SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE IN SPACE

11 Aug

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1. Elysium/TriStar                                       Wknd/$  30.5            Total/$  30.4

 2. We’re The Millers/Warners                   Wknd/$  26.6            Total/$  38.0

 3. Planes/Disney                                         Wknd/$  22.5            Total/$  22.5

 4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters            Wknd/$  14.6            Total/$  23.5

 5. 2 Guns/Universal                                    Wknd/$  11.1            Total/$  48.5

 6. The Smurfs 2/Sony                                 Wknd?$    9.5            Total/$  46.6

 7. The Wolverine/Fox                                 Wknd/$    8.0            Total/$ 112.0

 8. The Conjuring/WB                                 Wknd/$    6.7            Total/$ 120.7

 9. Despicable Me 2/Universal                    Wknd/$    5.7            Total/$ 338.3

10. Grown Ups 2/Sony                                 Wknd/$    3.7            Total/$ 123.8

 

SCENES FROM THE CLASS STRUGGLE OUTER SPACE

Opening at number one is Elysium and honestly, until Star Wars came along pretty much every science fiction film in the 70’s that wasn’t a drive in creature flick had some political message.  And even there you weren’t entirely safe (Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster anyone?).  So this is actually bit of a throwback to that time, all the way down to the design of the Elysium city in space being a giant wheel in space.  And they were about as subtle as this film where the security forces on the space station of the rich and powerful is called “homeland security” and anyone who isn’t supposed to be there is an illegal immigrant.  Matt Damon is Max Santos…no I’m not kidding. You think someone actually Latino was going to star in this? They wouldn’t have gotten $15 for it much less $115M for a budget.  As I was saying, Max Santos is an ex-car thief—like the actually Spanish Antonio Banderas was in Miami Rhapsody.  Okay, I’ll stop.  Max grew up in an orphanage dreaming of living on Elysium where the rich and power have fled 150 years from now because the Earth is overpopulated and polluted.  Now you’d think if they had the technology to create a giant space station, they’d have the same technology to clean terra firma up, but this a parable about class so save that noise.  They have everything there including medical devices that can cure anything including cancer, but they aren’t sharing.  Max is trying to turn his life around by working in a robot factory when doing so gets him a fatal dose of radiation poisoning.  He’s got 5 days to live so he decides to break into Elysium and cure himself. He’s aided in this by a local crime boss with a social conscience who spends most of his time trying to get people up there and outfits Damon with an exoskeleton to keep him going. Standing in their way is none other than Jodie freaking Foster who is the Defense Secretary of Elysium who thinks of nothing of blowing illegal alien ships out of the sky, much to the chagrin of the space station government, who don’t so much care for the illegals but still draw the line at just killing them outright, which is why they hate the psychopathic agent she has doing the killing that benefits them. Like I said, none of this is subtle and while enjoyable if you think too much on it tends to deflate at bit. Aside from the technology question (you’ve got robots but they aren’t doing the human work?) there’s the question of why is only one guy in LA the only person trying to break in? Shouldn’t everyone all over the world be trying or is Elysium the space station of the rich of California and there are few dozen others, which would have made much more sense?  And if Elysium has its own government, what is the government on Earth and its relationship to it? Does 1600 Pennsylvania Ave matter or does becoming president get you a free ticket up there?  But these are questions you don’t ask yourself when you just want to preach at people through popular entertainment.  Space is America and Earth is Mexico and that’s about as much as you think it through.  It’s clearly all they did here.

