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27 Oct

Picture 1500

 1. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                        Wknd/$  32.0            Total/$  32.0

 2. Gravity/Warners                                       Wknd/$  20.3            Total/$ 199.8

 3. Captain Phillips/Sony                               Wknd/$  11.8            Total/$  70.1

 4. The Counselor/Fox                                    Wknd/$    8.0            Total/$   8.0

 5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2     Wknd/$    6.1            Total/$100.6

 6. Carrie/SG                                                     Wknd/$    5.9            Total/$  26.0

 7. Escape Plan/LG                                           Wknd/$    4.3           Total/$   17.4

 8. 12 Years A Slave                                           Wknd/$     2.2          Total/$    3.4

 9. Enough Said/FoxS                                       Wknd/$    1.6           Total/$  13.0

10. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    1.1            Total/$  59.1



Bad Grandpa opens at number one or more correctly, Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa opens at number one. Yes, in some form or another they are still with us. But this really seems to be a combination between two MTV Shows,  Punk’d and Jackass and given I care little for a show that gets a kick out of messing with people in their day-to-day lives (Punk’d) and others that seem solely about how stupidly can young men hurt themselves (Jackass), I gave this a pass.  HOWEVER…I bust a gut laughing the way “grandpa” (Johnny Knoxville) “makes it rain” over the little boy after they enter him in a little girl’s beauty pageant and then have him do a striptease. That’s close to brilliant because it strips away to show what all beauty pageants are about (did you know they are the biggest source of scholarship money for women?) and how obscene it is that they do them for little girls. Like I said, I hate the whole idea of messing with people in lives for a joke, but this is one group that totally deserves it.



Gravity finally submits to just that and sinks to number two and while I like Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, him getting his panties in a bunch over the scientific errors in this film was simply ridiculous.  As soon as you saw “George Clooney” and “Sandra Bullock” he should have known which way the wind was blowing. Clearly he forgot about the “fiction” in “science fiction.”  Bear in mind this is a man who openly prefers Star Trek to Star Wars because Star Trek has more of a seeming regard for science, when Star Wars openly embraced magic to a certain point (The Force). Sadly I cannot take credit for the best response to this: “This things didn’t bother me because I have kissed a girl.” Amen.



Captain Phillips is down to number three and rather than see this critically acclaimed piece of Oscar bait I instead found myself at the critically reviled, destined for many Rasberry Awards, The Counselor. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be that great. The words “directed by Ridley Scott” made that impossible and the bad reviews actually serve to make it more attractive to me. However I did expect some sleazy fun due to Javier Bardeem’s hair and Cameron Diaz’s expensive slutwear, but the only fun here is in how bad it is. I’m not familiar with Cormack McCarthy’s novels, but from No Country for Old Men and this I can only think he’s big on uber-depressing stories with anvil-dropping foreshadowing (two characters randomly describe two different types of horrific deaths and sure enough by the end two characters have died just that way) whose moral is “Don’t have anything to with drug-dealers.” He’s also not a screenwriter by any stretch of the imagination, because what works in prose fails miserably onscreen, though I’m not sure this would work on the printed page either.  It’s only appealing to actors who saw pages of you being able to flap their jaws uninterrupted for pages sounding deep.  Dame Judi Dench couldn’t make this crap fly so imagine lines like “I don’t believe truth has a temperature” coming from Cameron Diaz of all people.  For a bunch of people pontificating about the nature of mankind and the universe a lot they aren’t that smart.  I mean if you’re that thoughtful, shouldn’t it have occurred to you that trying to take advantage of inflated cocaine prices due to a drug was an incredibly stupid thing to do!?!  Only Brad Pitt seems to make it work because he’s always enjoyed playing sleazy more than playing it straight and brings a light hearted sense to the leaden existential discussions.  Needless to say, the deal goes bad, because when you have a limited imagination they have to bad. A more interesting movie would have followed the peril that follows when you get what you want and think you can just walk away. Not even the fact that the deal doesn’t so much go bad as it is sabotaged makes it more interesting, because there’s never even a reason why other than the sabouteur is a sociopath.  And did I mention Cameron Diaz has sex with a car? Finally, Showgirls has a rival to dumbest sex scene ever.



Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number five, followed by Carrie at number six and does anyone remember that John Travolta was in the original? I hope that little anecdote isn’t giving these cast members false hope because Travolta had already been on Broadway in Grease by that point. The guy playing his role was in Chronicle and The Host. Yeah. Not the same.



Escape Plan is down to number seven and if there’s one big problem with this movie it’s that 60-something Stallone still thinks he should be playing the lead.  The way you sell this movie is that a younger actor plays the lead and Stallone and Schwarzenegger are the two old guys he meets in the prison to help him break out.  Have they learned nothing from Sean Connery’s example of always working with younger actors (Mark Harmon, Kevin Costner, Nicholas Cage, Wesley Snipes, Lawrence Fisburne, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta Jones, Michele Pfeiffer) to help carry his films? Every moviegoer between the ages of 16-30 was in Bad Grandpa this weekend because there was no one in this film for them to see. Hell, I’m over 30 and I still didn’t want to see anyone in it.



12 Years A Slave is finally enters the top ten at number eight as if to wash away the fact that both Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt were in The Counselor as well. “Pay no attention that thing with sex with cars! Only look at this Oscar bait!”  I know I need to see it, but like Holocaust movies, slave dramas are put off for me until it finally gets Oscar nominations and then I have no choice.  Seriously, I saw Schindler’s List and In The Name of The Father the day before the Oscars.  This year it looks like a Saturday afternoon of Captain Phillips and 12 Years A Slave in February.



Enough Said is down to number nine followed by Prisoners closing out the top ten at ten and while this kinda kicked off the Fall Serious Movie Season people soon realized the emperor had no clothes and ultimately this only made $59M domestically off a $46M budget, barely taking in another $60M overseas.  Again, not a failure, but no great shakes either.  Did I mention Maria Bello was also in this?  Well, she is as Hugh Jackman’s wife.  How sad is it that being Hugh Jackman’s wife was the disappointment, but playing Kevin James’ wife in Grown Ups is probably going to buy her a house?  It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood.



Oh, it’s not over yet. New shows are still debuting. The Witches of East End is the answer to the question, “Wouldn’t Charmed be better if all four witches had been on it together?” I’m sure someone asked it. Apparently based on a book somewhere it’s a silly, silly show…and I watched three episodes in one sitting. I wish I were kidding. What’s worse is that it was just one person who got me to do it: Madchen Amick. I’ve had a mad crush on her since Twin Peaks and since she’s determined to stay beautiful until she dies it’s not going anywhere.  She’s not alone in this big 90’s nostalgia-casting as playing her sister is none other than Julia Ormand (whose accent drops so much they just should make her character English) and Virginia Madsen has a semi-reoccurring character. Even Mrs. Channing Tatum who is ostensibly the show’s actual lead looks like she was made from the DNA of Yasmeen Bleeth from Baywatch.  And because it’s on Lifetime, it’s also got your standard supporting cast of tall, good looking but bland chiseled jawed meat puppet men. Don’t think I’m not ashamed. I don’t watch Walking Dead or True Blood or Game of Thrones, but I can’t seem to miss this cerebral junk food. And there’s not even nudity (but a little cursing because it’s on Lifetime).





20 Oct


 1. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$  31.0            Total/$ 170.6

 2. Captain Phillips/Sony                               Wknd/$  17.3            Total/$  53.3

 3. Carrie/SG                                                     Wknd/$  17.0            Total/$  17.0

 4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2     Wknd/$  10.1            Total/$  93.1

 5. Escape Plan/LG                                          Wknd/$    9.8            Total/$   9.8

 6. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    2.1             Total/$  57.3

 7. Enough Said/FoxS                                     Wknd/$    1.8             Total/$  10.8

 8. 5th Estate/Touchstone                              Wknd/$    1.7             Total/$    1.7

 9. Runner Runner/Fox                                  Wknd/$    1.6             Total/$  17.5

10. Insidious 2/FD                                           Wknd/$    1.5            Total/$  80.9



Gravity Holds at number one while Captain Phillips holds at number two, suggesting all the young people in the world had something better to do this weekend or we’ve all been transported back to 1995 for Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks to be ruling the box office like this. Their combined ages is more than the combined ages of the cast of Twilight.



