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Posts Tagged ‘Spider-Man’

Friday September 7th, 2012

Spider-Man Settlement Means Mixed Prospects For Musical

By Sam Negin
Theater Editor & Columnist


Playbill.com has reported that a settlement between Julie Taymor and the producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark may have reached a settlement deal regarding her attachment to the musical.

The suit began when, in November 2011, Taymor filed a suit against the show’s producers, saying the producers “violated her creative rights and did not compensate her for her work on the musical.”

The producers responded to this suit with a suit of their own — this time citing a breach of contract, stating that Taymor refused “to fulfill her contractual obligations, declaring that she could not and would not do the jobs that she was contracted to do.”

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Monday April 23rd, 2012

Why Some Comic Adaptations Failed: ‘Iron Man 2,’ ‘Punisher: War Zone,’ ‘Superman Returns,’ ‘Hulk’

By Scott Mendelson

Actor Tom Hiddleston wrote an eloquent essay yesterday for The Guardian basically praising and defending the sub-genre known as the superhero picture. Plenty of disdain for the genre comes from the very notion that it’s big-budget entertainment based on literature that was technically intended for children that gobbles up production dollars and screen space that otherwise might be allotted for more explicitly grown-up fare. But at least some of the alleged weariness of this specific type of film (the superhero comic book adaptation) comes from a feeling that all-too many of them are basically telling the same story. You’ve generally got the standard origin story which (let’s be honest) basically takes Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie and pours it into a different color bottle (I say that as a big fan of Spider-Man and Captain America). Then you have the sequels, which are quite often merely a case of escalation and/or the hero dealing with self-doubt often while in combat with a ‘bigger/badder’ version of himself (again, thank you Superman II). But over the last twenty years or so, there have been a handful of high-profile comic book films that have attempted to play around with the formula but have artistically failed anyway. As a rebuttal to the idea that ‘all superhero movies are the same’ as well as a reaffirmation of the idea that ‘it’s not what it’s about, but how it’s about it’, let’s take a look at five comic book adaptations that didn’t play it safe, but didn’t come out on top either.

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Wednesday February 15th, 2012

‘Transformers’ Sound Mixer Greg P. Russell Hopes 15th Oscar Nom Is Finally the Charm (Video)

To his colleagues in Hollywood’s sound community, Greg. P. Russell, a re-recording mixer, is a bona fide legend.

The 59-year-old, who made his name at Warner Bros. (1988-1995) and Sony (1995-2011) before moving to Paramount last year, has played an instrumental role — pun intended — in bringing to the big screen an astonishing number of aurally-outstanding blockbuster films. Moreover, he has received best sound mixing Oscar nominations for no fewer than 15 of them: Black Rain (1989); The Rock (1996); Con Air (1997); Armageddon (1998); The Mask of Zorro (1998); The Patriot (2000); Pearl Harbor (2001); Spider-Man (2002); Spider-Man 2 (2004); Memoirs of a Geisha (2005); Apocalypto (2006); Transformers (2007); Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009); Salt (2010), and the film for which he is nominated this year, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). That’s more than any other sound technician in history, save for one.

To the general public, though, Russell is known — if at all — as the guy who has put on a tux and headed over to the Academy Awards year after year, only to go home empty-handed … every single time.

It seems to me that Russell’s story perfectly illustrates the single most boneheaded thing about the Oscar voting process: the nominees for each category except for best picture are determined exclusively by the people who belong to the corresponding Academy branch (i.e. the members of the film editing branch, which is composed of film editors, pick the best film editing Oscar nominees); the winners of each category, however, are determined by the entire membership. In other words, each category’s nominees are chosen by people who are expert practitioners of the craft in question and intimately understand what it entails, but each category’s winners are chosen predominantly by people who have little or no familiarity with field that they are being asked to judge.

