Tag Archives: Captain America The Winter Soldier

LAUGHING AT YOU, NOT WITH YOU

8 Jun

aasian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IRWIN ALLEN WOULD BE PROUD

31 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

26 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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MAD MAX: I-95, EXIT 23

18 May

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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YOUR CAREER STRATEGY MAY NEED SOME RETHINKING

11 May

Schermafbeelding-2015-02-12-om-12.22.42

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney     Wknd/$ 77.2    Total/$ 312.6

2. Hot Pursuit/WB                                 Wknd/$ 13.3    Total/$ 13.3

3. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate      Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 31.5

4. Furious 7/Universal                          Wknd/$ 5.3      Total/$ 338.4

5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                       Wknd/$ 5.2      Total/$ 58.1

6. Ex Machina/A24                                Wknd/$ 3.5      Total/$ 15.7

7. Home/Fox                                            Wknd/$ 3.0     Total/$ 162.1

8. Woman in Gold/Weinstein               Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 27.0

9. Cinderella/Disney                               Wknd/$ 1.6     Total/$ 196.2

10. Unfriended/Universal                      Wknd/$ 1.4     Total/$ 30.9

GEEK HISTORY 101: WHAT IS AN ULTRON?

Avengers: Age of Ultron holds at number one and in the film Tony Stark creates Ultron, but in the comics it’s created by Henry Pym who was an original Avenger known as Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellowjacket. Henry Pym wasn’t in either Avengers movie, but will appear in Ant-Man later this year, but as neither Ant-Man nor Yellowjacket. Got it? Good. I never liked Ultron as a villain because ultimately it made every bad thing he did the fault of The Avengers (one of those things being actual fucking genocide). How can you be a hero when all you’re doing is cleaning up your own mess? They hint that there’s another cause, because Tony is messing with Loki’s Scepter, but to the world at large Tony Stark and The Avengers are responsible ultimately for every life lost and every bit of damage Ultron causes so how can they still be seen as heroes? That said, one good thing they do is give him an actual personality via James Spader. In the comics he’s just “I am evil and hate humans.” Here he’s a perversion of Tony Stark all the way down to the wiseass sarcasm. At one point he unknowingly quotes Tony and becomes enraged when it’s pointed out to him like an actual character with daddy issues would be. In the comics, Henry Pym uses his own brain patterns to create Ultron, but such a simple and effective device of having Ultron act like him. has never been utilized in the character’s near 50-year history to my knowledge. It’s just, “I hate you, father.” That’s it. One of the film’s flaws is that some of the more interesting aspects get shortchanged to accommodate everyone and that is clearly one of them. Whedon says the original cut was three hours long so maybe we’ll see that restored in the inevitable directors cut on DVD. In a better world that whole bullshit “Beauty & The Beast” storyline between Black Widow and The Hulk would have gotten cut in favor of…well anything else. Seriously, it sucks that bad.

LUCKILY THEY HAVE OSCAR NOMS AND COMMERICALS TO FALL BACK ON

Hot Pursuit opens at number two and while nothing was pushing AoU out of the top spot this is still a weak opening and throws a monkey wrench into the Reese Witherspoon comeback machine. Because I like both her and Sofia Vegara, I wanted this to do better, but at the same time, I was unwilling to put myself through it. Sorry, but it just looked like the most painfully forced of “wacky hijinks.” In the past Witherspoon has been somewhat vocal about how she’ll never be in an action film. She might want to rethink that strategy in a world where an action film grossed in a day than her film did all weekend. Especially given her ex-hubby is in talks to hop on the Marvel superhero gravy train.

BEHIND EVERY STRONG ACTRESS IS A TALL, REALLY PRETTY DUDE

Age of Adaline holds at number two and while not a success, it’s not a failure either having at least made its production budget. Too bad there’s a promotional budget that often costs as much as the film itself to consider. Also in this is Michael Huisman who is the latest addition to those guys you know because they always support a stronger, more famous leading actress. Twenty years ago, David Straitharn was guy you went to for Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver. Ten years ago, Mark Ruffalo was there for Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow and now Michael Huisaman is the guy here for Blake Lively, there for Connie Britton on Nashville, with Gisele in those Chanel commercials and also for Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Expect to see him kissing Jennifer Lawrence onscreen any day now.

