NEXT TIME IT’LL BE JUST “WOLV”

28 Jul

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 1. The Wolverine/Fox                                Wknd/$  55.0            Total/$  55.0

 2. The Conjuring/WB                                Wknd/$  22.1            Total/$  83.9

 3. Despicable Me 2/Universal                   Wknd/$  16.0            Total/$ 306.4

 4. Turbo/Fox                                               Wknd/$  13.3            Total/$  55.8

 5. Grown Ups 2/Sony                                 Wknd/$  11.5             Total/$ 101.7

 6. Red 2/LG                                                 Wknd/$    9.4            Total/$  35.1

 7. Pacific Rim/Warners                              Wknd/$    7.5            Total/$  84.0

 9. R.I.P.D./Universal                                  Wknd/$    5.9            Total/$  24.4

 8. The Heat/Fox                                          Wknd/$    6.9            Total/$ 141.2

10. Fruitvale Station/Weinstein                 Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$    6.3

 

NOT EVEN REMOTELY THE BEST AT WHAT HE DOES, THOUGH WHAT HE DOES BEST ISN’T VERY NICE…AND THAT’S FAIL

Opening at number one, yet still a disappointment is The Wolverine, as if somehow shortening the name was going to make it better. Yes, it’s better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but that’s like saying it’s better when your dog leaves solid poop on your carpet rather than runny poop. It’s still poop on your carpet and this is still a bad movie in the theater. Wolverine first became a runaway success in the 80’s with the success of a four issue comic book mini-series wherein he leaves the X-Men for awhile to go to Japan to help the woman he loves who just happens to be a Yakuza (Japanese mob) princess and gets caught up in a mob war.  It was so successful not only did he get his own solo book and become one of Marvel Comics’ biggest stars, but also they never stopped writing “Wolverine in Japan” stories trying to recapture it.  At the heart of the original story was that spiritually Wolverine was very “Japanese” (a character flat out says it on page 8) in that he had the soul of a samurai warrior and found a certain amount of peace there where he didn’t elsewhere.  He spoke fluent Japanese and was immersed in its culture and customs. Well, none of that is here. It begins with Wolverine mentally tortured by having had to kill Jean Grey in the last X-Men and that you’d even acknowledge that piece of crap is your first mistake. But it does add to the basic premise that he’s tired of living and burying people that he loves—except that it’s well documented that he can’t remember his past so how does he know? Well suddenly he can remember that he was in World War II and saved the life of a Japanese solider at Nagasaki. This soldier went on to create the equivalent to Sony and is now dying of cancer (rather than say the fact he’s in his freaking 90’s). He offers to make Wolverine mortal to repay him.  So you can imagine what happens next, right? Wolverine mulls it over, accepts, and lives a life of peace for a little while before realizing that to save the lives of the people he loves he has to take back his curse. Nope. He turns him down and that’s the end of that interesting premise. Seriously. After that it’s just dumb things that never stop happening climaxing in the appearance of giant robot, which is always, always stupid. Let me put it this way: when the most sympathetic character is a guy trying to murder his own daughter, your story has gone horrible wrong.  I personally knew it was over when the first five minutes felt compelled to show a CGI bear urinating.  No, I’m not kidding.  It immediately shows you the maturity level of the storytelling and all the rest is just academic.

 

THE JAMIE LEE CURTIS OF THE 21ST CENTURY IS A DUDE!

The Conjuring is down to number two and from a $20M budget has made $96M worldwide. Everybody’s getting cheese on their whoppers!  Also in this is Patrick Wilson who is starting to make a career out of these low-risk, high return horror films as he was also in last year’s Insidious, which has a sequel coming later this year.  Given he comes from Broadway he brings a nice gravity to whatever he does, serving to legitimize it despite the many obstacles of bad writing and poor direction. He proved that by being the highlight of The A-Team movie a few years ago as the obnoxious CIA Agent that sets the plot in motion.  It helped that he seemed to realize it was a comedy and played it just that way.