In what universe does it make sense for screenwriters, art directors, and makeup designers, among others, to determine the winner of best sound editing or best sound mixing, which the vast majority of them can’t even differentiate from each other? Not this one. But that’s why the films that end up being recognized in “below-the-line” categories tend to be plot/performance-driven, like most films that Academy members prefer, rather than effects-driven, like most of Russell’s films. (For many voters, it’s a matter of coattails: they simply vote for the film that they liked the most in every category in which they can.) And that’s why a guy like Russell, whose work is obviously revered by his peers, is still Oscar-less.

Last week, I visited Russell in his “new home,” the brand new Technicolor post-production facility on the Paramount lot, to try to get to know a little bit more about the man behind the undesirable stats. You can do the same by checking out the video of our conversation (above) or reading text excerpts of it (below).

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Wednesday January 18th, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours

By Samuel Negin

Some days are slow news days, but when it comes, it really comes. Lots of news has broken overnight, including the opening of the opening of the newest entry in the Broadway season, The Road to Mecca; the announcement of the Tony Awards ceremony date, complete casting for the upcoming transfer of Ghost: the Musical, and more Julie Taymor/Spider-Man news (she’s being sued is the short version). I also had the great pleasure of interviewing Stacy Keach yesterday, so I have the results of that to post later on this week. I wanted to let you all know that I am slowly but surely getting on top of all this news and will be releasing articles over the course of the week.

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Saturday February 5th, 2011


Last night, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented its Virtuoso Award to five very different actors who enjoyed breakthroughs, of one sort or another, in 2010: Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”), a Golden Globe nominee for best supporting actor, who will soon be seen in the “Spider-Man” reboot (and who was unable to attend the ceremony due to a last-minute filming conflict); John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”), a best supporting actor SAG and Oscar nominee, who is finally being recognized for decades of strong work that has heretofore flown under most people’s radars; Lesley Manville (“Another Year”), the National Board of Review’s best actress winner, who is writer-director Mike Leigh’s most frequent collaborator; Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), a best supporting actress SAG and Oscar nominee, who is only 14 years old; Jacki Weaver (“Animal Kingdom”), a best supporting actress Golden Globe and Oscar nominee, who is a 63-year-old giant of Australian stage and screen.

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Thursday January 13th, 2011


Check out what Andrew Garfield — a best supporting actor hopeful for his recent performance as clean-cut Eduardo Saverin in “The Social Network” — looks like now…

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Thursday January 6th, 2011


Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to chat by phone for about 35 minutes with the 27-year-old actor Andrew Garfield, who is a best supporting actor Golden Globe nominee and Oscar hopeful for his performance as Eduardo Saverin in David Fincher’s “The Social Network.” Garfield’s Saverin is a cool, easygoing, endlessly-likable character who is always financially and emotionally supportive of his friend/business partner Mark Zuckerberg, but who lacks Zuckerberg’s singular focus, long-term vision, and utter ruthlessness, and is consequently betrayed in a most cold-blooded manner. (One almost expects him to say, “Et tu, Mark?”) In my humble opinion, he is nothing short of the emotional center of the film.

Garfield, a classically-trained theater actor, made his big screen debut in Robert Redford’s “Lions for Lambs” (2007); won a BAFTA Award for best TV actor for the British telefilm “Boy A” (2007); co-starred with Heath Ledger in his last film, Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus” (2009); and recently played the shared love interest of Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan in Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go” (2010) and the main character in Spike Jonze’s 29-minute short “I’m Here.” When we spoke, he had just flown back to Los Angeles from London for a short break from filming the movie that will soon turn him into a household name and internationally-recognized celebrity, the still untitled reboot of the “Spider-Man” franchise, in which he is replacing Tobey Maguire as the title character. Clearly, it is Andrew Garfield’s moment.

Over the course of our conversation — audio clips of which you can hear below — Garfield and I discussed all of the above, and much more…

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Tuesday December 14th, 2010


To see a full list of the film nominees, click here!

