmakers aren’t just making the same film again. Flash Thompson Esther than being a stereotypical jock bully and symbol of everything Peter wished he could be is now a weedy little prick. The once elderly aunt May is now “hot aunt May” as the characters like to remind us and the less said about the new “MJ” the better.
Other major changes are that this is not another origin story. Rather picking up in the middle of Peter’s journey of self discovery as a super hero. An issue here is that while films like Tim Burton’s Batman or even the MCU’s The Incredible Hulk showed you don’t NEED to do an origin story to introduce your hero, you still do need to introduce them and Homecoming really does not. The feeling is that Spider-Man’s powers and back story don’t need to be given much thought because they’ve been done to death already. Well too bad. This is potentially people’s FIRST Spider-Man film and outside influences shouldn’t play any part in it. Not giving a proper set up because everyone should already know is like not introducing Harry Potter correctly in the film adaptation of Philosophers Stone because “well everyone’s read the book right?”
Peter’s character development this time comes more from his desire to prove himself than his feelings of guilt over his indirect involvement in his uncle’s death like before. This was an interesting change but to be honest the time Peter spends in this naive phase goes on way too long and most of the film seems to be him rescuing people from disasters he himself caused or his selfishly helping people in the first place only because he seeks glory and to be considered one of The Avengers. This would be like if Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins stayed in “scared angry man with a gun mode” until nearly the end of the film.
I think Peter himself is obsessed so much with the Avengers as a symptom of this film being obsessed with being considered part of the MCU. Again it’s an interesting way to approach at first but the Avengers just overshadow EVERYTHING in this film. Even the film’s title itself seems to more reference a “return home to the MCU” than anything in the film itself. The very first thing you see is a child’s drawing of them and the very last thing you’ll see is a post credits cameo from one of them and rarely 10 minutes will go by without some reference to them. Spider-Man’s motivation revolves around them, the film’s antagonist revolves around them and Tony Stark while barely making much of an appearance in the film is still focused on more than Michael Keaton as The Vulture leading to him feeling like a lackluster villain. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad he didn’t just want to turn the whole city into birds using a gas or something but when his entire scheme is spending 8 years stealing Avengers related tech, turning it into odd weapons and selling it out of the back of a van to random street thugs under bridges I have to ask “who cares?”.
The worst part of this is that the movie barely feels like it stars Spider-Man at all. Even his suit is some sort of Tony Stark designed super tech nonsense which only manages to downplay the ACTUAL superpowers Peter is supposed to have. Effectively he’s a super strong, super agile kid in a suit with a bunch of gadgets. It may as well also be what allows him to walk up walls as it does everything else for him!
If the film can’t go 10 minutes without an Avengers reference it also can’t seem to go 30 seconds without making a funny. In some kind of spray ‘n pray approach to comedy Homecoming is so afraid of being seen as taking itself too seriously that it hardly ever allows a scene to end without some gag tacked on just for the sake of it. Comedy relief only really works if you allow tension to build in the first place and when there are multiple gags happening it just drives a truck through the middle of a scene that’s designed to have you on the edge of your seat. Then when the big heavy scenes come along such as Michael Keaton trying to be intimidating they just don’t work. The film hasn’t earned that response from the audience because any other time it came close to a similar tone someone immediately then had to slip on a banana peel.
Spider-Man Homecoming unfortunately doesn’t hold a candle to Sam Raimi’s 2002 film. It’s lacking as an introduction to this new Spider-Man and feels too focused on latching on to the hugely popular MCU films to be comfortable in telling its own story and too eager to make its audience laugh to build any drama for its underdeveloped characters. As an addition to the mountain of superhero films it’s entertaining enough and different enough to warrant a viewing but not interesting enough to be very memorable.
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment Spider-Man: Homecoming Reviews: N/A
Summary: As the government asks the Avengers to be brought together under the one umbrella Tony Stark/Iron-Man (Robert Downey Jnr.) and Steve Rodgers/Captain America find themselves going to war as they both stand for their ideals.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th April 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Screenwriter: Christopher Markus, Steven McFeely, Mark Millar (comic book), Jack Kirby (characters), Joe Simon (characters)
Cast: Gozie Agbo (Dr. Broussard), Paul Bettany (Vision), Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther), Daniel Bruhl (Zemo), Don Cheadle (Lieutenant James Rhodes/War Machine), Kerry Condon (Friday (voice)), Hope Davis (Maria Stark), Robert Downey Jnr. (Tony Stark/Iron-Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rodgers/Captain America), Gene Farber (Karpov), Martin Freeman (Everett K. Ross), Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow/Crossbones), Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), William Hurt (Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), John Kani (King T’Chaka), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Jim Rash (M.I.T. Liaison), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), John Slattery (Howard Stark), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes/Winter Solider), Marisa Tomei (May Parker), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter), Alfre Woodard (Miriam), Jane Wu (U.N. Staffer Wu)
Runtime: 147 mins
OUR CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR REVIEWS & RATINGS:
So far 2016 has delivered mixed results for comic book fans right around the world. While we were very impressed with the way that Deadpool stuck to the comic itself despite the possibility of making it a cinema unfriendly film we were all disappointed that Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice didn’t live up to the dizzying heights we all wanted it to. With those results echoing in our heads we all approached Captain America: Civil War with some trepidation. Even as a series in itself Marvel’s Avengers series has been up and down. While Captain America: Winter Soldier was a brilliant film, Avengers: Age Of Ultron was a bit of a letdown. Well you can all take a big breath and relax comic book fans because Captain America: Civil War delivers with a massive payload.
