Tag Archives: American Sniper

NO SINGING MICE! THANK GOD!

16 Mar

rodrigo2
1. Cinderella/Disney                                               Wknd/$ 70.1   Total/$ 70.1
2. Run All Night/WB                                              Wknd/$ 11.0   Total/$ 11.0
3. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox                 Wknd/$ 6.2    Total/$ 107.4
4. Focus/WB                                                             Wknd/$ 5.8    Total/$ 44.0
5. Chappie/Sony                                                      Wknd/$ 5.8    Total/$ 23.3
6. The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel               Wknd/$ 5.7    Total/$ 18.1
7. The SpongeBob Movie/Par                               Wknd/$ 4.1     Total/$ 154.7
8. McFarland, USA/Disney                                   Wknd/$ 3.7     Total/$ 35.0
9. American Sniper/WB                                         Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 341.5
10. The Duff/LionsGate                                          Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 30.3

MONEY VS. DEPTH: WE KNOW WHO WINS
Cinderella opens at number one and two things got me in to see this and once again risk being the Solo Adult Male at a Kid’s Movie, which I’m sure is one day going to get me arrested: 1) Cate Blanchett, 2) Not A Musical. And believe me it’s the latter that carries the most weight. Remember my rule: if Gene Kelly isn’t dancing I don’t care. This isn’t so much a reinterpretation of the story, but another instance of Disney’s latest cash cow: live action versions of their animated features (Fantasia is going to be interesting). And clearly it a paid off, as evidenced by my ass in a seat and I hated the animated version. If you were hoping for maybe just a little more depth, you know, something for the adults like the great joke about “bears in San Francisco” in the trailer for Inside Out before the movie, dream on. Oh, they toy with it. They hint at actually making Cate Blanchett a three dimensional character whose evil is a result of the pain from losing the husband she loved and not truly being loved by a second husband who also dies, but they don’t follow through and just basically have her blurt out that that she’s mean to Ella (called Cider-ella due to the cinders on her face from being reduced to servant) because she’s so good. Seriously, that’s what she said. It would have made more sense if she blamed that obscenely tiny waist Cinderella has on display at the ball. Look, I know you want to try and recreate the movie, but you can’t force a human to have those proportions. Yes, she’s wearing a corset, but she also had to go on liquid diet to get into it. What. The. Fuck!?! Does Disney really think they would have lost a dollar because a real life human didn’t have the physical dimensions of a fucking cartoon!?! One thing they do get right is that Cinderella isn’t a servant for years. Seriously, I love the revisionist version with Drew Barrymore, but to think that being pretty much a slave for 20 years wouldn’t break or embitter you really is a fairy tale. Her first act as queen would have been to have her stepmother and mean sister beheaded and made the semi-nice one watch as a warning.

IT ALWAYS LEADS BACK TO CONNERY. ALWAYS.
Run All Night opens at number two and by Neeson’s own admission we’re reaching the end of this second act of his career as an action star. Probably because he’s doing it wrong. Yeah, being Dad The Action Hero worked briefly, but eventually you have to balance out that age curve by pairing him with a younger man to do all the heavy lifting. Or in the case of Neeson, the running, which he hates to do and directors have to work around it. In other words, do the Connery. Sean Connery is textbook on how to be an aging action hero, something it would do Schwarzenegger well to follow. In this one Neeson’s fighting Irish mob boss, Ed Harris in NYC, which almost makes this like a sequel to State of Grace where he was also an Irish mob boss in NYC. I like to think he survived being killed by Sean Penn…only to be killed here by Neeson (no, I didn’t see it, but do you really think he lives?). Penn also survived and went on to join the CIA, which is where we’ll see him next week in The Gunman. And if you think he’s not doing action movies because of Neeson, think again. They all owe him a check for opening this up for them.

IN HIS SIXTH DECADE OF EXPLOSIONS
Speaking of aging action heroes, Kingsman: The Secret Service rises back up to number three and as the head of The Kingsmen is Michael Caine, who did some badass movies back in his day as well, like Get Carter. It’s also a bit of a in-joke that he would play the head of a covert agency given he also played a secret agent back in the sixties. The Austin Powers character is based on him and why he also plays the father. Caine also did a turn as an elderly badass a few years back in Harry Brown, where he’s an ex-soldier who’s pushed too far. Yes, they make those films in England too. Death Wish fantasies are not just for Americans. They’re for any society with an underclass who occasionally needs to be taught a lesson.

CINEMATIC COITUS INTERRUPTUS
Down to number four is Focus and also in this is Rodrigo Santuro. Best known, unfortunately for being the Persian leader, Xerxes in 300 and its horrible sequel, but people of taste will know him as the hot guy Laura Linney doesn’t get to bone in Love Actually. Seriously, that was just mean.

