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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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RATHER DIE THAN RIDE

21 Jan

the_four_jack_ryans

 1. Ride Along/Universal                             Wknd/$  41.6            Total/$   41.6

 2. Lone Survivor/Universal                       Wknd/$  22.1            Total/$   72.9

 3. The Nut Job/ORF                                    Wknd/$  19.4            Total/$   19.4

 4. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit/Par           Wknd/$  15.6            Total/$   15.6

 5. Frozen/Disney                                          Wknd/$  11.9            Total/$ 332.5

 6. American Hustle/Sony                            Wknd/$   9.9            Total/$  115.7

 7. Devil’s Due/Fox                                         Wknd/$   8.4           Total/$     8.4

 8. August: Osage County/Weinstein         Wknd/$   7.4            Total/$    18.0

 9. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                   Wknd/$   7.1             Total/$   89.8

10. Her/WB                                                      Wknd/$   4.0           Total/$    15.0

 

IT’S A MOVIE, NOT A SOCIAL STATEMENT

Ride Along opens at number one as Kevin Hart’s star continues to ascend.  He’s just one solo film away from the comedic flavor of the month which will include a book according to Chris Rock’s book which came out he was the flavor of the month and he was told this by Jerry Seinfeld who knew for obvious reasons and I’m sure someone told him. While I enjoy Hart he’s one of those comedians where a little goes a loooooong way and second lead behind Ice Cube is still too much of him for me. Maybe third or fourth behind some kind of cute talking pet will work. Or better yet the voice of the villain’s sidekick in an animated movie. That I’d see. This, not so much. And if anyone says it’s an accomplishment for this to open at number one on Martin Luther King’s birthday, I’m gonna punch them in the fucking dick.

 

THE SPOILER’S IN THE TITLE

Lone Survivor drops to number two and this is a minor all-star cast behind Mark Wahlberg, starting with Hollywood’s Miss-It Boy of the last few years Taylor Kitsch (big movies, big bombs), Emile Hirsch (the guy you call when you can’t get Elijah Wood), Ben Foster (the guy you call when want a darker, less attractive Ryan Gosling) and Eric Bana (the guy you keep wondering why he didn’t become a star). No one is really a star, but when you see them you know them and this helps you to care about characters you otherwise wouldn’t. Especially when a film is called “Lone Survivor” and you know the name above will probably play that role.

 

FUNNY ANIMATED ANIMAL MOVIE #2488

The Nut Job opens at number three which is an accomplishment given how little promotion this thing got compared to the films of Disney and Dreamworks. I have no idea what this is even about and I think I saw one commercial.  Shows you just how much parents need these animated films to babysit their kids.  They don’t have to know or care a thing about it. They just need 90 minutes of peace.

 

SCREENWRITERS ALSO MISSES THE COLD WAR

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens at number four and this is the second time Chris Pine has stepped into the shoes of a franchise (Star Trek being the first) and the second time, sadly, he pales in comparison to a predecessor and this is coming from someone who was not a fan of Harrison Ford’s painfully self-righteous Jack Ryan.  I’m comparing him to Alec Baldwin, who was the first and remains the best Jack Ryan. All I can say is that he’s better than the milquetoast Ben Affleck reboot (does anyone even remember he did it?).  I think it’s telling that the best one was a Cold War story and clearly someone else felt the same as Russia returns as a America’s “big bad” for this one.  Set in a post-9/11 America the new Cold War is conducted in the money markets and director and co-star Kenneth Brannagh is the latest Hollywood stock villain, the Russian Oligarch, who is set onto America because didn’t help Russia stop a Turkish oil pipeline. And that’s your first problem right here. Ryan isn’t even fighting the real bad guy.  He’s just a guy following orders.  At the very least Brannagh should have been a rogue Russian businessman setting off to do this without his government’s approval. The other problem is for an action thriller it’s not that thrilling and there’s very little action.  A good 20 minutes is wasted giving us the origin of Jack Ryan. You, know that 2-minute speech from Hunt From Red October?  Yeah, they heard the cries of absolutely no one and decided to show it complete with meeting his future wife.  Now, one of the best scenes from Hunt For Red October consisted of Alec Baldwin giving a briefing and you saw why Jack Ryan was good at his job.  No jumping, shooting or fighting and was still fun to watch.  Here he’s an analyst on Wall Street tracking terrorist funding and it’s as thrilling to watch as it sounds.  We’re not really shown why he’s good, but simply people keep telling us that he is and he spouts some technobabble that apparently no one else in the CIA can understand so he has to go into the field. Previously it was because he was expendable and no one believed him.  Here he’s clearly believed and supported which robs it of some drama as he’s not the underdog. He’s not even alone to fight for his life in Russia, where a dozen CIA show up to help in gunfights.  In sad way it compares to Pine’s role as Kirk where basically he just falls into command rather than earning it. Even the scene as we watch him putting information together doesn’t come off as all that special so much as common sense. In that respect it reminds you of TV shows were everyone is made a little dumb to the hero cop can seem smart.

