PALE REFLECTIONS

14 May

 1. The Avengers/Disney                              Wknd/$103.2            Total/$373.2

2. Dark Shadows/Warners                         Wknd/$  28.8            Total/$  28.8

3. Think Like a Man/SGem                        Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$  81.9

4. The Hunger Games/LionsGate             Wknd/$    4.4            Total/$ 386.9

5. The Lucky One/Warners                        Wknd?$    4.1             Total/$  53.7

6. The Pirates! Band of Misfits/Sony        Wknd/$    3.2            Total/$   23.1

7. The 5 Year Engagement/Universal        Wknd/$    3.1            Total/$   24.4

8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel/Fox     Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$     3.7

9. Chimpanzee/Disney                                   Wknd/$    1.6            Total/$   25.6

10. Girl in Progress/Lions                               Wknd/$    1.4           Total/$      1.4

AREN’T SUPERVILLAINS SUPPOSED TO BE SMART?

The Avengers holds at number one and now that everyone and his mom has seen and praised this let’s get real: the plot is utterly stupid.  Okay, not the plot but Loki’s “big plan against The Avengers” that is part of the plot is utterly stupid.  In the comics, The Avengers are formed by accident because Loki is trying to trick Thor into fighting The Hulk.  Yeah, that’s actually his big plan. Trick The Hulk into beating up his brother.  And it still makes more sense than what happens in this movie as he just happens to have a very convoluted plan to destroy The Avengers.  There’s just one problem: they haven’t been created yet and for sure Thor isn’t a member. It’d be different if Thor was a member and he saw them as a threat, but instead they form basically just to fight him (somewhat like the comic).  It’s what I call “The Indiana Jones Submarine Law”: something utterly stupid in an otherwise great film that you let slide, but would never, ever tolerate in a bad one.  If this movie had failed, there’d be critics lining up to eviscerate this plotline.  Likewise, in The Dark Knight the fact that the third act of the two boats is pretty much exactly the same as the second act with Aaron Eckhart and Maggie Gyllenhaal.  Good movie, they let it go.  Bad movie, it gets roasted for its lack of imagination.

WHO KNEW HIS 21 JUMP STREET CAMEO WOULD BE HIS BEST WORK THIS YEAR?

Dark Shadows opens at number two and this is the second attempt to bring back the old 70’s soap opera (there was a series back in ‘91) and it won’t be the last because this is a bust.  Clearly it’s not a coincidence that Nathan Frid, the man who played the original Barnabas Collins died two weeks ago.  He must have attended an advanced screening (he’s here in a tiny cameo).  Granted, it was somewhat inspired to just embrace the ridiculous nature of a soap opera with a freaking vampire at its center, but they stupidly abandon that stroke of genius and instead make a movie whose sole source of comedy is the fact that Johnny Depp doesn’t understand the modern world.  Seriously, that’s it.  For this you needed to dig up Dark Shadows?  Both Depp and Burton go to the well one too many times thinking that Johnny Depp acting weird in make-up is enough to carry a movie and honestly now that I think about it, when isn’t he doing that?  Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeny Todd, Edward Scissorhands, Willy Wonka…and every single one of them made money.  Know what didn’t?  Public Enemies and The Rum Diaries.  Clearly a lack of greasepaint isn’t going to buy new houses in France.  Another problem is that the story at its heart is dark, sad and sinister and if you want to go funny it has to be a dark funny. After all, we get not one but two scenes of Johnny Depp slaughtering groups of innocent people.  The best they can do is have him lamenting killing the “unshaven young people.”  And there’s a third act reveal about a character that’s being done better and funnier weekly on MTV, which is sad. On the upside, I despise Tim Burton and enjoy his each and every failure.

THERE’S NO BLACK OR WHITE PURGATORY; IT’S JUST PURGATORY

Think Like a Man drops one notch to number three and also in this is Gabrielle Union and recently there was an article about how Kate Hudson was trapped in bad romantic comedies.  I’m sure Gabrielle Union knows how she feels, because instead of being the “Sassy Black Friend” to Kate Hudson, she has instead chosen to rule in hell and be the lead in her own series of bad Black romantic comedies, such as Deliver Us From Eva, Two Can Play That Game, Breakin’ All The Rules and The Brothers, three of which co-star Morris Chestnut which I guess makes him her Matthew McConughey.

ETC…

The Hunger Games is down to number four, followed by The Lucky One at number five and Pirates: Band of Misfits at number six.

YES, HE STILL ANNOYS ME.

The Five Year Engagement is down to number seven and I’d love to say this combined with the failure of Jeff Who Lives A Home is the beginning of the end of Jason Segel as a leading man, but given more movie execs look like him than Ryans Reynold or Gosling, he’s unfortunately going to be paired with women much too hot for him for a few years to come.

JUST DON’T PLAY ANY AMERICAN NERDS, DUDE

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel actually enters the top ten at number eight letting you know what all those old people who had no interest in superheroes, young people killing each other or Black people in general were doing with their time. This is about a “who’s who” of British acting retiring to a rest home in India.  Dame Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Dame Maggie Smith and a half-dozen recognizable character actors are all on hand and honestly if not for the overly clichéd nature of the film (it’s advertised as a perfect resort, is actually a tad rundown, but the young good hearted administrator helps show them it is in fact a wonderful place to spend one’s golden years) it’s a very tempting ensemble.  I’m glad it’s making a little change, but pity poor Dev Patel who hasn’t managed to parlay the success of Slumdog Millionaire into anything beyond playing somewhat stereotypical Indians (he’s as British as the rest of the cast).  Frida Pinto has done a little better, but white guys in Hollywood want to bone her so she’s got an advantage.

