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Hot Stuff: The PopMatters Summer 2012 Movie Preview (July)

It's a battle of the box office biggest superheros as July sees Batman take on a new webslinger for artistic and commercial bragging rights.

Director: Marc Webb

Film: The Amazing Spider-man

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan

MPAA rating: PG-13


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6 July
The Amazing Spider-man

Really? A reboot of a franchise that just recently found its footing -- like in 2002? Granted, Sam Raimi's Spider-man 3 was a mess: too many villains, too much "Emo" Peter Parker, but did we really have to go back to the drawing board on this? Apparently, the answer is 'Yes', and fans have been rather kind to the creative call. They like Andrew Garfield as the new webslinger as well as Marc Webb behind the lens. Still, we can't help but wonder if this will be a one-off, and not the start of another series. After all, we've seen most of this before, right?

Director: Oliver Stone

Film: Savages

Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, Benicio del Toro, Emile Hirsch, John Travolta

MPAA rating: R


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6 July

Oliver Stone has been MIA since the misery that was Wall Street 2, so hopefully this adaptation of Don Winslow's thriller will wipe the stink away from that middling misfire. This is a director who excels where there is tension, controversy, and disagreement, not someone banking on blatant '80s nostalgia, and this tale of a kidnapped hippy girl and the growers who confront a mad Mexican mobster to get her back sounds right up his alley. Of course, we said that about U-Turn back in 1997, and Stone failed to fuller deliver then. For our money, the filmmaker should stick to reimagining history.

Director: Lauren Greenfield

Film: Queen of Versailles

Cast: Jackie Siegel, David Siegel

MPAA rating: R


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6 July
Queen of Versailles

First off: it's a documentary. Secondly, it focuses on billionaire couple Jackie and David Seigel, who made their fortune in the time-share industry. But before your Occupy Wall Street wounds reopen, the story of their rise from rags to riches takes a reciprocal turn once the economy tanks, leading to conversations about the importance of money and the completion of their 90,000 square foot mansion. While the subjects seem specious at best, Sundance loved the results. Sundance gave director Lauren Greenfield its highest individual honor. Schadenfreude, and the remote possibility of redemption, never looked so enticing... or entertaining.

Director: Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz

Film: Katy Perry: Part of Me

Cast: Katy Perry, Lucas Kerr, Rachael Markarian

MPAA rating:


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6 July
Katy Perry: Part of Me

It's time for teen pop culture to control the rest of the media planet as Ms. Perry follows in the footsteps of Miley, The Jonas Brothers, and Justin Bieber, with a concert performance/documentary following her rise to fame. Considering her considerable commercial clout, this is bound to be HUGE! Of course, if the film discusses her initial attempts at fame, her gospel music background, and the ever-present claims of studio manipulation and aided auto-tuning of her voice, then we're all in. If it's just another marketing whitewash walking the micro-thin line between entertainment and infomercial, then we'll probably wait for the DVD.

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