Friday, July 13, 2012

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-Man does a decent job of retelling the same story we've seen before in previous film versions, but it doesn't bother to reinvent anything. It isn't any more serious than Sam Raimi's vision and no less silly either. The action, adventure, and drama are all there, but so are the contrivances, the overabundance of computer animation, and the abysmal villain's ridiculous plan to rule the world. The origins story is rushed at times, but still thorough enough that one would hope for more originality or a different tone. It's more of the same, but if you've been enjoying the repetitious superhero trends of late, there's little reason to skip this one.

When his parents are killed in a plane crash, young Peter Parker goes to live with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Several years later, now a teenager in high school, Peter (Andrew Garfield) finds a clue in his father's briefcase that leads him to brilliant Oscorp scientist Dr. Curt Connor (Rhys Ifans), a herpetologist devoted to cross-species genetics and its power to cure deformities. Sneaking into an Oscorp intern tour led by his high school crush Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), Peter spies several of the projects Connor worked on with his father, including genetically altered spiders and their bio-cable manufacturing. When one of the spiders in the lab bites Peter, he rapidly begins to gain increased strength and agility. Initially using his newfound skills only for his own amusement, a tragic loss finds Peter determined to utilize his powers for good. Becoming the masked vigilante "Spider-Man," Peter sets about apprehending criminals, much to the dismay of police captain George Stacy (Denis Leary). But when a vicious reptilian monster begins tearing through New York, Spider-Man becomes the city's only hope against the beast's diabolical plot.

The idea is to revive the Marvel moneymaker - make him more relatable, more heroic, more powerful, more believable, and more iconic. But as much as this new version tries to start over and distance itself from Sam Raimi's highly successful trilogy, enough time just hasn't passed. It's only been five years; special effects haven't improved so drastically that it feels like a completely different superhero, the story hasn't changed to the point of being unrecognizable, and the actors have been switched but essentially play the same, familiar roles. The reboot fails to be original and it fails to achieve its goal of reinvention. Its very existence, other than to sell tickets, is utterly pointless.

3 Places To Find Rare Kung Fu Videos

For martial arts fans there's nothing quite like watching some classic kung fu videos. The genre that ushered in a great deal of action in the 1970s is alive and well, even though some of the major players have started to wind down and retire. Even though the major performers are getting over the creative process of stunts and action, they did put many grand details on film and they are available to watch at any given moment. Believe it or not, you don't need to spend a lot of money on purchasing movies, especially when a wide variety of options are available online. There are so many options available today, that you can simply go to the following options and watch full-length martial arts cinema at the push of a button.

The first place to check out is the Internet Archive. Believe it or not there is a massive archive of movies, lesson plans, audio, books, and so much more that is in the public domain. Because these things are in the public domain, they are available for streaming, downloading, and sharing at no cost to the end user. If you're a true fan of martial arts on film, then you owe it to yourself to look through the many clips, footage, and more that is freely given away on the web.

The second place to look in order to find rare footage and movies is YouTube. The site with one million and counting videos also lets certain public domain films continue to flourish at no cost to the consumer. Sure, there are some that have commercial interruptions, but they are few and far between, and are well worth investing some time into.

The last place that you should look is video stores. No, not just your average video store, but rather the ones that are closing down in droves, which might be many. Look around your area and the surrounding areas for going out of business signs, and liquidation sales. You'll find that these stores are practically giving away their inventory, which means that you can drop a small amount of money and watch all the great movies that people like Quentin Tarantino like to rip off on a regular basis.

The Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev

In case you've been living under a rock for the last 3 years, you're probably familiar with a little TV show called The Vampire Diaries. The show centers on human Elena Gilbert and her relationships with vampire brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore. The part of Elena is played very skillfully by actress Nina Dobrev.

Born on January 9, 1989 in Sofia, Bulgaria as Nina Constantinova Dobreva, this willowy and statuesque actress stands 5' 6"with long dark hair and her trademark big brown eyes that mesmerize anyone that falls under their gaze. She moved to Canada when she was just 2 years old and lived in Toronto, Ontario until relocating to the Atlanta, Georgia area for filming of The Vampire Diaries. She was quite young when she first started showing a flair and enthusiasm for such things as Music, Gymnastics, Dance, Theatre, Acting and Visual Arts. First, Nina was a model, which led to commercials, and then auditions for films. It wasn't long before she had roles in such feature films as "Fugitive Pieces," "Away from Her," "The Roommate," "Chloe," the upcoming "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," and numerous Lifetime Movies. She also co-starred in the very popular TV series "Degrassi: The Next Generation." She played the part of Mia Jones, a teenage mother.

Traveling has always been a passion of Nina's and she visited Europe often for pleasure as well as for international competing as a representative for Canada in the Aesthetic gymnastics. She's pretty athletic, enjoying volleyball, swimming, soccer, horseback riding, snowboarding, and rock climbing. However, acting is Nina's passion and she views this as a long term adventure that's only begun. She believes that the journey and characters created along the path go a long way in helping to understand herself.

Her experiences on The Vampire Diaries has enabled her to really spread her acting wings as she's portrayed both Elena Gilbert and the vampire Katherine Pierce. These characters are entirely different from one another and Nina captures those differences perfectly. Sometimes, you can even see physical differences when the various characteristics come out in each one of them. Now, she'll get a chance to play a third character. That one will be Elena the vampire as she was turned at the end of the Season 3 Finale. It's going to be lots of fun to see what Nina does with this new aspect of Elena.

On top of Nina's beauty, intelligence, talents and abilities, she's got something else that a large part of the world's female population, and, possibly, some males, too, would love to have at their disposal. That extra added spicy ingredient is none other than her co-star, Ian Somerhalder. They've been in a romantic relationship for a couple of years, now, even though they kept it quiet until sometime in 2011. It's a good thing that she's a star in her own right because most women would probably just gaze into those phenomenal neon blue eyes of his within that remarkably beautiful face and be rendered speechless. However, Nina can apparently resist that urge, which is probably one of the many things that keep them together.