Tag Archives: American Hustle


3 Feb


 1. Ride Along/Universal               Wknd/$  12.3            Total/$   93.0

 2. Frozen/Disney                           Wknd/$   9.3             Total/$ 360.0

 3. That Awkward Moment           Wknd/$   9.0             Total/$     9.0

 4. The Nut Job/ORF                      Wknd/$   7.6             Total/$   50.2

 5. Lone Survivor/Universal          Wknd/$    7.2            Total/$  104.9

 6. Jack Ryan/Par                            Wknd/$   5.4             Total/$   39.0

 7. Labor Day/Paramount              Wknd/$   5.3              Total/$     5.3

 8. American Hustle/Sony             Wknd/$   4.3              Total/$  133.6

 9. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par     Wknd/$   3.6             Total/$  104.1

10. I, Frankenstein/LGF                 Wknd/$   3.5              Total/$    14.5


It’s Super Bowl weekend and I’m sick so let’s rip though this…



Ride Along holds at number one and is actually about to hit $100M so it’s time to call it: Kevin Hart is a star.  Yeah, I d0n’t understand either.



Frozen rises up again to number two and my confusion continues. Then I realize I’m an old man and this isn’t for me anyway. It’s like that utterly clueless conversation your parents had about rap.



That Awkward Moment opens at number three and given this only cost $8M to make it’s not that big a disappointment and may have actually bought Zach Efron a few extra minutes, as his 15 had pretty much expired.  You think he and Vanessa Hudgens call each other in the middle of the night and wonder what they’re doing wrong?  They do the family friendly mainstream stuff and they do the edgy indie stuff but the result turns out the same: no one cares. Hudgens is even taking off her shirt and still no one cares.



The Nut Job is down to number four, followed by Lone Survivor at number five, and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit down to number six and while this is disappointing domestically, overseas it has made almost double its domestic take which suggests that Chris Pine is the new Jean Claude VanDamme.  Yeah, that’s gotta hurt.



Labor Day opens at number seven and doesn’t this just scream, “based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks?” It looks awful. Seriously, awful.  Apparently everyone had bills to pay and there were no porn shoots open.



American Hustle is down to number eight, followed by The Wolf of Wall Street at number nine and none other than Rob Reiner shows up here as Leonardo DiCaprio’s dad.  Yeah, Meathead in a Scorsese film.  I think Scorsese does this just to mess with the minds of actors and give them a false sense of hope when the reality is Reiner got this because everyone loves The Princess Bride.



Finally, I, Frankenstein closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Bill Nighy who elevates pretty much anything he appears in. This is no exception.





26 Jan


 1. Ride Along/Universal                              Wknd/$  21.2            Total/$   75.4

 2. Lone Survivor/Universal                        Wknd/$  12.1            Total/$   93.6

 3. The Nut Job/ORF                                    Wknd/$  12.3            Total/$   40.3

 4. Frozen/Disney                                           Wknd/$   9.0           Total/$ 347.8

 5. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit/Par            Wknd/$   8.8           Total/$   30.2

 6. I, Frankenstein/LGF                                Wknd/$   8.3            Total/$     8.3

 7. American Hustle/Sony                            Wknd/$   7.1             Total/$  127.0

 8. August: Osage County/Weinstein         Wknd/$   5.0            Total/$    26.5

 9. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                   Wknd/$   5.0            Total/$    98.0

10. Devil’s Due/Fox                                        Wknd/$   2.8           Total/$    12.9



Ride Along holds the number one spot which I’m thinking Ice Cube appreciates more than Kevin Hart given it’s been a long time since he made money at the movies playing anything more than a dad with a ruff exterior but with a heart of gold and it’s not like he’s selling albums…



Lone Survivor holds at number two followed by The Nut Job also holding at number three, but Frozen steps up to number four probably because kids who went to see The Nut Job last week told mom and dad they wanted to see Frozen again.  It’s also got a growing audience who see it as a metaphor for not just her emerging sexuality, but her homosexuality, because as you may notice, Elsa never winds up with a dude and one is never introduced for her. There are also some who read every tiny action as an example of feminism, from the accommodating male character to the fact that Elsa governs alone. Yes, art is subjective, but I think they’re looking for Atlantis in a puddle. In other words, it ain’t deep enough for all that.



Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit drops one notch to five and you know who comes across decently? Kevin Costner.  It seems he’s finally adjusted to this “lion in winter” stage of his career and it makes sense he should given his biggest break was in someone else’s.  He was the young star for Sean Connery in The Untouchables two decades ago.  Now, between this and Man of Steel, he’s the mature male lead for the rising leading man (or rather would be if this weren’t tanking).  Lending instant legitimacy to the new guy as well as providing something for the moms to look at when they take their teenagers to the movies.



I, Frankenstein opens weakly at number six which is a great disappointment to me, because I enjoyed this silly, silly movie from the same people who brought you Underworld, which was also silly, silly fun combining classic monsters with CGI.  It’s more of the same: secret war to save all mankind that’s been going on for centuries and now there’s been discovered a man who will tip the balance for one side unless the other side finds out why that is.  This time however it’s the super-strong immortal creation of Frankenstein wanted by demons for their nefarious plan, while—and hang on now—it’s gargoyles representing the angels on Earth defending mankind. Yes, gargoyles.  No, I don’t know why that is other than they look awesome flying around and smashing demons that descend to hell in a red fireball when they go down, while gargoyles ascend to the heavens in a bolt of blue-white light.  Granted it’s not as fun as Underworld because, let’s face it, the sexy decadence of vampires is missing.  There’s a reason people never get tired of them and often want to be them. Reanimated patchwork , demons and gargoyles? Not so much.  Also missing are the solid characters that made Underworld feel so fleshed out.  Nearly every substantial speaking role was different from the next and you felt the weight of a story behind them even if were untold. Selene, Michael, Kraven, Viktor, Lucien.  Even the minor roles of the vampire gunsmith, the werewolf scientist and vampire scheming for advancement where are distinct and memorable.  Not so much here. Only two demons are different from the horde and mainly because one is played by the writer/producer Kevin Giroux.  The gargoyles are even worse. The queen wants to save the monster (who rejects the Frankenstein name) while her right hand wants to destroy him. That’s it. Black and white. There are two others that seem to have personalities but in their five minutes of screen time aren’t given a chance to distinguish themselves.  Even a potentially interesting aspect isn’t revealed until they “ascend” so there’s no exploration of it whatsoever. Still, it was more fun than freaking Shadow Recruit, which deserved its January graveyard release date aka fast track to April home video release date.  It’ll be sitting right next to I, Frankenstein I’m afraid.



American Hustle drops one to number seven followed by August: Osage County holding at number eight and The Wolf of Wall Street holding at number nine and while I find Jonah Hill personally repellant to the point where I avoid his films (along with his frequent co-star, Seth Rogen) as much as possible only making exceptions for major stuff like this, I cannot deny he’s very good here. He didn’t deserve a best supporting actor nod for Moneyball but he definitely earned it this time. Then again, he’s playing a complete jerk and based on his interviews (and one horrible story told to me by someone who dated him at a party that I will not repeat) there may not be a lot of acting is going on beyond the Noo Yawk accent.



Finally, Devil’s Due closes out the top ten at number ten and with a $19M return off a $7M budget you can be sure that there will be a Devil’s Due 2: Deadly Daycare!







21 Jan


 1. Ride Along/Universal                             Wknd/$  41.6            Total/$   41.6

 2. Lone Survivor/Universal                       Wknd/$  22.1            Total/$   72.9

 3. The Nut Job/ORF                                    Wknd/$  19.4            Total/$   19.4

 4. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit/Par           Wknd/$  15.6            Total/$   15.6

 5. Frozen/Disney                                          Wknd/$  11.9            Total/$ 332.5

 6. American Hustle/Sony                            Wknd/$   9.9            Total/$  115.7

 7. Devil’s Due/Fox                                         Wknd/$   8.4           Total/$     8.4

 8. August: Osage County/Weinstein         Wknd/$   7.4            Total/$    18.0

 9. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                   Wknd/$   7.1             Total/$   89.8

