Tag Archives: Anna Kendrick

BOX OFFICEIMOUS REX!

15 Jun

Jude-Law--jude-law-79470_589_655 1. Jurassic World/Universal                 Wknd/$204.6    Total/$ 204.6
2. Spy/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 16.0      Total/$ 56.9
3. San Andreas/WB                                Wknd/$ 11.0      Total/$ 119.3
4. Insidious 3/Focus                               Wknd/$ 7.3        Total/$ 37.4
6. Entourage/WB                                    Wknd/$ 4.3        Total/$ 25.9
9. Tomorrowland/Disney                      Wknd/$ 3.4        Total/$ 83.6
5. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                  Wknd/$ 6.0        Total/$ 170.7
7. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                 Wknd/$ 4.1         Total/$ 138.6
8. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney      Wknd/$ 3.6        Total/$ 444.7
10. Love & Mercy                                     Wknd/$ 1.8         Total/$ 4.8

STUPIDIOUS REX
Jurassic World opens at number one to the surprise of no one and this is better than Jurassic Park III, but doesn’t come near the original and so sits next to The Lost World as at the very entertaining, but clearly a sequel that doesn’t quite get why the first was so successful. Lost World was better made, but Jurassic World is shorter without a painfully stupid final act. The director says they’re ignoring the other two because they took place on the other island and that this is a direct sequel to the first, which explains why there’s no military presence on the island after what went down in San Diego. Pretty sure after that crap they wouldn’t let this happen without enough firepower to flat out blow the islan up. It also shows that John Hammond in fact learned nothing from both films as with his dying breath he apparently begged another stupid billionaire to take over and open the theme park. Apparently he’s been so successful that the island is commonplace enough for people to get a little bored with it so they have to continually bring in new dinosaurs and in a staggering display stupidity, make a new one called Indominous Rex. That it eats its sibling isn’t a clue to simply get rid of it tells you that disaster is inevitable. Needless to say, like the first, disaster coincides with the visit of two children related to someone running the park. In this case the two nephews of the park’s director, Bryce Dallas Howard (no, not Jessica Chastain). This is partially so mommy and daddy can get divorced in peace which is all kinds of fucked up. “Welcome back! Hey, how was your trip? We’re no longer a family.” The boys show that stupidity runs in the family by not only ignoring an announcement to go back, but in fact going off the path. Since the announcement to back is because the Indominous Rex got out (surprise, surprise) Howard has to go to the he-man Raptor trainer, Chris Pratt to save them. The nonstop acknowledgement of Pratt’s sheer manliness is near Monty Python levels of absurdity, from his ability to stare down dinosaurs to painful need of a good boning that Bryce Dallas Howard gives when she first looks at him, muscles clearly bulging through his shirt as he worked on his motorcycle (you know, a big thing between his legs). I half-expected to hear a “plop” and see her soaking panties hit the ground at the very sight of him. I’m genuinely surprised he wasn’t sweaty and shirtless. We’re told they basically had a romcom first date. She showed up with an itinerary and he was in board shorts. I’m sure that was taken directly from a script meant for Kate Hudson and Matthew McConughey that was shelved after Fool’s Gold tanked. Of course they bicker and fight as they rush to save the kids while the Idominous Rex rips the park to shreds. Trust me, there’s more of the latter than the former which is why it’s a fun movie because giant monsters running wild are usually fun movies. You have to truly try hard to fuck it up and apparently Joe Johnson worked pretty goddamned hard on Jurassic Park III. Almost as hard as Peter Jackson worked on the King Kong remake.

BEING PRETTY ISN’T ENOUGH PART 1
Spy is down to number two and also in this is Jude Law who is honestly just happy to be hear. Once upon a time he was a leading man on the rise, but bad decisions both privately and professionally and the cruelty of the same genetics that once blessed him cost him in the end. He made half a dozen movies that tanked (including an ill-advised remake of Alfie) and so became more famous for banging the much-less-attractive than his then wife (Sadie Frost) nanny than for his work. Given half his appeal was being pretty, the loss of his hair was the final nail in the coffin of any chance of being a lead, so when playing Watson to Robert Downey Jr.’s rolled around Holmes Law—complete with widow’s peak—grabbed it like nobody’s business and so began his much more successful career as supporting actor, looking less like Sting’s more attractive younger brother than Phil Collins’ more attractive younger brother. The English, they don’t age well.

IT DOESN’T FEEL CREEPY WHEN THEY KISS
San Andreas is down to number three and also in this is Carla Gugino and I’m glad to see her in something successful. She’s more of an indie film and theater girl so this will help her continue that. This is in fact her third film with Dwayne Johnson and they are good together onscreen and hopefully that he remembers that when they try to pair him with someone younger. He’s one of the few action stars who gets paired with appropriate aged leading women, actually playing the dad to a girl who was Woody Harrelson’s love interest on True Detective (Johnson is more than a decade younger than Harrelson). I doubt it’s by accident, so I’m respecting him more each day.

THE MAN BEHIND THE WOMEN. NO, LITERALLY.
Insidious Chapter three is down to number four and as the dad in this is Dermot Mulroney, a man who can best be described as a Keanu Reeves’ less attractive brother. But it guarantees him work as he’s attractive enough to be a supporting male lead to a variety of women (everyone from Holly Hunter to Debra Messing), but not overshadow them. He’s part of that club with Mark Ruffalo and David Strahairn. He’s doing it again here, supporting the leads of his daughter and the medium who has been in all three Insidious films. Laugh if you want to, but he’s probably been in more successful films than Jude Law.

BEING PRETTY ISN’T ENOUGH PART 2
Pitch Perfect 2 is down to number five, followed by the odious Entourage at number six (I become more ashamed for having watched it for so long every day) and someone was cruel enough to actually ask Adrian Grenier about his career as opposed to the career of his character. Ouch. He should call Dermot Mulroney and see if you can join the “Support a Stronger Female Lead” club. I’m sure they’d love a piece of eye candy like him and it’s not like he hasn’t had practice as the love interest for Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. In retrospect, he was lucky to even be on that set with both her and Meryl Streep.

YOU CAN LOVE THEM BOTH
Mad Max: Fury Road is down to number seven and I’m disappointed in you, America. This is the best summer blockbuster in years and you aren’t turning out for it. It hasn’t even made its budget here yet! Meanwhile, Avengers: Age of Ultron holds at number eight has made almost twice its much higher budget here and almost a billion dollars overseas!

