Magnum Opus by Sujoy

Copyright 2007 | No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission. Mail me at :sujoy.singha[at]gmail[dot]com

Index of Movies

I have been reviewing movies for quite some time now. Here I have the index of all those which I have reviewed on this website.

Magnum Opus Index of Movie Reviews.

As you all know, I have moved to my new website

It also has movie reviews, and the Index page is given below.

OneKnightStands Movie Review Index.

Hope you enjoy reading them.


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Bad Spidey

Still struggling to get over the hangover of my last torturous tryst with the Big Screen, I was expecting a better date with the Friendly Neigbourhood guy in the Blue and Red Speedo. I have actually grown on an overdose of Stan Lee's creation right from the days of the Amazing Fantasy to the many renditions of the imaginative world of the Spiderman by different authors. It had been a thumb rule in the world of Hollywood Cinema that a comic book movie would always land up being like a Joel Schumacher's cheap treat of the Dark Knight. All that changed when Spidey swinged to the tunes of Sam Raimi .

The first Spidey movie had the innocence of a nerdy high-school teenager who wants to be cool, just discovering the comfort of getting rid of his carbon frames and also defying gravity at the same time. Clubbed with first love in an upside-down fantasy kiss in the middle of a dark Manhattan Street still wet with the rain, and of course serious ass-kicking action scenes against the very green and very evil Goblin. Spidey one was my favourite Superhero Movie.

Not until Spidey 2 came out. Spidey now was dealing the real evils of reality of making both ends meet, juggling his time to save the world along with delivering pizza , and also getting enough sleep to wake up and prepare for the next lecture's assignments. Simultaneously, our hero had to deal with his love, Mary Jane slipping away , as she demanded more attention. Oh, I forgot to mention, Alfred Molina's wonderful portrayal of Spidey's nemesis Dr.Octavius. Spiderman 2 had it all, in exactly perfect doses making it a brilliant recipe, in fact a real treat. When Spidey-3's teasers got released on the internet last fall,you know what kind of excitement it generated in the minds of people like me, a whole generation of people like me who swear on the Marvels of Marvel and DC. And then to add to the franchise, the wallpapers and the online streaming of trailers revealing that this time around , its gonna be not one, not two, but three separate baddies fighting against our Spidey. It was getting really heated. So heated up, that when I could not get the tickets to the Saturday's shows , I cursed everyone around. Not to mention, I went ahead and read the spoilers at But still, my spirits were all high and my eyes grounded on the screen as I entered the auditorium. Somehow, as I entered the hall, I could sense , this movie will not live up to the extremely high expectations that I had almost framed in our mind.I don't know how, but I did sense it.

The Plot:Opening scene-an unusually happy and content Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is reveling in how well things are going for him -- his relationship with Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is rock solid, he's at the top of his class at the university and he's about to go from freelance status to staff photographer at The Daily Bugle.Simply put, picture perfect . But evil begins to reassert itself on several fronts.As Peter and Mary Jane gaze at the stars from their spider-web hammock overlooking the city, a modest "War of the Worlds"-like meteor crashes nearby and emits a gooey black silk that slithers and slides of its own accord.A hard-outside/soft-inside criminal ,Flint Marco(Thomas Haden Church), who turns out to have been responsible for the murder of Peter's beloved Uncle Ben, escapes from prison and, through a process that defies comprehension but is undeniably eye-catching, turns into a shape-changer named Sandman who can blow through the caverns of Manhattan or become a giant hulk with fearsome pummeling power.

And then there is Harry Osborn (James Franco), who, still blaming Spider-Man for the death of his father, decides to emulate the great green one by engineering a new designer Goblin outfit and flying board and taking to the skies to avenge his old man.Peter acquires yet another adversary in the person of Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), an aggressive street photographer who vies with Peter to capture the revelatory shot that will reveal Spider-Man for who he really is, a coup that will land the winner a full-time job from editor J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) at the Daily Bugle. The rivalry turns into outright war when Eddie morphs into one more Marvel supervillain, the fanged Venom, whose skills eerily match those of Spidey.Early going is enlivened by a couple high-wire action sequences, a Goblin attack and especially a vertigo-inducing scene in which an out-of-control construction crane demolishes part of a nearby skyscraper, sending platinum blonde Gwen (Bryce Dallas Howard), a classmate of Peter's, heading toward the pavement, only to be saved at the last second by guess who.But the dramatic temperature is brought way down by Mary Jane, who's become a real drag. Fired, in a poor scene, from her Broadway play, she pathetically begs for attention, becomes petulant when Spidey plants a public kiss on Gwen after saving her, then seeks solace from Harry. What happens in the climax is everybody's guess: Mary Jane gets kidnapped (yet again) by the baddies, and Spidey manages to kick their asses with the help of an old (accomplice) foe. Nothing inspirational.Oh did I forget to mention, Aunt May speaking about volumes about how Ben Parker proposed to her.Yeah, I paid my ticket to see that.

