Marisa Tomei shines in Spider-Man

Another Spider-Man movie? Already?!?

Even with what seems like too many reboots, the reviews seem to be great so far, and the new film also let’s Marisa Tomei shine as a younger and sexier Aunt May.

Here’s some shots of her in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

  

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Box Office Recap: “Spider-Man” on the top of the charts… For the Seventh Time in the past Decade

Yes, you read the title right. For the seventh time in the past decade (well, ten years and two months), a Spider-Man film is on the top of the weekend domestic box office charts. Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” stayed at number one for two weeks in 2002, and its sequels did the same in 2004 and 2007, respectively. Now, here in 2012, director Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” is on top once again after making $65 million this weekend and $140 million over the course of its six-day opening.

“Spider-Man’s” $65 million debut weekend is the fifth largest opening of the year, behind only “The Avengers” ($207 million), “The Hunger Games” ($155 million), “The Lorax” ($70 million), and “Brave” ($66 million). But “Spidey’s” $140 million did allow it to beat out the six-day gross of some other recent comic book reboots, namely “Batman Begins” and “X-Men: First Class,” which made $79.5 million and $69.9 million over their first six days, respectively.

However, perhaps the best way to judge “The Amazing Spider-Man’s” success is to compare it to that of Sam Raimi’s trilogy. The reboot found itself right behind the first “Spider-Man’s” six day total of $144.2 million. However, “Spider-Man 2” grossed $180.1 million and “Spider-Man 3” $176.2 million, meaning the newest film actually made the least of any “Spidey” movie to date. And while “The Amazing Spider-Man” beat out “Batman Begins” in terms of gross, Christopher Nolan’s film had the best six-day start of any Batman film at the time. Of course, “The Dark Knight” later upped the ante.

After breaking “The Hangover’s” record for best debut by an original R-rated comedy (i.e. not counting “The Hangover Part II“) last weekend,  Seth McFarlane’s “Ted,” remained strong, grossing $32.6 million in its second weekend. For comparison’s sake, “The Hangover” made just under $32.8 million in its second weekend, and “Ted’s” ten-day total of $120.2 million bests “The Hangover” over the same period.

In its third weekend, “Brave” remained in third place with $20.162 million. The Pixar flick has now grossed $174.5 million to date, which means it’s all but assured to be the studio’s tenth movie to accumulate $200 million.

Oliver Stone’s “Savages” came in fourth place with $16 million in its opening weekend, which isn’t all that bad considering its competition. Behind it, “Magic Mike,” “Madea’s Witness Protection,” and “Madagascar 3” slid into the fifth, sixth, and seventh spots with $15.6, $10.1, and $7.5 million, respectively.

The weekend’s soft release was “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” which came in eighth place with $7.1 million. In ninth and tenth place we saw a couple strong showings from films teetering on the edge of the “specialty box office” label. Wes Anderson’sMoonrise Kingdom” grossed $4.5 million from 884 theaters, while in its third week Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” added 777 theaters, giving it a total of 806 and making $3.5 million.

Overall, it was a strong weekend at the box office. The nation’s top 12 films grossed $187.1 million, a 28 percent bump from this time last year.

Here are the results for this weekend’s top 10 at the box office:

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume

1. The Amazing Spider-Man, 1/4,318, Sony, $65 million, $140 million.
2. Ted, 2/3,256, Universal, $32.593 million, $120.24 million.
3. Brave, 3/3,891, Buena Vista, $20.162 million, $174.519 million.
4. Savages, 1/2,628, Universal, $16.162 million.
5. Magic Mike, 2/3,120, Warner Bros., $15.61 million, $72.797 million.
6. Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection, 2/2,161, $10.2 million, $45.846 million.
7. Madagascar 3, 5/2,861, Paramount/Dreamworks, $7.7 million, $196.02 million.
8. Katy Perry: Part of Me, 1/3,730, Paramount, $7.15 million.
9. Moonrise Kingdom, 7/884, Focus, $4.642 million, $26.893 million.
10. To Rome with Love, 3/806, SPC, $3.502 million, $5.621 million.

  

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A Chat with Rizwan Manji, Parvesh Cheena, and Anisha Nagarajan (“Outsourced”)

Although I mentioned in the intro to my chat with Ben Rappaport that my encounter with him at the 2011 Winter TCA Tour was the first time I’d ever spoken with him, it was not the first time I’d talked to a cast member of “Outsourced.” I had the pleasure of speaking with Rizwan Manji and Parvesh Cheena back in August at the summer TCA tour, and having enjoyed watching the ensemble of the show really come together since then, I took advantage of the opportunity to talk to them again. It was an added bonus, however, that the lovely Anisha Nagarajan, who plays Madhuri on the series (and who I’d not met previously), happened to walk up while we were chatting. All three were jazzed about the way “Outsourced” has been coming along and, perhaps more surprisingly, are actually kind of excited about their new 10:30 PM timeslot, which takes effect tonight.

