Film Review: SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (USA 2018) ***

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Poster
Miles Morales becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and crosses paths with his counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat to all reality.

Writers:

Phil Lord (screenplay by), Brian Michael Bendis (Miles Morales created by) | 6 more credits »

With three directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman and two writers, Phil Lord and Rothman (not to mention a total of 140 animators), it is of no wonder the new Spider-Man movie, an animated one at that is all over the place, a venue that anything and everything can happen at one time.  Which is hard to follow.  In this age of cellphone, internet and gaming technology, younger folk will be able to appreciate more of what is whizzing past on the screen that the older moviegoer.  I was not too  impressed.  The film is produced by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo that directed the LEGO MOVIE and after that the incomprehensible LEGO spinoffs that I hated.  SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE was initially more than 2-hours long then edited into a trim 90-minutes, the normal run ing length or an animated feature.

As if there are insufficient directors and writers, it appears that one Spider-Man is not enough.  Drawing parallels from the super action hero movie GUARDIANS OF THE GALXAY, more here are needed.  In fact a character runs similar to the Groot character in GUARDIANS, Peter Porker aka Spider-Ham, a cartoonish dwarfism version of Spider-Man.  Peter Porker is he funniest of all the spin-off pier characters.

The premise involves Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) who becomes Spider-Man after bitten by a spider.  To be racially and political accepted in films, Miles is of his Brooklyn upbringing, half-Puerto Rican and half-African-American background, and the fact that his family is still alive, with that family dynamic being central to the film’s story.  Spider-Man crosses a parallel universe and teams up with the Spider-Men and Spider-Woman of those dimensions to stop a threat to all reality.

The other  Spider-Men in the film include Jake Johnson as Peter B. Parker (Spider-Man), Miles’ reluctant mentor, a disheveled version of the heroJohn Mulaney as Peter Porker (Spider-Ham), Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy (Spider-Woman), a “free-spirited” superhero.

Nothing much else in the story but lots of animated action sequences, if one likes that sort of thing.

At least the animation is impressive.  Aaron Davis, the animated Mahershala Ali character who is Miles’ uncle looks almost exactly like the red actor Ali, and so do a  few more characters.

If you have not had enough of Spider-Man and his cronies after this film, there is another Iive action Spider-Man opening in the near 2019.  Soon there will be Iive action and animated Spider-Man movies running in parallel every year. 

Critics have so for far praised SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, which went n to be nominated for Best Animated Feature at the next Golden Globes 2019.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg52up16eq0

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Film Review: TAG (USA 2018)

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Tag Poster
Trailer

A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.

Director:

 Jeff Tomsic

Writers:

Rob McKittrick (screenplay by), Mark Steilen (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »

Writers:

Rob McKittrick (screenplay by), Mark Steilen (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »

TAG the film is based on the kids playground game “Tag”.  The comedy centres on a group of kids, now fully grown up with jobs who have been playing this game every year during  the month of May for 30 years.

Sounds unbelievable?  The ads and the film itself make sure that the audience is reminded of this fact.  Based on a True Story.  But this phrase can mean a lot of things and it seems that only the main fact that the men are still playing the game is true.  All else could have been made up for what Warner Bros. hopes to be a successful box-office male comedy to the likes of THE HANGOVER or HOT TUB TIME MACHINE.

The film is based on real-life friends from Spokane featured in a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, “It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It” by Russell Adams.  When the film opens, one of the friends, a CEO, Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm) is being interviewed by a Washington Post reporter (Annabelle Wallis) when he suddenly tagged by Hoagie (Ed Helms) who has sneaked into his office after gaining employment as a janitor.  The reporter decides to follow the men on the game to write her article on the friends playing tag.

The film goes downhill from this point and very fast.  The aim of the men is to tag Jerry (Jeremy Renner in Jason Bourne mode) who has never been it during all the many years.  Jerry is about to be wed to a high maintenance bride (Leslie Bibb) and this is the perfect opportunity to tag him as he has not much chance of getting away.

There is only so much one can do with this premise.  The chases get monotonous and one can only fall down in a limited number of ways when running away or banging into things.  Expensive ornaments get wrecked, windows broken, walls bashed in are what the audience is n for.  Director Tomsik (in his directorial debut, too and he is given this sorry script and story) even resorts to some inventive filming (example: the chases in a building are brought outside with the camera showing the chase as the men run past the windows) cannot lift the film from its mediocrity.  

The script by Rob McKittrick and Mark Steilen brings in the female element to expand the target audience with the characters of the bride and also Hoagie’s wife, Anna (Isla Fisher).  Anna is very eager to get into the game (gender equality?), helping her husband aggressively.  Unfortunately none of their antics evoke many laughs.  The script calls for Anna to scream lots of vulgarities that only serve to emphasize how desperate the film is in need of laughter.  Worse still, the script inserts a message (and a very  obvious and unbelievable one at that) towards the end when Hoagie is hospitalized.  There is one coloured character, Sable (Hannibal Buress) who is not given much to do.

The film runs an hour and 45 minutes.   This is one game that has run too long.  But the film’s budget comes under $30 millions which means that it should make a bit of cash for this male adult comedy.

TAG the film is really not it!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rQu77pgnpg

 

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Happy Birthday: Jake Johnson

jakejohnson.jpgHappy Birthday actor Jake Johnson

Born: May 28, 1978 in Evanston, Illinois, USA

Read reviews of the best of the actor:

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