For those that haven’t read the comics surrounding the Marvel Civil War series Captain America: Civil War sees Steve Rodgers/Captain America (Chris Evans – Snowpiercer) go head-to-head with Tony Stark/Ironman (Robert Downey Jnr. – The Judge) after Rodgers decides that he can’t be part of the Avengers if it means they now have to answer to Government department… as he points out Governments can have agendas. With pressure mounting after a mission led by Captain America, Falcon (Anthony Mackie – The Hurt Locker), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen – Godzilla) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson- Lucy) ends in civilian casualties Stark is quick to sign the agreement but Rodgers refuses.
Tensions rise even more when the new Government led Avengers are asked to bring in Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan – The Martian) after he is blamed for a terrorist attack. Something that Rodgers believes he is innocent of. Cue the war.
When leaving the cinema after the premiere of Captain America: Civil War one thing was going through my mind, and that was that the Russo Brothers who directed this film and true action film geniuses. Trying to fit so many comic book characters into one film could have failed really badly. In their hands it doesn’t. For many directors (I’m looking at you Zack Snyder and Michael Bay) this film would have been an excuse to throw characterisation right out the window and instead just concentrate on explosions and fighting galore. That isn’t the case here, while the film not only allows fans to know exactly how each Avenger is feeling as the split happens we also get an introduction to two new Avengers – Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman – Gods Of Egypt) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland – In The Heart Of The Sea) and get a real feel for their characters despite the fact that time doesn’t allow for a huge introduction into their lives.
The characterisation really comes to the fore though with the friendship breakdown between Steve Rodgers and Tony Stark though. This isn’t just simply raised fists at twenty paces like it was in Batman vs Superman, no Civil War really allows the audience to see the pain the two men are going through as their friendship erodes and as a result it is easier to understand exactly what leads to the battles that we end up witnessing.
Having said that though the Russos have not forgotten that a movie like this needs action sequences and boy do they deliver on that level. If you were impressed with the action scenes in Winter Soldier then you are going to be blown away with what you see here. While Iron Man and Captain America’s hand-to-hand battle is something that every true comic book fan is going to savour what really steals the show here is the amazing car chase involving Falcon, Cap and Winter Solider, and then of course the epic airport battle that is truly Avenger vs Avenger with battle lines drawn. While the Russos make this scene look good, they also bring in some creative use of the environment around the characters and also manage to deliver some light hearted moments made possible by the smart-ass antics of Spider-Man and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd – Role Models). You wouldn’t think that action and comedy would gel so well together, but somehow the Russos manage to pull it off. So impressive are what the Russos seem to be able to do with action sequences it has to be said that they are now the best action directors around currently and they are doing for the genre what James Cameron did with the Terminator films all those years ago.
So good is the screenplay for Captain America: Civil War that this is one of the first times in this franchise that the actors have really had a chance to show their skills. Robert Downey Jnr. brings his acting A-Game to this film, he seriously puts as much effort in here as he did in dramatic films like The Judge. Even Chris Evans shows that he is more than just a pretty boy actor while Paul Rudd is backed up the comedic stakes by Tom Holland who brings a fresh new feel to the Spider-Man character. While it does take a bit to get used to Holland as Spider-Man his wise-cracking version of Peter Parker does grow you and by the time he exits the screen you find yourself looking forward to the forthcoming Spider-Man movie.
Captain America: Civil War is what we all dreamed it would be… it fact it goes beyond expectations. If it wasn’t just a little bit long you would have to say that it is the perfect action film. With spectacular action sequences, great suspense and a well-written screenplay this is one film I am going to watch over and over.
Summary: When America’s banks collapsed a few years ago the world was told a lie. The world was told that nobody, not even the top financial experts, saw it coming. That was only partially true, yes the top financial experts didn’t see it coming, but some men did.
The Big Short tells the story of those men, men the world didn’t listen to. Michael Burry (Christian Bale) ran a small, but successful, financial firm and he saw the crash happening but due to the fact that he didn’t dress the way they did and liked to drum to Metallica in his office nobody really listened. The one person who did listen was Wall Street trader Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) who then went against the bank who he worked for and decided that this was a way to make money… betting against the bank. A misplaced phone call by him then tipped off Hedge Fund Manager Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) who then convinced Vennett to join him on his crusade against Wall Street.
