Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

LULLABY OF BIRDMAN

7 Dec

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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STUPID MOVIEGOERS GET THE STUPID MOVIES THEY DESERVE

16 Nov

ryanpotter

1. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal     Wknd/$ 38.1    Total/$ 38.1
2. Big Hero 6/Disney                               Wknd/$ 36.0    Total/$ 111.7
3. Interstellar/Paramount                      Wknd/$ 29.2    Total/$ 97.8
4. Beyond the Lights/Relativity             Wknd/$ 6.5      Total/$ 6.5
5. Gone Girl/Fox                                       Wknd/$ 4.6      Total/$ 152.7
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                         Wknd/$ 4.0      Total/$ 33.3
7. Fury/Sony                                              Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 75.9
8. Nightcrawler/ORF                               Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 25.0
9. Quija/Universal                                    Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 48.1
10.Birdman/FoxS                                      Wknd/$ 2.4      Total/$ 11.6

YOU GET THE CINEMA YOU DESERVE, AMERICA
Dumb and Dumber To opens at number one and honestly who wanted this? Seriously? Who are you so I came come to your house and make sure you don’t procreate. The first one (which I admit to having seen though I’ve successfully blocked any of its details from my memory) wasn’t funny so I sincerely doubt a 20-years later sequel will somehow correct that. But how happy is Jim Carrey for this? His first hit in how many years? With him actually on the screen I mean and not just a voice. Well that would be Bruce Almighty in ’03. Since then it’s been Fun With Dick & Jane, The Number 23, Yes Man (which I actually enjoy watching at 3 am) I Love Your Phillip Morris and Mr. Poppers Penguins. And unlike Jeff Daniels he doesn’t really have a solid dramatic career to fall back on. Carrey suffers from the same affliction as Eddie Murphy in that he can only springboard from his material. If it’s good, he’ll take it to another level. If it’s shit then he’s just this guy acting painfully weird for no reason whatsoever.

NO EASY ANSWERS
Big Hero 6 is down to number two and is it good or bad that we’re making no notice of the fact that the lead in this is Asian? Granted, the fact that his aunt is Caucasian means he’s only half-Asian, but that’s like saying the president is only half-Black. That’s not how he’s seen or treated, so for all intents and purposes he’s Black and Hiro Hamada is Asian. Now, with all the attention given to Disney’s princesses rarely being other than White don’t they deserve a little credit where the credit is due? Disney even went the extra mile and had their voices also done by Asian Americans (Ryan Potter as Hiro and Daniel Henney as Tadashi and Jamie Chung as Go Go). Or does it not count because Hiro’s gift is being super-smart and building robots and we expect that from Asians? Discuss amongst yourselves.

DON’T HATE THE PLAYER HATE THE GAME
Interstellar is down to number three and word of mouth is going to kill this because the more I think about it the dumber it gets and it was pretty dumb to start with. That said, also in this is Anne Hathaway as the smart scientist daughter of smart scientist Michael Caine. Or should I say, Academy Award Winning Actress playing the daughter of an Academy Award Winning Actor? In fact there are no fewer than five Oscar-winners onscreen in this film…and not one of them recognized how dumb this script was, which proves they got their Oscars through dumb luck, not smart choices. At least Michael Caine is open about it. He’s flat out said that he’s made many of his choices based solely on the fact his character was alive at the end.

MOTHER, YOU HAD ME, BUT I NEVER HAD YOU
Beyond The Lights opens at number four and this is from the writer/director of love & basketball, Gina Prince-Bythewood and while I enjoyed that film, I felt it was derailed a little about a subplot involving the character fighting with her mother. Guess what’s a major plot point here as well? In this case it’s a domineering stage mom. While there are no new stories and it’s all in how you retell them I didn’t see anything about this that was all that new to motivate me into seeing it. I mean, another rich person being saved by the love of a working class person? Seriously? You gotta give me more.

THE STANDARD BY WHICH ALL DICKS ARE JUDGED
Gone Girl is down to number five and there have been complaints that I buried the lead of this particular movie. Actually, just one complaint from my sister that I didn’t mention there’s a shot of Ben Affleck’s dick. Sigh. I’m sorry, people, but it’s just it’s so brief it barely merits a mention. I mean it’s not a Richard Gere in American Gigolo or even Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I guess what I’m saying is it’s not really full frontal male nudity to me if there are no balls present.

