Monday, December 13, 2004

POPCORN: Spanglish & Spiders

Spanglish: 7/10

James L. Brook's delivers yet another film showcasing astonishing acting talent while commenting on the American family and the human condition. Spanglish is the story of a Mexican woman's, Flor (Paz Vega), assimilation north of the border as told through the eyes of her daughter Cristina. Flor and Cristina keep close to their indigenous culture after settling in Los Angeles until Flor takes a job with a wealthy family in Stone Canyon. Flor speaks no English, making her observations of the more or less typically neurotic and loving American family, the Claskey's, joyful and painful to watch.

Spanning generational and cultural lines, Spanglish takes a heart warming and honest look at the mother daughter dynamic in a way Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood tried so hard to do a few years ago. Spanglish then mixes in Adam Sandler as John Claskey, the loving and absolutely confused man stuck in between his wife, mother-in-law, daughter, maid, and her daughter. Tea Leoni and Paz Vega deliver outstanding performances in this dramady which seams to encapsulate the best and worst of your average loving mother. This film is worth the watch and like Terms of Endearment jerks at the tears you don't want to shed, dammit.

Spiderman 2: 6/10

Yes, I know, I'm the last person in country to see this film. I'm also apparently only the second person to not think this is the greatest film ever. Perhaps it's the fact that every person I knew raved about the "awesomeness" of this film all summer and fall and that in fact no film could live up to that hype. Or, maybe, it just wasn't that great.

There was nothing wrong with the film, it just did not surpass the original (which I loved) in my mind. Now that I think about it, most of it has to do with Doc Oc. It's very hard to top Willam Defoe's Green Goblin, just as it was to top Jack Nicholson's Joker. Can Christopher Walken or Gary Oldman play the villain in Spidey 3? I know it's a weak and petty point, but setting a bar that high is hard to jump again and again. I liked the darker story, but didn't like the fuzzy ending. In fact, having Mary Jane Watson die at that part with the Doc (you know where I mean) would have been beautifully poetic and added to the tragic flaw that motivates the best super heros. I'm not a big comic book fan, so I don't know exactly how this would have impacted or violated Spidey's roots.

Tobey, Kirsten, and J.K. Simmons were wonderful in there roles. The animated fight sequences were fantastic, and the web impotency plot line was great. This film delivers fun as it was meant to and does justice to the Spiderman franchise. Unfortunately, it fails to take Spidey to the next level.


At 11:39 AM, Blogger Darren said...

Interesting, but most of the people in York hated Spider-Man 2. I heard things like "sucks," "boring" and my personal fave: "gay." I must say this film's perfection, yes I said that, wasn't fully realized by me till a second viewing.


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