5 Apr

1. Hop/Universal                                                Wknd/$ 38.1                  Total/$  38.1

2. Source Code/                                                    Wknd/$ 15.1                  Total/$  15.1

3. Insidious/                                                          Wknd/$ 13.5                 Total/$  13.5

4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2/Fox                        Wknd/$ 10.2                 Total/$  38.4

5. Limitless/Relativity                                        Wknd/$    9.4                 Total/$  55.6

6. The Lincoln Lawyer/LGF                             Wknd/$    7.1                  Total/$  39.6

7. Sucker Punch/Warners                                 Wknd/$   6.1                   Total/$  29.9

8. Rango/Paramount                                         Wknd/$    4.6                  Total/$113.8

9.  Paul/Universal                                               Wknd/$    4.3                  Total/$  31.9

10. Battle: LA Sony                                              Wknd/$    7.6                 Total/$  72.6


Hop opens at number one and clearly James Marsden has accepted he’s not going to be an A-list leading man to do this.  It’s a wise decision on his part.  Better to rule in the hell of a) being the eye-candy lead to more popular women (Cameron Diaz, Katherine Hegl) and guaranteed money family films.  Well played, sir.  Well played.


Source Code opens at number two and like Limitless this is merely an Outer Limits episode stretched out to 90 minutes, which probably more time than it needs, but not too much time to overstay its welcome.  The director joked it was “Groundhog Day with bombs” but he’s not too far from wrong.  Jake Gyllenhaal who needed this badly after Love & Other Drugs, is an Air Force pilot being implanted in the last 8 minutes of the consciousness of a man killed in a terrorist attack to try and find the bomber. If he fails, he goes back over and over and over again. Now, unless you’re an idiot, you know who the bomber is the first time you see him, but actually that isn’t important.  What’s important is how he figures it out and deals with another twist you should see coming from the first moment it’s hinted at.  Also—and this is important—his growing romance with the woman he only sees for 8 minutes at a time.  That’s how this (like Limitless) opened so well: it brought it the chicks as well as the geeks. I was wondering what the two attractive 20-something women were doing at the movie theater at 10:00 am showing and no one was more shocked than I when we went into the same theater. But then I remember the gaggle of girls in the front row at the Bourne Identity.  Muscleheads are all well and good, but combine your action with a male lead that won’t accidentally kill his girlfriend in a roid-rage and you’ve got a recipe for success.


Insidious opens at number three and as we all know, I don’t do the scary no matter how good or how stupid it looks.  Even if there’s a spaceship, it had better be special to get me in. This has no spaceship.  This is not special.  This did not get me in.


Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules drops to number four, but that’s okay because it did its job, which was to keep Sucker Punch out of the top slot.  And with only a $21M budget and already at a $38M return, look for the third film in about 8-9 months down the road.  I can only say I’m happy Steven Zahn and Rachel Harris to have some guaranteed money so they’ll have to whore themselves less in other areas.  Well, less than this anyway.


Limitless is down to number five and Robert DeNiro is also in this, lending it a little gravity and collecting a paycheck. I doubt if his appearance in this film is more than 5 five days work in total.  We should all be so lucky at 70.  Despite what the commercials and trailers suggest, he’s not the real heavy in this film. The real enemy is the basic nature of the character Bradley Cooper plays.  Well that and a Russian gangster who also gets a taste of the drug, but as another character points out, “It works better if you’re already smart.” And being dumb it just makes him a more efficient thug, not a smarter one. Otherwise he’d know that threatening to kill Bradley Cooper to get more simply doesn’t work.


The Lincoln Lawyer is down to number six and the way you know Matthew McConughey isn’t A-list is that his leading lady is not just in his age group, but actually five years older.   Yes, I refer to Academy Award winner, Marisa Tomei. But hey, the fact she’s not playing “hot mom” to a member of the Gossip Girl cast is a miracle unto itself.


Sucker Punch drops almost 70% down to number seven and I can’t stop dancing on the grave of this trainwreck of a movie.  Though I feel for Jena Malone who’s trying for a minor comeback in the very crowded world of 20-something actresses after a brief moment of heat of playing the precocious or slightly disturbed teen girl in every other movie.  Never the beauty queen, she was Donnie Darko’s girlfriend, the pregnant girl at Christian school in Saved, the sexually abused girl in The Secret Lives of Altar Boys and the girl who didn’t hesitate to hop in the shower with Hayden Christensen and shrug it off when he dropped a load just looking at her. Basically, she was the fantasy teen of writers and directors who listened to alternative music.  But she was very much a part of it. Never hesitating to tell you she was “different” how her mom was a lesbian and she was conceived in a one-night-stand in Vegas. Now she shows up on talk shows in a short skirt and giggles.  Seems someone had a long hard talk with their accountant…


Rango is down to number eight and despite mostly good reviews and a $209M worldwide take, this really isn’t that great a hit because it cost freaking $135M to make.  Those incredibly detailed animated animals are not cheap to create, nor are the geeks who write all that code.


