RUSH TO JUDGEMENT

29 Sep

nfury4

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2      Wknd/$  35.0      Total/$  35.0

 2. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$  11.3       Total/$  39.0

 3. Rush/Universal                                           Wknd/$  10.0     Total/$  10.6

 4. Baggage Claim/Fox                                    Wknd/$   9.3       Total/$    9.3

 5. Don Jon/Relativity                                     Wknd/$   9.0       Total/$    9.0

 6. Insidious 2/FD                                            Wknd/$    6.7       Total/$  69.5

 7. The Family/Relativity                                Wknd/$    3.7       Total/$  31.7

 8. Instructions Not Included/LGF               Wknd/$    3.4      Total/$  38.6

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

 9. We’re The Millers/Warners                       Wknd/$    2.9      Total/$ 142.4

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

 

ALSO THE LEEK AS THE CHRIST FIGURE BOTHERS ME

Cloudy With Meatballs 2 opens big at number one and since I never saw the first I feel I would miss out on some of the subtleties of the sequel so I gave it pass.

 

MORE LIKE PRISONERS OF THE BOX OFFICE

Prisoners is down to number two and it’s a toss up to who is happier about its success: Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard or Jake Gyllenhaal, because they all needed it. Seriously needed it.  Hugh Jackman because he doesn’t have a success outside of singing a beloved musical or having claws (and honestly it should be “having claws in an ensemble cast” because both Wolverine solo movies have been less-than-impressive). Terrence Howard, who is honestly the reason the Marvel Comics Movie Machine exists as it started with Iron Man and Iron Man only happened because his signing up to play Rhodey off his Oscar heat is what caused everyone else to sign on.  For his trouble he was told to take less money or take a hike. He took a hike and you know he has to question it every day. But he’s in The Butler, which is a huge hit. But I’m thinking Jake is the most grateful because his only hit outside of Brokeback Mountain was The Source Code after a double dose of leading man failure in Prince of Persia and Love & Other Drugs.  So Jake is the happiest because Hugh Jackman has something else at least and Terrence Howard is just one film away from a hat trick this year (Best Man Holiday).

 

OPIE DOES FORMULA ONE RACERS IN TYPICAL OPIE FASHION

Rush opens at number two and speaking of subtly, if it and complexity are colors in filmmaking then Ron Howard has never had more than a 8 piece box of Crayolas. Not 12, not 16 and definitely not the childhood prize of 64 (remember how happy you were to get that bad boy?).  He comes from mainstream television and the sad simplicity of that is driven home with every film he makes. More and more it’s clear that A Beautiful Mind was the exception and not the rule. Rush has the advantage of being a true story that people know little about (a professional competition between the freewheeling posh Englishman, James Hunt and the tightly wound Austrian Niki Lauda in Formula 1 Racing) and could care less, so you have actual tension at your disposal. It’s also set in the freewheeling (no pun intended) 70’s but to Howard who actually lived through those times it means little more than window dressing.  Long hair, bad fashion (at least on the men; women’s 70’s fashions were awesome) and some classic rock.  In a good period piece the period should be another character. Here it’s so poorly realized one woman wears the same hairstyle for six years no matter what the setting. I shit you not. When they meet, when they marry and even when she’s in the hospital by his bedside when he’s near death. It. Does. Not. Change.  Now, I do realize that still living people or their surviving relatives from whom you need rights aren’t really excited to let you portray them “warts & all” (though Niki Lauder apparently had no problem being depicted in a fairly unsympathetic fashion and I’ve no doubt being Austrian had something to do with that) but that’s no excuse for storytelling so simplistic you sometimes think the actors are reading the descriptions for their characters rather than actually speaking to one another. I feel half the dialogue between Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl is them describing one another to one another.  How do we know Chris Hemsworth’s marriage to Olivia Wilde is going to end? When they describe each other’s flaws to each other. Oh, and Hemsworth drinks about seventeen drinks in rapid succession and smokes a joint. You know, so you understand when she mentions his drinking and drug use.  Supposedly there’s some infidelity, but you’d never know because despite the numerous women we see him with, none are when he’s supposed to be married to her.  Now, you might be forgive a film about racecar drivers being short on character so long as the racing scenes are exciting but it’s fairly routine there as well. The best scene actually occurs when Hemsworth is in fact “visualizing” racing on the track at Monte Carlo, not say actually racing the dangerous rainy track in Japan at the climax of the film, which should be fraught with suspense after watching Lauda’s accident in a similarly rainy race earlier. Speed Racer had more dramatic tension and you knew he was going to win.

 

BETTER TO RULE IN HELL

Baggage Claim opens at number four, followed by Don Jon at number five and honestly I’m down for them both, but didn’t find the time for either and I think I reflect most of America in this.  Fortunately for both films neither had a budget over $9M so they’re already on the road to success despite opening low. This is good news for Paula Patton who’s been struggling for years to be the new Halle Berry and Joseph Gordon-Levitt who both wrote and directed his film, making him the latest triple threat.