SOAKING UP THAT CASH
Chappie is down to number five, followed by The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at number six and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water at number seven and from a $74M budget, this has made $270M worldwide and somewhere the creator of Ren & Stimpy weeks because his little cartoon never graduated from the love of hip kids to an actually license to print money like this one did.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GEEK CRED
McFarland, USA is down to number eight, with American Sniper returning at number nine and finally The DUFF closing out the Top Ten at number ten, and starring in this Mae Whitman who is none other than the President’s daughter in Independence Day. Think she’s coming back for the sequel? And she’s got even more geek cred as the voice of a child Lois Lane on Superman The Animated Series, Batgirl on Batman: The Brave & The Bold and Wonder Girl on Young Justice. Geek cred is there for Robbie Amell, the cousin to none other than Stephen Amell, also known as Green Arrow on Arrow. He recently appeared on The Flash to become the superhero known as Firestorm himself. No geek cred for the pre-naturally pretty Bella Thorne, but given she’s a pretty redhead and they’re rebooting Spider-Man again as a teenager, it should be happening any minute now. I feel I’ll go to jail just for writing about her given she’s only 17 (was it even legal for the 26-year-old Amell to kiss her?). Her porn star name doesn’t help matters in the slightest. Her siblings are equally named Remy Thorne, Kalli Thorne and Dani Thorne because apparently Mary, Susan or Katherine just wouldn’t do. Do I even have to tell you they’re from Florida? Irony alert: in this film she plays the “mean girl” of the high school and like Lindsay Lohan she’s a henna-headed product of the Disney machine. Hopefully being from Florida won’t doom her the way that being from Long Island doomed Lohan.

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GUN TOTING ROBOTS

9 Mar

douglas-terminator-2-200809080518251
1. Chappie/Sony                                                   Wknd/$ 13.3   Total/$ 13.3
2. Focus/WB                                                         Wknd/$ 10.0  Total/$ 34.6
3. The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel           Wknd/$ 8.6    Total/$ 8.6
4. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox             Wknd/$ 8.3     Total/$ 98.0
5. The SpongeBob Movie/Par                           Wknd/$ 7.0     Total/$ 149.0
6. Fifty Shades of Grey/ Universal                   Wknd/$ 5.6     Total/$ 156.4
8. The Lazarus Effect/Relativity                       Wknd/$ 5.1     Total/$ 17.4
7. McFarland, USA/Disney                                Wknd/$ 5.3     Total/$ 29.4
9. The Duff/LionsGate                                        Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 26.1
10. Unfinished Business/Fox                             Wknd/$ 4.8    Total/$ 4.8

THAT’S NOT HOW A ROBOT WITH A GUN IS SUPPOSED TO TALK
Chappie opens at number one and there was a time I’d be all over this. Robots!?! Robots with guns!?! Robots with guns fighting for the right to be sentient against bigger robots!?! Robots with guns fighting for the right to be sentient against bigger robots run by Wolverine and Ripley!?! But apparently my decades long run of being 14 has come to an end, because I really couldn’t muster up the interest to see this. Maybe it’s because I kinda think Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver are right and aren’t really the bad guys here. Artificial Intelligence is dangerous. Especially when you give it a gun and authority. Suppose it sees us for the self-destructive, planet-killing fuck ups we are? This could be the prequel to The Matrix! The other reason is because that robot sounds so fucking stupid speaking of himself in the third person I couldn’t stand it. “Chappie’s got stories!?! Chappie’s got a book?” Well I’ve got cable and that’s where I’ll be watching this in about 9-12 months.

SOMEWHERE GRETCHEN MOL STILL DOESN’T UNDERSTAND
Focus is down to number two and the female lead in this is Margot Robbie who’s a legit “Hot New Thing” (against all odds she’s young and blonde) given she has actual accomplishments as opposed to just hype with nothing really to show for it. Last year she was the female lead in Wolf 0f Wall Street. Next year she’ll be in Suicide Squad with Will Smith and Jared Leto. A-list roles in A-list movies…with 40-something A-list males stars. That’s when you really know you’re hot; you making movies with superstars old enough to be your dad because they only want to next to the Hot New Thing. And you know who was originally supposed to be the lead in this? Ben Affleck, another 40-something. She probably won’t kiss a dude her own age until she’s the star of her own film, which should be any second now.

WELCOME TO THE DAYS OF PLAYING SOMEONE’S DAD
Speaking of aging Hollywood leading men, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel opens at number two and joining this ensemble cast is Richard Gere, who can count on one hand the number of time he’s kissed a woman his own age on film and this barely adds to the list as his romantic interest is still younger than he is, albeit only by five years. As opposed to Winona Ryder, Julia Roberts, Diane Lane, Helen Hunt, Laura Linney, Hilary Swank…etc. Oh, sure Susan Sarandon played his wife twice, but he spent 90% of his time with JLo in one and in the other he had a 30-something mistress whom he actually touched.