Opening at number three is Carrie and its leading lady, Chloe Moretz, wasn’t born until 1997. Yes, I said that to make you feel old.  So basically she wasn’t even conceived when Forrest Gump and While You Were Sleeping were hits.  Now, I thought about seeing this, which may seem odd given my “I don’t do the scary” rule, even when it’s stupid.  But given how this seems to be a note-for-note remake of the first film and not a more faithful adaptation of the book like they insisted, what’s really there to scare you? There’s only one scene that’s truly terrifying and I won’t spoil it for those who’ve never seen it. The real question is will a female director feel the need to recreate Brian DePalma’s slow-motion, full-frontal nudity tour of the girls’ locker room, which OPENED the original film or is the R rating purely for violence? Yes, Carrie’s traumatizing treatment by the other girls in the shower when she gets her first period is actually an important part of the story because it’s not only about the torment she endures at school, but fallout from her home life as she’s utterly ignorant about her body thanks to her mother.  What’s not important to the character, however, is a slow motion pan over a young actress’ breasts and pubic hair to get us there. The 70’s truly were a different time.



Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number four and you know who wishes it were ‘90’s? Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as Escape Plan opens at number five. Two of the three biggest action heroes of the 80’s together and this is the best it can do!?! But honestly, I’m not blaming them. Yes, even though both their previous solo action leads have failed (Stallone in Bullet To The Head and Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand) the real reason behind this failure is 50 Cent. Yes, 50 Cent. No film with him in it ever succeeds.  Did you know he made a movie with DeNiro just last year? One with Nicholas Cage and John Cusack just this year? Two films in the past few years with Bruce Willis (completing the 80’s action hero hat trick)?  Of course not. Because they’ve all been too awful to be released even with someone as big as Robert DeNiro and Bruce Willis in them.  The man is a plague on film and here he is taking down Rocky and The Terminator without breaking a sweat.



Prisoners is down to number six followed by The Fifth Estate opening at number seven and if this film confuses you because you thought it was already released, that’s because it was a documentary called We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks about the real Julian Assauange which I’m sure the producers of this did not appreciate.  But they should have paid more attention to its inability to generate  interest.  Why do you think people will pay to see an impression of someone they didn’t want to see in the first place? Not to mention the overall media attention on Assaunage may have exhausted people.  Yes, it’s an important story that’s actually still going on, but like anything in our 24/7/365 news cycle it gets worn out very quickly. I mean the soldier behind the leaks, Bradley Manning, was only sentenced a few weeks ago on top of the news that he now wanted to be viewed as a woman (Chelsea Manning)!  And still people did not care.



Runner Runner is down to number eight and the other clue you had that this would be a failure was the presence of Gemma Arterton who was the “hot new thing” two years ago appearing in every other movie and even when they didn’t fail spectacularly (Prince of Persia) were seen as disappointments (Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans).  Even the unexpected success of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters ($225M from a $50M budget) hasn’t really helped her profile any. I mean, would you know her if you saw her on the street? Do you even know who she was in the films I’ve named? Exactly. However, the upside to being so forgettable is that no one will associate her with this film.



Finally, Insidious Chapter 2 closes out the top ten after an impressive run resulting in $118M worldwide from a $5 budget.  Gravity has nothing on that ratio of dollars spent to dollars earned.


14 Oct


1. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$  55.6            Total/$  21.5

 2. Captain Phillips/Sony                              Wknd/$  25.7            Total/$  25.7

 3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2    Wknd/$  13.8            Total/$  77.6

 4. Machete Kills/ORF                                   Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$   3.8

 5. Runner Runner/Fox                                 Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$  14.2

 6. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    3.6            Total/$  53.6

