29 Jan

1. The Grey/Open Road                                    Wknd/$  20.0           Total/$   20.0

2. Underworld Awakening/SG                        Wknd/$  12.5            Total/$    45.1

3. One For The Money/Lion’s Gate                Wknd/$  11.8            Total/$    11.8

4. Red Tails/Fox                                                 Wknd/$  10.4            Total/$    33.8

5. Man on a Ledge/Summit                              Wknd/$    8.3            Total/$      8.3

6. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close            Wknd/$    7.1             Total/$    21.1

7. The Descendants/FoxSearch                        Wknd/$    6.6            Total/$    58.8

8. Contraband/Universal                                   Wknd/$    6.5            Total/$    56.4

9. Beauty & The Beast/Disney                           Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$    41.1

10. Haywire/Relativity                                         Wknd/$    4.0            Total/$    15.3


The Grey opens at number one and Liam Neeson’s rebirth as a middle-aged action star is nothing short of extraordinary. But you have to give it up to his agent and manager who have helped him pick perfect “hot button” movies.  The first, Taken, tapped into post-9/11 fear and xenophobia and provided a revenge fantasy that we could kick the shit out of the world still if we needed to.  The second, Missing, was an identity theft movie of all things, but again had Neeson playing an American beating the shit out of people in other countries.  Now, while the script for Taken 2 is no doubt being written to have him most likely beat the shit out of either South America or Asia as they are the only ones left, for now he’s going beat the shit out of Mother Nature.  And in keeping with the sheer ridiculousness of Neeson’s action movies it’s literal.  He’s fighting both the environment and animals, literally punching wolves. Instead of the fact he’s taped little broken liquor bottles to his hand making him seem more fearsome in a DIY Wolverine kind of way, it just reminds me of that scene in Hot Shots 2 when Charlie Sheen prepares for a fight by dipping his gloves in a caramel and sprinkles.  I’m convinced half the people who put this movie on top did so ironically.  “Dude, you wanna see Liam Neeson punch some wolves?” “Totally, dude.” One joint later and Liam Neeson has the number one movie in America.


Underworld Awakening is down to number three and one hallmark of every Underworld film is an otherwise distinguished English actor hamming it the fuck up. Michael Sheen and Bill Nighy taking huge chunks of the scenery between their fangs are all that carried the third film and were the key to the success of the first.  The second had none other than Derek fucking Jacobi appearing as the father of all vampires and werewolves, and this latest installment continues the grand tradition as Charles Dance appears all too briefly as the leader of small, decimated vampire coven.  I can’t in good conscience include Stephen Rea as he’s just done far too much crap too long.


One For The Money opens at number three and I likes me some Katherine Heigl and the more you other fuckers hate her the more I like her. She’s gotten shit for biting the hand that fed her for daring to point out the flaws that everyone else was pointing in both Grey’s Anatomy and Knocked Up, whose twin success made her a star.  Still, it’s not like when left up to her own devices she’s doing much better. Mostly it’s been really horrible romantic comedies like The Ugly Truth and Killers and equally bad dramas like Life As We Know it.  What really makes it notable is that she’s a producer on the more recent films so she’s had some control, but clearly can’t discern crap until after the fact. One For The Money is clearly meant to be the beginning of a film series based on the successful line of book and sadly it feels like that. It’s more a pilot for a TV show than it is a complete movie, settling for setting up all the characters she’ll be dealing with further down the line.  Having never read the books I can’t tell you if this an inherent flaw from the source material, but even then it doesn’t matter. Books get changed anyway, so it’s the job of the producers to fill those holes.  It’s not a bad movie; just not something you should be paying movie prices to see.  If she were smart, she’d use this to sell it as a series with someone else in the lead.  Someone more appropriate judging by all the outraged women I know.  But I think that’s hysterical given how these are the same people who look at me like I’m crazy when I complain about people like Michael Keaton playing Batman.  Welcome to my world, bitchez!


Yes, I continue to be a typical Black man, once again finding time to see a movie about a hot white girl and not seeing Red Tails, now down to number four.  Sorry, but I had a rough weekend and didn’t feel like a well-meaning history lesson.  But I will see it.


