Tag Archives: channing tatum

MICHAEL BAY IS THE DEVIL AND YOU KNOW IT!

30 Jun

union-4

1. Transformers 4/Paramount                  Wknd/$100.0       Total/$ 100.0
2. 22 Jump Street/Sony                             Wknd/$ 15.4         Total/$ 139.8
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox      Wknd/$ 13.1          Total/$ 121.8
4. Think Like A Man Too/SGem              Wknd/$ 10.0         Total/$ 48.2
5. Maleficent/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 8.2           Total/$ 201.9
6. Jersey Boys/Warner                               Wknd/$ 7.6           Total/$ 7.6
7. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                Wknd/$ 5.2            Total/$ 84.2
8. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                  Wknd/$ 4.8           Total/$ 109.5
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox        Wknd/$ 3.3            Total/$ 223.4
10. Chef/ORF                                               Wknd/$ 1.7            Total/$ 19.4

WIPING OUT TASTE IN A GENERATION
Transformers: Age of Extinction opens unsurprisingly at number one and in the interest of full admission I did see all three previous Transformers film, finding the first actually entertaining. It was your archetypical boy discovers he’s the “the special one” and becomes a hero. Hell, that’s the basic premise of everything from King Arthur to Star Wars, but in this case everyone including the hero is utterly obnoxious and the stupidity nearly chokes the film to death. Let me put it this way: at one point the robots are all encouraging the protagonist to run. Again: ROBOTS WHO TURN INTO VEHICLES ARE TELLING HIM TO RUN. Just let that sink in a moment. The second film had none of the minimal charm of the first, but dialed the obnoxious stupidity up to 11 and the third doubled even that to the point where my movie buddy became visibly upset with me for having made her seen it (I had to see the final Harry Potter film as a result). With that in mind I gave this one a pass, my already dim outlook made fatally dark by news that it decided to go darker. Again: A FILM ABOUT GIANT ROBOTS RIDING GIANT ROBOT DINOSAURS WANTED TO GO DARK. I think that says it all.

I HAVE WATCHED TV FOR A LONG, LONG TIME
Holding at number two is 22 Jump Street and because I actually watched the original show, I know why Channing Tatum’s character is called Jenko. He was the captain who recruited Johnny Depp to the “jump street” program and was played by Frederic Forrest. And for a show that was about pretty, 20-something cops going undercover in high schools that only worked because all those students were also played by 20-something actors, it could get a little intense. Perhaps the best example of this was the episode “Orpheus 3.3” where Johnny Depp’s girlfriend is killed in a hold-up in front of him and he just basically has a nervous breakdown, not helped by the fact that he gets the security footage and watches her murder over and over again trying to figure out what he could have done in the 3.3 seconds (hence the title) it took her to be killed. They were also shockingly ahead of the curve in an episode based clearly on the Tawana Brawley case where Booker (aka, Richard Grieco) speaks opening about appreciating Male White Privilege a term that only came into existence a few years ago. Hmm, I’m now wondering why, given Depp’s superstardom and the success of these movies, it’s not in syndication.

GOOD THING SHE STILL LOOKS 25
How To Train Your Dragon 2 holds at number three, followed by Think Like A Man Too and also in this is Gabrielle Union and you have to wonder how she feels being part of an ensemble dominated by Kevin Hart when she was briefly an leading woman? It’s gotta sting just a little. And watching her Bring It On co-star Kirsten Dunst wind up in a much the same boat isn’t much consolation.

A FAMILY AFFAIR
Maleficent holds at number five and the only other person you might know in this is Elle Fanning, who plays Sleeping Beauty. Obviously she’s the younger sister of Dakota who clearly decided a semi-normal high school experience was more important than making movies, thus opening the door up for her sister.

MAYBE THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS MOVIE
Jersey Boys is down to number six apparently Joe Pesci was instrumental in the creation of The Four Seasons by introducing them to their fourth member who was also their songwriter. Pesci’s friend in the group was Joey DeVitto. Pesci played a different Joey DeVitto who didn’t have quite as nice a life in GoodFellas. Joey DeVitto wound up working for Joe Pesci in the end. And that’s your ironic trivia of the day!

WE COULD ALL USE A LITTLE MORE PAXTON
Edge of Tomorrow is down to number seven and also in this is Bill Paxton who has not come full circle, playing the “go get ‘em” sergeant in big science fiction movies rather than smart-ass private like he did in Aliens. And one of the flaws in this film is when Tom Cruise decides to take the fight to the aliens, he somehow fails to recruit the gung-ho sergeant. It not only makes no sense, but also denies us a little more Paxton. His presence might have made a few of those clichés go down a little easier.

MICHAEL BAY HASN’T WON YET!
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number eight, followed by X-Men Days of Future Past at number nine and Chef holding on at number ten. Seriously, every time I see that while big summer movies like Godzilla come and go it makes me smile.

