Tag Archives: 21 Jump Street

MICHAEL BAY IS THE DEVIL AND YOU KNOW IT!

30 Jun

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1. Transformers 4/Paramount                  Wknd/$100.0       Total/$ 100.0
2. 22 Jump Street/Sony                             Wknd/$ 15.4         Total/$ 139.8
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox      Wknd/$ 13.1          Total/$ 121.8
4. Think Like A Man Too/SGem              Wknd/$ 10.0         Total/$ 48.2
5. Maleficent/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 8.2           Total/$ 201.9
6. Jersey Boys/Warner                               Wknd/$ 7.6           Total/$ 7.6
7. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                Wknd/$ 5.2            Total/$ 84.2
8. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                  Wknd/$ 4.8           Total/$ 109.5
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox        Wknd/$ 3.3            Total/$ 223.4
10. Chef/ORF                                               Wknd/$ 1.7            Total/$ 19.4

WIPING OUT TASTE IN A GENERATION
Transformers: Age of Extinction opens unsurprisingly at number one and in the interest of full admission I did see all three previous Transformers film, finding the first actually entertaining. It was your archetypical boy discovers he’s the “the special one” and becomes a hero. Hell, that’s the basic premise of everything from King Arthur to Star Wars, but in this case everyone including the hero is utterly obnoxious and the stupidity nearly chokes the film to death. Let me put it this way: at one point the robots are all encouraging the protagonist to run. Again: ROBOTS WHO TURN INTO VEHICLES ARE TELLING HIM TO RUN. Just let that sink in a moment. The second film had none of the minimal charm of the first, but dialed the obnoxious stupidity up to 11 and the third doubled even that to the point where my movie buddy became visibly upset with me for having made her seen it (I had to see the final Harry Potter film as a result). With that in mind I gave this one a pass, my already dim outlook made fatally dark by news that it decided to go darker. Again: A FILM ABOUT GIANT ROBOTS RIDING GIANT ROBOT DINOSAURS WANTED TO GO DARK. I think that says it all.

I HAVE WATCHED TV FOR A LONG, LONG TIME
Holding at number two is 22 Jump Street and because I actually watched the original show, I know why Channing Tatum’s character is called Jenko. He was the captain who recruited Johnny Depp to the “jump street” program and was played by Frederic Forrest. And for a show that was about pretty, 20-something cops going undercover in high schools that only worked because all those students were also played by 20-something actors, it could get a little intense. Perhaps the best example of this was the episode “Orpheus 3.3” where Johnny Depp’s girlfriend is killed in a hold-up in front of him and he just basically has a nervous breakdown, not helped by the fact that he gets the security footage and watches her murder over and over again trying to figure out what he could have done in the 3.3 seconds (hence the title) it took her to be killed. They were also shockingly ahead of the curve in an episode based clearly on the Tawana Brawley case where Booker (aka, Richard Grieco) speaks opening about appreciating Male White Privilege a term that only came into existence a few years ago. Hmm, I’m now wondering why, given Depp’s superstardom and the success of these movies, it’s not in syndication.

GOOD THING SHE STILL LOOKS 25
How To Train Your Dragon 2 holds at number three, followed by Think Like A Man Too and also in this is Gabrielle Union and you have to wonder how she feels being part of an ensemble dominated by Kevin Hart when she was briefly an leading woman? It’s gotta sting just a little. And watching her Bring It On co-star Kirsten Dunst wind up in a much the same boat isn’t much consolation.

A FAMILY AFFAIR
Maleficent holds at number five and the only other person you might know in this is Elle Fanning, who plays Sleeping Beauty. Obviously she’s the younger sister of Dakota who clearly decided a semi-normal high school experience was more important than making movies, thus opening the door up for her sister.

MAYBE THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS MOVIE
Jersey Boys is down to number six apparently Joe Pesci was instrumental in the creation of The Four Seasons by introducing them to their fourth member who was also their songwriter. Pesci’s friend in the group was Joey DeVitto. Pesci played a different Joey DeVitto who didn’t have quite as nice a life in GoodFellas. Joey DeVitto wound up working for Joe Pesci in the end. And that’s your ironic trivia of the day!

WE COULD ALL USE A LITTLE MORE PAXTON
Edge of Tomorrow is down to number seven and also in this is Bill Paxton who has not come full circle, playing the “go get ‘em” sergeant in big science fiction movies rather than smart-ass private like he did in Aliens. And one of the flaws in this film is when Tom Cruise decides to take the fight to the aliens, he somehow fails to recruit the gung-ho sergeant. It not only makes no sense, but also denies us a little more Paxton. His presence might have made a few of those clichés go down a little easier.