GUESS NO ONE WANTED ESCAPE FROM CHICAGO…

Furious Seven is down to number four and also in this is Kurt Russell, apparently knowing the place of the aging action hero is playing the higher up the younger heroes have to deal with. I’ve no doubt part of his deal was that his character doesn’t die so he too can get on the F&F gravy train. Spoiler? Oh, fuck you. It’s been out for a month and a half.

BECAUSE FEM-BOTS UNLEASHED WAS TOO OBVIOUS A TITLE

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is down to number five, followed by Ex Machina actually rising to number six, so I guess I’m the only person who has no tolerance for cautionary tales with sexy robots.

HEY, HER MONEY IS JUST AS GREEN

Home is down to number seven followed by Woman in Gold rising to number eight and I can’t imagine why. I mean who wants to see a movie about an strong, older female lead who is supported by a handsome younger man when there’s hockey and basketball playoffs on TV and a movie where some woman is cursed to look like 28-year-old Blake Lively for eternity in the theater? Oh. Your mom. And clearly you took her to see this on mother’s day.

THE END…AGAIN

Cinderella is down to number nine and Unfriended closes out the top ten at number ten.

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THE MONEY MACHINE ROLLS ON

4 May

Tyrese-Gibson-Goes-Off-on-Fat-People-Look-at-What-You-Did-to-Yourself-2
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney Wknd/$ 187.7 Total/$ 187.7
2. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate Wknd/$ 6.3 Total/$ 23.4
3. Furious 7/Universal Wknd/$ 6.1 Total/$ 330.5
4. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Wknd/$ 5.6 Total/$ 44.0
5. Home/Fox Wknd/$ 3.3 Total/$ 158.1
6. Cinderella/Disney Wknd/$ 2.4 Total/$ 193.7
7. Ex Machina/A24 Wknd/$ 2.2 Total/$ 10.9
8. Unfriended/Universal Wknd/$ 1.9 Total/$ 25.2
9. The Longest Ride/Fox Wknd/$ 1.7 Total/$ 30.4
10. Woman in Gold/Weinstein Wknd/$ 3.5 Total/$ 21.6

WATCH ME GET MY GEEK ON!
Surprising absolutely no one, Avengers: Age of Ultron opens at number one and I found this to be superior to the original because it’s more of a movie unto itself and not so much concerned with setting up the next film. This is not to say it’s not setting up the next movie. Oh, no. They’re not afraid to let you know they’re saving shit for you to pay for later. But it’s less of an obvious placeholder. Scenes that showcase every character individually are less forced and even the sub-plots don’t drop like so many lead weights. And last but not least, there’s no 10-minute sequence where Captain America and Iron Man fix an engine. Seriously. I cannot believe they shot that. The movie opens in full swing with The Avengers going after Hydra, which if you remember where the bad guys in Captain America’s two movies because god forbid he fight a Nazi (yes, I will forever be annoyed by that). There they recover Loki’s scepter from the first film and from it Tony Stark creates an artificial intelligence known as Ultron, whom he intends to use to protect the world from the next invasion. Unfortunately Ultron more than has a mind of its own and thinks humanity is the problem and just plans to wipe us all out, Stark in particular. This sets up the basic plot of the film: superheroes vs. giant angry robot. With Ultron are two enhanced (because Fox owns the rights to the term mutant) people who also hate Tony Stark, Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch making more of a fair fight and actually kicking Avenger ass. Ultron is longtime Avengers villain in the comic whom I actually have never cared for, but James Spader via writer/director Whedon has been improved immensely. Before he was just a one note bad guy while they’ve given him a much-needed personality, which is basically what if your angry, sarcastic teenage son had the power to wipe out the world? He hates Tony Stark but has elements of Stark’s personality and hates being reminded of that. You need these moments of humanity given 90% of the film they’re swimming in a sea of CGI and it gets a little tiring. Seriously. It’s fun to watch, but when it’s over you really don’t need to see any more of it anytime soon (which why I had Daredevil to watch, but we’ll get to that). Ironically the Summer Movie Season has more or less begun, so I guess I’ll be seeing more of it next week. And the week after that. And the week after that.