 

A ROSEMARY’S BABY FOR THE CELL PHONE GENERATION

Frozen falls to number five followed by American Hustle at number six and Devils Due, which opens at number seven. It’s yet another “found footage” about a woman who gets impregnated with the Anti-Christ while on her honeymoon.  Aside from my general disregard for these movies, the trailer strongly suggests that basically they were drugged by Satan’s minions and it’s captured by the camera, which means that if they’d just bothered to check their vacation footage all of this could have been avoided. I mean it’s still horrifying to be drugged by Satan’s minions then presumably raped by Satan himself, but then it could be dealt with early and not eight months later when a priest bleeds from his eyes.  And why does Satan need minions to drug a woman anyway? Seducing people is his job description. Probably the most horrific part of The Devil’s Advocate was that Al Pacino uses his satanic power to seduce Charlize Theron (thank god it’s offscreen, but just imagining the his tiny, creepy, old body climbing on top of her still gives me chills). In a truly more terrifying movie making use of the found footage, Satan would have assumed the husband’s form but they don’t know this happened until they see a honeymoon sex tape where a) it’s the husband, but clearly he didn’t shoot it, or b) either Satan’s true form is captured by the camera, or c) nothing is captured but you see her responding to something.  Though that’s still not as creepy as Al Pacino on top of Charlize Theron.

 

HA IS ONLY TWO LETTERS. SEE?

August: Osage County is down to number eight followed by The Wolf of Wall Street at number nine and I finally subjected myself to yet another overlong Scorsese paean to a sociopathic anti-hero who rises and falls yet rises again.  While on one hand, Scorsese is still obviously a great director and the story told is done well and interesting, it’s done for far too long and many of the techniques become tiresome. I realize the mantra of film is “show, don’t tell” but some things could just be told. I don’t need to see them all, least of all pretty much every single female in the cast doing full frontal nudity (the 13-year-old in me feels utterly betrayed at those words). Yeah, I get that the world of Wall Street is hyper masculine in a weird sort of overcompensation given they really don’t do anything we associate with actual manhood, like being a construction worker or athlete or a soldier, but does that mean you have to show every single instance of this especially when it’s sexual?  I got it when you graphically showed me hooker #1. I really didn’t need to be graphically shown hookers #2-500.  This movie seems to be for people who wanted another, longer GoodFellas but without all the violence.  Emphasis on the longer. There’s a scene where Leonardo DiCaprio, finally beginning to circle the drain on his lifestyle, has to get home on while on an overdose of Quaaludes, which while funny goes on for-freaking-ever and you wonder if that scene were just completely deleted how does the film change and what do we lose. It doesn’t and we don’t and the film is filled with many such scenes that don’t move it forward or tell us anything we don’t already know about the characters. Part of it is obviously Scorsese’s unfamiliarity with comedy It’s a common mistake for someone to overdo it. It makes an odd sort of sense because it took his usual partner in crime, DeNiro, years to learn restraint in comedy. Now he won’t freaking stop making them.