IRREPLACABLE? NOT SO MUCH.
St. Vincent is down to number six and also in this is Naomi Watts, aka, Blonde Clone of Nicole Kidman and this actually means she has two films in the top ten (Birdman being the other). In fact, she’s so much like Nicole Kidman that in my memory it was Nicole Kidman in The International, not her. And they both recently played dead blonde princesses to scathing reviews. Kidman as Princess Grace and Watts as Princess Diana. Though you probably thought it was Kidman both times.

THE OTHERS
Fury is down to number seven, Nightcrawler to number eight and Quija down to number nine.

IF ONLY IT WERE BIRDMAN HE HAD ACTUALLY PLAYED
Quija is down to number nine and entering the top ten at number ten is Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which has gotten good reviews and is definitely on my radar. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t hate Michael Keaton. I just hated him as Batman. How ironic that he’s getting the best press in years for playing an actor trapped by playing a superhero. More ironic that I really want to see it. And look at his supporting cast members. Edward Norton from The Incredible Hulk and Emma Stone from The Amazing Spider-Man. And the ironic cherry on top is that writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hates superhero movies and think they’re a danger to filmmaking.

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HATERS GONNA HATE

5 Oct

minime
1. Gone Girl/Fox                                             Wknd/$ 38.0    Total/$ 38.0
2. Annabelle/WB (NL)                                  Wknd/$ 37.2     Total/$ 37.2
3. The Equalizer/Sony                                   Wknd/$ 19.0     Total/$ 64.5
4. The Boxtrolls/Focus                                  Wknd/$ 12.4     Total/$ 32.5
5. The Maze Runner/Fox                              Wknd/$ 12.0     Total/$ 73.9
6. Left Behind/Free                                        Wknd/$ 6.9      Total/$ 6.9
7. This is Where I Leave You/WB               Wknd/$ 4.0      Total/$ 29.0
8. Dolphin Tale 2/WB                                   Wknd/$ 3.5      Total/$ 38.0
9. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney            Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 323.4
10. No Good Deed/SGems                           Wknd/$ 2.5       Total/$ 50.2

INTERFERING WITH MY PLANS TO HATE BY ACTUALLY BEING GOOD
Gone Girl squeaks out a victory at number one and I’m going to be honest and say I’m not a David Fincher fan. He’s part of the Ridley Scott school of style over substance. That his big breakthrough was 7even, which was a beautifully shot but epically stupid movie is no surprise and would never let you forget he cut his teeth directing music videos (“Jaime’s Got A Gun” “Freedom ‘90” “Vogue”). He’s better off when he has strong source material like a novel that needs to be adhered to lest you lose that built in audience the studio is counting on rather than an originally screenplay you just do what you want with because fuck a screenwriter amirite? Gone Girl was not only a novel, but the author herself did the screenplay, which usually is the fast track to failure, but despite a shakey beginning, it manages to find its tone. Now, I never read the book, but I did guess the mid-film twist because there’s really nothing new about this genre. So the question isn’t originality, but what you do with an old idea. They do well here in the story of a man whose wife mysteriously vanishes and while it begins with the presumption of innocence, darker secrets of their marriage pop up aided in no small part by the onscreen depiction of the missing wife’s journal. While Ben Affleck may not have any anyone’s first choice, if you want someone who can simultaneously appear to be a nice guy but also an asshole, he’s your guy. I’m one of the few who remembers how his character is described by Jason Scott Lee in Mallrats: “He looks like a date rapist.” There is something very “frat boy who smile and laughs at your joke while placing a roofie in your drink” about him which works here. After reporting his wife’s disappearance he never asks for a lawyer, but at the same time is openly hiding evidence from the police and who is he talking to on the second cell phone? I didn’t want to like Fincher’s latest, but it’s been awhile since I spent two hours in a theater that held me like this. But you know the success of this will make him blow it next time, right? Just like he followed up The Social Network with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or the way he followed Zodiac with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

