Tag Archives: Bradley Cooper


9 Nov


1. Spectre/Sony                                          Wknd/$ 73.0   Total/$ 73.0
2. The Peanuts Movie/Fox                       Wknd/$ 45.0   Total/$ 45.0
3. The Martian/Fox                                   Wknd/$ 9.3      Total/$ 197.1
4. Goosebumps/Sony                                Wknd/$ 7.0     Total/$ 66.4
5. Bridge of Spies/Disney                         Wknd/$ 6.1      Total/$ 55.0
6. Hotel Transylvania 2/Sony                  Wknd/$ 3.6     Total/$ 161.3
7. Burnt/Weinstein                                    Wknd/$ 3.0     Total/$ 10.2
8. The Last Witch Hunter/LG                  Wknd/$ 2.7     Total/$ 23.6
9. The Intern/WB                                        Wknd/$ 1.8    Total/$ 71.4
10. Paranormal Activity/Paramount       Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 16.3

Spectre opens at number one and it’s no secret how much I hated Skyfall. I hated Skyfall so, I went back to look at Quantum of Solace to give it another chance and realized it wasn’t so bad (it’s a good Bond movie until they bring back Matthias from Casino Royale). Bond and stupid stories go together like peanut butter and jelly, but Bond, stupid stories and a painful amount of ennui got together like peanut better, jelly and sardines. Spectre is not as bad as Skyfall though it possibly may even more stupid ironically because it’s trying to patch up some of Skyfall’s stupidity (though not why Bond took M out to the middle of nowhere which got her killed and how he still has a job afterwards). Also it’s needlessly fucking long. Where other Bond movies wisely ended with the destruction of the villain’s base, the apparent death of the villain and the saving of the girl, this goes on for another half hour. Hell, for all I know it kept going on after I left. Also in its attempt to patch up a little of Skyfall stupidity it makes the whole of the Daniel Craig run dumber because it tries to tie them all together. Now, SPECTRE was a Bond nemesis back in the day and yes, they were behind the events of Thunderball, From Russia with Love, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service but now imagine if suddenly they claimed they were behind Dr. No and Goldfinger when they clearly were not (ironically they weren’t in the book of From Russia with Love, but were in the book Dr. No). It would make no sense just as all this now makes no sense. Now suddenly this reboot has become a quad-logy, all being forced into being one giant story when they clearly were not meant to be one. Which is stupid. Even when Bond was fighting SPECTRE (it means Special Executive for Counter Intelligence Terrorism Revenge and Extortion) in every film they didn’t act like every film was a sequel to the previous one. Bond did other things totally unrelated to pursuing the organization, which makes me realize that Daniel Craig is the most worst Bond ever. No, not as actor. He’s great in fact. No, as a secret agent. The Craig Bond is the only Bond who isn’t shown regularly as being a competent agent completing missions without massive exposure (he apparently missed the “secret” class in secret agent school) civilian damage like a superhero or Godzilla movie. In the pre-title sequence every Bond is shown completing a mission more or less cleanly, then starting the main story. Craig only does that his first film. Since then, because they have tried to make this one long damn story, he’s never really shown operating with any kind proficiency, again begging the question: how does this muthafucka keep his job?

The Peanuts Movie opens ironically at number two and I say ironically because both Peanuts and James Bond were products of the 50’s and achieved nuclear mass of popularity in the 60’s. Also, both films throw out calls to their popular past in both films. There are references to actual strip, the famous Christmas special and the Halloween Special. In addition we have Snoopy fighting The Red Baron, being a novelist and the basic plot revolves around Charlie Brown trying to impress The Little Redheaded Girl. It also goes out of its way to remain in a type of bubble were time hasn’t passed, because Snoopy doesn’t use a computer to write his novel, but a typewriter and I have to wonder if the main audience even knows what those are (they must of realized it because they actually have Snoopy figuring out how it works). But here are no flatscreen TV’s, video games, cell phones or even cordless landlines in this world. The only nod to modernity is that Charlie Brown doesn’t wear short pants. He’s also given more dignity than before. Charles Schultz was adamant about the fact that Charlie Brown always had to lose. Even when he won, he had to lose (in one series of strips Charlie Brown wears a paper sack to hide a baseball stitching rash and becomes a star of summer camp as “Mr. Sack” which he loses immediately after losing the sack). It honestly bordered on sadism towards the end and thankfully his children, who are both producers and writers here are much easier on the character. Charlie Brown is allowed moments of quiet triumph even when he fails and given a solid victory in the end. They also balance out Charlie Brown’s disappointments with Snoopy’s literal flights of fancy. In fact there may be a little too much of Snoopy as the supporting cast gets a short shrift as a result. Linus seems to come in and out as Charlie Brown’s best friend and you’d never know he and Lucy are related. Still, it’s nice to have a new Peanuts cartoon and they can’t get enough points for keeping the computer animation faithful to Schultz’s style.