NO GLEE FOR THIS (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)
Kingsman: The Secret Service is down to number three and as the villain sidekick with razor sharp prosthetic legs that she actually uses to kill and cut people in half is dancer Sofia Boutella. Never heard of her? Me neither, but she was a dancer with Madonna, did one of Lindsay Lohan’s desperate “look at me” magazine spreads and was part of the Nike campaign targeting women which was pretty awesome. Also she can do that dancer thing where she can put one leg straight up in the air, which I really, really really like. But she looks a lot like Lea Michele, which the notoriously competitive Michele surely doesn’t appreciate, because it’s one less big role she could have had.

GONNA KEEP BEATING THAT DEAD HORSE
The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water is down to number five, followed by Fifty Shades of Grey at number six and also in this is Jennifer Ehle who looked like she was headed for bigger things at one point, but maybe that’s because she looks so damn much like Meryl Streep and that may be a liability in a world where Meryl Streep is still taking big roles and has not one, but two daughters out there acting as well. I guess that’s why she’s now playing Dakota Johnson’s mom and showing up on shows like The Blacklist. Well, it’s a huge movie and she’s getting exposure, but don’t think for one second she’ll be swapping spit onscreen with men her own age like Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio and Will Smith.

AS DISAPPOINTING AS ONE’S ACTUAL TEEN YEARS
McFarland USA is down to number seven, followed by The Lazarus Effect at number eight and The DUFF at number nine, and this has made $27M off a $9M budget so it’s a modest hit. I feel for these kids and these weak-ass teen flicks. It’s been a decade since Mean Girls and nothing approaching it as come up. Ironically, when you can only draw in your target audience you’re a bit of a creative failure for a teen movie. Given everyone has been to high school and would be able to relate they’d all see it, not just kids.

THANK GOD JON FAVERAU IS TOO BUSY FOR HIM
Finally, Unfinished Business opens at number ten and honestly I can say I’m sad because Vince Vaughn crossed the line from appealing to annoying as fuck a few exits back. While it’s smart they paired him up with two other people to dilute his presence, he’s still the lead and therefore will continue to be as annoying as possible. In Old School you knew Luke Wilson (pre-bloat) was the leading man and Will Ferrell his comic relief. Vaughn was the third wheel and he was perfect there. It’s also the a blight on the comeback career of Sienna Miller who was not only in the biggest film of last year, American Sniper, but in two Oscar Nominated films (American Sniper and Foxcatcher).

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I’VE GOT A BRIDGE TO SELL YOU

1 Mar

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1. Focus/WB                                                   Wknd/$ 19.1   Total/$ 19.1
2. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox       Wknd/$ 11.8   Total/$ 85.7
3. The SpongeBob Movie/Par                     Wknd/$ 11.2   Total/$ 140.3
4. Fifty Shades of Grey/ Universal             Wknd/$ 10.9  Total/$ 147.8
5. The Lazarus Effect/Relativity                 Wknd/$ 10.6  Total/$ 10.6
6. McFarland, USA/Disney                          Wknd/$ 7.8    Total/$ 22.0
7. American Sniper/Warner                         Wknd/$ 7.7    Total/$ 331.1
8. The Duff/LionsGate                                  Wknd/$ 7.2    Total/$ 20.1
9. Still Alice/SPC                                            Wknd/$ 2.7    Total/$ 2.7
10. Hot Tub Time Machine 2/Par               Wknd/$ 2.4    Total/$ 10.3

IT’S CLEAR TO ME HOW LITTLE I CARE
Focus opens at number one and in it Will Smith plays a con man…and that’s pretty much where I lost all interest. I cannot stand con man and heist movies. Could not give less of a shit. Some people love ’em, but not me. David Mamet adores con movies and wants to do them the way John Ford did westerns, but I’d sooner see a horror movie than watch heist/con movie. The best part of Ocean’s Eleven is the gathering at the beginning. I stop watching once the actual heist plan starts. That’s how little I care. I know that “they’re all the same” can be applied to pretty much any genre, but it’s particularly annoying with the heist/con flick because it’s going to go one of three ways: 1) it works with the possible exception of painfully faux hiccups that our super-heist/con men improvise their way through, 2) it fails, but this is because one one heist/con men has been conning the other to get all the money all along and 3) it works and afterward everyone starts to betray/kill one another. This looks like the second and I could really care less.

IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE I THINK HE’S AN IDIOT
Kingsman: The Secret Service holds at number two and also in this as the villain is Samuel L. Jackson and is no one going to talk about the fact he’s playing a cross between Bill Gates and Russell Simmons? Especially the latter, all the way down to a man his age stupidly trying to dress like a 20-year-old with a baseball cap on crooked. I mean he’s even got the lisp!

GOOD FOR THE GANDER, NOT SO MUCH FOR THE GOOSE
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water is down to number three followed by 5o Shades of Gray finally dropping to number four and the unfortunate male lead, Jamie Dornan, was doomed from the beginning, because while there may have been better choices (as we discussed last week) no one was really going to be the Christian Grey that exists only in the minds of the fans of the book, so perhaps the only thing they can agree upon is that it’s not this guy. Poor Jamie. You know he got the same speech from his agents that Dakota Johnson got from hers about a role like this making his career: “…it’s a small price to pay…it’ll create more opportunities…it’ll pay for smaller artistic films”…only it actually seems to be working for her.