MUSIC MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER
Speaking of Chef, what do it, Snowpiercer and Begin Again have in common? All have good critical reviews and all have actors who have been suckling from the Marvel teat for the last few years. Actors have been saying forever how they only do big studio films so they can be free to do smaller, more personal films and it’s bullshit for the most part, but Mark Ruffalo, Jon Favreau and Chris Evans are actually walking the walk. It’s not too much of a surprise for Ruffalo and Favreau who both made their bones in indie land, but now that he’s free to do so, Evans seems hellbent on making his home there. But now we’re talking about Ruffalo, who like most, talked shit about mainstream films then started showing up in shit like 13 Going on 30, Rumor Has It, View From The Top and Just Like Heaven, basically being the go-to “Young Leading Man” for young actresses Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Anniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. Somewhere along the way he had a life-threatening medical condition and while that may have sent him looking for money I prefer to think it made him realize that he needed more, which meant a return to indie, which he how he turned up in the career revitalizing The Kids Are All Right which then led him to his payday-for-life turn in The Avengers. I also like to think that got Begin Again made because the money they needed for some of their music licensing, much less shooting in the streets of New York, was not cheap and you’d need veterans of billion dollar films in the lead and so they have them in Keira Knightley and now Mark Ruffalo. Begin Again is the story of a music producer/label head at a very low point in his life who rediscovers himself producing the album of a young songwriter recovering from heartbreak after her musician boyfriend dumps her on his rise to the top. You know it’s an indie film when you time jump not just once, but twice, as we get the opening where Mark Ruffalo meets Keira Knightley at an open mike night first flashing back from his point of view, then from hers. There’s also the indie trademark of your protagonist being very nearly unlikably flawed (as opposed to “charming flawed” like most mainstream films) for most of the film, while giving some redeeming qualities to your antagonists, like Ruffalo’s more business-oriented partner, Mos Def and Keira Knightley’s slightly douchey boyfriend, Adam Levine (whose actual acting was probably the non-douchey aspects). Like Favreau in Chef, Ruffalo is a bad parent to a teenage daughter who is looking for male attention in the most traditional way possible: dressing slutty. The difference, which makes Chef superior is that Favreau doesn’t really learn until the last minute, making the same mistake in the last ten minutes that he did in the first ten. Ruffalo’s character in comparison is essentially healed by Knightley’s music and returns to being an attentive, loving dad (even quitting drinking). It helps that his daughter (played by Hailee Steinfeld) turns out to be a decent guitar player and all wounds are healed when they play together at one point. But honestly, I don’t mind a total happy ending because I still enjoyed the journey. And fuck it, it’s summer. Save that bleak-ass indie shit for the fall and winter.

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YOU TAME A DRAGON WITH TATUM!

15 Jun

channing-tatum-august-2009-GQ-article-1-lowres

1. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                       Wknd/$ 60.0     Total/$ 60.0
2. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox               Wknd/$ 50.0      Total/$ 50.0
3. Maleficent/Disney                                           Wknd/$ 19.0       Total/$ 163.5
4. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                         Wknd/$ 16.1        Total/$ 56.6
5. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                           Wknd/$ 15.7        Total/$ 81.7
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox                 Wknd/$ 9.5          Total/$ 205.9
7. Godzilla/Warner                                              Wknd/$ 3.2          Total/$ 191.3
8. A Million Ways To Die in the West              Wknd/$ 3.2          Total/$ 39.0
9. Neighbors/Universal                                       Wknd/$ 2.5         Total/$ 143.1
10. Chef/ORF                                                         Wknd/$ 2.3         Total/$ 14.1

“LIVER & POTATOES, PLEASE” SAID NO ONE EVER.
22 Jump Street opens at number one and I’m serious: Jonah Hill is on my list of actors I will look at only if I have to, right next to Seth Rogen. It had better be some big-ticket item like an Oscar-bait Scorsese film or it’s simply not going to happen. Give this is clearly not from Marty, it’s safe to say I gave it a pass, though clearly one of the few. I like Channing Tatum…enough. He’s like a big potato; only as tasty as what you add to it and teaming him with Jonah Hill is like adding liver.

HOW TO TAME MULTI-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS
How To Train Your Dragon 2 opens at number two, which was a great surprise to everyone given it’s a big animated film. Me, I’m not so surprised give how the first was just good and not much else. It was the definition of perfunctory, utterly lacking in any ambition beyond simply telling a simple story. This is more of the same, if not beautifully so. Seeing the giant alpha dragons almost made me wish I’d seen it in IMAX. Almost. It’s just that gorgeous, as are most of the flight scenes. What’s steadily earthbound is a script where there are earth-shattering emotional events that are simply glossed over as if they were nothing. As the commercials and trailers show, Hiccup’s mother is still alive and is a dragonrider herself. Seems she’s been with them all this time, letting her loving husband and infant son think she was dead…and neither of them care. Seriously. Not even a single, “Why didn’t you come back to see me?” Nothing. No. Thing. A complete and utter abandonment by a wife and parent results in zero resentment from the characters. They’re just a happy family again. Bear in mind she’s the caretaker of FLYING DRAGONS. She could have gone home at any time. She just didn’t. Her excuse was that she believed dragons were not evil but no one there did, so why try? You know the way her son did in the first film and basically changed their culture in a week? Because he actually tried. Once again, you shouldn’t go into the deep water if you can’t swim and they can’t even float. This is what it has in common with the number three film, Maleficent. It also tries to go into the deep water by having the king and Maleficent be in a previous relationship, but also backs away from it, but at least they muddy the water a little (he can’t kill her because he loves her and she loves his daughter), in what is purely a soulless, naked, corporate money grab. There’s not so much as a dust cloud here. But it is purty.

ALWAYS A PLACE FOR OLD MEN
Edge of Tomorrow is down to number four here and also in this is Brendan Gleeson and if you’re paying attention, if Tom Cruise likes you, you’ll be back in one of his other films. Robert Duvall was in Days of Thunder and returned in Jack Reacher. Brendan Gleeson, who also improves anything he’s in, was in Mission Impossible II and returns here as the general who sends Tom Cruise to the front for being a coward, but you should really check him out in The Guard with Don Cheadle. He was cheated out of an Oscar nod for it. Then again, people would have to see it first…

AMERICA’S NEW SWEETHEART
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number four and your new Jennifer Lawrence is…Shailene Woodley. She’s got the critical acclaim and now a one-two punch of box office success with a franchise (Divergent) and now a romantic drama. It would have been two franchises, but her role as Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was cut. Right now there’s someone at Sony combing through her contract to see if she’s obligated to come back for fear of losing his job.

