More Is Not Always Better (Especially When It Comes To Super-Villains)

Sinister SixI like ‘more’ as much as the next guy. More money, more “Pacific Rim” and more hard drives (I have always had a thing for storage space).

Where ‘more’ doesn’t work so well for is when you have too many villains. After all, Sam Raimi is a pretty talented director yet his “Spider-Man 3” was a mess, primarily because there were too many bad guys (though the giant Sandman monster didn’t help matters).

And in his film, there were only three:  Sandman, Venom and Green Goblin, Jr.

If the image to the left, the studio where Marc Webb’s “Amazing Spider-Man 2” is shooting, is any indicator, the word overreach means nothing to Webb.

That being said, there’s no law that says that it can’t be done, but I suspect that it would be less a Spider-Man movie than a super-villan origin piece that happens to have Spider-Man in it.

Which I think is an interesting idea, but I am willing to bet fans of the character (as he appears in movies) – never mind the studio bankrolling it –  would think otherwise.

Continue reading

‘John Dies At The End’ Review

John Dies At The End

“Here’s to all the kisses I snatched, and vice versa.”

—Fred Chu

Think about it for a moment, you’ll get it.

One of Marvel Studios’ Phase Two projects is a feature film version of Doctor Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts. I still think that Ioan Gruffudd should play Strange, though who should direct?  On the strength of “John Dies At The End” (never mind his rather bizarre filmography) it should be Don Coscarelli.

The reason being is that the movie takes some really odd subject matter, and not only makes it approachable, but fun.  When I heard that this film was coming out a few years ago, I picked up the book by David Wong, so that I would go into the movie with some idea of what’s going on.

I enjoyed the read, but beneath the weird chocolately coating lies a somewhat conventional center.

What Coscarelli did was bring the most interesting, stranger parts of the novel to the screen, while de-emphasizing the conventional elements.  What’s left is a movie that plays like David Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch,” with its reliance on mainly practical special effects, while unlike that aforementioned film actually makes sense.

What “John Dies At The End” also reminded me of the Hardy Boys.  On acid.

And apropos of Doctor Strange, wouldn’t Clancy Brown be an awesome Baron Mordo?

I am also resisting the temptation to reveal more about the movie–Trust me.  My restraint has been admirable–but the actors that play John and David Wong, Rob Mayes and Chase Williamson, are a great bit of casting.

I referred to Clancy Brown earlier, though he rounds out a remarkable cast that includes genre veterans like Angus Scrimm, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones and Paul Giamatti (who also executive produced).

Though all is not rosy because “John Dies At The End” deserves a nationwide release, as opposed to the limited one that it actually got.  I live in Washington, DC, and unlike Michael (thanks for reminding me that it was available online) over at Durmoose Movie Musings, I didn’t have the benefit of seeing this awesome movie in a theater.

Pity, that.

Paul Giamatti Is The Rhino

A few months ago I read that Paul Giamatti was interested in playing the Rhino, a member of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery.  At the time I recall thinking that that was some of the most awesome casting that I have heard in a long while–mainly because he actually looks like the character–though I didn’t think much of it because Jamie Foxx had already been cast as Electro in the sequel.

And as much as I would like to have seen Giamatti in the role, I didn’t want to see another ‘Spider-Man 2’ scenario, where you had villains thrown together in perhaps the most inorganic manner possible without the background that would make such an effort successful.

The only thing that reassures me somewhat is that the Rhino and Electro actually have banned together against Spider-Man in the comics, which at least means that it won’t feel as left-fieldish as Sandman teaming up with Venom (though admittedly the problem with that lies more with the writing than the characters because, besides the fact that better writers could have pulled it off, many of the people that will see the film will probably have no idea of the history between the two characters).

This leads me to believe that the filmmakers are building up toward unveiling The Sinister Six (The Vulture, Electro, Mysterio, and Kraven the Hunter, or some variation thereof), which would be all sorts of cool.