The Martian is down to number three and also in this is Donald Glover who’s playing basically the character he played on Community who comes up with a plan to help save Matt Damon…which seems pretty obvious and it’s kind of a wonder absolutely no one else thought of it, as the astrophysics he suggests are quite common. It was the only moment I didn’t feel like a mouth breathing moron. His presence is notable to me because I’ve been listening to his music as Childish Gambino lately. Like my buddy, I was put off by both his name and another actor doing music, but it’s not bad. I can live without his rapping but I won’t pretend it’s a relief to hear someone rap about something other than “money, clothes an’ hoes.” This doesn’t make it good though. I mean, I can actually relate to him talking about growing up assimilated in freaking Georgia, but still it annoys me and comes off as whining. When will these kids learn you can “diss the haters” without acknowledging that their criticisms have affected you, which is all they wanted. However, his R&B game is strong. Seriously. “Sober” is my jam. He should stick to song and singing, because that’s where he clicks. Even the raps in the songs are better (mainly because he’s not whining). Even his covers are good, as he kills Tamia’s “So Into You.”

Goosebumps is down to number four and I’m actually impressed someone was smart enough to release a movies geared to kids at Halloween, as it is the second most profitable holiday. I was too old for the books by the time they came out, but I wouldn’t mind watching this on cable next year. It’ll never be Monster Squad, but then again, nothing ever will.

Bridge of Spies is down to number five and this is pure Oscar bait, so I will see it…eventually. I’m in no hurry and it’s not going anywhere until awards season is well underway.

Hotel Transylvania 2 is down to number six and this was a much needed win for Adam Sandler who’s taken a long overdue beating this year for being the shitty, unfunny comedian he’s always been. What’s truly shocking is that both these movies come from the man behind Samurai Jack, a truly inspired bit of animation. I guess he’s got bills to pay, ‘cause you can’t buy a house for your family on geek praise. Thankfully, he says he’s done with these characters, which, if he actually owns them means something. If not, they’ll be a million more with a different director.

Burnt is down to number seven and you know you’re dealing with an unimaginative film when the great French father figure chef is named “Jean Luc.” Hell, it’s a miracle it’s not “Jean Pierre.” Thankfully, I didn’t expect much from Burnt so I was able to enjoy it. I wanted pretty people, in a pretty location and pretty shots of food and got all three. Bradley Cooper is the chef making a comeback after burning out on drugs and Sienna Miller is the upcoming sous chef he gets fired to make her work with him. Check. It’s in London and not the London of Guy Ritchie films. Check. Lots and lots of pretty food shots. All that’s missing are shots of more people in ecstasy as they eat it. That’s an essential part of any kind of porn. But take out the great location cursing and you have something that’s little more than a TV movie level of filmmaking. Hint: if part of your character’s motivation involves him having to atone to a dying old man YOU HAVE TO SHOW THAT DYING OLD MAN AT SOME POINT. I’m not kidding. Cooper gets an old friend to make him head chef to a) make it up to the old friend and b) help the old friend impress his father before his father dies and we never ever see the father, much less his response to Cooper’s return or the new restaurant. There’s also a cute kid, a rival chef who was once a friend, a threat from gangsters from the past and of course the great French father figure chef has a beautiful daughter he was once involved with. So many clichés and not a single one made much more than that. Cooper’s original bad boy chef run on the TV show Kitchen Confidential (based very loosely on Anthony Bourdain’s book) was better.

The Last Witch Hunter is down to number eight and this is Vin Diesel’s attempt to make a third franchise and if he had concentrated on simply making a solid movie than a franchise he might have succeeded. He plays a man made immortal as seeming punishment by The Witch Queen he kills after she murders most of his village with a plague including his wife and daughter. It backfired because he’s now spent 800 years hunting witches as an agent of The Church. Now there’s a treaty between them and the witches. Don’t use magic on humans and every thing is good. But of course now someone has decided to bring back the Witch Queen and Diesel has to stop them. The most interesting aspect of this movie is the idea that witches live in their own underground community among us with bars, clubs and yes, online groups where they talk about how much they hate Vin Diesel. That lets you know how much the main plot fails as “the heavy” the person trying to bring back The Witch Queen, is given no real personality or motivation beyond “just ‘cause.” If they’d made him a character and possibly shown this underground community divided about her return you might have had a better movie. Same for Diesel’s character who’s longing for his lost wife and child comes and goes when needed. There should be more melancholy from given he’s been cursed with immortality, not blessed. Even Highlander got this right.