MICHAEL BAY HASN’T WON YET!
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number eight, followed by X-Men Days of Future Past at number nine and Chef holding on at number ten. Seriously, every time I see that while big summer movies like Godzilla come and go it makes me smile.

MUSIC MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER
Speaking of Chef, what do it, Snowpiercer and Begin Again have in common? All have good critical reviews and all have actors who have been suckling from the Marvel teat for the last few years. Actors have been saying forever how they only do big studio films so they can be free to do smaller, more personal films and it’s bullshit for the most part, but Mark Ruffalo, Jon Favreau and Chris Evans are actually walking the walk. It’s not too much of a surprise for Ruffalo and Favreau who both made their bones in indie land, but now that he’s free to do so, Evans seems hellbent on making his home there. But now we’re talking about Ruffalo, who like most, talked shit about mainstream films then started showing up in shit like 13 Going on 30, Rumor Has It, View From The Top and Just Like Heaven, basically being the go-to “Young Leading Man” for young actresses Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Anniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. Somewhere along the way he had a life-threatening medical condition and while that may have sent him looking for money I prefer to think it made him realize that he needed more, which meant a return to indie, which he how he turned up in the career revitalizing The Kids Are All Right which then led him to his payday-for-life turn in The Avengers. I also like to think that got Begin Again made because the money they needed for some of their music licensing, much less shooting in the streets of New York, was not cheap and you’d need veterans of billion dollar films in the lead and so they have them in Keira Knightley and now Mark Ruffalo. Begin Again is the story of a music producer/label head at a very low point in his life who rediscovers himself producing the album of a young songwriter recovering from heartbreak after her musician boyfriend dumps her on his rise to the top. You know it’s an indie film when you time jump not just once, but twice, as we get the opening where Mark Ruffalo meets Keira Knightley at an open mike night first flashing back from his point of view, then from hers. There’s also the indie trademark of your protagonist being very nearly unlikably flawed (as opposed to “charming flawed” like most mainstream films) for most of the film, while giving some redeeming qualities to your antagonists, like Ruffalo’s more business-oriented partner, Mos Def and Keira Knightley’s slightly douchey boyfriend, Adam Levine (whose actual acting was probably the non-douchey aspects). Like Favreau in Chef, Ruffalo is a bad parent to a teenage daughter who is looking for male attention in the most traditional way possible: dressing slutty. The difference, which makes Chef superior is that Favreau doesn’t really learn until the last minute, making the same mistake in the last ten minutes that he did in the first ten. Ruffalo’s character in comparison is essentially healed by Knightley’s music and returns to being an attentive, loving dad (even quitting drinking). It helps that his daughter (played by Hailee Steinfeld) turns out to be a decent guitar player and all wounds are healed when they play together at one point. But honestly, I don’t mind a total happy ending because I still enjoyed the journey. And fuck it, it’s summer. Save that bleak-ass indie shit for the fall and winter.

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YOU TAME A DRAGON WITH TATUM!

15 Jun

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1. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                       Wknd/$ 60.0     Total/$ 60.0
2. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox               Wknd/$ 50.0      Total/$ 50.0
3. Maleficent/Disney                                           Wknd/$ 19.0       Total/$ 163.5
4. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                         Wknd/$ 16.1        Total/$ 56.6
5. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                           Wknd/$ 15.7        Total/$ 81.7
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox                 Wknd/$ 9.5          Total/$ 205.9
7. Godzilla/Warner                                              Wknd/$ 3.2          Total/$ 191.3
8. A Million Ways To Die in the West              Wknd/$ 3.2          Total/$ 39.0
9. Neighbors/Universal                                       Wknd/$ 2.5         Total/$ 143.1
10. Chef/ORF                                                         Wknd/$ 2.3         Total/$ 14.1

“LIVER & POTATOES, PLEASE” SAID NO ONE EVER.
22 Jump Street opens at number one and I’m serious: Jonah Hill is on my list of actors I will look at only if I have to, right next to Seth Rogen. It had better be some big-ticket item like an Oscar-bait Scorsese film or it’s simply not going to happen. Give this is clearly not from Marty, it’s safe to say I gave it a pass, though clearly one of the few. I like Channing Tatum…enough. He’s like a big potato; only as tasty as what you add to it and teaming him with Jonah Hill is like adding liver.

