Spider-Man (2002) Film Review

Rating 12a
Length 2h01
Release 11.5.2007
Director Sam Raimi
About Peter Parker’s life changes when he is bitten by a genetically altered spider and gains superpowers. He uses his powers to help people and finds himself facing the Green Goblin, an evil maniac.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Netflix and Amazon Prime
Trailer:

The Good

  • William Dafoe makes for the perfect Norman/ Goblin. Yes, he hams it up, but it works perfectly with that insane laugh of his. The duality of the role was performed with ease. Absolute joy to watch from start to finish.
  • The film sets up so many other pieces for the trilogy. What’s so good about it though, is that it doesn’t make this film all about the origin story like some other films do (Fantastic Four springs to mind). It’s subtle and almost unnoticeable until you look at the trilogy as a complete unit (I did one of my essays in uni on the elements of cause and effect in these films).
  • The music is brilliant. Unlike X Men (Still pains me to this day that the film didn’t include the cartoon’s theme music), this does use the cartoon’s motif, albeit in an updated way. All it took was those first few bars and I felt right at home, so it came as no surprise that the score was none other than the wonderful Danny Elfman.

The Bad

  • The CGI is god awful in some scenes. The only saving grace is that the colours and visual tones give the film that comic book feel so the CGI doesn’t look *too* out of place.
  • Again, this is more to do with the MCU and how it’s changed the landscape for superhero movies, but this outing is so campy. Like, bordering on panto sort of campy. While it works for the Green Goblin, having everything else hammed up just puts the story at odds with itself.
    At the story’s heart is grief. Peter is motivated by Uncle Owen’s death and Green Goblin is the manifestation of Norman’s fear of failure. None of which is light stuff. It all gets lost in the quips, nods and winks to the audience.

The Ugly

  • I know there are some Tobey Maguire defenders out there, and at the time I had no complaints, but the dude looks over 30. Those high school scenes really do make him look a little creepy.
    I’d also thought Emo Peter was relegated to the third outing, but in reality that emo streak was in him all along. Yes, we have been truly spoiled with Tom Holland, but while Tobey makes a good Spider-Man… he’s too old and too shit for Peter Parker. If he cried, I did one of two things; I laughed or I groaned.
  • You cast Kirsten Dunst, THE Kirsten Dunst, yet all you get her to do is scream?! What bullshit is that?!

Final Thoughts

In the grand scheme of things, this is the equivalent of the first two Harry Potters while Garfield and Holland are very much Azkaban onwards. Totally worth the pain of Maguire for the genius that is Dafoe!

Triggermen (2002) Film Review

Rating 15
Length 1h36
Release 01.11.2002
Director John Bradshaw (Story by Mark Thomas)
About English con men Pete (Neil Morrissey) and Andy (Adrian Dunbar) think they’ve stumbled onto a brilliant scam when, in a Chicago hotel, they’re mistaken for a pair of assassins — Terry (Donnie Wahlberg) and Tommy (Michael Rapaport) — and receive payment for a job they have no intention of completing: the murder of major mobster Cutler (Pete Postlethwaite). As Pete and Andy decide what to do with their ill-gotten gains, Terry and Tommy scour the hotel for the money they’ve been promised.
Moon: no moon
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
Trailer:

The Good

  • This film might be set in Chicago, but it is as British as you get. The humour, the cheek and the insanity that progresses this 90 minute film is something only a Brit would create.
  • Honestly, it’s quite fun seeing Neil Morrissey in a film. I’m glad he gives a much more balanced performance than his ‘lad’ persona in Men Behaving Badly, but still not the serious and miserable gits he’s been playing recently. Equally, it’s brilliant to see a young Ted Hastings get as much screen-time as he does. He’s the ideal ying, to Morrissey’s yang.
  • Playing the *real* assassins are Michael Rapaport and Donnie Wahlberg. The more I see of Donnie, the more I feel bad about calling him the ‘Wish Wahlberg’. Sort of. But in all seriousness, another solid performance from both.
  • This has a squint a bit, and it looks like Big Business to it. It could have leaned a little more into that and really played on the mistaken identity part, rather than the ‘how far can we go until we’re caught’. But to quote another similar film ‘nobody’s perfect’.