The Intern is down to number eight and this did over $100M overseas. What. The. Fuck? I like Anne Hathaway, but seriously? So yeah, off a $35M budget, $180M total worldwide and even though the studio will get less than half that, combined with the domestic take it will insure that Nancy Meyers will continue to get money to make her pretty, lily white movies. Perfect for you people who haven’t over losing Nora Ephron.

Finally, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension closes out the top ten at number ten and not even Halloween could breathe life into this franchise which single-handedly resuscitated the low-budget “found footage” genre. This is lowest grossing entry of the franchise, which seems to crank out a movie every three six months. It’s also supposed to be the last, which blows because apparently the demon that’s been terrorizing multiple families, killing them and taking their kids. He wins. Seriously. That’s the end. He kills everyone and takes the child. What the fuck!?! This isn’t the 70’s! Why would you end on such a shitty note!?!

Final show watched for the fall season…

Rosewood: while I’m glad Morris Chestnut got his own show after all these years and am impressed by a show that’s not only got two minority leads (Black male, Latina female), but also an interracial lesbian couple supporting, it just didn’t grab me and honestly I found it annoying. Yes, it’s a pilot where they do every freaking thing over-the-top for stupid network executives who think it’s other people who are dumb, but him constantly being the “smartest guy in the room” wasn’t so much charming as annoying. That he’s trying to grab every moment of life because he has a heart defect that should have killed him already simply wasn’t enough. But I hope enough people watch to keep it on the air. It’s just that I won’t watch it.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Lost me the moment she started to sing. Sorry. But I am impressed that the ex-boyfriend from summer camp she wants is an Asian male and he’s just another bro. Progress, people.

Supergirl: Okay, this was the big one. CBS deliberately leaked the pilot last year due to the bad buzz that was being generated over its horrible trailer/commercial where it seemed like the SNL skit about a Black Widow movie where it had to be a romantic comedy rather than an action movie because it was about a woman. Honestly, once you get past that part, it becomes a decent TV show. The first episode was still very painfully “a pilot” meaning, again, everything is dumbed down and over the stop because stupid network executives think it’s “other” people who are dumb and not them, but it’s from the people who brought you Arrow and The Flash and they take a little while to find their feet. And yes, while there will still be moments of painful stupidity, the human element it brings (not to mention the geek elements) will hopefully make up for it. I mean, it’s utterly stupid that she doesn’t have any contact with Superman. Until she showed up, he thought he was alone, but doesn’t spend much time with the only other survivor of Krypton who is a freaking blood relative!?! And just a child who’s lost everything!?! Not to mention apparently a Kryptonian prison crashed on earth just after Supergirl releasing all of them on Earth. Pretty sure that would be priority number one for him. The cherry on top is Supergirl’s aunt (twin sister to her mother of course) was in the prison and now wants to take over Earth. So again: other Kyrptonians, some actually related to him and a threat to the world and he’s not around!?! Not even to train her (in the comics he trained her secretly for a year)? They’re seriously pushing suspension of disbelief. This is a movie about superpowered flying aliens in primary colors and they’re pushing suspension of disbelief. That said, I love, love, fucking love it’s true to what Superman is supposed to be: bright and shiny. Supergirl loves having superpowers and loves helping people. There’s no moping or whining. I’m in it for the long haul. Hell, I watched all ten years of Smallville. I can handle this.







28 Sep

1. Hotel Transylvania 2/Sony                       Wknd/$ 47.5    Total/$ 47.5
2. The Intern/WB                                           Wknd/$ 18.2    Total/$ 18.2
3. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials/Fox    Wknd/$ 14.0    Total/$ 51.7
4. Everest/Universal                                       Wknd/$ 13.1    Total/$ 23.1
5. Black Mass/WB                                           Wknd/$ 11.5    Total/$ 42.6
6. The Visit/Universal                                    Wknd/$ 6.8     Total/$ 52.3
7. The Perfect Guy/SGem                              Wknd/$ 4.8     Total/$ 48.9
8. War Room/TriStar                                     Wknd/$ 4.3      Total/$ 56.0
9. The Green Inferno/HTR                            Wknd/$ 3.5     Total/$ 3.5
10. Sicario/Lions Gate                                    Wknd/$ 1.8      Total/$ 2.4

Okay, I’ve been absent because I decided I wouldn’t write unless I’d seen at least one film in the top ten, which was a little difficult in those final dog days of summer and the “Oh, We’re Serious Now So No More Fun” opening weeks of September. But things worth seeing are actually opening so here we go…

Hotel Transylvania 2 opens at number one, wisely making the most of the utter absence of any kids-oriented films and if you thought you were rid of Adam Sandler after the massive failure of Pixels, think again. Maybe we won’t just have to look at him any longer, which is half the battle. I wish him all the success in the world so long as his ugly, fucking face is off the screen, punishing whatever attractive young actress cast as his love interest, because for it’s either that or porn.