PRETTY WOMAN SUCKED THEN AND SUCKS NOW
Speaking of Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men Days of Future Past is down to number six and it’s no accident her role was bumped up or that she and Hugh Jackman are the most prominent on the poster. This actually gives her two franchises in addition to the prestige stuff she keeps getting Oscar nominations for. It’s good there’s a new Jennifer Lawrence as she’s moving on to be the new Julia Roberts, that all-encompassing movie star who can’t fail. Except she can actually act.

NOTHING MORE LEFT TO BE SAID
Godzilla is down number seven, A Million Ways to Die in The West is down to number eight and Neighbors is down to number nine.

IRON CHEF?
Chef finally drops a notch to ten and is probably coming to the end of its noble little run. You done good, Jon (he’s also behind the TV adaptation of About A Boy, which will be coming back). Hope you made a little loot and learned a lesson.

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IT’S FALLEN AND CAN’T GET UP

30 Jun

This_World

 1. Monsters University/Disney           Wknd/$  46.2            Total/$ 171.0

 2. The Heat/Fox                                     Wknd/$  40.0           Total/$  40.0

 3. World War Z/Paramount                Wknd/$  29.8            Total/$ 123.7

 4. White House Down/Sony                Wknd/$  25.7            Total/$  25.7

 5. Man of Steel/Warners                       Wknd/$  20.8           Total/$ 248.7

 6. This Is The End/Sony                       Wknd/$   8.7             Total/$  74.7

 7. Now You See Me/LGF                       Wknd/$   5.5             Total/$ 104.7

 8. Fast & Furious 6/Universal              Wknd/$   2.4            Total/$ 233.3

 9. Star Trek Into Darkness/Par            Wknd/$   3.0            Total/$ 216.6

10. The Internship/Fox                           Wknd?$   1.4             Total/$  41.7

 

IT’LL BE DIFFERENT EXCEPT WHEN IT’S THE SAME

Monsters University holds onto the number one slot and Pixar announced that their new strategy is one year an original film, then the following year a sequel to an original film and so on and so on.  So yeah, the golden age of Pixar pretty much ended how it started: with Toy Story. Number one kicked it off and number three was its beautiful closer. Since then it’s been lesser efforts (Brave) and sequels like Cars 2 and this one, which honestly I prefer to the original, but that’s only because Monsters, Inc. wasn’t one of their A-list films to begin with.  I won’t lie: I’m dying to see Finding Dorry, but I could have lived with just Finding Nemo, which is my absolute favorite Pixar film and proof that not including animated features in the Best Picture category at the Oscars is just Hollywood protecting its own ass, because Pixar would have owned it for years.  No one and I mean not even Pixar itself was hot on a Cars sequel, but the merchandising just made so much money they basically had to, which is sad and that was the beginning of the end. Again, I’ll see an Incredibles sequel, but Ratatouille 2: This Time It’s Roaches is going to have a hard time finding an audience.

 

GLORIA STEINEM WILL UNDERSTAND

The Heat opens strong at number two and while the feminist in me is delighted to see a female led film doing well in the summer where dudes are failing (yes, I’m still laughing at the failure of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) I personally gave it a pass, because I so hated the original, unfunny trailers even though the final batch of commercials contained some genuinely funny moments. Too little, too late.  Oh, and I don’t like Sandra Bullock to begin with so there was that hurdle to overcome and they didn’t get it done.

 

SORRY, GEORGE A. ROMERO, BUT THAT’S HOW I FEEL

World War Z is down to number three and one of my all time favorite science fiction films is The Andromeda Strain, which is basically about scientists trying to fight an alien invasion…of a virus.  Yep, no ships or monsters, just virus from space that wipes out a small town leaving only an infant and an old man alive and they race against the clock to find out how to beat it.  This is why I enjoyed World War Z because it is to zombie movies what that was to alien invasion movies.  I don’t want to call it a “thinking man’s” zombie movie, because it’s still plenty dumb (civilization is collapsing but somehow everyone still has power) but it’s not your typical game of “10 Little Indians” with zombies picking off a group of people one by one.  Ironically, I could still give a crap about The Walking Dead.

 

YEP, IT’S DOWN AGAIN

White House Down opens at a disappointing number three and I honestly don’t understand why. It’s no worse than your average Hollywood action film and certainly better than anything Michael Bay does, not to mention the latest Die Hard movie.  Of course we have to compare this to Olympus Has Fallen, the first “Die Hard In The White House” movie released earlier this year.  It’s better in some ways and worse in others.  Better because the villain is not some evil minority from a nation we could defeat in our sleep and that we’re mercifully spared having to watch the hero’s backstory. Worse in that even without having to watch the hero’s backstory it’s still over two hours long and Roland Emmerich is a shitty director, while Antoine Fuqua knows how to make an action flick.  This follows the Die Hard formula more closely in that Channing Tatum has a woman in his life that he needs to please then save. In this case it’s his 11-year-old daughter, who just so happens to be a political—and specifically Executive Office and very specifically this president—junkie.  The president is played by Jamie Foxx who is still…Jamie Foxx and while you could buy Aaron Eckhart being the president, Jamie Foxx is something else again. Also the president’s son plot line in Olympus Has Fallen was so useless you wonder why it was even there. Here Channing Tatum’s daughter is a vital part of the story for better or worse.  It’s a matter of personal taste whether or not the relatively bloodless carnage of White House Down is better than the full on R-rated violence of Olympus Has Fallen.  I’m good either way, but I’m pretty sure when this kind of thing happens there’s a lot more cursing.  There are also fewer wasted actors here. While you know Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, etc all could and should be doing better things than Olympus Has Fallen, but with the exception of Maggie Gyllenhaal you know pretty much everyone else here is right where they belong.  The stories are basically the same: bad guys take the White House with some help from within (apparently no one retires gracefully from the Secret Service) with stupefying ease, the president get lectured how he’s actually betrayed the nation and the ex-solider now a cop in DC is the rogue element who steps in to save the day.  Channing Tatum is much more appealing as the younger man trying to save his daughter than Gerard Butler was as the older man looking for redemption.  Also, it’s a buddy film so he doesn’t have to carry the full weight on his shoulders. It works for me because a little Jamie Foxx goes a long way. Plus, as president he has to play the straight man so he’s less Jamie Foxx than usual (in case you haven’t guessed I’m not a fan).  Both films are ridiculous and require massive suspensions of disbelief (one wants you to believe you could take the White House without an army while the other wants you to believe that one was imported from Korea without being noticed), but White House Down, coming from the man who brought you Independence Day of course has to kick it up to 11 with a high speed chase. On the White House Lawn.  In circles around the fountain.  Yeah. That pretty much sums this movie up.

