Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man 2: B-

amazing spiderman 2B-
Nearly all the action sequences could be called “amazing” but unfortunately I’d already seen most of them in the previews, despite attempting to avoid them. But I digress. They finally got Spider-Man’s wittiness down. His mid-fight quips are the best yet and Peter and Gwen are eye-rollingly adorable. But man did the story make no sense. There was so much forced plotting and ridiculous coincidence it’s hard to quantify it all. Far too many characters and plotlines and not enough cohesion.

Movie – The Croods: A

The creature designs here enthralled me so wholly that all faults the film had were diminished so much that I couldn’t be bothered to notice. The animation was gorgeous, full of complicated and frantic action that showcased all these amazing monsters quite exceptionally. The family story was passable enough, and done better by other films like How to Train Your Dragon, but the humor found a few chuckles. Not destined to be a classic, but a fun piece of animation.

Movie – Gangster Squad: B-

gangster squadB-
Nothing unique really, but not incompetent. I liked that they used a couple of the long continuous shots that gangster films like to use, but that also showed how the movie was just the sum of many mafia film tropes. The final shootout was a little forced and obviously unrealistic as a result. Emma Stone isn’t quite ready to transition to more “serious” roles. The characters were oddly racially accepting considering the time period, with a token black guy and Hispanic on the team, though they weren’t really any more of a caricature than the others.

Movie – The Amazing Spider-Man: A-

Despite its welcome take on the character, I’m still not convinced a reboot was warranted. It was like reading a newly launched comic series, with familiar faces but in ever-so-slightly different situations. I like the new Peter more than Maguire. I liked Stone’s Gwen Stacy as a character with more depth than “Save me Spider-man!” I liked the flowing combat sequences and Uncle Ben’s reworked death. I didn’t like Sally Field. Though this newish origin story was better than Raimi’s Spider-Man, it wasn’t enough to overcome the fact that it was Spider-Man’s origin story…again…

Movie – The Help: B

Certainly nothing profound, but it flowed with that ease movies of the subject seem to have. Most of the central characters seemed fully imagined, but most of the antagonists were quite flat, though perhaps mocking in this intentionality. Good performances but nothing outstanding.