ANY BLACK GUY WILL DO REALLY
Tomorrowland is down to number nine and right now Clooney is thinking maybe Ocean’s 14 isn’t such a bad idea after all and that Samuel L. Jackson could take the Bernie Mac role. He hasn’t been the lead in a hit since The Descendants in 2011, which is now best known for launching Shailene Woodley’s movie career.

HE AND CAMERON CROWE BOTH NEED HELP SO SHOULD REUNITE
Finally, Love & Mercy enters the top ten. This is the story of Brian Wilson’s descent in to mental instability and his ultimate rise from it…and the scumbag therapist who took advantage of it to the point where he has co-writing credit on some of Wilson’s later solo albums. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, he did help him, but afterward latched onto him like a tick. A good therapist would have done it without needing to fulfill his lost rock & roll dreams. Wilson is played young by Paul Dano and older by John Cusack, who all too often seems to be just beaten and defeated by Hollywood. Not to mention his hair is still jet black and we know that’s bullshit. As with far too many things, I feel it all went bad with Julia Roberts. He starred with her in America’s Sweethearts. Do you remember that movie? No one does, but it’s clearly the movie that broke John Cusack. He hasn’t been the same since.

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LAUGHING AT YOU, NOT WITH YOU

8 Jun

aasian

1. Spy/Fox                                             Wknd/$ 30.0    Total/$ 30.0
2. San Andreas/WB                             Wknd/$ 26.4    Total/$ 92.2
3. Insidious 3/Focus                            Wknd/$ 23.0    Total/$ 23.0
4. Entourage/WB                                 Wknd/$ 10.4     Total/$ 17.8
7. Tomorrowland/Disney                   Wknd/$ 7.0       Total/$ 76.2
6. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal               Wknd/$ 7.7       Total/$ 161.0
5. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB              Wknd/$ 8.0      Total/$ 130.8
8. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney   Wknd/$ 6.2      Total/$ 438.0
9. Aloha/Sony                                        Wknd/$ 3.3      Total/$ 16.3
10. Poltergeist/Fox                                Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 44.5

CHICKS RULE, BOYS RULE PT.1
Spy opens at number one bringing us one step closer to 2015 being The Summer of Women…which means ’16 will be “back to business as usual.” Just kidding. If it makes money they will run it into the ground, so yeah, there might actually be two whole comedies with female leads next summer. I gave this a pass because the commercials and trailers strayed a bit too close to Kevin James territory, as in “Hey, let’s all go laugh at the fatty.” If it were more the underdog non-secret agent actually does well because everyone underestimated her, that’d be different. And even while I understand the latter does occur, it still doesn’t make up for a little too much of the former.

TOO MANY LANDMARKS TO DESTROY, TOO LITTLE TIME
San Andreas is down to number two and in it Dwayne Johnson is a top Rescue operative (agent? officer? Mule?) in Los Angeles so needless to say when the first quake wipes out the Hoover Dam he and his team are supposed to head out there and help. Unfortunately the next quake hits LA and so he obviously has to stay and help there…except he doesn’t. First thing he does is save his wife then they take the copter to go to San Francisco to go save his daughter. Gee, you think the people of LA might have been able to use a rescue helicopter piloted by the top rescue operative? Yes, the helicopter goes down due to mechanical difficulties (caused in the opening rescue scene) and they try to make up for it by having him help some people in San Francisco, but again, the only reason he’s there is because he thinks only he personally can save his daughter, who honestly would have been fine if she’d left the city when she had the chance rather than seeking out higher ground WITHIN THE CITY TO WAIT FOR HER PARENTS. As I said last week, the less of this “writing” the better. More disaster please. I personally wouldn’t have minded seeing the some of the smelly populace of Haight Ashbury get swallowed up. And how can you not show Alcatraz getting wrecked. All of that would have equaled less time to think about the fact that Dwayne Johnson essentially abandoned his post.

NOT SEEING IT CHAPTER 3
Insidious Chapter 3 opens at number three and like one and two, I gave this a pass. I don’t. do. the. scary. And unless they are totally inept creepy figures in dark in your bedroom the night is scary.

THANK GOD THE REAL TURTLE DIDN’T LIVE TO SUE, ER, I MEAN SEE THIS
Speaking of scary, how scary is it that they made an Entourage movie? It’s actually scarier than the fact the show lasted eight fucking seasons. That was two seasons longer than Sex & The City if we’re comparing and that show was exhausted by season five. I must admit I did watch entourage for awhile. It was combination wish fulfillment, glimpse behind the curtain (it was based partially on the lives of both Mark Wahlberg and Doug Ellin, but mostly the former as the latter had about two seconds of indie heat the failed to follow through) and satire. Initially they satirized the world they lived in as much as they glamourized it, but it gave way simply worshipping the fantasy. And it always annoyed me that they didn’t have the balls to make the fact that Adrian Grenier was in Drive Me Crazy some his character was actually in. It was a slow pitch over the plate, but they were too busy lining up desperate actresses and porn stars to make topless appearances and stars you thought were better than this to do cameos to take a swing. Apparently they thought they confused themselves with Sex & The City–which was genuinely successful and popular—to think they could take four years to turn out a substandard overlong episode. Thankfully, this won’t be allowed to follow up with a putrid sequel (I only want a third Sex & The City movie to apologize for the second) as its primary audience of dudebros clearly weren’t about to get their flabby dadbods off the couch and stop playing Call of Duty or Mortal Kombat to actually go see it.

GIRLS RULE, BOYS DROOL PT. 2
Mad Max: Fury Road is down to number five followed by Pitch Perfect 2 at number six and brace yourself for this: though released the same week, PP2 has made $160M compared to MMFR’s $130M. Granted MMFR has made more worldwide, but Hollywood still gets the bulk of its profits from the domestic side so this is what matters. Not to mention, MMFR cost $150M so it hasn’t even made its budget yet, while PP2 only cost 1/5 that. It turned a profit the first week, while MMFR still has a ways to go. Only in terms of the creation of art will MMFR win out in the end as you’ll no doubt see it again at awards time. But art and awards and $2.5o will get you on the train. Pitch Perfect 3 was already greenlit, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on news of another Mad Max.