YOU WON THE GENETIC LOTTERY. LET THAT BE ENOUGH.
The Lazarus Effect opens at number five and remember what I said about movies I just don’t like to see? Well of course the only two wide release films to open this week were in both categories I don’t like and here we have the second: the scary. And by now I think we’ve learned that if Olivia Wilde is in it, it will suck. Such is the most common fate of the Hot Girl or Guy of The Moment who takes every big movie thrown his or her way in hopes it will cement them, but due to a lack of luck none of them do. I say “luck” rather than blaming them for a bad movie, because 50 Shades of Grey is a bad movie and that’s just leapfrogged Dakota Johnson ahead of all the other girls in the trenches. You know someone who made a movie with both James Bond and Indiana Jones that was directed by the guy who brought Iron Man into the world is wondering just what the hell went wrong for her.

BUT I WON’T PRETEND PRIME SUSPECT WAS GOOD EITHER
McFarland USA drops to number six and also in this is Maria Bello and between this and Grown Ups clearly someone clearly has mortgage payments to make. She deserves so much better than to play the wife for actors who could never get her (looking at you, Kevin James) and are too old for her like Kevin Costner, who was playing an over-the-hill baseball player 3o years ago in Bull Durham when Bello was finishing her senior year of college.

THE WE-OWED-YOU-ONE AWARD
Oscar-Free American Sniper drops one notch to number seven, followed by The DUFF at number eight and buoyed by Julianne Moore’s Oscar win to number nine is Still Alice. And good for all of you, but I’m still not rushing to a film about a brilliant mind dealing with early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s just too depressing for me no matter how good it is. The Constant Gardner is a good film. Doesn’t exactly leave you jumping for joy either. But I’m glad she finally won, even though it means I was denied my “Two Best Actress Winners Once Fought To Death in A Bond Film” dream.

THE END
Finally, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 closes out the top ten at number ten.

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THE OSCAR EDITION

23 Feb

50shades
1. Fifty Shades of Grey/ Universal            Wknd/$ 85.0   Total/$ 85.0
2. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox      Wknd/$ 36.2   Total/$ 36.2
3. The SpongeBob Movie/Par                    Wknd/$ 31.7    Total/$ 94.8
4. McFarland, USA/Disney                        Wknd/$ 11.3    Total/$ 11.3
5. The Duff/LionsGate                                Wknd/$ 11.0    Total/$ 11.0
6. American Sniper/Warner                      Wknd/$ 9.7      Total/$ 319.6
7. Hot Tub Time Machine 2/Par               Wknd/$ 5.8      Total/$ 5.8
8. Jupiter Ascending/Warner                   Wknd/$ 2.6      Total/$ 83.9
9. The Imitation Game/Weinstein           Wknd/$ 2.6      Total/$ 83.9
10. Paddington/Weinstein                         Wknd/$ 2.3      Total/$ 67.7

IT’S IN THE BLOOD
Fifty Shades of Grey holds the number one spot so bad reviews be damned! The best thing about this film is appropriately enough its leading lady, Dakota Johnson, daughter of Don Johnson and Best Actress Nominee, Melanie Griffith and granddaughter of Tippi Hedren. But it’s more than nepotism. The career graveyard is filled with the children of the famous (do I have to bring up Oscar winner Kirk Douglas’ other son again?). It takes more and she’s got it. Based on a bad book, a screenplay that does little to improve it and a leading man focused on struggling with his accent than anything else, she does what she can to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear and the fact she does as well as she does speaks volumes. In fact, it makes her look even more astonishing by comparison. Sometimes it’s better to be the best thing in a bad movie than the weakest thing in a good one. Doing this film was a smart move for her and passing on it was probably a mistake for Stephen Amell and Charlie Hunnam. Well, maybe no Hunnam as he’d still have accent problems, but from what I’ve been told, Amell is basically playing Christian Grey every week on Arrow.

SHOW HIM THE POUNDS!
Kingsman: The Secret Service holds onto the number two spot and as the preeminent Kingsman is Oscar winner for Best Actor, Colin Firth, in his first action movie, which is par the course for Oscar winners. Once you get the golden statue, you go get the real gold. We can call it the “Nicholas Cage effect.” He was all indie boy until winning Best Actor and he’s been a whore ever since.

WE’LL SEE WHAT STICKS
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water holds at number three followed by McFarland USA opening at number four and apparently there’s a film from Oscar Winning Director, Kevin Costner coming out every week now so if you don’t like the one last week, maybe you’ll like the one next week. But I sincerely doubt it.