The Bad

  • The plot is so-so. The romance between Terry and Emma feels a tad too forced and the idea that the actual assassins would miss the suitcase that was all but dropped on their foot is a little frustrating.

The Ugly

  • There is nowhere near enough Pete Postlewaite, and he certainly doesn’t look like he’s having a good time. This was his Alan Rickman/ Sheriff of Nottingham moment, and it just falls flat.
  • What the fuck was Amanda Plummer’s accent?! Just make the broad American and have done with it. She’s a brilliant actor, even in this she’s the best thing about the film. But, my god she switches accents mid sentence and it drives me crazy. One moment she’s *attempting* an Irish accent, before it dips into a weird Yorkshire lilt.

Final Thoughts

This is a perfect random watch for any fans of Line of Duty. It’s not going to be a film that you’ll come back to often, but for anyone who wants Gangster-lite it’s spot on.

Resident Evil (2002)

Rating 18
Length 1h40
Release 27.8.2021
Director Nina DaCosta
About A virus turns hundreds of humans and animals at a genetic research facility into flesh-eating zombies. In response, an elite military unit tries to take them down before it is too late.
Moon: no moon sighting
Where to Watch: Now TV
Trailer:

The Good

  • The cast is incredible. Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius and Colin Salmon all pull their weight and make this a lot less painful to watch.
  • The dogs are frightening. Whatever they did to make them dogs look the way they did, really works. Incredible.
  • I love the set design of the underground labs. They are perfect for the action sequences and increasing panic.

The Bad

  • Some of the CGI isn’t holding up as well as other people might suggest. It’s not the worst out there by any means, and some of the scenes would not have been possible without it, but it does appear more like game play than film in places.
  • The use of Alice in Wonderland is so basic and superficial, I wished they’d just removed it completely. The work of Lewis Carroll is so well known and name dropped by all forms of media, it just feels underwhelming here. Especially when its a story about a woman who is uncertain who she is and she’s going into a world she’s never experienced before?

The Ugly

  • Gratuitous nudity of Milla Jovovich. Not once, but twice, this films has her out of her clothes and her cooch out. Just fuck off with the spank bank imagery.

Final Thoughts

It was much better than I remember, but it didn’t leave me wanting to watch any of the others in the franchise which is a shame really because most: Potter, Die Hard, Star Wars, to name a few, do lend themselves to a marathon of some description.

28 Days Later (2002) Halloween Advent

Rating 18
Length 1h53
Release 01.11.2002
Director Danny Boyle
About After a mysterious virus wreaks havoc in the United Kingdom, a team of survivors tries to cope with the aftermath of the disaster and find security.
Moon: full moon sighted at 1h40
Where to Watch: Disney Plus
Trailer:

Trick

  • Christopher Eccleston’s accent isn’t right for the part; it’s more fitting for a Politian than a soldier that’s presented. The other issue is that Eccleston does not keep the accent consistent. The recorded broadcast has Eccleston use the more familiar Northern accent that he is known for, yet upon meeting him the accent becomes closer to an RP, and even Shakespearian at times. It’s not the crapiness of his rah, rah, rah accent that bugs me, but the inconsistency. Especially when you consider the base is near Manchester.

Treat

  • The opening and the initial cause of the outbreak is genius. From the way climate crisis groups like Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion are behaving, it is totally realistic that people would be so self-righteous as to blaze in and create chaos all in the name of what they think is ‘right’.
  • The filming technique, editing and use of sounds is impeccable. It all adds to the atmosphere and apocalypse. You feel like you’re there with Jim.
  • There are so many scenes in this film that are beautiful. From the collection of money and cans of drinks, to the raid of the supermarket and the picnic at the side of the motorway. They’re scenes of truest humanity in the face of an apocalypse.
  • The casting is incredible. Naomi Watts is a force to be reckoned with and truly makes me wonder why she hasn’t been in more things other than Bond. Brendan Gleeson and Cillian Murphy are perfect in their survivor roles.