 

I’M BIG ON PERSONAL GROOMING

Finally, Her rises to the top ten and I have different reasons for dragging my feet on seeing different movies. For example: I love the Coen Brothers, but haven’t seen Inside Llewyn Davis yet because honestly I freaking hate folk music. Hate. It. I don’t care how good the movie is because it will subject me to that.  I know it’s crazy, but it’s me. Similarly my crazy reason for not having seen this is Joaquin Phoenix’s horrible porn ‘stache.  I cannot bring myself to look at that thing forty feet wide for two straight hours. I know I have to now, given it’s been nominated for some Oscars, but it may be the morning of the ceremony before I finally get around to it.

 

SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW

So Friday was the quarterly edition of our karaoke get-together and because somewhere down the line I was saddled with not just the organization but declaring a theme I decided this time it would be duets, which seemed like a good idea at the time and allowed me to make a poster based on the movie “2 Guns”, also mandated a lot of slower stuff which gets old fast so I opened it up to include rap duets. Again, this seemed like a good idea at the time until your realize just how frequently the word “nigga” is used and either your white friends feel awkward saying it or a little too comfortable saying it.  My own issues had nothing to do with tempo nor lyrics but the fact that a fucking cold hit me literally the night before. That my voice gets blown out by the end of karaoke is a given, but now it was seemingly over before it started. The final nail in the coffin: ½ price drinks ended with the summer. How the fuck are you supposed to sing without being a little looped!?! Well, I never found out given I’d ordered my two drinks before realizing the happy hour was no more and for some reason I thought if I just got beers from then on I’d be budgeting wisely.  I had…a few (I had no idea how much I’d consumed until I tried to get out bed in the middle of the night and failed miserably in my attempt to stand).  Of course karaoke is always fun, no matter how you limit your song choices or how weak your voice is so it turned out okay, but I can’t believe I forgot “Promiscuous Girl” which was perfect for the lower register. I always invite upwards of thirty people, but it always winds up being the same 7-8, though this time we actually hit 9. That we’ll actually get 10 people into the 10-person room remains on my bucket list. One of the guests is The 25-Year Old. She has a name but that’s what I call her to my therapist so it’s good enough. She may not even be 25 any longer, but still that’s what I call her.  She was a horrible mistake I half-heartedly tried to make for a while and I was nothing but amused to later learn where she once tended bar in Brooklyn, she had quite the fan club of bruthas. In any case she’s a geek girl so we still hang out occasionally and so she invited me to a show she had to attend for work on Saturday night. I only accepted because I was drinking and not thinking, because god knows leaving the house on Saturday night is not something I do, much less something she described as “like David Sedaris.”  When she texted me the details later I was amused to learn that the person’s name was Sam Harris, as I remembered the Sam Harris who was the first winner of Star Search with an over-the-top rendition of “Over The Rainbow” and whose career never took off after producing an abysmal single called “Sugar Don’t Bite.” It was in fact that Sam Harris.  Apparently he had a career doing theater after “Sugar Don’t Bite” and 3o years later he’d written a book about his life and had created an act around it, which was playing at Under 54, a dinner/lounge space under the Studio 54 Theater.  The 25 Year Old was surprised I knew so much about Sam Harris, but then again I was alive when it happened. She was not.  The show was entertaining, though his mannerisms and even the timing of his jokes were the exact same as Will’s from Will & Grace so the whole show had an air of familiarity about it.  He read selections from his book “Ham” interspersed with musical numbers. He reaccounted his first ventures into theater, his growing ambitions, his realization that he was “different” being gay and his resulting suicide attempt which was derailed by needing to help his little brother who’d stepped on a knitting needle. He was fortunate enough to finally encounter a teacher whom he could talk to and when he confessed he was gay, he [the teacher] reassured him there was nothing wrong with him. The climax was the adoption of his son with his husband and reconciliation with his father who apologized for not being there for Sam when he was a boy. I’m not crying! You’re crying! (one reason The 25 Year Old and I get along is that we’re not quite as moved when he cries onstage knowing that he does it every night, twice a night at the same passage)  But oddly enough there was nothing about the great recording career that never was, much less “Sugar Don’t Bite.” Now I always thought “Papa Don’t Preach” ripped off its main hook and The 25-Year-Old sent me a link to an interview where in addition to Sam Harris saying a lot of stupid shit about how he’d kill himself if he had to sing “Like A Virgin” for 30 years (we all know he’d kill for a hit like that) but he also mentioned the writers of  “Sugar Don’t Bite” felt it was similar as well, sued and got paid.  While the minimum cover of $25 for a less than impressive dinner was annoying, it was a nice night out and I think frees me from any future obligations to be social at least until spring.

