22 Sep


 1. Prisoners/Warners                                  Wknd/$  21.4            Total/$  21.4

 2. Insidious 2/FD                                         Wknd/$  14.5            Total/$  60.9

 3. The Family/Relativity                             Wknd/$    7.0            Total/$  25.6

 4. Instructions Not Included/LGF            Wknd/$    5.7            Total/$  34.3

 5. Battle of the Year/SG                               Wknd/$    5.0            Total/$    5.0

 6. We’re The Millers/Warners                   Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$ 138.2

 7. Lee Daniel’s The Butler/Weinstein       Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$106.5

 8. Riddick/Universal                                    Wknd/$    3.7            Total/$  37.2

 9. The Wizard of Oz 3D/Warners              Wknd/$    3.0            Total/$    3.0

 10. Planes/Disney                                          Wknd/$    2.9            Total/$  86.5



Prisoners opens at number one and whomever said this is a “B” movie pretending to be an “A” movie earned their salary because there is simply no better description. In a “film” the tragic event would simply be the catalyst to the destruction of the people around them. Its “raison d’être” would be observing the reaction, not the event itself. Whether or not the audience feels good about it isn’t the point. In fact, if you feel good watching this happen there’s a problem.  But that’s in a film; this is a movie and in a movie how you feel matters and so the story is tailored for that to its detriment. I wouldn’t have minded it being a “movie” over a “film” so much if it hadn’t held onto its film pretentions WITH A TWO-AND-A-HALF-HOUR RUNNING TIME!  Seriously. And that needless half-hour is the last half-hour when during its conclusion it descends into something you’d watch on cable.  Only on cable it would have taken all of five minutes. Our set up is simple: it’s Thanksgiving and the families of Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard are getting together like they seemingly always do when their 6 and 7 year old daughters go missing and the only suspect is a mentally deficient man in his 20’s who was driving the camper they were seen playing on earlier.  Jake Gyllenhaal is the detective assigned to the case and while he feels the man couldn’t possibly have taken them, Hugh Jackman isn’t so sure, not helped by the fact the man says something incriminating to Jackman…and this is when things begin to go wrong, because it occurs when Jackman attacks him in front of a crowd of reporters. They have been delightfully filming this yet absolutely no one else hears it much less gets it on tape.  That’s the type of convenient development that only happens in movie to facilitate the plot and let the audience know that Hugh Jackman is still somehow “right” and can still be our hero, even though he’s somewhat misguided (to make sure, we also see the deficient man being cruel to a dog). In a “film” the audience wouldn’t have heard it either (nor would he have been mean to a dog), so we would have to judge Jackman and his later actions objectively.  And this just continues on more and more until reaching a breakneck pace at the end where everyone has to be stupid and incompetent to make the plot work and the last minute plot-twist turns out to be an impossible revelation if they’d been smart in the first half-hour.  It’s a shame because a lot of good work is done here in terms of atmosphere (you do believe you’re watching this happen in a working class town) and acting (Jackman putting that Wolverine rage to good use for once). If only the script had been up to their level.



Insidious Part 2 is down to number two and has made $65M dollars off a $5M budget.  Needless to say, when the director said he was done with horror the producers had considerable means to cause his recant just a week later.



The Family is down to number three and if you’re wondering why Robert DeNiro is in this know that Martin Scorsese is an executive producer and yes, there is a Goodfellas joke in the film.



Instructions Not Included actually rises to number four because crap floating is a scientific fact, not a cultural opinion.  This is followed by Battle of the Year at number five, which stars our own piece of floating crap, Chris Brown. Now, I’m old so I’ll admit that the whole dance battle thing escapes me, but is it really such an industry that they can dust off old sports scripts and just replace “football” with dance, because that’s what this is. Apparently America hasn’t won the world championships in 15 years so some kind of great coach is lured back to slap the latest team into shape where I’m sure they triumph.  Replace dance with football, basketball, soccer, etc and ask yourself how many times you’ve seen this movie. I opted not to see it again because I simply cannot take a “dance battle” seriously, much less one where I’d have to look at Chris Brown for 90 minutes. And the long-haired surfer-looking dude from Lost is supposed to know dancing well enough to coach it!?!  I wouldn’t trust him coaching a team of surfers in growing their hair long.



We’re The Millers is down to number six, followed by Lee Daniel’s The Butler at number seven and Riddick down to number eight and as much as I like this franchise that being able to see in the dark is somehow badass is ridiculous.  It’s the future with spaceships, galactic empires, flying motorcycles and all kinds of alien monsters, but something you can do with nightvision goggles now is supposed to make people stop and go, “Whoa! He’s dangerous!”  I think not.



The Wizard of Oz 3D/Imax opens at number nine and while on one hand this is a shameless money grab I do like the fact that a generation of kids is seeing movies on the big screen.  And honestly better parents spend their money on this than any crappy prequels.



Planes is down to number ten and unfortunately, overseas came through and it made 3x its budget so a sequel is inevitable.  Our suffering apparently will continue



It’s the new fall season which is like Christmas for those of us who are socially inept and near illiterate! No books, no people, no leaving the house!  Just endless new TV shows. It’s awesome!  Kicking it off this week were Sleepy Hollow and Dads, both on Fox and let’s just say they’re batting .500.  Sleepy Hollow is a silly good time where Ichabod Crane is a Brit who switched sides during the Revolutionary War because a British accent is obviously sexier for our hero than some crappy New England one and fighting for America is just that great.  Not to mention he was so important he worked for George Washington himself and assigned to take down a seemingly unkillable mercenary working for the British…whom he beheaded.  Guess who that was!?! Little did he know that this was actually Death himself, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Revolutionary War was actually a battle for the fate of the world…unlike say, that French Revolution. That didn’t matter to anyone outside of France. ‘Merica’s revolution was for everybody!  Because Ichabod was mortally wounded beheading the mercenary, their blood intermingled allowing his good witch wife to basically put him in suspended animation (she was burned at the stake for her trouble) so he could rise with The Horseman to continue the battle for the world…in Sleepy Hollow.  Duh-duh-duhhhhhh!  By his side is Kerry Washington—no?  Are you sure, because she looks just like her. I mean it’s not like the execs at Fox said, “Hey, that Scandal show is doing well, get us our own Kerry Washington!” Who are we kidding? That’s exactly what they did! Not Kerry Washington is a sheriff’s deputy who was about to leave to join the FBI (so you know how smart she is), but now has to stay to help fight evil, because as it just so happens the same demon that called the Horseman to Sleepy Hollow is the same demon trapping Ichabod’s wife’s soul and the same demon who did something to Not Kerry Washington and her sister 20 years earlier. He’s also be been busy with other things because the actual sheriff had kept an account of them all, which he left for Not Kerry Washington in case something happened to him. Which of course it does in the first 15 minutes. Yeah, that’s a lot for one episode (I didn’t even mention the police captain named “Irving”), but it’s a pilot and I hope it will slow down to tell better stories once the series gets going.  Now Dads on the other hand needs to disappear so we can still continue to like all the actors in it (Boone, how could you?). It’s not funny and horrifically racist.  So racist they don’t even bother to differentiate between China and Japan. They’re just too busy making jokes about how small Asian penises are and dressing their Non-Japanese cast member up as a Japanese schoolgirl. Brenda Song, sweetie, I realize work is hard to find when you’re a minority, but you’re better off in a martial arts movie or some Cinemax soft-core porn than doing this.  You were on Scandal, so you know that a breakthrough is just around the corner and soon you too can maybe star in your own show or at least be some white guy’s badass fully-dressed non-sexual sidekick (ask Lucy Liu). It’s better than this.

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