Tag Archives: Bryan Singer

FINDING MONEY

20 Jun

icy
1. Finding Dory/Disney                          Wknd/$ 136.2   Total/$ 136.2
2. Central Intelligence/WB                    Wknd/$ 34.5     Total/$ 34.5
3. The Conjuring 2/WB                          Wknd/$ 15.6      Total/$ 71.7
4. Now You See Me/LG                           Wknd/$ 9.7       Total/$ 41.4
5. Warcraft/Universal                             Wknd/$ 6.5       Total/$ 37.7
6. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                    Wknd/$ 5.2       Total/$ 146.1
7. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2      Wknd/$ 5.2        Total/$ 71.9
8. Me Before You/Warner                      Wknd/$ 4.2       Total/$ 46.1
9. Alice Through the Looking Glass     Wknd/$ 3.6       Total/$ 69.3
10. Captain America: Civil War/BV     Wknd/$ 2.3       Total/$ 401.2

FINDING INSPIRATION
To the surprise of absolutely no one Finding Dory opens at number one. Now, I’m against Pixar sequels on principle but Pixar gets a better response than most because a) they don’t always do them, b) when they do them it’s so far down the line it’s not an obvious money grab and c) they get it right as Toy Story has defied all odds and just gotten better every time. Even Monsters University was better than it had any right to be (no comment on Cars 2 because Cars sucked). So, Finding Dory comes more than a decade after Finding Nemo because they genuinely felt there was no story to tell until now which is stunning in the entertainment business. As if that had anything to do with it. Hell, the Disney board would have been satisfied if Nemo had just gotten lost again and they’d just repeated the first. Luckily for us the Pixar creative leads wanted more and more in this case was about Dory slowly remembering her own family and going off in search of them and while it’s definitely good, there’s no singular brilliant moment like the chant of a seagull being “Mine” or the wonderful irreverence of the sharks who no longer want to eat fellow fish. Despite their good intentions to tell an original story it does feel a bit too familiar, the brightest spark being provided by an octopus who doesn’t want to return to the ocean, but instead wants a nice tank in Cleveland where no one will bother him (voiced by Ed O’Neil). One of the keys to Finding Nemo’s creative success was the wonderful supporting cast, from the adult and child populace of Nemo’s home reef to the laid back turtles to denizens of the dentist office tank to half a dozen others in between. They just don’t match that here and while we see the kids of the reef and the turtles again, they don’t have the same spark. Nonetheless it’s still better than 90% of what else is out there as the sad trailers for Storks and Ice Age: This Goddamn Franchise Has Lasted Longer Than The Actual Ice Age proved. If Finding Nemo was an A+ (and it was) then this is a solid B+. Oh, and make sure you stay through the end credits. There’s always something there…as I found out this weekend with Brave.

WHAT? COULDN’T GET PERMISSION FOR MARIAH?
Central Intelligence opens at number two and it seems logical that two of the hardest working men in show business would finally end up in a movie together. Not since Michael Caine in the 80’s have actors seeming been so omnipresent onscreen. It’s also a great creative move on both their parts for Kevin Hart to actually play the straight man to Dwayne Johnson playing the funny guy. Kevin Hart is Dean Martin while Dwayne Johnson is Jerry Lewis (ask your parents what that means). While I bear it no ill will, I have zero interest in either of them as anything beyond being supporting characters to actual leads. They simply lack that for me. The trailer shows a film, while not aimed at the lowest common denominator of comedy, is severely broad reaching. Oh, look. When Dwayne Johnson was in high school he was fat and sang En Vogue in the shower ‘cause fat guys and guys who sing girl songs are funny. In terms of wit that’s a butter knife level of sharpness. Even on cable this is a hard pass.

