Superhero Saturday: ‘Spider-Man’ (2002) nails the casting and tone for Sam Raimi’s web-crawler origin story (Movie review)


 thought “Spider-Man” (2002) was run-of-the-mill when I saw it in theaters, but I got into it more on this rewatch. It’s a down-the-middle origin story for sure, but the fact that writer David Koepp and director Sam Raimi get the tone of the comic-book right (for kids, but not dumbed down; fun, but with real stakes) is nothing to sneeze at. And the casting – my god, the casting. I can see the longing in Tobey Maguire’s eyes every time Peter Parker looks at Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), and Willem Dafoe is excellent in a tricky, tragic role where he isn’t always aware he is in fact the Green Goblin.

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All 6 ‘Mission: Impossible’ films, ranked (Movie commentary)


n honor of “Mission: Impossible — Fallout” hitting home rental this week, I thought I’d do a ranking of all six “M:I” movies in which Tom Cruise plays Agent Ethan Hunt.  As an action movie junkie, my views may differ from the typical critical rankings. Cruise does almost all of his own stunts, and they are just as much the star of the show as he is, so I’ve included a nod to the best action sequence in each film.

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All 16 ‘Jurassic Park’ stories, ranked (Movie, book and comic book commentary)


urassic Park” might not seem like a candidate for lots of spinoff material – and indeed, the franchise has contented itself with blockbuster films as of late. (The latest, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” lands Friday, June 22.) But there have been enough comics released through the years to pad out a list of  distinct “JP” yarns. Here’s a ranking of every “Jurassic Park” story, from the worst comic books to the best of Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton.

(Updated in December 2018 with “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”)

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As Disney mulls Indiana Jones’ future, here’s a look back at the ‘Indy’ quadrilogy (Movie reviews)

My 11-day stretch without cable or Internet as I moved into a new apartment presented a perfect opportunity for an “Indiana Jones” quadrilogy rewatch on DVD. Although “Star Wars” is of course my No. 1 Lucasfilm franchise, I’ve always admired the fedora-wearing archaeologist and his world-hopping adventures as well.

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‘Jurassic Park’ flashback: ‘The Lost World’ (1997) (Movie review)

Director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter David Koepp’s “The Lost World” (1997) abandons so much of the 1995 novel that it’s almost false advertising to say it’s “based on a novel by Michael Crichton.” Still, they retain the lost world idea, and that’s the film’s hook: Whereas “Jurassic Park” gave us hints of dinosaur behavior – such as the T-rex chasing the gallimimus flock – the sequel is all about seeing dinosaurs in their “natural” habitat; it’s a modern take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s concept. (Obviously, there’s nothing truly natural about a small island of cloned dinosaurs, but I’ll set that aside for now.)

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20 random observations about ‘Jurassic Park’ (Movie commentary)

“Jurassic Park,” released on June 11, 1993, was based on Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel, it revolutionized special effects, and it spawned two sequels filled with random people getting eating by dinosaurs as punishment for not respecting chaos theory. It’s back in theaters this weekend in 3D, and it’s still a great movie. The idea of an “event movie” has been watered down in the last two decades, in part because more event movies are being made, so maybe it’s pure sentimentalism to say this, but: They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

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