29 Oct

1. Argo/Warners                                           Wknd/$   12.4           Total/$  60.8

2. Hotel Transylvania/Sony                       Wknd/$    9.5            Total/$ 130.4

3. Cloud Atlas/Warners                              Wknd/$    9.4            Total/$     9.4

4. Paranormal Activity 4/Parmount        Wknd/$    8.7            Total/$  42.6

5. Silent Hill 2/ORF                                     Wknd/$    8.0            Total/$     8.0

6. Taken 2/Fox                                              Wknd/$    8.0            Total/$  117.4

7. Here Comes The Boom/Sony                 Wknd/$    5.5            Total/$   30.6

8. Sinister/Summit                                       Wknd/$    5.1             Total/$   39.5

9. Alex Cross/Summit                                  Wknd/$    5.1             Total/$   19.4

10.Fun Size/Paramount                                Wknd/$    4.1            Total/$     4.1


It took the threat of a natural disaster combined with a World Series weekend, but finally Agro—or as it’s know around the Affleck household “Good Will My Ass”—takes the number one spot and is the early big Oscar bet this year.


Hotel Transylvania is down to number two, followed by Cloud Atlas opening at number three and I slammed Chris Nolan for aping the barest motions of attempting an epic and getting credit as if he’d succeeded but this is an attempt at an epic that also doesn’t quite succeed but does deserves praise in its attempt.  It’s five different stories in five different time periods with the same actors every time but in different roles thanks to tons of often-laughable make-up with common threads connecting them all (also three directors).  The journal Jim Sturgess keeps in the 1800’s is the book Ben Whishaw reads in the late 30’s. Whislaw’s lover in the 30’s is the same man Halle Berry meets in the 70’s and he notices she bears the same tattoo that Whislaw bore.  A book submission that Jim Broadbent receives in the present day is written by Halle Berry’s teen neighbor.  In the 70’s Halle Berry meets Tom Hanks who mentions going to Seoul, while in the future, Neo-Seoul (I kept waiting for Maxwell to show up) is where Doona Bae begins her ascension to revolutionary and becoming the goddess that Tom Hanks worships in the even further future. Also, a scar she acquires mimics the birthmark that Whishaw and Berry bears and there are half a dozen other tiny things, not to mention a common theme of the rich and powerful trying to oppress the poor and seemingly powerless.  It’s too long, but it’s not the running time per se that’s the issue, but the pacing. It begins to pick up too soon making you think it’s going to be wrapping up, but then continues to go on.  Not to mention we begin the movie with two characters at the end of their stories so we’re more than aware of the time that needs to pass in order to get to that point.  They’d have been better off leaving that out which would not only have taken away our awareness and subsequent impatience, but added mystery to their fates (one dies and the other is shown to have clearly lived to old age, so there’s not suspense involved in their actual stories).  But overall it succeeds because it does take the time to allow each character’s story to be told.  We see every step from point A to point B and occasionally maddeningly so. Some could and should have been trimmed while others expanded.


Paranormal Activity is down to number four, followed by Taken 2 at number five and there’s been a third announced but how they’re going to do it when Liam Neeson has clearly single-handedly wiped out the Albania mob is beyond me.  I still say that his daughter should have gone to Asia.  I mean you can’t talk about trafficking young women and not go to Asia.  And there’s the comedic value of the 6’4” Neeson in the streets of Hong Kong and Tokyo.  Not to mention pretending he’s going to be beating up the people who invented martial arts.


Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is opens at number six and yes, 3D is actually part of the title. How sad is that?  Again, I don’t do the scary and unlike most so-called scary movies the visuals alone on this movie get the job done. That creature made up of mannequins emulating a spider?  WHAT THE FUCK!?! This combines two terrifying concepts and has assured I’ll avoid this at all costs for the rest of my life. Honestly you’d have to be incredibly incompetent not to make this a genuinely scary movie, but there’s never been any shortage of those guys, especially when it comes to translating a video game to film.


Here Comes the Boom holds at number seven, followed by Sinister at number eight and Alex Cross down to number nine and also in this is Ed Burns as—guess what—a cop.  I know he’s New York Irish and all, but again?  I can only think he does these movies to pay for his indie work where he writes and directs, though like Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez has never lived up to the promise of his first film either, though I’d say he’s done the best.  Then again, he keeps imitating Woody Allen, while their own meager muses clearly guide the other two.  If you can’t think of something good yourself, there’s no shame in shameless ripping off someone who has, which is why Sidewalks of New York, which is a blatant copy of Husbands & Wives is actually better than Husbands & Wives. But again, can we take a moment and enjoy Tyler Perry’s failure as a leading man? Ahhhh…


Finally, Fun Size opens at number ten and I was tempted to see this solely for the character of the little brother who runs around getting into mayhem in a Spider-man costume.  Give me that movie and I’m there. Victoria Justice? Other than having a cool-ass name I know almost nothing about her other than she’s some kind of tween star that creepy guys on the internet have been waiting to become legal…so they can fantasize about her without arrest I suppose.  She’s very pretty, but so are a thousand other girls and there’s nothing really unique about her or the role they give her (am I really supposed to believe someone who looks like her isn’t a queen bee?). I mean, they could have spared me the less attractive geek in love with her storyline.  Aside from being an annoying cliché, I lived it. I’ve no interest in seeing it.  A teen version of After Hours (actually another teen version, as Adventures in Babysitting was the first) might have found a broader audience.


Now that my second photography course had finished, I’ve found myself at loose ends. I tend to like routines and structure because believe it or not that works very well for lazy people.  We don’t have to think or plan anything.  But honestly I also felt there was so much more to learn, no matter what self-taught fuckers like Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, Bruce Weber, etc say.  Just because they happen to be my favorite photographers doesn’t mean shit.  Some of us need some educatin’!  I just didn’t feel like coughing up a few hundred dollars again to do so (seriously, this is one expensive fucking hobby I picked). To this end I looked at some of the schools I decided against before choosing PhotoManhattan to see if they had one-offs or seminars that might help.  One such place was Brooklyn Creative, which offers a variety of creative teachings from crafts to photography.  Aside from regular courses like everyone else, they have three hour “crash courses” as well as the wonderful “$5 Friday” where for $5 you’ll get 90 minute introductions to things like Photoshop or Lightroom (both of which I took).  Ironically, the guy who teaches the photography courses I took (I also did 3 hour Portrait Photography) also taught at PhotoManhattan for five years.  I was overall satisfied with all three, but most of all I enjoyed the location, which is in DUMBO, but almost literally under the Manhattan Bridge.  It worked perfectly for me because when I go to Brooklyn on my bike these days I prefer the Manhattan Bridge, because it’s so purely utilitarian. No tourists like the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s ugly, but there’s one side for walkers and one side for bikes so no one is in each other’s way.  Also there’s the park, which gives you the most amazing view of the city along with both bridges. This is why there are always weddings being shot there.  Three courses over three days and each and every time I visited the park to take my own shots there were wedding parties being shot. One I even got roped into helping as their photographer was a friend and they wanted him in the shot as well. So, now I’ve got marginal skills and time on my hands. I’ll be calling you real soon…

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