14 Oct


1. Taken 2/Fox                                                  Wknd/$  22.5            Total/$  86.8

 2. Argo/Warners                                               Wknd/$  20.1            Total/$  20.1

 3. Sinister/Summit                                           Wknd/$  18.3            Total/$  18.3

 4. Hotel Transylvania/Sony                            Wknd/$  17.3            Total/$102.2

 5. Here Comes The Boom/Sony                     Wknd/$  12.0            Total/$  12.0

 6. Pitch Perfect/Universal                                Wknd/$     9.3          Total/$  36.1

 7. Frankenweenie/Disney                                 Wknd/$     7.0          Total/$  22.0

 8. Looper/TriStar                                                Wknd/$     6.3          Total/$  51.4

 9. Seven Psychopaths/CBS                               Wknd/$     4.3           Total/$    4.3

10.The Perks of Being A Wallflower                Wknd/$     2.2           Total/$    6.2



Taken 2 holds at number one and honestly the first one wasn’t so great that I felt any impulse to see the sequel. Only drunk and with friends would this happen and my friends decided to save their money for more drinking.  You know what would have made this interesting? If the daughter had become more of a badass as a result of her being “taken” (seriously, what the hell is wrong with the word “kidnapped”?).  Give me father and daughter whooping Albanian ass and you’ve got my money. Speaking of which, if you’d just shot a French cop’s wife to get information, killed off half the Albanian mob and topped it off by killing a rich Arab, I’m thinking Europe, least of all Istanbul, is not where you want to be, but this is where Liam Neeson is working at the beginning of the film!?!  Why not just send out a mass text reading, “Come at me, dawg! I ain’t scared of you muthafuckas!”  He’s just asking for trouble…or a sequel.



Argo opens at number two and I have it on very good authority that the working title of this was “In Your Face, Matt Damon” because it formally kicks Ben Affleck up to A-list directing level.  Gone, Baby Gone was good especially for a first effort and The Town showed it wasn’t just luck.  Argo flat out proves he’s just good at what he does. Based on true story of how CIA was actually involved in the rescue of 6 Americans from Iran in 1980 (which for 17 years was only credited to the Canadians for reasons of security), you know a film is good when it’s still suspenseful even though you know how it ends.  You know all the hostages get out, but every near miss makes your stomach tighten.  He also knows how to cast.  Every film so far has had a wealth of character actors (aka, “Hey, it’s that guy! I love that guy. He’s always great at this kind of role.”) and this is no exception.  John Goodman hasn’t met the film he couldn’t improve and he’s joined in this by Alan Arkin jockeying for another Best Supporting Actor nomination and proving there are no small parts, only small actors. The only real flaw has to with Affleck casting himself, which may have been the only way the studio would back the film.  If it wasn’t it’s a mistake of vanity because when you hear the name “Mendez” I’m pretty sure you don’t see Ben Affleck’s face.  It’s not helped any by a picture of the real, very brown Tony Mendez in the film’s closing credits.  Somewhere, in a trailer on the lot of Private Practice, sits a very angry, very frustrated Benjamin Bratt, while elsewhere Benicio Del Toro looks at his Oscar and sighs over all it didn’t do for him.



Sinister opens at number three and while I don’t do the scary I wonder about these movies where there’s always an expert about the big, bad evil but there are never any people who fight them. When the monster so clearly exists, is known to exist and kills so regularly, where are the forces of good? Basically, where the fuck is Buffy?  Clearly someone is doing something or they’d overrun the world, so where are they?  I’ve no use for Paranormal Activity but in that film there was someone who did deal with “the big, bad evil” only they didn’t listen to him.  Also, the only thing I have less interest in than a scary movie is a scary movie built to have sequels.  You know them because they go out of their way to give their “big, bad, evil” a name or persona like Jason or Freddie and most recently Jigsaw to market.  The sum total of this is that the “big, bad evil” will kill and go unpunished.  That annoys me in general so you can imagine how off-putting it is in a film where the monster kills children. Do we really want a child-killing sequel?



Hotel Transylvania is down to number four, followed by Here Comes The Boom opening at number five and this actually gives Kevin James two in the top ten as he’s the voice of Frankenstein in the former.  Ostensibly I actually like basic concept of this movie but that’s more than a little outweighed by the presence of Kevin James.  He’s unfunny and annoying. It’s no wonder he and Adam Sandler make so many films together.  The final nail in the coffin, however, is the casting of Salma Hayek as his love interest.  I’m basically boycotting movies where fat, bald guys get hot women out of their league. Yes, I know it’s been a part of Hollywood since the beginning (mainly because the studios are run by fat, bald guys) but I’ve had my fill of it.  But again, it starts with Kevin James sucking.



Pitch Perfect is down to number six and the horror that is Anna Kendrick rapping simply will not leave my mind. It’s like I’m suffering from post-traumatic stress.  And again, someone not as attractive as she is has the love interest role. Yeah, I’m sure it’s better that Skylar Astin was cast more on talent than looks, but come on. Between New York and LA you couldn’t find a better-looking guy who could sing? Seriously, he’s supposed to be in college and already his hairline is going.  I guess that’s why they made him work on his abs so you wouldn’t look above the neck.