REDHEADS ARE TROUBLE. ESPECIALLY WHEN ARMED.

24 Jun

1. Brave/Disney                                                Wknd/$   66.7            Total/$   66.7

 2. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                      Wknd/$   20.2            Total/$ 157.6

 3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter         Wknd/$   16.5            Total/$   16.5

 4. Prometheus/Fox                                           Wknd/$   10.0            Total/$ 108.5

 5. Snow White & The Huntsman/U              Wknd/$     8.0            Total/$ 137.1

 6. Rock of Ages/Warners                                 Wknd/$     8.0            Total/$  28.8

 7. That’s My Boy/Sony                                     Wknd/$     7.9            Total/$  28.2

 9. MIB 3/Sony                                                   Wknd/$     5.6            Total/$ 163.3

 8. The Avengers/Disney                                  Wknd/$     7.0            Total/$ 598.3

10. Seeking A Friend…/Focus                         Wknd/$     3.8            Total/$    3.8

 

HOW ABOUT SOME COWARDICE AND AVARICE?

To no one’s surprise, Brave opens at number one and unfortunately this is not one of Pixar’s better works.  They’re never bad (no, not even Cars), but when you do something as transcendent as the first 20 minutes of Up or Wall*E the standards are much higher for you than anyone else.  And while this is better than pretty much every thing Dreamworks or Blue Sky (those horrible Ice Age movies) has ever done, by Disney standards, it’s lacking. To me, the real problem is no villain. You need some great threat to fight. It doesn’t have to be evil, as Finding Nemo proved, but some significant opposition.  What’s the issue here? Rebellious princess Merida accidentally turns her mother into a bear.  No, seriously. Not even a monster, a bear.  And she’s not even a dangerous bear, as she maintains her faculties for the most part, even continuing to wear her crown. Is the witch who provides the spell secretly evil and trying to take the kingdom like countless Disney movies?  No, she’s just wacky. Is there someone lurking who will benefit from this, like Scar in The Lion King?  Nope. Nothing will really change in the land.  Can the spell only be broken by some dangerous quest our archer princess has to embark upon, like Marlin crossing the ocean in Finding Nemo?  Nope. There’s simply no actual malice t0 be found or great task to accomplish and this results in a serious lack of drama or tension. It only kicks into gear when the king, who hates bears after losing his leg to one, starts unknowingly hunting the transformed queen as the deadline for her transformation to become permanent approaches. As always, it’s utterly gorgeous and I’m sure the hair on Merida alone took up most the computer space on the Pixar hard drives, but everyone makes pretty movies so that means nothing. Let me put it this way: when the movie is stolen by literally three little bears who are onscreen maybe five minutes, you’ve got a serious problem.

 

NEXT: THOMAS JEFFERSON, WEREWOLF SLAYER!