AND JAWLINES. DON’T FORGET THE JAWLINES
The Conjuring is down to number three and I’m also glad to see Vera Farminga here on the money train. I’ve loved her as an actress since the short-lived Finding Evil TV show and she improves pretty much everything she’s in. In my movie fantasy she and Gillian Anderson play sisters onscreen as they are seemingly cut from the same cloth (coincidentally they were both on the small screen alongside famous serial killers). In my other fantasy I’ve been very bad and they’ve come to discipline me. Soooo many icy stern looks of disappointment and contempt. Delicious

YUAN BETTER RECOGNIZE
Now You See Me 2 is down to number four followed by the Warcraft at number five and you might be seeing film history being made as China saves an entire franchise single-handedly, which is funny given how movies like Iron Man 3 and Transformers: Whichever The Fuck It Was have bent over backwards trying to win them and been met with contempt. It hasn’t even broken $40M here, but has made ten times that in overseas. Depend on how much studios get (it ranges from 15-14%) this may actually get a sequel…which America will ignore again.

ALSO HE’S A SCUMBAG
Speaking of sequels America has ignored, X-Men: Apocalypse is down to number six and hasn’t even made it’s $178M budget domestically, but like Warcraft has pulled almost $400M from overseas markets, so rest assured there will be another and this time mercifully without Bryan Singer. While he started the franchise and did good things with it, using the metaphor for oppression appropriately, he seems to have forgotten that and they need a director who remembers the core of the X-Men is also appealing to that self-important teenager drama where you think you’re special the entire world is against you for no reason at all. Yes, that’s the dark truth about the real reason so many like it. Not because you’re a person of color or your religion or your sexuality suffering genuine oppression, but because you think you’re special and the world is actively trying to hold you down. You’re wrong.

JUST KIDDING. EVERY ROLE WILL SOMEHOW PUT HER IN A FETISH COSTUME.
I thought this would be the hat trick of franchises supported by overseas money, but it turns out they care even less than we do about Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles: Out of the Shadows, down to number seven. There probably won’t be a third, which must be bittersweet news to Megan Fox who has another child on the way, but at the same time doesn’t have to worry about a contrived reason to put her into a fetish costume in the near future.

LESS IS MORE…IF YOU’RE AN IDIOT AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR PROPERTIES
Me Before You is down to number eight, followed by Alice Through the Looking Glass at number nine and Captain America: Civil War closes out the top ten at number ten and this is why the Warner Brother/DC Comics hierarchy was recently shaken up as two movies about fighting superheroes came out this summer (well, 3 if you count X-Men, but no one cares enough to do that) with had approximately the same budgets but the one what that the 3 most famous superheroes of all time in them did significantly worse than the film that had a bunch of heroes 90% of the population had never heard of ten years ago. And by “significantly” I mean almost $900M vs over $1B. While this may not seem like too much of a difference to you and I, remember that Batman’s last two solo films both made $1B but teaming him up with Superman and Wonder Woman somehow resulted in less!?! Not good when your very next film will add even more superheroes to the roster that you also hope to spin-off into individual films. Warner Brothers is being force to reconsider their dumb-ass strategy of if your competitor has cornered the market on chocolate and you reconfigure your chocolate machines to make vanilla, rather than simply understand there’s no such thing as too much good chocolate. Instead they’ve made mediocre (Man of Steel) and bad (Batman v Superman) vanilla and surprise! People preferred the better made chocolate. Damn it. Now I want some chocolate!

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THEY MUST NOT BE GIANTS

3 Mar

ww

1. Jack the Giant Slayer/Warner              Wknd/$  28.0           Total/$  28.0

 2. Identity Thief/Universal                        Wknd/$    9.7            Total/$107.4

 3. 21 and Over/Relativity                            Wknd/$   9.0            Total/$    9.0

 4. The Last Exorcism Pt II/CBS                 Wknd/$   8.0            Total/$    8.0

 5. Snitch/Summit                                          Wknd/$   7.7             Total/$  24.4

 6. Escape From Planet Earth/Wein           Wknd/$   6.7            Total/$  43.2

 7. Safe Haven/Relativity                               Wknd/$   6.3            Total/$  57.1

 9. A Good Day to Die Hard/Fox                  Wknd/$   4.5            Total/$  51.8

 8. Silver Linings Playbook/Wein                Wknd/$   5.9             Total/$ 115.5

10. Dark Skies/Weinstein                              Wknd/$   3.6             Total/$  13.4

 

