MONSTERS VS. MONSTERS

23 Jun

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1. Monsters University/Disney                    Wknd/$  82.0           Total/$  82.0

 2. World War Z/Paramount                        Wknd/$  66.0           Total/$  66.0

 3. Man of Steel/Warners                              Wknd/$  41.1            Total/$ 210.0

 4. This Is The End/Sony                               Wknd/$  13.9           Total/$  57.8

 5. Now You See Me/LGF                              Wknd/$   7.9            Total/$  94.5

 6. Fast & Furious 6/Universal                     Wknd/$   4.7            Total/$228.4

 7. The Internship/Fox                                   Wknd?$   3.4            Total/$  38.4

 8. The Purge/Universal                                 Wknd/$   3.4            Total/$  59.4

 9. Star Trek Into Darkness/Par                   Wknd/$   3.0            Total/$ 216.6

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

 

MEH UNIVERSITY

Monsters University opens at number one to no one’s surprise because even the odious Cars and Cars 2 opened at number one.  Not even Superman can stand against the might of Pixar.  Now for me Monsters, Inc was something that should have been great short film (there really are monsters in your closet, but they’re not here to hurt you) but was stretched out into a mildly entertaining movie with pretty much a rock solid ending that honestly left no where to go.  They seemed to have realized this which is why they went with a prequel, answering questions no one really asked about Mike and Sully.  This actually contradicts Sully’s line in Monsters Inc about knowing Mike in the 4th grade as they meet here in college.  Sully is a lackluster student due to his family name and innate “scaring” skill while Mike is a perfect student, but honestly not being even remotely scary to anyone and they clash almost immediately.  Their rivalry gets them both kicked out of the “Scaring Program” so they have to join forces and also a frat of underachievers to prove themselves to get back in. Wait. Did I just describe the plot of Revenge of the Nerds?  It’s not Pixar on the level of Toy Story, Wall-E, Up, Finding Nemo or The Incredibles, but more Pixar on the level of A Bug’s Life (which I love) Brave and Ratatouille.  Better than pretty much all other computer animate films, but paling in comparison to their best.  That’s it’s a sequel is no excuse as the Toy Story films got better with each installment, so I was a bit disappointed they didn’t up their game with the inventiveness of their humor.  At its best Pixar works on many levels, from childlike humor to elements that have the adults in the audience trying to explain to their children why mommy and daddy are crying. None of that is present here.  The laughs are simple but effective as is the message (believe in yourself).  There’s no human element this time, but honestly I preferred it.  Boo was a little too cute at times.  Besides the emotions of the monsters are human enough.

 

THE REAL MONSTER IS MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN…OR SOMETHING

World War Z opens well at number two which is ironic even this apocalyptic film had a buzz of certain disaster written all over it, from rewrites to reshoots to Brad Pitt allegedly not speaking to the director.  I enjoyed it, but I never read the book, so I had no outrage ready and waiting in the chamber primed to fire.  Also, the trailers were well cut in my opinion selling the movie not so much as being about zombies as the world coming to an end because of a plague and a handsome brave scientist was out to stop it (for a movie about zombies, shots of them were conspicuously missing from the trailer).  That worked for me, he who has no interest in zombies or horror.  Well, I was right for the most part.  Brad Pitt is actually a former operative of sorts for the United Nations, not a scientist.  He’s so good he’s the first person the secretary general apparently calls when zombies overrun Manhattan. Though in his defense, when Pitt witnesses his first zombie attack he instinctively counts how long it takes for an infection to turn someone, which is something I’d be too busy stepping over the guy in front of me to do. While Brad Pitt then refusing to help stop the apocalypse makes no sense (the line where the general tells him his family is going to die too is missing from the film) the reaction of “Well, then we’re kicking you and your family to the curb. Good luck with those zombies” sure as hell does. Needless to say Pitt’s then off to South Korea with a team of NAVY Seals and an actual brave young scientist—who accidentally shoots himself in the head when zombies attack.  Now it’s up to Brad Pitt to take what little info the scientist gave him to find a cure. Along the way we find out North Korea solved the zombie problem by yanking the teeth out of all 23 million people. Damn. We also find out that Israel was so prepared for this they built a wall…but oddly never noticed that zombies were attracted by noise. They find this out the hard way, but not before Brad Pitt gains the cutest female Israeli soldier ever as his sidekick and they’re off to their next stop.  WWZ works because it realizes what the best monster movies always realize: the monster represents something else. It’s not just a creature for the sake of a creature.  Either it’s greed, rage, pollution, etc. Here it spreads from disease and neglect and poverty and is beaten by multi-national cooperation.  So you can guess what the monster is. The president of the US is dead; but the secretary of the UN is working to save the world.

 

MY TWO SUPER DADS

Man of Steel is down to number three and also in this are Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner as Superman’s fathers. Yes, both his dads were Robin Hood. Can we move on?  Russell Crowe acquits himself nicely as Jor-El the scientist who’s ready to whoop a little ass on when he has to on Krypton in order to save his son.  He fares much better than Kevin Costner who is burdened by a script that insists that Jonathan Kent not imbue Clark with the moral foundation that will one day make him Superman, but instead raises him in a climate of petrifying fear, actually suggesting that the deaths of all of a teenage Clark’s classmates is worth keeping his secret because Clark is just that important. This doesn’t make your son a good person. This makes your son that frat boy who breaks all sorts of laws then skips the country once you’ve mortgaged your house to pay his bail because you’ve told him all his life he’s so special that conventional morality doesn’t apply to him.  People mock the Clark Kent aspect of Superman all the time, not realizing that if you get him wrong then you get Superman wrong. This movie sadly proves that.

 

THEY HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON: THEY’RE ALL EVIL

This Is The End is down to number four followed by Now You See Me at number five and also in this is Isla Fisher whom I tend to confuse with both Amy Adams and Kate Mara.  No, I’m not saying all redheads look alike…I’m saying all short, skinny redheads between 25 and 35 look alike.  And I’ve dated enough of them to know.

 

ENTER THE FOINE ASS DRAGON

Fast & The Furious 6 is down to number six and also in this is Gina Carano, former MMA superstar following in the footsteps of people like Chuck Norris and Don “The Dragon” Wilson in attempting to become a martial arts action star.  Her first film was the underwhelming Haywire because Steven Soderbergh was too ashamed to make an actual action movie.  Hopefully this will serve to get her back on track.  No, she can’t act, but neither can Chuck Norris and she’s a helluva lot prettier. Trivia: she’s dating Henry Caville, in case you wondered what it’d look like when Superman and Wonder Woman had sex.

 

I WONDER WHAT THE KLINGON WORD FOR SCHADENFREUDE IS

The Internship is down to number seven, followed by The Purge at number eight and Star Trek Into Darkness at number nine, and at $430M from a $190M budget it has broken even so profitability will have to come from the backend of home video (dvd, on-demand etc) because it’s not going to make the $570M needed to do it theatrically. At best it will match the first one, which also didn’t profit theatrically, making only 2.5x its budget. You can’t prove I’m smiling about this.

 

STURDY AS STEEL

Finally, Iron Man 3 holds at number ten, as if to spite Man of Steel somehow.

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