Tag Archives: Amazing Spider-Man

LULLABY OF BIRDMAN

7 Dec

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1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1        Wknd/$ 21.6   Total/$ 257.7
2. Penguins of Madagascar/Fox                     Wknd/$ 11.1    Total/$ 49.6
3. Horrible Bosses 2/WB                                 Wknd/$ 8.6     Total/$ 36.1
4. Big Hero 6/Disney                                        Wknd/$ 8.1     Total/$ 177.5
5. Interstellar/Paramount                               Wknd/$ 8.0     Total/$ 158.7
6. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal             Wknd/$ 4.2     Total/$ 78.1
7. The Theory of Everything/Focus               Wknd/$ 2.7     Total/$ 13.6
8. Gone Girl/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 1.5     Total/$ 162.9
9. The Pyramid/Fox                                          Wknd/$ 1.4     Total/$ 1.4
10. Birdman/FoxS                                             Wknd/$ 1.2     Total/$ 18.9

WHY BOTHER READING WHEN IT WILL BE ONSCREEN NEXT WEEK?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 holds at number one and the continuing success of these Young Adult novel adaptations in pretty much every category (drama, romance, science fiction) has resulted in the odd bit of rational response as the numerous failures are treated as individuals rather than a sign the entire genre is a running down. This isn’t how corporate execs normally think. When their vampire or superhero film fails they immediately think that the whole genre is coming to a close rather than accept they just screwed the property up. Percy Jackson, Eragon, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Ender’s Game, I Am Number Four, Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy, Blood & Chocolate Milk, Inkheart, The Host, The Mortal Bones, etc, just blew it, period, because the audience is still clearly very much here.

LEARNING IS FOR SUCKERS
Penguins of Madagascar holds at number two which on one hand is good because it’s a decent movie and deserves success and this hopefully will inspire Dreamworks not to suck so much. On the other hand it’s bad because they never learn and this will inadvertently result in another awful Madagascar film. You’d think watching Disney make money and win awards constantly would give them motivation to do better, but you’d be wrong. And don’t even get me started on the no-talents that make the Ice Age movies.

WILLIAM SHATNER IS STILL FUNNIER THOUGH
Horrible Bosses 2 actually rises to number three which means that grownups desperately wanted something light to watch. All that’s out there right now are Oscar bait dramas and movies for kids and teenagers. Not to mention TV is going into reruns until the new year. They simply had no choice but see this weak sauce. Also in this is Chris Pine making smart moves to build a career outside of the lackluster Star Trek reboot. With something like this he gets to show range beyond being just a pretty boy leading man and the weight of the film doesn’t rest on him. It’s a win-win. But it felt familiar to me having just seen him in Stretch were he plays another horrible boss in the form of a psychotic fare of desperate limo driver who needs one of the fare’s legendary tips to payoff a gambling debt. Pine actually punches himself there as he does here. Now that’s a weird coincidence. At least here you don’t see his (or possibly the stuntman’s) scrotum the way you do in Stretch, which I could have lived without.

YEAH, MORE SPOILERS FOR INTERSTELLAR
Big Hero 6 is down to number four, followed by Interstellar at number five and also in this as Matthew McConughey’s adult son is Casey Affleck which means both Affleck brothers have been in the top ten for the last month in Oscar bait films. Sadly the more successful, more talented brother got the good one. The other brother got Chris Nolan and a story wherein all mention of his character is missing at the end. Matthew McConughey gets to meet his daughter who’s been waiting in hypersleep for two years to see her father once more before she dies. But never once is her older brother mentioned by either her or McConughey. I understand that being older he would have naturally died first, but for McConughey’s character not to even ask about his son’s is as bad as him apparently having no interest in his grandchildren. Bear in mind part of the reason Affleck’s character loses faith in his dad is that his first child dies as the result of deteriorating conditions on earth and his sister actually has to start a fire as a distraction to save the second. It’s in this same scene she discovers mankind’s salvation? That kinda means he has to show up, right? Nope.

A GOOD MOVIE MAKING A LOT OF MONEY STILL STUNS ME
Dumb and Dumber To is down to number six followed by The Theory of Everything at number seven and at number eight with the other Affleck brother, Gone Girl, still here after over two months and holding at number eight for two weeks which is good news for nominations because it means the film hasn’t faded from memory. It’s also good for the box office because this film has grossed $163M from a $63M budget domestically alone. Worldwide it’s $336M, which means more grown up best-selling novels will be adapted into films too. Maybe all those other books that had women in red coats on the cover. You know there’s someone in Hollywood dumb enough to think that way. And he’s making more money than you or me.

