Friday, July 6, 2012

In Theaters: "The Do-Deca-Pentathalon"

Mark and Jeremy did the do-deca-pentathlon back in the summer of 1990, when they were teenagers. It consisted of 25 events, a fierce competition between two brothers who took it very, very seriously; it ended in a draw, during the very last event, when their father shut the whole thing down. The do-deca left them “embittered and estranged,” according to the opening crawl of the Duplass Brothers’ The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, on such bad terms that Mark hasn’t invited Jeremy to his birthday weekend. Jeremy shows up anyway. “Surprised to see me?” he asks, and Mark replies with a sharp and immediate “No.”

Monday, July 2, 2012

In Theaters: "The Amazing Spider-Man"

Seldom has a major summer blockbuster been as pungent with the odor of being assembled by committee as Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man, a movie that slams between great moments and unwatchable scenes with enough force to give the casual viewer whiplash. Three separate screenwriters are credited, but many more reportedly contributed, and you can tell—there’s no clear voice, no narrative momentum, and most importantly, no real reason for the movie to exist at all. It is the origin story of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man, which is a story that we were all told a mere decade ago in Sam Raimi’s original (and superior) Spider-Man; one of those three screenwriters is Alvin Sargent, who (weirdly enough) wrote Spider-Man 2 and co-wrote Spider-Man 3. And Spider-Man 3’s poor reception is supposedly the reason they did this reboot in the first place, so why was the same guy hired again? What the hell kinda con game are these people running?