14 Nov

1. Immortals/Relativity                               Wknd/$  32.0            Total/$   32.0

 2. Jack and Jill/Sony                                    Wknd/$  26.0            Total/$   26.0

 3. Puss in Boots/Dreamworks                    Wknd/$  25.5            Total/$ 108.8

 4. Tower Heist/Universal                            Wknd/$   13.2            Total/$   43.9

 5. J. Edgar/Warners                                     Wknd/$   11.5            Total/$    11.5

 6. Harold & Kumar 3D Xmas/WB             Wknd/$     5.9            Total/$   23.2

 7. In Time/Fox                                               Wknd/$    4.2            Total/$   30.7

 8. Paranormal Activity 3/Paramount        Wknd/$    3.6            Total/$ 100.8

 9. Footloose/Paramount                               Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$   48.9

10. Real Steel/Disney                                      Wknd/$    2.0            Total/$   81.7


Immortals opens at number one and if this looks familiar know that director, Tarsem Singh, went to school with both Michael Bay and Zack Snyder.  Clearly they had no English Literature requirement because none of them have any concept much less respect for story. They’re basically painting with celluloid.  Singh is the best of the lot, but that’s not saying much.  This is a variation on the myth of Theseus, who as you know fights The Minotaur which leads to the first big question: if you’ve got gods flying around doing godlike things, why is The Minotaur just a guy wearing a bull’s head maid of barbed wire? Why isn’t it a half-man, half-bull? Especially since Theseus is fighting him over a magical bow. But that’s about all of the legend of Theseus that’s in this.  He’s no longer the son of Aegeus, there’s no fighting with centaurs and certainly no trip to the Underworld to help Athenians have lean thighs (you only wish I were joking about that last part).  The bad guy in this is Hyperion and unlike the myths he’s not a Titan sometimes thought to be Apollo. Here he’s just a man so pissed that the Gods didn’t save his wife and child he’s going to free the Titans who, in one of the two interesting things about this movie are actually the same as Olympians, only the Olympians won who the war in heaven and winners get braggin’ rights.  But if you’re looking for Uranus and Cronos and Rhea, look elsewhere. The Titans here are ugly and nameless.  The Olympians are pretty but only mostly nameless.  Only Athena and Zeus are mentioned by name. Poseidon is only identified by his trident and control over the sea and Aries isn’t identified at all.  Other gods are either MIA (there should be a minimum of 7, but a whopping 4 for show up to fight dozens of Titans) or unidentified even by action (no fast god to be identified as Mercury, for example).  But that’s not what Tarsem Singh cares about. What he cares about is how they look fighting each other and it does look amazing.  But that’s all it does because you feel nothing for anyone involved and honestly that they’re fighting at all lets you know the bad guy wins.  Hyperion wants to set the Titans free against the gods using the magic bow (you see him with it in the commercials so I’m not giving anything away).  So what exactly does Theseus do?  Well, he loses the bow then fails to stop Hyperion from doing exactly what he wanted to do with it.  Methinks Tarsem Singh is unfamiliar in what a “hero” is supposed to do, but again, that’s “story” and “character” things he couldn’t give a shit about.


Jack & Jill opens at number two and this is an Adam Sandler movie so you know that you’re going to get or not get (actual humor) and there’s not much more to say about it.  Though this may be worse than most given he’s playing twins.  I wouldn’t know and hopefully will never again lose a second of my life to him.


Puss In Boots is down to number three and also as a voice in this is Salma Hayek and this is her fourth film with Antonio Banderas which makes sense as really hot people should be paired up as much as possible even when it’s just their voices.


Tower Heist is down to number four and this should just be a large warning sign to both Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy about where they stand in the world. The 80’s and 90’s are done, son, and your airbrushed faces on a poster no longer guarantees anything. What’s sad is it’s 45-year-old Ben Stiller who really needs the air brushing, not 50-year-old Eddie Murphy (it does not crack) who actually looks younger than he [Stiller] does.  Like Catherine Deneuve, Courtney Cox and most recently Sarah Jessica Parker, he’s chosen to let his face go to shit to maintain being thin.  Also, he’s balding and I don’t want to think of how much time and money are being spent to fool absolutely no one.  Eat a sandwich, buy a hat.


