“SECRET” LIFE SOUNDS BETTER THAN “QUIET DESPERATION”

29 Dec

47_Ronin_Poster_Intenational_e_JPosters

 1. The Hobbit 2/Warner                               Wknd/$  29.9           Total/$ 190.3

 2. Frozen/Disney                                            Wknd/$  28.8          Total/$ 248.4

 3. Anchorman 2/Paramount                        Wknd/$  28.8          Total/$   83.7

 4. American Hustle/Sony                             Wknd/$  19.6           Total/$   60.0

 5. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                    Wknd/$  18.5            Total/$   34.3

 6. Saving Mr. Banks/Disney                         Wknd/$  14.0           Total/$   37.8

 7. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty/Fox       Wknd/$  13.0           Total/$   25.6

 8. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                       Wknd/$  10.2           Total/$ 391.1

 9. 47 Ronin/Universal                                    Wknd/$   9.9           Total/$   20.6

10. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Xmas/LGF          Wknd/$    7.4          Total/$   43.7

 

FILLED WITH ELFIN HOTNESS

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug holds at number one and here as the character of Badass Chick Elf created by Peter Jackson is Evangeline Lilly and I maintain that’s the name of someone who sleeps with James Bond, not a real, live person. She acquits herself well enough with the English accent—that all characters must have in fantasy films and historical characters that are not American must have—like Liv Tyler before her. Which makes sense given that she’s here basically to fill that hole of a hot, badass chick elf.

 

DOING THE HEAVY LIFTING THE SCRIPT DOESN’T

Frozen actually rises to number two and I seem to be in the minority of people who don’t see this as a new Disney “classic.”  I’m thinking crap like Madagascar has lowered the bar so severely of what people expect from an animated film that anything even slightly above average gets an undue amount of praise.  In this case it’s that damn song that’s basically carrying this whole film, which I kinda understand. I hate songs in animated films, but even I like it. It’s that good.

 

WILL FERRELL IS BETTER FOR YOU THAN A GIANT ROBOT

Anchorman 2 is down to number three and finally in a big A-list film is Meagan Good, who was basically Megan Fox before Megan Fox, as in an actress whose name and look is more commonly found in porn, in that both are very exaggerated.  Between this and actually being the lead in a serious “let’s-cash-in-on-the-success-of-Scandal-with-a-hot-black-chick” drama in prime time (yes, it was cancelled almost immediately, but that she even got the role is the victory), it seems after 15 years in front of the camera, Meagan Good is becoming an overnight success.  I mean, unless you’re black, which means you’ve been watching her for 15 years, since Eve’s Bayou and are quite frankly shocked to see her in a role where she’s not in short-shorts and a push-up bra. Maybe we’ll all be shocked to see Megan Fox make the same type of ascension in ten years. Hey, it could happen!

 

THE DOUCHE OF WALL STREET

American Hustle holds at number four and no matter how many people tell me this is a mess, a mess with this cast is still going to be interesting at the very least, unlike say The Wolf of Wall Street which opens at number five.  It has a pretty interesting supporting cast, but unfortunately a center of doucheness composed of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. Yes, I know that their actual personalities shouldn’t affect your opinion of them onscreen, but guess what? They’re playing douchebags here too, so I’m not sure how much acting went into it.  But it’s Scorsese Oscar-bait so I guess I have to see it.

 

NICE PEOPLE DON’T GET MUCH DONE

Saving Mr. Banks (the unofficial sequel to Saving Private Ryan?) is down to number six and remember how I said this was a fairy tale to portray Walt Disney as a great man at her expense?  Well, she was no saint either.  Seems she adopted a little boy…but not his twin brother! Why?  Astrology. You only wish I were joking. But it gets worse. She never told him he had a brother…until he ran into him in a bar one day.  A bar because they both developed alcohol problems.  Gee, I wonder why?  Yeah, you’d have to lie to tell a story that put either of these two people in a favorable light.

 

THE BEN STILLER MOVIE

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens at number seven and this isn’t so much a remake as it is a reinterpretation of the short story, as the difference in tone and intent is as different as night and day.  The Danny Kaye version was a lighthearted musical comedy while this is an introspective comedy drama about a man who feels his life has so passed him by he can only cope by constantly losing himself into his daydreams.  Now if you’re someone of a comparable age and situation you might find yourself crying at regular points throughout, especially when his daydream actually enables him to find the courage to take a literal leap when reality fails him. All set to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” being sung by Kristen Wiig (I’m not crying! You’re crying!). I’ve long complained about not being able to take any more of Ben Stiller’s “Theater of Pain” style of comedy, which is basically watching him suffer an infinite number of indignities. It got so bad someone once joked that it was amazing he wasn’t in Passion of the Christ (get it? a suffering Jew?).  This film is ironically both the best use of that idea and the source of its worse missteps.  The humor that comes from him struggling to live life rather than just dream about it as he unburdens himself with the responsibility of taking care of his family is  very natural. The bit where he’s beaten down by airport security over a flute—all seen through an x-ray machine—is like a leftover bit from his show on Fox in the 90’s.  It’s a very flawed film, but sadly it spoke to me and I loved it as a result. This unfortunately means I lose the high ground I once had over my baby sister who loves the horrid Casual Sex movie for similar reasons. Nah. This is still better than that turd of a film.

 

47 REASONS WHY NO ONE SAW THIS

The Hunger Games: Catching Fires is down to number eight while 47 Ronin opens at number nine and Universal has already written this off for their 2013 taxes.  Ouch.  It was plagued with production troubles and while I don’t mind taking the famous story of the 47 Ronin (it’s considered a defining moment in Japanese culture and is celebrated annually) and setting it in within the world of Japanese mythology where magic and monsters are real you kinda wonder what was the point?  Especially when there are a) so few and b) only one of them that really matters.  And you have ample time to wonder because the film is paced so poorly. The first 30 minutes should have been part of the opening narration, as the story doesn’t begin until the 47 samurai become 47 ronin at the death of their lord (a samurai’s duty is to protect his lord and to become ronin is a disgrace because it means he as failed).  That would take this down from a bloated two hours to a tidier, yet still weak 90 minutes. Sorry, but a samurai film where the only blood seen is when they cut their thumbs to mark a document is ridiculous.  And we haven’t even gotten into the Keanu Reeves factor. Now, I like Keanu and am impressed that he’s finally playing Asian after all these years (his father was Philipino-Chinese) but he still sounds like a surfer with a head cold and even though the film is filled with Japanese actors speaking accented English, it sticks out like a sore thumb. The best part is the female villain who is working for a much better movie than she gets.

 

DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE ASS

Finally, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas closes out the top ten at number ten and good riddance.

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