The Intern opens at number two and I was looking forward to seeing this despite yet another lily-white view of New York City. Nancy Meyer’s films are usually about rich white people, but they’re set firmly in that world so I really don’t expect to see a lot of bruthas in Meryl Streep’s neighborhood in Long Island. But this is set in Brooklyn so unless she’s making some kind of statement about gentrification she just whitewashed it. Still, I was willing to let this go because I loves me some Anne Hathaway and this looked like fun. Then I saw the two-hour running time. This is not a two-hour film unless it takes some kind of stupid, misstep in to trying to be some kind of drama and this premise is just wide open for that kind of bullshit. Bullshit I have no time for. Much less two hours.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is down to number three and this is yet another science fiction/fantasy Young Adult novel adaptation and these damn kids don’t now how good they have it. You know what I’d give to have dozens of science fiction & fantasy film thrown at me all the time when I was a kid? Not to mention it’s socially fucking acceptable so asking a girl to go see one these movies is not only normal, but also she’s probably read the book! You live in a time where knowledge of witches and dystopic futures can actually get you laid. Contrast this with the look of “What the fuck?” I got when I was 16 and invited a girl to go to a comic book convention with me. Sigh.

Everest is down to number four and is it wrong that I couldn’t care less about this film because the leading man is unattractive? I still probably wouldn’t have seen this adaptation of the book “In Thin Air” if Josh Brolin had played the lead climber and not simply one of the group, but the follicly-challenged and aesthetic unappealing (though talented) Jason Clarke made damn sure of it. And now that I think about it, having this ugly dude play the son of Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese in the horrible Terminator Genysis movie this summer probably didn’t help it much either.

Black Mass is down to number five and this is supposedly Johnny Depp’s big comeback as an actor, but I’ll never know because honestly I can’t stand looking at him any longer. He’s just such a pretentious little shit and his not even pretty anymore. Besides, I don’t see this being done any better than the fictionalized version in The Departed.

Speaking of comebacks, The Visit is down to number six but as we know “I don’t do the scary” and I also “don’t do M. Night Shyamalan films” so I’ll never know. But who are we kidding? He really didn’t do anything. He just hopped on the “found footage” horror bandwagon. No name directors with no stars and low budgets have this kind of success every week with this formula (can you say Unfriended?). No one should be fooled by this into giving him a big budget film.

The Perfect Guy is down to number seven, followed by The War room at number eight and they is part of the late summer surge of wildly different films starring African Americans (Straight Out of Compton kicked it off) holding the number one spot (two of them were actually directed by African Americans, which is honestly more notable) killing the lie that minority helmed film can’t be successful. But when this happens the “But there’s no international money” excuse comes into play which is bullshit because studios see less than 50% of that money. It’s the domestic take that still matters. The Perfect Guy is the only real surprise in my opinion as one is religious themed film and those pop up regularly to make money and the other was music based. This is the “____ From Hell” formula, which was very big in the 80’s, but that it’s clearly upper middle class African Americans is the notable aspect of it. If that seems strange to you, then you clearly don’t see yourself starring in films called “The Butler” or “The Help.” I had no interest whatsoever, but I’m glad it did well, especially for Sanaa Lathan, who seemed poised to be something bigger in the early 00’s, but for whatever reasons it didn’t happen. Sistas are big on TV right now, so maybe she can be part of the same in the theaters.

The Green Inferno opens at number nine and this doesn’t so much come under my “I don’t do the scary” rule as much as “I don’t do torture porn” and that’s all Eli Roth does, no matter what kind of bullshit he spews about it being a commentary of clueless little rich liberals. There’s just no reason to depicting a virgin getting a knife into the vagina. Yes, it’s horrific and these are “horror films” but there’s no skill or talent to these films…much like Roth himself.