THE BIGGER THEY ARE, THE HARDER THEY FLOP

Jack The Giant Slayer opens at number one, which is actually pretty good for a film that was postponed from last year’s dead zone of August then dumped into this year’s dead zone that is January & February (yes, I know it was technically March).  Well, it would be if not for the fact this silly little film cost almost $200M and there’s simply no reason why. It’s not high concept; they aren’t creating worlds that never existed and never will. It’s not packed with big expensive stars whose salaries could each finance a separate film.  And it’s not some kind of epic.  Nope, it’s just expensive because of bad judgment because someone somewhere (aka, director Bryan Singer) decided for some reason all the giants had to be CGI, rather than use regular actors and SFX them into scenes.  CGI isn’t free people. It’s just cheaper than actually building the pyramids of Egypt or actually destroying the Effiel Tower, but all that computer time still costs money.  Are the giants at least interesting to look at?  Nope.  Not even the two-headed one voiced by Bill Nighy, who knows what an interesting-looking CGI character looks like because he played one in Pirates of the Caribbean.  But you know after that he was happy just to go to the studio a few times to record his voice and then collect a paycheck.  No months in front of a greenscreen for him. The rest of the cast was not quite as lucky, spending their days either on greenscreen set staring at a tennis ball acting like it’s a two-headed giant or on location…starting at a tennis ball acting like it’s a two-headed giant.  And for what?  Effects that are about as impressive as when Hercules and Xena used to battle giants on TV a decade ago on fraction of the budget.  The sad thing is, it’s not a bad film per se.  A little overlong with an odd stop when the film should be rushing towards its conclusion of a massive battle with the giants, but it’s a fun interpretation of the classic story. It’s just not exceptional and certainly not all that memorable.  Rather than go for wit or revision they simply chose to tell the story straight and lacking in any type of visual flair it’s an decent afternoon’s distraction and not much more. Right now Bryan Singer is very glad he’s already signed the contracts and cashed the check for the next X-Men film.

 

I WAS A TEENAGER HANGOVER II

Identity Thief is down to number two, followed by and opening at number three is 21 and Over or the second teen version of The Hangover to come out in the last year.  The first was Project X, which made $100M worldwide from a $12M budget, so you know there would be more to come.  The plot for all of them remains the same: planned outing gets out of hand.  The Hangover had the hook of a mystery of learning what happened while searching for a missing partygoer.  Project X even had the “found footage” format, which is basically a license to print money these days, but this?  This has nothing but your average teen sex comedy presentation, but apparently rather than out for sex, they’re out for drinking. And while it opened decently enough, bringing a $9M on a $12M budget the first weekend, it will be hard-pressed to match the returns of its predecessors.  Indeed the most interesting this about it is the added minority element  with one partygoer being Asian (and even that was lifted from The Hangover Pt 2).  Apparently it dawned on someone that people of color like to get drunk and make fools of themselves as well.

 

THE SECRET IS TO AIM LOW

The Last Exorcism Pt II opens up at number three and I guess this means The Last Exorcism was technically the Next To Last Exorcism, given they’re doing one here too because the previous one clearly didn’t take. The previous film took the someone interesting hook of not only being a “found footage” movie, but making the protagonist a charlatan exorcist who clearly ran into more than he could chew. It opened at number one and made a bucketful of loot. This however is done as a straight forward horror flick about a possessed girl and clearly the audience either had no interest in it, or felt cheated by going to what they saw was the “last” and finding out otherwise.  Then again, its budget was only $5M and has made $8M its opening weekend.  No one is losing either sleep or money and once home sales are factored in methinks she’ll be getting a third exorcism this time next year.

 

WHAT IS BEST IN LIFE

Snitch is down to number four and Nadine Velasquez is also in this but I sincerely doubt she thought this warranted the full frontal nudity she bestowed upon Flight.  If she did I might have seen it. Yes, I’m that sad.  Seriously, it’s the only reason I saw Flight.  Don’t judge me, monkey.

 

COULD HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL FOR HER CAREER. SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

Escape From Planet Earth is down to number five followed by Safe Haven at number six and also in this in the “big twist” role (SHE’S A GHOST!) is Cobie Smulders, best know as Robin from the godawful How I Met Your Mother, the show where a douchebag tells his kids about all the women he banged before meeting their mother. Presumably this explains why one of them was born blind due to the herpes he contracted.  You know she can’t help but wonder “What if” as Joss Whedon now heads up the billion-dollar Avengers franchise and he wanted her to be the star of the Wonder Woman movie he was supposed to make (I question someone only 5’8” but whatever).  He was good enough to put her in the cast as Maria Hill, but you know that’s still gotta sting.  Coulda been the most famous female superhero on earth and instead is supporting the actual stars of superhero movies and supporting two C-list actors in a C-list movie.  Seriously, ouch.

