DRUG ABUSE FOR FUN AND PROFIT

21 Mar

1. Limitless/Relativity                                    Wknd/$  19.0            Total/$  19.0

2. Rango/Parmount                                    Wknd/$  15.3            Total/$  92.6

3. Battle: LA Sony                                                Wknd/$  14.6            Total/$  60.6

4. The Lincoln Lawyer/LGF                        Wknd/$  13.4            Total/$  13.4

5.  Paul/Universal                                                Wknd/$  13.2            Total/$  13.2

6. Red Riding Hood/Warners                        Wknd/$    7.3            Total/$  26.0

7. The Adjustment Bureau/Universal            Wknd/$    5.9            Total/$  48.8

8. Mars Needs Moms/Disney                        Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$  15.4

9. Beastly/CBS                                                Wknd/$    3.3            Total/$  22.2

10. Hall Pass/Warners                                    Wknd/$    2.6            Total/$  39.6

BETTER LIVING THROUGH PHARMACEUTICALS

Limitless opens at number one and it is official: Bradley Cooper is a star.  He’s been around forever, been pushed as a star for the last two years, but only now does he actually have something on his resume to support it.  Coincidentally, he just broke up with Renee Zellweger.  Probably about five seconds after he saw the box office results. Oh, shut up. You know that’s how it works.  This is basically an episode of The Outer Limits stretched out to two hours, but with only half the thinking involved.  Bradley Cooper is a smart and talented writer (he’s already got a book deal when we meet him) who is floundering from a lack of focus and has just been dumped by his girlfriend.  He runs into his drug-dealing ex-brother-in-law who gives him a drug that opens up his mind and when the brother-in-law is dead by people clearly looking for this, Cooper steals the stash and kicks off his new life.  It only gives you more access to what you already have; not necessarily making you smarter.  This is evidenced by Cooper continually doing dumb things even after taking it.  Then again, if he didn’t you’d have no movie.   Still, twice he’s faced without his stash but never thinks up maintaining a secondary stash for just such an occasion?  Of course the drug has side-effects, potentially permanent and deadly ones, but one that gets the short shrift is that it clearly makes you into a sociopath.  It’s briefly touched on when his girlfriend has to take one because of the trouble he drags her into (she uses a little girl skater as a weapon), but not examined, which was the hallmark of The Outer Limits show, which had happy endings based on hanging on to your humanity (like David McCallum in “The Sixth Finger” as a coal miner who gets the gift of super-intelligence).  At one point ruthless business tycoon Robert DeNiro lectures Cooper that because his gifts aren’t earned he’s reckless with them like a child, flaunting them, which is also a valid point, but if you think Cooper discovers depth by the end either due to his own brushes with death or thanks to his love for his girlfriend, keep dreaming.  I can’t believe this wasn’t made in the 80’s it so celebrates ruthless success.  I half excepted him to give a speech about how good greed is.

SPOILER ALERT READ AT YOUR OWN PERIL

Rango holds at number two followed by Battle LA at number three and while it may seem impossible give the number of faithfully executed clichés in this film, something you expect doesn’t happen: Michele Rodriguez lives.  Yes, even though she plays another tough chick, she doesn’t die.  Unfortunately the price of this seems to be we don’t get to see her in a tank top.  And I’m still laughing at her public statement about being straight.  I’m sure her agent told her, “Look you want to be alive at the end of the movie?  Tell ‘em you like sausage.” Which were her exact words by the way pretty much letting you know it was a line fed to her.

A TIME TO KILL 2: THIS TIME NO ASHLEY JUDD

The Lincoln Lawyer opens at number four and this is clearly some attempt at a dramatic comeback for Matthew McConughey after years of floating on really, really bad romantic comedies.  It serves that he chose the exact same thing that made him a star to being with: a legal suspense thriller based on a novel.  The first was John Grisham’s A Time To Kill. It sucked.  This looks like it sucks, mainly because those types of novels just don’t translate well to the screen because they are so overripe.  They’re fun to read but seeing them in three dimensions only makes you aware of how utterly ridiculous they are, so this isn’t entirely Conughey’s fault…and you have no idea how much it hurts me to say that.

FACE IT: MOST ENGLISH HUMOR BLOWS

Paul opens at number five and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost need to hang it up trying to make it in America.  Yeah, there was Shaun of the Dead, but Hot Fuzz was a disappointment and this doesn’t look much better.  Basically stay away from America.  Shaun of the Dead was English, but Hot Fuzz was all about American action movies and this is an American road movie…with Seth Rogen, whose casting are strikes two and three for me.  Seriously, just his voice is enough to keep me away.

EVERYBODY WANTS TO EAT GRANDMOTHER

Red Riding Hood is down to number six and while this looks awful, I can’t think of better casting than Virginia Madsen as Amanda Seyfried’s mother and none other than Julie Christie as her grandmother.  Clearly the hottest grandmother the village has ever seen.

THE WORLD NEEDS LIZ HURLEYS TOO, HONEY

The Adjustment Bureau is down to number seven and the female lead in this is Emily Blunt who really isn’t making the most of that Oscar nomination for The Devil Wears Prada.  I know she was probably offered a ton of “English bitch” roles that she turned down as not to be pigeonholed, but Elizabeth Heigl plays the uptight professional and stars and produces her own films.  Sometimes you just have to put on your metaphoric hooker heels.

I FEAST ON YOUR PAIN!

Mars Needs Moms is down to number eight and the failure of this fills me with delight because I hate Robert Zemeckis and his insane love of motion capture animation.  Not only did Disney shut the whole company down, but it’s probably doomed any further attempts at it by anyone.  A double dose of schadenfrude that goes down easy.

GOOD BREEDING

Beastly is down to number nine and speaking of hot parents, it’s also perfectly fitting that the father of Alex Pettyfer is Peter Krause in this. I never stop getting a kick out of well known actors playing the parents of young actors, especially when it makes sense, like when Tim Matheson, who played Otter in Animal House, was the father to Ryan Reynolds in Van Wilder. Not like, say Harrison Ford somehow being the father of Shia Lebouf  Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull or Carrie Anne Moss being his mother in Disturbia.  That’s not how genetics work.

LIKE CINEMATIC COCKROACHES

Finally, Hall Pass closes out the top ten at number ten and I wish I could call this a failure, but it did make budget and will probably do well on DVD, thus continuing the plague of the Farrelly Brothers on us.

I’M INFECTED BY THE SOUND

So I’m obsessed with that damn song from the Xbox commercial where people dance. It’s called “Evacuate The Dance Floor” by Cascada and it’s two years old, but I’m old and I don’t club so it’s new to me.  It’s very typical dance stuff with a of lot things you’ve heard before, but they manage to make it appealing. It was apparently a big hit for them.  I also love the video because the singer clearly is no dancer but they uniquely don’t even try to make her do it, but instead let the real dancers cut loose.  I love watching real dancers get down, as opposed to your usual video shtick of making people who’ve spent a lifetime training slow down to make your star look good that’s being going on since Michael Jackson (Michael Jackson could dance like Michael Jackson; he couldn’t do what any first year dance student could do). You see it all the time with Usher, Lady Gaga, Beyonce and those poor bastards who were behind Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Simpson at one point.  Very few are like Madonna were actually in college on a dance scholarship and at one point studied at Alvin Ailey.  Even Britney has some formal training.  I not only bought the single, but the extended remix and play them over and over and over again. My other “old man discovers a song late” is “Common Ground” by Dave Aude, which is more typically club stuff so not nearly as fun or interesting.  This stuff actually makes me want to dance…but dancing usually happens at night when grandpa needs his rest.

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