Tag Archives: Captain Phillips

THE BETTER MAN

17 Nov

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 1. Thor: The Dark World/BV                        Wknd/$  86.1            Total/$  86.1

 2. The Best Man Holiday/Universal            Wknd/$  30.6            Total/$  30.6

 3. Last Vegas/CBS                                           Wknd/$    8.9            Total/$  47.0

 4. Free Birds/Relativity                                  Wknd/$    8.3            Total/$  42.2

 5. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                          Wknd/$    7.7             Total/$  78.7

 6. Gravity/Warners                                         Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$ 240.6

 7. Ender’s Game/LGF                                     Wknd/$    6.2            Total/$  53.8

 8. 12 Years A Slave                                           Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$   24.9

 9. Captain Phillips/Sony                                 Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$  97.6

10. About Time/Universal                              Wknd/$    3.5            Total/$   11.6

 

HOW THE (IRON) MAN TAKES YOUR MONEY

Thor: The Dark World holds at number one and there’s an odd absence of SHIELD in this movie given how they were set up as the “connective tissue” between all the films, starting with Iron Man.  Originally I thought it was simply a plothole, but once I learned there was going to be a tie-in episode with the lackluster Agents of SHIELD show I realized it was probably a deliberate act, much in the way comic books will have “off-camera” developments that you’ll have to buy to get the complete story. Want to know how Cap is now fighting alongside Iron Man in New York when we last saw Cap was in Washington DC? Well, pick up the latest issue of Captain America to get the whole story.  And when they’re really, really having you grabbing your ankles financially, half the story will be in Captain America, half will be in Iron Man and the main story will be in The Avengers.  But hey, when you’re not spending money on dating, nice clothes and gym memberships, it doesn’t matter.

 

CAN YOU STAND THE RAIN…OF MONEY

The Best Man Holiday opens at number two and if you’re surprised this did so well (made almost double its budget on the first weekend) you either don’t remember the first Best Man opened at number one or you have movies where the lead actor looks like you and isn’t a slave for 12 years or a butler for 40.  Yeah, I said it!  Real talk!  Not every one has gods or astronauts.  And don’t think this movie isn’t aware of it. The opening credits are a mixture of scenes from the first film and a “where-are-they-now” montage of success. Every single one of them is madly successful and you never realize how much you miss something until it’s pointed out to you.  But all that glitters is not gold as our first scene is learning that Taye Diggs has lost his teaching position at NYU and his agent is telling him his latest book blows. Not to mention hospital bills have been piling up as he and his now-wife (remember he proposed at the end of the first film) are expecting a baby in less than a month.  Harold Perrineau, who played the somewhat meek character who dumped his domineering girlfriend for a well-read stripper, is facing the downside of that decision as her past is catching up them (they’re married with kids) and their progressive school which needs money from conservative donors.  There’s also something up with football star Morris Chestnut and his wife whose relationship with Taye Diggs was the heart of the story of the first film (I’m not going to spoil it, but it’s pretty obvious).  Terrence Howard is also back as the trouble-stirring “Q” who has lost some of the angry darkness from the first film, but his hysterical bluntness is the source of much of the film’s humor. They all gather for holidays at the mansion of Morris Chestnut and the laugher and tears ensue.  Writer/director Malcolm Lee (yes, cousin of Spike) doesn’t break any new ground but he knows how to use the old stories well enough that he doesn’t have to. They’re tropes and clichés for a reason.  Because when done right they never stop working and they’re working here.  Taye Diggs, Harold Perrineau and Morris Chestnut are all keeping secrets. Think they’re going to come out at the worst possible time to maximum drama? Of course they are! That’s what you’re paying for! If they acted like intelligent, rational people, this movie would be very boring and about 30 minutes. One thing I will give him credit for is sticking to the “R” rating. This movie could very easily be PG-13 (which you’d think would be required for a holiday film), but would have felt a little less honest.