 7. Insidious 2/FD                                           Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$  78.5

 8. Rush/Universal                                          Wknd/$    2.4            Total/$  22.2

 9. Don Jon/Relativity                                    Wknd/$    2.4            Total/$  20.2

10. Baggage Claim/Fox                                   Wknd/$    2.0            Total/$   18.2



Gravity holds at number one and I made the joke about Clooney being onscreen with a woman his own age first, SNL! Well, my was a little different because theirs was you knew it was science fiction because there’s no way Clooney would talk that long to a woman his own age. Mine was that Clooney only agreed to do a film with a woman his own age because they promised him he’d never have to touch her.  I’m not giving anything way because it’s all in space. They’re not going to stop for a make out scene (though to hear the director talk about studio suggestions they would have if they could have). In fact they give more away in the first five minutes of dialogue, with some painfully hamfisted foreshadowing. And if you didn’t get it the first time, they do it again.  Seriously, it’s the only flaw in this otherwise great movie.



Captain Phillips opens at number two and I know I’ll probably see this in the end, but I’ve just about had it with the nobility of Tom Hanks in movies. Yes, he may be the nicest guy on earth in real life (just ask Peter Scolari who’s probably in this somewhere) but it’s starting to wear out its welcome onscreen. At least Bruce Willis does comedies that slightly mock his action hero image. Where’s the movie that plays on Hanks’ saintly onscreen image?  I don’t need him to play a puppy kicking villain, but I swear I briefly saw a halo on the head this character in the trailer for this. Kinda limits the level of suspense.



Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number three, followed by Machete Kills opening at number four and this is a joke that’s gone too far. It was great as a fake trailer in the Grind House movie from Tarantino and Rodriguez a few years and that they made it into an actually movie was funny too, but now sequels?  Enough. They should just stick to make trailers for movies that don’t exist, because “Introducing Carlos Estevez” (that’s Charlie Sheen’s real name) maybe the funniest thing you’ll see all year. I doubt anything in the movie can top that so why try?



Runner Runner is down to number four and it makes sense that Justin Timberlake is in a movie with Ben Affleck as they share a similar inability to be satisfied with enormous success in one arena and insist on it in others.  Affleck, like Woody Allen before him, casts himself as the lead in his highly praised films, but unlike Allen wants to be a movie star in his own right. Um, you tried that once. How’d it work out for you?  Pretty sure that bad decisions like this one and the upcoming Superman vs. Batman are what made you seek out creative fulfillment in directing to begin with. Hey, maybe that’s the upside to all this. The more crappy films he makes as an actor the more good films he’ll make later as a director. So this is one…



Prisoners is down to number six and I just realized that Oscar Winner Melissa Leo is in this partially because Oscar Winner Melissa Leo is just. that. damn. good.  You don’t know even know it’s her until you see the credits. Hugh Jackman, however, I recognized immediately.



Insidious Chapter 2 is down to number seven followed by Rush at number eight and also in this is Olivia Wilde whose 15 minutes of being “The Hot Girl” are just about up as none of the films she’s been in have been a success including this one. Since House make her semi-famous it’s been In Time (another Justin Timberlake failure), Tron Legacy (not a flop, but not a great success either), Cowboys & Aliens (James Bond and Indiana Jones together couldn’t save this), The Change Up (with fellow box office curse, Ryan Reynolds), People Like Us (the new Captain Kirk was in this turd), Butter (along with Jennifer Garner who knows all about failing in movies), and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (no one wants to see Steve Carrell with a younger woman). I’m thinking she can join either Halle Berry or Meg Ryan in their new sitcoms, because if they have to do TV you know she does.  She’s basically a brunette Malin Akerman at this point, who’s currently failing in Trophy Wife.



Don Jon is down to number nine followed by Baggage Claim closing out the top ten at number ten and if you wonder how painfully lacking in genuine wit this romantic comedy is, know that there’s a character named Mr. Wright played by Derek Luke. Gee, think he gets the girl in the end? Over Taye Diggs no less!