DOES THIS COUNT AS A FILM WITH A FEMALE LEAD
Annabelle opens at number two and I would love to see the demographics of this audience as opposed to the audience for Gone Girl, given they finished neck-and-neck and that number may actually change by the time final tally is done. Let’s not pretend we don’t have a class system, America. Though that has nothing to do with why I did not nor will I ever see this. Say it with me kids: “I don’t do the scary.” Doesn’t matter how stupid or incompetent it might be, I simply don’t do it. It doesn’t help that the very premise of this is unbelievable. No, not an evil doll. That’s horror gold. No, it’s that the doll is so freaking ugly. No one would ever own it much less leave it in their daughter’s room to begin with. Like so many other things, this was done first, better and in less time on The Twilight Zone. They understood that it’s actually scarier if the doll is attractive. You pretty much expect an ugly doll to be evil, which is why no one owns them to begin with.

IF THEY’VE WON A VIDEO MUSIC AWARD, LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
The Equalizer is down to number three and this reunites Denzel Washington with his Training Day director, Antoine Fuqua, who is somewhat competent action director who also comes from music videos and like David Fincher has problems with story and this is no exception. But if you’ve seen what is for the most part immensely watchable schlock like The Replacement Killers, Bait, Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter and Olympus Has Fallen (also skipable) like I have, you know exactly what you’re walking into when you see his name on the poster and you’re not even remotely surprised he manages to create a typical climatic showdown in the rain even though we’re inside a Home Depot. Even Training Day suddenly loses its footing in the final 10 minutes. I’m thinking too many music videos taught both him and Fincher that making sense really doesn’t matter as much as making it look good.

THE WANT OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL BAD FILMS
The Boxtrolls is down to number four followed by The Maze Runner at number five and Left Behind opening at number six and normally I’d say this nonstop dreck from Nicholas Cage (look him up on Netflix and you’ll see a dozen films you never heard of all released in the last two years) was just because he was paying off a debt he owed to the IRS, but he was making lots of crap even before the government showed up with a bill. In fact, it was taking all those big money paydays that lead him to not just making Christian fundamentalist films, but remaking them as this was done first by none other than Kirk Cameron. When you’re swimming in Kirk Cameron you seriously need to look into a TV show. A paycheck every week TV show. You can pay your debts, rehabilitate your stardom and for god’s sake, save your dignity.

YEAH, THIS IS TRASH BAD DIRECTORS DAY. GET OVER IT.
This Is Where I Leave You is down to number seven and also if you need a reason as to why this sucks so much just look at the director: Shawn Levy. At best he’s underwhelming you with Real Steel, Date Night and Night at The Museum and at worst he’s dropping turds like The Pink Panther, Night At the Museum 2 (and 3 which is coming and looks to be the worst yet) and this. It’s takes negative amount of talent to drain people like Steve Martin, Ben Stiller, Jason Bateman, Robin William and Tina Fey of it and that he does so frequently and well shows you what a creative black hole this man truly is.

CLEARLY WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE MATTERS MORE THAN WHAT HE SOUNDS LIKE
Dolphin Tale 2 is down to number eight, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy at number nine and No Good Deed closing out the top ten at number ten having made almost 4x its budget domestically alone. Domestically, because the big excuse for not having films with minority leads is that they don’t perform internationally. Know where it’s been released overseas? Africa, period. Bear in mind Idris Elba is fucking English and has a successful TV show there.

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
Yes! The new Fall TV Season. Because I loves me some TV I do try to give every show at least one shot unless it is clearly just ridiculously awful like Scorpion or Stalkers or NCIS New Orleans or The McCarthys (are you surprised that the network of Two and A Half Men has more shit than most?). I mean life is just too short. Let’s get started, shall we?