 

THE SCHADENFREUDE IS STRONG IN ME

Despicable Me 2 is down to number three followed by Turbo at number four and the irony of this one-two punch of success and failure from Dreamworks is staggering.  Well, not for you or me, but for Netflix, which is locked into a deal with Dreamworks to make a Turbo cartoon.  Oops.  Note that there’s no Despicable Me cartoon. Or even one about The Minions which is actually the only thing worth watching in a Despicable Me movie.  Someone’s lawyers are going to be burning the midnight oil (of billable hours) looking for a way out of this.  Heh-heh-heh.

 

YOU KNOW HIGH SCHOOL WAS ANNOYING FOR HIM WITH THAT NAME

Grown Ups 2 is down to number five followed by Red 2 at number six and part of the reason I was looking forward to this was that a) Brian Cox who was the best part of the first was returning and b) Anthony Hopkins was in it. For those of you who don’t know, Brian Cox first brought Hannibal Lecter to life onscreen in Manhunter, which was based on the novel Red Dragon. After the success of Silence of the Lambs where Hopkins won an Oscar for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter he went on to do it twice more in Hannibal and yes, Red Dragon. Both Hannibal Lecters in one movie. Awesome.  Or not. They don’t even exchange words in this film. Now I wasn’t looking for some horrible joke about eating liver with fava beans and Chianti, but what’s the point in having great actors together in a movie if you’re not going to put them together? It would be like if Robert DeNiro was in that dumb heist movie with Marlon Brando and they never met.  I haven’t been this disappointed since Renton (Ewan McGregor) and Spud (Ewen Bremer) were in Jack The Giant Killer and didn’t share a scene.

 

GOTTA BE IN IT TO WIN IT, DUDE

Pacific Rim is down to number seven and also in this is Idris Elba the man who should be pushing Denzel Washington into retirement (remember: Hollywood can only handle one minority lead at a time), but he keeps making less-than-wise screen choices like this one…and whatever the hell that movie was he did with Beyonce where he shaved.  Not that it isn’t enjoyable, but he’s not really the star of it, good or bad and to be a star you need starring roles.  Yeah, Luther is in its third season on the BBC and he’s the star of that, but being the star of a BBC series isn’t even like being a big fish in small pond. It’s like being a special fish in a specialty aquarium store, while guys like Denzel Washington are blue whales.

 

IT’S ONLY FEMINIST TO WANT MORE MONEY

The Heat is down to number eight and Sandra Bullock says she can’t imagine making a sequel to this…even though she made two awful Miss Congeniality movies.  Clearly the check Paramount sent to her home wasn’t big enough.  But you know what? I’m down with her thinly veiled suggestion that it’s going to take a buttload of money for a sequel.  It the mint has to work overtime to provide Disney with enough money pay Robert Downey Jr. to come back as Iron Man, she deserves her payday too.

 

SOMEWHERE COLIN FARRELL NODS WITH UNDERSTANDING

R.I.P.D. is down to number nine and yes, I’m still laughing at yet another Ryan Reynolds flop.  He couldn’t be having more career disappointment if he’d been on the cover of Vanity Fair as the next big thing. What’s funny is that when he was on the cover it was with Jake Gyllenhaal, another “It Boy” whose career hasn’t quite taken off either. Next to them is James Franco who has big mainstream hits he could clearly give a crap about and smaller hits he loves. Wait. Am I laughing again?

 

OH, BY THE WAY: SUPERMAN’S NOT EVEN HUMAN

Finally, entering the top ten is Fruitvale Station and there’s been buzz about this since it was on the film festival circuit and apparently it lives up to the hype.  It’s gonna take some effort for me to see because a) it’s summer and I like to keep it light and b) I’m really not looking forward to being reminded that the difference between life and death for can be whether or not someone is afraid of me.  Whoa. That’s kind of a bummer note to end on. Okay, let’s lighten it up. The star of this is Michael B. Jordan who clearly had to be forced by SAG to use his middle initial because like poor Vanessa L. Williams who had her SAG card first!  He’s been mentioned as being Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot and that has geeks in a tizzy, not that they’re racist or anything.  They’re just concerned about accuracy…in the character of a flying man on fire. Note how they didn’t care when Jessica Alba was squeezing her Latina curves into a tight blue outfit. So I guess it’s just their genitals which are color blind.  Figures, only having one eye and all.  Yeah, I went there.

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