MIGHT AS WELL HAVE GIVEN FAITH HILL A JOB AND LET HER DO IT
Tomorrowland is down to number seven and also in this is Tim McGraw as the main character’s father. I have nothing really to add to that. It’s just so out-of-left-field in its casting. Judy Greer is her mother. Or should I say her voice, because we never see her and she’s never mentioned again. Seriously, Disney. You really need to get over this Dead Mother bullshit.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END
Avengers: Age of Ultron is down to number eight and already the vultures are circling, pointing out this isn’t doing as well as the first. Well, duh. The first was something that had never been seen before. The sequel to Jurassic Park didn’t do as well as the first for similar reasons. It’s a rule of thumb that sequels usually cost more and make less than the first film. Hell, The Empire Strikes Back made less than Star Wars and that was a global phenomenon that this doesn’t even come close to approaching. Does that mean it was coming to an end (Return of the Jedi did better than Empire). No, if you want to look for chinks in the Marvel armor just read director Joss Whedon’s admission that making this broke him because of having to constantly deal with Marvel/Disney. Or the fact that Edgar Wright walked off/was fired from Ant Man, a movie he’d been developing for eight years, which means he was working it even before Iron Man hit big. So clearly he was told to bend his vision to accommodate their machine and was unwilling to do so. Both events happened concurrently and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.

AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE BLACK PEOPLE WHO ARE ASIAN!
Aloha is down to number nine and Cameron Crowe has apologized for casting Emma Stone as Hawaiian/Asian in this film, while myopically pointing out it was based on a real person who was thought to be White but clearly was not. The difference, dumbass, is that she wasn’t! There are tons of partially Asian actors in Hollywood that people think of as White, but when you point it out it seems fairly obvious they are multi-ethnic. Keanu Reeves, Dean Cain, Olivia Munn, Chad Michael Murray, Darren Criss, Jennifer & Meg Tilly, Kristen Kreuk (she played Lana Lang on Smallville), that annoying girl on Agents of SHIELD, etc. Not to mention you could have found one closer to Bradley Cooper’s freaking age like, Lindsay Price (who could easily be mistake for Lara Flynn Boyle). No, you deserve every ounce of this failure.

CONTINUING ITS GHOST METAPHOR BY ONLY BEING SEEN BY A FEW
Finally, the Poltergeist remake closes out the top ten at number ten and given it cost $62M to make and has only made $44M, you’d think they’d learn to give remakes a break. Nope. They’re remaking The Craft, The Crow and She’s All That even as we speak. All they’ve learned from this is to have a bigger budget for advertising, because can anyone really be blamed that an unadvertised film doesn’t do well?

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IRWIN ALLEN WOULD BE PROUD

31 May

3593523-sgtfury5+-+cover 1. San Andreas/WB Wknd/$ 53.2 Total/$ 53.2
3. Tomorrowland/Disney Wknd/$ 13.8 Total/$ 63.2
2. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal Wknd/$ 14.4 Total/$ 147.5
4. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB Wknd/$ 13.6 Total/$ 115.9
5. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney Wknd/$ 10.9 Total/$ 427.1
6. Aloha/Sony Wknd/$ 10.0 Total/$ 10.0
7. Poltergeist/Fox Wknd/$ 7.8 Total/$ 38.3
8. Far From the Madding Crowd/Fox Wknd/$ 1.4 Total/$ 5.4
9. Hot Pursuit/WB Wknd/$ 1.4 Total/$ 32.4
10. Home/Fox Wknd/$ 1.8 Total/$ 168.1

IT DWAYNE JOHNSON’S THE BOX OFFICE!
San Andreas opens at number one and this is very important to Dwayne Johnson for two reasons. Number 1: that’s the only name associated with this. “The Rock” is nowhere to be seen. Probably there’s a good chance Jim McMahon owns it, in yet another way the straight entertainment industry and porn intersect. So to be able to keep all the money he makes, Johnson needs to put The Rock in his rearview as much as humanly possible. Number 2: he’s the only star and it’s not sequel. While clearly successful, that Johnson’s career hasn’t exactly gone the way any one had thought isn’t a secret. While a boost to sequels, he has failed to carry films all by himself. Probably because he and his agents/managers have horrible, horrible middle-0f-the-road, being-too-safe tastes. I mean look at this. It’s straight up, by-the-numbers disaster porn. It couldn’t be any safer if it actually was a sequel. Like any genre film, no one is really coming to see him as much they are to see Los Angeles and San Francisco die horribly. I mean, it’d be great if there were a charismatic star there to help it along, but it’s not really required. He’s here for the same reason Dennis Quaid was in The Day After Tomorrow and John Cusack was in 2015: they were of a certain age and needed an easy pitch to boost the resume. San Andreas is actually better disaster porn than The Day After Tomorrow and 2015, not simply because Johnson is more fun to watch, but because they eschew the disaster film trope of multiple storylines around the event. It’s basically two: Johnson and Carla Gugino trying to get to their daughter in San Francisco and their daughter trying to stay alive until they come. Okay there’s Paul Giamatti and “The Scientist Who Knew It Was Coming” but that’s it. All he does is warn people there’s no dramatic struggle on his end. That not only pares the film down, but clearly allowed them to put that money into more bloodless carnage. People fall and are crushed, but there’s no sign of corpses. Seriously. Every one dies perfectly hidden by the rubble so Johnson’s pretty daughter is spared having to make her way through a city of the dead and dying. In your typical disaster film, she’d be picking up survivors on the way, but this spares us that cliché for a leaner, clearly meaner disaster film. And honestly the less of this “writing” the better because it’s as clichéd as you can imagine. Just like every other disaster movie the hero and his wife are divorcing due to a tragedy in the past (they lost a daughter). And just like every other disaster movie the guy she’s now with is handsome, rich and successful. And just like every other disaster movie, the new guy is ultimately shown to a coward, leaving Johnson’s daughter trapped in parking garage (2015 actually avoids this cliché making this film less daring than a Rolan Emmerich film if you can believe that). To be fair, the man is clearly broken by the magnitude of the events around him. He’s actually trying to find help when the person he’s talking to dies in front of him, missing him by literal inches. That’s when he runs. After that, however, he’s a pure save-myself-coward. Even his sister is shown to be a total bitch before biting the dust. That’s how black and white simplistic the script is. Oh, the daughter they lost? She drowned so guess what Johnson has to save their other daughter from in the final act? I’m giving nothing away. It’s in the trailer. So yeah, less of this “writing” and more watching The Golden Gate bridge get hit by both an earthquake and a tsunami the better.