Gotham
This was a no brainer for a comic book geek like me. Basically, it’s the story of Young Commissioner Gordon in Gotham City almost 20 years before Batman. We know this because the first episode is about the murder of The Waynes. Now this would make an interesting one-off movie or even a mini-series, but as an open-ended series makes no sense whatsoever. First of all, they insist on trying to shoehorn Bruce Wayne into the show. Bruce Wayne simply has no stories to tell between his parents’ death and the arrival of Batman. It’s not like Clark Kent who did have his powers as a boy so could do Superman-like things. Bruce Wayne has to be an adult after years of training himself to be Batman. Nonetheless Jim Gordon is being given excuse after excuse to drive out to Wayne Manor were we get to see Bruce Wayne getting progressively darker. Then there’s the need to include young versions of Batman’s villains. Now, while The Penguin as a young flunky for a mobster and The Riddler as your typical CSI tech both work it doesn’t change the fact that it means Batman’s gonna be punching out couple of old dudes when he finally shows up. Not that the alternative of showing them as kid is much better, as witnessed by a 10-year old Poison Ivy (her name needlessly and stupidly changed from Pamela Isley to Ivy Pepper because the people running this show want to show they’re “creative” when they clearly are no) and the a pre-naturally beautiful 13-year-old Catwoman who’s already running around the rooftops as a thief. In fact she looks just like Dina Meyer who played Batgirl on the awful Birds of Prey show so maybe they’ll give her a job as the mom she insists is still alive. If the biggest flaw is that they keep trying to shove elements of the Batman mythos without Batman (you know, ignoring the very premise of the show), the second biggest is young Jim Gordon as a good cop in a dirty town. Rather than show his compromises as he tries to eek out some measure of justice, they’re just having him be annoyingly self-righteous every week. If you know the mayor’s lazy, you don’t call him lazy to his face. You play him to get what you want but this Jim Gordon is too full of his own morality to do that. That more than anything will drive me away from this show.

A to Z
Now, I was prepared to hate this because the previews made it look like he stalked her and she rewarded him with a date, but it’s not. It’s actually about an 8-month relationship between two people who almost met previously due to friends and job proximity, but don’t actually do so until she comes into his office to complain about being listed as a lesbian on her dating profile (he works at an internet dating service) and he actually approaches her like a normal human. They go on a normal date, but when he realizes she was the girl he saw years ago that he thought could be “the one” she freaks out because her parents were starry-eyed hippies and she has no patience for that. Of course in the end she decides to give it a try and we have our show. But now we have the same question as Gotham. How can this be an open ended show about an 8-month relationship? How many years can they drag out 8 months? While it was better than I expected (which isn’t saying much) the premise doesn’t really grab me, but they get points for trying to be a little different (amidst a ton of clichés like straight laced lawyer dates free spirit and they both have wacky best friends). Oh, and it had a great Back to The Future joke which makes at least watching the pilot worthwhile.

The Mysteries of Laura
I love Debra Messing. I love her so much I’ve watched every crap show she’s been on since Will & Grace even though each got progressively worse. Just as Smash was worse than Starter Wife, this is worse than Smash. We get it, Debra. You’re willing to let yourself be shown as pathetically as possible for a joke. Only it’s not funny. Not even a little. Especially when every “humiliation” is followed by a “whoa, she’s really hot” scene. She’s a detective in NYC who’s dealing with her ex-husband as her boss and being a mom to two hellions. I can’t tell you how awful and lazy this show is. As flat as the jokes fall the attempts at drama are even worse. I really hate saying because they actually made the effort to film in NYC. It would really do them better to just go full sitcom with this like the much superior Bad Judge.

Bad Judge
This looked initially like The Mysteries of Laura (only she’s a judge not a cop) all the way down her working with a black guy who sees her in a state of undress and exclaims “Dayum!” But the execution is night and day. First of all they know they’re doing a sitcom, meaning it’s only 30 minutes and the goal is humor and even the small nods to drama are punctuated by humor. And while Kate Walsh plays the same ego-free card of willing to look bad on camera it’s not nearly as desperate as Debra Messing’s performance. But it helps when Will Farrell is one of your executive producers. It was co-created by Anne Heche who’s also a producer and that’s gotta mean some odd-as hell production meetings, but they clearly work.

Manhattan Love Story
Another sitcom that’s better than the commercials would have you believe thanks to the inclusion of some actual wit (his family runs a trophy-making business and America’s willingness to celebrate mediocrity has made their business better than ever) and I’m always a sucker to shows that film in NYC, but in the end the two leads are just too vanilla to hold my interest. I mean when you think “Manhattan Love Story” do you think the WASPiest people on earth? I mean at the very least make the native- New York some kind of ethnicity (the way the other members of his family clearly look).