NO, MOVIES WITH ANTONIO BANDERAS AND SALMA HAYEK DON’T COUNT

Chimpanzee holds at number nine and opening at number ten is Girl in Progress and with all the talk about Black people and their place in film, little is said about Latinos. I guess the case can be made, it’s because there is a Spanish cinema outside of the US, but we’re talking about Americans of Latino descent.  Movies that are wholly American only the more prominent characters are Spanish.  This is one such film and honestly it’s a movie you’ve seen before.  Young mom who hasn’t grown up is facing that her teen daughter is growing up and has to become a parent before it’s too late. Unfortunately, that’s part of the problem. If you didn’t watch this when it was called Gilmore Girls or a half-dozen other similar Lifetime movies, you’re not gonna watch it now just because Eva Mendes is the smoking hot, immature mom.  In fact, now that I think of it, this probably would have been a better show than movie.  This will do well when it finally airs on Lifetime.

COMMON WRITING

The summer TV season is starting to kick into gear and first up is Common Law on USA. Now, USA shows come in two categories: smart and funny or stupid and fluffy.  In the smart category are Necessary Roughness, Burn Notice, White Collar and In Plain Sight. In the equally successful stupid and fluffy category are Covert Affairs, Fairly Legal, Suits and Royal Pains. The difference being the former is somewhat grounded in reality.  Necessary Roughness is based on real doctor’s techniques.  In Plain Sight follows the rules of Witness Relocation Program.  Even Burn Notice has technical advice from a former spy.  The others exist solely in fantasy world, like  Covert Affairs where the Deputy Director of a fictional Domestic Operating CIA arm (it’s illegal for the CIA to operate on US soil) comes to work dressed like she’s going to a club.  Common Law isn’t just stupid and fluffy, it’s extremely stupid and fluffy.  It stars  Michael Ealy who has been bubbling around for a few years now as potentially the “New Hot Black Dude” having been picked by none other than Halle Berry and Oprah to be Halle’s love interest in the TV movie “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”  He’s been slowly gaining prominence having done double duty last year as the new partner on The Good Wife and the new boyfriend of David Duchovny’s baby mama on Californication.  Right now he’s in Think Like a Man so the airing of this show couldn’t be timelier.  He’s one half of a detective team and like all TV detective parings they bicker like an old married couple except in this case they’ve been sent to actual couples counseling where, ha-ha-ha, the other couples think they’re a gay couple.  Seriously, this is the premise of the show. It’s so dumb that in one meta-textual moment a character is told about this and she can’t believe it’s true either.  Also like most TV detectives they’re an odd couple with Ealy as the “Oscar” in his boots, henley, jeans and leather jacket and his Generically Handsome Blonde Partner is the “Felix” in a suit, but no tie.  He somewhat resembles Daniel Craig so clearly they’ve opted to dress him continually like Craig.  We also learn that Ealy was raised in foster care, meaning Generically Handsome Blonde probably comes from a perfect Norman Rockwell home.  But I’m just guessing here, based only on years of television and movies. I’m sure there’s a chance they’ll go another way (place your bets here, suckers…).  And the cop show clichés are non-stop.  The frustrated, crusty captain who never stops complaining about them being trouble he’s not forever repeating how they’re the best detectives he has. All the women who work at the police station are hot and have all dated Michael Ealy.  Not Daniel Craig Blonde Partner is divorced but he and his hot wife are clearly still in love.  There are a pair of dumb rival detectives, the DA is a tall, cold blonde…it’s endless.  But the stupidity of the show can be summed up when Ealy shoots an inflatable display outside of a car dealership because he doesn’t like it.  That is so detached from reality he might as well have a robot partner.  Did the plastic display stop bullets? Because otherwise HE JUST FIRED INTO THE STREET IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY!  Now, no one is looking for Homicide on an action cop show on Friday night, but is it too much to ask that your intelligence not be insulted?  Modern Family is a show filled with clichés but is it stupid and insulting?  No.  But again this is the network of Fairly Legal where people basically ask for it. The only hope is that pilots can be vastly different from following episodes (check out the first Seinfeld episode).  Once people get the job they ease up on the gas and their work matures.  But again on the other hand some pilots are better than the series because honestly they have no follow through.  Check out Smash. Or better yet, don’t.

CAN’T OUTRACE DEATH

Death has been on a rampage recently.  Aside from the aforementioned Jonathan Frid, a part of my youth died with Adam Yauch, aka MCA.  Poor Junior Seau succeeded on his second suicide attempt.  Ben Gazzara was making indie films with John Cassavetes before they even had a name died.  Dick Clark proved he sadly was not an immortal.  Levon Helm of The Band who did the classic vocals on “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down died.  George Lindsey aka “Goober” passed, Davy Jones of The Monkees, Robert Hegyes of Welcome Back, Kotter and the great car designer Carroll Shelby also all died.  Death clearly wanted some def lyrics, cutting edge film, rich singing and some bad ass cars.

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