 

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME…

Man of Steel, which is down to number five this week is like World War Z in that the only thing this it has in common with the source material is the name.  The difference being if they’d called World War Z something else it would still be a decent movie, but even if you’d called Man of Steel  “Ultraman” or “Stupendousman” it would still be a bad movie. It’s not just a failure to understand the source material, it’s just a flat out bad execution. The film is overlong, joyless and ends in an orgy of CGI for the sake of it and not much else.  Yes, I’m going to rip on it until it goes away because so long as this damn movie is in the top ten I’m unable to wear any of my 20 Superman T-shirts because if I do I’ll have to talk about it to strangers every time I go out! Seriously, you’d think I was the first person they’d ever seen in a Superman t-shirt.

 

YOU TOO, CHELSEA HANDLER!

This Is The End is down to number six and looking at this and seeing all the cast members is like a party of all the coolest kids in high school, so if you’re not in it, then you’re nobody.  In this case the high school is the world of comedy, so take a hint, Whitney Cummings.

 

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Now You See Me is down to number seven with Fast & The Furious 6 still here at number eight and with us for the last time is Sung Kang, as Han Seoul-Oh. Seriously, that’s his name.  If you stick around after the credits the final scene is his demise in Tokyo Drift setting up the next film with a surprise guest star who is no stranger to movies about cars. Yes, that means. Fast & The Furious 4, 5 and 6 ALL took place before number three.  And now Vin Diesel’s appearance at the end of Tokyo Drift now will formally tie into 7.  The only question is will the stars of Tokyo Drift now finally be able to tap into some of this F&F sequel money?  Apparently Lil Bow Wow needs a check from what I hear?

 

SPACE ADVENTURE II: THE RETRIBUTION OF BAHN

Star Trek Into Darkness is down to number nine so let’s go through the numbers. It had a $190M budget and the basic rule of thumb is that due to marketing costs you need to make twice your budget to break even and 3x your budget to turn a profit theatrically.  It’s hit $438M worldwide so breaking even is assured, but it’s not even going to come close to the $570M needed to turn a profit theatrically.  That will probably come from Pay-per-view and DVD sales.  The only upside here is JJ Abrams is now gone to screw up Star Wars so maybe the next Star Trek movie might actually be a Star Trek. As it stands if you called these movies “Space Adventure” they wouldn’t be awful, but they are failures as Star Trek films.

 

THE SCHADENFREUDE

Finally, The Internship closes out the top ten at number ten and yes, I’m still laughing at its abject failure.

EPIC-ISH

29 Jul

1. The Dark Knight Rises/Warners            Wknd/$   64.1            Total/$ 289.1

 2. Ice Age 4/Fox                                             Wknd/$   13.3            Total/$ 114.8

 3. The Watch/Fox                                          Wknd/$   13.0            Total/$   13.0

 4. Step Up Revolution/Summit                   Wknd/$   11.8            Total/$   11.8

 5. Ted/Universal                                             Wknd/$     7.4            Total/$ 193.6

 6. Amazing Spider-Man/Sony                     Wknd/$     6.8            Total/$ 242.1

 7. Brave/Disney                                               Wknd/$     4.2            Total/$ 217.3

 8. Magic Mike/Warner                                  Wknd/$     2.6            Total/$ 107.6

 9. Savages/Universal                                      Wknd/$     1.8            Total/$   43.9

10. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                        Wknd/$     1.4            Total/$   38.4

 