 

WE’RE THE MEDIOCRE

We’re The Millers opens at number two and nothing indicates the poor state of big screen comedy than the fact that Jason Sudekis is a leading man.  Yeah, I know Will Ferrell is getting older, but he was a star on TV and Sudekis is just a talented supporting guy.  He’s the new Kevin Nealon…if Kevin Nealon were actually talented.  And Jennifer Anniston should send half her paycheck to Brad Pitt because dumping her for Angelina Jolie made her a star. It’s certainly not her body of work. It’s decidedly mediocre and has more misses than hits. She’s a TV star who somehow escaped to the big screen when she should be in a sitcom that follows Cougar Town (which is actually very funny, by the way). She seems restrained in anything she does, unwilling to commit, like this movie seems. It’s rated “R” but looks PG13, which is why Ferrell is such a clean cut pot dealer, she’s a very wholesome looking stripper and Emma Roberts as a street kid? Are you kidding me?  They clearly were unwilling to go where a movie like this needed to go to be effective. If this were a true R-rated comedy they’d all be much sleazier characters and she’d get butt-ass nekkid for her stripping scene—and I would have been first in line to see that and it would have opened at number one. You gotta be in it to win it, Jen!

 

AT LEAST THERE WON’T BE A TRAINS MOVIE NOW

Speaking me not seeing films, Planes opens at number three and it’s good to see America could tell full well this was not a Pixar film even though Disney did all they could to tie it to one. It didn’t help that they tied it to the weakest Pixar film ever, Cars.  Honestly, I might have given this a shot until I learned that they replaced the voice of Jon Cryer with Dane Cook. Are you kidding me? If you want people to see something why on earth would you put Dane Cook in it, even unseen? Jon Cryer isn’t some great talent, but he was appealing at least once in his life and you’d buy him as the voice of the underdog.  Dane Cook is the voice of the douchebag and always has been.  It died there for me and clearly America was in agreement.

 

DEMI-GOOD

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters opens at number four and you’d think that being the fan of Greek mythology that I was as a kid I’d have loved a movie about a kid who learns he’s the son of a Greek god and then goes on adventures with other demi-gods.  Well, the problem with that is the god they chose.  Poseidon?  Really? Know any great stories about the children of Poseidon?  Exactly. Hercules is the son of Zeus. Perseus is the son of Zeus. You know who can call Poseidon dad?  Theseus and yes, Pegasus (via Medusa, so clearly Poseidon had no standards).  The movie The Immortals was about Theseus and even there they make him mortal, so little does Poseidon matter.  I would have even settled for Apollo, but Poseidon?  No. Also, all your friends are demi-gods too?  Then how are you special?  Oh, and your name is Percy.  Needless to say, I didn’t see the first and have no interest in the second and clearly I’m not alone.

 

WE DON’T LIKE ACTORS BECAUSE THEY’RE SMART

2 Guns is down to number five and also in this is Paula Patton, whom you call because Halle Berry is too expensive and too big a star.  She and Denzel last teamed in the underrated Déjà Vu which was like an overlong episode of The Outer Limits.  She’s proudly telling people she insisted on her topless scene because it wasn’t authentic that you’d be lounging around after having sex with a bra on.  Even though she’s right, that doesn’t make her any less stupid for thinking she accomplished something by being naked onscreen or that it was some kind of battle to begin with. A bunch of dudes are not going to stop a beautiful woman from taking off her top in their R-rated action movie. In fact that she’s the only naked woman in this 80’s throwback is the odd thing. Besides, her hair is so long you can barely see anything anyway, so what was the point?  At least when Halle did it in Swordfish, she made sure you got the goods.  And it was good.

 

ALL THE STUPIDITY OF PLASTIC SURGERY WITH NONE OF THE BLOOD

The Smurfs is down to number six followed by The Wolverine at number seven and also in this is Famke Janssen as Jean Grey who died in both X2 and X3, but that’s in-keeping with the comics where Jean Grey has also died a number of times.  She’s not really here, just a series of guilty dreams Wolverine has and apparently his dreams require massive amounts of CGI done to her face to eliminate any aging between now and 2006.  Seriously, it’s ridiculous they felt the need to have done that to her but not to Hugh Jackman, who is supposed to be ageless but is clearly doing it quite well. The needless and unsubtle special effects (she started off as a model, people) make her looks freakishly inhuman next to his lined face.

 

THE END

The Conjuring is down to number eight, followed by Despicable Me 2 at number nine and Grown Ups 2 finally puts us all out of our misery at number ten.

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