 

EVEN IDIOTS NEED A CAUSE AND I HAVE MINE!

Silver Linings Playbook rises to number seven thanks to Jennifer Lawrence winning Best Actress, which I admittedly did not see coming.  My roommate who is an actress and a member of SAG actually has the screener DVD and brought it to me afterwards. I refused it. Now it’s a point of honor that I never see this film.

 

WHY AMERICA IS RULES

A Good Day To Die Hard is down to number nine and has only made $60M domestically from a $92M budget.  Flop?  Think again. Bruce Willis is an international superstar.  This has made $162M overseas and while $221M isn’t profitable just yet (3x budget is the rule of thumb) it has clearly more than broken even.  Don’t be surprised when Die Hard 6 rolls around.  Where Were You When It Was Time To Die Hard?  Better to Die Hard on Your Feet Than Live Soft on Your Knees?

 

THE SECRET IS TO AIM LOW PT. 2

Finally, Dark Skies closes out the top ten at number ten and believe it or not but this was a success.  $13m from a $3.5M budget.  Nicely done there, Felicity.

 

MEDIOCRITY NEVER SLEEPS

The latest mid-season replacement show is Golden Boy which honestly would be better off if it were a biography on the life of C3P0, because it’s got about as much to do with reality as Star Wars. Its basic premise is that a 34-year-old is looking back on the comprised path that made him the youngest Police Commissioner in NYPD history.  See, they fail out of the gate.  Now if they’d made him a Captain at a young age you might have had something, but commissioner!?!  That means he’s got to go through sergeant, lieutenant and captain in the next 7-8 years.  Light sabers and jawas look reasonable in comparison.  It’s downhill from there starting with the bad make-up and body acting to make him seem like an “aged” 34 and continues on with him twitching throughout the episode like a junkie jonesing for a fix, but in this case it’s the power and success he’s never had.  He does only the dumb things that would actually insure he’d never rise in the NYPD.  To this they add the clichés of Attractive Blonde Cop You Know He’s Going To Sleep with and of Grumpy Older Partner With Only Two Years To Go Trying To Teach Him (that latter of which wastes the talent of Ciji McBride) and the hallmark of all bad writing: others acting stupid so he can seem smart.  They should have watched LA Confidential and the character of Edmund Exley. That’s how you do a young ambitious cop.  In fact the most interesting thing about this show is a CGI time-lapse shot of the still uncompleted One World Trade Center being completed.

 

SMELL YA LATER

Remember that building on Columbus Circle that had no windows and looked like a tomb?  Well it was done over and aside from now having windows is the home of The Museum of Art & Design, which includes a chi-chi resturant on the top floor. I was there for The Art of Scent exhibit about the development of the perfume industry over the last century or so.  Curated by Chandler Burr, perfume critic of the NY Times (yes, there is such a thing), it has selected the 20 or so most important scents ever developed. You go to smelling stations where a burst of perfumed scented air is activated when you lower your face into the indentation in the wall.  My only complaint is for a subject so broad the exhibit was so small. Well, that and the fact that Drakkar Noir was considered important.  Well, maybe it was a game changer especially for male scents, which have actually grown over the last few years faster than those of women, which traditionally dominate, but that “the” smell of the douchebag is in a museum next to Chanel #5 still seems like a mistake.  There’s also a more traditional testing room where you can smell the actual “juice” as it’s called on tester sticks.  Also in this room is another set of stations where you get cards showing the development of the scent “Tresor” by each modification from beginning to end, with comments on the back of each card from the creator, Sophia Grojsman about what, why and how she did it.  I’d tell you to go, but it actually started last November and ended today.  But you can still read Chandler Burr’s book, “The Perfect Scent” and still learn a thing or two. But be ready, in addition to all the glitz and glamour there’s some science. Hard science. Perfume after all is chemistry.