Final Thoughts

A film I’ve not watched in years and I think that worked in its favour.

The Sum of All Fears (2002)

Rating  12
Length 2hr 4
Release 16.8.2002
Director Phil Alden Robinson
About Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst needs to stop a terrorist group from planting a nuclear weapon at a football match in Baltimore, before they cause damage.


The Good

  • Not normally one to say it, but Ben Affleck did a good job headlining the film as Jack Ryan. The smug grin did come out to play at times, but overall, he did well as an analyst out of his depth.
  • Morgan Freeman was as delightful as ever playing the mentor to Affleck’s Ryan.
  • Its a decent plot with a good amount of action. Certainly, much better than the two Ford offerings.

The Bad

  • Liev Scriber was wasted. Scenes with him and Affleck together were brilliant and I was left wanting more of Scriber’s Clark. 
  • I love James Cromwell, don’t get me wrong, but I felt his switch from diplomatic President to “blow them all to hell” a little off the mark. I know the attack was meant to be a turning point, but he didn’t seem to shift till much later. Ignoring Ryan and ordering people to stop him also seemed off seeing as he was giving information from his mission that Cromwell sent him on.

The Ugly 

  • I sound like my dad with this, but there were a lot of similar looking faces all at the same place. It made it difficult to keep track of the whose and the whats.
  • It was over 2 hrs and I felt it. All of it. For a film that has many locations and fast paced action, it didn’t half limp along at times.

Final Thoughts

Flawed and patchy, but the best in the franchise so far.

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Rating 15

Length 2hr

Release 15.11.2002

Director Michael Moore

About Political documentary filmmaker Michael Moore explores the circumstances that lead to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and, more broadly, the proliferation of guns and the high homicide rate in America. In his trademark provocative fashion, Moore accosts Kmart corporate employees and pleads with them to stop selling bullets, investigates why Canada doesn’t have the same excessive rate of gun violence and questions actor Charlton Heston on his support of the National Rifle Association.


The Good

  • Well made and informative. It’s journalism in its truest form and pulls no punches. To that extent it certainly has a level of fair representation and at no point does Moore address the audience and give his opinion. Now, while it might be implied that he is anti-gun, its not said outright and I don’t feel like I’m having someone else’s opinion shoved down my throat. It gives you the freedom to make up your own mind.
  • The film looks at as many root causes to American violence and gun culture. The film looks at the social history, the political history and the culture of fear.

The Bad

  • I felt uncomfortable with some of the emotional manipulation of Columbine survivors, in particularly in regards to them arriving unannounced at a K-Mary head quarters. I believe it’s right to hold them accountable and the survivors have a right to be heard, but it feels a little exploitative to do it for a film.
  • Again, with Charlton Heston, I felt very uncomfortable with everything that is seen to happen after the interview is stopped. Again, he was an absolute knob. Holding a gun convention in a town days after a massacre is thoughtless and insensitive. To do it twice and, both times, refuse to relocate is barbaric. However, I did struggle with watching Moore follow him after leaving.
  • I found the run time a little too long to be affective when the narrative flow doesn’t feel as smooth as other documentary films out there.

The Ugly

  • How is it that the Columbine massacre was 20 years ago, yet there has been no governmental effort or change to ensure public places are safe for citizens? This event and Moore’s film should have been enough to legislate gun control.
  • The film was bold, it was brave and it made people think. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought it would make a difference, so to watch it now it stirs up too much bitterness, too much frustration.

Final Thoughts

Irrespective of its flaws, this is a film that everyone needs to see. Not only that, I somewhat think its time for an updated follow up that looks into the rise of these incidents and the blind ignorance of the US and their flawed logic that guns are okay, but the kinder egg is dangerous enough to be illegal.