ALL MOVIES MUST BE MADE WITH ME IN MIND
The Pyramid opens at number nine and unfortunately the “found footage” genre is also benefitting from being seen as individual films so their failures also aren’t view as signs the whole damn genre needs to die, because it really, really does. I know that seems unfair, but I don’t care. They’re mostly garbage and they make me nauseous with all that camera movement. Not to mention they’re mostly horror films and since I don’t do the scary it’s no big loss for me. And who makes a movie about a pyramid without mummies anyway? Dummy.

IRONICALLY ROBIN WOULD BE THE PERFECT SIDEKICK FOR THIS GUY
Birdman closes out the top ten at number ten and I finally got off my ass and saw it…and it was okay. The crisis of a man trying to put on a show (or make a film) and slowly falling apart is a genre to itself and while this isn’t a bad one, it’s not exactly new either. I believe the filmmakers are aware of this which is why I think they chose a different technique to its approach as it’s done as a series of long takes, ostensibly making the film look like just one long giant shot. It’s befitting the film as it’s about Broadway, which means actors basically had to act like they would onstage, with each scene going on for 10-15 minutes straight. Michael Keaton is an actor best known for playing a superhero called Birdman, which made him a global superstar. Get it? He played Batman (which when adjusted for inflation is still #50 in the biggest films of all time, on the list that includes Gone With The Wind, Godfather, Gone With The Wind, Titanic and Star Wars). But no one really identifies him as Batman, do they? If anything Beetlejuice has stuck with him more. Christian Bale is Batman now and Affleck’s about to replace him. In any case the actor Keaton portrays has put all his money into a Broadway show he wrote directed and stars in based on a Raymond Carver novel and it’s causing him to unravel to the point where the character of Birdman is always talking to him and he hallucinates having superpowers. Not helping is the added pressure of a prima donna actor constantly pushing him and Keaton trying to bond with his daughter who’s fresh out of rehab and working as his assistant. The pretentious actor is perfectly played by Edward Norton in a clearly parody of Norton’s reputation as such. I’d give him credit for being so willing to be in on the joke if I didn’t know somewhere at this very moment he’s actually patting his own back for the same thing. Add to this a needy female lead (who is in fact the pretentious actor’s girlfriend), a co-star girlfriend who may or may not be pregnant (who hooks up with the female lead) and Broadway’s most powerful critic who doesn’t appreciate Hollywood coming to their sacred land and you’ve got a ticking time bomb of a man’s psyche and boom it does go by the end with plenty of tiny detonations along the way. The biggest irony of this is that his performance in this film may do for Michael Keaton what the show is supposed to for his character. In fact there are many levels of irony at work and I’ve no doubt that they were all intentional as the writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hates superhero franchises and yet has as his main stars people associated with some of the biggest (Batman, Avengers, Spider-Man). This is a well put-together plan.

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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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ACTION IS HIS REWARD!

5 May

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1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2/Sony                      Wknd/$ 92.0   Total/$ 92.0
2. The Other Woman/Fox                                        Wknd/$ 14.2    Total/$ 47.3
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier               Wknd/$ 7.8      Total/$ 237.1
3. Heaven is for Real/TriStar                                   Wknd/$ 8.7      Total/$ 65.6
5. Rio 2/Fox                                                                 Wknd/$ 7.6      Total/$ 106.5
6. Brick Mansions/Relativity                                   Wknd/$ 3.5      Total/$ 15.5
7. Divergent/LGF                                                        Wknd/$ 2.1      Total/$ 142.7
8. The Quiet Ones/LGF                                             Wknd/$ 2.0      Total/$ 6.7
9. God’s Not Dead/Free                                            Wknd/$ 1.8       Total/$ 55.6
10 Grand Budapest Hotel/FoxSearch                    Wknd/$ 1.7       Total/$ 51.5