10. Her/WB                                                      Wknd/$   4.0           Total/$    15.0



Ride Along opens at number one as Kevin Hart’s star continues to ascend.  He’s just one solo film away from the comedic flavor of the month which will include a book according to Chris Rock’s book which came out he was the flavor of the month and he was told this by Jerry Seinfeld who knew for obvious reasons and I’m sure someone told him. While I enjoy Hart he’s one of those comedians where a little goes a loooooong way and second lead behind Ice Cube is still too much of him for me. Maybe third or fourth behind some kind of cute talking pet will work. Or better yet the voice of the villain’s sidekick in an animated movie. That I’d see. This, not so much. And if anyone says it’s an accomplishment for this to open at number one on Martin Luther King’s birthday, I’m gonna punch them in the fucking dick.



Lone Survivor drops to number two and this is a minor all-star cast behind Mark Wahlberg, starting with Hollywood’s Miss-It Boy of the last few years Taylor Kitsch (big movies, big bombs), Emile Hirsch (the guy you call when you can’t get Elijah Wood), Ben Foster (the guy you call when want a darker, less attractive Ryan Gosling) and Eric Bana (the guy you keep wondering why he didn’t become a star). No one is really a star, but when you see them you know them and this helps you to care about characters you otherwise wouldn’t. Especially when a film is called “Lone Survivor” and you know the name above will probably play that role.



The Nut Job opens at number three which is an accomplishment given how little promotion this thing got compared to the films of Disney and Dreamworks. I have no idea what this is even about and I think I saw one commercial.  Shows you just how much parents need these animated films to babysit their kids.  They don’t have to know or care a thing about it. They just need 90 minutes of peace.



Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens at number four and this is the second time Chris Pine has stepped into the shoes of a franchise (Star Trek being the first) and the second time, sadly, he pales in comparison to a predecessor and this is coming from someone who was not a fan of Harrison Ford’s painfully self-righteous Jack Ryan.  I’m comparing him to Alec Baldwin, who was the first and remains the best Jack Ryan. All I can say is that he’s better than the milquetoast Ben Affleck reboot (does anyone even remember he did it?).  I think it’s telling that the best one was a Cold War story and clearly someone else felt the same as Russia returns as a America’s “big bad” for this one.  Set in a post-9/11 America the new Cold War is conducted in the money markets and director and co-star Kenneth Brannagh is the latest Hollywood stock villain, the Russian Oligarch, who is set onto America because didn’t help Russia stop a Turkish oil pipeline. And that’s your first problem right here. Ryan isn’t even fighting the real bad guy.  He’s just a guy following orders.  At the very least Brannagh should have been a rogue Russian businessman setting off to do this without his government’s approval. The other problem is for an action thriller it’s not that thrilling and there’s very little action.  A good 20 minutes is wasted giving us the origin of Jack Ryan. You, know that 2-minute speech from Hunt From Red October?  Yeah, they heard the cries of absolutely no one and decided to show it complete with meeting his future wife.  Now, one of the best scenes from Hunt For Red October consisted of Alec Baldwin giving a briefing and you saw why Jack Ryan was good at his job.  No jumping, shooting or fighting and was still fun to watch.  Here he’s an analyst on Wall Street tracking terrorist funding and it’s as thrilling to watch as it sounds.  We’re not really shown why he’s good, but simply people keep telling us that he is and he spouts some technobabble that apparently no one else in the CIA can understand so he has to go into the field. Previously it was because he was expendable and no one believed him.  Here he’s clearly believed and supported which robs it of some drama as he’s not the underdog. He’s not even alone to fight for his life in Russia, where a dozen CIA show up to help in gunfights.  In sad way it compares to Pine’s role as Kirk where basically he just falls into command rather than earning it. Even the scene as we watch him putting information together doesn’t come off as all that special so much as common sense. In that respect it reminds you of TV shows were everyone is made a little dumb to the hero cop can seem smart.