Sicario moves into the top ten at number ten as its release expands. This chronicles the journey of a still-idealistic kidnap specialist for the FBI into the US war on drugs where she learns it’s literally a war and the people who fight it have little interest in arrests and prosecutions, just strikes at the enemy toward a brutally cynical and debatably realistic conclusion. This is not to say it’s a talky drama. No, it’s more of a suspenseful action film where every explosion of violence is being slowly built up to. While long, mundane scenes initially seemed to have no purpose I realized the point was to lull you so you didn’t see the next detonation coming (though I thought the first literal one was obvious). Emily Blunt is the FBI agent who ironically dead-on in her first guess as to why she’s been asked to join an interagency task force after she stumbles upon a booby-trapped house full of corpses while looking for a kidnapping victim. This makes her the slow breaking of her idealism a tad odd given both she and her partner smell what’s going on almost immediately. Also, they’re both basically told the goal is to cause as much trouble as it takes to make the local drug boss get called home to his boss, so they can find him. Seems logical to me, but still Emily Blunt is forced to ask again and again what they’re really doing when all they’re doing is what they told her and why she’s there is what she guessed at the beginning. There’s also a bit of a descent into the action movie cliché of the “super-agent” towards the end. What makes the film work are the performances. Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro all do solid work, but Brolin as the mysterious government agent who just seems to enjoy the hell out of his work stands out for me. Not that Blunt and Del Toro aren’t good being dramatic, but I think it’s actually more difficult to play it lighter and still be convincing, especially in a film like this.

Yay! The new fall season is here! And while there are now multiple seasons of TV these days as opposed to the one I had growing up, Fall is still the big one and I try to see as much as possible.

The Bastard Executioner: I am left unimpressed. Just because you can now show the brutality of the middle ages doesn’t make up for uninspired viewing. The concept of the retired warrior drawn back into the field isn’t new and they don’t do anything new with it. When you see him doting over his pregnant wife, you know she’s not long for this world. What you didn’t count on, however was seeing her disemboweled on top of a stack of corpses of women and children. This is because the retired warrior wasn’t so retired. He and his fellow villagers have been robbing the taxmen of the local cruel baron to survive. The baron tracks them down and slaughters the village while they’re away. They catch up to the baron with an army of rebels at their side and kill him. The warrior is seemingly mortally wounded but brought back by a witch who thinks he has a destiny (cliché #7). It’s why she brands his face so the can take the place of the now dead actual executioner the baron brought along. Of course the actual executioner was a horrible drunken abuser with a family, so “ironically” he gets a wife a family who adore him because a) he’s not a drunken abuser and b) they have control over him by hiding his identity. And are you ready for the final twist? When he drops off the baron’s body to the baroness, the baron’s aide has him declared the official executioner so he can’t leave. Makes you want to watch to see what happens, right!?! Me neither.

Limitless: This is not simply based on the Bradley Cooper movie; this is a flat out sequel to it. Cooper’s poster as senator is seen almost immediately, and if you remember, this was the office he was running for at the end of the movie. The loser who gets the drug this time is a 20-something musician. His best friend who left the band to become a stockbroker gives it to him. Needless to say the friend is soon murdered so the loser uses the drug to track him down, with the FBI in hot pursuit. Probably the most unbelievable part of this show is that the government experimented with the drug, but stopped because the addiction side effects were killing the volunteers. If you recall Cooper had found a way to refine the drug to make it safe for him, but we’re to think that the government with much, much, much money and resources hasn’t done the same? Or that the day or two of genius this would give to a doctor wouldn’t take care of it? For reasons not quite clear, Cooper appears at the end of the episode to give the loser musician the “cure” (which is basically a shot once a month) and now the musician will use his skills to help the FBI solve cases. His liaison is the FBI Agent who was tracking him whose own father who was a junkie who may have been murdered because he also got the smart drug (that the FBI wants him so they can figure out why he’s not suffering side effects does make sense). This makes it yet another “Special Abilities Person Helps Law Enforcement show. Like…

Blindspot: I watched it just to see what they’d do with such an outlandish premise of a woman with her memory wiped found naked in Times Square covered in tattoos that lead to seeming threats. Not much. My disbelief—which was already stretched to capacity—hit its breaking point when amnesia woman was the only person in all the FBI in New York City to translate the Chinese tattoo on her neck. It’s stupid for so many reasons from the simple fact given all the unknown markings on her, they obviously would have focused on the thing easiest deciphered to the fact that NEW YORK CITY HAS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF CHINESE PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY! They try to say it was an “obscure dialect” but don’t seem to understand that wouldn’t change the written word! The guy delivering lunch could have figured it out! After that, finding out she was apparently a secret female Navy SEAL because of the blocked tattoo on her shoulder (because that’s what a secret female Navy SEAL would do, paint her secret on her shoulder for the world to see) and buying that with her stick thin arms she could even be a SEAL much less fight grown men toe-to-toe was just icing on the cake of never, ever watching this again. Even the end twist that she was part of the plot to do this to herself did nothing to change this. Oh, and needless to say, because she’s a NAVY Seal who can speak obscure languages and is a clue to terrorist attacks, the FBI decides to use her, making this another “Special Abilities Person Helps Law Enforcement” show. Like…