TOO BAD, KID
Pitch Perfect holds at number two, followed Tomorrowland down to number three and as the ostensible star of this is Britt Robertson. She’d be the clear-cut star if the film didn’t flat out open with George Clooney’s face. Yeah, she’s talking to him off-camera and it does eventually switch to her, but all the while you’re waiting for Clooney to come back so they can get to the trope of “Cynical Older Person Who’s Given Up Brought Back By Kid Who Still Believes.” As I mentioned before she goes from being smart, optimistic and innovative on her own to just being this annoying person who constantly asks questions when she hooks up with Girl Robot and George Clooney. The movie becomes almost meta when Clooney asks her “Why can’t you shut up and simply be amazed?” because that’s how the character should be. The character was originally a boy and I have to wonder if he’d have been allowed to be nearly as annoying or would have be been the typical fantasy stand-in for the writer/director kid boy genius they way they always are in these movies. He would have been amazed and still would have asked smart questions. Poor Britt. Between this and The Longest Ride it looked on paper like she had two sure fire successes, but both have underperformed. It seemed like she was about to break out, but she’s still stuck under the dome. Get it? She’s on that show. It only runs in the summer. See what I did there?

YOU BALLS WON’T GET SMALLER, BUT MAYBE A LITTLE SMARTER
Mad Max Fury Road is down to number four and while not doing dazzling box office numbers there is no better critically nor audience reviewed film out there. Hopefully this will give it legs, because it’s always a tragedy when a film this good doesn’t perform as well as it should. I mean despite all the talk of it being so smart it’s still a movie where cars go really fast and things go boom. Don’t be afraid, Fast & Furious fans. You’ll still like it even if you don’t understand why afterward your girlfriend starts making more decisions in your relationship and why you’re comfortable letting her.

SIGH. GUESS THIS MEANS NO SATAN CLAW EITHER
Avengers: Age of Ultron is holding at number five which actually says something given it’s now sharing theaters with San Andreas and Mad Max: Fury Road. In the film far too briefly is Thomas Kretschmann as Baron Strucker. In the comics Strucker was an enemy to Nick Fury in World War II, afterwards as head of Hydra and of course sometimes bumped heads with Captain America. He’s in the film for about ten minutes before being killed off-screen by Ultron. This is a waste of a good actor and a good character. Almost as much of a waste as the whole damn Hulk/Black Widow storyline. Sorry, but the more I think about it the worse it gets. Hopefully, we’ll see his evil twin children whom he genetically altered as embryos to have superpowers. Later when the sister is killed, brother keeps her tanned skin on his sword to retain his superpowers. Ewww. Maybe we’ll leave that part out.

I’M SURE THE IRONY OF THE NAME IS NOT LOST ON HIM
Aloha opens at number six and once upon a time a new Cameron Crowe film would have me at the theaters opening weekend, but Elizabethtown is apparently something neither he nor the audience can overcome. Since then it’s only been We Bought A Zoo in terms of narrative film work and I kinda gave that a pass for the same reason I did this: I’m pretty much done with movies where an older male protagonist is renewed by a much younger blonde (no, it didn’t help that Hawaii, the only state where white people are a minority is depicted as lily-white, but my main gripe is the May/December plotline). It was Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson in We Bought A Zoo and now it’s Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. I actually like Emma Stone, but she’s got to stop playing the younger girl the older man can’t help himself but fall for (she also did it in a Woody Allen film with Colin Firth). Worse still, Rachel McAdams whom I absolutely adore is also in this but am prevented from seeing by this damn romantic subplot. Given Crowe’s recently divorced from Nancy Wilson (yes, of Heart) I fear this has origins in his personal life and fear only more in the future.

SHHH! IT’S HIS SECRET SHAME!
Poltergeist is down to number seven and I still have not seen an ad for this. I live in fucking New York! It’s a media hub! How is this possible!?! Sigh. Back to milk the dead cow is none other than Sam Raimi who’s listed as producer. He’s also doing an Evil Dead TV series. So I guess original work is for young people, huh, Sam?

THE REST, THE END
Far From The Maddening Crowd is down to number eight, followed by Hot Pursuit at number nine and inexplicably holding on to number ten is Home.

LESS OLD IS MORE LIKE IT
So, the summer TV season hasn’t kicked off yet, but I’ve been drawn into some springtime TV on freaking TV Land, which is a spin-off of Nickelodeon. And let me tell you, it ain’t really for kids. Younger is about a divorced 40-something who, when she can’t find a job because of her age (striking closer to home than I’d like) gets a makeover and starts pretending she’s 26. Now, while there are real life examples of similar things happening and there’s actually an actress who’s been playing teenagers for 20-years, there’s no way like Sutton Foster is passing for 20-anything. She she probably didn’t look 26 when she was 26 (theater people age hard). Even the book this is based on drew the line at 29. It’s also from Darren Starr so between that and trying to buy anyone accepting Sutton Foster as 26, I gave it a pass. Then, while channel surfing I came across a rather explicit sex scene. And by explicit I mean that even though she still had her bra on is Sarah Jessica Parker fashion they clearly he was going down her. They then moved to multiple position montage including doggystyle and reverse-cowgirl. Reverse cowgirl on a channel associated with Nickelodeon. Wow (I won’t even get into the pixelated nudity that actually does happen with another character who celebrates what she calls “Topless Tuesday” for her Twitter followers). So I watched for a little context and…it’s not too bad. Plus they appeal to my weakness: the show is clearly shot here in New York. I still fast forward any time there’s some horribly contrived scene where she’s hiding her age (she has a college aged daughter, but strangely knew nothing about Twitter), but it’s some reasonably entertaining springtime viewing.

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BETTER LUCK ON MR. TOAD’S WILD RIDE THE MOVIE

26 May

500_3_charlize_theron_w 1. Tomorrowland/Disney                          Wknd/$ 33.0   Total/$ 33.0
2. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                     Wknd/$ 30.8   Total/$ 109.6
3. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                    Wknd/$ 24.8   Total/$ 88.3
– Poltergeist/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 22.6   Total/$ 22.6
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney         Wknd/$ 21.7    Total/$ 404.9
5. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate           Wknd/$ 15.0   Total/$ 39.9
6. Hot Pursuit/WB                                     Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 29.1
7. Furious 7/Universal                               Wknd/$ 2.2     Total/$ 347.1
8. Far From the Madding Crowd/Fox    Wknd/$ 2.2      Total/$ 5.4
9. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                           Wknd/$ 1.9      Total/$ 65.7
10. Home/Fox                                              Wknd/$ 1.8     Total/$ 168.1