Frozen falls to number five followed by American Hustle at number six and Devils Due, which opens at number seven. It’s yet another “found footage” about a woman who gets impregnated with the Anti-Christ while on her honeymoon.  Aside from my general disregard for these movies, the trailer strongly suggests that basically they were drugged by Satan’s minions and it’s captured by the camera, which means that if they’d just bothered to check their vacation footage all of this could have been avoided. I mean it’s still horrifying to be drugged by Satan’s minions then presumably raped by Satan himself, but then it could be dealt with early and not eight months later when a priest bleeds from his eyes.  And why does Satan need minions to drug a woman anyway? Seducing people is his job description. Probably the most horrific part of The Devil’s Advocate was that Al Pacino uses his satanic power to seduce Charlize Theron (thank god it’s offscreen, but just imagining the his tiny, creepy, old body climbing on top of her still gives me chills). In a truly more terrifying movie making use of the found footage, Satan would have assumed the husband’s form but they don’t know this happened until they see a honeymoon sex tape where a) it’s the husband, but clearly he didn’t shoot it, or b) either Satan’s true form is captured by the camera, or c) nothing is captured but you see her responding to something.  Though that’s still not as creepy as Al Pacino on top of Charlize Theron.



August: Osage County is down to number eight followed by The Wolf of Wall Street at number nine and I finally subjected myself to yet another overlong Scorsese paean to a sociopathic anti-hero who rises and falls yet rises again.  While on one hand, Scorsese is still obviously a great director and the story told is done well and interesting, it’s done for far too long and many of the techniques become tiresome. I realize the mantra of film is “show, don’t tell” but some things could just be told. I don’t need to see them all, least of all pretty much every single female in the cast doing full frontal nudity (the 13-year-old in me feels utterly betrayed at those words). Yeah, I get that the world of Wall Street is hyper masculine in a weird sort of overcompensation given they really don’t do anything we associate with actual manhood, like being a construction worker or athlete or a soldier, but does that mean you have to show every single instance of this especially when it’s sexual?  I got it when you graphically showed me hooker #1. I really didn’t need to be graphically shown hookers #2-500.  This movie seems to be for people who wanted another, longer GoodFellas but without all the violence.  Emphasis on the longer. There’s a scene where Leonardo DiCaprio, finally beginning to circle the drain on his lifestyle, has to get home on while on an overdose of Quaaludes, which while funny goes on for-freaking-ever and you wonder if that scene were just completely deleted how does the film change and what do we lose. It doesn’t and we don’t and the film is filled with many such scenes that don’t move it forward or tell us anything we don’t already know about the characters. Part of it is obviously Scorsese’s unfamiliarity with comedy It’s a common mistake for someone to overdo it. It makes an odd sort of sense because it took his usual partner in crime, DeNiro, years to learn restraint in comedy. Now he won’t freaking stop making them.



Finally, Her rises to the top ten and I have different reasons for dragging my feet on seeing different movies. For example: I love the Coen Brothers, but haven’t seen Inside Llewyn Davis yet because honestly I freaking hate folk music. Hate. It. I don’t care how good the movie is because it will subject me to that.  I know it’s crazy, but it’s me. Similarly my crazy reason for not having seen this is Joaquin Phoenix’s horrible porn ‘stache.  I cannot bring myself to look at that thing forty feet wide for two straight hours. I know I have to now, given it’s been nominated for some Oscars, but it may be the morning of the ceremony before I finally get around to it.



