17 Jan


1. Contraband/Universal                                Wknd/$  24.1            Total/$    24.1

 2. Beauty & The Beast/Disney                       Wknd/$  18.5            Total/$    18.5

 3. Mission: Impossible 4/Parmount            Wknd/$   11.5            Total/$  186.7

 4. Joyful Noise/Warner                                   Wknd/$   11.3            Total/$    11.3

 5. Sherlock Holmes 2/Warners                      Wknd/$    8.4            Total/$  170.0

 6. The Devil Inside/Paramount                      Wknd/$    7.9            Total/$    42.2

 7. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo              Wknd/$    6.8            Total/$   88.0

 8. Alvin & The Chipmunks 3/Fox                   Wknd/$    5.8            Total/$  118.8

 9. War Horse/Disney                                         Wknd/$    5.6            Total/$   65.8

10.The Iron Lady/Weinstein                             Wknd/$    5.4            Total/$     6.0



Contraband opens at number one and this wasn’t nearly as much fun as I needed it to be. Part of the problem is that it’s a gritty European film adapted for a Hollywood star and it suffers for it.  Almost immediately you’re told you’re too dumb for anything but broad strokes as Marky Mark and Ben Foster openly discuss their criminal past for almost anyone to hear, then in painfully, painfully expository dialogue we’re told about Ben Foster’s alcoholism. Immediately afterwards we’re shown Walberg uncomfortable with the idea of revisiting his criminal past. If it bothers him so much why is he proudly discussing it? Because the movie thinks you’re too stupid to understand he was a great smuggler unless they spoon-feed it to you. And this level of filmmaking never changes, especially in regards to the villains. Are we really supposed to think for one second that Giovanni Ribisi is a threat to Walberg? Especially when we’re shown Walberg kicking his ass on multiple occasions!?!  The whole reason Walberg goes back into “the life” is because Ribisi is a threat to his family. Except he’s not!  So there’s no reason for him to do it.  It tries to touch on him actually liking being a smuggler, but that’s so poorly handled you never get the sense of an addict using any excuse to return to his drug of choice.  I had a drink before seeing this, but I clearly needed two or three. Maybe then I would have been able to overlook how they get perfect cell phone service in Panama, but nothing five miles from home.



Beauty & The Beast 3D opens at number two as Disney realizes that converting its animated films to 3D is a way to make even more money without spending any. I didn’t like this when it opened thanks to the lack of a good villain and mediocre songs and time has not changed that.



Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is down to number three followed by

Joyful Noise opening at number four and is there a more uneasy audience melding than country music and hip hop fans? Yeah, I’m sure there are quite a few who like both, but there’s also quite a few who’d just like to shoot each other on sight and the dangerous thing about it being these are the very people who carry guns.



Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is down to number five followed by The Devil Inside at number six and only in movies are affluent or white people possessed by demons. In real life the poor mentally ill bastards thought to be possessed area always minorities and working class devout Catholics. Funny how evil never takes a wealthy, educated atheist.  You know, someone it’s more likely to keep because no one is coming to save that guy?



The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is down to number seven and also in this is Robin Wright. Yes, Princess Buttercup herself.  After all, this is set in Sweden so we needed to populate the cast with as many blondes as possible.  And honestly, seeing an age appropriate hook-up like her and Daniel Craig only makes me annoyed we didn’t get a nice blonde-on-blonde sex scene.



Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is down to number eight, followed by War Horse at number nine and The Iron Lady entering the top ten at number ten and do you sometimes think that Meryl Streep gets bored with being so awesome that she takes on the most difficult role she can think of hoping she’ll stumble a little bit, but always knowing she’ll crush it like always?



The mid-season replacements have started to roll out as well as the second phase of the cable original programming (they seem a series for summer, a series for fall/winter and a series for winter/spring).  On network the tyranny of unfunny, attractive women continues with Are You There, It’s Me Chelsea a series based on Chelsea Handler and her book, “Are You There, Vodka? It’s me, Chelsea.”  In what is clearly a bittersweet victory, Handler is either too old or too busy with her talk show commitment to be the star of her own prime time sitcom and appears only as the older, frumpier sister of herself.  Like Whitney Cumming and Sarah Silverman before her unfunny jokes and sitcoms succeed because of an attractive (for a comedian) woman telling raunchy jokes.  Kathy Griffin wouldn’t get a sitcom talking about being a slut, but someone who looks like Handler does.  Such is the sadness of a patriarchy, kids.  But I must admit, this is also the bastard child of Sex & the City, which was a cultural zeitgeist, but like most imitations and rip-offs they missed that SATC had a human core and wasn’t just raunchy talk.  They see the icing and miss the cake. On the upside, somewhere down the line Laura Prepon grew an ass and it’s nice to see it.  Also on network TV is Alcatraz, the latest from JJ Abrams, whom I personally see as a Joss Whedon for dumb people. His greater success pretty much proves my point.  Like most of his shows, the “mystery” is painfully forced and not all that interesting. This time Alcatraz didn’t close because it was too expensive and obsolete, but because one day all the prisoners vanished…and now they’re coming back! Duh-du-dunnnnnnn! Really? How is that a hook? We know the reality about Alcatraz so a false mystery has no pull, unlike say the X Files, which used real urban legends and government conspiracies. Not helping matters is the lame writing and bad casting. Your tough female homicide detective is a 5’ blonde with a pixie cut who can’t seem to use the top buttons of her shirt to contain that somewhat significant rack?  And of course everyone else has to be a moron so she can seem clever figuring things out. Only Sam Neil who’s done his fair share of crap (Omen III anyone?) knows how to maintain his dignity no matter what they throw at him.  On cable House of Lies debuted on Showtime, produced by and starring Don Cheadle as the head of a crisis management firm.  It’s a comedy, but because it’s a cable comedy it bends over backwards to be as raunchy as humanly possible, rather than you know, build the show on actual wit, clearly following the example of Californication, the show it’s paired with.  Also, while I loves me some Don Cheadle we’re bordering on science fiction that he’s some kind of super-smooth ass bandit that women will fuck in a mini-van or bathroom within moments of meeting him. As my sister so delicately put it when she heard he was replacing Terrence Howard as Rhodey in Iron Man “That muthafucka ain’t gettin’ no pussy.”  There’s a reason he’s was Denzel Washington’s sidekick.  And I’ve got bad news for you, fanboys.  Even though everyone else is getting naked, Kristen Bell has made it clear she won’t be joining them.  Finally, SyFy debuted their latest derivative import show in Lost Girl. Seems someone in Canada noticed that Underworld was hitting its fourth film and decided to get a piece of that, but instead of limiting it to sexy vampires and werewolves fighting a secret war, it’s all kinds of superpowered beings called “The Fae” fighting a secret war and into this stumbles a woman who is one of them but has strangely grown up outside of them. In the pilot they capture her and she learns what she is (a succubus) and that she has to choose one of the two tribes…except she doesn’t and apparently the series is going to be about her caught between the two while engaging in threesomes because she’s a bisexual succubus. And did I mention she decides to become a private investigator of the supernatural? Yeah. Remember that when you labor under the delusion that only America makes crappy TV.

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