SOMEWHERE RUSS MEYER IS SMILING

29 Apr

1. Think Like a Man/SGem                             Wknd/$  18.0            Total/$  60.9

2. The Pirates! Band of Misfits/Sony            Wknd/$  11.4             Total/$   11.4

3. The Lucky One/Warners                            Wknd?$  11.3              Total/$  39.9

4. The Hunger Games/LionsGate                  Wknd/$  11.3             Total/$ 372.5

5. The 5 Year Engagement/Universal           Wknd/$  11.2             Total/$   11.2

6. Safe/Lion’s Gate                                            Wknd/$    7.7            Total/$     7.7

7. The Raven/Relativity                                    Wknd/$    7.3            Total/$     7.3

8. Chimpanzee/Disney                                      Wknd/$    5.5            Total/$   19.2

9. The Three Stooges/Fox                                 Wknd/$    5.4            Total/$   37.1

10. The Cabin In The Woods/LionsG              Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$   34.7

CASSANDRA WOULD HAVE KILLED IN SHOW BUSINESS

Think Like A Man holds at number one, which is shocking ‘cause usually when a Black film opens big at number one it drops like a rock the following week.  Whoever chose this release date is getting a raise, because they guessed right about the competition. “Look, people are gonna be tired of watching that girl kill people, claymation scares kids as much as it attracts them, Nicholas Sparks is the same-old-same-old and are you kidding me with a movie about the Three Stooges?  We could own this bitch!”  This is the person you take with you to Vegas.

UNFUNNY AND UGLY…LIKE YOUR MOM

The Pirates! Band of Misfits opens at number two and honestly this has taken so long to come out I thought it was actually a sequel to itself.  Seriously, haven’t they been advertising this for six months?  This comes from the people who bought you Wallace & Gromit, one of those English comedies that certain friends of yours swear by but then you watch it and wonder what the fuck is wrong with them (also on this list Faulty Towers and anything with Rowan Atkinson).  Part of the problem is they seem unconcerned that their stop-motion animation figures are ugly, but then again they are English so perhaps in their minds this is attractive.

THE HIGH REGARD OF OTHERS DOESN’T PAY THE CABLE BILL

The Lucky One is down to number three and one constant in all the Nicholas Sparks movies is that a surprisingly talented actor shows up as the parent of one of the characters, clearly slumming it.  This time it’s Blythe Danner.  In The Vow it was Jessica Lange and Sam Neil. In The Notebook it was my fave, Joan Allen and none other than Paul Newman was Kevin Costner’s dad in Message in A Bottle (in a reversal James Franco shows up as Richard Gere’s son in Nights in Rodanthe).  What’s funny is that each one was probably convinced by their agents due to the presence of those before them.  “Hey, who are you to turn down what Paul Newman did? You think you’re special!?!”

IF YOU’RE GONNA BE UGLY, YA GOTTA BE TOUGH

The Hunger Games is down to number four, followed by The Five Year Engagement at number five and I get that Jason Segel is more the “everyman” type of lead but you know what? I don’t go to the movies to see “the everyman” and instantly knew I wouldn’t be seeing this.  He, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill are polluting my movie screens far too much as leading men and I fully support the movie exec who told him to lose some fucking weight to play Emily Blunt’s love interest.  All three of them have had to deal with slimming down and while it may seem unfair it’s only a taste of what women deal with daily and there are still lots of fat guys onscreen with women much too hot for them so it’s hardly a step forward.  Not mention losing weight doesn’t make you better looking and they’re still getting paired with hot women so no tears for them.