So Friday was the quarterly edition of our karaoke get-together and because somewhere down the line I was saddled with not just the organization but declaring a theme I decided this time it would be duets, which seemed like a good idea at the time and allowed me to make a poster based on the movie “2 Guns”, also mandated a lot of slower stuff which gets old fast so I opened it up to include rap duets. Again, this seemed like a good idea at the time until your realize just how frequently the word “nigga” is used and either your white friends feel awkward saying it or a little too comfortable saying it.  My own issues had nothing to do with tempo nor lyrics but the fact that a fucking cold hit me literally the night before. That my voice gets blown out by the end of karaoke is a given, but now it was seemingly over before it started. The final nail in the coffin: ½ price drinks ended with the summer. How the fuck are you supposed to sing without being a little looped!?! Well, I never found out given I’d ordered my two drinks before realizing the happy hour was no more and for some reason I thought if I just got beers from then on I’d be budgeting wisely.  I had…a few (I had no idea how much I’d consumed until I tried to get out bed in the middle of the night and failed miserably in my attempt to stand).  Of course karaoke is always fun, no matter how you limit your song choices or how weak your voice is so it turned out okay, but I can’t believe I forgot “Promiscuous Girl” which was perfect for the lower register. I always invite upwards of thirty people, but it always winds up being the same 7-8, though this time we actually hit 9. That we’ll actually get 10 people into the 10-person room remains on my bucket list. One of the guests is The 25-Year Old. She has a name but that’s what I call her to my therapist so it’s good enough. She may not even be 25 any longer, but still that’s what I call her.  She was a horrible mistake I half-heartedly tried to make for a while and I was nothing but amused to later learn where she once tended bar in Brooklyn, she had quite the fan club of bruthas. In any case she’s a geek girl so we still hang out occasionally and so she invited me to a show she had to attend for work on Saturday night. I only accepted because I was drinking and not thinking, because god knows leaving the house on Saturday night is not something I do, much less something she described as “like David Sedaris.”  When she texted me the details later I was amused to learn that the person’s name was Sam Harris, as I remembered the Sam Harris who was the first winner of Star Search with an over-the-top rendition of “Over The Rainbow” and whose career never took off after producing an abysmal single called “Sugar Don’t Bite.” It was in fact that Sam Harris.  Apparently he had a career doing theater after “Sugar Don’t Bite” and 3o years later he’d written a book about his life and had created an act around it, which was playing at Under 54, a dinner/lounge space under the Studio 54 Theater.  The 25 Year Old was surprised I knew so much about Sam Harris, but then again I was alive when it happened. She was not.  The show was entertaining, though his mannerisms and even the timing of his jokes were the exact same as Will’s from Will & Grace so the whole show had an air of familiarity about it.  He read selections from his book “Ham” interspersed with musical numbers. He reaccounted his first ventures into theater, his growing ambitions, his realization that he was “different” being gay and his resulting suicide attempt which was derailed by needing to help his little brother who’d stepped on a knitting needle. He was fortunate enough to finally encounter a teacher whom he could talk to and when he confessed he was gay, he [the teacher] reassured him there was nothing wrong with him. The climax was the adoption of his son with his husband and reconciliation with his father who apologized for not being there for Sam when he was a boy. I’m not crying! You’re crying! (one reason The 25 Year Old and I get along is that we’re not quite as moved when he cries onstage knowing that he does it every night, twice a night at the same passage)  But oddly enough there was nothing about the great recording career that never was, much less “Sugar Don’t Bite.” Now I always thought “Papa Don’t Preach” ripped off its main hook and The 25-Year-Old sent me a link to an interview where in addition to Sam Harris saying a lot of stupid shit about how he’d kill himself if he had to sing “Like A Virgin” for 30 years (we all know he’d kill for a hit like that) but he also mentioned the writers of  “Sugar Don’t Bite” felt it was similar as well, sued and got paid.  While the minimum cover of $25 for a less than impressive dinner was annoying, it was a nice night out and I think frees me from any future obligations to be social at least until spring.


12 Jan


1. Lone Survivor/Universal                        Wknd/$  38.5            Total/$   38.9

 2. Frozen/Disney                                         Wknd/$  15.1             Total/$ 317.7

 3. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                 Wknd/$   9.0            Total/$   78.6