Blackish
As much as I love Debra Messing, I hate Anthony Andrews who has always been the “black Tom Arnold” to me and that says it all. Nonetheless Lawrence Fishburne is here so I gave it a chance and it just didn’t make it. Granted I was told the second episode wasn’t as dependent on the whole “fear of assimilation” angle that the pilot episode was based upon, but I’m really not going to make an effort to see Anthony Andrews. Like I said, I hate him.

Forever
Pete Hamill is a longtime New York City journalist who wrote a novel called Forever about a man who is basically immortal and has been living in Manhattan since the Revolutionary War. This is not based on that and I cannot believe he hasn’t sued them. Then again he didn’t sue New Amsterdam about a cop with a similar affliction. This is about a medical examiner who as been alive for two hundred years only not consistently. He can die, but is reborn in water. Basically, you shoot him in Central Park, he wakes up naked in the East River and is picked up by his senior citizen adopted son played by Judd Hirsch. He uses his extensive experience in dying to solve mysteries and between this and CSI I’m thinking Jack Klugman as Quincy was the only unattractive television M.E. ever. It’s entertaining if not exceptional and it also preys upon my weakness by actually being shot in NYC, but not something I’m going to make an effort for. Basically, if you like Castle you’ll like this and I tired of Castle long ago.

How To Get Away With Murder
In all honesty, I barely watched it (god bless fast-forward) but what I did watch didn’t interest me in the slightest. But I’m not its audience. I don’t watch Scandal either.

Selfie
Yes, an entire TV series based on My Fair Lady. Her name is actually Eliza Dooley and John Cho plays “Henry.” This is where you eye roll. There are the barest glimmers of wit as they work at marketing firm where he succeeded in re-branding a drug that had been condemned by the FDA and basically he thinks he can “re-brand” her. Unfortunately there isn’t nearly enough of that wit and the whole show is burdened with a title that’s already dated and will only become moreso as time passes. It doesn’t help they don’t have the courage of their convictions as deep down inside she’s a former unattractive, unpopular girl who blossomed into a beauty and has used popularity to fill the hole inside her. Yawn. Give me someone genuinely shallow who finds their humanity while merely pretending to seek depth. That way we can laugh at her without feeling bad because we know it’s just a mask to hide her pain. Not that there are a lot of laughs here. Too bad. I want John Cho to succeed.

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SAINT HANKS

14 Oct

AmellWed_EW_Pic01

1. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$  55.6            Total/$  21.5

 2. Captain Phillips/Sony                              Wknd/$  25.7            Total/$  25.7

 3. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2    Wknd/$  13.8            Total/$  77.6

 4. Machete Kills/ORF                                   Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$   3.8

 5. Runner Runner/Fox                                 Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$  14.2

 6. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    3.6            Total/$  53.6

 7. Insidious 2/FD                                           Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$  78.5

 8. Rush/Universal                                          Wknd/$    2.4            Total/$  22.2

 9. Don Jon/Relativity                                    Wknd/$    2.4            Total/$  20.2

10. Baggage Claim/Fox                                   Wknd/$    2.0            Total/$   18.2

 

IN SPACE YOUR FLESH DOESN’T SAG AS MUCH

Gravity holds at number one and I made the joke about Clooney being onscreen with a woman his own age first, SNL! Well, my was a little different because theirs was you knew it was science fiction because there’s no way Clooney would talk that long to a woman his own age. Mine was that Clooney only agreed to do a film with a woman his own age because they promised him he’d never have to touch her.  I’m not giving anything way because it’s all in space. They’re not going to stop for a make out scene (though to hear the director talk about studio suggestions they would have if they could have). In fact they give more away in the first five minutes of dialogue, with some painfully hamfisted foreshadowing. And if you didn’t get it the first time, they do it again.  Seriously, it’s the only flaw in this otherwise great movie.

 

SPOILER: HE ESCAPES THE PIRATES ON WINGS OF GOLD!

Captain Phillips opens at number two and I know I’ll probably see this in the end, but I’ve just about had it with the nobility of Tom Hanks in movies. Yes, he may be the nicest guy on earth in real life (just ask Peter Scolari who’s probably in this somewhere) but it’s starting to wear out its welcome onscreen. At least Bruce Willis does comedies that slightly mock his action hero image. Where’s the movie that plays on Hanks’ saintly onscreen image?  I don’t need him to play a puppy kicking villain, but I swear I briefly saw a halo on the head this character in the trailer for this. Kinda limits the level of suspense.

