Tag Archive: the lizard


The Appeal of Emma Stone

Born Emily Jean Stone the young actress took on the name Emma when registering with the Screen Actors Guild due to there already being an Emily Stone registered. That’s a nice little fact not many people will be too aware of. Anyway, Emma Stone is just one of a new wave of actresses who are currently winning critics over and gaining fans with every performance they put in. In this category I place Stone with the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Williams and Carey Mulligan among others. But there is something different that sets Emma Stone apart from the rest; she has a very distinct and intriguing appeal.

Emma Stone got her first leading role in 2010’s Easy A, a film which focusses on the novel A Scarlet Letter and parallels that with the main character’s life: Olive, played by Emma Stone. I believe that Stone’s performance here is a clear example of just what a wonderful actress she is to watch. Olive is caught up in a web of lies after just trying to shut her friend up by telling her that she has lost her virginity, when in fact she has not. All of this gets out of hand and pretty much ruins Olive’s life. But the way the story is told is from Olive’s first person perspective, already giving us Stone’s narration. As well as this the film uses the narrative device of Stone talking into her webcam (which becomes the screen). This makes Stone’s performance just seem incredibly relaxed and natural and allowing the audience to see her in this way brings us a lot closer to the character and, in effect, Emma Stone herself. Her performance is full of vibrancy and sarcastic humour, outshone only by the frankly quite incredible Stanley Tucci.

Before Stone’s Golden Globe nominated performance in Easy A she was already making a name for herself in the comedy genre. Stone’s first film role was in Superbad, a film that began a new era of comedy films. After Superbad she appeared in a few, shall we say interesting films: The Rocker, The House Bunny and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (but let’s not judge her) before getting back on the right track with Zombieland. Also worth noting, Stone actually auditioned for the role of Claire Bennett in Heroes but obviously lost out to Hayden Panettiere who really impressed casting directors: I would have much preferred to have seen Stone in the role though. But anyway…

Emma Stone’s career has continued to go from strength to strength and she has proven that she is not just a one trick pony, despite being more than comfortable and one of the funniest women in comedy film at the minute. She had supporting roles in Friends With Benefits and Crazy, Stupid, Love (where she would work with Ryan Gosling for the first of quite a few times over the next couple of years) before joining The Help. The Help features an ensemble cast of actresses, not one of whom puts a foot wrong in terms of their performance here. Stone joins the likes of Jessica Chastain (another relatively new actress who is just exceptional at her craft), Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard and Viola Davis. Stone’s performance helped The Help win many nomination and awards for it’s cast’s performances.

With The Amazing Spider-Man, Emma Stone became the latest actress to join the superhero film genre. However, unlike the latest incarnations of Pepper Potts, Lois Lane and Rachel Dawes we have seen, Stone’s Gwen Stacy was not the typical damsel in distress as she could more than hold her own; standing up to Flash, being incredible stubborn in an attempt to save New York that could have seen her killed as well as smacking The Lizard over the head during a fight with Spider-Man. Then Stone joined a much more testosterone fuelled ensemble in Gangster Squad, joining Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Anthony Mackie. She recently lent her voice to the prehistoric animation film from DreamWorks: The Croods.

I think you would have to go a long way to find any young actress working today with the combination of talent and on screen charisma that Emma Stone has. She has a wonderful presence on screen with a beautiful charm about her and her career shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. Next year will see her reprise her role of Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, while Birdman (from the director of 21 Grams and Babel) is in pre-production. She is also signed on to star in Guillermo Del Toro’s exciting Crimson Peak which is snapping up a superb cast in the form of Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Chastain.

Hopefully we will get to see Emma Stone taking the lead in more and more films over the next few years but for now I am happy enough seeing her play supporting roles if she continues to be as good as she is right now!

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When The Amazing Spider-Man was announced there was a mixture of uproar and confusion among audiences. After all, Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire’s trilogy had only ended in 2007 and Spider-Man 3 became the highest grossing movie of that franchise so why start from scratch again, why not continue? Everyone had an opinion on whether it should be rebooted or not but one thing was guarantee; whether it was Spider-Man 4 or The Amazing Spider-Man people were going to see it because Spider-Man is one of the most popular superheroes in the world. I will only make one comparison between The Amazing Spider-Man and the trilogy of the last decade and it is this:

Things that are better in The Amazing Spider-Man than in Sam Raimi’s trilogy: EVERYTHING.

