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Why Andrew Garfield’s Underrated ’99 Homes’ Is Worth Seeking Out

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Why Andrew Garfield’s Underrated ’99 Homes’ Is Worth Seeking Out

Arguably, we are in the Andrew Garfield Era. Over the last 18 months or so, the actor has reminded moviegoers of his versatility and commitment to embracing challenging roles while proving to be a total delight as a human being. Recently we’ve had his return to his web-slinger role in Spider-Man: No Way Home, his performance as a conflicted Mormon detective in Under The Banner of Heaven, his supporting work in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and his acclaimed lead role in Tick, Tick…BOOM!.

But his achievements as an artist aren’t limited to the last couple of years. These recent titles followed his Tony Award win for his lead work in the 2017/2018 revival of Angels in America as well his underappreciated masterful turn in the Martin Scorsese feature Silence.

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If you’re like many of his fans, you may be running out of fresh Garfield-related content to take in. So, if you’re dying to check out a perhaps overlooked, well-wrought performance from Garfield, though, it’s time you checked out his lead performance in 99 Homes.

If the title doesn’t ring a bell, that’s understandable. Released in October 2015, the theatrical release of 99 Homes was plagued by several factors. These included how it debuted to the general public 14 months after its initial film festival premiere buzz came and went as well as its distributor, Broad Green Pictures, not being super familiar with releasing arthouse titles. But the obscurity here shouldn’t conceal the fact that this title contains one of Garfield’s best turns as a performer.


The grim tone of 99 Homes is established right off the bat as the camera lingers on the partially obscured corpse of a person who’s just committed suicide. Real estate operator Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) strolls through the deceased’s property, preparing to sell it. This is the grim world of home evictions, a domain Carver is the king of in this pocket of Orlando, Florida. His occupation soon brings him face to face with Dennis Nash (Garfield), who is promptly evicted from his home alongside his mom and young son. Initially furious at Carver, the cash-strapped Nash soon begins working for this man, which entails him evicting other people from their homes. Nash is now a part of a system that chews people up and spits them out.

RELATED: Where Does ‘Tick, Tick…Boom!’ Rank Against Andrew Garfield’s Best Movies?

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It’d be easy for an actor to play the shift in Nash’s life in broad terms, but Garfield doesn’t go that route. He depicts the evolving nature of this character in subtle ways, we’re watching a slow-burn moral rot, not something that happens overnight. After establishing a naturalistic person for Nash in the earliest scenes of 99 Homes, Garfield does remarkable work chipping away at that status quo in his demeanor as he gets more and more financially stable. Money doesn’t just bring security, it also, to paraphrase Marge Simpson, alters Nash as a person so gradually you barely even notice.

This depiction of Nash’s evolution is just one of several ways Garfield impresses in 99 Homes. Another notable quality in his work here is how he utilizes his naturally youthful appearance. This facet of Garfield’s physical profile allowed him to play a college student in The Social Network when he was in his mid-20s or depict a teenage Spider-Man as he turned 30 years old. Youthfulness has been a big detail in his career, right up to modern works like Tick, Tick…BOOM!, which is all about a guy whose mental state is riddled with anxiety over the prospect of turning 30 years old.


This quality is put to its most tragic use in the context of 99 Homes. The strain of capitalism that turns members of the proletariat against one another, through means like evicting poor people from their homes for cash, can affect anyone. Director Raman Bahrani quietly uses Garfield, an actor associated with youth in the minds of moviegoers, to convey that this widespread impact can extend to even younger people. Nobody is exempt from these terrible ripple effects, even a single dad in their 20s can become a class traitor. Quietly leaning into this quality adds another subtle layer to Nash’s story that only Garfield, with his history as a performer, could provide effortlessly.

What makes 99 Homes stand out among Garfield’s filmography, though, is what a departure it is from the actor’s other roles. Garfield is an actor who has a clear fondness for pronounced traits in his performances. He embraces rather than shies away from the overt Southern accents that his characters in The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Hacksaw Ridge carried. Let’s also not forget that Garfield delivered appropriately maximalist work in portraying a singing-and-dancing version of Jonathan Larson on the cusp of 30 in Tick, Tick…BOOM! If you want somebody who can go entertainingly over the top, Garfield’s your guy.

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By contrast, 99 Homes is directed by Roman Bahrani. His earliest works, like Man Push Cart and Chop Shop, employed non-actors and thrived on realistic subtlety. They eschewed glamour and grandiose touches in order to capture the nuances of everyday reality. That’s a unique workspace for Garfield to work in and, just like with his masterful lead role in Silence, he proves more than up to the challenge of doing something more restrained. What worked so well for Garfield’s depiction of Jonathan Larson would’ve been out of place here in 99 Homes and the actor is conscious of that truth

Thus, audiences get to be reminded here of Garfield’s gifts for more subdued performances, especially the actor’s depiction of Nash’s detached mechanical demeanor whenever evicted tenets begin to respond profoundly to losing their homes. The everyman looking out for his family from the opening scenes of 99 Homes is gone. Garfield quietly conveys in authentic touches, both in these tragic moments and all throughout 99 Homes, how human suffering now falls on deaf ears for Nash. Garfield can be quite excellent in a more pronounced mode but adjusting his talents to the unique demands of a Bahrani film showcases the man’s versatility excellently.


Thanks to its brutal subject matter and its unflinching depiction of how one person’s wealth tends to come at the expense of another human being (both crystallized in that shocking opening scene), 99 Homes isn’t exactly the kind of movie you play on a Saturday night easy escapism. However, it’s an extremely well-crafted feature in its filmmaking and allows Andrew Garfield to deliver a unique lead performance in his body of work. Don’t let 99 Homes slip through the cracks, it’s just as worthy any Garfield film of high praise.

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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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