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Sam Raimi Shares His Thoughts On Spider-Man: No Way Home

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Sam Raimi Shares His Thoughts On Spider-Man: No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home recently became the sixth highest-grossing movie ever, thanks to its emotional yet entertaining storyline and a terrific performance from lead star Tom Holland. The film also features the first live-action multiversal team-up between Spider-Men and sees Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield reprise their roles as the iconic web-swingers from Sony’s previous Spider-Man films.

Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi directed 2002’s Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire as the titular superhero. The success of the film spawned a trilogy that has since become iconic, even though the third film couldn’t live up to the standards of the first two. The Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007) featured exciting action, well-written stories, and stellar performances from Maguire, Willem Dafoe, Alfred Molina, Kristen Dunst, and J.K. Simmons. As expected, fans were overjoyed to see Maguire, Dafoe, and Molina share screen space after almost two decades. Sam Raimi also had the same reaction. He recently gave an interview to Variety, promoting the critically acclaimed short film, You’re Dead Hélène. Raimi briefly discussed Spider-Man: No Way Home, saying:

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“It was so much fun. I love No Way Home and the audience I was with went crazy. It was delightful to watch Alfred play his role, and Willem Dafoe, just seeing these guys take it to the next level. And Tobey was awesome as always. The best word I can say is it was refreshing for me”

Other than being undeniably fun, Spider-Man: No Way Home is also quite refreshing, owing to its bold and ambitious storytelling. No Way Home silenced the doubters of Tom Holland’s iteration of Spider-Man and delivered an epic movie incorporating themes of love, loss, and redemption. No Way Home has been well received by fans and critics alike. Consequently, Marvel is keen on making its presence felt at this year’s Academy Awards.

Related: The Best Sam Raimi Films, Ranked

Sam Raimi Returns to Superhero Genre With Doctor Strange 2

The upcoming MCU phase four film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is set to be Sam Raimi’s first feature film in nine years. Since his last film, 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful, Raimi has helmed episodes of TV shows, including Rake and Ash vs Evil Dead. He has also produced several acclaimed films like Don’t Breathe and Crawl. After a troublesome shoot during the pandemic, the Doctor Strange sequel starring Benedict Cumberbatch underwent major reshoots last November and recently wrapped filming. However, the term “reshoot” has become synonymous with studio interference or mediocrity. Thankfully, the reshoots have only generated positive buzz for Doctor Strange 2. Tom Cruise, the Fantastic Four, and several other comic book characters are rumored to cameo in the film. When asked if the Doctor Strange sequel is done filming, Raimi said:


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“I wish I knew the answer to that question. I think we’re done, but we just cut everything. We’re just starting to test the picture, and we’ll find out if there’s anything that’s got to be picked up. If something’s unclear or another improvement I can make in this short amount of time left, I’ll do it. One thing I know about the Marvel team is they won’t stop. They’ll keep pushing it until it’s as close to being great as it could.”

Raimi also commended Marvel for the creative freedom he’s been given and the supportive nature of the studio. What has been added (or changed) in the reshoots and how Doctor Strange 2 will fare with audiences are questions that will be answered only upon the film’s release. Hopefully, Raimi and team will knock it out of the park.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness premieres worldwide on May 6, 2022.


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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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