 

HELEN MIRREN NEVER STOPS BEING HOT. I’M JUST SAYIN’…

Last Vegas actually rises to number three and speaking of seeing yourself onscreen, think maybe this is the reason this AARP film has staying power?  A movie your mom and dad might want to see because they see themselves onscreen as leads, rather than as parents and grandparents of the main characters?  Of course if that’s the reason maybe they should have worked a little harder to cast women the same age as the men.  Real talk all day!

 

HE’S FOUND HIS LEVEL AND HE’S LIVING IT

Free Birds is down to number four, followed by Bad Grandpa at number five and who is more grateful for this than Johnny Knoxville who plays the “bad grandpa?”  His attempt at actually leading comedic man status pretty much died with the anemic Dukes of Hazzard film.  I loved the Dukes of Hazzard, but couldn’t stomach more than a few moments of that horrible movie. His second banana roles didn’t work out either as The Last Stand and Walking Tall showed. But he rules in hell, as he’s also a writer and producer here, so I think his days of trying to make it in heaven are done.

 

YOU CAN’T BUY YOUR CHILD BRIDE WIFE A PORSCHE ON ACCLAIM

Gravity holds at number six, followed by Ender’s Game at seven and also in this is Sir Ben Kingsley who could care less as he’s now part of the Marvel money machine, thanks to his appearance in Iron Man 3 as the not-quite-what-he-seems Mandarin.  He’s confirmed he’ll be returning though not in what role. Not that it matters or if he even cares.  I can promise you his manager and accountant do not.

 

YES, I’M A BAD MOVIE-GOING BOYFRIEND

12 Years a Slave is down to number eight, followed by Captain Phillips at number nine and About Time at number ten and it hurts me to see Rachel McAdams have yet another disappointment, even though I know I’m partially responsible, not having seen a single one of her last four films. But given that her formula seems to be to do projects she likes (aka artsy indie films) than go do a horrible yet insanely profitable Nicholas Sparks movie, she seems to have a formula that works for her. Unfortunately it doesn’t work for me, as I’ve no interest in the little films she chooses (Brian DePalma remaking a French film sounds like a recipe for disappointment) and sure as hell won’t see anything based on a Nicholas Sparks scribbling. Luckily for me she’s going to be in an upcoming Cameron Crowe film. Now that’s what daddy likes.

NOT OVER YET

So I finally watched the new Dracula—or as I call it “Short Sexy Dracula”—and to say they take liberties with the story is to say they even made it. Every version of Dracula takes liberties, but that Dracula and Van Helsing are allies against a secret order is very new.  Unfortunately it’s not all that interesting.  Nor is Dracula’s cover as an American industrialist.  And just because Renfield is black and no longer a weird toady servant doesn’t instantly make him more intriguing either. Not to mention I’m just not buying a short Dracula, I don’t care how sexy he is.  Stature matters when you’re supposed to be intimidating.  Sorry, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.  When the most interesting character wasn’t even part of the original story (Jonathan Harker, Mina and Lucy are all here), you’ve got a problem.  I’d much rather see the cleavage-heavy, knife-wielding, vampire-hunting blonde (played by Victoria Smurfit and yes, that’s her real name) who loves having sex with Dracula (pretty sure Bram Stoker’s novel never had Dracula finger-fuck someone in an opera box) even when she knows he’s her enemy than anyone.  She alone possesses the one factor this show is otherwise lacking: fun.

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BRINGING THE THUNDER

10 Nov

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 1. Thor: The Dark World/BV                     Wknd/$  86.1            Total/$  86.1

 2. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                      Wknd/$  11.3             Total/$  78.7

 3. Free Birds/Relativity                               Wknd/$  11.2              Total/$  30.2

 4. Last Vegas/CBS                                         Wknd/$  11.1              Total/$  33.5

 5. Ender’s Game/LGF                                    Wknd/$  10.3            Total/$  44.0

 6. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$    8.4            Total/$ 231.1

 7. 12 Years A Slave                                         Wknd/$    6.6            Total/$   17.3

 8. Captain Phillips/Sony                                Wknd/$    5.8            Total/$  91.0

 9. About Time/Universal                              Wknd/$    5.2            Total/$    6.7

10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2      Wknd/$    2.8           Total/$110.0

 

THOR? I CAN BARELY WALK!