THERE IS NO DO; THERE IS ONLY TRY

The Dark Knight Rises holds onto the number one spot despite the horrible incident in Colorado, because, sadly there’s no such thing as bad publicity. People probably would have gone anyway, but this atrocity made sure you saw “The Dark Knight Rises” on every TV screen, newspaper and website and considering no one could possibly blame the movie itself it translates in the end to pure awareness. That said, while I enjoyed it more than The Dark Knight, it’s not some kind of epic masterpiece.  Not even close.  I feel that we’re at the point where if you even try to make something with greater scope, try to take your time in telling a story and not rushing through it (to insure more showings at the theater for a greater take), people give you instant credit. Look at movies like The English Patient, The Last Emperor, Titanic and Gladiator.  Every last one of them utterly mediocre in their writing, but were long and pretty and BIG so they all got credit for being epic when they were not.  And much like anything Aaron Sorkin does, because The Dark Knight Rises gives the illusion of being smart referencing “real issues” it gets praise over it.  Because Nolan mentions there are rich and poor people in Gotham City, he gets credit for some kind of social commentary, but he really doesn’t address class structure at all.  The only suggestion that the poor are suffering is because Bruce Wayne blew most of his money on a clean energy device and didn’t have money left to give to an orphanage.  That’s not an example of “society.”  That’s a particular instance where a smaller good suffers in the pursuit of a greater good. That’s reflective of nothing of in the real world unless you think the 99% is a result of the 1% trying to make the world a better place. Nolan is so proud of addressing Bruce Wayne’s wealth, but Bruce Wayne is a total benevolent billionaire, which again is reflective of nothing at all.  The story itself is a slight rerun of the first as Bane comes to Gotham to destroy it, much in the way Liam Neeson was trying to destroy in the first film. He’s also from the same League of Shadows that Neeson ran that trained Batman. I’m down for suspension of disbelief, but you cross the line when you expect me to buy that the US Government would surrender a city on US soil for months.  Granted, Bane has a nuclear warhead that he hides by driving it around all the time, but the longer it goes on, the dumber you realize it is.  It was stupid in the comics when it was an earthquake that had Gotham City declared a disaster area and abandoned.  I won’t even get into how Batman gets “broken” about two hours into the film which means you know he’s got to “montage” himself back into health then save Gotham in about 20 minutes.  It’s an enjoyable mess, but a mess nonetheless. And Nolan still hasn’t learned that Batman’s costume looks pretty stupid standing around in the daylight.

 

MAYBE EVEN A FINE OR A SUSPENSION FROM THE LEAGUE

Ice Age 4 or 6 or 12 or whatever the hell number this one is holds at number two, followed by The Watch opening at number three and when you realize just how funny Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn were in Dodgeball you can’t believe what a clear disappointment this is.  Vince Vaughn’s motor-mouth routine has got to be one of the most irritating in movies. It worked in Dodgeball because he was relatively speaking the “straight man” in a wacky world.  When he’s supposed to be the funny guy, that shit gets old fast.  His five minutes in Mr. & Mrs. Smith were almost unbearable.  And now he’s teamed with Ben Stiller playing straight, (which is never a good idea) and the always-annoying Jonah Hill.  That’s already three strikes but to add some kind of 15-years-too late Men In Black storyline on top of it gets you flat out ejected from the playing field.  The only way it could have been worse would be to have Anthony Andrews or Martin Lawrence or Cedric The Entertainer as the token minority member of the group instead of some Brit comedian no one has ever heard of.

 

DANCE HAS NO COLOR…LITERALLY

Step Up Revolution is also the umpteenth edition of this franchise started by none other than Channing Tatum. He’s long gone, but like herpes, what he touched us with lingers on.  I love dancers, but I’m old so all this street dancing shit leaves me cold.  What made the first one even minimally appealing was the fact it was contrasting modern street dancing with more traditional types.  But since then it’s just been straight up “Hey, your crew vs. our crew” in a world where none of the best street dancers are ever minorities, which explains why it’s so popular.  That actually is a holdover from the first film.

 

FLASH! AHHHHH!

Ted is down to number five and there’s a running joke in this film based on the horrible Flash Gordon movie from the 80’s complete with Sam Jones himself appearing.  For that scene alone I will watch this on cable next year.

 

DOES IT MAKE MONEY? LISTEN,BUD…

The Amazing Spider-Man is down to number six and so far this is the lowest grossing Spider-Man film, which is to say it’s made under $700M dollars.  $655M is just not that impressive in the world of Spidey films, with the much-maligned third one making the most of all the previous three.  What amuses me about how much geeks hated it is their whining about how campy it was.  As opposed to what?  Did they miss the entire sequence in the second one set to “Raindrops Are Falling On My Head.”  Raimi never took it seriously, which was part of my problem with his take. This is more to my liking, geek that I am.  Though I hate the fucking costume.  Okay, you’ve proven you can make money. Let’s go back to the original for the sequel, okay?

 

AT LEAST SHE’S NOT TRYING TO RIDE ON GRANDPA’S COATTAILS

Brave is down to number seven followed by Magic Mike at number eight and the granddaughter of Elvis Presley, daughter of Lisa Marie, Riley Keough, is in this brief as the nothing-but-trouble girlfriend of Alex Pettyfer. Yeah, I have no idea what she looks like either and I saw the freaking film. She’s a former model, which makes sense, given Elvis and Priscilla were anything but ugly.

 

SPOILERS FOR A MOVIE YOU WILL PROBABLY NEVER SEE

Savages is down to number nine and this didn’t totally tank which is a sigh of relief for the management of Taylor Kitsch, though it still is the summer of his complete and utter failure to launch a big screen career.  Oliver Stone is grateful too, because it means he’ll also get to continue his career of misogyny.  Now, I cynically joked that two women in this movie would mean they’d come to horrible ends at Stone’s hands.  I was half right.  From what I’ve learned about the book, Salma Hayek as the mob boss eventually kills Bencio del Toro and one of the two dudes who love Blake Lively dies.  In Stone’s movie however, Benicio Del Toro gets to live after kidnapping and raping Blake Lively (which I could tell from the trailer would happen and I tend to avoid movies where actresses I like get raped) but he winds up killing Salma Hayek and living to be try and become the next boss.  Also both dudes who love Blake Lively survive.  No thanks, Oliver.

 

CURIOSITY BECKONS THE CAT TO ITS DOOM

Finally, Moonrise Kingdom holds onto the number ten spot yet again and actually is a success, making $38M off a $16M budget, despite the fact that almost all the indie fans of Wes Anderson that I know despise it.  I guess this is his Midnight in Paris.  I think I may have to break down and see this.

 

THEY’RE NOT CARTOONS; THEY’RE ANIMATED FILMS!

