The Amazing Spiderman (2012) Film Review

Yet another origin film of Spiderman. Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is bitten by a magic (or whatever) spider and develops skills. Blah blah blah… no, actually not. Yes, the essential plot is that. But let’s face it, that’s a pretty cool plot anyhow. Then add in Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field and Martin Sheen – awesome cast. Andrew Garfield is a great Spiderman. I loved it, heaps of fun, great humour, cool stuff. And then there’s Denis Leary too! Ace.

The Way (2010) Film Review



Give a film wide shots of beautiful landscape and it is hard to go wrong. The most marvellous thing about The Way for me was the inspiration to go to Spain, to walk El Camino de Santiago (the pilgrim’s walk) to laugh, to love, to eat, to drink, to live. It also had Martin Sheen, who I adore, playing Tom and also Emilio Estevez at his goofy, grinning best, as Tom’s son, Daniel. Emilio directed the film, and I can’t help thinking that that is the main reason that a big name like Sheen would be on such a small production.

The Way is a gentle film, exploring the journey of a grieving father as he travels the pilgrim’s walk in Spain.

It’s not an in-depth study. Several of the characters feel incomplete and superficial, lacking the depth of reality, although this did mean that when Estevez hit the mark, it was strong. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite hit the mark all that often. A lot of the poignant moments were veering far too close to cheesy to cause an emotional reaction.

Along Tom’s journey, he meets several characters who, against his and sometimes, their will, they end up travelling together. It had a bit of a Wizard of Oz feel, even to the point that the large Dutchman seemed quite lionish, and the spindly smoking Canadian had straw-like hair. At times, this seemed unlikely, and when they eventually get a night in a good hotel, the coming together of the group seemed forced and false. But despite the holes in the story and the under-developed characters, I quite liked this film.

See this if you have been to Spain, or if you’d like to. Enjoy the views. Be inspired. Gently.

The Departed (2006) Film Review


Two young men enter the police force in South Boston. One is a young kid who has been groomed by local Irish gangster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) to be an insider in the force. The other, Billy (Leonardo DiCaprio) is an honest guy with a bad family background, who is supposedly booted from the force and turns to crime, but is actually deep undercover. The only people who know that he is undercover are his two police contacts – Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) and Queenan (Martin Sheen).

This is based on the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, and is almost exactly the same, shot by shot. So much so that I wondered if I had already seen this – but it is that I watched Infernal Affairs only recently. Yes, it is a good film, but it’s not the type of good film that is really worth watching two identical versions of. Even if the language is different. The Departed won a whole heap of awards including Oscars, and I wonder if there was any acknowledgement of Infernal Affairs or if it has been forgotten along the way. Jack Nicholson was nominated and won a series of awards for his performance which I really cannot understand as I thought his performance was very average. Mark Wahlberg, however, was amazing and absolutely deserved the recognition he got.

The Departed won Oscars for Best Achievement in Directing (Martin Scorsese), Best Achievement in film Editing, Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay (William Monahan) and was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Mark Wahlberg).

Badlands (1973) Film Review


Sissy Spacek plays Holly, a fifteen-year-old in 1958 whose mother has died and her father has moved her to South Dakota to get away from the sad memories. There, she meets Kit, Martin Sheen, who is ten years older than her and is a juvenile delinquent. He takes a shine to her and they begin spending time together. When her father finds out and tries to keep them apart, Kit shoots him dead, and the couple go on the run.

The film is frustrating in many ways. Both of the main characters are immature, and annoying. When hiding out in a rich man’s house, Kit spends time spouting wisdom into a dictaphone. It’s ridiculous that he can feel he has this wisdom to share, but it says so much about the character. Arrogant, but immature. Then there’s Holly. She commentates the film, and is coldly detached from all that goes on around her. Perhaps it is the shock of her mother’s death, or a lack of self-esteem; whatever, she is a fascinating character to watch.

Recently, director Terrence Malick directed Tree of Life, a film which I am still unsure if I like or respect. Badlands has much of the beautiful cinematography of Tree of Life, along with the feel of 1950s small town America. But Badlands definitely wins out for me because it has a story and character and, well, a point.