WHERE EVERYONE HAS GONE BEFORE

19 May

303803-matt-bomer

 1. Star Trek Into Darkness/Par                   Wknd/$  70.6            Total/$   84.1

 2. Iron Man 3/Paramount                            Wknd/$  35.2            Total/$ 337.1

 3. The Great Gatsby/Warners                      Wknd/$  23.4            Total/$  90.2

 4. Pain and Gain/Paramount                       Wknd/$   3.1              Total/$  46.6

 5. The Croods/Fox                                          Wknd/$   2.8             Total/$ 176.8

 6. 42/ Warners                                                Wknd/$   2.7              Total/$  88.7

 7. Oblivion/Universal                                     Wknd/$   2.2              Total/$  85.5

 8. Mud/                                                             Wknd/$   2.2               Total/$  11.6

 9. Tyler Perry Presents Peeples/LGF         Wknd?$   2.2                Total/$    7.9

10. The Big Wedding/LGF                             Wknd/$   1.1                 Total/$  20.2

 

INTO DUMBNESS

In the interests of total transparency, I must admit I’m a Trekker from way back. The simple fact I used “Trekker” and not “Trekkie” should tell you that because for hardcore fans, “trekkie” was considered derogatory.  Seriously. People dressed up like Klingons while getting married took offense to that term.  Needless to say a reboot was automatic sacrilege to me and it didn’t help matters that it was being done by a JJ Abrams, who is basically Joss Whedon for stupid people. Seriously, if you think he’s smart, you’re as dumb as a bag of rocks and should let other people handle important decisions in your life like voting and taxes and which color socks to wear.  He freely admitted he didn’t “get” Star Trek and wanted to “broaden the audience” (because you know, after 50 years, 9 films and 5 television shows, it still hadn’t found one without him) which is double-speak for “dumb it down.” The mildly intellectual aspects of Star Trek (and they were mild, let’s not kid ourselves) are what distinguished it and he got rid of them, which is like saying you’re making a Sherlock Holmes film, but he won’t be smart.  Now the reason I’m stressing this is that the number one movie this week, Star Trek: Into Darkness, is one of the dumbest movies you will ever see, even for a summer movie.  We start off immediately with The Enterprise being underwater for no reason other than someone thought it would look cool rising from the waves. That it makes not one lick of sense hardly seems to matter.  This lets you know right then you should have checked your brain, not just the door, but not even bother taking it out of the house. Unlike the first film, this one does try to have an underlying theme besides “be more like Star Wars.”  They seem to finally address the fact that Kirk is in fact too irresponsible to be an actual captain, but it’s a feint because literally ten minutes after he loses his command, he’s back in the captain’s seat and this is done through the time-honored hack convention of making everyone else around him dumb so that he seems smart. He continually “fails upwards.”  While the original James T. Kirk succeeded from balls & bravado coupled with brains, this one is basically balls and not much else and literally has a character tell him, “You’re totally wrong, but I will still reward your failings.”  I can’t really discuss the plot without giving away the twists, but what’s the point in making a new Star Trek if you’re just going to continually recycle the old? For all its problems, the first Star Trek reboot movie had a new villain and dramatic changes to the status quo (Vulcan is gone, Spock’s mother is dead and he’s involved with Uhura), while this basically remakes an old Star Trek episode, part of one of the movies and takes various elements from the last film with the original cast, improving on nothing you’ve seen before while wasting a good cast with solid chemistry and humor that is actually on the level of the original Star Trek.

 

LET THEM READ GOOP

Iron Man 3 finally drops to number two and while she is justifiably mocked for her view of the world which rivals Marie Antoinette’s for sheer obliviousness, I loves me some Gwyneth Paltrow and always have.  Thank goodness Shane Black’s misogyny was reigned in and we get to see her kick a little ass without his original idea that she get publicly humiliated in a sex tape with one of the bad guys. No, I’m not kidding. Remember this is Shane Black, the reason The Last Boy Scout opens with a woman’s head being held underwater by a man who says he won’t let up until she performs oral sex on him. The reason in the same film Halle Berry is not just crushed between two cars but finished off with machine gun fire.  The reason Kiss Kiss Bang Bang stops cold so Robert Downey Jr can deliver a monologue for what’s wrong with women in LA.  You don’t want to be a woman at the table with him, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee.  Or in their movies if you can help it.

 

WAITING FOR AN ALL ASIAN VERSION CALLED “GI”

The Great Gatsby is down to number three and whenever I remember there was a modern day, all-black version of this called “G” I simply cannot stop laughing.  Though it turns out to be tad prescient given its Gatsby was a hip-hop millionaire (in the mode of Sean “Puffy” Combs) and this new one has hip-hop millionaire Jay-Z coordinating the soundtrack. It’s gonna need all the help he can provide given it needs to make $300M to make a profit and the summer onslaught begins en masse next week.

 

GOOD GIRLS GO TO HEAVEN; BAD GIRLS GO EVERYWHERE ELSE

Pain & Gain is down to number four and one good thing about the success of this movie is that it continues Rebel Wilson’s rise to success which started with her small role in Bridesmaids, which also kicked off Kristen Wiig’s movie career and rocketed Melissa McCarthy to the comedy A-list. Paul Feig must be drowning in fruit baskets of gratitude.

 

A CLUE AS TO HOW EXPENSIVE BABYSITTERS REALLY ARE

The Croods actually rises to number five and I’d ask why but I look at this top ten and realize parents have no place to dump their smaller children off for two hours yet.  They’re dying for the summer movies to start just like the rest of us.