With no movies I’ve been interested in seeing and the disappointment of The Dark Knight Rises I’ve finally been using my Playstation 3 for something and that’s to stream movies.  Of course these movies are Justice League: Doom and Superman Vs. The Elite.  Justice League: Doom is based on the comic book storyline “Tower of Babel” where Ra’s Al Ghul (the guy Liam Neeson played in the Batman Begins) steals plans Batman has to take out the Justice League in case they ever go rogue.  Now given every other week they’re brainwashed to do just that, this actually make sense, but because comic book writers are, well comic book writers, this pisses off the entire Justice League and Batman actually leaves for a short period when they vote him out.  In the movie version a different villain uses the plan and it’s somewhat changed because they use different members of the Justice League (no Aquaman here and different plans are used because they’re more visual than the original), but it’s still fairly entertaining and there’s some degree of suspense as the members of the JL fall one-by-one to plans they can’t outthink because their smartest member thought them up.  What saves them is the appearance of Teen Titan, Cyborg. Because he’s not a member of the Justice League he was never attacked and is able to help stop the attacks on others. I didn’t care for this because in the original story they have to figure it out themselves and this stinks of a current push inside DC Comics to make Cyborg more important a character, which he will never be.  Yeah, I know we need more prominent black superheroes, but this guy ain’t it.  Superman Vs. The Elite is based on a silly one-issue story called “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & The American Way” which was a response to the popularity of more grittier comic books with heroes who killed people, specifically a one called The Authority which regularly poked fun at other superhero books by having their version of Superman and Batman a gay couple and had an entire storyline where a group based on The Avengers with the Captain America analogue raping anyone he defeats—in this case gay Superman analogue (in revenge the Batman analogue would take a jackhammer to his back while the Superman analogue would vaporize his legs).  In the Superman story a group based on The Authority shows up and wins public acclaim for finally dealing harshly with dangerous supervillans, which leads to a showdown with Superman where he actually outthinks them, which is somewhat novel in a Superman comic.  The movie—whose animation style took a moment to get adjusted to—follows the basic plot. People are bothered that Superman won’t deal harshly with bad guys and basically make the world a better place through force, so when a new team shows up ready to break a few necks they’re embraced. Clearly Supes doesn’t care for the whole death thing and it leads to a big fight.  This was supposed to a reaffirmation of Superman’s values, but the problem here is the same problem with the comic: once they started to embrace super-murderous villains in the 80’s, it does make it seem pretty stupid not to kill them.  The way the story should have been is that no one survives in a world where we’re all judged justly.  You cheer when a murder dies, but what happens when you’re judged for buying a bigger TV you don’t need while people are starving?  But no, it came down to showing Superman beating the crap out of people who killed terrorists and murders.  There is a story out there about the validity of Superman’s principles. This just wasn’t it.  I’m so glad I started renting these things before buying them, ‘cause I would have been pissed to have dropped more money on this.  Seeing a seemingly unhinged Superman cut loose is definitely fun for a moment, but not $20 worth of fun.

 

TV, I LOVE YOU

Again, I love that the TV seasons never stop now.  The latest show on is Sullivan & Son, which is a bit of a break-through as the lead character is clearly Asian and dates white women.  The downside is, he looks pretty white so it’s not like he’s that threatening. Also, he’s half-Asian and is playing half-Asian and if you miss it, there’s a joke every five seconds about the fact he’s half-Asian.  I can think of worse ways to spend half-an-hour before going to sleep…which is usually how I watch it.

 

IT’S RAINING ABS

2 Jul

1. Ted/Universal                                                Wknd/$   54.1            Total/$  54.1

 2. Magic Mike/Warner                                    Wknd/$   34.0            Total/$  39.2

 3. Brave/Disney                                                Wknd/$   34.0            Total/$ 131.7

 4. Madea’s Witness Protection/LGF            Wknd/$   26.4            Total/$  26.4

 5. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                       Wknd/$   11.8            Total/$ 180.0

 6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter         Wknd/$     6.0            Total/$  29.0

 7. Prometheus/Fox                                           Wknd/$     4.9            Total/$ 118.3

 8. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                          Wknd/$     4.9            Total/$   18.4

 9. Snow White & The Huntsman/U              Wknd/$     4.4            Total/$ 145.6

10.People Like Us/Touchstone                       Wknd/$     4.3            Total/$    4.3

 

IF YOU SAW THIS, YOU’RE IMMATURE, OUT OF SHAPE AND A YOU HAVE A TINY PENIS

I have to give it up to the marketing people at Universal. Opening Ted—a movie made for men with the emotional maturity and sense of humor of a 14-year-old—against Magic Mike was a stroke of sheer genius. Many men were clearly threatened by it and what better place for them to take solace than a comedy from the creator of Family Guy?  The theater must have stunk with the smell of testosterone and fear.  I’ve never been a fan of Family Guy for the reasons everyone from the writers of to South Park to the writers of The Simpsons (who have both mocked Family Guy on their shows) has given: it’s lazy, immature humor. Now the idea that a childhood toy coming to life to still be with you getting drunk and watching 25 years later is actually funny. Funnier still is that no one thinks it’s a big deal any longer because of America’s short attention span.  What isn’t funny is pretty much every joke in the trailer.  Ooh, look! The stuffed bear talks dirty!  Oh, look he’s being dirty again. And again. Oh, and again.  Really, that’s it?  That’s all you can do with this premise?

