Tag Archives: amanda peet

JUST DIE ALREADY

18 Feb

awap

1. A Good Day to Die Hard/Fox                Wknd/$  25.0            Total/$  33.1

 2. Identity Thief/Universal                        Wknd/$  23.7            Total/$  71.0

 3. Safe Haven/Relativity                             Wknd/$  21.5            Total/$  30.3

 4. Escape From Planet Earth/Wein          Wknd/$  15.9            Total/$  15.9

 5. Warm Bodies/Summit                             Wknd/$   8.8            Total/$  50.1

 6. Beautiful Creatures/Warners                 Wknd/$   7.6             Total/$    7.6

 7. Side Effects/ORF                                       Wknd/$   6.3             Total/$   19.1

 8. Silver Linings Playbook/Wein                Wknd/$   6.0            Total/$  98.4

 9. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters             Wknd/$   3.5            Total/$  49.7

10. Zero Dark Thirty/Sony                             Wknd/$   3.0            Total/$  87.9

 

IT COULD BE WORSE; IT COULD BE ANOTHER LETHAL WEAPON

To no one’s surprise, A Good Day To Die Hard opens at number one and the title couldn’t be any more appropriate because this franchise is dying very hard, with every chapter being more inept than the one before it.  Though to be fair, I’d put Live Free or Die Hard before either this or Die Hard With A Vengeance, despite all the CGI and the sight of Bruce Willis beating a jet unarmed.  I’d be hard pressed to think of a sequel more utterly clueless about what made the original films so successful.  It seems to think that Bruce Willis wisecracking and killing people is all you need, but in their defense all of us still going to see these prove them right somewhat.  Then again $33M opening for a 20-year-old franchise is actually kind of weak.  Let me put it this way: Skyfall opened at almost three times this gross and Wreck It Ralph made more its second week.  What made John McClane so exceptional was that he was a reluctant hero. In Die Hard he tries the best he can to avoid taking on the bad guys.  Even the weak Live Free or Die Hard got this character point right.  Not here. Here, there’s much talk of “going out and killing” scumbags because that’s what their family does. He also used to bleed. Now McClane is nearly indestructible, crawling out of devastating car crashes literally without a scratch.  This is clearly meant to hand over the franchise to literally John McClane Jr, but this poor actor has none of Bruce Willis’s charm and the script does nothing to help him.  We ran the “McClane’s kids hate him” idea into the ground the last time and like last time we really don’t bother getting into why. When your dad heroically saves your mom twice, it’d be nice to know why you and your sister resent him so, other than he “worked all the time.”  It’s not like he was out busting jaywalkers.  He’s got the best reason possible.  Last time he literally saved the whole damn country, which as a CIA agent, Jr. would know better than anyone.  But  here Jr. just seems like an asshole and Sr is giving him stiff competition in a script that does all it can to also drain Willis of his natural charm. These are your heroes and you don’t really like either one of them.  The best comparison I can make is that Die Hard is a 2+ hour movie that you don’t want to end, while A Good Day To Die Hard is a 98 minute movie that seems like it will never end.

 

LIKE DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN

Identity Thief drops to number two and also in this is Amanda Peet and you know she’s got to be chafing over Allison Williams being heralded as some kind of beauty when she looks just like Amanda Peet who got none of this kind of fanfare even when she was the “Hot New Thing” running around topless with Bruce Willis in The Whole Nine Yards.  Let Amanda Peet’s career be a cautionary tale for you, Allison Williams. One day you’re making movies with Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher, next you’re playing thankless “wife” roles to men who aren’t big enough stars to be able to command younger actresses.  Though her show Bent last year was a very funny series that should have been a very funny 90-minute movies. Seriously, how’d they plan to have her romance with her handyman stretch out over the years of a TV show?

 

BUT SHE’S DIFFERENT!

Speaking of franchises that need to die, Save Haven opens at number three and this is the latest from the Nicholas Sparks franchise of complete crap.  These are romance novels for the same people who think 50 Shades of Gray is hot.  I will give him this much: Sparks flat out said he started writing these books to make money and nothing but.  So I respect him as a capitalist but despise him as both a writer and human being for continuing to pump this dreck out. He’s got to have enough money by now. He can stop but chooses not to.  These movies have been become the romantic equivalent of a horror movie or family film: a vehicle for actors who need a boost because they come with a built in audience. No one is clamoring to see Josh Duhamel, who is basically the dumb person’s Timothy Olyphant and almost no one knows who Julianne Hough is, despite Ryan Seacrest’s attempt to buy her a career.  Ask William Randolph Hearst how that worked out.  She’s thin, cute and blonde? You don’t say! Can’t be too many of them in Hollywood.