GONNA FINALLY SEE THAT KESSEL RUN!
Age of Adaline actually moves up to number two, a result I gather of women (or men) who just drew a line in the sand and decided not to accompany their men (or women) into seeing Age of Ultron (which would explain why the sequel failed to be top its predecessor). Basically, if they were going to watch some wacky fantasy movie, it was going to be something they were actually interested in with more kissing and less CGI. Also in this is Harrison Ford and playing him younger, Anthony Ingruber who basically got the job doing Harrison Ford impressions on YouTube. You damn kids today. Once upon a time you had to sleep your way into movies. Granted, it helps that he looks like Ford, but can also do him perfectly. If I’m at Disney I’m hiring this kid and just creating a new revenue stream of Young Han Solo movies. Tell me more people wouldn’t see that than the main Star Wars films themselves!?! And now that Lucas is gone there’d be a whole lot of shootin’ first!

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THAT SINGING CAREER?
Furious 7 is down to number three and trying to get on the comic book money train is Tyrese Gibson. Not that I blame him, but I do not want to see this fool as any character I actually care about. Not to mention at 5’11 he’s too short to play the character he wanted, who was Luke Cage (who will have a series on Netflix like Daredevil, but we’ll get to that). That role went to Mike Colter from The Good Wife, who is 6’3”. Damn right. Now Gibson wants to be Jon Stewart, one of the Green Lanterns. Given how Ryan Reynolds crashed and burned, DC will probably go that way. I mean given how bad all their other decisions have been, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gibson got the job. Needless to say, I don’t give a crap about Jon Stewart. I mean, I didn’t care when Common’s talentless ass was cast as him for the aborted Justice League movie, so why would I start now?

THEY’LL PAY FOR THIS NEGLECT IN THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is down to number four, followed by Home at number five and Cinderella oddly returning to the top ten at number six. I have no idea how or why. The number of screens actually dropped by almost a thousand and still it popped up. Again, I’m thinking somehow The Avengers had something to do with this. Short sighted fathers who dropped their daughters off here instead of taking them with their brothers to see The Avengers.

IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO RULE IN HELL
Ex Machina is down to number seven, followed by Unfriended at number eight, The Longest Ride at number nine and The Woman in Gold at number ten and it’s gotta be humbling at home for Ryan Reynolds with Blake Lively’s movie getting more exposure than his. Especially when she’s the star of hers and he’s the co-star of Helen Mirren. Yeah, technically this did better, but is it better to the co-star in a success of the star of a disappointment?

YOU’D HAVE TO BE BLIND NOT TO LOVE THIS.
Since we’re discussing The Avengers and other comic book movies, it’s time I got to my long overdue discussion of Daredevil (told you we’d get to it). Simply put: it’s awesome. Seriously. Forget about that godawful movie with Ben Affleck that even he admits was crap. This. Is. Amazing. Netfilix and Marvel have pulled off something I quite frankly had my doubts about. I know it’s not saying much but this is best superhero TV show ever made. It is gritty and serious as a heart attack, but they make it work. It helps they have time. It’s not so much at TV show, but a 13-hour movie. Each episode builds on the previous episode to a great climax. Having been a fan of the comics this is based upon, my jaw dropped at some of the scenes. They’re making it clear that the comics are merely source material and they feel no obligation to follow them to the letter. Their changes are amazing and may have set the bar too high for them to follow, much less other shows that are coming set in this same world. One primary reason is the villain. It’s an old conceit that your movie can only be as good as its villain and Vincent D’Onofrio brings to life a great villain, The Kingpin. He’s not some two-dimensional bad guy, but a fully realized traumatized human being who has been consumed by his darkside, though he doesn’t admit it even to himself. The other saying is that a good villain is the hero of his own story and in this Wilson Fisk (never called The Kingpin, because what is this, a comic book?) firmly believes he’s saving the city. This city is the New York post-Avengers alien invasion. Hell’s Kitchen isn’t the new home of luxury high rises and nice restaurants that’s threatening to price me out of it, but the crime ridden HK of old thanks to the damage of the alien invasion The Avengers fought off. In a plotline all too real, criminals are making the most of all the new money coming in to redevelop the area. Having grown up there, Fisk thinks he’s saving his old neighborhood and the city with a small consortium of organized crime leaders, from Yakuza to Triads to Russian Mobs (clearly the Italians and Irish are old news). Unfortunately for him, Daredevil, aka, Matt Murdock also grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and is having none of it, going out every night dressed in black, using his hyper senses (developed when he was blinded by radioactive chemicals saving a man’s life) to find crime and beat the crap out of people committing it. They actually make you believe one unarmed guy can derail a business of armed gangsters. It’s fairly simple: you screw up their business enough and the partners start getting impatient and wind up finishing them off. They also do a great job of fleshing out the supporting characters. In the comics Vanessa, The Kingpin’s love interest, is a borderline idiot who has no idea he’s a gangster. Here she’s a woman knowing enough to bring a gun on her second date. She knows what he is and not only accepts it, but helps him somewhat. Karen Page is the secretary/love interest with little going on beyond that in the comics, but here she goes from being a damsel in distress to a pit bull determined to take The Kingpin down no matter what it takes. Daredevil himself had the sense of humor that comes and goes in the comics (depending on who’s writing) and takes a fairly realistic beating for someone fighting crime with no superpowers. When his ability to take a pounding without complaining is pointed out, he quips, “That’s the Catholicism in me.” Seriously, I cannot recommend this enough. It’s not perfect (Asians take it only the chin in all kinds of stereotypes and Daredevil functions a little too well despite vicious beatings). Let me put it this way: just make it to the hallway scene in episode two. That’s when I knew this was the real deal.