 

NOTHING SAYS “EVIL” LIKE A BAD REGIONAL ACCENT

42 is down to number six, followed by Oblivion at number seven and the most annoying thing about this movie had to be Melissa Leo’s godawful southern accent. That alone should have let Tom Cruise’s character know something was up.  Though I guess if she’d gone with “Bawston” accent from The Fighter, there’d have been no doubt.

 

ONE STEP FORWARD TWO STEPS BACK

Mud surprisingly hangs around at number eight, followed by Tyler Perry Presents Peeples at number nine, and while I’m delighted any time something with Tyler Perry’s name on it fails, I feel badly for the talent in this movie because there’s so much of it.  Craig Robinson and Kerry Russell at least have other things to fall back on, but poor David Allen Grier needed a win.  Not to mention a minority female directors.  Hollywood is looking for reason to turn them back and this just gave them another.

 

THE END

Finally, the big wedding closes out the top ten at number ten.

 

SCATTER MY MINE AT OLD NAVY

Never going to break the top ten is Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorfs, a documentary about the eponymous department store on 5th Avenue in New York.  I saw it continuing my run on documentaries about fashion which have been good for the most part and I think I’ve found the clue that let’s you know whether or not that’s the case: Anna Wintour.  Any fashion doc worth its weight has to have an appearance by the grand doyenne of fashion and this one does not, despite a half-dozen other fashion luminaries from Armani to Lagerfeld to De la Renta to Marc Jacobs to Michael Kors to Tory Burch to…you get the idea. Her absence is conspicuous.  Oh, there’s footage of her, of course, but no interview and methinks it has to with a small rivalry between her and the head buyer for Bergdorf Goodman, Linda Fargo, who unlike Wintour can make a designer’s career in a real world fashion.  Wintour can choose to promote or not promote a designer, but Fargo gives them an actual venue to sell their wares and it’s questionable which truly matters more.  The film is oddly divided between a history of the store, which is genuinely interesting; an observation of a young designer trying to get into the store (Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter and it’s really hard to root for her given the “in” she clearly had) which is also interesting and the creation of the famous store windows…which is not that interesting and when all is said and done, I’d say that at least half of this 90 minute film is devoted to that.  That’s about 30 minutes too long.  That time would have been better spent with a more in-depth history of the store (the stories of Liz Taylor and John Lennon are great) or more in-depth account of the journey of a designer to the store’s hallowed halls.  Instead it wraps that story up far too quickly (Hilfiger’s daughter doesn’t make the cut and it’s really hard to feel sad for her given how much of her career was probably handed to her) and hops around from talking head to talking head gushing about the store, while any deep topic like the importance of wealth to the store or the effect the faltering economy had on it are brought in and out in less than five minutes (that the son of the founder used his position to bang the models who worked there is rushed by as quickly as possible).  The only jolt of life comes from one of the no-holds barred personal shoppers, who when asked what she’d be doing if not that job replies, “Drinking.” More of her, less literal window decoration.

 

RED TRUNKS CAN’T SAVE EVERYTHING

The new Superman is coming and with questionable timing DC’s direct-to-video line releases an animated film about the “old Superman” as in the one who wore bright blue tights and little red trunks and didn’t mope about the world.  Superman: Unbound is based on a storyline from the comic a few years ago that rebooted the character of Brainiac, saying that the one Superman had been fighting for years was only a probe who thought he was Brainiac because the real one never left his ship.  It also alluded (badly) to the idea that Brainiac had been responsible for the destruction of Krypton when it attacked it and stole the city of Kandor, which he shrunk and put into a bottle.  Well, they say bad books make the best movies, so maybe they could turn this lackluster storyline into something interesting the way they did with the flat-out-bad Superman/Batman: Apocalypse which is actually the story of Supergirl, but marketing dictates you can’t tell anyone that. No, I’m not kidding. Supergirl and Wonder Woman are in it and you won’t see them anywhere on the box.  She’s in this too, but again, no box cover, which is sad because her character’s journey is one of the better things about it.  One thing about animation with superheroes is that you get to see them use their powers fully without the restrictions of special effects of budgets. The problem is, once you’ve seen Superman cut loose without his powers it makes no sense when he stops. Brainiac is shown to be as strong as Superman, but clearly cannot fly and has no super-speed or heat vision and given we’ve spent 10 minutes watching Superman use them against his robot army, why is he stopping now?  Because then he crushes Brainiac in seconds and your story is done. That contrivance aside, the best things about the story are the subplots involving the female characters. Clark and Lois and dating but he doesn’t want anyone in the office to know and we find out it took him a year to tell his parents. He wants to create this odd bubble where nothing goes wrong because he controls it all. Also, Supergirl saw Brainiac’s attack on Krypton and was traumatized by how helpless it made her feel. Now that she’s got godlike power on earth she likes smack around anyone she considers a bully, which rubs Superman the wrong way.  Despite her newfound power she’s still so scared (she’s only 17) when she finds out Brainiac is coming to earth she’s prepared to run and let him destroy the planet.  I could have watched more of her and less of Superman smacking Brainiac around a swamp, which somehow messes him up because he gets dirty.  Yes, the weakness of the supervillain is OCD. Like I said, it wasn’t a good story to begin with. Matt Bomer is the voice of Superman which is great because height aside, he looks exactly how you’d expect Superman to look. Stana Katic from Castle is the voice of Lois Lane and Supergirl is Molly Quinn, also from Castle (she plays his daughter).

 

 

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