Here, Let Me Spoil That For You, by Matt Warren
In these hardscrabble economic times, moviegoers must be vigilant. Money is elusive; beware not to spend it on substandard entertainment. Do not avoid spoilers—they are the signposts ushering you away from a life of perpetual misery. Read on without fear…
The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3), dir. Marc Webb
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans
Premise: Following his ouster as co-founder of a popular Farmville-based social media platform, introverted high school science wiz Peter Parker (Garfield) reluctantly takes a job as a Tobey MacGuire impersonator outside Mann’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Miserable, he ekes out a meager existence posing for tourist photos and appearing in the occasional remote segment for “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Working barefoot one day after a dry cleaning mix-up, Parker stubs his toe on Western icon Rory Calhoun’s star on the Walk of Fame. Lacking affordable health coverage, Parker leaves the bruise untreated, and it quickly develops into a nasty staph infection. Though initially distraught, Parker soon discovers that his illness has the “amazing” side-effect of suddenly being able to ejaculate steel-strong webbing from his wrists, tear-ducts, and superfluous third nipple. After a successful Kickstarter campaign to help fund the filing fees for the proper Los Angeles County vigilante permits, Parker sets off to fight crime and win the heart of fetching young Scientology recruiter Gwen Stacey (Stone.)
Spoilers: After squandering all the money left to him by his late Uncle Ben on Celebrity Centre Auditing courses to impress Stacey, Parker is shocked to find he can no longer afford the monthly payments on his Spider-Man costume. Forced to downgrade, Parker is left to fight crime in the much-less effective guise of Spongebob Squarepants. Years later, Parker dies surreptitiously of doubloon poisoning at the hands of the Pakistani Captain Jack Sparrow in a Hollywood Boulevard characters turf war. In voiceover, Rod Serling reveals that they were all just children’s toys the entire time. MIND BLOWN!!!
Biggest WTF moment: The Glenn Danzig impersonator turns out to be the real Glenn Danzig!
Savages (July 6), dir. Oliver Stone
Starring Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Benicio Del Toro, John Travolta
Premise: Getting the jump on the nascent behind-the-scenes subgenre of biopics (see also Sacha Gervesi’s upcoming Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho), Savages chronicles the legendarily troubled production of Tamara Jenkins’ critically acclaimed 2007 film The Savages. “Gossip Girl” alum Blake Lively stars as Jenkins, whose mad vision of a low-key family dramedy about middle-aged siblings is beset-upon by a steady stream of near-biblical disasters. Things get off to a bumpy start when star Philip Seymour Hoffman (Kitsch) arrives on set 40 pounds overweight without having memorized a single line of the script. Jenkins attempts a workaround by shooting him in deep shadow with inscrutable and largely improvised dialogue. Later, just as Jenkins is preparing to shoot the film’s biggest scene—an elaborate action set piece involving helicopters, explosions, and a mechanical shark—the Pilipino government recalls the military choppers that had been leased to the production. Luckily, a sex abuse scandal involving the mayor of Manila (John Travolta) and a male jacuzzi technician distracts everyone just long enough for Jenkins and her crew quietly abscond to South America, helicopters in tow.
Spoilers: Production slows to a crawl as Jenkins and a crew of native Peruvian Indians work to haul a decommissioned Riverboat up the mountainside in the remote jungles outside Iquitos. Frustrated, Jenkins’ mercurial leading lady Laura Linney (Del Toro) becomes aggressive and unhinged, threatening the director with murder. Jenkins responds by literally forcing the actress to perform at gunpoint. Eventually, the film is completed, and goes on to win a Teen Choice Awards surfboard for “Best Enormous Heap of Unvulcanized Rubber.”
Biggest WTF moment: Salma Hayek’s revelatory performance as Jenkins’ sage acupuncturist—a triumph of characterization as soulfully nuanced as any Beethoven piano concerto.
The Dark Knight Rises [July 20], dir. Christopher Nolan
Starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine
Premise: It’s been five frightful years since our caped crusader was fraudulently flushed from Gotham’s good graces and the morbid metropolis has plunged into the dreary depths of bat-astrophe! Lethal luchador Bane (Hardy) has been using a sinful syrup of anabolic abomination to reign as Gotham’s buff bully of bad! Bam!!! Pow!!! Blart!!! Will our courageous cowl-clad captain of covert combat emerge from exile to expunge this malformed menace???!!! Or will this evil El Santo Blue Demon leave our pointy-eared pugilist El Santo Blue Screamin’???!!! Will Batman’s welcome back be a broken back???!!! Comics canon confirms it—but Nolan’s crafty camera defers it!!! And what of felonious feline Selina Kyle (Hathaway)??? Is this damsel of distress destined to drive the baleful Bruce Wayne batty??? Looks like Justice ain’t the only thing our billionaire bruiser’s got a histrionic hard-on for! Me-owww!!! Better call Dimebag Darrell Abbott, ‘cause we’ve got a serious case of cat scratch fever!!! [Pantera recorded a cover of “Cat Scratch Fever” in the 90s—ed.] Yessir, it’s time for Nolan’s noir to reach its combustible conclusion! Only one question remains—WHY SO SERIOUS???!!!
Spoilers: After nearly three hours of Kyle’s cocktease bullshit, both Bane and Batman conclude that the only Cat worth a damn is Cat Deeley. Joining forces, they hire the statuesque British TV presenter to host a new weekly dance competition show called “So You Think You Can Bat-Dance?” featuring Prince and the Revolution as house band. Tragedy strikes when, backstage during the taping of the Season One finale, Bane makes an ill-advised pass at Wendy Melvoin. Offended, the feisty lesbian guitarist slaps him across the face, drawing blood with her heavy pewter scarab ring. Bane neglects to treat the wound with antibiotics, becomes ill, and dies of sepsis. During the autopsy, his mask is pulled back to reveal none other than beloved 1970s hitmaker Paul Williams.
Biggest WTF moment: Unlike previous franchise installments, this take on the Batman mythos is both dark and gritty.