Speaking of lackluster animated movies, Madagascar 3 is down to number two, followed by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opening at number three and this is so wonderfully and gloriously ridiculous it may well be the most fun I’ve had at the movies all year.  How can you not love a movie wherein Harriet Tubman and Mary Todd Lincoln use the Underground Railroad to deliver silver bullets to the Union Soldiers at Gettysburg because Jefferson Davis has made a pact with the vampires to fight for the Confederacy.  No I’m not kidding. It’s that awesome! And it’s almost immediate as the film opens with 8-year-old Abe going to the aid of a boy who being taken away as a slave even though he’s free and the whip comes directly at the camera!  Sensitivity to African-Americans be damned! We gotta justify our inflated 3D ticket prices!  Needless to say this boy grows up to be Lincoln’s right hand as he enters politics and even onto the White House. You say there’s nothing in the history books about Abe’s black best bud?  Whitewashing, I say! Just as they hid his kung-fu axe skills.  What makes this great is that everyone plays it straight no matter how insane it gets.  No winking at the camera here as Lincoln explains the only way to stop the vampires….is to end slavery.  Again, I’m not kidding.   With no respect for history, physics, logic, the continuing sensitivity to slavery by African-Americans or a president regarded as one of our greatest this movies takes us back to a time when such crass filmmaking was commonplace: the 70’s. Whenever someone brings up that bullshit about it being Hollywood’s last creative time period, give them one word: Mandingo. Speaking of which, only thing missing from this movie is some gratuitous interracial sex with Lincoln and some slave love interest…at an orgy.  Not to mention with Mary Todd…with his hat still on. If they’d made this in the 70’s we would have gotten both.

 

NEITHER QUANTITY NOR QUALITY

Prometheus is down to number four followed by Snow White & The Huntsman at number five and having two big budget films in the top ten kinda makes this The Summer of Charlize Theron (formerly known as The Summer of Channing Tatum until GI Joe 2 was moved to next spring).  She was actually supposed to be the idiot scientist played by Noomi Rapace but was waiting on the new Road Warrior movie to begin shooting so she opted for the smaller role insisting “…it’s better to have a smaller role in a great film, rather than star in a crap one.”  Well, she failed in that endeavor as she’s starring and supporting in crap films, so it’s actually The Critically Crappy Summer of Charlize Theron, because believe it or not both films are somewhat if not extraordinarily successful.  If it seems like she’s suddenly everywhere when she was nowhere before, it’s not your imagination.  Unlike say, Nicholas Cage (who’s probably in both these movies if you look hard enough), Theron only makes on average one or two movies a year.  You’d think this would mean better films, but you’d be wrong.

 

YOU REMIND ME…HOW MUSICAL ARTISTS ALMOST ALWAYS MAKE BAD MOVIES

Rock of Ages is down to number six and honestly what the hell has happened to Mary J. Blige!?!  Why is she here!?!  When has she ever, ever been associated with rock?  Shouldn’t she have been in the upcoming (and probably disappointing) remake of Sparkle.  It’s like they wanted Tina Turner but couldn’t afford her…or she saw the stage show and said “Fuck no.”  Not to mention this is one big joke and Mary has never had the greatest sense of humor about herself or anything else.  It’s called “No More Drama” not “No More Comedy.”

 

WHY? BECAUSE HE CAN.

That’s My Boy is down to number seven and the failures of the Gossip Girl cast continue as this also stars Leighton Meester as the fiancée of Andy Samberg.  Yeah, that’s how you know it’s both a comedy and an Adam Sandler movie because goofy-looking muthafuckas get girls like her.

 

BOY’S CLUB

The Avengers is down to number eight, followed by MIB 3 at number nine and while this has made $163M domestically, it’s made more than twice that overseas meaning Hollywood probably won’t stop beating this dead horse yet.  Though how they’ll convincingly make a 4th one is beyond me as Tommy Lee Jones looks like he’s 80 in this.  It’s clearly no accident the plot keeps him off-screen in favor of Josh Brolin.  Granted, he never looked young even when he was, but all the jokes Will Smith makes about his age in this movie have a disturbing ring of truth.  Logically, his character should have assumed the job that Rip Torn had and Will Smith mentoring a new partner but that makes entirely too much sense, which is why Linda Fiorentino had to be let go.  No, I’m not letting that go. She was a great part of the first film and I’m still waiting for them to notice that.

 

MISSING 2005 ARE WE?