Andrew Garfield takes on the role of teenager Peter Parker who after being bitten by a spider… blah blah blah. Everyone knows the story, so what is different here? This time Peter Parker is looking to try and find out who he is, why his parents disappeared when Peter was just a child, what work his father was working on that was kept so secret. All the time, trying to come to terms with his new abilities and manage a love life with the beautiful Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), avoid being captured by the head of New York Police who just so happens to be Gwen Stacy’s father (Denis Leary) and eventually saving New York from a huge giant Lizard, or Dr Curt Connors, if you would prefer, (Rhys Ifans). So really, he’s got it easy.

Andrew Garfield in the lead role is superb. A genuine fan of Spider-Man since he was a kid and it shows in the charisma and life he brings to the troubled teenager on screen; he carries a great emotional range and the one liners and witty remarks are delivered perfectly. The chemistry with his co-star Emma Stone is there for all to see and she puts in a performance to rival that of Garfield’s. The lead duo are supported excellently by Rhys Ifans, a man born to play villains. But my favourite performance of The Amazing Spider-Man is from Michael Sheen as Uncle Ben, really really fantastic!

The Amazing Spider-Man is visually wonderful and I really would not have expected anything less from director Marc Webb. A lot of trust was put in Webb with this being only his second ever film and his first on a big budget but he proved with (500) Days of Summer that he has a great talent for capturing great performances, stunning visuals and examining relationships.

Despite this being a clear superhero comic book movie film, the superhero antics seem to take a back seat and we are allowed to delve deeper into the characters. Peter Parker is clearly a conflicted guy who has grown up having a troubled life which isn’t about to get any easier and the relationships he forms with his Uncle and Aunt are really well written, his relationship with Gwen Stacy (a vital part of Spider-Man history in the comic books) is dealt with wonderfully and with a huge deal of respect. You get a real sense that all of these characters are believable in their motivations, their friendships, their triumphs and short comings.

The Amazing Spider-Man doesn’t quite match up to The Avengers and probably won’t beat The Dark Knight Rises either but what we have here is proof that they were right to reboot the Spider-Man series. Seeing Andrew Garfield as the wise-cracking friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is a treat that everyone should witness.

My Rating: 9/10

In a blatant marketing ploy, Sony is advertising this Spider-Man reboot as the most anticipated movie of the summer. However, this is clearly not true with the arrival of The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus all released this summer as well. The Amazing Spider-Man is like that kid in school that everybody knows who they are, but nobody really wants to hang out with them; this may change as we approach its release date of July 3rd but right now, lets have a look at why we should be anticipating the new Peter Parker’s arrival.

Sony recently released the above preview; four minutes of footage from The Amazing Spider-Man and, although some scenes we had seen already, we were offered a new look at Spidey saving a child on a bridge which looks just as amazing as the title of the film suggests. It is possible to tell from what we have seen already and what we know that Marc Webb’s reboot of the character is really trying to distance itself from its predecessors.

Andrew Garfield unmasked as Spidey.

Andrew Garfield looks perfect as Peter Parker and he seems to be bringing some much needed wit and humour to New York’s friendliest web slinger, something that lacked with Tobey Maguire’s incarnation of the character. Being a fan of the comic book hero himself Garfield brings great enthusiasm to the role and his performance as Spider-Man is something to look forward to in itself. It will be interesting to see how the story plays out because we have seen more than one image of Spider-Man without the mask so will people know the secret identity of our hero? How will that work?

Ooh la la… Spidey’s love interest is blonde this time around.

One person who does know Peter Parker’s identity is love interest Gwen Stacy, played by the talented and wonderful actress Emma Stone. Gwen Stacy was Peter’s first love interest in the comic books and was largely unmentioned until she made an appearance in the final instalment of the previous trilogy played by Bryce Dallas Howard. In the comic books Gwen was unaware of Spider-Man’s true identity and her father knew Peter Parker was Spidey but in the film these roles have been reversed and it will be interesting to see how the fact that Gwen knows about Peter plays out and how their relationship develops with that knowledge.

Spider-Man’s foe in this reboot is Dr. Curt Connors or The Lizard as he may be better known to fans. The Lizard is a very popular nemesis of Spider-Man among fans and was to be featured in Sam Raimi’s next film if he continued his own franchise. Other differences from the original trilogy include mechanical web slingers rather than the controversial biological ones Peter inherited before and also the back story of Peter Parker. With his family’s past being a key plot detail in The Amazing Spider-Man it has been hinted that it won’t just be the spider bite that gives Peter his powers, but maybe something to do with his parents tampering with his biological structure. How this move will go down with fans remains to be seen yet.

With Marc Webb directing I think that a great importance will be paid to the relationships between characters as this is something that Webb brought out superbly in (500) Days of Summer. He has claimed that this reboot will hint at future villains and storylines and has even said that he will be working on the sequel, therefore he and Sony must feel that they have a hit on their hands here.