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FAILING LIKE A BOSS

1 Dec

hemsworths 1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1   Wknd/$ 56.9   Total/$ 225.7
2. Penguins of Madagascar/Fox                Wknd/$ 25.8   Total/$ 36.0
3. Big Hero 6/Disney                                   Wknd/$ 18.8   Total/$ 167.2
4. Interstellar/Paramount                          Wknd/$ 15.8    Total/$ 147.1
5. Horrible Bosses 2/WB                             Wknd/$ 15.7    Total/$ 23.0
6. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal         Wknd/$ 8.3     Total/$ 72.2
7.The Theory of Everything/Focus            Wknd/$ 5.1      Total/$ 9.6
8. Gone Girl/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 2.5      Total/$ 160.8
9. Birdman/FoxS                                           Wknd/$ 1.9      Total/$ 17.2
10. St. Vincent/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 1.8      Total/$ 36.6

OWEN AND LUKE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Pt 1 holds the stop spot and also in this is the other Hemsworth, Liam. So that’s two brothers with major franchises (there’s a third brother, but he ain’t pretty so I hope he has modest goals). The difference being this one is coming to an end and there’s no separate franchise for him for this character. He’s gonna have to go out and get a job. He was in the first Expendables movie, but was killed off almost immediately, but given how that crashed an burned by actually trying to go younger he may have dodged a bullet there, not to mention enjoying the sweet taste of schadenfreude. It’s never too early in you career to take a swig.

WHADDYA KNOW? THE THIRD TIME WAS THE CHARM.
Penguins of Madagascar opens at number two and I hated Madagascar. It was typical, uninspired DreamWorks product, which means all cute surface with celebrity voices and ultimately neither heart nor soul. The best parts of it were the Penguins, who were manic and inspired in a way no other part of the film was. While I refused to put myself through the sequel just to see them again I did wind up getting trapped on a bus where Madagascar 3 was playing…and I have to admit I found it delightfully silly and irreverent in away the previous film (and probably its sequel had lacked). Wondering why, I checked the credits and found a noticeable difference. Co-writer and co-director Tom McGrath was no longer writing and instead the duties had gone to none other than indie darling, Noah Baumbach. Also added as a director was Conrad Vernon. I think that makes it clear who was the problem because Eric Darnell, who has been co-director on every film is still here, neither he nor McGrath is credited as writer, which is the other clear problem. No, it doesn’t get nearly as weird as Madagascar 3 (I’m gonna say it once: cross-dressing tiny dogs with Cockney accents), and now they are burdened with teaching a lesson about love and family which normally fell to the other characters, but it is still as frantic and as irreverent in the way that made the Penguins the best part of every movie. Let me put it his way: Warner Herzog shows up as a voice here. You can’t get more irreverent than freaking Warner Herzog voicing a kids animated film. That they even reached out to him says it all. No, it’s not Pixar but not everything can be steak. Sometimes you just want a good burger and this is a good burger.

