ULTRAMAN

16 Jun

superman-tide

 1. Man of Steel/Warners                          Wknd/$ 113.1            Total/$ 125.1

 2. This Is The End/Sony                           Wknd/$  20.5           Total/$  32.8

 3. Now You See Me/LGF                          Wknd/$  10.3            Total/$  80.0

 4. Fast & Furious 6/Universal                 Wknd/$   9.4             Total/$219.6

 5. The Purge/Universal                             Wknd/$   8.2             Total/$  51.8

 6. The Internship/Fox                               Wknd?$   7.0             Total/$   31.0

 7. Epic/Fox                                                   Wknd/$   6.0           Total/$  95.4

 8. Star Trek Into Darkness/Par               Wknd/$   5.7             Total/$ 210.5

 9. After Earth/Sony                                    Wknd/$   3.8             Total/$  54.2

 8. The Hangover Pt. III/Warners            Wknd/$   7.4             Total/$ 102.4

10. Iron Man 3/Paramount                        Wknd/$   2.9             Total/$ 399.6

 

MAN OF STEEL, MOVIE OF PLASTIC

Man of Steel opens at number one and I’m filled with mixed emotions on this one. As a die-hard Superman man who suffered through 10 years of Smallville out of sheer devotion to the character (though honestly that last 5 was mostly on fast forward), I’m happy that the first and greatest comic book hero, the one who named the genre (yes, they’re called “super” heroes because of him) is finally winning in the mainstream. But this really isn’t Superman to me, just a version of him.  I guess I should have expected it because unlike other characters, people needed Superman to change. No one needed Peter Parker to be less neurotic or more drab. No one needed Batman to be poor or be nicer and certainly no one needed Wolverine to take an oath against killing. Those were the characters. You either took them or you left them, but no one said, “He has to change.” It wasn’t that way for Superman.  “Live and let live” was apparently intolerable when it came to the most famous, most powerful superhero of them all.  It seemed grating to them that he was still more famous than everyone else combined though his days of being a best selling comic ended decades ago. They hated his perfection.  A bright and shinning example be damned. He had to be more like us. The lion may be the king of the jungle but you get enough hyenas together and they can take him down and the hyenas of the world have won in this case. Superman is now grounded, starting with a costume so dark it looks black (minus a pair of little red briefs because apparently they were too silly for a flying man in a red cape from another work who shoots laser beams from his eyes).  This is through an already washed out pallet that mutes all the colors to begin with because apparently someone thought they were making Saving Private Kent and not a comic book movie.  It doesn’t stop with the visuals either.  To better relate to you hyenas, Clark Kent doesn’t grow up in an idyllic Norman Rockwell-esque Kansas, but is now bullied and a bit of an outcast while Jonathan Kent doesn’t impart a strong sense of right and wrong in him so much as a near pathological fear of being discovered to point were the sacrifice of the lives of others is worth keeping his secret (and he proves it in the inevitable death scene so poorly foreshadowed he might as well walk into a haunted house saying, “I’ll be right back.”). Clark spends the next decade or so wandering the earth in as angsty a way as possible complete with a soundtrack from the golden age of grunge in case you weren’t getting it.  When he finally mounts up and takes flight we get our first smile of the film, which is its other major problem: there is absolutely no joy here.  That comic books (and the films based on them) are supposed to be fun is apparently passe.   Zack Synder, David Goyer (screenwriter) and producer Christopher Nolan have clearly confused “serious” with “solemn.”  Now, it was a valid complaint that Superman Returns was lacking in action and suffered from its own dull solemnity.  Well, be careful what you wish for as the last half hour of this overlong film is a mess of CGI destruction, with Superman either oblivious of uncaring that the buildings he and Zod are ripping through are filled with people. If you ever doubted that 9/11 has permanently affected our psyche, the graphic depiction of buildings being destroyed and falling on fleeing bystanders is here to lay rest to that (the cheery on top is a post-battle Metropolis that looks like Nagasaki after the bomb).  But don’t look for Superman to save you unless you’re standing directly in front of him.  Speaking of Zod, like the Star Trek reboot what was the point of it if you’re just going to tell the same stories over again? You’ve created your new, moody, dark Superman. Why not give him some new opponents to face?  You’ve got 75 years of source material. Just because it’s not Lex Luthor doesn’t mean it has to be Zod.  Or better yet make a new villain for your new Superman ‘cause he ain’t my old one.