 

FROM THE MAN WHO BROUGHT YOU THREE SPY KIDS MOVIES TOO MANY

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number three, followed by Machete Kills opening at number four and this is a joke that’s gone too far. It was great as a fake trailer in the Grind House movie from Tarantino and Rodriguez a few years and that they made it into an actually movie was funny too, but now sequels?  Enough. They should just stick to make trailers for movies that don’t exist, because “Introducing Carlos Estevez” (that’s Charlie Sheen’s real name) maybe the funniest thing you’ll see all year. I doubt anything in the movie can top that so why try?

 

WATER SEEKS ITS OWN LEVEL OF EGOTISM

Runner Runner is down to number four and it makes sense that Justin Timberlake is in a movie with Ben Affleck as they share a similar inability to be satisfied with enormous success in one arena and insist on it in others.  Affleck, like Woody Allen before him, casts himself as the lead in his highly praised films, but unlike Allen wants to be a movie star in his own right. Um, you tried that once. How’d it work out for you?  Pretty sure that bad decisions like this one and the upcoming Superman vs. Batman are what made you seek out creative fulfillment in directing to begin with. Hey, maybe that’s the upside to all this. The more crappy films he makes as an actor the more good films he’ll make later as a director. So this is one…

 

HER MOM INTRODUCES HER THIS WAY

Prisoners is down to number six and I just realized that Oscar Winner Melissa Leo is in this partially because Oscar Winner Melissa Leo is just. that. damn. good.  You don’t know even know it’s her until you see the credits. Hugh Jackman, however, I recognized immediately.

 

COUNTDOWN TO A SITCOM IN 3, 2, 1

Insidious Chapter 2 is down to number seven followed by Rush at number eight and also in this is Olivia Wilde whose 15 minutes of being “The Hot Girl” are just about up as none of the films she’s been in have been a success including this one. Since House make her semi-famous it’s been In Time (another Justin Timberlake failure), Tron Legacy (not a flop, but not a great success either), Cowboys & Aliens (James Bond and Indiana Jones together couldn’t save this), The Change Up (with fellow box office curse, Ryan Reynolds), People Like Us (the new Captain Kirk was in this turd), Butter (along with Jennifer Garner who knows all about failing in movies), and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (no one wants to see Steve Carrell with a younger woman). I’m thinking she can join either Halle Berry or Meg Ryan in their new sitcoms, because if they have to do TV you know she does.  She’s basically a brunette Malin Akerman at this point, who’s currently failing in Trophy Wife.

 

IF CLEVER IS A BLADE, THIS IS A BUTTER KNIFE

Don Jon is down to number nine followed by Baggage Claim closing out the top ten at number ten and if you wonder how painfully lacking in genuine wit this romantic comedy is, know that there’s a character named Mr. Wright played by Derek Luke. Gee, think he gets the girl in the end? Over Taye Diggs no less!

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR CONTINUES

Teens with superpowers? Government trying to control and eliminate them? No, you’re not watching an X-Men show. It’s just a remake of a 70’s British show (which was remade previously in the 90’s so basically they do this every 20 years) also named The Tomorrow People, but why keep the stupid name if you’re just going to have characters within the show mock it (and deservedly so)? I have no idea if the original Brit show was so much like the X-Men comics (which came first) but this new American version isn’t pretending to the point I can’t believe they haven’t been sued. And the familiarity doesn’t stop there. If those cheekbones look familiar it’s because you just saw them on Arrow. This is Stephen Amell’s brother, Robbie, in the lead also noticeably lacking a shirt throughout the show. That the female lead looks like the made her from the DNA of Kristin Kreuk from Smallville is probably coincidental though (or not). It’s also about as smart as Arrow or Smallville though both shows proved it’s possible to be entertaining without a brain. Maybe this will be as well, but I won’t know. I stopped caring about the X-men after I left my teens because I no longer needed their metaphor for teen angst to comfort me so there’s no real attraction to a less interesting version of it. But points to them for actually filming in NYC and not trying to pass Toronto off as Manhattan. They must have been given some serious tax breaks to pull this off.