 4. The Legend of Hercules/LGF               Wknd/$   8.6            Total/$     8.6

 5. American Hustle/Sony                          Wknd/$   6.6            Total/$  101.6

 6. The Hobbit 2/Warner                            Wknd/$   8.0           Total/$ 242.2

 7. August: Osage County/Weinstein       Wknd/$   7.3            Total/$     7.9

 8. Saving Mr. Banks/Disney                      Wknd/$   6.6            Total/$   68.9

 9. Paranormal Activity 4/Par                    Wknd/$   6.3            Total/$   28.5

10. Anchorman 2/Paramount                    Wknd/$   6.1            Total/$ 118.5



Lone Survivor opens at number one and I was all set to see this until I saw the words “directed by Peter Berg” and that was all she wrote. It’s bad enough he sits in the “all style no substance” category, but not only is his style not that stylish but he thinks he’s a director of merit and weight, telling god’s own truth and it drips off every freaking frame. I can only imagine how filled pretension this true story of courage, heroism and sacrifice is going to be. He’s Michael Bay if Michael Bay thought he was a filmmaker.  Dude, you made Battleship. A movie so bad it made Transformers look like Lord of the Rings.



Frozen is down to number two and we’ve talked about the women behind the voices but not the men who are played by…well, nobody. Seriously, who are these dudes? Never mind…



The Wolf of Wall Street rises to number three and I’d have something to say it finally if my alarm had gone off and I could have gone to the early show like I ‘d planned. I’ve got this weird thing about seeing movies with as few people as possible. My brief tenure as a critic has ruined me for sitting with…you people.  Also, I’m clearly not hot to see yet another 3-hour Scorsese exploration of an anti-hero, which is a fancy word of saying the main character is a jerk. Think about it. Raging Bull, GoodFellas, The Aviator, The Departed, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, etc.  He has zero interest in nice guys. The Last Temptation of Christ being the obvious exception that proves the rule.



Speaking of anti-heroes, we have the polar opposite in Hercules, whose legend gets yet another retelling in The Legend of Hercules opening at number four.  This time around he’s the hated son of a king who knows that Zeus impregnated his wife and is more than a little angry about it and taking it out on Hercules.  Somehow this results in Hercules becoming a gladiator, which doesn’t seem fair given he’s demi-god son of Zeus. I’ve got nothing against altering a legend but any movie about Hercules where he’s fighting men instead of monsters pretty much misses the point of Hercules. Even the schlocky Italian Hercules movies of the late 50’s, early 60’s knew that.  These guys clearly thought that the style of 300 (“Hey, it’s Ancient Greece, right? Do it like that.”) was the way to go, while the general public clearly disagreed. Next up: The Rock himself as Hercules this summer. I’d better see me some monsters.



American Hustle holds at number five followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at number six, while August: Osage County rises to number seven, starring Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper and a host of good actors…along with Julia Roberts. Oh, get over it. She sucks and you know it. I don’t know why they’re advertising this as some great team up between her and Meryl Streep. Streep is proof that Roberts is a movie star, not an actress.  If anything, making a movie with Streep should have been something Roberts avoided at all costs.  It’s like Janet Jackson wanting to record with Aretha Franklin.



Speaking of Meryl Streep, she made a little news this week dissing Walt Disney in favor of PL Travers, while introducing Emma Thompson who portrays the latter in Saving Mr. Banks, down to number seven this week. If she read my weekly rants like she’s supposed to she’d know they were both jerks and deserved one another.  Just because someone is talented and can entertain children doesn’t meant they’re a nice person. If anything it strongly indicates a dislike of other adults.  I’m sure if you dig deep enough you’ll find even Dr. Seuss probably killed a man in a bar over a bet…then finished his drink…and kicked a kitten.



Paranormal Activity is down to number nine and my joke about it dropping off the face to the earth in one week was not a dare, but clearly you people took it as one.



Finally and thankfully, Anchorman 2 closes out the top ten this week at number ten. Now maybe all those damn commercials will finally stop.





5 Jan


 1. Frozen/Disney                                            Wknd/$  18.2           Total/$ 297.8

 2. Paranormal Activity 4/Par                       Wknd/$  16.3           Total/$   18.2

 3. The Hobbit 2/Warner                               Wknd/$  16.3           Total/$ 229.6

 4. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                    Wknd/$  13.4           Total/$   63.3

 5. American Hustle/Sony                             Wknd/$  13.2           Total/$   88.7

 6. Anchorman 2/Paramount                        Wknd/$  11.1            Total/$ 109.2

 7. Saving Mr. Banks/Disney                         Wknd/$    9.1           Total/$   59.3

 8. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty/Fox       Wknd/$    8.2          Total/$   45.7