 

I WAS GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD, BUT I GOT HIGH

This Is The End opens at number two and apparently this is the world’s first apocalyptic stoner comedy.  It’s a Who’s Who of young comedic talent right now (if you didn’t get the call to at least cameo I’ve got some bad news about your career right now) and stars basically the entirety of the Judd Apatow crew minus Paul Rudd and honestly these guys are barely tolerable as second bananas, so I can’t imagine an entire film all about them.  Not to mention I’ve sworn off any movie with Jonah Hill or Seth Rogen and they’re both here so I gave it a pass, but a $20M opening suggests I was one of few.

 

REALLY OLD DOGS

Now You See Me holds at number three and Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are in this and if you’d told me it was more about them I might have seen it. Hell, give me a buddy comedy about the two of them and I’m there.  Let these kids go be in that stoner comedy.

 

APPARENTLY HEAVY D & FAT JOE DYING GOT TO HIM

Fast & Furious 6 is down to number four and the humorous irony about this latest sequel is while Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Paul Walker, Vin Diesel and even Tyrese are known for their bodies who shows up shirtless and chiseled? Ludacris.  No, I’m not kidding.  It’s such an odd scene you get the feeling he basically had it written into his contract as a condition of his return.

 

SLACKER BOY NO MORE

The Purge is down to number five and Ethan Hawke is having a bit of a mainstream career resurgence.  After toying with mainstream films in the 90’s when he first blew up, he’s been mostly an indie and theater guy, but starting last year with a successful genre flick (Sinister), he returns with another here and actually has a flat out fast cars and guns action flick coming up with none other than Selena Gomez as his co-star and if that doesn’t scream “mall money” I don’t know what does.  I guess as his kids are getting older he’s realizing college tuitions will be coming due and theater doesn’t pay NYU fees.

 

SCHADENFREUDE IS A WARM SWEATER I WEAR EVERY DAY

The Internship is down to number six and part of the reason attributed to this failing is that Google refused to be part of a rated “R” flick and Vince Vaughn insisted on formally being a part of Google.  That just makes its failure sweeter for me because they could have had a funnier, racier film with a fictionalized company based on Google, but his stupid decision cost them that.  Right now Owen Wilson is probably wondering if Jackie Chan wants to make another kung-fu western.

 

CAN WE BLAME THIS ON THE CURSE OF VANITY FAIR TOO?

Epic is down to number seven and now is when we check out the cast to see who wanted/needed an easy paycheck and hopefully a quick bounce from a family film and who did it as a lark.  Now, Beyonce clearly did it for fun, as probably did Pitbull, Steven Tyler, Amanda Seyfried and Christopher Waltz.  They have well-paying day jobs.  Colin Farrell however, needed this to succeed probably more than he’s willing to admit. Same for Jason Sudekis and Aziz Ansari, who actually has two films on this list, as he’s also in This Is The End.

 

TO BOLDLY SPOIL WHERE NO ONE HAS SPOILED BEFORE

Star Trek Into Darkness is down to number eight and by now you should all know this is remake of both Wrath of Kahn and “Space Seed” the episode that introduced Kahn and if you didn’t, tough. Online media is unforgiving that way. Hell, IMDB doesn’t even refer to the other name his character uses for 2/3 of the movie.  While I do enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock I question casting the whitest man on earth (again, his name is Benedict Cumberbatch; he’s not from South Central LA) as a Pan-Asian character.  On one hand no one needed to see another minority villain. On the other hand he’s playing a character named Khan Noonien Singh.  Pick your poison, I guess. And as long as I’m spoiling things, Leonard Nimoy returns as original Spock too.

 

THAT HE SUCKS IS THE SURPRISE ENDING TO HIS CAREER

After Earth continues to crash and burn, down to number nine and hopefully this will be the final nail in the coffin of people giving M. Night Shyamalan money to make movies.  At least big budget movies. I can understand taking a risk for another Sixth Sense with a $3M budget like The Purge, but this is $130M, Will Smith or no Will Smith.  Maybe he should go back to just writing as he did give us She’s All That, a little known bit of trivia.

 

HEAVY METAL

Iron Man 3 closes out the top ten at number ten and no, the irony of Man of Steel opening up as this closes out is not lost upon me. Irony. Get it? Iron. Steel. Oh, who cares what you think?

 

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