One housekeeping note: there are a couple of questions within the piece which were asked by my TCA compatriot Bill Brioux, who has a great and appropriately-titled site called TV Feeds My Family. Poor Bill was forced to battle his way through the last half of the tour with an excruciating case of laryngitis, and he asked if – in lieu of trying to croak out all of his questions – he could piggyback on a couple of my interviews, so if you should happen to be one of the few people who reads both of us, let me assure you that any crossover between our pieces on “Outsourced” is totally authorized.

Bullz-Eye: You and I first met back in the summer, for the initial “Outsourced” panel. Are you nervous about being back amongst the critics?

Rizwan Manji: (Laughs) You know what? We’re very excited to be back. We’re glad that we’re still here and that we’re doing so well, so we’re very happy about that. Yeah, I think we’re a little bit more relaxed than we were in August. We were very nervous about what we were going to be asked, and we hadn’t done it before. Now, we’re sort of…we’ve gone to a bunch of different events now, so we’re a little bit calmer than we were in August.

BE: Plus, you guys are a hit now.

RM: Yes! We’re very excited about that!

BE: I liked the show from the get-go, actually. I used to work in a call center, so I had a natural affinity to the concept.

RM: So you’re the real Todd, I guess? (Laughs)

BE: Well, I did my best. In fact, I just spoke with your onscreen nemesis a few minutes ago.

RM: You did…? (Cuts eyes suspiciously around the room, then laughs)

BE: You guys really have some great chemistry together, a hero/villain dynamic or whatever you want to call it.

RM: Oh, thank you! Yeah, me and Ben, we have a tremendous time. We actually even live really close by each other, so we actually even see each other on the weekends. My daughter loves him, and whenever she sees him on TV, she’s always, like, “More Ben! More Ben!” (Laughs) She’s two, and that’s what she can come up with. You know, it’s…I’m so thankful that, as you said, the chemistry worked out, because we never auditioned together. It was one of those things where I found out really late in the game, because, as I think I might’ve mentioned to you in the summer, I auditioned for a different part. So when we actually met was the first time we were reading it for the network, and we were, like, “Oh, my God, this works!” So it could’ve gone horribly wrong, or it could’ve been this, and I’m so happy that we have a little bit of chemistry.

Read the rest of this entry »

  

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Meet your new Spider-Man

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I was just about to start get down to business on this week’s already quite late box office preview — which you’ll now be seeing here tomorrow morning — when I saw the bombshell, though not really surprising, press release posted over at Deadline.  26-year-old Andrew Garfield has already been mentioned several times as a possible choice for the Marc Webb Spider-Man reboot (remember when you had to wait at least a decade for those?), and I think it’s probably a good, perhaps better than good, choice, though he’s slightly grown-up if they really do intend to make him a high school kid.

As per Wikipedia, Garfield was born in my hometown of L.A., but raised mostly in Surrey, England, which I imagine is a somewhat different atmosphere. On the other hand, I guess you can take the boy out of Hollywood but you can’t entirely take Hollywood out of this boy. He has one of the two lead roles, alongside Jesse Eisenberg in David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming “The Social Network,” not to mention the science fiction drama/love story “Never Let Me Go.”  He’s also appeared in “Lions for Lambs,” and “The Other Boleyn Girl.” In less mainstream fare, he’s also had in the lead role of the first film in the “Red Riding” trilogy of made-for-British-TV thrillers, a huge critical smash last year which had a limited theatrical release stateside. He’s also done more than his share of stage work and has won a BAFTA (British Oscar) for the low-budget British drama, “Boy A.” In other words, he’s doesn’t seem to be a lightweight.

As far as his box office potential goes, who knows? However, the dual-passport holding American-English-Jewish Garfield, who despite his cosmopolitan background made his success without any apparent industry or artistic connections, is just geeky enough to be relatable for boys and believable as a bit of an outcast, but, I’m guessing, also quite handsome enough to make girls swoon a bit. (He’s already been an MTV “hump day hottie,” so I guess there’s my proof.) The only aspect I’m unsure of is the whole vague “star power” thing. I’ll get back to you on that one.