Thor: The Dark World opens at number one and while heads and shoulders better than the first film this franchise still has story problems. Setting up the plot seems to take up the bulk of the film and then the execution takes no time at all. Shouldn’t that be reversed? Basically, The Dark Elves (from the Dark World of the title) want to return the universe to darkness (duh) and can only do so during the once every 5 thousand years “convergence” of the Nine Realms (Earth is one, Asgard is another). For this they need “The Ether” which of course Jane Foster happened to find and is now infected with, which makes Thor bring her to Asgard with The Dark Elves right behind her. It takes so long to get to this point, even when the story has started it still feels like they’re still setting up.  No real tension is ever developed regarding stopping the Dark Elves or saving Jane even though everyone is racing the clock.  The Dark Elves only have limited time to complete their plan, but you’d never know it by how they move. Odin’s insistence on just fighting them and sacrificing his people doesn’t make any sense without him adding that they only have to hold The Dark Elves until The Convergence passes. Even the fact that “The Ether” is killing Jane like a slow poison generates no suspense. It would have added a great deal of drama to learn that letting her die would destroy “The Ether” and remove the threat forcing Thor to choose between billions of lives and his heart. It would also provide Jane with a moment of self-sacrificing heroism to prove herself to Odin, who clearly distains.  Even needing to trust Loki who is clearly untrustworthy adds no dramatic weight to the story. Thank goodness the film is stronger on its characters, with almost everyone getting defining moment and that moment usually lends itself to humor. Don’t let the sub-head fool you; like Iron Man 3 there’s no shortage of laughs throughout the film even when the fate of the universe is at hand.

 

SADLY, IT DOES CRACK EVENTUALLY

Bad Grandpa holds at number two followed by Free Birds at number three and Last Vegas at number four and also in this is Mary Steenburgen and like always in Hollywood she’s still six years younger than the youngest male lead who is Kevin Kline. But he’s getting his own ego bruising, being asked to play contemporaries with Morgan Freeman who has a full decade on Kline.  And honestly, while he looks good for his age, Freeman is clearly the oldest by a long shot.

 

CLEARLY LEARNING NOTHING FROM SEAN CONNERY ON HOW TO AGE IN MOVIES

Speaking of ego bruising, is anyone’s taking a bruising like Harrison Ford’s as Ender’s Game drops massively to number five?  Once upon a time Han Jones or Indiana Solo was gold, even making crap like Six Days, Seven Nights successful. Now, he can’t buy a hit as his last film before this, Paranoia (with the other Hemsworth. Liam) didn’t even open in the top ten. 42 was a modest success, but Cowboys & Aliens (with James Bond to help), Morning Glory, Extraordinary Measures and Firewall all tanked (Crossing Over was released in maybe one theater).  His last real hit? Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No wonder he’s rumored to making his participation in the next Star Wars sequel conditional on another Indiana Jones film. Yes, he still doesn’t think he’s too old. Dude, you should have replaced Kevin Kline in Last Vegas you’re so old.

 

I GUESS HE’S GOT THE RIGHT STUFF. GET IT?

Gravity is down to number six and making his second appearance as the voice of mission control (and third as part of NASA) is none other than Ed Harris.  It’s a mixed blessing that the biggest thing he’s been in recently never shows his face.  Yeah, Pain & Gain made money but I’m sure he’s not proud of working with Michael Bay.

 

MALE OR FEMALE, REDHEADS ARE EVIL

12 Years a Slave holds at number seven, followed by Captain Phillips at number eight and about time at number nine and this the latest from Richard Curtis, the writer of Love Actually and Four Weddings & A Funeral (we’re trying to pretend Notting Hill never happened) and screenwriter of Bridget Jones’s Diary (we’re trying to pretend Edge of Reason never happened). Combine him with Rachel McAdams (whom I love), Bill Nighy (whom I love) and a science fiction element and you’d think I’d be in there, but no. The leading man leaves me cold. Never underestimate the contribution to Hugh Grant to appeal of his films. Give me  a young Hugh Grant rather than some near albino and I might have found the time (no pun intended).

