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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
The Amazing Spider-Man franchise is supposedly in trouble. Why?

Apparently, the future of a certain Marvel mainstay is currently “up in the air”. No, not any character from the Avengers or some of the second tier offshoots like the Guardians of the Galaxy. Not even proposed players like Ant-Man or Dr. Strange.


While the X-Men chug along mightily and Disney continues to distribute the wealth to its multi-franchised property, Sony has stumbled—big time, according to reports—on where Peter Parker and The Amazing Spider-Man should go next. There are even rumors that the franchise may be dead, having dropped significantly since the studio decided to reboot the webslinger shortly after giving Sam Raimi and company the boot.


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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014
So the idea behind this cop show is a smart, unthreatening woman of a certain age. It's a wonder why it only lasted one episode.
Above:  Feet with toe tag on a morgue table image from Shutterstock.com, not from this obscure made for TV movie.


What is it about homicide? “It’s far more interesting than vice or burglary,” says Lt. Shirley Ridgeway, a middle-aged widow played by Canadian actress Kate Reid. “And believe it or not, you meet a better class of people.”


At least that’s true if you’re a character in a ‘70s TV movie that’s blissfully unconnected with reality. Even though she works for the Los Angeles Police Department, Lt. Ridgeway’s world consists of a homey office where she’s supplied with a cute young uniformed patrolman, Manny Reyes (A Martinez), as a kind of personal batman. “He’s a beautiful boy,” she sighs, before explaining he used to run with an East Side gang.


 


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Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014
There was much more to James Garner than Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford. Here are ten movies roles which he should be remembered for, as well.

For a certain generation, he will always be the quick-witted, adroit cardshark Bret Maverick in Maverick. His slick, snide persona left a major impact, even after he walked at the end of the third season (the show ran for another two years).


For others, he remains the laid back beach bum private dick Jim Rockford, a problem-plagued PI whose questionable abilities were quelled by his flashy (?) fashion sense, beachside mobile home office/residence, street savvy, and complicated backstory (he served time in prison on a wrongful conviction). Audiences loved this Maverick-like update (co-producer Roy Huggins was responsible for both shows) and it set a standard for which actor James Garner would be both grateful and a bit glum.


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Monday, Jul 21, 2014
Michel Gondry goes all out here, bringing both the fanciful wonders and dire circumstances of our couple's doomed affair to breathtaking, eye-popping life.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen filmmaker Michel Gondry in what we’d call “full Gondry” mode. After his amazing breakthrough, the endearing romantic tragicomedy Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, he’s made attempts at cult/commercial appeal (Be Kind, Rewind), mainstream blockbusting (the grossly underrated Green Hornet) and a few reasonable reminders of his eccentric penchant (The Science of Sleep,The We and the I).


There have even been a few fascinating documentaries (The Thorn in the Heart, Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?) thrown in for good measure. Now, the undeniable visualist is back with an adaptation of Boris Vian’s highly experimental 1947 novel Froth of the Daydream (here retitled Mood Indigo). Telling a simplistic tale in a highly surrealistic manner, it would seem right up Gondry’s style over substance alley. And it is. Magnificently so.


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Friday, Jul 18, 2014
A long time ago, Disney wanted to bring a bit of excitement into a kid's entertainment world. Planes: Fire and Rescue revisits that idea, and succeeds.

There was a time, at least 50 years ago, when Disney took as much care with its live action films as its did with its animation. While these titles could never live up to the breathtaking artistic breakthroughs being made by their pen and ink masterworks, Disney still managed to craft family entertainment without resorting to ridiculous contrivances or obvious audience pandering. It all began with an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island, and flourished with efforts like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Swiss Family Robertson. There was even some unheralded excellence buried among the goofball comedies (The Shaggy Dog) and oddball entries (Greyfriar’s Bobby? Seriously).


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