Tag Archives: James Franco

The Set of 400: #120 – My Favorite Pandemic Outbreak

Today! Because some things aren’t meant to be changed. You need to accept that –

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Directed by Rupert Wyatt

Starring Andy Serkis (x4), James Franco (x3), Freida Pinto, John Lithgow (x4), Brian Cox (x6), Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine, Jamie Harris

I’m not a huge fan of prequels (The Phantom Menace notwithstanding, chumps!) and I was never particularly into the ’70s Planet of the Apes movies, so I had very few expectations going into this movie. Sure, if you’ve convinced yourself you’ve gotta make a prequel to some story, you could do worse than this – how the hell the world devolved into an ape run hellscape sounds like a pretty great tale (even if it was explained somewhat in the final original films) – plus you’ve now got the technology to render realistic apes in the driver’s seat of this rebellion, not just Roddy McDowell in a rubber mask. But still, why would anyone think this would play out as anything but another cash-in on a long dead property? Tim Burton tried rebooting this nonsense only a decade early, with relatively disastrous results.

Make that “solidly disastrous”

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The Set of 400: #235 – My Favorite Science Squid

Today! Because you’ve stuck your webs into my business for the last time –

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Directed by Sam Raimi (x2)

Starring Tobey Maguire (x3), Kirsten Dunst (x2), Alfred Molina (x2), Rosemary Harris (x2), James Franco (x2), J.K. Simmons (x4), Dylan Baker (x3), Bill Nunn (x3), Willem Dafoe (x3), Cliff Robertson (x2), Ted Raimi, Donna Murphy, Daniel Gillies, Bruce Campbell (x3), Elizabeth Banks (x4), Joel McHale, Elya Baskin, Daniel Dae Kim, Hal Sparks, Emily Deschanel, Louis Lombardi (x2), Joey Coco Diaz, Mageina Tovah

If you cast your mind back to the early ’00s, when there wasn’t a new superhero movie released every three months, the medium – while popular – still wasn’t regarded as one reliable for great storytelling. Everybody likes fun action movies, right? Especially the relatively bloodless superhero kind. And that’s what we’d been getting, for quite a while, somewhat infrequently.

Then in a one-two punch, we got the first sequels to X-Men and Spider-Man in ’03 and ’04, and all of a sudden you could see fully what was possible in this genre on the big screen. Epic, complicated stories with conflicted villains bent on more than just world domination or chaotic jokery. These films were the dawn of the modern tights-and-capes era we live in, and the pinnacles of their respective franchises.

Let’s not forget the debt of honor we all owe to Blade

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The Set of 400: #381 – My Favorite “Macho Man” Randy Savage Cameo

Today! Because the story of my life is not for the faint of heart –

Spider-Man (2002)

Directed by Sam Raimi

Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, James Franco, J.K. Simmons, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, Joe Manganiello, Bill Nunn, Elizabeth Banks, Bruce Campbell, Macho Man Randy Savage, Octavia Spencer, Macy Gray, Lucy Lawless, Jim Norton, Stan Lee

And we’ve arrived at the first comic book superhero film to make the list! And this was really the patient zero for the film world we live in today. Sure, there were the ’70s/’80s Superman movies, and the ’80s/’90s Batman movies, and 2000’s X-Men, but in reality it wasn’t until Spidey came on the scene in ’02 that the modern era began. After this point, superhero movies would become omnipresent gigantic moneymaking super franchises, released at all times of the year. Do you remember the days when the top five grossing films of a year weren’t dominated by masked avengers and caped crusaders? Well you’re probably thinking of 2001 and before. Continue reading

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