Key Factoids

Noteworthy Inclusions

  • The Tourist” may have bombed at the box-office and been panned by critics, but that didn’t stop the HFPA from recognizing it in all three major categories in which it was eligible: the film for best picture (musical or comedy), Johnny Depp for best actor (musical or comedy), and Angelina Jolie for best actress (musical or comedy). How could the HFPA resisted that kind of star power?!
  • Halle Berry, returning to the screen after a three-year absence, was a surprise nominee for best actress (drama) for her performance as a woman with multiple personality disorder in “Frankie and Alice.”
  • Emma Stone, the 22-year-old actress who will next be seen in the reboot of the “Spider-Man” franchise, is now a certified member of Hollywood’s A-list thanks to her nomination for best actress (musical or comedy) for “Easy A.”
  • It was rumored that HFPA members really liked the unusual action flick “Red,” and indeed the film was nominated for best picture (musical or comedy), if not for the performances by its aging cast.
  • Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, the stars of the controversial indie “Blue Valentine,” were nominated for best actor (drama) and best actress (drama), respectively. These nominations were anything but assured.
  • Both female stars of “The Kids Are All Right,” Annette Bening and Julianne Moore, were nominated for best actress (musical or comedy). There was certainly a dearth of options in the category this year, but this could pre-sage a rare double-nomination at the Oscars.
  • Many people speculated that even if “The Fighter” did well, its director David O. Russell, who still bears scars from a YouTube shouting incident from years ago, would be left behind. This was not the case. Indeed, “The Fighter” was nominated in every major category in which it was eligible — the film for best picture (drama), Mark Wahlberg for best actor (drama), Christian Bale for best supporting actor, both Amy Adams and Melissa Leo for best supporting actress, and, yes, Russell for best director.

Noteworthy Snubs

  • True Grit,” the last major awards contender to be released this year, has been greeted warmly by critics, but was completely snubbed by the HFPA. There was always some doubt about whether Hailee Steinfeld, who arguably gives it finest performance, would be left behind due to category confusion (the HFPA wanted her in lead and Paramount wanted her in supporting), but several other nominations still seemed likely — the film for best picture (drama), Ethan Coen and Joel Coen for best director; Jeff Bridges for best actor (drama), and Matt Damon for best supporting actor.
  • The British dramedy “Made in Dagenham” was thought to be a serious contender in several categories — the film for best picture (musical or comedy), Sally Hawkins for best actress (musical or comedy), and possibly even Miranda Richardson for best supporting actress — but it wound up with zero nominations.
  • Love and Other Drugs” was denied a best picture (musical or comedy) nomination even though both of its stars were nominated — Jake Gyllenhaal for best actor (musical or comedy) and Anne Hathaway for best actress (musical or comedy).
  • A number of HFPA favorites from years past were denied nominations this morning: seven-time nominee/one-time winner Leonardo DiCaprio was not nominated in the best actor (drama) category for either of the two performances for which he was eligible, the one in “Inception” (even though the film was nominated for best picture, best director, best screenplay, and best original score) or the one in “Shutter Island”; six-time nominee/two-time winner Jim Carrey was not nominated in the best actor (musical or comedy) category for his performance in “I Love You Phillip Morris”; and five-time nominee/two-time winner Robert Downey, Jr. was not nominated in the best actor (musical or comedy) category for his performance in “Due Date.”

Photo: Halle Berry in “Frankie and Alice.” Credit: Freestyle Releasing.

Sunday December 12th, 2010


On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to spend a half-hour with the actress Kirsten Dunst, who is receiving the best reviews of her career — and even best supporting actress Oscar buzz — for her performance as a woman in a troubled marriage who disappears under mysterious circumstances in Andrew Jarecki’s crime-thriller “All Good Things” (Magnolia, 12/3, R, trailer). (The film was inspired by the true story of a woman named Kathie Durst who has been missing since 1982.)

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