DEFYING GRAVITY

6 Oct

tayediggs

 

1. Gravity/Warners                                         Wknd/$  55.6            Total/$  21.5

 2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2    Wknd/$  21.5            Total/$  60.6

 3. Runner Runner/Fox                                 Wknd/$    7.6            Total/$   7.6

 4. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    5.7            Total/$  47.9

 5. Rush/Universal                                          Wknd/$    4.4            Total/$  18.1

 6. Don Jon/Relativity                                    Wknd/$    4.2            Total/$   16.1

 7. Baggage Claim/Fox                                    Wknd/$    4.1            Total/$   15.2

 8. Insidious 2/FD                                           Wknd/$    3.9            Total/$  74.8

 9. Pulling Strings/LGF                                  Wknd/$    2.5            Total/$    2.5

10. Enough Said/Fox                                       Wknd/$    2.2           Total/$    5.4

 

WASTING NO TIME TO GET TO OSCAR

Gravity opens deservedly at number one and its 90-minute runtime should be a lesson to the studios in this time of year of bloated, overlong Oscar bait: less is more. It’s basically Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts struggling to survive in orbit in the wake of a space shuttle disaster (caused inadvertently by the Russians and given it destroys the space shuttle, the International Space Station and a Chinese space station, if they make it may just be to die in World War III).  Though it’s technically five hours, it’s essentially told in “real time” so we’re a party their decreasing air supply increasing the tension factor, not to mention the shrapnel that destroyed their mission continues to circle the earth, returning like an angry metal swarm intent on their destruction. I liked this movie so much I forgot I was even watching Sandra Bullock, whom I normally avoid like the plague.  She’s like a more talented, less-annoying Julia Roberts (seriously, if this had been Roberts I might not have seen it). This makes 2013 a great year for her between the success of The Heat and now this surefire Awards bait.  I almost feel bad for her given she can’t eat between now and the Oscars for all the gowns she’s going to have to fit into for the various award ceremonies she’ll have to attend.

 

SHUT UP AND SING.  AND DANCE. AND MAYBE SOME TV COMEDY.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number two, followed by Runner, Runner opening at number four and someone needs to tell Justin Timberlake to just let this acting thing go. It is to him what music was to Eddie Murphy, one success (The Social Network for JT and “Party All The Time” with Eddie) leading to a lifetime of delusion and apparently outweighing all the many, many failures.  And when I say “lifetime of delusion” I mean Eddie made an album with Snoop Dogg just last year just as we have Runner Runner here now.  You’d think having a successful album and tour would help this movie out, but you’d be wrong, because no one is buying Justin Timberlake as being young enough to be in college, even grad school.  You’d think winning Oscars would help this movie out but you’d be wrong, because no one—and I mean no one—is buying Ben Affleck as some kind of ruthless mob boss.  You think they’re regretting some Batman casting over a Warner Brothers right now? Oh, I think so.

 

JUST NOTHING WITH A GREENSCREEN, KID

Prisoners is down to number four and its box office is begin to peter out as word of mouth gets around about how it only looks like a prestige film (big stars, very serious, overlong), but is really just a cable suspense thriller all dressed up.  I hope Jake Gyllenhaal made some quick deals for the hot second it looked like a hit before everyone realized the truth.

 

TO SEDUCE THE AVENGERS!

Rush is down to number five and also in this is Natalie Dormer whose own heat has been rising over the past few years and is about to hit a boil. She was Anne Boleyn on The Tudors a few years back, over the last year joined the cast of Game of Thrones and provided a nice twice on the Sherlock Holmes mythos as she was both Irene Adler and Moriarty on Elementary.  Not to mention she’s going to be in The Hunger Games. Hold on tight to your manager and or agent, girl. They are doing you right.  Trivia: here she appears as a nurse who hooks up with Chris Hemsworth who played Thor.  In Captain America she was a Lt. who grabs a kiss with Captain America.  All she needs now is an appearance in a Hulk and Iron Man movie to make out with Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. No, I’m not counting Hawkeye or The Black Widow.  Because I don’t want to, that’s why.