Minority Report: Like Limitless, this is a sequel to the movie, which is referenced constantly in the pilot. It’s a decade later and one of the twin males has decided to come back to the city use his abilities to help people. Unfortunately, by himself he doesn’t get enough information, so he keeps failing. He tries let a cop know, but only succeeds in leading her to him, which is how this show becomes “Special Abilities Person Helps Law Enforcement” show. The difference being it was actually fun, though a bit of a mess. The addition of the other selfish twin brother—who is no longer identical but piece of beefcake—is clearly a last minute addition and totally unnecessary. The chemistry between the good twin and the cop works fine without what is sure to be some attempt at a romantic triangle down the line. I also didn’t need the subplot of the older sister who can see everything by herself, seeing them being retaken by the government. Honestly it’s only sheer movie contrivance they were ever let go in the first place. No government in the world would let go of people who could see the future, even if they weren’t 100%. Which, by the way, is a nice subplot here. Remember how you could be jailed for a crime you hadn’t actually committed? Well, all those people were left damaged by the their imprisonment, for which the good twin feels horrible guilty for. It’s a nice motivator for him and provides you with a lot of story material, because needless to say, if they weren’t criminals before, they sure as hell are now.





8 Jun


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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?






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

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.





16 Mar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





20 Jan

1. American Sniper/Warner                              Wknd/$ 89.5   Total/$ 92.9
2. The Wedding Ringer/SGems                       Wknd/$ 20.6   Total/$ 20.6
3. Paddington/Weinstein                                  Wknd/$ 19.0   Total/$ 19.0
4. Taken 3/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 63.4
5. Selma/Paramount                                           Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 26.4
6. The Imitation Game/Weinstein                   Wknd/$ 6.8    Total/$ 50.4
7. Into the Woods/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 6.8    Total/$ 114.5
8. The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies             Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 244.6
9. Unbroken/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 4.2     Total/$ 108.5
10. Blackhat/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 3.8

I don’t know if it’s sad or ironic or that on MLK Day weekend the number one film is about a sniper. A holiday for a champion of non-violence and opposer of the Vietnam War who was killed by a sniper’s bullet and America goes to see the movie about the most lethal sniper in US history. Goes to prove the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity as the veracity of the sniper’s claims are being questioned, especially when claimed he and a buddy killed over two dozen Americans during the flood of New Orleans and once punched out Jesse Ventura in a bar. There’s absolutely no proof of the first and Ventura just won almost $2M in a defamation suit against the late sniper’s estate (in more irony the sniper himself was killed by another vet at a shooting range). It’s nominated for a few Oscars so I guess I’ll have to see it, but given it’s Clint Eastwood directing I’m in no great rush. You know how far too many directors are all style and no substance? No one will ever accuse Eastwood of that. “Laconic” is the term most often used to describe his “style.” I prefer “dry as fucking toast.” Just as too much of a spice can kill a dish none at all can leave it equally unappetizing. I mean if you’re going to go that way why not simply make a documentary?

The Wedding Ringer opens at number two and Kevin Hart isn’t just striking the iron while it’s hot, he beating down into pennies with this onslaught on the theaters of America. But can you blame him? Being the hot comedian of the moment has a shelf life of the average fruit fly. Remember Dane Cook’s moment? Granted Kevin Hart is actually funny, something that Cook was unburdened with, but these movies look as generic as anything he put out. And you know any moment now he’s probably going to make the mistake they all make and attempt to be the lead in a romantic comedy, not realizing no one wants to see him kiss anyone. I gave this a pass, as I will all his films, because like Jack Black and others before him, he’s a sidekick, not a lead. A little goes a long way. Yes, that’s a deliberate play on words.

Paddington opens at number three and I never read the books so we’re done here. When they make a movie about Richard Scary’s work I’ll be front and center.

Taken 3 is down to number four and what kind of life can his daughter have after this? Her best friend and her mother were both murdered because of a trip she took to Europe. If she just went to Cabo like everyone else none of this ever happens. Then again, Liam Neeson shut down a European sex slavery ring as a result saving untold numbers of girls so I guess there’s a greater good to look at.

Selma is down to number five and this actually lives up to the hype. Very few films do, but this is like Lincoln in how it shows a particular moment behind an historical event and gets “warts and all” with it being honest about the fact the goal was to beaten up in front of the cameras to show the honesty of racism. Also it means bringing up MLK’s infidelities and how J. Edgar Hoover tried to destroy him with them. While some have found fault with a less-than-favorable portrayal of LBJ, it’s par the course for historical drama. To cite Lincoln again, that film completely falsified his viewpoint on Black people. He didn’t believe in slavery, but he didn’t believe in an integrated society either. He was going ship every Black person back to Africa. I question both decisions in films that are seemingly afraid of showing that great men are still just flawed human beings. But honestly how the hell do you not go see a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. on his holiday weekend!?! He’s the reason you’ve got three days and you can’t spare two hours!?! Bet you saw freaking Lincoln on President’s Day weekend, ya sorry muthafuckas.