Teens with superpowers? Government trying to control and eliminate them? No, you’re not watching an X-Men show. It’s just a remake of a 70’s British show (which was remade previously in the 90’s so basically they do this every 20 years) also named The Tomorrow People, but why keep the stupid name if you’re just going to have characters within the show mock it (and deservedly so)? I have no idea if the original Brit show was so much like the X-Men comics (which came first) but this new American version isn’t pretending to the point I can’t believe they haven’t been sued. And the familiarity doesn’t stop there. If those cheekbones look familiar it’s because you just saw them on Arrow. This is Stephen Amell’s brother, Robbie, in the lead also noticeably lacking a shirt throughout the show. That the female lead looks like the made her from the DNA of Kristin Kreuk from Smallville is probably coincidental though (or not). It’s also about as smart as Arrow or Smallville though both shows proved it’s possible to be entertaining without a brain. Maybe this will be as well, but I won’t know. I stopped caring about the X-men after I left my teens because I no longer needed their metaphor for teen angst to comfort me so there’s no real attraction to a less interesting version of it. But points to them for actually filming in NYC and not trying to pass Toronto off as Manhattan. They must have been given some serious tax breaks to pull this off.


6 Oct



1. Gravity/Warners                                         Wknd/$  55.6            Total/$  21.5

 2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2    Wknd/$  21.5            Total/$  60.6

 3. Runner Runner/Fox                                 Wknd/$    7.6            Total/$   7.6

 4. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    5.7            Total/$  47.9

 5. Rush/Universal                                          Wknd/$    4.4            Total/$  18.1

 6. Don Jon/Relativity                                    Wknd/$    4.2            Total/$   16.1

 7. Baggage Claim/Fox                                    Wknd/$    4.1            Total/$   15.2

 8. Insidious 2/FD                                           Wknd/$    3.9            Total/$  74.8

 9. Pulling Strings/LGF                                  Wknd/$    2.5            Total/$    2.5

10. Enough Said/Fox                                       Wknd/$    2.2           Total/$    5.4



Gravity opens deservedly at number one and its 90-minute runtime should be a lesson to the studios in this time of year of bloated, overlong Oscar bait: less is more. It’s basically Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts struggling to survive in orbit in the wake of a space shuttle disaster (caused inadvertently by the Russians and given it destroys the space shuttle, the International Space Station and a Chinese space station, if they make it may just be to die in World War III).  Though it’s technically five hours, it’s essentially told in “real time” so we’re a party their decreasing air supply increasing the tension factor, not to mention the shrapnel that destroyed their mission continues to circle the earth, returning like an angry metal swarm intent on their destruction. I liked this movie so much I forgot I was even watching Sandra Bullock, whom I normally avoid like the plague.  She’s like a more talented, less-annoying Julia Roberts (seriously, if this had been Roberts I might not have seen it). This makes 2013 a great year for her between the success of The Heat and now this surefire Awards bait.  I almost feel bad for her given she can’t eat between now and the Oscars for all the gowns she’s going to have to fit into for the various award ceremonies she’ll have to attend.



Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number two, followed by Runner, Runner opening at number four and someone needs to tell Justin Timberlake to just let this acting thing go. It is to him what music was to Eddie Murphy, one success (The Social Network for JT and “Party All The Time” with Eddie) leading to a lifetime of delusion and apparently outweighing all the many, many failures.  And when I say “lifetime of delusion” I mean Eddie made an album with Snoop Dogg just last year just as we have Runner Runner here now.  You’d think having a successful album and tour would help this movie out, but you’d be wrong, because no one is buying Justin Timberlake as being young enough to be in college, even grad school.  You’d think winning Oscars would help this movie out but you’d be wrong, because no one—and I mean no one—is buying Ben Affleck as some kind of ruthless mob boss.  You think they’re regretting some Batman casting over a Warner Brothers right now? Oh, I think so.



Prisoners is down to number four and its box office is begin to peter out as word of mouth gets around about how it only looks like a prestige film (big stars, very serious, overlong), but is really just a cable suspense thriller all dressed up.  I hope Jake Gyllenhaal made some quick deals for the hot second it looked like a hit before everyone realized the truth.



