7 Jul


 1. Despicable Me 2/Universal                    Wknd/$  82.5            Total/$ 142.1

 2. The Lone Ranger/Disney                        Wknd/$  29.4            Total/$  48.9

 3. The Heat/Fox                                            Wknd/$  25.0            Total/$  86.4

 4. Monsters University/Disney                   Wknd/$  19.6            Total/$ 216.1

 5. World War Z/Paramount                        Wknd/$  18.2            Total/$ 158.8

 6. White House Down/Sony                        Wknd/$  13.5            Total/$  50.5

 7. Man of Steel/Warners                               Wknd/$  11.4            Total/$ 271.2

 8. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain/LGF           Wknd/$  10.0            Total/$  17.5

 9. This Is The End/Sony                                Wknd/$   5.8             Total/$  85.6

10. Now You See Me/LGF                              Wknd/$   2.8             Total/$ 110.4



Despicable Me 2 opens at number one and I didn’t care too much for the first one, finding it more style than substance and was going to give this one a pass as a result.  Then I saw that damn commercial with the minions as the Village People doing “YMCA.”  Everyone who came up with that gets a raise because if it got even me into the theater I don’t want to think about how many others followed suit.  Of course that wound up being one of the high points of the movie as this suffers from all the flaws of the first, thinking a few cute jokes and nice style makes up for a complete and utter lack of depth for the characters.  This is why Pixar continues to leave all its competitors in the dust as despite all the cute animation all their films are nothing but character driven. Strip away the fantastic and Monsters University is about two college freshmen.  Strip away the fantastic and Brave is about a mother and daughter.  Strip away the fantastic and Finding Nemo is about a father and son.  What is Despicable Me 2 without the fantastic?  It doesn’t exist.  This time around Gru is a devoted single father having given up super-villainy to start a jam and jelly business and occasionally fending off being set up by other moms in the neighborhood.  He’s approached by The Anti-Villain League to help them catch a new an unknown supervillain and after initially refusing, is prompted to take the job after his head scientist quits because he misses being a bad guy (and hates making jelly) leaving Gru at loose ends.  There’s so much here to play with and all of it goes unused.  That Gru is an eligible bachelor as a single dad is just used for cheap jokes about blowing off the woman trying to set him up and her bad choices.  That Anti-Villain League was nowhere to be seen when Gru was stealing the moon is never broached though it would be funny to point out that super-villains in fact do outmatch the heroes simply by virtue of numbers.  The girls have no personalities other than cute youngest, tomboy middle, and smart eldest. How do you know she’s smart? Because she wears glasses, duh. Not because of anything she actually does. Just when the film looks like it might go somewhere when she discovers boys, it’s only for the blandest type of sitcom humor.  The minions are wisely used to sell this movie because they are the only things worth watching.  Like the penguins in the otherwise mediocre Madagascar movies, they are a jolt of refreshing, anarchistic fun that keeps the film from dying on the table.



Opening at number two is The Lone Ranger which had disaster written all over it the moment Johnny Depp’s name came up as Tonto and it doesn’t disappoint in being disappointing.  This is one of those movies that makes so many wrong choices you can’t believe no one noticed while they were filming it.  You can’t believe anyone saw this script and EVER thought it was a good idea. I’m assuming there was a script because if we found out there really wasn’t one it actually would explain a lot. The film’s biggest mistake is assuming that we want to laugh at the very idea of The Lone Ranger, that he’s too much of an anachronistic stiff to ever be taken seriously, therefore he must be mocked. He’s basically played as an idiot for most of the movie, starting off with the first scene where he’s basically Jimmy Stewart in the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, as a tenderfoot lawyer returning to Texas from the east and he just happens to be on the same train where Butch Cavendish is being transported to be hanged. Next to Cavendish? Johnny Depp camping it up as Tonto. Their first meeting as a result of Cavendish’s escape is the first big action scene and is needless drawn out and utterly uninteresting. It’s downhill from there starting with an odd love triangle involving his soon-to-be departed brother and sister-in-law (we learn from Tonto that this time around “Kemo sabe” means wrong brother as the brother who dies is an ass-kicking Texas Ranger) that amounts to nothing. I mean you can’t have a love triangle if one of them is dead in the first act.  It’s so boring it’s boring me to even try and re-account it and I’m questioning wasting yet another second on a movie that already stole 2+ hours from my life. Basically nothing works. Not the script, not the directing, not the acting not even the too little, too late use of “The William Tell Overture.” Somewhere, Klinton Spilsbury whose career crashed and burned in the last attempt at a big screen Lone Ranger movie feels a sense of redemption.



The Heat is down to three followed by Monsters at number four and along for the ride this time doing voices are Helen Mirren, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Dave Foley, Sean Hayes, Bonnie Hunt, John Krasinski, Bill Hader Bobby Moynihan, Charlie Day and of course Pixar mainstay, John Ratzenberger who returns as the Yeti.



World War Z is down to number five and also in this as the cute Israeli soldier who becomes Brad Pitt’s badass sidekick is Daniella Kertesz who is actually Israeli, meaning at one point she actually was a soldier as service is mandatory. So anyone who tells you that no soldiers look like this doesn’t know what they’re talking about.



White House Down drops to number six and also in this is James Woods as the traitorous Secret Service Agent about to retire.  Not to be confused with Dylan McDermott from Olympus Has Fallen as the traitorous already retired Secret Service Agent.  Both oddly love their country so much they betray it to start World War III.  Not sure how that works, but at least James Woods’ character has the virtue of a brain tumor to explain why his logic centers aren’t working.  Woods is doing it because of a Middle East Peace treaty he hates.  Dylan McDermott was doing it because no bankers went to jail during the financial crisis. No, I’m not kidding.



Man of Steel is down to number seven and also in this is Diane Lane as Martha Kent and while she has a very nice moment with Clark as a young boy helping him to navigate his powers by virtue of her love, she spends the rest of the film in lousy old age makeup begging the question, why the hell did you hire Diane Lane to begin with if you were going to do that to her!?!  She’s 18 years older than Henry Caville.  That’s old enough to be his mother without needing to tip the scales with crummy make up.  Again, it’s not just that it was old age makeup, but that it was crummy old age makeup.  Annette O’Toole was perfectly fine (literally) as being Clark Kent’s severely hot mom on Smallville untouched by the makeup artist’s brush.



Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain opens well (relatively speaking) at number eight and this is when you know you’re one of the “comics of the moment.”  You get a concert film.  The irony here is, if you’re really, really white hot, you actually get an HBO special. More people will actually see you on cable than will actually go to a movie.  So yes, while he has a show on BET and has hosted Saturday Night Live, Kevin Hart isn’t big enough for HBO.  The greater irony is that I won’t see this until it’s on cable, because while I do like Kevin Hart, I’m not making a trip to the movies to see him. Not to mention a little goes a long way with him.  Being short, funny and borderline annoying, he was born to be the wacky sidekick in a movie.



This Is The End is down to number nine, followed by Now You See Me closing out the top ten at number ten.

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