YOU MIGHT AS WELL CALL IT THE SPRING ’12 STATHAM MOVIE

Safe opens at number seven and this is the best Jason Statham action movie in a long time, but opening poorly and Statham has no one but himself to blame by trying to get gritty and serious recently with the far-too-dour Killer Elite and The Mechanic.  He built his rep on fun action movies like The Transporter and Crank not movies where there’s no room for wisecracks when you snap a bad guy’s neck. Not to mention there’s just too many with little-to-no difference in them because Statham refuses to go outside his wheelhouse and do science fiction because he hates greenscreen (you know his agent’s losing his mind over that).  So it’s understandable that people decide they’ll skip one comfortable that they’re not missing anything, but in this case they’re wrong.  Not that this is a great movie. Oh, no.  But it’s great in its use of all the cheesy things we love about action movies.  The aforementioned wisecracking, seriously illogical plot points (Statham is being punished by the Russian mob who are willing to expend the time and energy to kill every one he’s nice to instead of just killing him), painfully expository dialogue from more talented actors like Chris Sarandon and Robert John Burke who actually seem embarrassed about having to say it and the unstoppable action lead who never misses a shot while bullets fly around him.  Bear in mind this comes from the guy who wrote Prince of Persia and Dirty Dancing 2 so you’re clearly in cheese country.  But all movies are clichés so it’s more a matter of how effectively you use them and this one does a pretty good job with a few interesting touches.  For example, the movie begins initially with a series of flashbacks between Statham and the small girl upon their first meeting in a subway. It’s a tad clumsy at first, but actually manages to build up some degree of momentum and suspense so when they finally meet it appropriately kicks into high gear.   And there’s unexpected and actually very clever twist at the end I won’t spoil for you.  If Boaz Yakin—who wrote the equally entertaining 80’s low-budget Punisher movie and once had the chance to ruin Batman —can continue along these lines he might finally become a decent action auteur.

AS A RULE, MOVIES ABOUT WRITERS ARE USUALLY POORLY WRITTEN

Opening at number seven is The Raven and the idea of Edgar Allen Poe who created the detective story having to solve a crime isn’t a bad one. It’s just when they decided to make the crimes come from his novels that they screwed up.  This has been done before with writers but the one thing they got right that this missed is that it’s usually an adventure that happens beforehand that inspires the work. This looked far too much like Se7en and I’m sure it’s no coincidence, which brings forth the other problem. The “hook” is watching people being killed by various horrible methods from Poe’s work, which means for most of the movie Poe has to fail!  Otherwise you don’t get to see the various gruesome deaths.  Again, who wants to see a movie where the hero spends most of the time not catching the villain while he covers the screen in blood?  Oh, yeah. You fucking morons who loved Se7en.  Poor John Cusack (the Ryan Gosling of Gen X). He’s seemingly been wandering in the wilderness for a few years now (High Fidelity was in 2000).  This will only  serve to continue it.

A CASTING RUSS MEYER WOULD HAVE APPROVED OF

Chimpanzee is down to number eight, followed by The Three Stooges at number nine and also in this is the “hot” model of the moment, Kate Upton and for the love of god, please stop saying she’s “curved.” She’s a skinny girl with big tits.  Aside from them her body is a straight line that needs poses and Photoshop to prevent her from looking like a 10-year-old boy with tits.  Now genuinely curved is Sofia Vergara who is also in this (marketing fail for not emphasizing them both and maybe some concerns about casting requirements) and her appearance on Saturday Night Live showed her comic skills on Modern Family are no fluke.  She’s got the chops and hopefully will move on to better work, far away from people like The Farrelly Brothers who directed this in what is almost a comeback for them both critically and financially.

DROPPIN’ SOME GEEK KNOWLEDGE ON YO’ ASS!

Finally, The Cabin in The Woods closes out the top ten at number ten and I stand corrected. A fellow geek has pointed out this isn’t an abandoned episode of Buffy, but in fact pretty much a remake of one of the episodes: “Restless” the season four finale. I couldn’t tell you. I loved Buffy, but once it went up against Smallville there was no choice as to where my loyalties lay.  The irony being, despite the comparisons to Dawson’s Creek, Smallville was actually little more than Buffy with the Superman mythos laid over it.  A superpowered teen (Buffy/Clark) and their buddies (Willow & Xander/Pete & Chloe) battle villains who are metaphors for teen anxieties (a literally predatory older woman/a girl whose eating disorder causes her to suck the life out of people) in their small town (Sunnydale/Smallville) and the cause is a common source (The Hellmouth/radiation from kryptonite over 16 years).  This has been your geek observation of the day.

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