THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
Get ready to go on an amazing webslinging adventure.
British actor Andrew Garfield (“The Social Network”) replaces longtime “Spider-Man” star Toby Maguire, and director Marc Webb follows three-time director Sam Raimi in the absorbing, reimagined origin story of Peter Parker/ Spider-Man.
Garfield remains convincing as an angst-ridden, klutzy teenager who is astonished to discover his phenomenal newfound powers. Costar Emma Stone shines as Parker’s pert and smart love interest Gwen Stacy, and Rhys Ifans gives a suitably over-the-top performance as mad scientist Dr. Curt Connors aka The Lizard. Sally Field and Martin Sheen portray Aunt May and Uncle Ben.
Even though the final setpiece goes on too long, the film still works because of its well-paced, thrilling, spectacular action sequences and because of the effective performances. The intriguing back story concerning Parker’s deceased parents adds to the plausibility of the comic book yarn.
Because of the movie’s state-of-the-art technology, it is worth the extra money to watch the extraordinary big screen cartoon epic in 3D as Spider-Man seems to fling himself right in your face.
Rated PG-13 3 and 1/2 Stars
Heads literally roll as director Oliver Stone makes a strong return to his earlier “crime, sex and drugs” flicks with the grisly, mega-violent “Savages” based on a novel by Don Winslow.
Mexican Baja Cartel boss Elena Sanchez aka Elena La Reina (Salma Hayek) and her henchman Miguel aka Lado (Oscar winner Benecio Del Toro) attempt to horn in on the marijuana business of young Laguna Beach entrepreneurs Ben (Aaron Johnson) and former Navy SEAL Chon (Taylor Kitsch) in Stone’s well-made, edgy, bloody and hard-R-rated drama.
Blake Lively portrays Olivia aka “O,” and John Travolta is a standout as a corrupt DEA agent.
Rated R 3 Stars
TO ROME WITH LOVE
Fans of filmmaker Woody Allen and of last year’s critically acclaimed Best Picture Oscar nominee “Midnight in Paris” will be disappointed by Allen’s latest comedy, an uneven, occasionally amusing and sometimes surreal series of tales set in Rome.
It’s fun to see Roberto Benigni cope with sudden fame and Penelope Cruz masquerade as a newlywed. Young stars Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page milk some laughs out of a romantic triangle. Unfortunately, the roles of Allen as Jerry and Judy Davis as his wife Phyllis are underwritten, and Alec Baldwin’s character never seems to jell.
Rated R 2 and 1/2 Stars
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Six-year-old Hushpuppy (Quevanzhane Wallis) and her father Wink (Dwight Henry) live south of the Louisiana levee on an island called The Bathtub with their neighbors, all staunch holdouts who refuse to leave even when a storm threatens to cause flooding that will likely inundate their homes.
Cowriter and director Benh Zeitlin’s imaginative and touching cinematic work of art contains splendid performances from a cast of mostly nonprofessional actors including Henry and the diminutive, but nonetheless powerful Wallis, Ben Richardson’s evocative cinematography and the mythical beasts and apocalyptic symbols known as Aurochs.
Rated PG-13 3 and 1/2 Stars
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
Anticipation has me feeling like a kid again
I still act like a kid sometimes.
Please, friends, before you start nodding in agreement, let me explain.
An unusual officer from three countries
Walking into the headquarters of the Green Berets 10th Special Forces Group in Bad Tolz, Germany as a newly-assigned lieutenant in June of 1961, not knowing what to expect, was the start of the second best assignment I had in the U.S. Army (the best was commanding a battalion in the 8th Infantry Division in Europe during the Cold War).
Adjusting to change and getting back on the wagon
Adjusting to change is hard, even when the change is a great thing in your life like a new job, a new relationship, or a new location.
Anything, good or bad, that can throw a wrench into our normal routine, has the potential to be an opportunity or a detriment to our wellness planning.
COLUMN: Being a role model more important than winning
My first nine years in the newspaper business were as a sports writer, so I’ve seen my share of crazy sports parents. In fact, I’ve probably seen my share and your share. However, these people never cease to amaze me with ridiculous behavior at youth sporting events.
COLUMN: Life's too short to fret over blunders
If you’re among the jillions of people who can’t make it through the day — or hour, in some cases — without your social media fix, you are well aware that Facebook thrives on our status updates.
To prompt us to update — or spill our guts, so to speak — we are encouraged to “write something.” And then there’s the dangerous Facebook question: “What’s on your mind?”
COLUMN: The difference between ‘spoiled’ and ‘blessed’
Some people have said that we have created a monster.
They’ve said that we spoil our little girl.
And some could say that she’s got us wrapped around her little paw.
COLUMN: County Judge stresses importance of library and its vision
Recently, the Commissioners Court approved the three-year strategic plan for the Rockwall County Library. This plan sets the vision and the goals for the organization for the next three years and was developed by the Librarian and the Library Advisory Board. Most citizens are not aware of the Advisory Board and its function, but it is composed of nine individuals chosen by the Court members with the purpose of advising the Court and the Librarian on the policies and practices they recommend should be followed in the operation of the library.
Trumping negotiations with sarcasm: A proven winner
As a sarcasm connoisseur, I like to use a lot of one-liners that, while the recipient isn’t quite fond of, I’m absolutely in love with. They can be used in almost any setting, any situation and directed at just about any person.
Reporter in his ‘element’ at recent Taste of Rockwall event
Someone mentioned during the recent Taste of Rockwall that I was in my element.
I checked an online definition just to make sure I pretty much understood what they were saying. I thought I knew, but sometimes I apply my own definitions, and I have been wrong.
So I checked it out and, yep, that was me all right. I was definitely “in my element.”
Dispatch issues present number of problems that need to be fixed
In the spring of 2011, about 125 citizens gathered in our library and started the development of a five-year strategic plan for Rockwall County. The plan was divided into several major categories, one of which was law enforcement. In this area, a major recommendation was that the county should develop a county-wide 9-1-1 dispatch center for all of Rockwall County public safety organizations.
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- Anticipation has me feeling like a kid again