NO OSCAR MENTIONS HERE
The Duff opens at number five and you know you’re getting old when you’re no longer interested in every high school movie that comes down the pike because you simply can’t relate any longer. Even when it’s Pygmalion story done again, you give it a pass. For example: you saw Can’t Buy Me Love and She’s All that, but you passed on Love Don’t Cost A Thing (the Can’t Buy Me Love remake) and this, which actually dares have an “Eliza” who’s not just traditionally pretty girl dressed down and in glasses like, well all the others.

IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE SAY ANYTHING
Oscar Winner for Best Sound Editing (which is to say shut-the-hell-out), American Sniper is down to number six, followed by its polar opposite, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 opening at number seven and how did this happen? The first one wasn’t any good! Now they’ve made an even worse one, so bad that even John Cusack wouldn’t come back for it. And if you think Cusack is some kind of actor with integrity, check out his IMDB page and get back to me. He didn’t need an Oscar to whore it up.

AT LEAST SOMEONE’S ASCENDING
Jupiter Ascending is down to number eight and now has an Oscar winning actor in its cast: Eddie Redmayne. Too little, too late. Now the big question: will he continue with indie style roles or will he…WHORE IT UP!?!

CONTRARY TO ACTOR BELIEF, THEY DON’T MAKE UP THE WORDS
Oscar winner for Best Adapted Screenplay, The Imitation Game, is down to number nine with Paddington closing out the top ten at number ten.

 

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FIFTY SHADES OF MARKETING

17 Feb

mila-kunis-08
1. Fifty Shades of Grey/ Universal Wknd/$ 85.0 Total/$ 85.0
2. Kingsman/Fox Wknd/$ 36.2 Total/$ 36.2
3. The SpongeBob Movie/Par Wknd/$ 31.7 Total/$ 94.8
4. American Sniper/Warner Wknd/$ 16.5 Total/$ 304.2
5. Jupiter Ascending/Warner Wknd/$ 9.2 Total/$ 32.4
6. Seventh Son/Universal Wknd/$ 4.1 Total/$ 13.4
7. Paddington/Weinstein Wknd/$ 4.0 Total/$ 62.2
8. The Imitation Game/Weinstein Wknd/$ 3.5 Total/$ 79.6
9. The Wedding Ringer/SGems Wknd/$ 3.2 Total/$ 59.6
10. Project Almanac/Paramount Wknd/$ 2.8 Total/$ 15.8

LONELY MOVIE WEEKEND CHOICE #1
Fifty Shades of Grey opens at number one and this wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Make no mistakes, it’s bad (the very fact the lead character’s name, Anastasia Steele, is presented without a hint of humor or irony tells you that), but just as my definition of good is a bit higher than others, so my definition of what sucks is much lower. Despite its attempt to seem modern and edgy, the story of 50 Shades of Grey (and Twilight for that matter) is the same one your mother and possibly grandmother have been reading in Harlequin novels for decades: stories of bad boy princes and pirates who are inexplicably brought down by the virginal heroine (yes, Anastasia is a virgin, because god forbid a woman have some actual idea about her sexuality) they cannot resist her. Only now rather than be tormented by the events of Spanish Civil War or The Crusades or whatever tumultuous time period those books were set, she’s now tormented by the hero himself. While the literary ancestor of Anastasia Steel (a name which would fit perfectly in those), had to fight her way through various kidnappings and the fall of the czar as she made her way from Moscow to Venice, this one has to deal with a lover who won’t let her actually sleep next to him or know his past and insist he’s bad for her while stalking her cross-country. Oh, and there’s the occasional spanking. Somewhere, trapped by the sexy pirate Taggart McGirth on his ship The Thruster, Constance Hymen rolls her eyes in disgust. Now, there’s an old rule of thumb that bad books can make good movies because you can change things and if any book need it, then this was it was this one. Unfortunately for them the author (and I use that term loosely) has a background in the entertainment business and she knows what happens to books, so her deal gave her a certain amount of control over the film. The end result is a film so empty and devoid of any sex appeal I was on the verge of reading it despite the many, many, MANY negative reviews saying how awful it was. My curiosity as how something so bland could be so successful consumed me, but then it dawned on me that’s probably why something that started off as Twilight fan fiction (it suddenly makes sense now, right?) could find such an audience. Because it was awful and simplistic, not despite it. Since when are we surprised that ineptitude soars while quality sinks? Surely not in this post-Twilight-Nicholas-Sparks age. But as empty as the books seemingly were they became even moreso when the opportunity to merchandise it took hand and the result is a movie that it so ironically chaste that beyond the nudity there are exactly two uses of the word fuck and absolutely no sucking dick. They wanted the built in audience these books contained, but at the same time wanted to keep them safe enough so as not to put off anyone and draw in even more people (preserving those marginal percentages that only business majors know or care about). Now that makes no sense given the audience would know exactly what and was isn’t in the books (“Where’s all the dick sucking!?! Where’s that tampon!?!”), but the end result is whatever tiny edge they had was dulled and you get something that looks like it escaped from the Lifetime network and into theaters. There is more graphic and honestly arousing sex on your basic cable show, much less pay cable. I mean, I know it’s the Pacific Northwest, but is it really so cool and temperate that no one sweats when they fuck!?! Maybe in the two sequels to follow (it made almost $100M in a weekend from a $40M budget with another $150M overseas) they’ll address it.