 

IF YOU SAW THIS YOU DON’T WANT ANYONE WHO SAW TED

Magic Mike opens at number two, but it’s already made over 5 times its $7M dollar budget, which makes it as successful as The Avengers in its first week alone. It’s this year’s Sex & The City, meaning the movie you and your girlfriends go to on girl’s night out.  And when I say “girlfriends” I don’t necessarily mean all women either.  The movie was also marketed very well as a girl’s night out event, which ironically helped Ted as it sent an entire group of men in the opposite direction. Good thing too, because I’m pretty sure if all the theaters were like the one I went into in Chelsea with lasers, a DJ and shirtless go-go boys they wouldn’t have lasted very long.  That said, the simple fact it’s about male strippers is about as edgy as it gets.  The story is oddly very old fashioned and if you replaced “stripping” with virtually any other type of entertaining, it’s the same thing.  They could be stand up comedians and the story of the older, but relatively young guy taking a newbie under his wing only to see him let the success go to his head spiral out of control, threatening to take the older guy down with him.  In addition the older guy is falling for the younger guy’s sister.  If you made it in the 50’s they could be rock & roll musicians.  If you made it in the 40’s they could be lounge singers (if they’d made it in the 70’s it would still be strippers, but with it would probably end with a body count to rival Hamlet.).  It’s the same story and the reason they keep using it is because it works, like Pygmalion or Cinderella.  A rise and fall alongside a fall and rise with a little romance thrown in.  It’s a good stock plot on which to justify lots and lots of barely clad men with no bodyfat.  This is the other reason boys fled to Ted.  It reminded them that women also have ideals of physical perfection that they will never, ever meet.  Seriously, some of these guys look like comic book characters they’re so cut and defined. It’s ridiculous.  And intimidating.  So much so I’m doing crunches as I type this. And by “crunches” I mean “eating chocolate caramels.”

 

IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, LADIES

Brave is down to number three and this is somewhat sad given how Madgascar 3: We’re Not Even As Good As A Bad Pixar Film held the stop slot for weeks.  But it hasn’t even made budget worldwide which is not good because they’re going to blame it on a female lead, especially right after The Princess & The Frog also disappointed, but the truth is neither film was that good. Now Mulan was successful despite being a musical. Know why? It was good.  See, not that hard.

 

SCIENCE FICTION IS “TYLER PERRY’S GOOD MOVIE”

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection opens at number four, followed by Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted at number five with Prometheus down to number six and if you needed another reason to hate this movie, know that it’s inspired Tyler Perry to try and make his own science fiction movie because he was so disappointed by it and loves science fiction.  I’m going to assume you love good movies too, Tyler, but it’s never resulted in you making one.  You know who else loves science fiction?  Eddie Murphy. The results?  The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Meet Dave.  Oh, and there’s this guy George Lucas who also couldn’t make a good science fiction movie if his life depended on it, but I’ve no doubt he loves them as well.

 

GIVING A BRUTHA HIS DUE

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is down to number seven and also in this is Anthony Mackie as Lincoln’s best friend since childhood who helps him fight the vampires.  His role is actually based on Lincoln’s servant who, when he died Lincoln had buried in Arlington of all places and on his tombstone inscribed “Citizen.”  Hmm. That’s pretty heavy for a butler.  Are we sure this is fiction?

 

THE MOVIE WHERE BEING CUTE WAS APPROPRIATE

Moonrise Kingdom re-enters the top ten at number eight and while I’m still taking the advice of friends I respect and not seeing this, I did finally catch The Fantastic Mr. Fox on-sale at Best Buy for just $10.  This had the misfortune to be released at the same time as Up, because honestly it’s on par with the best Pixar films and would have deserved the Academy Award just as much.

 

ONE THING MAKES PERFECT SENSE. THE OTHER NOT SO MUCH

Snow White & The Huntsman is down to number nine and People Like Us enters the top ten at number ten with Chris Pine as Elizabeth Banks’ unknown half-brother and Michelle Pfeiffer plays his mother.  I always like it when gorgeous movie stars play the parents of other pretty people. It makes more sense than when you have these average-looking people as the parents to these stunning individuals.  It’s also more fun.  And if you’re looking for a reason to be angry at the universe, know that Olivia Munn has two films in the top ten this week. Yeah, her.

ZEUS HATES US ALL

1 Apr

1. The Hunger Games/LiongsGate            Wknd/$  61.1            Total/$ 251.0

2. Wrath of the Titans/Warners                Wknd/$  34.2            Total/$   34.2

3. Mirror Mirror/Relativity                        Wknd/$  19.0             Total/$   19.0

4. 21 Jump Street/Sony                               Wknd/$  15.0             Total/$   93.1

5. The Lorax/Universal                                Wknd/$   8.0             Total/$ 189.6

6. John Carter/Disney                                  Wknd/$   2.0             Total/$   66.2

7. Salmon Fishing In The Yemen/CBS      Wknd/$   1.3              Total/$     3.2

8. Act of Valor/Relativity                              Wknd/$   1.0             Total/$   67.8

9. A Thousand Words/Paramount              Wknd/$     .9             Total/$   16.5

10.Journey 2: Mysterious Island/WB         Wknd/$     .8              Total/$  98.5

JOHNNY CAN READ BUT HE CAN’T COMPREHEND WORTH SHIT

The Hunger Games holds on to number one and if you think the success of these books along with Harry Potter and Twilight mean that people still read, think again. There’s a surprising number of morons who were upset that a characters depicted in the book as Black were actually played by a Black actors.  Now, if they could actually read (much less comprehend what they’re reading) this would not have been a problem, but like I said, people aren’t really reading if “Young Adult” novels are dominating the bestseller lists. I’m pretty sure real, grown up novels should require something above an 8th grade reading level.