Frankenweenie is down to number seven and this is sweet revenge for Tim Burton given the original short this is based upon is what got him fired from Disney’s animation department in the 80’s.  Soon after came Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and then came Batman.  Where do you think the guy who fired him is right now?  Ducking interviews I guess.  I’m no Tim Burton fan but he does have talent and having your head so far up your own ass that you ignored it simply because you didn’t care for the subject matter is not something you want to be famous for.  Especially when it was an inability to move forward and think outside of the box in the 80’s that killed Disney’s animation department for a while.  If I’m Burton I’m not working for Disney unless I know that that fucker is fired. And I’m still sending him every film I make for free, just to rub it in.



Looper is down to number eight and also in this is Emily Blunt and in one of the film’s most unintentionally hilarious and out of place moments, she develops a lip-licking, leg-scissoring hankering for Joseph Gordon-Leavitt even though she knows he’s a hired killer and an older version of him is coming to try and kill her son. Pretty sure that would dampen the heat for pretty much anyone.  It’s so hamfisted and ridiculous, I can’t believe it made it through editing.  The director’s idea of female arousal looks like he learned about women from watching Cinemax.  You cut it and the film not only doesn’t change a bit, but also gets a much-needed boost of pace in the third act.



Seven Psychopaths opens at number nine and between a new album from No Doubt and this movie the 90’s really are back.  Seriously, this looks like something from the Tarantino era of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp fiction when everyone and his mother had a freaking movie about a bunch of wacky criminal psychopaths.  I didn’t care then and I don’t care now.



Finally, The Perks of Being A Wallflower finally enters the top ten and they probably should have called this “A Collection of Teen Movie Clichés” because I didn’t see anything in the trailers that I hadn’t seen before and saw nothing about their execution here that makes this retelling noteworthy.  Also nothing kills confidence like “based on a Young Adult novel.”  And I’m sure that the writer of the novel also directed this makes a number people wonder why they went to film school.



The most wonderful time of the year continues with the Fall Television season rollout and my most anticipated show of the year has been Arrow, which is based on the comic book character Green Arrow, who gained a little popularity thanks to his appearance on Smallville for its last few seasons.  He was basically their stand-in for Batman whom they could not use on the show for obvious reasons. It’s a more appropriate trade off than you realize as Green Arrow started off as a flat out rip off of Batman, complete with a sidekick in red & yellow, an Arrow Car and even an Arrow Cave under his mansion.  Continuing this path of derivation is this show, which aims to be more like Christopher Nolan’s Batman films…but winds up just being Smallville in lower light.  Like Smallville, people don’t behave like people, only to facilitate the advancement of the silly plot.  For example: Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow, has been lost on a deserted island for five years where he mysteriously gained the skills to be a Batman, er, a superhero.  His mother thinks it’d be too much to reveal immediately that she remarried one of his father’s business partners (dad died in the same accident that shipwrecked him), even though this would probably be mentioned on every TV news story and all over the internet.  So what does she do?  She and her new husband canoodle at the dinner table DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE HIM.  Likewise, the father of a girl who died in the accident that shipwrecked Oliver doesn’t ask one single question about how his daughter died or how he survived and she didn’t.  We’re not even told he’s her father until the last five minutes of the show because the non-talents involved in this thought it would be a “big dramatic reveal” when what it’s actually just a “big, stupid moment.” Now this happened on Smallville all the time and I’d be inclined to let it go but they’ve spent months basically saying how their show is so much better than either Smallville or the comic books. You know the only reason any of them have jobs?  They also bad mouth superhero costumes while talking about the inspiration of Nolan’s Batman films…which all had superhero costumes in them.



A show I didn’t have much hope for but which turned out to be nothing but fun is Beauty & the Beast, starring Smallville alum Kristen Kreuk as—get this—a New York City homicide detective. No, I’m not kidding. A 20-something, 5-foot, 98 pound model-looking homicide detective. With a pretty girl partner just like her.  It’s hysterical.  Her gun looks bigger than she is.  What makes it work is that unlike Arrow, they aren’t apologizing for this being a fantasy (it also has better action scenes than Arrow). It’s basically what a little girl would imagine life a cop is like.  The medical examiner is a hot dude who’s into her, the precinct is state-of-the-art and incredibly well-lit, she drives a bad-ass car, can beat up men twice her size and The Beast…is no longer a beast but a model who just happens to have sexy scar on one side of his face.  In nice little science fiction/Captain America twist he’s also a beast because volunteered for a military experiment that went wrong and now they’re trying to kill them all off.  While he looks for a cure (he was a doctor before going into a military to technically he’s a hot doctor too) he uses his powers to help people around New York.  This couldn’t be anymore of a fantasy if she wore a tiara and a ball gown and rode around solving crimes in NYC on a unicorn.


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