A brief look at Spider-Man taking on The Lizard featured in one of the trailers.

The Amazing Spider-Man has been largely pushed to the side do far this year and maybe rightly so; The Avengers was something everyone was waiting for to see their favourite heroes on screen together while The Dark Knight Rises concludes Christopher Nolan’s near perfect Batman trilogy but hopefully the film won’t suffer because of the other comic book movies out this year. The trailers show promise, as do Garfield and Stone and I for one, am hotly anticipating Spider-Man’s next arrival.

Which one of these three comic book films will rule the box office?

Superhero films have been increasing in popularity since they first hit the big screen and this year comic book fans have even more to be excited about. 2012 promises to be an unforgettable year for fans of the comic book genre as three of the years most anticipated films feature some of the most popular superheroes of all time: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man. But with all these heroes fighting for top spot at the box office which one will reign supreme?

The Dark Knight Rises

UK Release: 20th July 2012.

The Stars: Christopher Nolan (director), Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman.

The Hype: It’s the sequel to The Dark Knight, need I say more? This is the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s, so far, brilliant Batman franchise. Christian Bale has done a good job as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego but the buzz about this film is the villain: Bane. And with Ra’s al Ghul returning to the franchise, along with his daughter, the mere thought of this film has the Batman fanboys and the Nolanites frothing at the mouth.

The Drawbacks: After the huge success of The Dark Knight it’s going to be hard to follow that and with high expectations come huge disappointment. The casting of Anne Hathaway didn’t go down very well with fans so it’s risky as to whether that will work. Bane’s voice has been the cause of much controversy surrounding the film but that will soon be forgotten surely.

My Opinion: I’ve never been a huge fan of Batman and I didn’t enjoy The Dark Knight as much as everybody else seemed to either, although Heath Ledger was fantastic, there is no doubting that. I’m a fan of Tom Hardy (not so keen on Anne Hathaway) so he gets my interest in this film anyway. I really enjoyed Batman Begins and it has been claimed that this final piece will focus more on Bruce Wayne than Batman, more in the style of Batman Begins than The Dark Knight so this bodes well for me, I think. Whatever happens, I’ll be seeing this on the opening day anyway.

The Avengers

UK Release: 27th April 2012

The Stars: Joss Whedon (director), Robert Downey Jnr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddlestone

The Hype: Just look back at the cast. It’s great to see so many top quality actors sharing the screen together. Not just the actors, but the characters; it is every comic book fan’s dream to see the big three (Captain America, Iron Man and Thor) on screen together. Bringing the characters together through solo films leading to this moment have been some of the greatest events in comic book movie history. Joss Whedon is known for writing brilliant characters and dialogue so this should all point towards success.

The Drawbacks: Since he has had two films, Iron Man is most known to audiences and has been leading the promotion of The Avengers which hasn’t gone down well with the whole of the fan community. There is also the danger that too many characters means not enough development and lack of story but hopefully this will not be the case.

My Opinion: Out of the three, this is the one that I am most excited for. I cannot wait to see Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk and Hawkeye all share the limelight. I’ve loved watching all the solo movies waiting for The Avengers and with the release of the second trailer which was incredible it just does not get any more exciting. This has the potential to be the greatest comic book movie ever made. It’s going to be amazing.

The Amazing Spider-Man

UK Release: 4th July 2012

The Stars: Marc Webb (director), Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Martin Sheen

The Hype: Spider-Man is one of the most iconic heroes of all time and Marvel’s most popular and highest selling character. This is an interesting retelling of Peter Parker’s backstory and features initial love interest Gwen Stacy rather than the more universally known Mary Jane. The Lizard is Spider-Man’s enemy in this film in a move to excite fans as he was strongly suggested for a Spider-Man 4 that never came to be.

The Drawbacks: We’ve just had a Spider-Man trilogy in the last ten years. This could be a factor that puts a lot of mainstream cinema goers off the film; do they really need to see another origins story for Spider-Man, a character that, let’s be honest, doesn’t really have that much of an interesting origin anyway.

My Opinion: I’m really looking forward to seeing Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man as I think he is a brilliant young actor. From the trailer the new Spider-Man seems a lot more like the comic book character with his wise-cracking attitude which I cannot wait to see. Although, I do think that this will gross a lot worse than the other two big comic book films coming out this year.

Who Will Win?

Batman. Hands down, which is a shame. The Dark Knight grossed over a billion dollars and so there is already a HUGE market in place for The Dark Knight Rises. No matter how hard it tries to topple it’s competition I think The Avengers will fall short, whilst The Amazing Spider-Man will be the third film that doesn’t really stand a chance against the two big boys.