EPIC-ISH

29 Jul

1. The Dark Knight Rises/Warners            Wknd/$   64.1            Total/$ 289.1

 2. Ice Age 4/Fox                                             Wknd/$   13.3            Total/$ 114.8

 3. The Watch/Fox                                          Wknd/$   13.0            Total/$   13.0

 4. Step Up Revolution/Summit                   Wknd/$   11.8            Total/$   11.8

 5. Ted/Universal                                             Wknd/$     7.4            Total/$ 193.6

 6. Amazing Spider-Man/Sony                     Wknd/$     6.8            Total/$ 242.1

 7. Brave/Disney                                               Wknd/$     4.2            Total/$ 217.3

 8. Magic Mike/Warner                                  Wknd/$     2.6            Total/$ 107.6

 9. Savages/Universal                                      Wknd/$     1.8            Total/$   43.9

10. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                        Wknd/$     1.4            Total/$   38.4

 

THERE IS NO DO; THERE IS ONLY TRY

The Dark Knight Rises holds onto the number one spot despite the horrible incident in Colorado, because, sadly there’s no such thing as bad publicity. People probably would have gone anyway, but this atrocity made sure you saw “The Dark Knight Rises” on every TV screen, newspaper and website and considering no one could possibly blame the movie itself it translates in the end to pure awareness. That said, while I enjoyed it more than The Dark Knight, it’s not some kind of epic masterpiece.  Not even close.  I feel that we’re at the point where if you even try to make something with greater scope, try to take your time in telling a story and not rushing through it (to insure more showings at the theater for a greater take), people give you instant credit. Look at movies like The English Patient, The Last Emperor, Titanic and Gladiator.  Every last one of them utterly mediocre in their writing, but were long and pretty and BIG so they all got credit for being epic when they were not.  And much like anything Aaron Sorkin does, because The Dark Knight Rises gives the illusion of being smart referencing “real issues” it gets praise over it.  Because Nolan mentions there are rich and poor people in Gotham City, he gets credit for some kind of social commentary, but he really doesn’t address class structure at all.  The only suggestion that the poor are suffering is because Bruce Wayne blew most of his money on a clean energy device and didn’t have money left to give to an orphanage.  That’s not an example of “society.”  That’s a particular instance where a smaller good suffers in the pursuit of a greater good. That’s reflective of nothing of in the real world unless you think the 99% is a result of the 1% trying to make the world a better place. Nolan is so proud of addressing Bruce Wayne’s wealth, but Bruce Wayne is a total benevolent billionaire, which again is reflective of nothing at all.  The story itself is a slight rerun of the first as Bane comes to Gotham to destroy it, much in the way Liam Neeson was trying to destroy in the first film. He’s also from the same League of Shadows that Neeson ran that trained Batman. I’m down for suspension of disbelief, but you cross the line when you expect me to buy that the US Government would surrender a city on US soil for months.  Granted, Bane has a nuclear warhead that he hides by driving it around all the time, but the longer it goes on, the dumber you realize it is.  It was stupid in the comics when it was an earthquake that had Gotham City declared a disaster area and abandoned.  I won’t even get into how Batman gets “broken” about two hours into the film which means you know he’s got to “montage” himself back into health then save Gotham in about 20 minutes.  It’s an enjoyable mess, but a mess nonetheless. And Nolan still hasn’t learned that Batman’s costume looks pretty stupid standing around in the daylight.

 

MAYBE EVEN A FINE OR A SUSPENSION FROM THE LEAGUE

Ice Age 4 or 6 or 12 or whatever the hell number this one is holds at number two, followed by The Watch opening at number three and when you realize just how funny Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn were in Dodgeball you can’t believe what a clear disappointment this is.  Vince Vaughn’s motor-mouth routine has got to be one of the most irritating in movies. It worked in Dodgeball because he was relatively speaking the “straight man” in a wacky world.  When he’s supposed to be the funny guy, that shit gets old fast.  His five minutes in Mr. & Mrs. Smith were almost unbearable.  And now he’s teamed with Ben Stiller playing straight, (which is never a good idea) and the always-annoying Jonah Hill.  That’s already three strikes but to add some kind of 15-years-too late Men In Black storyline on top of it gets you flat out ejected from the playing field.  The only way it could have been worse would be to have Anthony Andrews or Martin Lawrence or Cedric The Entertainer as the token minority member of the group instead of some Brit comedian no one has ever heard of.

 

DANCE HAS NO COLOR…LITERALLY

Step Up Revolution is also the umpteenth edition of this franchise started by none other than Channing Tatum. He’s long gone, but like herpes, what he touched us with lingers on.  I love dancers, but I’m old so all this street dancing shit leaves me cold.  What made the first one even minimally appealing was the fact it was contrasting modern street dancing with more traditional types.  But since then it’s just been straight up “Hey, your crew vs. our crew” in a world where none of the best street dancers are ever minorities, which explains why it’s so popular.  That actually is a holdover from the first film.

 

FLASH! AHHHHH!

Ted is down to number five and there’s a running joke in this film based on the horrible Flash Gordon movie from the 80’s complete with Sam Jones himself appearing.  For that scene alone I will watch this on cable next year.

 

DOES IT MAKE MONEY? LISTEN,BUD…

The Amazing Spider-Man is down to number six and so far this is the lowest grossing Spider-Man film, which is to say it’s made under $700M dollars.  $655M is just not that impressive in the world of Spidey films, with the much-maligned third one making the most of all the previous three.  What amuses me about how much geeks hated it is their whining about how campy it was.  As opposed to what?  Did they miss the entire sequence in the second one set to “Raindrops Are Falling On My Head.”  Raimi never took it seriously, which was part of my problem with his take. This is more to my liking, geek that I am.  Though I hate the fucking costume.  Okay, you’ve proven you can make money. Let’s go back to the original for the sequel, okay?

