“Daredevil” film rights returned to Marvel, comic book nerds everywhere rejoice.

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For those who don’t know, Marvel sold the film rights many of its hottest properties in the late 90s to avoid bankruptcy. Sony bought Spider-Man and Ghost Rider, Fox bought X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Daredevil among others.

You may remember the Mark Steven Johnson – directed Daredevil film from 2003, notorious for its abysmal PG-13 theatrical cut, slightly redeemed by its R-rated director’s cut. I say slightly because putting Ben Affleck in spandex will probably never make an entirely watchable film.

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Well, looks aren’t everything. Especially when you’re blind.

Still, Daredevil did a few things right: Collin Farrel was a decent, albeit corny Bullseye, and Michael Clarke Duncan was a fantastic choice for the crime lord Kingpin. The action was good, it had a good story at its core, and it kept Daredevil as the gritty, no mercy badass he’s famous for being (at least the director’s cut did anyway).

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Great role, or greatest role?

It performed well enough to merit a spin-off film, Elektra, rated as one of the worst superhero movies of all time, but a sequel never came.

Once the reboot craze hit Hollywood, Fox planned on starting anew using Frank Miller’s classic take on the character as a new launchpad. However, they needed to make the movie by October 10th, 2012 in order to retain the film rights.

In case you haven’t noticed, there hasn’t been a second Daredevil film, and Fox isn’t confident in their ability to slap one together in a month’s time, meaning order has been restored and Marvel Studios now has a new shiny toy to play with.

This could mean a few different things: we’ll no doubt see another Daredevil movie in the not-too-distant future, but probably not until 2015 or later when Marvel’s production slate has cleared up a bit. As it stands right now, Iron Man 3 is set for a 2013 release, followups to Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger are due out in 2014, Avengers 2 is planned for a 2015 release, and between all that sequel business the studio plans to release two new franchises, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man. Besides all the official news, there are also rumors of a Hawkeye / Black Widow movie and a Black Panther film in the works, a character that will almost certainly appear in one of the aforementioned films.

Where does “the man without fear” fit in here?

Most likely a cameo in Avengers 2 and his own film shortly after.

The other option would be the live-action TV series Joss Whedon was recently attached to. No details have been released about it yet, but Daredevil could be a possible fit for the medium. If you’re not familiar with the character, he’s a blind lawyer by day, crime-fighting vigilante with super-senses by night. Picture Law and Order with more leather and kung-fu – TV gold. That’s a very exciting prospect, especially with Whedon at the wheel. If you’ve never watched Angel, this is kinda what Joss is all about.

Whatever they decide to do, the best part about the deal for now is that it opens up some more doors to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, the giant crossover concept that’s currently making them a ridiculous amount of money and which every other studio with a high-concept film franchise is almost surely trying to replicate.

For me at least, all the crossovers and shared continuity is what makes Marvel’s films so exciting and getting a great, prominent character like Daredevil thrown into the mix is excellent news.

Now if we can just get Fox to return their other Marvel properties…

It’s unlikely that they’ll give up X-Men, as it’s one of their biggest cash cows and even with trainwrecks like The Last Stand and First Class under the banner, but the clock’s counting down on their Fantastic Four rights.

Fingers crossed.

Now, who could possibly make a better Daredevil than Ben Affleck?

Source:

/Film

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NETFLIX REVIEW: Chasing Amy (1997)

Netflix reviews are just what they sound like: short reviews of old movies and shows that happen to be on Netflix.

Want to know where the gems are with out wading through Netflix’s endless sea of garbage? Tired of having programs recommended to you that seemingly have nothing to do with your interests? Are you frustrated with the idiotic and often unintelligible user reviews on Netflix.com?

I am here for you, friend. Read on.

I’ve only ever seen two Kevin Smith films: Mallrats (which he claims is his worst picture) and Zack and Miri Make a PornoChasing Amy is the spiritual sequel to the former within the infamous “View Askewniverse” and what many consider to be Smith’s best work.

It’s a story you’ve heard before: boy likes girl, girl doesn’t like boy, he becomes solely devoted to wooing her at all costs – except this time the girl is a lesbian, and both the girl and the boy are indie comic book producers.

The story starts with Holden (Ben Affleck) and his best friend and cohort, Banky (Jason Lee) showcasing their comic book series “Bluntman and Chronic” at a small comic convention in NYC. Holden is introduced to fellow comic creator, Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) and falls for her almost immediately.

