‘Poltergeist’ Remake: Creatively Bankrupt, or Shameless Cash Grab?

Take a look at this trailer for the upcoming remake of Tobe Hooper‘s classic 1982 horror film Poltergeist, and then ask yourself why this movie exists.

From the footage the studio is promoting, this looks like a straight remake — not a reboot and especially not a “reimagining” — so what’s the point? What’s new or different about this? Apparently nothing. So why do it? One reason: money.
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Spidey Reboot Reboots Repeat Villain

ccooperThe reimagined sequel to that reimagined superhero flick The Amazing Spider-Man has added another (potential) villain to the roster: Chris Cooper has signed to play industrialist Norman Osbourn, the man who eventually became the homicidal Green Goblin in the comic books and in Sam Raimi‘s trilogy.

The big question is if we’ll see the Goblin, or just Osbourn. After all, this sequel is already squeezing in a couple of major Spider-Man foes: Electro — played by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, and the Rhino, played by Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti. It there room for a third baddie, played by a third Academy Award heavyweight (Cooper won in 2002)?

Let’s hope that returning director Marc Webb has learned some lessons from previous superhero sequels that got bogged down with more and more and more villains, eventually practically squeezing the hero out of his own movie — and all too often losing his dignity.

The Amazing Spider-Man sequel — with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone also returning — opens May 2, 2014.

New “Oz” Trailer Not So Great and Powerful

The newest trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful has, ironically, dampened my enthusiasm for this movie. I really am not sure if I am going to bother with seeing it in a theater. I was originally on this fence, but then this July trailer persuaded me to get excited for the March 2013 release.  But after seeing this clip, I’m back on that fence.

Sure, it appears well-made, but it just don’t look very engaging from the scenes glimpsed here. There’s something… off about everything I see. Even the gorgeous Mila Kunis doesn’t feel quite right. I’m not eager to watch James Franco‘s small-time hustler Oscar Diggs try to save a magic land with wizard powers he doesn’t have.

Oz: the Great and Powerful Trailer

One upcoming movie that definitely was nowhere near my radar was Oz: The Great and Powerful. But it is now.

Directed by Sam Raimi (who took up this fantasy project after deciding to scuttle Spider-Man 4), the movie has an impressive cast: Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Abigail Spencer and James Franco. The… well, let’s call him… eccentric… Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a small-time carnival hustler who is swept to the magical land of Oz by a tornado. There, instead of new sheep to fleece, he encounters three witches and must find the kernal of good within himself and become a great and powerful wizard for real.

The story sounds rather pedestrian to me, but what captured my attention was this terrific trailer. I love the black-and-white opening and the switch to color when Oscar lands in Oz. Hmmm, it reminds me of something, but what?

Look for OTGAP on March 8, 2013

Webb of Intrigue: Spidey’s New Director

Marc Webb

So there’s a new director at the helm of the Spider-Man movie franchise: Marc Webb (no pun intended), whose (500) Days of Summer made such a splash last year, is taking the reins from genre fave Sam Raimi. Some reports indicate that Webb has signed to make a trilogy of films for Columbia.

First of all, a round of applause for all of Raimi’s hard work and creativity. His first two Spidey films were great fun, and the second is certainly one of my favorite superhero films to date; it will go down in cinema history as a classic. The third installment? Well… not so much. Spider-Man 3 fell into the textbook trap of how to ruin a superhero movie: overstuff it with everything (including the kitchen sink) you can lay hands on. So, the less said about that, the better. Let’s remember Alfred Molina’s stirring turn as Dr. Octopus, and Spidey’s heroic rescue of the runaway commuter train in Spider-Man 2.
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