SOMEWHERE JOHNNY DEPP LAUGHS, “NOT SO EASY, IS IT?”
Tomorrowland opens at number one and between this and Mission Impossible 4, I’m glad Brad Bird is returning to animation with a sequel to The Incredibles, ‘cause live action is clearly not his thing. There are clearly too many compromises you have to make with people that you don’t have to with drawings. Though it’s where the writing is concerned that things go astray. Granted, the simple fact that Damon Lindelof is on as a co-writer here automatically means suckage, but you’d think as director Bird could overcome it. He cannot. This seems to be the logical (and by “logical” I mean only in the mind of someone shamelessly chasing money) extension of Pirates of the Caribbean. That is, Disney making even movies based on their theme park rides. The mistake is while Pirates of the Caribbean was/is a theme park, pirate movies are an old, established genre. You could have called it anything else and still had the same movie. This, however, had to be totally original and how exactly do you tell the story of a future that never came to pass? Well, judging by this, you don’t. Ironically we see more of “the future is now” in our first encounter with the protagonist, Casey (Britt Robertson), than for any other part of the movie when she sneaks onto the Cape Canaveral base using her iPhone to control a toy helicopter. You can use your iPhone to remote control a vast number of things and this has happened in the last decade. It’s amazing but it doesn’t seem to register. Anyway, her father is a NASA engineer and in some naïve way she’s hoping to stop the dismantling of the space program by stomping the dismantling of the launch platform. She’s not only clever, but an incurable optimist and these are the reasons she’s sought out by recruitment robot that looks like a 12-year-old girl. We see this robot earlier when the younger version of George Clooney’s character goes to the World’s Fair in Queens in the 60’s to submit his jet pack idea. The robot helps him sneak into Tomorrowland when House—I mean Nix as played by Hugh Laurie rejects him because his jet pack doesn’t quite work. In Tomorrowland one of the robots fixes it so it does and he’s allowed to stay. Later, however, when the robot drops Casey off at Clooney’s place—after avoiding other killer robots—we learned he was kicked out under pain of death if he ever talked about Tomorrowland. We also learn that Casey was selected because she might be able to fix what’s wrong with it, something Clooney helped to create. As they make the journey back, we learn that the origins of Tomorrowland started with Thomas Edison, Jules Verne and Nikola Tesla…and they apparently built a rocket in the Eiffel Tower which is just cool as fuck. Of course you might wonder how no one knew there was a rocket there, not even The Nazis when they took the place, but honestly it’s so nice I give it a pass. What I cannot give a pass to is basically the whole concept. A world established over hundred years ago in another dimension for the betterment of mankind…that apparently has never done anything for the betterment of mankind and then gave up in 1984. Yeah, that’s how subtle the film is at yelling at you for letting the planet go to hell. Bear in mind they built a freaking rocket in The Eiffiel Tower which was constructed in 1889, had jet packs and robots in the 60’s (not to mention some kind of fountain of youth shake) and never shared any of it, but it’s our fault. The movie never comes close to explaining why all they seemed to was plan for a better tomorrow but never actually did anything (actually that would have been a better reason for Clooney’s exile in that he realized they never would). Also, the girl robot has been recruiting dreamers, but while Casey makes the cut, Stephen Hawking and Steve Jobs never did (no, I don’t see them asking Bill Gates)? Another problem is that Casey is flat out annoying, something both Clooney and the robot mention and they’re not wrong. When Clooney tells her to just shut up and be amazed for once, he’s speaking for all of us. Speaking of Clooney the most mystifying flaw of the film beyond him vanishing off-screen for half-an-hour, is that they give him a 12-year-old girl robot as a love interest. Yes, she’s technically as old as he is, but when it comes down to it, what you see onscreen is George Clooney and a 12-year-old looking lovingly at one another (which sounds like some kind of bizarre comedy Woody Allen would write where the protagonist keeps insisting that it’s okay because she’s a 50-year-old robot while the world wants him dead). Yeah, I’m sure it was cute on the page that he’s harboring a love from childhood but fully realized it’s just creepy. That no one saw this as a problem in the initial planning stages shows you this was doomed from the beginning.

SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES
Pitch Perfect 2 is down to number two and returning with a promotion for this one is Elizabeth Banks who was actually one of the producers for the original as well as co-starring. Again, this remains a double-edged sword of success in Hollywood. A female driven film is one of the biggest films of the year so far, but it’s about something “silly.” As opposed to the gritty realism of The Avengers, no doubt. But this is the excuse that will be given for no increased presence of women behind the camera despite this being one of two biggest openings of the year being alongside 50 Shades of Grey. But all props to Elizabeth Banks who was the comedic woman of the moment after The 40-Year-Old Virgin back in…’08. Holy shit! Has it really been that long!?! Unfortunately most of her subsequent roles as the female lead tanked. She had the misfortune to be in both Meet Bill and Meet Dave neither of which anyone wanted to meet. She then fell prey to the attempts to make Ryan Reynolds, Sam Worthington and Chris Pine into stars, but luckily The Hunger Games appeared to give her a new lease on life. After that came Pitch Perfect and this year alone she’ll be in the Magic Mike sequel as well as the final Hunger Games movie. So basically the more female driven her work, the more she succeeds. Now there’s a lesson.

SHE USED TO BE MY GIRL
Speaking of female and driven, no matter what the title of the film Charlize Theron is the clear star of Mad Max: Fury Road, which is down to number three this week. But honestly when you think about it, Max is never really the driving force behind any of his movies beyond the first. He’s just trying to die with his pain in the wasteland when he’s caught up in someone else’s schemes to try and rebuild the world, which usually climaxes him driving a big rig that’s beset by the scavengers of the apocalypse. Seriously, that’s the plot of every movie and I don’t have a problem with that. Like Banks, the more Theron stays away from simply being “pretty girl lead” the better off she does. Her last big hits were the far from critically beloved Hancock, Snow White and the Huntsman and Prometheus but in none of them was she the leading man’s love interest. And she damn sure isn’t one here. Also it was her call to shave her head. Yeah, pretty people live for messing up that beauty thing whenever and wherever they can.

AND WHO WOULD HAVE A CLOWN DOLL ANYWAY!?!
Okay, apparently the remake of Poltergeist opened this weekend, but it actually doesn’t show up on some box office charts. Which would make sense as I’ve seen not one commercial, billboard or even print ad for it. It’s almost like it’s a literal ghost film. I saw the original back when I would do the scary, but honestly if I’d known this was coming out I might have given it a shot as it always felt more like science fiction (girl trapped in alternate dimension) than horror. Well, aside from that fucking clown. Whoever thought to include that (and the tree) tapped into the childhood fears of the collective planet.

TIME TO WORK FOR A LIVING
Avengers: Age of Ultron is down to number four—or five—and finally making an onscreen appearance is someone who’s been part of the Marvel movies all along: Paul Bettany, who’s been the voice of Jarvis. Something he admits to forgetting in interviews. Must be nice to make money that easily. Well, not anymore as he has to be painted and suited up to be the android known as The Vision. You say you want a brief comics history of the character? Well, don’t mind if I do. Shut up. You were too thinking it. The Vision is created by Ultron to help him destroy humanity, but turns on him, becoming an Avenger and ultimately marrying The Scarlet Witch. And they have two kids! Well, kinda. They’re made of magic and…okay even that’s too much for me. But Bettany does a good job with a limited role that only pops in the last half hour of the film. But he’s lost that easy Iron May paycheck.