The chain then kept going as eager young investors Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock) found a copy of Baum’s flyer and also decide that can make money off what is happening. Not experienced in making the trades they need to do to do so they rope in retired banker Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt) to help them out.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th January 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Adam McKay
Screenwriter: Charles Randolph, Adam McKay, Michael Lewis (book)
Cast: Christian Bale (Michael Burry), Tony Bentley (Bruce Miller), Anthony Bourdain (himself), Lyle Brocato (Casey), Steve Carrell (Mark Baum), Vanessa Cloke (Lucy), Rudy Eisenzopf (Lewis Ranieri), Peter Epstein (Paul Baum), Aidan Flowers (Young Michael Burry), Karen Gillan (Evie), Selena Gomez (herself), Ryan Gosling (Jared Vennett), Jeffry Griffin (Chris), Nick Hwang (Josh Medak), Jay Jablonski (Matt), Rajeev Jacob (Deeb), Tyler Kunkle (Doug), Colin Lawless (Nicolas Burry), Melissa Leo (Georgia Hale), Tracy Letts (Lawrence Fields), Hamish Linklater (Porter Collins), John Magaro (Charlie Geller), Byron Mann (Mr. Chau), Adepero Oduye (Kathy Tao), Wayne Pere (Martin Blaine), Brad Pitt (Ben Rickert), Margot Robbie (herself), Rafe Spall (Danny Moses), Ilan Srulovicz (Noah), Jeremy Strong (Vinnie Diesel), Richard Thaler (himself), Marisa Tomei (Cynthia Baum), Finn Wittrock (Jamie Shipley), Stanley Wong (Ted Jiang)
Runtime: 130 mins
OUR THE BIG SHORT REVIEWS & RATINGS:
When director Adam McKay set about making The Big Short he must have wondered whether or not he could pull off this project. McKay had established himself as a comedy director, a great comedy director to be precise… the man who brought us movies such as Anchorman and Step Brothers etc, but still it was ambitious to decide to make a comedy-drama about the collapse of America’s biggest banks. After all the minuet details of how and why the banks collapsed is so technical and boring it would not only go right over the head of the average cinema goer, but also have a strong chance of making them lapse into some kind of a coma if you bothered to explain it properly. Yes The Big Short was an uphill battle all the way but somehow McKay has made this into one of the films of the year.
So how does McKay make this film work so well? The answer is simple. He does what so many filmmakers are scared of doing these days… and that is be creative. To put it into ‘banker speak’ he thought outside the box. Instead of having a series of long explanations of what exactly is happening with all the financial stuff McKay will allow the film’s story to pause for a moment while Margot Robbie (sitting in a bubble bath as herself) explains what is happening or he will cross to a celebrity chef comparing the market to bad fish. It sounds as strange as all hell… but it works and gets the point across in a way that the audience can understand without putting them asleep.
That being said it isn’t creative ‘gimmicks’ like that which make The Big Short work so well. No McKay is aided by a screenplay that is simply one of the best screenplays to surface out of Hollywood for a long, long time. While it expertly reveals a lot of the greed and shame of Wall Street it is also about strong characters and consists of some of the wittiest one-liners you are ever likely to hear. To the credit of the screenplay you actually come to know and love these characters. You feel sorry for Mark Baum and the personal tragedy that he has suffered in his life while you find yourself barracking for the likes of Michael Burry who are putting everything on the line and copping abuse for doing so. Even though so of the characters are quite unlikable, such as Jared Vennett, the screenwriters have been smart enough to get them to deliver the quips that make people laugh in a bid to make them at least a little likable. Yes the unthinkable happens in this film, you actually like bankers.
Of course that brilliant script also allows the actors involved to deliver some of the finest acting performances of the year. Steve Carrell showed us his serious side in Foxcatcher and here he once again revels in what is a demanding but emotional performance. If he takes an Oscar home for this performance he truly deserves it. Likewise Christian Bale who loses all of his Bruce Wayne good looks as he morphs into the hard rocking recluse Michael Burry so well that you forget who you are watching. The other true chameleon here is Brad Pitt who is completely unrecognisable as the bearded off-the-grid former banker Ben Rickert. These three lead an ensemble that makes this film truly memorable.
Sure a film about the banking world might not exactly make you feel like you want to rush out and purchase tickets at the box office, but like Wall Street and The Wolf Of Wall Street before it The Big Short is a ground-breaking film that shows a completely different side to the filmmaking skills of Adam McKay. Creative, original and hard-hitting The Big Short is a film that I’m sure I’ll be revisiting when I put together my Top 10 Movies of 2016 list.