The Oscar race starts here with the Oscar bait bio-pic J. Edgar opening at number five in only a limited release.  These types of movies are only released late in the year to try and get some Oscar notice.  It’s paint by numbers filmmaking: true story, juicy lead for big star, lots of make-up for later-in-life scenes, supporting roles by actual heavyweight actors and heavyweight director. It’s all here, but the question is there anything beyond a desire for awards? Did anyone really want to get into the story of J. Edgar Hoover?  Given that Clint Eastwood is actually addressing the much-rumored closeted homosexuality of Hoover, I’m thinking “yes.”  The only weak-link here is Leonardo DiCaprio, whom I simply cannot take seriously no matter what anyone says.  His face looks like someone glued a child’s features onto an adult man.  But this is on my Oscar-bait list.


A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is down to number six and who the fuck decided to open this before Thanksgiving?  Do they not realize that some people simply refuse to have anything to do with the holidays before then because they’re so fucking annoying?  Not to mention this is exactly the type of no-brainer film you want to go see after a day with your family on Thanksgiving and you need to smoke a little weed to relax.  Not that I do that. I neither smoke weed nor spend Thanksgiving with family. I drink. Alone.


Paranormal Activity 3 is down to number seven, followed by Footloose at number nine and we may have finally have seen the end of Real Steel at number ten this week.


Perhaps the final show of the fall season started up last week: Hell On Wheels which is about a former Confederate Soldier (Anson Mount doing a pretty good impression of Viggo Mortensen) looking for revenge for the rape and murder of his wife against the backdrop of building of the nation’s railroad. Now, aside from starting late this has one major strike against it: whenever I think about the railroad being built, all I can see is Blazing Saddles.  It doesn’t help that the job given our vengeance-seeking protagonist is managing slaves who are digging (one of whom is Common, whose name continues to match his acting skill).  I keep expecting him to ask them to sing a “good ol’ nigger work song” only to have Common break out into Cole Porter.  Now, he gets this job because he once owned slaves, but because we need the viewing audience to like him, he freed them before the war because his wife convinced him on the evils of slavery.  Now we really want him to get the guys who killed her (men who are actually so tortured by it they’ll bring it up at the drop of a hat).  Subtle this is not.  Even less subtle is the beautiful blonde Englishwoman whose husband is sick.  Gee, think she’s going to meet our hero?  But at least they don’t drag it out. Indians (it’s a western so Native Americans seems a bit clumsy) show up and end his suffering in “cable violent” scene where she gets shot with an arrow through her hand into her shoulder and then uses that arrow to kill the man who killed her husband by jamming it into his throat, which seems to take forever.  As with any modern western there is a new attention paid to the unpleasant truths about the past. In this case that the building of the railroad was anything but a noble endeavor. Instead a corrupt exercise designed to go on forever thus milking the Federal Government.  This, of course conflicts with every western ever made about evil men trying to steal land because the railroad was coming (and we’re back to Blazing Saddles).  If anything the railroad would love for people to stay put so they’d be forced to go around them.  I can’t attest to the veracity of this, but given what we know about business and government, it’s certainly easy to believe. Probably the most interesting are the Irish brothers who come across as cute bumpkins, but are actually smart entrepreneurs, preying on their homesick countrymen with a photo show of pictures of Ireland complete with a song at the end to nail that coffin shut. It’s a decent enough show with enough moving parts so that everything doesn’t rest on the whole “revenge” angle which is only enough to float a movie or even a mini-series, not an open ended series.  For me, the biggest problem is Common. The show stops whenever he does his impression of a block of wood and apparently he’s going to be the lead’s sidekick so get used to standing still.

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