 9. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                       Wknd/$    7.4           Total/$ 407.5

10. The Grudge Match/Warner                     Wknd/$    5.4           Total/$   24.9



Apparently a young girl with magical powers just hit puberty (I’m not the only one who noticed that and they’re calling that scene her “first snowgasm”) because a cold snap has enveloped the nation and Frozen returns to the top spot. I had a brief conversation with an 8-year-old girl who was going to see it just this afternoon, so I’m thinking she helped push it over the top.  She also knew all about it before even having seen it and knew she’d like it, in case you’re wondering why this is doing so well.  She was giggling already at the thought of Olaf the snowman, who was in fact my favorite part of the movie. And no, I’m not some ogre who gave his unvarnished opinion to a child. When she’s 9, however, all bets are off!



Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones opens at number two and while this may seem a step down for the franchise, which usually opens at number one, it turned a profit immediately, which is actually par the course for this franchise. $18M from a $5M? $34M worldwide? It could drop off the map next week and not only would no one care, but Paranormal Activity 5 is probably already in production to come out at Halloween.



The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is down to number three, followed by The Wolf of Wall Street at number four and the connection here is, the separation of Orlando Bloom from Miranda Kerr was barely announced before Leonardo DiCaprio was rumored to have gone after her. Like I said, he’s not just playing a douche onscreen, he’s living it.



American Hustle drops one notch to number five everyone of the above line cast either has an Oscar or has been nominated for one. Yes, even Jeremy Renner.  This is why so many are giving the plot a pass.  A messy ice cream sundae is still worth eating and I’m gonna eat this one, damnit!



Anchorman 2 is down to number six, followed by Saving Mr. Banks at number seven and apparently there’s a better movie inside this one starring Colin Farrell and a personal fave, Rachel Griffiths as the real life man and woman Mary Poppins was based upon who happened to be P.L. Travers’ father and aunt. Or maybe it was her great aunt. In either case you can understand why she remained pissed about it until she died, they were messing with her family.  This is why none of the other books have ever been adapted into films.



The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is down to number eight and also in this is Kristin Wiig, who is also in Anchorman 2 in a supporting role giving her two films in the top ten.  She’s actually within a decade of Stiller’s age so I suppose it’s a small victory in the inappropriate age casting that has always been part of Hollywood.  I think only that she needed to be old enough to have a teen son prevented someone out of the Twilight cast from playing the role of his love interest.  Wiig’s character is part of the catalyst that finally gets Walter to stop daydreaming and start living, though ironically it’s a pivotal moment where he imagines her singing “Space Oddity” (which then of course segues into Bowie) that pushes him forward in his actual life. I guess that also required an actress over 35. You had to be convincing as someone who knew who David Bowie is and as Avril Lavigne taught us, that’s no longer guaranteed with these damn kids today. No, I’m not gonna let that go.



The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is down to number nine and it’s exact polar opposite in terms of the age of its stars is Grudge Match, with a sixty-something Stallone, a seventy-something DeNiro, an exactly 60-year-old Kim Basinger (who looks amazing) and god knows how old Alan Arkin is.  I had no interest in this, but if you gave me a movie about Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin sniping at each other you might have had my money.  That seemed interesting. Stallone and DeNiro in a comedy-drama about a rivalry between old boxers (30 is old for a boxer, much less 70), not so much.






29 Dec


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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







22 Dec


 1. The Hobbit 2/Warner                             Wknd/$   31.7            Total/$ 127.7

 2. Anchorman 2/Paramount                     Wknd/$  26.8            Total/$   40.0

 3. Frozen/Disney                                          Wknd/$  19.2            Total/$ 191.6

 4. American Hustle/Sony                           Wknd/$  19.1             Total/$   20.2

 5. Saving Mr. Banks/Disney                      Wknd/$   9.3              Total/$    9.3

 7. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Xmas/LGF       Wknd/$    8.5             Total/$   28.3

 6. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                    Wknd/$    8.8             Total/$ 371.7