 

THE BLONDE LEADING THE BLONDE

Insidious 2 is adown to number six, followed by The Family at number seven and also in this is Diana Argon and I do like her casting as the daughter of Michelle Pfeiffer. And I hope she’s learning from this, as even though Pfieffer is in her 50’s, her leading man is in his 70’s.  These are the realities of show business, baby girl.  It’s not a hit at$32M worldwide from a $30M budget, but it’s not a flop either and you can have worst things on your resume than a movie with Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfieffer that was produced in part by Martin Scorsese. And to be honest, writer/director Luc Besson is not too shabby either when you’re talking international success.  Just ask Liam Neeson Jason Statham both Taken and Transporter franchises come from his company.

 

FORTUNATELY, HOLLYWOOD ALWAYS HAS WORK FOR BLONDES

Instructions Not Included is followed by We’re The Millers which now that I think about is the second comedy in the top ten about a “criminal family” which happens to have a young, pretty blonde daughter played by an actress usually cast in a slightly bitchy role. Seriously. You could swap the actresses out and I doubt either movie would change.

 

DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOUR EGO IN THE ASS

Closing out the top ten at number ten is Lee Daniel’s The Butler.  A word to the wise dude: Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese don’t make their names part of the official title. Only people like Tyler Perry do. It signifies more ego than talent.

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR PT 2

The new fall season continues to roll out and I realize I forgot a few last week so I’ll throw them in with this week’s crop…Brooklyn 99 is funnier than it has any right to be. I wasn’t expecting much beyond Andy Samberg mugging for 20 minutes a week and it’s so much more than that. He’s smarter than most former SNL members and signed up not so much to be the star but the center of a very funny ensemble cast with Andre Braugher pretty much spoofing his entire cop career as the stoic captain who just happens to be gay. And more than that , they get the lighting of New York better than any supposedly seriously cop show set here…Welcome To The Family is funny only as long as it’s about the dads and stays away from the kids. Unfortunately, the only reason situation of this comedy is about them being connected by their kids…Mom is ironically challenging Dads for the most unpleasant half hour you can spend watching TV, but due to its lack of nasty racism comes in second. But it’s a close second…Trophy Wife suffers from the same malady as Welcome To The Family: the situation of the comedy is the least amusing thing about it, in this case poor Malin Ackerman who can’t seem to catch a break on the big or small screen (she’s like a less-annoying Kate Hudson who does nudity).  Everything and everyone is funny in this show but her. You could take her out and just make this about a guy dealing with his two “wacky” ex-wives and their kids and it would be the same, though slightly better show. And you wouldn’t be faced with the ridiculous prospect of her marrying Bradley Whitford. Were there no attractive older actors available? Every time they kiss it’s so much “Ewwwww”…The Blacklist is the new The Following, as it’s basically yet another series seeming inspired by Hannibal Lecter. In this case it’s not so much brilliant serial killer but the relationship of the sophisticated criminal leading the attractive, young, female FBI agent.  It’s also The Following in that it’s painfully stupid. When super-criminal James Spader turns himself in and will only speak with one FBI Agent, they send a helicopter and an army of FBI agents just to pick her up. Later, when he escapes and is the key to a chemical bomb and a kidnapped admiral’s daughter only one agent is chasing him.  Did they use of that helicopter’s fuel budget?  Similarly, when he warns them about the admiral’s daughter kidnapping he tells them THERE WILL BE A DISTRACTION. Guess what they ignore? Dumb, dumb, dumb. The big action scene on the bridge is somewhat reminiscent of the bridge scene in Mission Impossible 3 which isn’t that strange when you realize that this episode was directed by Joe Carnahan who was originally supposed to direct MI3 before ultimately walking away…I shouldn’t laugh like I do at Back In The Game, because it will only encourage them to keep doing it, but James Caan as the crusty ex-baseball player whose former collegiate athlete daughter moves back in with him and winds up coaching the her son’s team of losers works better than it should…the promos for The Michael J. Fox Show were HORRIBLE so expectations were low for a show seemingly based on “Look, we’re not afraid to laugh at Parkinson’s!” but fortunately it’s so much more than that, while they do lean on that crutch a bit. Hopefully less so as the series goes on….finally, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D premiered and it was pretty much as underwhelming as I expected.  As a geek I’ve read about SHIELD all my life as a constant in the world of Marvel Comics, but that’s why it works; as kind of a sauce for the food of the heroes (there also another version where they’re like a James Bond organization led by Nick Fury that fights evil, but clearly they’re not going that way, though the opening action scene acknowledges it). SHIELD adventures without the superheroes are like sauce with no pasta or a show about the roadies for the Rolling Stones where the Rolling Stones never appear. You don’t even hear the songs.  Given the literal hundreds of Marvel Comics superheroes you think they could spare a C-list one for this show if for no other reason than an nice set up for their own film. Needless to say, I’m going to keep watching it anyway. What part of “geek” did you not understand?

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