 

THE DAY THE KIDS WOULD BE STILL

Escape From Planet Earth opens at number four and when you can’t float a CGI animated kids science fiction film, you may need to call it a day.  This couldn’t look more unappetizing and clearly no kids were clamoring to see it.  Even parents who desperately needed a place to park their kids for 90 minutes gave it a pass.  In a world where the miserable Ice Age franchise is on its fifth installment and the odious Madagascar has reached three, that’s saying something.

 

ZOMBIES VS. WITCHES

Warm Bodies is down to number five, followed by Beautiful Creatures opening at number six and guess what isn’t going to be the next Twilight?  This goes on the heap with all the other Young Adult literature franchise books that have failed to make it onscreen.  This one is apparently about witches as opposed to vampires and they’ve got no one but themselves to be blame because the ads didn’t tell you anything. No hint of a story, character, nothing. Just some young girl is going to become powerful with two slumming Oscar-winning English actors trying to make you think it’s not just total teen crap. Even Twilight sold you the idea of a young girl in a small town who meets a mysterious stranger who turns out to be a vampire.  This seemed to think that “Hey, we’re a successful book series” was going to be enough to put butts in seats and it wasn’t.  And maybe it’s not time for witches. The Secret Circle failed on TV just last year. That’s a successful book series too. Maybe its failure should have been a clue.

 

NATURE VS. NURTURE

Side Effects is down to number seven and Catherine Zeta-Jones disappeared so completely after winning her Oscar for Chicago every appearance seems like a novelty.  Maybe after seeing what happened to Michael Douglas’s other kid and his brother she decided to be a full-time mom to try and overcome the Douglas DNA.  Oh, shut up. You know it’s true.

 

LAST CHANCE

Silver Linings Playbook is down to number eight and I know this is my last week to see it before the Oscars. I’ll get to it. I promise.

 

IT’S CALLED A PATRIARCHY, KIDS

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is down to number nine and after seeing Beautiful Creatures tank and this succeed ($150M worldwide from a $50M) I’m now seriously convinced that people don’t want to see witches unless they’re dying.  Let’s pretend we don’t notice that witches tend to be very powerful women.

 

MOMENTS BEFORE ASCENSION

Finally, Argo closes out the top ten at the top ten. Next time this week it’ll be the “Oscar-winning Argo.”

 

HOLY ROSE COLORED GLASSES

In the 80’s Frank Miller’s reimagining of Batman in The Dark Knight Returns along with The Watchmen made comics history with over a million dollars in sales and an overall change in the tone of comics.  Darker, edgier elements had begun creeping in before then (a hero as light as The Flash already had to deal with angel dust and a murdered wife), but these works showed it could also enormously profitable for an audience who regularly mistake sex and violence for maturity like most teenagers—or grown men trapped emotionally as teenagers, which is the bulk of the comic reading audience.  A wave of darkness overtook almost every character but none so much as Batman who hasn’t been the same since.  He stopped being simply a “darker” superhero and more often than not became a borderline psychotic taking out his emotional trauma on criminals while apparently secretly preparing for the day he’d have to take out Superman and any other superhero who actually believed in due process. Nonetheless, it remains a brilliant interpretation of the character and the only real question is why it took this long for Warners Animated division to finally adapt it.  On the plus side they were smart enough to realize that they couldn’t do it justice in the required 80 minute run time for all animated direct to video features and split it into two films.  On the other hand, the luxury of time exposes many of the flaws of both the work and the people adapting it.  Simply because comics are a primarily visual medium and actually look like storyboards for a film doesn’t mean that they are.  Comics are no more movies than books are movies and likewise need to be adapted and translated, not copied directly.  There’s precious little adaptation and translation going on here and things that would have served the story better like the first person narration from many of the characters have been dropped, while the brief, brutal battle with Superman from the comics is dragged out by giving Batman a super-suit so he can go toe-to-toe with Superman as they throw wrecking balls at one another.  Then there are the problems with the original work itself. As a kid I could only see the most obvious, like how everyone who disagrees with Batman’s black-and-white view of crime is weak and wrong, but as an adult am can now see the homophobia (The Joker is made disturbingly effeminate) and misogyny (Superman’s first love, Lana Lang, is now an overweight talking head on TV, while Catwoman is an overweight whore, literally).  They should no more have been included than the racism, homophobia and misogyny of Frank Miller than they should of any writer when their work is transferred to the screen. Of course I had to pull the book out and it still stands up flaws and all, but there was a better adaptation done in a five-minute segment on the 90’s Batman animated series.

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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.