On their second “date” the shocker comes: Alyssa’s only into girls. Holden is dismayed, but determined. At least they can still be friends right?

He quickly finds out it’s not going to be that easy and must somehow control his feelings for Alyssa while continuing to work on his comic book, which a certain TV studio is trying to make an animated series out of.

Chasing Amy is classic Smith (literally; this movie is fifteen years old now): raunchy, vulgar, nerdy, and yes, hilarious. While it doesn’t make the grand statement about love, sex, and friendship that it seems to intend to, there’s plenty of humor perfectly balanced with just the right amount of drama, all seasoned by plenty of mid-90s pop-culture references. Perhaps the most charming aspect of it is Smith’s ability to challenge audience expectations just when things seem to get a bit too predictable. Or maybe it’s watching a story set in late-20th century subcultures challenge the rapidly evolving societal standards of that fine decade.

Gay and lesbian culture may not be the taboo it once was, and maybe Kevin Smith isn’t the indie sweetheart he used to be, but the film still never fails to shock at one turn, charm at the next, and keep you laughing in between.

If Mallrats is about the confusing period of post-high school love, lust, and growth, Chasing Amy is the crisis that comes when you realize everything you ever knew about love is bullshit. And it’s damn funny.

VERDICT:

3.5/5 – Add to queue!

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UPS mocks lack of gun control in U.S., sends man tactical rifle instead of TV

After the tragic Milwaukee and Aurora shootings taking place only weeks apart, many are up in arms about gun control in the U.S. (and violence in media, but that’s for another day). One might expect that all this heat would cause those who handle the shipment and delivery of such artillery to be extra cautious in their professions. One would be wrong.

On Tuesday, August 7th, Washington D.C. resident Seth Horvitz received a Sig Sauer .308 rifle instead of the 39″ television he’d ordered, via the United Parcel Service.

While not a bad trade-off, that type of rifle, used by big-game hunters and police snipers, is strictly forbidden in the District of Columbia.

Sort of like this. Accessories not included.

Not wanting to be mistaken for a terrorist and shipped off to Guantanamo, Horvitz immediately contacted authorities to get the whole thing sorted out.

Turns out the gun was meant to be delivered the Pennsylvania gun store that ordered it, yet the package was sealed and sent to an unsuspecting man in a different state.

How UPS screwed up so badly in wake of multiple recent national tragedies, and whether the gun store is enjoying a new LCD screen are still under investigation.

The most disturbing thing about this is obviously the fact that the weapon could have been delivered to anyone, anywhere in the country – even scum like James Holmes and Wade Michael Page. Thankfully, Horvitz has a solid head on his shoulders and didn’t decide turn into some kind of sniper within D.C.

I’m all for the right to bear arms, and even the right to possess guns – it’s what makes America, America. Not in a “Yip haw! ‘merica!” kind of way, but a way that says “Every man has a right to defend himself and his home. With guns”. I don’t believe taking firearms out of the hands of the people is the way to go about it, but this case is proof that some serious regulation reform is in order.

What do you think, dear reader?

Hopefully this isn’t an “oh, that again?” type problem for UPS.

Sources:

AP

MyFoxDC

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THE LATE WORD: The Amazing Spider-Man

A BIT OF HISTORY:

In 2002 Sony and Marvel finally brought the world-famous Spider-Man to the big screen in a high-budget tentpole action movie that went on to spawn two sequels.

The Sam Raimi-directed trilogy most certainly had its flaws (most of them in the final installment), but it helped usher in a new wave of superhero films and more or less captured the essence of its source material while making a ton of money for the studio.

When the time came to start developing the fourth movie, Sony and Raimi had a falling-out concerning the direction of the series and the next villains to be included.

Raimi walked. Or Sony fired him.

Whichever way it happened, instead of finding a new director and carrying on with the films that spanned more than half a decade, Sony opted to reboot the entire franchise and start the whole thing from scratch – new director, new cast, new story.

Film and comic fans alike were outraged at the prospect of restarting a series that wasn’t even ten years old yet, but Sony persevered, hiring (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb to helm the film, casting Andrew Garfield as the new hero, and keeping scribe of the original three films, James Vanderbilt aboard to pen the thing.

In 2012, after all that grief, was it worth it?

Hell no. Not one bit.

THE REVIEW:

The Amazing Spider-Man became the title of Sony’s reboot, and what mess of a movie it turned out to be.

“The untold origin”, as it was sold, is anything but.