Garfield has came up on my radar, however, because of his surprisingly good work in a hugely problematic role in “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnussus.” The uneven Terry Gilliam fantasy saddled him with a badly muddled character in which we were supposed to still kind of like him despite the fact that he was being persistently mean to adorable Lily Cole. Garfield wasn’t entirely successful in making his character work the way it should have in the film’s story, such as it was, but he impressed me by keeping things about as believable as I can imagine under the circumstances. Making Peter Parker come to life after that should be a comparative breeze.  Let’s just see how he handles the clear potential for A-list status here.

Anne Thompson has some more.

  

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Celluloid Heroes: Funniest Death Scenes of the 2000s

John Donne once said that death be not proud, but history appears to have misplaced his opinion on whether it can be funny. Fortunately, Hollywood has given us an answer on his behalf: hell, yes. Yes, we’re positive that’s exactly how the religious poet Donne would feel about it if he had seen the movies we’ve seen this decade. Even the dogs get in on the action at the movies this year: in “Up,” Dug’s favorite joke is, “A squirrel says, ‘I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead.’ The joke is funny because the squirrel is dead.”

One word of caution before proceeding: as you might imagine, there are SPOILERS galore here. Heck, some of these movies haven’t even been released on DVD yet. Ready to laugh at man’s last, most undignified act? Read on, fellow sickos, and of course give us your suggestions for the list in the comments section.

10. Shaft (2000): Back alley view to a kill
shaft
Yes, it seems like an inauspicious way to begin the list, but hey, it was a free screening, and I love Samuel L. Jackson. There is a reason that there was no sequel to John Singleton’s blacksploitation remake – what was up with Edgar Wright taking a shit in the middle of a meeting? – but Singleton did set up one fantastic death of a bad guy, and better yet, it’s clean enough for network television. John Shaft is being chased by baddies, so he jumps through the window of a New York apartment building onto the fire escape. Bad guy is a few steps behind him, so he peeks his head out of the window to see how much of a lead Shaft has. Ha ha, muthafucka. Shaft is right there outside the window, gun in bad guy’s face. Boom, dead.

9. Friday the 13th (2009): Shoot that poison arrow through my heeeeeeead
friday 13th nolan
Easily the best scene in the wholly unnecessary 2009 remake of the legendary (though itself not very good) 1980 slasher movie. Nolan is driving a ski boat, his topless cheesecake girlfriend behind on a wakeboard. From out of nowhere, THWACK! Nolan gets an arrow straight through his head, killing him instantly. This scene is awesome for two reasons: the obvious one is the sheer surprise of it all, the instant death in a movie series built on slow, creeping deaths and boo! noises. The really awesome part about it is that for this to happen, it means that Jason Voorhees, a mentally impaired, hockey mask-wearing lunatic (you can’t say that the mask doesn’t affect his depth perception), had to shoot an arrow at a fast-moving boat while standing on the shore, from a distance of at least 50 yards. Anyone who’s done archery on “Wii Sports Resort” knows that that, friends, is fucking ridonculous.

8. Saw IV (2007): Ice ice, baby
saw iv
For a series that started out with such promise – before that whole ‘torture porn’ phrase was bandied about, everyone just thought of “Saw” as a grisly thriller, which it was – the “Saw” movies became self-parody by the third installment, trying to have their cake and eat it too with traps that the victims had absolutely no chance of surviving, then wagging a finger at the misguided Amanda (and by extension, the American public) for setting them up, thinking they could have it both ways. When the fourth one came along, I was understandably jaded, especially after they revealed that Detective Eric Matthews is not only alive but stuck in a noose and slipping on an ice block while two gigantic blocks sit suspended in the rafters on both sides of his melon in the event an electrode is triggered. One of Matthews’ friends on the force has been looking for him since he disappeared, and since the police chief is working with Jigsaw, the chief knows just how to manipulate him. He even warns the guy earlier not to go through an unsecured door, and it is that impulsive move later that causes Matthews’ awesome, awesome death, where those 100-pound blocks of ice create a brain smoothie that the residents of Zombieland would kill for. Speaking of which…

7. Zombieland (2009): Fatty on the windscreen
zombieland banjo
One of the most beautifully grotesque pieces of photography I’ve seen in years. The scene just before this was funny enough, with the little princess zombies going after the suburban hausfrau, but when she takes her eye off the road, hits the back of the flat bed truck, crashes through the windshield and skids 30 feet across the street, well, that’s just comedy gold, right there. Those of you who have seen the movie are probably wondering why I included this over the much-ballyhooed cameo death scene by Bill Murray. Well, I’ll tell you: because that was as cheap a laugh as there is in “Zombieland.” Come on, do you really think Tallahassee and Wichita never thought, “Wait, don’t jump Columbus; he’s a jumpy little bitch and shoots everything twice”? That scene required a massive lapse of logic on the part of all concerned. Except Columbus, of course; he was totally within his rights to take Zombie Murray out.