 

THE END…FINALLY

Finally, after two months, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 says goodbye to the top ten.

THE JERK DANCER FROM THE DANCE

3 Nov

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 1. Ender’s Game/LGF                                    Wknd/$  28.0        Total/$  28.0

 2. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                        Wknd/$  20.5         Total/$  62.1

 3. Last Vegas/CBS                                          Wknd/$  16.5         Total/$  16.5

 4. Free Birds/Relativity                                 Wknd/$  16.2         Total/$  16.2

 5. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$  13.1          Total/$ 219.2

 6. Captain Phillips/Sony                               Wknd/$    8.5         Total/$  82.6

 7. 12 Years A Slave                                          Wknd/$    4.6       Total/$    8.8

 8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2     Wknd/$    4.2  Total/$106.2

 9. Carrie/SG                                                     Wknd/$    3.4        Total/$  32.0

10. The Counselor/Fox                                   Wknd/$    3.3        Total/$  13.4

 

HE’S A JERK AND HIS MOVIE LOOKS DULL

Ender’s Game opens at number one with a small amount of controversy. The author of the book it’s based upon, Orson Scott Card, is an anti-gay rights activist. He doesn’t just dislike homosexuals, he actively works to deny them rights. This separates him from your average jerk, because honestly if you wouldn’t go to see a film because a jerk was in it or wrote it or wrote the book it was based on you wouldn’t be able to see any movies, starting with George Clooney. Yeah, I know what you’re saying, “But he’s so perfect!”  Yeah, and he knows it. Self-satisfaction oozes from every pore of his body. Then there’s the little matter that, despite him having his choice of almost any woman in the world, he literally picks up 20-something cocktail waitresses.  That’s pretty jerky to me. And are we even going to pretend Madonna isn’t a total tool? Her marriage to Sean Penn probably didn’t last because they had daily jerk competitions.  But she’s a great pop star (I didn’t say musician) and he’s a great actor. The simple fact is you don’t have to be a nice person or even a decent human being to be good at your job. The question is can you separate the dancer from the dance as a consumer? In this case it’s actually the dancer once removed from the dance. The studio clearly doubts it as I’m sure they were doing damage control with all these little articles popping up last week pointing out that Card sees no profit from the film. He was paid once for the rights to this book and that was it. Clearly this was meant to make it okay for people who didn’t like his homophobia to see the film. There are only two problems with this: 1) if you see the film and like it you might buy the book so he makes money, and 2) if the film is successful the studio will buy the rights to those as well and he makes more money.  As for me, I learned long ago to separate the dancer from the dance (thanks for nothing, Woody Allen). I just didn’t like the way the film looked. “Kids in Space” is boring to begin with and the commercials and trailer basically show you him being special then winning. Where’s the hook?  That he’s going to win isn’t the question. That his journey to doing so looks fairly boring is. I mean, never thought Jaden Smith was going to die in After Earth, but I was fairly interested in him fighting for his life on a futuristic earth because he was shown to be a bit of screw up at first. And this was his test. Ender is special and gifted and then just proves it. Yawn.

 

NO MOVIE BUSINESS FOR OLD MEN

Bad Grandpa is down one notch to number two followed by Last Vegas opening at number three and let’s see what the jerk content is for this film.  Michael Douglas’ sex addiction is fairly well known not to mention the he openly casts younger women at his leading ladies and he blamed oral sex for his cancer.  Jerk.  Morgan Freeman was in a car accident, which revealed he was dating his step-granddaughter (top that, Woody Allen).  Creepy jerk.  However, none of these things had anything to do with me not seeing Last Vegas, which trotted out the trope of let’s laugh at those wacky old people.  “Old Hangover” was not on my list of plans this weekend and neither the trailer nor the commercial did anything to change that.  It doesn’t help that while we think of these actors as “older” we don’t think of them as “old men.”  It’s an irony that they look too good at their respective ages for this to really work.  What this needed was either more decrepit actors (like Cocoon) or younger straight men (and women) to not only offset their ages, but also play the straight man (and woman). Well that and actually be funny.