SADLY, TRUTH IN ADVERTISING

Wrath of the Titans opens at number two and the very existence of this film is proof the wrath of an angry god upon those who made the first film so successful and caused a sequel.  The first was so bad it made people actually question the validity of 3D in spite of the money it made. You know how bad you have to be for that to happen?  In Hollywood?  Well, believe it or not this is even worse.  Seriously. It. Is. Bad.  I can’t remember the last time I wanted to walk out of a theater but that actually crossed my mind during Wrath of the Titans.  It commits the ultimate sin of not simply of being bad, but being boring!  You can be awful. We can have fun with awful.  But to literally put people to sleep (my stalwart companion, Geek Girl, took a nap) is unforgivable.  The first film took the classic Greek myth of Perseus and ruined it by adding on some nonsense about the downfall of the gods.  Not only do they recycle the same plot (they have to; Perseus really didn’t have more adventures) they make it even more about the end of the gods as if that were some kind of virtue.  What’s sad is that a somewhat interesting idea is lost, in that when the gods lose their power all the monsters they had imprisoned came free.  So basically this should have been 90 minutes (though it feels like hours) of Perseus killing monsters that have gotten loose.  But no, they go off into this inane and utterly uninteresting conceit on fathers and sons, like anyone in the world is in the theater to see that.  Not to mention by the first film’s own admission Zeus wasn’t much of a father.  Perseus was raised by a fisherman who was in fact killed by the gods (along with the rest of the family Perseus was raised with) so he’s got none of the attachment to Zeus that this film insists he has.  Then there’s the film’s central conceit that the gods lose their power when people pray to them, but what makes you pray faster than a bunch of monsters out running around?  There are no atheists in foxholes, the saying goes and I feel the same can be said about a village beset by a giant fire-breathing, two-heated dog.  I’m pretty sure Zeus, Apollo even fucking Dionysius (you wanna face a giant fire-breathing, tw-headed dog sober?) is getting dialed up when that happens.  Also the “big bad” in all this is the titan Cronus, the first king of the gods and father of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon.  Cronus was a god, not a monster and if they’re losing their power, where the hell is he getting his?  Especially given he has to drain Zeus to get free. And honestly, I wouldn’t be paying attention so much to plot if the action were any good.  The original Clash of the Titans in the 80’s was no great shakes, but it continues to be superior because at the very least it resulted in no crummy sequels.

WHO’S THE LEAST TALENTED DIRECTOR OF ALL?

Mirror, Mirror opens at number three and when are people going to stop giving Tarsem Singh money to make movies?  As you recall, he, Michael Bay and Zack Synder all went to film school together and while he’s most talented of the three, that’s not saying much given he shares their complete and utter disregard for a story in favor of visuals. By my count he only has one hit and that was The Cell with Jennifer Lopez  12 years ago so I’m trying to figure out why he’s now making movies with Julia Roberts now.  Granted, the failure of Immortals was only a few months ago, but his only other film was The Fall which was another display of exceptional visuals and “Script?  What script?” that no one saw.  I’m thinking Julia Roberts is doing what other superstars like Bruce Willis do in that they don’t work with strong directors on their more mainstream, “just a paycheck” projects so they don’t have anyone who can bother them while they’re making easy money.  Julia Roberts can’t fire Steven Soderbergh, but if she has a disagreement with Tarsem Singh, guess who’s going to win?  But even if someone other than Tarsem Singh had directed this I wouldn’t be seeing it because I don’t go to see Julia Roberts movies either.  She sucks. Always has, always will.  I will, however be seeing the other Snow White film, Snow White & The Hunstman, even though it doesn’t make sense that someone as beautiful as Charlize Theron would be threatened by pug-faced Kristen Stewart.  The one good thing I can say about this one is it does make sense that Lily Collins would threaten Julia Roberts.  There honestly is no comparison.

MAPLE HAS TOO MUCH PERSONALITY. MAYBE OAK.

21 Jump Street is down to number four and this is actually Channing Tatum’s second hit this year as The Vow made $169M worldwide off a budget of $30M, which means this big block of wood is about to hit superstar status.  So much for your Masters in Drama from Yale, sucker!

ALL OVER BUT THE COUNTIN’

The Lorax is down to number five, followed by John Carter at number six and thanks to overseas returns this has made its production budget back, so perhaps Disney was premature declaring it an abject failure. Granted, it’s still going to lose money, but it’s not the massive bomb it appeared to be.  Though my schadenfreude over the crap marketing and title change remains intact.

IT’S LIKE THEY DON’T WANT ME TO SEE THESE MOVIES

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen goes wide and enters the top ten at number seven and will someone please let the casting directors of Hollywood know that Ewan McGregor is no longer 30?  Trainspotting was 16 fucking years ago!  He’s fucking 40 now so why are all his leading ladies either in their 20’s?  Scarlett Johansson (The Island), Eva Green (Perfect Sense) and now here, Emily Blunt.  God forbid the other woman in this film, Kirsten Scott Thomas who is actually in her 40’s touch him.  That aside, my primarily lack of interest in this film stems from its director, Lasse Hallstrom, who makes nothing but schmaltzy treacle under the banner of a quality indie film director thanks to the masterpiece that was My Life as A Dog 20 years ago.  Clearly that was the exception to the rule as the man is so untalented he took a story about chocolate in France with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche (in red pumps!) as lovers and left it sexless and tasteless. The idea (from a novel of the same name) that fly fishing would build bridges between nations is a nice once, but it would take a delicate touch not to make schmaltz and they unfortunately hired the king of trite sentimentality to do it.

MO’ MONEY, NO MONEY

Act of Valor, A Thousand Words and Journey 2: Mysterious Island finish out the top ten at eight, nine and ten respectively and they all made a million dollars or less showing you how weak this weekend was in terms of box office returns.  Yeah, you can blame March Madness, but exactly who among that audience would really be at these movies anyway?