SISTERS ARE DOING IT PT II
The Age of Adaline actually rises to number five (or six), followed by Hot Pursuit at number six (or seven), Furious Seven at number seven (or eight) and Far From The Maddening Crowd rising to number eight (or nine). Okay let’s tally it up. Britt Robertson is the protagonist of Tomorrowland, followed by the women of Pitch Perfect 2, Charlize Theron and all the women of Mad Max: Fury Road, Blake Lively in Age of Adaline, Reese Witherspoon & Sofia Vergar in Hot Pursuit and Carey Mulligan here in Far From The Maddening Crowd. That makes six out of the top ten (or eleven) films female driven. Sadly, that’s kind of impressive and won’t be lasting very long now that the summer movie season has formally begun. So enjoy your moment, ladies!

THE END
Paul Blart is either number nine or ten depending how you count it and Home is either number ten or finally removed from our sights.

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MAD MAX: I-95, EXIT 23

18 May

jordana_brewster-gq
1. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                      Wknd/$ 70.3    Total/$ 70.3
2. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                    Wknd/$ 44.4    Total/$ 44.4
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney         Wknd/$ 38.8    Total/$ 372.0
4. Hot Pursuit/WB                                     Wknd/$ 5.8       Total/$ 23.5
5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                           Wknd/$ 3.6       Total/$ 62.9
6. Furious 7/Universal                               Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 343.8
7. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate           Wknd/$ 3.2      Total/$ 37.5
9. Ex Machina/A24                                     Wknd/$ 2.1      Total/$ 19.6
8. Home/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 165.6
10.Far From the Madding Crowd/Fox    Wknd/$ 1.3      Total/$ 2.6

MAD MAX: ROUTE 12, EXIT 15!
Pitch Perfect 2 opens at number one with Mad Max: Fury Road opening at number two and this is bittersweet triumph for female-driven films. The sweet is obvious. The number one film in the country was written, directed, starring and co-produced by women and nothing about it suggests they gave flying fuck if anyone with a “Y” chromosome saw it They were rewarded for this with a $70M opening off estimated $30M budget. This means whomever approved the third film even before this was released looks like a genius. The bitter is the hit taken by any who hoped for more action movies driven by women as the wonderful hi-octane (literally) Mad Max: Fury Road is beaten out for the number one spot. It’s also female driven from its plotline to its actual hero, Charlize Theron. Yeah, it’s called Mad Max, but everything in it is about her and her plan to save five of her fellow models from The Humungous, er, I mean Immortan Joe, who uses them as his personal breeding stock. And if you think I’m kidding about the models part, the film is very self-aware about it. There’s not one, but two scenes where people stop and gape at them because they’re so different from everyone else. When Max first sees them, he stops dead in his tracks because the women are literally soaking wet in off-white gossamer fabric. It looks like he wandered onto the set of a music video (at any moment you expect the camera to pan over and show INXS singing). The other is such a great scene I’d rather not spoil it. Max is also a prisoner of Immortan Joe’s empire: providing healthy blood for the tumor-ridden mutant “half-life” boys. In fact, Max only gets free because of Theron’s efforts to free the girls and goes from reluctantly helping them to be willing to die for them. Yes, he does help to save the day in the end (his name is in the title after all), but it’s Theron’s show all the way, which is why her name comes up first in the opening credits and she’s the most prominent in the posters. She also has a great name: Imperator Furiosa. But you know someone somewhere is going to fault all these things as to why the latest sequel in an action franchise came in second to a movie about chicks singing. Which I’ll never see because I hated the first Pitch Perfect. I find Mad Max more grounded in reality than anyone anywhere liking Anna Kendrick singing “No Diggity.”

AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU ASKED ME? SHUT UP. YOU WERE THINKING IT.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is down to number three and if you thought it was getting beaten up before on account of how it treated The Black Widow, just wait now that they’ve got the giant hammer that is Mad Max: Fury Road. The other prominent female superhero in this film is The Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen. Yes, sister to the Olsen Twins, who’s been carving out a critically acclaimed acting career these last few years and now has stepped up her game to big, mainstream action movies. That’s gonna get a lot of indie films no one will ever see financed. In the comics she and her brother Pietro, aka, Quicksilver are the children of Magneto and were part of his original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants alongside Toad (who was in the first X-Men movie) and The Blob (seen in the first Wolverine movie). In the most recent X-Men film, Days of Future Past where Quicksilver also appears there’s a passing reference made to Magneto being his father and a cut scene where his sister (who would be The Scarlet Witch) is referenced.

MAYBE SHE CAN MEET UP WITH BRIDGET JONES!
Also female driven, but hardly a success story is Hot Pursuit, down to number four. Besides being directed by a woman and starring women, both Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vegara are onboard for this as producers, so they truly have to take some of heat for its failures as they were making some of the decisions. I’m thinking it’s to put on the pink one more time and bring back Elle Woods. Get it right this time and put her where she’s looked down upon and is the underdog, something a pretty blonde coming from money is not in Washington DC. Now, England on the other hand…

AND IT LOOKS LIKE BALLS TOO
Paul Blart holds at number five and women should be proud they had nothing to do with this. Writers, director and producers…all men. This is an all-ball production. Pure scrotum, if you will.

TOO PRETTY TO DRIVE FAST, MUCH LESS FURIOUS
Furious Seven is down to number six and while Jordana Brewster is back it’s in a role so slight it’s almost a cameo. She never got to develop into a butt-kicking action star like almost all the other women in the series. She went from love interest to wife and mother. It may have something to do with being the prettiest cast member (behind Paul Walker, of course). There’s a montage of all the stars from the beginning of the franchise until now and it’s amazing how she’s gone from looking like Demi Moore’s daughter to her sister. I’ll let you discuss why amongst yourselves.

CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. SERENA VAN DER WOODSEN!
The Age of Adeline is down to number seven and I’m still disappointed no one has combined the trailers and produced an “Avengers: Age of Adeline” mash up yet. Me? I’m busy.