I’VE A YEN TO SEE HOW IT DOES? GET IT?
Big Hero 6 is down to number three and much in the way the Asian returns saved Pacific Rim, I’m dying to see how this does in China and Japan given its primary characters and overall subject matter. We may like robots here, but they love them over there. Not to mention Kung Fu Panda did well in China to the point they were complaining why the idea hadn’t come to them first. And the only place Kung Fu Panda 2 did better than the US was China. Not that it’s doing badly here. It’s actually doing better than Wreck-It Ralph did two years ago and has already made budget in the US.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!
Speaking of international returns, Interstellar is up to almost $400M overseas. Now, this used to be impressive until I learned that studios never receive more than 40% of overseas profits and sometimes as low as 14% so what still matters most is its domestic take…where it has yet to make its $165M budget (not counting prints and advertising) and every week there’s a new article slamming it. The latest is when to take your bathroom breaks. Here’s my advice: don’t go at all and watch it at home where you can stop it anytime you like. But now that it’s been out a month I think we can talk about the third act where it gets really, really stupid, as opposed to the first two acts which were just stupid. Now, Nolan’s been open about how 2001: A Space Odyssey was the biggest influence on this and nowhere is it more obvious (aside from being overlong) than when a character freaks out and starts killing people. In 2001 it was the computer, HAL, who reacted to being given conflicting orders with homicide (or so it was explained in 2010, which I won’t apologize for enjoying). Here it’s secret guest star, Matt Damon as one of the earlier scientists, who reacts to being sent to a dead world by basically trying to kill everyone who rescues him. His plan to kill everyone then take the ship back home makes no sense but I’m going to let it go because he’s clearly been driven insane by his ordeal. Besides, the real point of it is to prove that “love” is what makes the universe work. All the B.S. about hard science being used is just that, because the planet where Anne Hathaway’s boyfriend has landed, the one Matthew McConughey chooses not go to is the inhabitable one. If they’d followed her heart rather than logic, then they could have avoided Good Will Hunting Humans. Man, I dislike this movie more every time I have to think about it.

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING
Speaking of wasting my time, Horrible Bosses 2 opens at number five and this is actually too good for it. Committing the age-old sequel sin of missing just what made the first film work (beyond it being shamelessly derivative of The Hangover characters by the same writers) which the Horrible Bosses of the title. Here the previously tormented characters are the bosses so the basic concept has been thrown out the window and all you have left is the riffing between Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day, which was fine as a part of the film, but here as the meat it gets really annoying really fast. It’s telling that the best parts about the film are the only two horrible bosses back for the sequel, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Anniston (obviously Colin Farrell couldn’t make it because Kevin Spacey killed him in the first one). Maybe if they’d been allowed to actually be under the thumb of Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine (who clearly relish being horrible as much as the previous bosses did) for awhile there might have been something, but as Kevin Spacey points out, by stupidly getting screwed over by Waltz, they are actually the horrible bosses now. And honestly why are they bosses? With Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell gone, two of the three characters should now have good jobs. I guarantee you I just thought about this more than anyone involved in this film did.

THE OTHERS
Dumb and Dumber To is down to number six, followed by The Theory of Everything rising to number seven and Gone Girl Down to number eight.

MY SHAME
Holding at number nine is Birdman and I’m now embarrassed not to have seen it when I’m clearly making time to see crap like Horrible Bosses 2…and Interstellar.

HELPING A BRUTHA OUT
Finally, St. Vincent is down to number ten and also in this is Terrence Howard and one of the producers of this is Don Cheadle. This may seem like nothing, but I’m smelling a little guilt from Cheadle over taking over the role of War Machine in Iron Man 2 which has not only lead to Iron Man 3, but he’s also going to be in Avengers: Age of Ultron and since Iron Man will be in the third Captain America film he might show up there too. All this could have and should have been Terrence Howard who is still the better Rhodey to me. Howard has said he’s not angry with Cheadle because Cheadle also got him into Crash. Hell, I’d say that means Cheadle owes him twice as much. I think Don agrees.

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