UNLIKE NEW COKE THIS ACTUALLY WORKED
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens at number one and before we begin I’m going to drop some geek knowledge on you. The Amazing Spider-Man is the name of the comic book that started in 1962 (there’s a joke in the movie referring to 1961 for this reason, but obviously incorrect). Ultimate Spider-Man is the name of a new “updated” Spider-Man that started in 2000. And by “updated” I mean Uncle Ben had ponytail and 15-year-old Peter Parker’s job at the Daily Bugle is working on their website, not taking photos. It’s set in a different universe than the regular book where Peter Parker grew up and married Mary Jane (but then their marriage was dissolved when the Editor In Chief had the Devil destroy it; no, I’m not kidding), which still exists. The first Spider-Man trilogy was based more on the original Spider-Man from 1962, while this reboot was based more on the 2000 Ultimate Spider-Man. This doesn’t matter to you people, but to those of us who know it’s a little odd seeing traditional elements like the relationship with Gwen Stacy with the modern elements of Peter Parker’s dad being a scientist that worked with Norman Osborn (in the regular comic Spider-Man’s parents worked for SHIELD). In fact as the film opens we see him and his wife dying in a plane crash engineered by Norman Osborn (it was a plane crash for the SHIELD Agents too, but nothing more). It’s part of plot that makes Spider-Man closer to both Batman (avenging lost parents) and Superman (superpowered legacy of a scientist), but honestly he didn’t need it and it’s not why I enjoyed this film. No, I enjoyed it because this “got” Spider-Man better than any of the previous films did, due in no small part to Andrew Garfield’s performance. When in costume, Peter Parker is a straight up wise-ass that’s pure NYC (Queens, to be exact). That’s something Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi never fully accomplished, while I think they got Peter Parker right. Also, advance word of disappointment seriously lowered my expectations which helps almost every film, because when I hear it’s bad I fully expect to see the boom mike swing down and people staring at the camera. That’s obviously not the case here and while they do spend a little too much time trying to set up a franchise rather than make a single effective film, it still manages to shine through.

YOU’VE GOT ENOUGH GIFTS THERE ALREADY, SWEETIE.
The Other Woman is down to number two and I was going to let it go because she’s a kid and I think she’s sweet (you know you’re getting old when rather than ogle the hot swimsuit model you just look at her ago “Awww, she’s precious.”), but since Kate Upton has brought up her butt and how people should pay more attention to it, let’s get real: she ain’t got one, which is why that clip of Cameron Diaz freaking out over its perfection is ridiculous. Then again Cameron Diaz ain’t got no booty either so maybe it was big to her. But in the sad tradition of models since the late 60’s, below the waist, Kate Upton is built like a 12-year-old boy, possessing neither waist nor booty, showing you just how much illusion goes into swimsuit photography.

LIKE THE SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK SONG
Heaven Is For Real is hanging around at number three and I’d mention that “3” is traditionally number of luck, but that’s a pagan belief and I know the audience for this would hate that.

NOTHING ENDURES MORE THAN THE LUST OF A 13-YEAR-OLD BOY
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is down to number four and also in this is Jenny Agutter who is part of the UN Council that runs SHIELD (so why people keep insisting it’s American is beyond me), but best known for taking a generation of boys into adulthood in the early 70’s thanks to a willingness to disrobe. Geeks like me know her best from Logan’s Run in 70’s fashions that basically left her nude. Sigh. The 70’s….

WU TANG FOREVER
Rio 2 is down to number five followed by Brick Mansions at number six and I will never stop being amused at The RZA in movies, well after the Wu Tang Clan’s peak, which is when most rappers go Hollywood. It’s like he’s old enough not to give a crap any longer and does what he likes. If the name of the group wasn’t a clue, The RZA is down seriously with martial arts which is why it comes a no surprise he’s in this particular film. Now being on Californication? That I can’t explain. Or forgive.

SON OF A MAN CALLED HORSE
Divergent actually rises to number seven followed by The Quiet Ones down to number eight and in this as the scientist getting in over his head by toying with the supernatural is Jared Harris who looks just like his dad, the late great Richard Harris, but only the older Richard Harris. Unfortunately, he got none of dad’s young, blonde glory.

LAZARUS…BECAUSE I’M TOO SCARED TO SAY THE OTHER GUY
God’s Not Dead rises back into the top then, thanks it seems to that heaven movie. I guess you could say it was “resurrected.” Please don’t kill me, Christian crazies.

HAUNTING ME
Also returning in The Grand Budapest Hotel and if this continues I’ll have no choice but to see it.

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