What I won’t be seeing is Man on a Ledge, opening at number five.  Seriously?  This is our “hook” premise?  Sorry, but when that’s all you’ve got, you need a compelling star.  Just ask Colin Farrell, who’s ten times more interesting than Sam Worthington (and his mullet), but not even he had the chops to sell Phone Booth.  You need Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon weight.  I guess on some level they realize this, which is why the movie is packed with about a half-dozen other B-list stars doing a variety of tasks, but the movie isn’t called “A Half- Dozen B-List Stars Doing A Variety of Tasks.” It’s called “Man on a Ledge” so if you don’t care about that fucker on the ledge then you just don’t care.  But you know who could have sold the fuck out of this?  Liam Neeson.


Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is down to number six despite scoring a Best Supporting Actor Nomination for Max Van Sydow, while multiple nominations clearly push The Descendants back into the top ten at number seven.  Also in this is none other than the man who misses the 90’s more than anyone: Matthew Lillard.  His odd stardom will plague future film historians.  To his credit he does realize the sheer ridiculousness of playing the guy that a woman would cheat on George Clooney for.  Somewhere the other mysterious success story of the 90’s, Freddie Prinze Jr., is wonder why his sidekick got the call and he didn’t.


Contraband is down to number seven and also in this is Ben Foster who is to Ryan Gosling what Dermot Mulroney is to Keanu Reeve: less attractive version of the same dude who gets none of the love or success and will spend a career in supporting roles, a brief flirtation with lead roles long since passed…and I liked Get Over It, not to mention Liberty Heights one of Barry Levinson’s love letters to his youth in Baltimore alongside Diner, Tin Men and Avalon.


Beauty & The Beast is down to number nine, followed by Haywire ready to leave the top ten after only two weeks and while I enjoyed it, I can understand why. An action movie is not an art film.  An occasional action scene with no music is somewhat interesting; an entire film of them? Not so much.  And I won’t get into trying to sell Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender as being able to fight.  Unless you’re deliberately attempting to reinvent the genre you have to respect its rules and not just the ones you like.  Doug Liman started off with films like Go and Swingers but kicked off the Jason Bourne series and helmed Mr. & Mrs. Smith.  Paul Greengrass is pure indie film but did the final two installments of the Bourne series.  With guys like that you get both action and character.  Hopefully Gina Carano will get a second chance with a director who understands that, especially since like One For the Money, this was clearly meant to be the launch pad for a series.  Afraid not.


So, I’m dying.  The nonstop deterioration of my body continues at a frightening pace, the most recent body part to give up on me being my calves.  I started getting odd cramps in them recently but didn’t think much of it and just made sure to stretch them a bit more.  Usually they gave me a little warning tug.  Not on Friday when a hop off the step of bus resulted in a pop signaling a muscle tear.  My visit to the emergency room a few hours later all but confirmed this.  At best it’s a serious strain.  At worst, a tear that may need surgical repair because doctors always have to give you the worst case scenario, like when my torn tendon “might need surgery” and the brain hemorrhage “might need surgery.” Neither did so I’m hoping for the hat trick on this one, especially since it really doesn’t hurt that much.  I’m still hobbled until March at least.  The doctor put me in a leg immobilizer to keep me from bending my knee, which causes the tendons to pull on the muscles.  Since I can’t bend my left leg while wearing it I had to get crutches, so I look like a much worse than I am, causing people to open doors for me (though ironically not the woman cleaning up at the hospital) and offer their subway seats.  Sigh.  The only upside is that I’ve once again obtained a perocet prescription that I won’t be using and can save for a later date.  So let’s run down the list:

2007: brain hemorrhage

2008: hyper-extended elbow

2009: hemorrhoid surgery

2009: pulled groin muscle

2011: pulled back muscle (still a problem)

2012: torn calf muscles

Bear in mind only one of those was the direct result of doing something athletic (elbow).  The rest just…happened.  It’s like fate made me some weird deal where I can look okay and keep all my hair, but actually feel like shit.  Tomorrow I head back to the hospital to get an ultra-sound to check for actual damage which x-ray can’t discern with muscle tissue and in a week when the swelling has fully subsided an MRI.  I swear I’ve seen my doctor more in the last three months than I have in two years.  And you don’t appreciate how fast New York City moves until you can no longer keep up.  15 minutes to walk six blocks. And clearly no biking.  Fuck. My. Life.

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