 

AT LEAST SHE’S NOT TRYING TO RIDE ON GRANDPA’S COATTAILS

Brave is down to number seven followed by Magic Mike at number eight and the granddaughter of Elvis Presley, daughter of Lisa Marie, Riley Keough, is in this brief as the nothing-but-trouble girlfriend of Alex Pettyfer. Yeah, I have no idea what she looks like either and I saw the freaking film. She’s a former model, which makes sense, given Elvis and Priscilla were anything but ugly.

 

SPOILERS FOR A MOVIE YOU WILL PROBABLY NEVER SEE

Savages is down to number nine and this didn’t totally tank which is a sigh of relief for the management of Taylor Kitsch, though it still is the summer of his complete and utter failure to launch a big screen career.  Oliver Stone is grateful too, because it means he’ll also get to continue his career of misogyny.  Now, I cynically joked that two women in this movie would mean they’d come to horrible ends at Stone’s hands.  I was half right.  From what I’ve learned about the book, Salma Hayek as the mob boss eventually kills Bencio del Toro and one of the two dudes who love Blake Lively dies.  In Stone’s movie however, Benicio Del Toro gets to live after kidnapping and raping Blake Lively (which I could tell from the trailer would happen and I tend to avoid movies where actresses I like get raped) but he winds up killing Salma Hayek and living to be try and become the next boss.  Also both dudes who love Blake Lively survive.  No thanks, Oliver.

 

CURIOSITY BECKONS THE CAT TO ITS DOOM

Finally, Moonrise Kingdom holds onto the number ten spot yet again and actually is a success, making $38M off a $16M budget, despite the fact that almost all the indie fans of Wes Anderson that I know despise it.  I guess this is his Midnight in Paris.  I think I may have to break down and see this.

 

THEY’RE NOT CARTOONS; THEY’RE ANIMATED FILMS!

With no movies I’ve been interested in seeing and the disappointment of The Dark Knight Rises I’ve finally been using my Playstation 3 for something and that’s to stream movies.  Of course these movies are Justice League: Doom and Superman Vs. The Elite.  Justice League: Doom is based on the comic book storyline “Tower of Babel” where Ra’s Al Ghul (the guy Liam Neeson played in the Batman Begins) steals plans Batman has to take out the Justice League in case they ever go rogue.  Now given every other week they’re brainwashed to do just that, this actually make sense, but because comic book writers are, well comic book writers, this pisses off the entire Justice League and Batman actually leaves for a short period when they vote him out.  In the movie version a different villain uses the plan and it’s somewhat changed because they use different members of the Justice League (no Aquaman here and different plans are used because they’re more visual than the original), but it’s still fairly entertaining and there’s some degree of suspense as the members of the JL fall one-by-one to plans they can’t outthink because their smartest member thought them up.  What saves them is the appearance of Teen Titan, Cyborg. Because he’s not a member of the Justice League he was never attacked and is able to help stop the attacks on others. I didn’t care for this because in the original story they have to figure it out themselves and this stinks of a current push inside DC Comics to make Cyborg more important a character, which he will never be.  Yeah, I know we need more prominent black superheroes, but this guy ain’t it.  Superman Vs. The Elite is based on a silly one-issue story called “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & The American Way” which was a response to the popularity of more grittier comic books with heroes who killed people, specifically a one called The Authority which regularly poked fun at other superhero books by having their version of Superman and Batman a gay couple and had an entire storyline where a group based on The Avengers with the Captain America analogue raping anyone he defeats—in this case gay Superman analogue (in revenge the Batman analogue would take a jackhammer to his back while the Superman analogue would vaporize his legs).  In the Superman story a group based on The Authority shows up and wins public acclaim for finally dealing harshly with dangerous supervillans, which leads to a showdown with Superman where he actually outthinks them, which is somewhat novel in a Superman comic.  The movie—whose animation style took a moment to get adjusted to—follows the basic plot. People are bothered that Superman won’t deal harshly with bad guys and basically make the world a better place through force, so when a new team shows up ready to break a few necks they’re embraced. Clearly Supes doesn’t care for the whole death thing and it leads to a big fight.  This was supposed to a reaffirmation of Superman’s values, but the problem here is the same problem with the comic: once they started to embrace super-murderous villains in the 80’s, it does make it seem pretty stupid not to kill them.  The way the story should have been is that no one survives in a world where we’re all judged justly.  You cheer when a murder dies, but what happens when you’re judged for buying a bigger TV you don’t need while people are starving?  But no, it came down to showing Superman beating the crap out of people who killed terrorists and murders.  There is a story out there about the validity of Superman’s principles. This just wasn’t it.  I’m so glad I started renting these things before buying them, ‘cause I would have been pissed to have dropped more money on this.  Seeing a seemingly unhinged Superman cut loose is definitely fun for a moment, but not $20 worth of fun.

 

TV, I LOVE YOU

Again, I love that the TV seasons never stop now.  The latest show on is Sullivan & Son, which is a bit of a break-through as the lead character is clearly Asian and dates white women.  The downside is, he looks pretty white so it’s not like he’s that threatening. Also, he’s half-Asian and is playing half-Asian and if you miss it, there’s a joke every five seconds about the fact he’s half-Asian.  I can think of worse ways to spend half-an-hour before going to sleep…which is usually how I watch it.

 

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