Paul is down to number nine, followed by Battle: Los Angeles at number ten, which from a $70M budget has made $158M worldwide.  Definitely broke even and will probably turn a profit on DVD, but they lose the Battle of  LA Invasion movies because the much reviled Skyline made $60M from at $10M budget and the fact it came from two of the special effects guys on Battle: Los Angeles was the source of some friction between the two films.  Well, their movie sucked ass, but it made more money and I think we know what matters most in Hollywood, so guess who’s going to get a new movie out first?


Now that Californication—the show I love to hate—is done for the year I thought I was free from the burden of premium channels…then I saw the commercial for a Camelot series on Starz.  I’m an Arthurian whore, so it had to be.  Hell I’ve even tried watching Merlin on the Science Fiction Channel, so something that looks well done should have been a no brainer.  Because it’s on cable that means two things: sex & nudity and it didn’t disappoint.  The first time we see even Arthur he’s laying naked with his brother Kay’s girlfriend.  Yeah, that’s the twist.  Arthur’s a bit of a poon hound and it’s going to be a problem because Guinevere is engaged to his finest knight, Leontes (it remains to be seen if he’s Lancelot or the actual Lancelot will show up).  Also, his half-sister Morgan (who is this version is the daughter of Uther, but not Igraine, whom she hates as her stepmother) is played by Eva Green making their hook-up a foregone conclusion (yes, that’s in bad taste, but she’s also a shape changer so it’s probably going to be like Excalibur where she turns into Guinevere).  And playing Merlin is Shakespeare himself, Joseph Finnes, with a shaved head again making me think of Excalibur and Merlin’s little silver skullcap.  Once upon a time he might have played Arthur, but the 90’s are long gone.  By the same token, Claire Forlani might have once been Guinevere herself, but she’s Igraine here and in an interesting change doesn’t just vanish into the mist once Arthur becomes king.  She’s going to be around.  Sadly, who won’t be around is James Purefoy as King Lot.  He doesn’t live past the first episode, which is a bit of a mistake as he’s allied with Morgan who seduces him and is clearly using him to try and take the throne.  Having them fucking and plotting and fucking again every week would have been fun.  Arthur here is very, very young so we don’t have to worry about the fall of Camelot for quite awhile, which is good because that’s a bummer.  I look forward to seeing the various knights turn up and more utterly gratuitous Eva Green nudity.


So, I felt guilty that one of my newer geek girls (the others got old and I needed replacements) kept missing out on the various karaoke nights I’d been to so a month ago, I decided to set one up with her. A month ago.  With all our mutual friends.  About 20-30 people.  Which explains why when the night rolled around there were five of us.  I’d understand if it snowed like it was supposed to or even rained, but it didn’t.   This is why the last time I actually threw a gathering was in 2007 and the only time before that was in the 80’s.  Muthafuckas only show up if you’re supplying free drinks, not paying for them themselves.  But while more people is more fun, less people means you get to sing more and not put up with that person who feels compelled to sing an earnest ballad…poorly.  Totally bringing down the room.  Unfortunately, the downside of this meant they stuck us in a smaller room at Sing Sing on St. Marks (after we’d been drinking across the street at Grassroots) .  And they didn’t turn on the air immediately, which made things very hot very quickly.  I had brief visions of being on the cover of the Daily News as victims of a fatal karaoke accident, but the air finally came on a little later as we added one more to our party who’d actually been taking singing lessons, which is just cheating, because half the fun is the butchering.  Like trying to do “O.P.P.” It’s not until you actually try to do rap that you have appreciation for what “flow” truly is and why so few are genuinely good at it.  It’s like trying to sing “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” in the same key as Rod Stewart.  Painful.  But strangely, I have no problem doing a decent Bon Scott impression for “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.”  I paid for it the next day (and the day after that and even today), but I learned long ago that the best way to be successful at karaoke was to choose songs by people who really can’t sing.  As one of our group pointed out, “People know when you get Whitney Huston wrong.” Whereas I was free and clear doing Bobby Brown.

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