HOW TO TAME MULTI-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS
How To Train Your Dragon 2 opens at number two, which was a great surprise to everyone given it’s a big animated film. Me, I’m not so surprised give how the first was just good and not much else. It was the definition of perfunctory, utterly lacking in any ambition beyond simply telling a simple story. This is more of the same, if not beautifully so. Seeing the giant alpha dragons almost made me wish I’d seen it in IMAX. Almost. It’s just that gorgeous, as are most of the flight scenes. What’s steadily earthbound is a script where there are earth-shattering emotional events that are simply glossed over as if they were nothing. As the commercials and trailers show, Hiccup’s mother is still alive and is a dragonrider herself. Seems she’s been with them all this time, letting her loving husband and infant son think she was dead…and neither of them care. Seriously. Not even a single, “Why didn’t you come back to see me?” Nothing. No. Thing. A complete and utter abandonment by a wife and parent results in zero resentment from the characters. They’re just a happy family again. Bear in mind she’s the caretaker of FLYING DRAGONS. She could have gone home at any time. She just didn’t. Her excuse was that she believed dragons were not evil but no one there did, so why try? You know the way her son did in the first film and basically changed their culture in a week? Because he actually tried. Once again, you shouldn’t go into the deep water if you can’t swim and they can’t even float. This is what it has in common with the number three film, Maleficent. It also tries to go into the deep water by having the king and Maleficent be in a previous relationship, but also backs away from it, but at least they muddy the water a little (he can’t kill her because he loves her and she loves his daughter), in what is purely a soulless, naked, corporate money grab. There’s not so much as a dust cloud here. But it is purty.

ALWAYS A PLACE FOR OLD MEN
Edge of Tomorrow is down to number four here and also in this is Brendan Gleeson and if you’re paying attention, if Tom Cruise likes you, you’ll be back in one of his other films. Robert Duvall was in Days of Thunder and returned in Jack Reacher. Brendan Gleeson, who also improves anything he’s in, was in Mission Impossible II and returns here as the general who sends Tom Cruise to the front for being a coward, but you should really check him out in The Guard with Don Cheadle. He was cheated out of an Oscar nod for it. Then again, people would have to see it first…

AMERICA’S NEW SWEETHEART
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number four and your new Jennifer Lawrence is…Shailene Woodley. She’s got the critical acclaim and now a one-two punch of box office success with a franchise (Divergent) and now a romantic drama. It would have been two franchises, but her role as Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was cut. Right now there’s someone at Sony combing through her contract to see if she’s obligated to come back for fear of losing his job.

PRETTY WOMAN SUCKED THEN AND SUCKS NOW
Speaking of Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men Days of Future Past is down to number six and it’s no accident her role was bumped up or that she and Hugh Jackman are the most prominent on the poster. This actually gives her two franchises in addition to the prestige stuff she keeps getting Oscar nominations for. It’s good there’s a new Jennifer Lawrence as she’s moving on to be the new Julia Roberts, that all-encompassing movie star who can’t fail. Except she can actually act.

NOTHING MORE LEFT TO BE SAID
Godzilla is down number seven, A Million Ways to Die in The West is down to number eight and Neighbors is down to number nine.

IRON CHEF?
Chef finally drops a notch to ten and is probably coming to the end of its noble little run. You done good, Jon (he’s also behind the TV adaptation of About A Boy, which will be coming back). Hope you made a little loot and learned a lesson.

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LORD OF THE REALLY CUTE FLIES

26 Mar

1. The Hunger Games/LiongsGate            Wknd/$ 155.0           Total/$ 155.0

2. 21 Jump Street/Sony                                Wknd/$  21.3            Total/$    71.1

3. The Lorax/Universal                                Wknd/$  13.1             Total/$ 177.3

4. John Carter/Disney                                  Wknd/$   5.0             Total/$   62.3

5. Act of Valor/Relativity                              Wknd/$    2.1            Total/$   65.9

6. Project X/Warners                                     Wknd/$    2.0           Total/$   51.8

7. A Thousand Words/Paramount              Wknd/$    1.9            Total/$   14.9

8. October Baby/Goldcrest                           Wknd/$    1.7            Total/$     1.7

9. Safe House/Universal                                Wknd/$    1.4            Total/$  122.6

10.Journey 2: Mysterious Island/WB            Wknd/$    1.4          Total/$    97.2