The Imitation Game is down to number six, followed by Into The Woods at number seven and also in this is Johnny Depp. And this isn’t as surprising as you might think when you remember that he was in the underrated Sweeny Todd. Also, Depp was in a band before his big TV break. Oh, and then there’s Cry Baby from John Waters so Depp is no stranger to the musical, which makes sense given they’re over-the-top which is where he likes it.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is down to number eight, followed by Unbroken at number nine and finally Blackhat opens at number ten which may be too good for it. Initially I was surprised to see a Michael Mann film opening in January, which is the dumping ground for the studios because he’s a major league director, but then again he cast Chris Hemsworth as a hacker which is your first clue things are not quite right. That actually surpasses previous ridiculous hacker castings such as Hugh Jackman, Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock. And what do three out of those four have in common? They get topless (Bullock’s the prude). In fact, Hemsworth surpasses the shirtless screentime of Jackman, Jolie and both Thor movies. The film stumbles right out of the gate as Mann, undaunted by previous failures to make the inner working of a computer seem interesting gives it his shot as we watch path of electronic impulses that make their way though a system and cause the failure of a nuclear power plant in China. It’s even more boring than I make it sound. Do you know what the difference between this and Selma? There is actual levity in Selma. Even when dealing with life and death issues and the future of a nation, humans still find humor to make it through. Not so with Michael Mann. I don’t think there’s been a deliberate attempt at a laugh since Pacino messing with Hank Azaria in Heat 20 years ago. This is no exception. This painful somberness forces you to take the film completely and utterly seriously, which I suspect is Man’s, but winds up as its undoing when ridiculous things happen, starting with the FBI, which put Hemsworth in prison for hacking not knowing his college roommate is the same guy who handles China’s cyberterroism problem who comes over to work on the case with them. They know everything about him, except that piece of information, which should have been glaring. Then there’s the SWAT team that doesn’t notice the claymore clearly on the walls of the tunnels they’re chasing the bad guys through. Finally, there’s the matter of the characters who might as well have countdown clocks over their heads like that horrible Nickleback video. You know they’re going to die and die they do, which is a problem when they’re all more interesting than the main character. While I like that Mann is unlike other directors and not wasting his time bitching the loss of film and just jumping right into digital, he loves to shoot at night which is not a friend to it. Either get more lights or let it go because pixelated and grainy are not a good film style. The final nail in the coffin has to be when Mann pays homage to himself by having Hemsworth all but quote a William Petersen line from the great Manhunter. It’s not good to remind us you were once better than this.





13 Jan


1. Zero Dark Thirty/Sony                             Wknd/$ 24.0            Total/$  29.5

 2. A Haunted House/                                    Wknd/$ 18.8            Total/$  18.8

 3. Gangster Squad/Warners                        Wknd/$  16.7            Total/$  16.7

 4. Django Unchained/Weinstein                Wknd/$  11.1             Total/$ 125.4

 5. Les Miserables/Universal                        Wknd/$  10.1             Total/$ 119.2

 6. The Hobbit/WB                                         Wknd/$    9.1             Total/$ 278.1

 7. Lincoln/Touchstone                                  Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$  152.6

 8. Parental Guidance/Fox                            Wknd/$    6.1             Total/$   60.7

 9. Texas Chainsaw 3D/LGF                         Wknd/$   5.2              Total/$   23.0

10.Silver Linings Playbook/Wein                Wknd/$    5.0             Total/$   41.3



Zero Dark Thirty jumps to the number one slot thanks to multiple Oscar nominations (and the addition of over 2000 more screens) and much like Argo, you know a film is good when it tells you a story you already know (0r at least think you do) and it’s still suspenseful and interesting.  Jessica Chastain is a CIA agent who was apparently recruited out of high school (I think we just found the pitch for Justin Bieber’s first movie) and basically spends the whole of her twenties as part of the team tracking down Osama Bin Laden.  I don’t know about you, but I spent my 20’s slowly becoming less and less of a jackass and not much else. And I’m still pretty much a jackass, so it’s not like I was even good at it, much less having my actions change the world like she does.  But it makes sense to me because if I wanted to destroy a man I’d sic a redhead on him, especially a young one.  Those creatures don’t forgive or forget and won’t rest until they’ve put you in a grave. I’m lucky I escape…every time it happens.  When we first meet her she’s a rookie wearing her best suit to an interrogation that she can barely watch, but as time passes soon she’s not just participating in the interrogations, but telling off her bosses to the point where they goes along with her and ultimately describing herself to the head of the CIA as “that mutherfucker” that found Bin Laden, but all the while still seeming like this smart, geeky girl who has no business being there, much less in that line of work (given her pale skin, you’d think the desert sun would burn her to a crisp).  All the Oscar nominations here are clearly well deserved.