Rush is down to number five and also in this is Natalie Dormer whose own heat has been rising over the past few years and is about to hit a boil. She was Anne Boleyn on The Tudors a few years back, over the last year joined the cast of Game of Thrones and provided a nice twice on the Sherlock Holmes mythos as she was both Irene Adler and Moriarty on Elementary.  Not to mention she’s going to be in The Hunger Games. Hold on tight to your manager and or agent, girl. They are doing you right.  Trivia: here she appears as a nurse who hooks up with Chris Hemsworth who played Thor.  In Captain America she was a Lt. who grabs a kiss with Captain America.  All she needs now is an appearance in a Hulk and Iron Man movie to make out with Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. No, I’m not counting Hawkeye or The Black Widow.  Because I don’t want to, that’s why.



Speaking of The Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson is the female love interest in Don Jon (down to number six) and not unexpectedly some Italian American groups have been complaining about yet another “guido” depiction in this film. I’m sympathetic because one thing that dampened my interest was a shot of Tony Danza and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt at dinner in white tank-top t-shirts, commonly known as “beaters” distastefully so because of the stereotypical image of an Italian guy beating his wife. It’d be one thing if Joseph Gordon-Leavitt was Italian American from Jersey and playfully mocking a life he knew, but he was raised Jewish in California so he’s just a cultural tourist.  Though this throws a new light on the other complaint of Johansson as stereotypical Jewish girl (not by any Jewish groups because apparently they had better things to do with their time). Unfortunately the problem with their complaint is that The Jersey Shore was real and he need only point to it as his defense—and clearly the source of his information.



Baggage Claim is down to number seven and if Taye Diggs had been the love interest you know I’d probably have seen it twice by now, such is my mancrush. But alas, he’s a silly suitor with a toy dog, so it can wait until cable.  Him not getting the girl is right behind him dying on my list of things I don’t want to see. You shut up! I don’t have a problem! You’ve got a problem!



Insidious Chapter 2 is down to number eight and also in this is none other than Barbara Hershey, who was a “hot girl” from the early 70’s (when in fully hippie mode she went by Barbara Seagull) to the early 80’s.  Scorsese himself loved her.  Directing her first as the title character of Boxcar Bertha and later choosing her to play Mary Magdalene in The Last Temptation of Christ. But out of a near 50-year career she’s probably best known as the unnamed woman who shoots Robert Redford in The Natural. Even over Beaches. Yes, she was character not played by Bette Midler who was the “wind” Midler sings of in “Wind Beneath My Wings” a song that mercifully didn’t seem to make it into the 21st century.



Remember that Mexican film that was an unexpected success because it was aimed squarely at an audience otherwise ignored? Well, it was just the beginning because here’s the next one. Opening at number nine is Pulling Strings, a romantic comedy about an American blonde in Mexico who needs the help of the mariachi singer she denied a visa too when she loses her boss’ suitcase after a drunken night out.  Again, it looks like a Lifetime movie that escaped to the big screen, but being as much in English as it is in Spanish, it reflects its underappreciated audience and they have rewarded it with success.



Enough Said, one of the last films of James Gandolfini, expands its distribution and enters the top ten at number ten and I’ve got no reason not to have seen this as Nicole Holofcener is one of my favorite writer/directors. I’ve been with her since Walking & Talking in 1996, her first collaboration with Catherine Keener who appears in all her films and this is no exception. So that’s two strikes against me as I’m a Catherine Keener fan too. Sigh.  I blame society for my failure.



The fall season continues to rollout and this week it was Ironside, a revamp of the old Raymond Burr series and as bad as it looked in commericals, it’s actually even worse as the producers are soooo determined to show he’s a tough, sexy cop what they’ve made is a completely ridiculous asshole who should be in jail. I don’t think we go more than five minutes before his scolding captain tells him “Suspects have rights.”  You know, because he’s a tough cop who plays by his own rules, but he gets results! It’s a bad TV cop cliché factory complete with his team of pretty detectives, none of whom dress like detectives.  Of course one comes from an upper class family, another comes from a mob family etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.  It’s so bad they don’t even use the best part of the original: the theme music by Quincy Jones, best known now as the revenge music in Kill Bill…We Are Men is another awful, awful show but you know that when you saw Jerry O’Connell’s name. It’s about four divorced men in a singles complex. Yeah. It clearly thinks it’s 1977.  And I love you, Tony Shaloub, but any show that has you successfully picking up hot, 26-year-old Asian girls had better have robots and dragons because it’s clearly science fiction/fantasy…I couldn’t bear more than two seconds of Super Fun Night because a) what kind of stupid show has Rebel Wilson without her accent and b) it’s basically about her being fat and getting her clothes ripped off.  No thanks…I unexpected enjoyed MasterChef (which I recapped) and was looking forward to MasterChef Jr, but it’s heartbreaking to watch children get eliminated.  When the first thing one boy did was to go and hug his mother I stopped the show and took it off my DVR scheduling. Just can’t do it.  I’ll be crying every week.



