Jon Watts

Peter’s To-Do List (2019, Jon Watts)

Peter's To-Do List is some next level lazy. It’s an “all-new” short film included on the Spider-Man: Far From Home home video releases. It’s actually just a montage mostly cut from the movie; better yet, the footage also appears in the deleted scenes section of the disc. There are no opening titles, no end credits, nothing new.

But it’s a good montage. It’s not like it’s at all bad, it’s well-made, It’s funny, it moves well. It’s just not “all-new.”

And it’s not particularly essential. Or even inessential. The important stuff from List do appear in the movie proper, so it’s just like… why. Well, I get why—Sony has a long history of aggrandizing deleted scenes to create special features (including extended versions of the movie made without filmmaker involvement, just reinserting deleted scenes).

Where To-Do List is… potentially interesting is in its positioning and promotion. “All-New Short Film” is a claim and a promise. To-Do List fails the claim but maybe not the promise. It’s Tom Holland being adorable as he goes around trying to get ready for the Far From Home part of the movie. He’s got a list of errands to run, culminating in taking down a bunch of gangsters. That sequence is rather good—and it’s impressive to see how, even in under four minutes, Holland and the filmmakers are able to maintain this consistent tone between Holland’s mundane tasks and his technologically accelerated fisticuffs with bad guys.

Tack on some titles, some credits (which would be difficult, I imagine, because then they might owe residuals), To-Do List would almost be “all-new.” With the right titles and credits anyway.

It’s even lazier than the old “Marvel One-Shots,” which was a series of short home video exclusives mostly made out of cut scenes and Clark Gregg shooting inserts. That series eventually got better. But I don’t think even the laziest one was as lazy as To-Do List.

I mean, technically it’s Recommended but only because it’s an incomplete. Hell, throw on a teaser for the rest of the movie and it’s basically a concept trailer. Instead, it’s a short mid-quel (defined by Petrana Radulovic as “side adventures taking place during the events of the original film”), just made out of cut footage….

So lazy.

But an amusing three and a half minutes.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Jon Watts; screenplay by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, based on the Marvel comic book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko; director of photography, Matthew J. Lloyd; edited by Dan Lebental and Leigh Folsom Boyd; music by Michael Giacchino; production designer, Claude Paré; produced by Amy Pascal and Kevin Feige; released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Starring Tom Holland (Peter Parker), Jacob Batalon (Ned), and Hemky Madera (Delmar).


Our RoboCop Remake (2014)

It’s hard to imagine how Our RoboCop Remake would play for someone who doesn’t only love the original Robocop, but has seen it quite a few times. A lot of the humor in Remake is broad, but enough of the choices are subtle and incisive (while sometimes still maintaining a wink), one has to be familiar with the source material.

The Remake project is the work of approximately fifty filmmakers who each took a different scene of Robocop and adapted it. Some are more straightforward than others; some use the beginning of the scene as a starting point for comedic interpretation, some just adapt through absurdist humor. Robocop has a lot of great lines–pretty much every actor taking over for Kurtwood Smith and Miguel Ferrer does an amazing job–and a lot of violence to comment on. The scene where Robocop stops a rape in progress becomes frantic ultra-violence in a way Paul Verhoeven never got to show.

And Remake is definitely better towards the beginning; later, once Robocop appears, the filmmakers tend to go for the inherent humor having a guy in a bad costume allows. There are exceptions–the last few scenes (before the finish) are fantastic, with a couple musical numbers and a great action figure-based one.

But the early scenes, with puppets, babies playing adults, interpretive dance… those are fantastic.

There are some good animated sequences too.

Remake is, overall, uneven. But it’s still a great time. Though probably mostly for Robocop aficionados.

2/4★★

CREDITS

Directed by Kelsy Abbott, Eric Appel, James Atkinson, Paul Bartunek, Todd Bishop, David Codeglia, Casey Donahue, Fatal Farm, Kate Freund, Matthew Freund, Hank Friedmann, Clint Gage, Ariel Gardner, Paul Isakson, Tom Kauffman, Alex Kavutskiy, Jim Klimek, Jason Makiaris, Timothy Marklevitz, Michael McCafferty, Wendy McColm, Aaron Moles, Nick Mundy, Dan Murrell, John Olsen, Ben Pluimer, Wade Randolph, Kyle Reiter, Ryan Ridley, Dan Riesser, J.D. Ryznar, Joshua Sasson, David Seger, Duncan Skiles, Tyler Spiers, Spencer Strauss, Erni Walker, Jon Watts, Brian Wysol, Scott Yacyshyn, Zach Zdziebko and Mike Manasewitsch; screenplay by Appel, Atkinson, Codeglia, Isakson, Kauffman, McCafferty, Olsen, Ridley, Seger, Spiers, Strauss and Michael Ryan Truly, based on the film written by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner; directors of photography, Codeglia, Nate Cornett, Matthew Freund, Brian King and Zdziebko; edited by Appel, Codeglia, Robin Comisar, Friedmann, Makiaris, Manasewitsch, McColm, Murrell, Reiter, Ryznar, Sasson, Seger, Watts and Yacyshyn; music by Andrew Kaiser and Zdziebko; production designers, Josh Simpson and Kristi Uribes; produced by Seger, Brian Dillingham, Ricky Lloyd George, Brent Lydic, Philip Marlatt, Karolyn McKenzie, Andrew Meredith, Eddie Ryan and Spiers.


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