LONELY MOVIE WEEKEND CHOICE #2
Now, if opening 50 Shades of Grey on Valentine’s Day was perfect programming to grab the lonely, sexually frustrated female audience, then opening Kingsmen: The Secret Service was equally perfect counter programming to get the lonely, angrily sexless male audience. Both were counting on an audience that would be dateless this lover’s weekend and both were right and rewarded. The difference this is actually entertaining and delivered on what its source material promised: comedic, silly ultraviolence. This is based on a comic book series by Mark Millar and the best description of his work that I ever read was that it was something an angry 15-year-old would love, which is to say he understood the heart of superhero comics better than anyone else around him: angry virgins. This wasn’t a superhero comic but it still applies and carries over to the film. Our hero is a smart, capable guy, but the world is in his way (not his own personal choices). His chances to be better are derailed by the fact he’s such a good guy and had to take care of his mother, while she’s married to a guy who is a low level thug and beats her. Typical bullshit, geek self-serving-pity. Fortunately for him his father was a recruit of a secret intelligence agency and died in the field so one of its top agents feels a debt is owed and our hero is recruited to be James Bond times ten. His training begins just as The Kingsmen stumble upon a plot hatched by an insane corporate billionaire to save the world by killing most of the people one it. The violence is graphic but exaggerated deliberately to maximum silliness and there’s actually metatextual commentary on how dour modern secret agent films are, as opposed to the wonderfully silly ones with would be world conquerors in the conversation between the cool, bespoke secret agent Colin Firth and the eccentric megalomaniac (he plans mass genocide, but hates the sight of blood, and has an assassin sidekick with blades for legs) Samuel L. Jackson. Needless to say this is clearly a love letter to the crazier Bond films though believe it or not, even more British. The movie is actually partially driven by the class awareness that still exists in England to this day (both our hero and his dad are working class and their recruitment is considered an “experiment”) and ironically gives it a depth that it’s desperately trying to avoid in favor of simply being entertaining.

THAT 21ST CENTURY CAREER
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water is down to number three, followed by American Sniper at number four and Jupiter Ascending down to number five and starring in this is Mila Kunis who must have thought she grabbed the brass ring when she got the lead in a Wachowski big-budget science fiction action film. Clearly she didn’t read the script, which showed her as a princess who constantly needs to be saved along with a dozen other problems. While on one hand she’s actually having a somewhat successful career going from Oscar nominated, overrated indie fare like Black Swan to empty big budget vehicles like Oz The Great and Powerful to crass comedies like Ted and Forgetting Sarah Marshall (hell, she was even in the remake of Annie), on the other hand none of those were truly starring vehicles for her. She was the female lead alongside Justin Timberlake in Friends with Benefits which tanked (ironically her fiancée Ashton Kutcher’s version with Natalie Portman was hit) and now this where she is flat out the title character. Clearly it did not go well and while The Wachowskis are at fault, it won’t be the same black mark on Channing Tatum’s career (also equally varied) as it will be for her. You know, ‘cause she’s a chick and it’s an action movie. Forget they don’t actually allow her to be an action star, which is odd for them. Trivia: she played the younger version of Angelina Jolie in Gia.

YOU KNOW NOTHING OF THE CONTRACT YOU SIGNED, JON SNOW
The Seventh Son is down to number six is Seventh Son and also in this for about 5 minutes as a previous Seventh Son is Kit Harrington, limited as to the roles he can take when not shooting Game of Thrones as his contract doesn’t allow him to cut his hair! This is how he winds up here and in that Pompeii movie last year. Though I guess he could play a musician…or a poet…or just someone pretentious in the present day.

THE OTHERS
Paddington is down to number seven, followed by The Imitation Game holding at eight and The Wedding Ringer down to number nine.

CINEMATICALLY TRASMITTED DISEASE
Finally, Project Almanac closes out the top ten at number ten and this is part of a small genre empire Michael Bay is clearly building. He’s producer on this as he was on Ouija and The Purge films. Because their budgets are so low they’re pretty much guaranteed to make money, which means they will continue. He’s like a rash. An itchy ugly one that spreads the more you scratch it.

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FLASH! HE CAN STILL SAVE EVERYONE OF YOU!