LIKE GOSSIP GIRL BUT WITH WEAPONS

The Hunger Games opens at number one and I have no interest in this on any level. Not the books and certainly not the movie.  Why? I simply can’t get beyond it being kids.  Seriously. I can handle my adult-on-adult arena violence just fine, but you tell me children are being forced to fight to the death and I’m out.  This is essentially the same premise as the successful Battle Royale manga (Japanese comics) series from Japan and I got through maybe four pages of that in its all its bloody black-and-white glory before putting it down.  It also spawned a film that I will never see.  I don’t even care that it’s 20-somethings playing teenagers, it’s still kids.  So you have fun.  I’ll be over here waiting for The Avengers to come out.

BONER KILLER

21 Jump Street is down to number two and I was getting perilously close to actually seeing this—but then I think of looking at Jonah Hill for 90 minutes and the feeling goes away.

STICK TO WHAT YOU’RE GOOD AT, SON

The Lorax is down to number three, followed by John Carter at number four, and Disney has already written this off as a flop despite the fact that it’s doing well overseas.  It’d be hysterical to find out director Andrew Stanton had no control over overseas marketing. That would put the final nail in the coffin of him ever having this much control over a live-action film again.  But you know what?  Given he directed Finding Nemo and Wall-E, I don’t want him wasting another second with live action.  This needs to die and go away as quickly as possible, so stop it, France!

UGLY AMERICANS

Act of Valor actually holds at number five and has made 3x its cost meaning it’s not only profitable, but pretty much guarantees a sequel.  Unsurprisingly this hasn’t done well at all overseas. Actually, I’m surprised they even tried. How on earth could you sell what is basically an unvarnished celebration of the US Military in other countries?  Yeah, Transformers, Top Gun, Battleground LA, etc were all celebrations too, but those were hidden behind drama and aliens.  This might as well be called “How We Kick Your Asses All Over The World, Foreigners.” Even Captain America was a superhero WWII movie more than anything.

NOT CRACKING IS NOT AN EXCUSE

Project X is down to number six, followed by A Thousand Words at number seven and to show you the bullshit about disparate ages between men and women crosses color lines, Eddie Murphy is 50 and playing his wife in this is Kerry Washington (the girl you call when Nia Long is busy) who is 35.  And don’t tell me Eddie doesn’t look his age. That’s not the point. Angela Bassett (who was once his love interest in the miserable A Vampire in Brooklyn) doesn’t look her age either, but she’s not being given a job playing his wife.  Though in this case it may be a mercy.

GOD LIKES GUNS, BUT NOT BOOBS

Opening at number eight is October Baby, yet another one of those Christian movies that shows up in the top ten from time to time. Last year it was Christian Cops and earlier this year it was Christian Firefighters.  This one is Christian…Children?  I dunno.   Basically it’s one long anti-abortion ad.  I won’t call it “pro-life” because that’s bullshit. People who fight the death penalty are “pro-life.”  This is about an adopted girl who discovers that her medical problems are the result of being the survivor of an attempted abortion by her biological mother.  Wow. Could you stack the deck any more than that?  “Abortion is so evil, even when it doesn’t happen a life is still damaged!” Sigh. I’m not even remotely surprised this was made in my hometown of Birmingham.  Keep it classy, Alabama!  Normally, I really don’t care about these movies, because everybody deserves something made for them.  I’m also glad these people have finally made their own so they can stop bitching about how horrible Hollywood is and stop that hypocritical bullshit where they edit out movies they’re clearly interested in under the guise of “inappropriate material.”  Funny how they care so much  about their morality so much they’ll edit a film that isn’t theirs but don’t care so much about morality they simply won’t give it up altogether.  That’s taking a stand for your beliefs. Cutting the nudity out of Titanic is not. Oh, and “cleaning up” a movie almost never requires taking out the violence.

OUR SHITTY MOVIES BEAT YOUR SHITTY MOVIES

Safe House is down to number nine, followed by Journey 2: Mysterious Island this stunningly has made a shitload of money.  With a $79M budget it made $97M stateside and a whopping  $207 million internationally, showing we don’t need the military to take over the world. We’ve already done it with our crappy movies.