 8. Walking With Dinosaurs/Fox               Wknd/$    7.3             Total/$     7.3

 9. Dhoom 3/Yash                                         Wknd/$    3.3              Total/$     3.3

10. Thor: The Dark World/BV                    Wknd/$    1.3              Total/$ 200.8



The Hobbit: The Desolations of Smaug holds at number one and also in this is Luke Evans, aka That Guy You Keep Mistaking For Orlando Bloom. What makes even funnier is that Orlando Bloom also returns here as Legolas, archery elf supreme. And to top off the funny an arrow is very much a part of the character that Luke Evans plays.   He was also in the horrible Three Musketeers remake…with Orlando Bloom.  But did we ever see them together onscreen? Hmmmm…



Anchorman 2 opens at number two and thank Zeus this damn thing finally came out because this advertising campaign has been going on all year at a relentless pace. I swear I saw Will Ferrell pop up in The Hobbit!  Seriously!  I didn’t see this because I didn’t see the first one, though I know everyone and his mother loves it.  Will Ferrell is another one of those funnymen where a little goes a long way and there’s a lot of him here. Too much for me.



Frozen is down to number three and as the other main voice is Kristen Bell, aka Veronica Mars and this ironically proves that people love her so long as they don’t have to see, as her biggest successes since those days having been the voice of “Gossip Girl” (proving the writers were pulling it out of their asses by making it be Dan all along) and this.  Yeah, she’s on House of Lies, but how many of you have actually seen that?  Exactly. I actually watch it, but I fast forward through half of it, usually when she’s onscreen.



Blatant Oscar-bait American Hustle finally enters the top ten at number four and it took the ad campaign long enough to actually tell people this has a plot.  It’s about Abscam, which was a famous scandal in its day, but didn’t have the weight of an Iran-Contra, which quickly wiped out of the American consciousness. Until now they’ve basically been selling “Come see all these heavyweight actors in 70’s period garb!”  What’s sad is how appealing that actually was and I include myself in this. I promise, Christian Bale, I will see this one, having blown off Out of the Furnace. Or was it Into the Furnace? I think that says it all.



Saving Mr. Banks enters the top ten at number five and this is Tom Hanks’ second Oscar bait film this year and the second one undone by reality.  While Captain Phillips was undone by the actual crew coming out to say they hated him, this is undone by the fact that P.L Travers the author of Mary Poppins, hated Disney and it was mutual. He never actually met her so she wasn’t some repressed woman thawed out by Walt Disney’s charms.  She was a bisexual woman with a girlfriend and an adult son and she so hated this movie she put in her will that not only could Disney not do any sequels, but no American could ever adapt it again, period. I mean this movie is such a piece of Disney propaganda that they don’t even have Walt Disney smoking which is the one thing he did a actually do.



The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is down to number six, followed by Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas at number seven and Walking With Dinosaurs opening horribly at number eight. Do you know how badly you have to suck to make a dinosaur film that kids don’t want to see? To paraphrase Jurassic Park, “Fox found a way.”  The original was a very successful BBC series. This has been dumbed down into a comedic family film.  Apparently you can go broke trying to underestimate the taste of the American public.



Dhoom: 3 opens at number nine and honestly that these films aimed at a specific part of the American audience can still make a little money is what makes America great. There should be something for everyone at the movie theaters. No, I have no idea what this is about, but my point remains valid.



Finally, Thor: The Dark World closes out the top ten at number ten and if you don’t understand the post credit teaser, here you go: that weirdo played by Benicio Del Toro was The Collector, one of the cosmic Elders of the Universe in Marvel comics. Every elder has an Infinity Gem, each with different powers. Now when all are combined they give the possessor infinite power and that guy you saw in the post credit sequence in The Avengers was Thanos, who does get them all and sets out to destroy the universe to please Death itself because he’s in love with her. It took all superheroes on Earth to stop him. Sif and Volstagg were giving him one of the gems for safekeeping because there was already one on Asgard.  This is clearly leading into The Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming from Marvel. What are the Guardians of the Galaxy? Sigh. Sit down, Timmy, and I’ll explain…