After a nonsense prologue in which we discover Peter Parker’s father was some kind of genetic scientist working for OSCORP, ASM falls back into the old routine: Lonely awkward nerd gets bitten by a type of super-spider, his uncle is murdered, he decides to use his newfound powers for good and learns the meaning of responsibility.

This “all-new” take on the Spider-Man mythos turns out to be very close the first Raimi film.

Of course there are some minor differences. Besides Peter’s parents’ mysterious past, he also builds his own web-shooters now rather than growing the baffling “organic” ones in the Raimi films, the suit’s a tad more stylish, and instead of Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane, we see our hero fawning over Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy.

If there’s anything the film does right, it’s the casting. Stone makes an excellent beauty-nerd and her chemistry with real-life boyfriend Andrew Garfield is mesmerizing  to watch on screen. Rhys Ifans does what he can with the thinly-written Dr. Connors and somehow makes him out to be more than the loony one-armed mad scientist he was designed to be. And I cannot stress enough that if ever there was an actor meant to play Peter Parker, it is Andrew Garfield. Not that Tobey MacGuire’s performance was at all bad (except for the third film, in which all things were bad), but Garfield captures perfectly the witty, smart-mouthed, basement scientist that Peter Parker is across most of his incarnations. The film also holds a great supporting cast in Martin Sheen’s Uncle Ben and Dennis Leary’s Captain Stacy.

The acting was so good on its own I found myself wrapped up in Peter Parker’s “normal” life and dreading the inevitable moment he’d have to watch his uncle die and put on a silly costume to avenge him. In this way, Webb and his cast do something the original films never accomplished – they created compelling characters that serve as a platform to build the fantastic theatrics on rather than the other way around.

Where The Amazing Spider-Man really falls flat on its face is the story.

The Lizard was rumored to be a possible villain in the fourth Raimi film, and the whole reboot stank of a storyline transplanted to somewhere it didn’t belong. I don’t believe this falls squarely (or even mostly) on Vanderbilt’s shoulders. Major parts of ASM hinted at in trailers (what Peter Parker “really is”) were mysteriously absent from the theatrical cut of the film and storylines that are spun in the first act inexplicably disappear in the second.

The whole film is a jumbled mess and reeks of last-minute studio intervention.

Unfortunately for Ifans, the Lizard just isn’t a character that can serve as a top tier villain, let alone the only villain. It would seem Sony was trying to fix what it believed to be the primary flaw of the abysmal Spider-Man 3 – too many villains. They blamed the failure on quantity rather than quality – The Sandman, main bad guy of Raimi’s third film, will never make a good villain in any way in any movie ever because he’s a guy made of sand. Making him “also the guy who helped the guy who killed Uncle Ben” does not give him more depth, it just makes him more annoying and that is why SM3 was doomed from the start.

Now the Dr. Connors had potential. Peter Parker’s mentor transforms himself into a hideous reptilian monster. That’s superhero drama gold! But the Lizard, silly raving lunatic he is, can not be the lead antagonist and this is why: The Doc’s ultimate evil scheme is…wait for it…to turn everyone else into lizard people! Aaaahhhh! He’s so mad! And evil!

And completely, utterly comic book-stupid.

What I mean by that is, sure, that objective could work in a Spider-Man comic book, but never in a live-action tentpole feature film. Especially not one that exists in competition with The Avengers’ Loki and The Dark Knight Rises’ Bane. Spider-Man’s New York City deserves a better class of criminal and while the Lizard makes an excellent CG sewer monster, a criminal mastermind he is not and it was hard to buy into the idea that he would ever succeed in anything he did.

Connors is a great character, and again, Ifans portrays him marvelously, but his reptilian alter ego is better suited as a pawn in a greater game or the second in command to a true villain than as the lead antagonist for Sony’s second try at the franchise.

Amazing Spider-Man isn’t all bad. There’s some nice world-building through continuous references to the omnipresent OSCORP and NYC’s leading news source, The Daily Bugle, and none of it ever feels forced down your throat (I’m looking at you, Iron Man 2). This sets up a great environment to harbor multiple stories across the trilogy Sony has planned. The “Parker conspiracy”, while annoying and jumbled in the theatrical cut, actually does seem like an interesting route to take the new series in, and the new Spidey suit is a great design and the perfect way to separate the reboot from its predecessors. Still, these factors alone aren’t enough to redeem the movie entirely. ASM is Sony’s second chance at giving Spider-Man the big-screen treatment he deserves and there’s really no excuse for the amount of holes the film has.