8 Feb

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1. The SpongeBob Movie/Par                        Wknd/$ 56.0   Total/$ 56.0
2. American Sniper/Warner                          Wknd/$ 24.2   Total/$ 282.3
3. Jupiter Ascending/Warner                        Wknd/$ 19.0   Total/$ 19.0
4. Seventh Son/Universal                               Wknd/$ 7.1      Total/$ 7.1
5. Paddington/Weinstein                               Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 57.3
6. Project Almanac/Paramount                    Wknd/$ 5.3      Total/$ 15.8
7. The Imitation Game/Weinstein                Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 74.7 8.
8. The Wedding Ringer/SGems                    Wknd/$ 4.8     Total/$ 55.1
9. Black or White/Relativity                          Wknd/$ 4.5      Total/$ 13.1
10. The Boy Next Door/Universal                Wknd/$ 4.1      Total/$ 30.7

I DON’T WATCH ADVENTURE TIME EITHER
The SpongeBob Movie opens at number one and I’ve never seen the show. That whole hipster moment totally passed me by. And while the trailer did look exceptionally funny I feel it’s a little late to hop onboard.

CAREERS DESCENDING
American Sniper is down to number two, followed by Jupiter Ascending opening at number three. Now this was supposed to be one of the big summer movies last year, but got pushed back, which is never a good sign. That they chose to release it in February made it perfectly clear the studio thought it was a dud and unfortunately they were right. The Wachowskis (no longer the brothers as one has become a woman) have never made an unattractive film, but they’ve only made two actually good ones: Bound and The Matrix. The others range between messy but entertaining (Cloud Atlas, Matrix Reloaded Speed Racer) to flat out bad (The Matrix Revolutions). This sadly goes into that latter category, though like always is easy on the eyes. It thoroughly embraces the idea of eye candy in space opera which has basically been lost since 2001: A Space Odyssey utilized actual science in its production so the “look” science fiction space operas has been utilitarian ever since. Seeing this makes me wish they’d done an adaption of Flash Gordon instead as they could have brought the beautiful imagery of Alex Raymond’s work to life, all the way down to women in slutwear being a fashion universal. I never enjoyed the film more than when they just showing gigantic spaceships that basically looked like chandeliers flying through space. And honestly that’s all I had, because The Wachowskis once again utilize the idea of an ordinary person who is in fact a very special person who enters into a fantastic world that was around them all the time. The difference being while Neo became an actual participant in that world, Jupiter is always the spectator or the damsel to be saved. She’s the protagonist, but not the hero. The story would have been better told from the perspective of her savior, Channing Tatum, a human spliced with a wolf to be a better space soldier who tracks her down as a result of the inner struggles of a family space dynasty. Yeah, I make it sound more interesting than it is. Basically, she’s the genetic recreation of the matriarch and is now a pawn between the matriarch’s three children as she “owns” the earth, which would make her richer than all of them. Okay, it’s actually as dull as that sounded. It’s so ill conceived, that one of the siblings is totally dropped by the third act and you don’t even miss her, nor do we see what happens when one of them dies, which literally changes everything because the whole fucking movie is driven by sibling rivalry! I think it’s telling that Channing Tatum, who is best known for his body didn’t feel the need to get in top shape for this despite the fact that the movie has him shirtless for half-an hour for no real reason. A weak script isn’t worth crunches or dieting. And what’s the point of having reincarnation as a central plot point when the character is only the physical reincarnation and has no memories from their previous life?

THE MUSTACHE ABIDES
Opening a number four is The Seventh Son, another delayed film whose February dumping boded ill and once again that decision was dead on. This film is about Jeff Bridges’ mustache and a male model in their battle against Julianne Moore paying the bills so she can do Oscar-worthy indie film work. Yes, this is yet another attempt to create a franchise out of a Young Adult novel and yet another failure because they don’t seem to realize that unless it’s a mega success like Harry Potter or Twilight in print form it’s not coming with a built-in audience of millions. You actually have to but something behind it. This is just a waste of actually talented actors and a decent CGI budget because it lacks a better director who realizes you just can’t say there’s light in the villain and dark in the hero, you have to show it. That way you get fully realized characters. And if you want just a big cartoon (which is fine too) then you have to drop those concepts and amp up the pace. It does neither of those things. But it didn’t bore me like Jupiter Ascending did.

TO BE FAIR, NO ONE SAW HER MOVIES WHEN SHE WAS MRS. CRUISE EITHER
Paddington is down to number five and I suppose I should say something about this since it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Um, Nicole Kidman is in it. Clearly making movies her kids can see…or that someone, somewhere might even want to see.

THE MORE YOU KNOW
Project Almanac is down to number six, followed by The Imitation Game at number seven and that actually sounds like the title of a science fiction movie too, but it’s just about real science.

IF YOU WANNA BE A STAR, GOTTA ACT LIKE ONE
The Wedding Ringer is down to number eight, but has more than doubled its budget, so while not a runaway hit, it ain’t no failure either. Both Kevin Hart and Josh Gad have done better but Kaley Cucco needed it. Especially if she insists on hyphenating her famous maiden name with her less known rebound-married name. Courtney Cox did that for a hot second then realized her error and wound up dropping both it and the man it came from.