CLEARLY MY TUTION WAS FOR THAT PRIME GREENWICH VILLAGE ADDRESS—AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT
Home is down to number eight, followed by Ex Machina at number nine and Far From The Maddening Crowd opening at number ten. This is based on the famous novel by Thomas Hardy and NYU should be ashamed of the fact that I graduated with a degree in English Literature and never read it. Ashamed I say! No, I won’t see it. That would be cheating.

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USE A WORD THAT DON’T MEAN NOTHIN’, LIKE LOOPDED

30 Sep

1. Hotel Transylvania/Sony                        Wknd/$  43.0            Total/$  43.0

2. Looper/TriStar                                         Wknd/$   21.2            Total/$  21.2

3. End of Watch/ORF                                  Wknd/$     8.0            Total/$  26.2

4. Trouble with the Curve/Warners          Wknd/$     7.5            Total/$  23.7

5. House at the End of the Street               Wknd/$     7.2            Total/$  22.2

6. Pitch Perfect/Universal                           Wknd/$     5.2            Total/$    5.2

7. Finding Nemo 3D/Disney                       Wknd/$     4.1            Total/$  36.5

8. Resident Evil Retribution/SG                 Wknd/$     3.0            Total/$  38.7

9. The Master/Weinstein                              Wknd/$     2.7            Total/$    9.6

10.Won’t Back Down/Fox                              Wknd/$     2.7            Total/$    2.7

MONSTERS MASHED

Hotel Transylvania opens at number one and I can’t help but think, “This could have been you ParaNorman.”  And I wish it had been because ParaNorman looked like it was made by people with actual talent and vision, while this comes from Adam Sandler (he’s the voice of Dracula as well as a co-writer and executive producer), so you know it probably blows. Chunks. And no I’m not just bitter because I also went to NYU like Sandler and he’s a multi-millionaire casting Salma Hayek as his wife and I’m doing this for free while being ignored by women online.  He’s made one funny film in his life and that was Happy Gilmore. The rest all blow.  All the jokes are the dumbest, weakest, lowest hanging fruit possible and I don’t believe that’s okay simply because a movie is for kids.  Pixar and the occasional Dreamworks film all prove you can be funny, be for kids and not be insultingly lazy about it (yes, I’m looking at you, Shrek, Ice Age, Madagascar, etc.).

WHERE’S THE DIGITIAL UNDERGROUND THEME SONG?

Looper opens at number two and being a geek from way back, I enjoy a good time travel movie. They almost always use paradox and it’s always fun if they make it work, like the end of The Terminator.  On the other hand you can get overrated pieces of crap like 12 Monkeys and an abomination called Retroactive whose purpose seems to punish you for staying up late and watching B-movies on cable TV. How bad was it? Two words: Jim Belushi.  That said, while this is technically science fiction, it’s also heavily hard-boiled noir, which makes sense as the first teaming of Joseph-Gordon Leavitt and director Rian Johnson was Brick, which transferred the detective genre to high school with no small measure of success.  This is basically the story of a hitman dealing both with his past and his future, but because it’s science fiction it takes what’s metaphoric and makes it literal.  Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is a “Looper” which is a hitman who kills off mob targets sent back from the future. They’re called “loopers” because eventually that target will be you, so your “loop” gets closed by you.  Of course the time comes when Joseph Gordon-Leavitt has to kill himself and in the last 30 years he’s somehow become Bruce Willis.  Willis gets away and tries to change his past which is Gordon-Leavitt’s present and future—and while Gordon-Leavitt doesn’t love his  present he still wants his planned future to be his own and sets out to kill his future self while avoiding his bosses who have a horrible, vicious punishment for loopers who fail to kill their future selves.  They try to make Gordon Leavitt look a little like Willis but honestly it was unnecessary and ultimately distracting, because we know Joseph Gordon-Leavitt doesn’t look anything like Bruce Willis! And the occasional angle where he does is just weird.  Different actors play the same character all the time and no one cares.  They should have worried more about the gaping hole in the premise which is, if the problem in the future is that there’s no way to completely dispose of a body, why don’t they simply kill them there then just dump the body in the past? Because then you’d have no movie, that’s why. Now, if I can accept that hole to enjoy the movie, I can accept that Joseph Gordon-Leavitt grows two inches in his thirties and forties and the entire structure of his face changes.  That said it’s a fun ride as we jump through time not just literally in the story but in terms of the storytelling with a  flashback/flashforward at a key moment in the film. If there’s one flaw (aside from the pace bogging down a bit in the second act) it’s there’s a little too much science fiction with a subplot about people with mutant powers that really wasn’t necessary.  Take it out and you speed your film up and nothing really changes.

BETTER TO RULE IN HELL

End of Watch is down to number three and this is much-needed success for Jake Gyllenhaal who was the “It Boy” after Brokeback Mountain, but that was followed a lot of A-list failures in every conceivable genre from Jarhead to Prince of Persia to Love & Other Drugs.  This had a budget of $7M and so far has grossed $27M, which more than surpasses the “3x budget” rule that dictates actual profits.  Given his last hit was the Source Code, which also had a relatively small budget ($32M with a $147M worldwide gross) he might want to leave the big summer blockbuster work to others.

FORGET SEXY.  IT’S TIME TO BRING THE MUSIC BACK

The Trouble With the Curve is down to number four and will someone please point out to Justin Timberlake that the only reason he gets to make movies is because he’s a pop star?  And that nothing he’s been the star in has ever succeeded? Jesse Eisenberg was the star of The Social Network. Cameron Diaz was the star of Bad Teacher.  You were the star of In Time and Friends with Benefits, which both bombed. You wanna keep making movies, you better keep making music. Elvis understood this and his movies were actually successful.

BUT I’M SURE PAT BOONE LIKED IT

The House At The End of the Street is down to number five and “Glee Goes To College” aka Pitch Perfect opens at number six, giving Anna Kendrick two films in the top ten (she’s Jake Gyllenhaal’s wife in End of Watch) and in the latter she proves in thirty seconds all that Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Hall & Oates, George Michael, Eminem and Justin Timberlake have spent 50 years trying to disprove: the painful stiffness of white people trying to get down.  Her trying to do Dr. Dre’s rap from BlackStreet’s “No Diggity” is one of the most excruciating musical moments on film since Michael Madsen decided to remove a man’s ear in Reservoir Dogs to Stealer’s Wheels “Stuck In The Middle With You.”  The time travel in Looper is more believable than her suddenly stirring up the crowd with her vanilla mayonnaise stylings.  Now I like Anna Kendrick.  She was great in her Oscar-nominated role in Up In The Air, but she is so painfully WASPy she has no upper lip!  I can believe she hasn’t played the uptight girlfriend of the main character who leaves her for a full-lipped, ethnic bohemian. So hearing her even use the phrase “Let’s remix this business” is like nails on a chalkboard. And all these things are from the trailer! You couldn’t have done more to keep me (and undoubtedly others) out of this film if you hired a man to kill me waiting at the door!  No wonder the bulk of the commercials stresses the comedy of Rebel Wilson because Anna Kendrick as some kind of “hip” music type is so ridiculous they may invalidate her Oscar nod.