MORE PROOF THAT MARKETING IS A CON ARTIST INDUSTRY

Once again, it’s wonderful how the TV season never really ends and this week it was Bent, the second most horribly marketed product of the year (#1 of course being John Carter).  You wouldn’t know it by any of the commercials or ads on buses or phone booths, but this is essentially a romantic comedy about a contractor and the woman he’s working for. Now the review I read was not kind. It complained of all the clichés present and they are definitely here.  She’s an uptight lawyer with a cute 10-year-old daughter, slutty sister and a husband in jail for insider trading. Seriously. Not an original concept to be seen, but we’re not done.  He’s a laid back, surfing, skirt-chasing, recovering addict (gambling which isn’t as messy or unappealing as drugs or booze) contractor with a wacky dad and wacky construction crew.  But if clichés made a show bad then both Modern Family and Arrested Development are bad because they’re just about wacky families. It’s the execution that matters, because there’s no such thing as a new idea and the execution is not bad on this show. One thing that won me over immediately was a) no laugh track, which slows down the jokes to wait for the audience to laugh and b) everyone has a brain.  While the exchanges aren’t a Modern Family or even Happy Endings level of swiftness, they’re still a cut above your average sitcom.  Even the WASPy Ralph Bellamy doctor boyfriend meant to be the rival (like I said, not a cliché left unturned) gives as good as he gets.  And the cast is solid with TV vets young and old including Arrested Development’s own Jeffery Tambour, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s JB Smoove and Friday Night Lights Jesse Plemons.  Not that you’d know this from one of the worse promotions ever.  I mean, what the fuck is that title supposed to mean!?!  Given he’s a contractor shouldn’t it have been a play on that, like “Under Construction” or something?  And honestly, this is barely a 90-minute movie plot, much less something that runs indefinitely. Unless the joke was going to be that he never finishes her house like Elton on Murphy Brown.  But honestly, this was doomed the moment they cast Amanda Peet as the lead.  No matter how prestigious or a seeming sure thing the project may be, if she’s in it, it’s not gonna work.  The only way it could have been more fated for failure is if they’d cast Rena Sofer.

SATURDAY NIGHT MILD FEVER

So I broke with my usual tradition or drinking at home alone and accomplishing nothing of what I set out to do and went out on Saturday night.  Into the wilds of Brooklyn.  And when I mean “wilds” I mean the fucking wilds as I wound up on the G train at one point.  One of the geek girls I met while working at St. Mark’s Comics is now in a band (basically she’s doing all the shit you’re supposed to do in your 20’s) where she plays the saw. Yes, the saw. It sounds like a Theremin and if you don’t know what that is do an internet search and watch some science fiction movies from the 50’s ‘cause I don’t have the time.  I get invites all the time, but this time I decided to get off my ass and support one of my friends (this doesn’t mean I’m going to do it for you).  Of course when I finally decide to do this I learn it’s in Greenpoint.  Not even Williamsburg, but Greenpoint.  Since we were headed out that way my friend and I decided to have dinner out there first.  This lead to an internet search for something nearby and comforting. I’m not going to be testing the waters of exotic in Brooklyn.  I chose Mabel’s Stackhouse, which is a bbq place in Williamsburg with some decent reviews, but me being me forgot to get the right stop before I left home. Once on the L I decided the best thing to do would be to get off on the stop where all the young people got off.  Sure enough when I saw everyone under 30 to exiting the train, I followed and the restaurant was only a few blocks away.  I’m not a connoisseur of BBQ, but I am southern so that makes my opinion more valid than 99% of everyone else above the Mason Dixon line and this was some good stuff. Definitely better than my first go round at Southern Hospitality, the place backed by Justin Timberlake.  I got the rib platter and it was tender and came easily off the bone.  The size was a little small, but I’m about portion control these days so it worked out. After dinner we got one of cars that are now legally allowed to pick you up which is a good thing because there are no fucking cabs to be found and we were headed into the wastelands.  The club was actually a bar whose backroom had the tables removed and pool table pushed into the corner. There was no elevated bandstand putting the bands flat on the floor to perform.  Because I’m old I was immediately disappointed I didn’t have anywhere to sit. Not to mention you’re killing your opportunity to have people order drinks.  The bands were supposed to start at 8:30 and my friend’s band was third up, which means they’d be lucky to be on at 11:30 which about when they went up and I was pleasantly surprised by them being good. It’s always a gamble to see a friend’s band because if they suck (and they usually do) what do you say? “Um, you were really…on stage…playing.”  But they were energetic, tight and the songs actually had melody.  Oh, and they had a saw.  But more than anything, this frees me from ever having to see them again. My obligation has been met.  Still, this doesn’t mean I’m going to see you.