ONCE IS HAPPENSTANCE, TWICE IS COINCIDENCE, MORE THAN TIMES IS A CURSE!
Black or White is down to number nine and also in this is Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and while yes, the lack of change in her career is partly racial and partly sexist, I feel it’s mostly the curse of Best Supporting Actress. I mean, seen Melissa Leo lately? Marcia Gay Harden? Rachel Weisz? Mo’Nique? Jennifer Hudson? It even took down Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones after they won it. Tilda Swinton seems unaffected because she never gave a crap about mainstream success anyway, but Cate Blanchett is the only survivor of the last decade.

CRITICS DON’T PAY YOUR BILLS!
Finally, The Boy Next Door closes out the top ten at number ten. $30M from a $4M budget and JLo was also a producer. Make that money, girl.

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2 Feb

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1. American Sniper/Warner                           Wknd/$ 31.9    Total/$ 248.9
2. Paddington/Weinstein                               Wknd/$ 8.5      Total/$ 50.5
3. Project Almanac/Paramount                     Wknd/$ 8.5      Total/$ 8.5
4. Black or White/Relativity                           Wknd/$ 6.5      Total/$ 6.5
5. The Boy Next Door/Universal                   Wknd/$ 6.1      Total/$ 24.7
6. The Wedding Ringer/SGems                     Wknd/$ 5.7      Total/$ 48.1
7. The Imitation Game/Weinstein                Wknd/$ 5.2      Total/$ 68.0
8. Taken 3/Fox                                                  Wknd/$ 3.7      Total/$ 76.1
9. Strange Magic/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 3.4     Total/$ 9.0
10. The Loft/ORF                                              Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 2.9

OH, I LOVED KEEN EDDIE SO MUCH
American Sniper holds at number one, which makes sense given this is the holy American holiday of the Super Bowl, but sadly getting lost in the controversy is the return of Sienna Miller. You remember her from the 00’s, right? Pretty, blonde, English actress slowly rising before sadly becoming most famous for boning Jude Law during his “moment” then being humiliated when he started boning his kid’s nanny. Not helping was an unremarkable indie film career. It’s one thing to do good work and go unnoticed, but she wound up in mediocrity both big (Alfie, Stardust, GI Joe: Rise of Cobra) and small (Casanova, Factory Girl, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh). This is her second go round and don’t think she doesn’t know it. I know she’s happy to be in a hit, but it’s got to be killing her that she’s making a comeback (she’s also in Foxcatcher) and no one is noticing.

TIME (TRAVEL) AFTER TIME (TRAVEL)
Paddington rises to number two, while Project Almanac opens at number three and once upon a time I would have been head first into this kind of thing, but as I’ve grown older nothing turns me off sooner than a time paradox movie. Honestly, I could not give less than a crap that the main character couldn’t exist unless he’d gone back in time and introduced his grandparents or the main character accidentally kills his dad before he’s conceived. They all think they’re clever and they rarely are (I’m looking at you, Looper, Interstellar, etc). Not to mention it’s another “found footage” film, which means it means instant nausea from the ironically named “steady cam.” Sadly it probably cost nothing so at the very least will probably break even thus insuring more of them are made. Sigh.

BUT I’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU AS CRASH DAVIS
Black or White opens at number four and while this may seem like a timely film, the presence of Kevin Costner (who also financed it) means it’ll be about as deep as a saucer with nothing really to say about race relations in America. The trailers suggest hamfisted deliveries without the slightest hint of nuance. I sat through Losing Isaiah so I feel no need to go through it again here.

‘CAUSE THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS TO SLUTS, AMIRITE, FELLAS?
The Boy Next Door is down to number five and also in this is Kristen Chenoweth, so it’s just filled with women who deserve better but have bills to pay. Given this all about punishing a woman for sex (when was the last time you saw a movie about a guy who bangs a legal teenager and suffers for it?) and she’s the horny best friend, I’ve no doubt she dies a horrible death and I seriously don’t have time for that bullshit.

DOUBLE EDGED SUCCESS SWORD
The Wedding Ringer is down to number six, followed by The Imitation Game at number seven and Taken 3 at number eight. Probably my favorite commercial of the Super Bowl was Liam Neeson making fun of his new tough guy image as an angry online gamer. I know a few women who loved it a little too much…and by that I mean it’s become basically a 30 second porn film. Much in the way that other online gaming commercial with Kate Upton is for lonely, lonely, lonely dudes.

IT’S A GEEK’S WORLD NOW
Strange Magic is down to number nine while The Loft opens at and closes out the top ten and because I can only think geek, when I see a movie with Karl Urban, James Marsden and Wentworth Miller all I see is a movie about Judge Dredd, Cyclops and Captain Cold (the comic book characters they’ve played) getting an apartment together. Of course it’s going to end badly, what with the superbattles. And you may not know it, but there are actually five guys involved in the loft, but one is European actor you wouldn’t know and the other is Eric Stonestreet who plays Cam on Modern Family. Yeah, exactly. They’re not going to show the fat guy who’s probably better known than all of them put together. Poor Cam.

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