BRINGING THE THUNDER

10 Nov

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 1. Thor: The Dark World/BV                     Wknd/$  86.1            Total/$  86.1

 2. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                      Wknd/$  11.3             Total/$  78.7

 3. Free Birds/Relativity                               Wknd/$  11.2              Total/$  30.2

 4. Last Vegas/CBS                                         Wknd/$  11.1              Total/$  33.5

 5. Ender’s Game/LGF                                    Wknd/$  10.3            Total/$  44.0

 6. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$    8.4            Total/$ 231.1

 7. 12 Years A Slave                                         Wknd/$    6.6            Total/$   17.3

 8. Captain Phillips/Sony                                Wknd/$    5.8            Total/$  91.0

 9. About Time/Universal                              Wknd/$    5.2            Total/$    6.7

10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2      Wknd/$    2.8           Total/$110.0

 

THOR? I CAN BARELY WALK!

Thor: The Dark World opens at number one and while heads and shoulders better than the first film this franchise still has story problems. Setting up the plot seems to take up the bulk of the film and then the execution takes no time at all. Shouldn’t that be reversed? Basically, The Dark Elves (from the Dark World of the title) want to return the universe to darkness (duh) and can only do so during the once every 5 thousand years “convergence” of the Nine Realms (Earth is one, Asgard is another). For this they need “The Ether” which of course Jane Foster happened to find and is now infected with, which makes Thor bring her to Asgard with The Dark Elves right behind her. It takes so long to get to this point, even when the story has started it still feels like they’re still setting up.  No real tension is ever developed regarding stopping the Dark Elves or saving Jane even though everyone is racing the clock.  The Dark Elves only have limited time to complete their plan, but you’d never know it by how they move. Odin’s insistence on just fighting them and sacrificing his people doesn’t make any sense without him adding that they only have to hold The Dark Elves until The Convergence passes. Even the fact that “The Ether” is killing Jane like a slow poison generates no suspense. It would have added a great deal of drama to learn that letting her die would destroy “The Ether” and remove the threat forcing Thor to choose between billions of lives and his heart. It would also provide Jane with a moment of self-sacrificing heroism to prove herself to Odin, who clearly distains.  Even needing to trust Loki who is clearly untrustworthy adds no dramatic weight to the story. Thank goodness the film is stronger on its characters, with almost everyone getting defining moment and that moment usually lends itself to humor. Don’t let the sub-head fool you; like Iron Man 3 there’s no shortage of laughs throughout the film even when the fate of the universe is at hand.

 

SADLY, IT DOES CRACK EVENTUALLY

Bad Grandpa holds at number two followed by Free Birds at number three and Last Vegas at number four and also in this is Mary Steenburgen and like always in Hollywood she’s still six years younger than the youngest male lead who is Kevin Kline. But he’s getting his own ego bruising, being asked to play contemporaries with Morgan Freeman who has a full decade on Kline.  And honestly, while he looks good for his age, Freeman is clearly the oldest by a long shot.

 

CLEARLY LEARNING NOTHING FROM SEAN CONNERY ON HOW TO AGE IN MOVIES

Speaking of ego bruising, is anyone’s taking a bruising like Harrison Ford’s as Ender’s Game drops massively to number five?  Once upon a time Han Jones or Indiana Solo was gold, even making crap like Six Days, Seven Nights successful. Now, he can’t buy a hit as his last film before this, Paranoia (with the other Hemsworth. Liam) didn’t even open in the top ten. 42 was a modest success, but Cowboys & Aliens (with James Bond to help), Morning Glory, Extraordinary Measures and Firewall all tanked (Crossing Over was released in maybe one theater).  His last real hit? Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No wonder he’s rumored to making his participation in the next Star Wars sequel conditional on another Indiana Jones film. Yes, he still doesn’t think he’s too old. Dude, you should have replaced Kevin Kline in Last Vegas you’re so old.

 

I GUESS HE’S GOT THE RIGHT STUFF. GET IT?

Gravity is down to number six and making his second appearance as the voice of mission control (and third as part of NASA) is none other than Ed Harris.  It’s a mixed blessing that the biggest thing he’s been in recently never shows his face.  Yeah, Pain & Gain made money but I’m sure he’s not proud of working with Michael Bay.

 

MALE OR FEMALE, REDHEADS ARE EVIL

12 Years a Slave holds at number seven, followed by Captain Phillips at number eight and about time at number nine and this the latest from Richard Curtis, the writer of Love Actually and Four Weddings & A Funeral (we’re trying to pretend Notting Hill never happened) and screenwriter of Bridget Jones’s Diary (we’re trying to pretend Edge of Reason never happened). Combine him with Rachel McAdams (whom I love), Bill Nighy (whom I love) and a science fiction element and you’d think I’d be in there, but no. The leading man leaves me cold. Never underestimate the contribution to Hugh Grant to appeal of his films. Give me  a young Hugh Grant rather than some near albino and I might have found the time (no pun intended).

 

THE END…FINALLY

Finally, after two months, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 says goodbye to the top ten.

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