A Haunted House opens at number two and the Scary Movie franchise was actually started off by the Wayans family for Miramax and later taken over by the Zucker team who brought us Airplane and The Naked Gun. Clearly there was a a falling out of some sort as this is the Wayans Family starting a rival franchise as the Scary Movie 5 is coming up which doesn’t look quite as funny as this one, even thought that’s not saying much at all and this one.  Clearly they’re stronger together than they are apart.  I might watch this on cable one day, but would never go out of my way to see it, which again is saying something given I paid to see all four previous Scary Movie films.



Gangster Squad opens at number three leaving Ryan Gosling still searching for that mainstream movie hit to match his commiserate level of fame.  This movie with Nick Nolte about the infamous “Hat Squad” of the LAPD which used dubious methods to keep organized crime from the east out of Los Angeles is not to be confused with Mulholland Falls, another Nick Nolte movie about the infamous “Hat Squad” of the LAPD which used dubious methods to keep organized crime from the east out of Los Angeles.  And neither is to be confused with LA Confidential, which also had the LAPD using dubious methods to keep organized crime from the east out of LA as part of its storyline. The difference between this and Mulholland Falls is that the writers strangely thought this interesting piece of history wasn’t interesting enough and spun off into some ridiculous story about atomic bomb testing and cover-ups.  Even the awesome LA Confidential didn’t make it the main story.  However, Mulholland Falls did manage to get Jennifer Connelly naked before the title credits even stopped rolling so there’s that.  Nick Nolte was the leading man in that one, but almost 20 years later now he’s old guy boss and Josh Brolin is the guy leading the hat squad (though that aspect seems to have been dropped here as well) and Ryan Gosling is one of his young, hot cops (between Chazz Palmenteri, Chris Penn and Michael Madsen, Nick Nolte’s team could also have been called “The Fat Squad”). I hate to say it, but the reason I passed on this story as opposed to the other two has more to do with Sean Penn in silly makeup and overacting as Mickey Cohen (his character’s death is the catalyst for much of what happens in LA Confidential, but is nowhere to be seen in Mulholland Falls).  He looks like he wandered in off the  set of Dick Tracy.  Is Haiti fixed?  Doesn’t he have something better to do than be the unpleasant hole in films I might otherwise have seen?



Django Unchained is down to number four and because this is a Quentin Tarantino it’s filled with all sorts of odd pop culture friendly casting, as evidenced by none other than Tom Wopat showing up as a US Marshal.  Yeah, Luke Duke in a Tarantino film.  Also here are Dennis Christopher from Breaking Away, Lee Horsley from Matt Houston and the great The Sword & The Sorcerer; Russ Tamblyn who once starred in a film called Son of A Gunfighter and plays that character here and daughter Amber is along for the ride as, yes, Daughter of Son of a Gunfighter.  And to top it all off, Don freaking Johnson.  Half the cast is a game of “Hey, it’s that guy!”



Les Miserables is down to number five followed by The Hobbit at number six and Lincoln at number seven.



Parental Guidance is down to number eight and it looks like the joke is on me as this has made $65M off a $25M budget ($83M worldwide) and it looks like Billy Crystal has found the payday for his twilight years. And for him it’s not the move of a desperate actor looking to stay relevant (I’m looking at you Eddie Murphy), it’s just the easy payday he’s earned after 40 years.



Texas Chainsaw 3D is down to number nine, but that’s okay.  It’s made $30M and probably cost about $5, so everyone is happy.  And it’ll be out on DVD in about a week.



Finally, The Silver Linings Playbook also returns to the top ten as a result of Oscar nominations and still they were not enough to get me into see it. Seriously.  I know it’ll be good, but I just can’t seem to get myself into the theater.  I chose Zero Dark Thirty at over two-and-a-half hours over this.  I’m going to have to make it a date or something so I feel obligated to go.  I’m blaming Bradley Cooper, whom I don’t mind, but still find terribly interesting and remain shocked he’s a now a box office draw and an Oscar nominated actor.  Somewhere Ryan Reynolds is confused, because he’s the same kinds of dull.  Yeah, but he’s a boring American, Canada-boy. Trivia: the role of Green Lantern came down to Bradley Cooper and Ryan Reynolds.  Reynolds got the role and a wife from it, while Cooper went on to be in successful, critically acclaimed films.  Don’t kid yourself if you think Reynolds wouldn’t switch places with him. Hell, Blake Lively would switch places with him.  They’ve made film together so that press tour is going to fun…for one of them. The other will be staring daggers the entire time.