The problem:The problem with most third movies in a film franchise -- be it Star Wars or The Godfather, Batman or Superman, Indiana Jones or The Matrix -- is that the primary reason for their existence is greed. It's not that the filmmakers aren't trying to make a good film. It's just that, unless you're dealing with source material rich enough to warrant three separate pictures (like The Lord of the Rings), all the best ideas have already been spent on the previous two installments.The only reason to go back, then, is to wring a few more bucks out of a proven success. This is why most part threes are, with precious few exceptions, so disappointing. Spiderman 3 is in fact not one of those exceptions. It repeats all the tried and tested character insights scripting done previously in Spidey 2, to an excessive extent that it becomes painful enough to bear the pain of Aunt May and ageing Mary Jane. No wonder, Peter wanted to break up with her.

Even longer than its predecessors, 3 piles on the series's usual comedy scenes and action sequences while adding some black slime from outer space and a few new actors (Thomas Haden Church, Topher Grace) to the more familiar faces (Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, J.K. Simmons, Rosemary Harris). And a pile is what it feels like, especially when two superheroes ultimately join forces to defeat three supervillains. Given how bogus the movie is whenever it departs from formula, it's not surprising that the funniest bit (in which Peter Parker becomes a disco smoothie) is stolen from Jerry Lewis's The Nutty Professor or that the best special effects, involving a gigantic Sandman, dimly echo King Kong. Director Sam Raimi tries to pump some life into this dutiful enterprise but seems more than a little bored himself, especially when he's getting mushy about Spider-Man's moral decline and regeneration. It feels like the end of Sam Raimi’s big-screen comic-book adaptations. (Ready or not, the studio is talking about a fourth.) Aesthetically and conceptually wrung out, fizzled rather than fizzy, this latest installment in the spider-bites-boy adventure story shoots high, swings low and every so often hits the sweet spot, but mostly just plods and plods along, as if its heart were pumping tired radioactive blood.Maybe it’s middle age.

In fictional terms Spider-Man a k a Peter Parker a k a Tobey Maguire looks like he’s pushing 23, but there’s something about the guy that shrieks midlife crisis. Peter is still hitting the books and still snapping photographs for The Daily Bugle, run by the flattop blowhard J. Jonah Jameson (J. K. Simmons, in clover, as usual). It’s a living, kind of, enough for an enviably situated dump in Manhattan with artfully peeling walls and a fabulous picture window through which Peter regularly bounds into the air in full superhero drag. (The neighbors in this part of town evidently always keep the blinds drawn.) It’s a calling, sort of, though it’s also started to feel a bit like punching the clock.
The programmatic screenplay credited to Mr. Raimi, his brother Ivan Raimi (a third Raimi brother, Ted, plays a tiny role in the picture) and Alvin Sargent certainly feels more like work than play. The only selling point in “Spider-Man 3” is that Spider-Man or Peter or some combination of the two discovers his so-called dark side when an inky extraterrestrial glob (a symbiote in Marvel-speak) spreads its gooey tentacles over his body, turning his suit and soul black. Though there’s something dubious about the idea that black still conveys evil in our culture, pop or otherwise (tell it to Batman and Barack Obama, for starters), the idea of messing with Spider-Man’s squeaky-clean profile, smearing it with dirt, a touch of naughtiness, seems too good to resist. I would have loved to see a bit more of Spidey-the Dark Man, or shall we call him Peter Darker. May be , he could end up killing Gwen or Mary Jane perhaps, rather than playing the piano or grooving to the Jazz.

But then, having said enough of how Spidey 3 did not meet much of my expectations, people at Sony have the cash bells ringing continuously, without giving a shit about what the critics say.Left dangling for the past three years, arachnophiles everywhere finally have cause to celebrate.
The biggest (with a production budget due north of $250 million) and longest (clocking in at 139 minutes) and quite possibly the capper of a trilogy featuring the current talent lineup, "Spider-Man 3" has done it again.Certain to please the geek squad by remaining ever true to its comic book roots while retaining that satisfying emotional core that has registered with equal numbers of female fans, "Spider-Man 3" has all its demographic bases covered.Having already received its world premiere in Tokyo in a nod to piracy concerns, "Spider-Man 3" premiered in a good portion of the globe ahead of its May 4 North American bow. And the opening weekend collection is a worldwide highest breaking the feat of POTC-Dead Man's Chest.

Factor in those additional Imax screens, and the Columbia Pictures blockbuster should spin a worldwide web that should build substantially on the $1.6 billion already brought in by the first two installments.And so , it doesn't matter if Spidey got a little way too much emotional on this one, and Aunt May was high on her Prozac,neither if Mary Jane desperately needs some face lift, as far as the cash is flowing, Spidey 4 is very much on the cards. Early speculations: Carnage could be the next villain.My Rating: 3 out of 5, just for the extra-cool, hyper special effects worth 250 million $. Money speaks.

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