The all-new Spider-Man isn’t exactly horrible, and not quite unbearable, but it falls far from “amazing”. Start the countdown clock for the next reboot.

THE VERDICT:

2.5 out of 5

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25-Minute “Amazing Spider-Man” Preview Supercut

Someone was kind enough (and had free time enough) to cut together the 25 minutes or so of footage Sony has released for “The Amazing Spider-Man” into a pretty coherent story.

If you’re not a fan of spoilers, avoid this obviously, but I don’t believe you can really have too many spoilers in what is essentially a remake (teen angst, origin story and all).

Enjoy!

The Amazing Spider-Man in 25 Minutes from sleepyskunk on Vimeo.

 

EDIT: The video in this post (published not ten minutes ago) has disappeared from the whole internet. It’s likely that Sony pulled it for obvious reasons. Oh well.

Amazing Spider-Man hits theaters July 3rd.

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Review: BarCrawls.com – St. Patrick’s Day “Shamrock Shuffle”

Like others who have posted reviews here, I paid $25 to participate in BarCralws’ “Shamrock Shuffle” St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl in Boston.

By far, the worst St. Paddy’s I’ve ever had.

Tickets are $25 each minimum plus a $5 charge on an arbitrary ticketing website BarCrawls sells through. So right off the bat, $30 gone with the promise of “$2 drafts, $3 bottles, $4 mixed drinks, and $5 shots” at 15 bars across Boston, most of which are at Faneuil Hall.

Now there is a note saying “deals may vary by time and place”, but more on that later.

The doors open for registration at 11AM on St. Patrick’s day. If you purchased the $25 ticket, there are two bars you can register at and there’s about an hour wait at each. Why they chose to do registration on St. Patrick’s Day and not the days leading up to it is beyond me.

After an hour waiting in line at the Royale club we received bracelets, tiny plastic cups, and a list of deals for the day, most of which ended by 3PM – we’d reached the end of the registration line around 1PM; we only had two hours to get to Faneuil Hall, wait in line at the bars there, and hopefully get in before the deals ended.

Turns out we couldn’t make it into any bar except the Hard Rock Cafe. The goddamn Hard Rock Cafe, where you can pay $12 for half a plate of nachos covered in bowling alley cheese topping.

Fortunately for us, Hard Rock had the best deal on the list: $3 bottles of beer until 9PM! Any bottled beer for $3 all night?! What could be better?!

So we waited in line for another 45 minutes to get into the Hard Rock, which was shockingly empty for a place with a 45 minute wait.

Of course by the time we got in, a waitress informed us that they had “run out of beer” (on St. Patrick’s Day!) – everything but Bud Light. That fantastic $3 bottle deal was now only good for Bud Light drafts.

If I wanted to drink horse piss all day I would have gone to a farm.

When our waitress found we were part of the bar crawl she pretty much stopped serving us, left dirty dishes on our table for an hour, and literally threw the bill down on the table every time we ordered a round of drinks.

This is a review of BarCrawls.com, but let me advise you to never eat at the Boston Hard Rock Cafe as well.

So after a few rounds of Bud Light we gave up and left Faneuil Hall and wound up going to the Intermission Tavern on Tremont Street most of the night – not part of the bar crawl.

In conclusion, BarCrawls.com is a blatant ripoff and a scam with fraudulent advertising and I’d be surprised if they’re still around by next March.

Saying deals “may vary by time in place” does not equate to “you’ll have about an hour to take advantage on most of these deals after you register”.

Also, let me be more specific about the deals:

$2 Drafts? Two bars had that deal going. TWO out of FIFTEEN. Most draft deals were either on PBR or some other fratwater domestic brew.

$3 Bottles? Only Hard Rock advertised that deal really. A couple other bars had bottles of Budweiser listed – again, no beer worth drinking.

$4 Mixed Drinks? $5 shots? I wouldn’t know how many bars honored that deal because I couldn’t get into any of them – but Hard Rock told us they ended that deal by the time we finally got into the place.

For my friends and I, St. Patrick’s Day 2012 equated to paying $30 to wait in line for an hour to get a bracelet, so we could go wait in line at a crappy, overpriced bar to order $3 Bud Light drafts from one of the worst waitresses I’ve ever had. All thanks to BarCrawls.com.

Steer clear of this nonsense and party well, friends.

RATING: 1/5

(originally posted on Yelp.com)

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