 

YES, I’D FRY UP BABE AND WILBUR IN A HEARTBEAT

Opening at number four, Free Birds kicks off the holiday movie season with the story of two turkeys that travel back in time to stop the turkey being the main dish of Thanksgiving. Yes, the plot of a children’s holiday film is to stop turkey genocide.  I’ll admit parts of the trailer did make me laugh, but the core of this film is very dark, because we know they have to fail and all the turkeys they meet in the past are going to die and be eaten.  It also gives personalities to the food we eat at the very time of year that we eat it!  Someone clearly didn’t think this through.  Needless to say I did and gave it a pass.   I’d say give me two turkeys on the run from being dinner and you might have had a film worth seeing, but honestly it’s problematic to ever connect funny cartoon animals with the actual place they occupy in our society as I’ll never choose them over a good meal.

 

MY SISTERS WOULD BE JUSTIFIABLY SUING ME

Gravity is down to number five and notice how I saw this despite thinking Clooney is a jerk. That’s how that works.  Also, Captain Phillips is down to number six and I, like most, think Tom Hanks is the nicest man in the world. Yet, I have not seen it. One has nothing to do with the other. But in a nice case of irony the real life crew thinks the real life Captain Phillips was a total jerk. So much so they’re suing him (if that’s a spoiler for you then you need to read more newspapers and see fewer movies). Yeah, it’s movie, guys. Not a documentary. And if we all sued jerks, we’d all in court on one side or the other.

 

BEST NAMED DIRECTOR IN THE WORLD

12 Years A Slave actually rises to number seven as its theater count increases and the Oscar race heats up.  I like every actor in it, yet I have not seen it. See? Dancer and Dance are separate. And yes, the director’s name is actually Steve McQueen.

 

BUT I’M GLAD THEY’RE ALL WORKING

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number eight and the voices for the film are Bill Hader, Ana Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews and Kristen Schaal.  All likable to me, yet I will never see this film. Dancer here, dance there.

 

BITE SIZED CANDY VS. CARRIE. ADVANTAGE BITE SIZED CANDY.

Carrie is down to number nine and you know people don’t want to see your horror film when you don’t make any money on Halloween.  This is the danger of remaking a film that’s too much at part of the culture. It’s impossible for Carrie to be scary because we know all that happens.  Even the shock ending of the first film is expected now.

 

BAD TASTE, WORST AFTERTASTE

Finally, The Counselor is down to number ten and as bad as I thought this film was a week ago, it’s even worse now. What makes it worse than say something like Transformers is that at least Transformers is trying to entertain you.  This is isn’t. This pretentious crap think it’s brilliant and is above such base concerns. This could have been some half decent film noir. People doing bad things that causes a bad result.  It even has the nerve to reference Body Heat! But rather than follow that excellent example, it wants you to take Cameron Diaz humping cars seriously.

FULL FRONTAL NUDITY IS INTEGRAL

20 Oct

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 1. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$  31.0            Total/$ 170.6

 2. Captain Phillips/Sony                               Wknd/$  17.3            Total/$  53.3

 3. Carrie/SG                                                     Wknd/$  17.0            Total/$  17.0

 4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2     Wknd/$  10.1            Total/$  93.1

 5. Escape Plan/LG                                          Wknd/$    9.8            Total/$   9.8

 6. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    2.1             Total/$  57.3

 7. Enough Said/FoxS                                     Wknd/$    1.8             Total/$  10.8

 8. 5th Estate/Touchstone                              Wknd/$    1.7             Total/$    1.7

 9. Runner Runner/Fox                                  Wknd/$    1.6             Total/$  17.5

10. Insidious 2/FD                                           Wknd/$    1.5            Total/$  80.9

 

BREAK OUT YOUR CHOKERS AND YOUR FLANNEL

Gravity Holds at number one while Captain Phillips holds at number two, suggesting all the young people in the world had something better to do this weekend or we’ve all been transported back to 1995 for Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks to be ruling the box office like this. Their combined ages is more than the combined ages of the cast of Twilight.

