More (or less) than just another movie, The Amazing Spider-Man is a typical symptom of Hollywood anxiety. Despite being part of an endless (and extremely profitable) wave of films based on comic books, it stands out for giving a whole new beginning to a series that began just ten years ago. A decade is an eternity in Hollywood so in most producers’ opinion, if the product can earn top dollar, it’s best to rerun it as soon as possible and with minimal changes.
For viewers who want something new (though not necessarily better), there’s the French film War of the Buttons and the award-winning Brazilian flick Found Memories.
In the current language of the film industry, The Amazing Spider-Man might be called a reboot – a new beginning to a series that started with the 2002 film directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire. This time, it’s Andrew Garfield (who plays Eduardo Saverin in The Social Network) who dons the head-to-toe bodysuit. The film has all the hallmarks of a rerun.
Under the direction of Marc Webb – who did (500) Days of Summer – this version of the story recounts the comic hero’s past with just a few variations from the film released ten years ago. This time the villain is the Lizard and Spider-Man’s gal is the blonde Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) rather than redhead Mary Jane. In this detail, the film is faithful to the original comic: before Mary Jane, Peter Parker dated Gwen.
The movie does a satisfactory job as a blockbuster hit without being ridiculous like The Avengers. The fact that Peter Parker was an orphan is the kind of thing that touches most viewers in some way or another, and Garfield interprets the role just as well as Maguire did. What’s irritating, though, is that there’s still that predictable taste of something being rehashed, which may disappear in the next movie – if there is one – once the director defines his approach.
Dir. Marc Webb, USA, 2012. Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Martin Sheen. 136 min.
In the small village of Jotuomba, life passes by without much in the way of any action, to the extent that there aren’t even any deaths in the town: the cemetery is locked up. The pace of things changes once Rita, a young photographer, arrives in town. Director Julia Murat’s first fiction feature film, Found Memories, won several awards at festivals such as Ljubljana, San Sebastian and Toulouse. Note, this film is in Portuguese.
Dir. Julia Murat, Brazil, France, Argentina, 2011. Sonia Guedes, Lisa E. Fávero, Luiz Serra, Ricardo Merkin, Antônio dos Santos. 98 min.
In 1960, in a village in southern France, a gang of boys goes to ‘war’ with the children from the neighbouring village. War of the Buttons (Guerra dos Botões in Portuguese) is an adaptation of the book La nouvelle Guerre des Boutons by Louis Pergaud, popularised by the first film adaptation (which is much better, we might add) directed by Yves Robert and released in 1961. Note, this film is in French with Portuguese subtitles
Dir. Yann Samuell, France, 2011. Eric Elmosnino, Mathilde Seigner, Fred Testot, Alain Chabat, Vincent Bres, Théo Bertrand, Salomé Lemire, Tom Terrail, Louis Lefèbvre, Victor Le Blond, Tristan Vichard. 109 min.
Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film, Beaufort takes place in southern Lebanon in a castle that has been passed on from one army to another for centuries. In 2000, after eighteen years of occupation, Israeli troops will withdraw from the outpost. The film revolves around the group of soldiers who form the final garrison protecting the site.
Dir. Joseph Cedar, Israel, 2007. Alon Aboutboul, Adi Adouan, Yaakov Ahimeir, Guy Apriat, Avi Ayoun, Itamar Barzani, Daniel Bruck, Daniel Cedar. 131 min.
This Norwegian thriller is based on the novel by Jo Nesbø about a head-hunter who is actually an artwork thief. Expect blood and plenty of absurd twists and turns. Although its moments of scatalogical madness may entertain viewers with a taste for black comedy, the film on the whole is inconsistent. Note: this is screened in the original Norwegian with Portuguese subtitles.
Dir. Morten Tyldum, Norway, Germany, 2011. Aksel Hennie, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Julie R. Ølgaard, Joachim Rafaelsen. 100 min.