THE ONLY SURVIVOR

Finding Nemo 3D is down to number seven, followed by Resident Evil: Retribution at number eight and The Master at number nine and also in this is Amy Adams who is also in The Trouble With The Curve and despite the fact that she’s clearly ascended to the A-list with two Oscar nominations for The Fighter and Junebug, to me she’ll always be the girl who played the Sarah Michelle Gellar role in the Cruel Intentions prequel ironically called Cruel Intentions 2.  Yes, they made a prequel, but it was originally supposed to an entire series that was a prequel to the movie, but was cancelled before it even aired because Aaron Spelling found it so offensive.  It’s so bad and so over-the-top with its attempt to show how decadent rich kids are it’s hysterical (they make the Gossip Girl cast look like 3rd graders).  They also break the fourth wall with direct looks at the camera and at one point they comment on how their conversation “sounds like dialogue from a cancelled TV series.” She was also on Smallville, which brings her full circle as she’s Lois Lane in the upcoming Superman movie, Man of Steel.

TO SCABS WITH LOVE

Finally, Won’t Back Down enters the top ten at number ten and has apparently pissed off every teacher in the nation as it’s basically an anti-teacher’s union, pro-charter school movie.  Makes no difference to me. I wasn’t gong to see it when I thought it was just another “spunky single mom and dedicated teacher fight the system” movie with no political leanings.  But it not only gives us two Gyllenhaals in the top ten, but a reunion of Radio Raheem and Tina from Do The Right Thing as also starring in this are Bill Nunn and Rosie Perez. Think she dances in the credits to this?  Too bad.  That might be worth seeing.

ANYBODY CAN HAVE FRIENDS OR READ BOOKS

The most wonderful time of the year continues as the Fall TV Season rollout continues.  I try to give everything a even shake, but couldn’t make through a full episode of Partners, which is about—get this—a gay guy and straight guy who are lifelong friend. OH. MY GOD!  This is barrier breaking…if this were 1982.  It’s from the guys who gave us Will & Grace and is based on their relationship, just as Will & Grace was also based on the relationship of one of the team with his unknowing girlfriend.  Honestly, that was clearly the more interesting relationship because this just recycles most of that.  It’s more like “Straight Will & Jack” which is a show no one asked for.  There’s even a Rosario character continuing the disturbing habit of gay men who feel their own disenfranchised state frees them to stereotype others (see the “Sassy Black Female” currently used on The New Normal and the horrible Asian stereotype continuing on Two Broke Girls).  I like Brandon Routh and Sophia Bush and hope they both find better work soon…Vegas comes from none other than Nicholas Pileggi who wrote both the Goodfellas screenplay and the book it was based upon.  He’s also the executive producer here .  No wonder this was one of the more entertaining things I’ve seen so far this year.  It’s set in the early 60’s when Vegas was just beginning to grow and how that new world of money & the mob runs into the old world already there; specifically rancher turned sheriff Dennis Quaid. He’s based on a real sheriff who’s also a consultant on the show so hopefully the abundance people concerned with actual facts will give this show a nice edge that all the other shows borne out of an attempt to cash in on Mad Men have lacked (yes, I’m looking at you Playboy Club and Pan Am).  One thing I like that is that Dennis Quaid is only doing the job because he wants the mayor to keep planes from flying over his property.  So it starts off as quid pro quo more than any need or concern for justice.  It’s also has a nice cast of character actors, including James Russo who’s always nice to see.  The only problem is he can’t really “win” because we know the mob ran Vegas during that time period and no one pretended they didn’t so it’ll be interesting to see how they balance out reality with a TV need to see good guys win on a weekly basis.  But you know what I would really love?  If they had an appearance by a young boy named Dan Tanna.  That’s a joke for the old people…CBS clearly has room for only one show by smart people, which is unfortunate when your show about a smart character isn’t that show.  Elementary is the attempt to cash in on the Sherlock Holmes resurgence going on with hit movies and the hit BBC modern interpretation. The difference being those are run by the English and they aren’t going to dumb down others to make Sherlock look smart. They’re just going to make him smart. Elementary is American so everyone else has to be dumb for him to be smarter (the smartest thing they do is the use of Elvis Costello’s “Watching The Detectives”).  They also wuss out on the acerbic personality of Holmes, which makes no sense. If an unapologetic rude Sherlock Holmes is something people are clearly willing to pay to see in the theater, what makes you think they want your “Oh, I’m sorry” Holmes for free?  Unfortunately, I have a weakness for shows shot in NYC and Lucy Liu, so I’ll probably give this another shot….now truly stupid is the basic premise of Made in Jersey, because if there’s anything that’s not even remotely unique or unusual it’s a girl from New Jersey working in Manhattan, but whomever ever created this show seems not only to lack a basic knowledge of the city but of basic geography.  This would make sense if the show was set in the south where a Jersey girl (the working-class aspect is given in shows like these) would stand out. In New York City there are literally millions of people from New Jersey who come into work every. single. day.  She wouldn’t stand out, she wouldn’t be special and she’d be far from the toughest person walking the streets as we’re supposed to gather from the way she confronts a bike messenger in the first five minutes. They’ve clearly confused the Upper East Side of Manhattan for all of New York, because everyone in the law firm where she works is clearly some kind of uber-WASP while she’s earthy and ethnic (with a last name that ends in a vowel). And of course, she just can’t be really smart; everyone else has to be a little dumb to make her look smart. In the first 5 minutes she’s the only person who realizes you can’t kill someone by hitting them with just a pair of pliers because apparently no else has ever touched a pair in their lives. At first glance this seems like they’re trying to cash in on The Jersey Shore, but while that clearly has something to do with it, it’s actually a junior sized (translation “younger female lead”) version of The Good Wife (they even give her a kickass ethnic investigator to work with), meaning it’s a police procedural masquerading as a legal drama, only lacking in all the nuances that make The Good Wife interesting. Not to mention her accent is wrong (she’s doing Brooklyn) and she’s too damn skinny as evidenced by the fact none of her casual shirts seem to fit and always “just happen” to reveal her flat, toned stomach…I don’t do the scary at the movies and I don’t do it on TV either, so 666 Park Avenue will not happen for me.