 

ONE OF THOSE THINGS ISN’T EVEN AROUND ANY MORE

Opening at number three is Carrie and its leading lady, Chloe Moretz, wasn’t born until 1997. Yes, I said that to make you feel old.  So basically she wasn’t even conceived when Forrest Gump and While You Were Sleeping were hits.  Now, I thought about seeing this, which may seem odd given my “I don’t do the scary” rule, even when it’s stupid.  But given how this seems to be a note-for-note remake of the first film and not a more faithful adaptation of the book like they insisted, what’s really there to scare you? There’s only one scene that’s truly terrifying and I won’t spoil it for those who’ve never seen it. The real question is will a female director feel the need to recreate Brian DePalma’s slow-motion, full-frontal nudity tour of the girls’ locker room, which OPENED the original film or is the R rating purely for violence? Yes, Carrie’s traumatizing treatment by the other girls in the shower when she gets her first period is actually an important part of the story because it’s not only about the torment she endures at school, but fallout from her home life as she’s utterly ignorant about her body thanks to her mother.  What’s not important to the character, however, is a slow motion pan over a young actress’ breasts and pubic hair to get us there. The 70’s truly were a different time.

 

HE’S THE NEW MICK JAGGER WHEN IT COMES TO FILMS

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number four and you know who wishes it were ‘90’s? Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, as Escape Plan opens at number five. Two of the three biggest action heroes of the 80’s together and this is the best it can do!?! But honestly, I’m not blaming them. Yes, even though both their previous solo action leads have failed (Stallone in Bullet To The Head and Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand) the real reason behind this failure is 50 Cent. Yes, 50 Cent. No film with him in it ever succeeds.  Did you know he made a movie with DeNiro just last year? One with Nicholas Cage and John Cusack just this year? Two films in the past few years with Bruce Willis (completing the 80’s action hero hat trick)?  Of course not. Because they’ve all been too awful to be released even with someone as big as Robert DeNiro and Bruce Willis in them.  The man is a plague on film and here he is taking down Rocky and The Terminator without breaking a sweat.

 

YOU DON’T BUY THE COW WHEN THE MILK IS ON CNN EVERY DAY

Prisoners is down to number six followed by The Fifth Estate opening at number seven and if this film confuses you because you thought it was already released, that’s because it was a documentary called We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks about the real Julian Assauange which I’m sure the producers of this did not appreciate.  But they should have paid more attention to its inability to generate  interest.  Why do you think people will pay to see an impression of someone they didn’t want to see in the first place? Not to mention the overall media attention on Assaunage may have exhausted people.  Yes, it’s an important story that’s actually still going on, but like anything in our 24/7/365 news cycle it gets worn out very quickly. I mean the soldier behind the leaks, Bradley Manning, was only sentenced a few weeks ago on top of the news that he now wanted to be viewed as a woman (Chelsea Manning)!  And still people did not care.

 

OH, DON’T MIND ME. JUST GO ON ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS

Runner Runner is down to number eight and the other clue you had that this would be a failure was the presence of Gemma Arterton who was the “hot new thing” two years ago appearing in every other movie and even when they didn’t fail spectacularly (Prince of Persia) were seen as disappointments (Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans).  Even the unexpected success of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters ($225M from a $50M budget) hasn’t really helped her profile any. I mean, would you know her if you saw her on the street? Do you even know who she was in the films I’ve named? Exactly. However, the upside to being so forgettable is that no one will associate her with this film.

 

SO MUCH MONEY IT’S SCARY

Finally, Insidious Chapter 2 closes out the top ten after an impressive run resulting in $118M worldwide from a $5 budget.  Gravity has nothing on that ratio of dollars spent to dollars earned.