 

LET’S FORGET HE’S MOCKING THE WORKING CLASS TOO

Speaking of The Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson is the female love interest in Don Jon (down to number six) and not unexpectedly some Italian American groups have been complaining about yet another “guido” depiction in this film. I’m sympathetic because one thing that dampened my interest was a shot of Tony Danza and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt at dinner in white tank-top t-shirts, commonly known as “beaters” distastefully so because of the stereotypical image of an Italian guy beating his wife. It’d be one thing if Joseph Gordon-Leavitt was Italian American from Jersey and playfully mocking a life he knew, but he was raised Jewish in California so he’s just a cultural tourist.  Though this throws a new light on the other complaint of Johansson as stereotypical Jewish girl (not by any Jewish groups because apparently they had better things to do with their time). Unfortunately the problem with their complaint is that The Jersey Shore was real and he need only point to it as his defense—and clearly the source of his information.

 

THE RULES OF MANCRUSHERY

Baggage Claim is down to number seven and if Taye Diggs had been the love interest you know I’d probably have seen it twice by now, such is my mancrush. But alas, he’s a silly suitor with a toy dog, so it can wait until cable.  Him not getting the girl is right behind him dying on my list of things I don’t want to see. You shut up! I don’t have a problem! You’ve got a problem!

 

ALSO ONE OF HANNAH’S SISTERS

Insidious Chapter 2 is down to number eight and also in this is none other than Barbara Hershey, who was a “hot girl” from the early 70’s (when in fully hippie mode she went by Barbara Seagull) to the early 80’s.  Scorsese himself loved her.  Directing her first as the title character of Boxcar Bertha and later choosing her to play Mary Magdalene in The Last Temptation of Christ. But out of a near 50-year career she’s probably best known as the unnamed woman who shoots Robert Redford in The Natural. Even over Beaches. Yes, she was character not played by Bette Midler who was the “wind” Midler sings of in “Wind Beneath My Wings” a song that mercifully didn’t seem to make it into the 21st century.

 

MAS EXITO PARA SEGUIR

Remember that Mexican film that was an unexpected success because it was aimed squarely at an audience otherwise ignored? Well, it was just the beginning because here’s the next one. Opening at number nine is Pulling Strings, a romantic comedy about an American blonde in Mexico who needs the help of the mariachi singer she denied a visa too when she loses her boss’ suitcase after a drunken night out.  Again, it looks like a Lifetime movie that escaped to the big screen, but being as much in English as it is in Spanish, it reflects its underappreciated audience and they have rewarded it with success.

 

MY FAILINGS ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

Enough Said, one of the last films of James Gandolfini, expands its distribution and enters the top ten at number ten and I’ve got no reason not to have seen this as Nicole Holofcener is one of my favorite writer/directors. I’ve been with her since Walking & Talking in 1996, her first collaboration with Catherine Keener who appears in all her films and this is no exception. So that’s two strikes against me as I’m a Catherine Keener fan too. Sigh.  I blame society for my failure.

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR PT 3

The fall season continues to rollout and this week it was Ironside, a revamp of the old Raymond Burr series and as bad as it looked in commericals, it’s actually even worse as the producers are soooo determined to show he’s a tough, sexy cop what they’ve made is a completely ridiculous asshole who should be in jail. I don’t think we go more than five minutes before his scolding captain tells him “Suspects have rights.”  You know, because he’s a tough cop who plays by his own rules, but he gets results! It’s a bad TV cop cliché factory complete with his team of pretty detectives, none of whom dress like detectives.  Of course one comes from an upper class family, another comes from a mob family etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.  It’s so bad they don’t even use the best part of the original: the theme music by Quincy Jones, best known now as the revenge music in Kill Bill…We Are Men is another awful, awful show but you know that when you saw Jerry O’Connell’s name. It’s about four divorced men in a singles complex. Yeah. It clearly thinks it’s 1977.  And I love you, Tony Shaloub, but any show that has you successfully picking up hot, 26-year-old Asian girls had better have robots and dragons because it’s clearly science fiction/fantasy…I couldn’t bear more than two seconds of Super Fun Night because a) what kind of stupid show has Rebel Wilson without her accent and b) it’s basically about her being fat and getting her clothes ripped off.  No thanks…I unexpected enjoyed MasterChef (which I recapped) and was looking forward to MasterChef Jr, but it’s heartbreaking to watch children get eliminated.  When the first thing one boy did was to go and hug his mother I stopped the show and took it off my DVR scheduling. Just can’t do it.  I’ll be crying every week.