6. Final Destination 2 (2003): Keep off the glass
final dest 2 glass edit
Considered by many to be the best of the franchise (though I’ll confess that I prefer the third one, and you’ll soon see why), there are some spectacular deaths in “Final Destination 2,” but only one had me reaching for the rewind wheel, and that is when young Tim (James Kirk) foolishly chases after some pigeons outside of the hospital, and runs underneath a giant plate of glass, which doesn’t just kill him but turns him into vapor. Later, for an added laugh, they show the body bag that carries his “remains” into an ambulance, but it has no form, since there was only blood left behind.

5. Kill Bill Vol. I (2003): Cutthroat business meeting
kill bill 2
The next time you’re thinking of calling out your new boss’ Chinese or American heritage as a symbol of weakness or corruption, make sure your new boss isn’t barefoot and carrying a samurai sword. You won’t hear her coming, and the last thing you’ll see is up her kimono after your severed head lies motionless at her feet. Bad call, Boss Tanaka.

4. Final Destination 3 (2006): Sorry, I really lost my head
final dest 3
I laughed so hard at this one that three women from a couple rows in front of me turned and looked at me like I was a ghoul. Apparently, they didn’t know that these movies are supposed to be funny. After the initial crash takes place, smarty pants Wendy tries to warn Lewis the gym rat that Death is after them. Instead, he mocks her, even after he was nearly decapitated by two swords on the wall. (Hands up: anyone been to a gym that has swords on the wall? Didn’t think so.) He then does one more rep on his triceps machine, unaware that the free weights behind him are really, really free. On the plus side for him, he literally had no idea what hit him, because whatever brains that would have formed that idea were in pieces on the floor. And Wendy. Mostly Wendy.

3. Law Abiding Citizen (2009): I just called to say…you’re dead
law abiding citizen
It doubled its budget at the box office, but “Law Abiding Citizen” is a pretty silly movie. Man loses wife and daughter in home robbery, man feels wronged by system, Man extracts brutal revenge on everyone, and we mean everyone, he feels is responsible. There is one scene, however, that makes the entire film worth watching, and it is when attorney Nick Rice is in the judge’s chambers, and the judge, who is one of the ‘everyone’ supposedly responsible for this miscarriage of justice, answers her cell phone. “Hello?” BAM! Dead. Man somehow wired her phone to deliver the equivalent to a bullet in the head. The whole thing takes less than a second, and it’s one of the funniest less-than-a-seconds of the you will ever see.

2. Spider-Man (2002): Death scene, interrupted
spider-man goblin
Leave it to Sam Raimi to assemble a vicious, bloody fight to the death between hero and villain, and end it with the funniest scene in the movie. After beating Peter Parker nearly senseless in the tried and true standard that is the abandoned building, Peter comes roaring back with a vengeance until the Green Goblin surrenders and reveals himself to be Norman Osborn, Peter’s best friend Harry’s father. Norman then attempts to literally and figuratively stab Peter in the back with his hoverboard, but Peter’s spider sense tingles just in time for him to backflip out of the way while the hoverboard impales Norman to a brick wall. That alone would make for a pretty cool scene, but it’s not enough for Raimi; in a trick straight out of the “Evil Dead” series, he includes a score-free, quick-shot close-up of Norman saying “Oh,” and then jumping back into the action of Norman getting killed by his own weapon. He may have made his bones in horror, but that scene is a textbook lesson in comic timing.

1. Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002): The face of death is near, and so, I flail!
clones shmi 1
She had nearly 25 years of acting experience under her belt when the Sweden-born Pernilla August signed on to play Anakin Skywalker’s mother Shmi, and somewhere along the way, you would think that she would have learned how to die on screen. But then again, after 30 years of making movies, you’d think that George Lucas would know a thing or two about directing, so there you go. The “Star Wars” movies were never shining beacons of thespian genius, but Shmi Skywalker-Lars’ death is the kind of work that you’d expect from the understudies to the group in “Waiting for Guffman.” Shmi’s last words aren’t even tear-filled confessions or reluctant farewell; they’re the acts of someone with Alzheimer’s, someone so forgetful that she doesn’t realize she’s about to die. And for the piece de resistance, the open-mouth head flop. Even Hayden Christensen could do a better death scene than that. And he’s a robot, fer crissakes.

Honorable Mentions
The Dark Knight (2008): The disappearing pencil trick
Van Helsing (2004): Werewolf Helsing howls over lover’s death
District 9 (2009): The bullet grenade
Ninja Assassin (2009): Just a little off the top…half of your head

  

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