29 Sep


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



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.



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).



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.



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.



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.



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.



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 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?


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.


15 Sep

Michelle Pfeiffer 001(3)

1. Insidious 2/FD                                           Wknd/$  41.1            Total/$  41.1

 2. The Family/Relativity                             Wknd/$  14.5            Total/$  14.5

 3. Riddick/Universal                                    Wknd/$    7.0            Total/$  31.3

 4. Lee Daniel’s The Butler/Weinstein      Wknd/$    5.6            Total/$100.0

 6. Instructions Not Included/LGF            Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$  26.6

 5. We’re The Millers/Warners                    Wknd/$    5.4            Total/$ 131.6

 7. Planes/Disney                                            Wknd/$    3.1            Total/$  83.0

 8. One Direction This Is Us/Sony              Wknd/$    2.4            Total/$  26.9

 9. Elysium/TriStar                                        Wknd/$    2.1             Total/$  88.4

10. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters            Wknd/$    1.8            Total/$  62.0



Insidious 2 opens at number one and I think we all know by now I don’t like the scary so I didn’t see this as I didn’t see the first one.  Hell, that commercial with the old man in a diaper screaming “He’s got your baby! He’s got your baby!” messed me up.  I wasn’t about to pay for ninety minutes of it, but clearly I was alone in this.



The Family opens at number two and people love Robert DeNiro as a gangster; even moreseo when he’s playing it for laughs.  This looks like it should have been the sequel to Analyze This instead of Analyze That. I wouldn’t know, because like most of the world, I declined to see it, but I think we can all agree Tommy Lee Jones deadpanning instead of a Billy Crystal hamming automatically makes it a better movie.  I won’t even get into Michelle Pfeiffer over Lisa Kudrow because that would just be mean.



Riddick is down to number three and also in this is Katee Sackhoff best known as Starbuck from the Battlestar Galactica reboot and again, I fully admit her partial nude scene is what pushed me over the edge from ambivalence to finally seeing this movie, but all the Riddick movies have had actresses good at playing tough which is part of the appeal. Claudia Black (best known from Farscape) was in Pitch Black (which I won’t see because I know she dies in it) and Chronicles of Riddick had both Alexa Davalos and Christina Cox (sadly not known for anything) and the latter was the tough mercenary who is genuinely drawn to Riddick. I preferred the to Katee Sackhoff being lesbian who somehow “turns” by the final reel because you know, Riddick is just that badass. Are you freaking kidding me!?!  This isn’t the 60’s where Pussy Galore’s lesbian tendencies are no match Sean Connery at the peak of his Bond powers. Now it’s just a tad offensive to joke all a lesbian needs is the right man to set her “straight.”  It’s a taint on an otherwise dumb good time. It would have been better if it was just something she said to keep from being hit on all the time as the only woman onboard.



Lee Daniels’ The Butler is down to number four and this has crossed the $100M mark making it a ridiculous hit and you just know somehow, somewhere, someone is trying to figure out how to make a sequel. The Butler 2: Now He Works For The Queen of England.



We’re The Millers is still hanging around at number five and for the first time Jennifer Anniston’s success has little to do with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Of course if not for them she’d be already back on TV with a sitcom probably coming on right after Cougar Town, but we’ll let her have this one.



Instructions Not Included is down to number six, followed by Planes at number seven and One Direction: This Is Us at number eight.



Elysium is down to number nine and at 232M worldwide has at least broken even, so it’s not loss, but still a disappointment for this ham-fisted parable about the haves and have-nots.



Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters hangs around at number ten and we need an exterminator to get rid of this.