Finally, Seeking A Friend At The End of the World opens at number ten and since we’re talking about an average looking guy being paired with a hot girl, look no further than this and honestly that alone was enough to put me off this. Granted, they’re supposed to be friends but even as a platonic pairing it’s not something I or anyone else would like to see for that matter. And how many times is Steve Carrell going to play this role?  Didn’t he just do it last year in Crazy Stupid Love?  Does that make this Crazy Stupid Love At The End of the World?  And Keira Knightely is starting to miss Pirates of the Caribbean more than Orlando Bloom and that’s saying something.

 

THE LOVESEAT IS A LITTLE OLE PLACE WHERE WE CAN SIT TOGETHER

So, I’ve done an adult thing. I bought a couch.  I kinda had one before because my futon bed of over 15 years could be converted into one.  Then the women around me let it be known that they’d never have sex in such a thing and that it was somewhat immature (my thanks goes out to all those women who were clearly sluts because they actually did have sex with me in it).  I replaced it with a real bed, but this meant in the event I should ever have any kind of company, there was no longer any place to sit but the bed, and while that was the ultimate destination it’s somewhat tacky to start there.  So at the end of last year I began to slowly try and clear my space of clutter to allow for a small couch, probably a loveseat.  I got rid of all my CD towers and subsequently the jewel cases and put my CD’s into books.  You know, like someone of my friends have wisely been doing since Day 1.  Next came the search for a couch to fit the space and the budget.  Leather was not happening, nor was used.  Unless it’s a friend, that’s like getting a used mattress. You don’t know what the fuck was happening on it and I mean “fuck” literally.  Granted, your friends probably fuck on theirs too, but you’re already exposed to their germs.  Finally the answer to home needs came as they always do: from IKEA.  $150 would not only get me a small couch that fits the space, but it actually becomes a bed, so the next time someone visits I won’t have to awkwardly share my bed (seriously, dude, I love you, man, but we will never do that again).  Of course delivery was $100 (plus the tip for the movers) and IKEA wouldn’t have to me for two weeks.  Maybe. I looked for “Man With Van” like we used to in the old days, but they weren’t much better and then someone suggested U-Haul, which I totally forgot about in the city.  Sure enough there’s one a block away from me, so one fine Saturday afternoon, I got myself a pick up truck and headed off to Red Hook. To save money I went with three hours rather than the recommended four, which I thought I was clever until it took me an hour just to get out of the fucking city.  Seriously, what is wrong with you people who drive here?  It’s insane!  It took me no time to pick up my current Movie Buddy/Full Time Geek Girl from her place in Brooklyn to help me with it and even less time to get it from IKEA.  Getting back into the city and back up to my place was over a fucking hour. I can ride to IKEA on my bike in 45 minutes!!!  As it turns out the couch was not that heavy or large and I theoretically could have done it alone, but it was still nice to have help. I rewarded her with booze and empanadas, ‘cause I’m classy.  I put it together in less than half an hour and promptly took a nap on it to break it in.  It works.

 

PICTURES OF LILLY

So long as I’m improving my life, I signed up to take formal classes to learn how to use my camera.  Every time I think I’ve gotten better, I wind up with a bunch of incredibly shitty photos that say otherwise. You people only see the 3 or 4 good ones; not the 196 bad ones I deleted.  So, like everything I do, there was literally months of internet research to find one that fit my budget and needs. Mostly my budget because I need everything.  Real courses at places like School of Visual Arts were out of the question.  I don’t a $1,000 worth of interest in this.  Also, seminars and the like simply weren’t enough and they begin to add up.  Internet and home courses depended on my personal ability to motivate myself, so that was clearly out of the question, leaving the half-dozen or so various schools here in Manhattan (I also don’t care enough about this to go to Brooklyn either).  I narrowed it down to two and while one was reviewed better on Yelp!, it was a) more expensive, b) I missed the window to start and c) on the east side in midtown.  PhotoManhattan was left and it was a) cheaper (even moreso if you paid in advance), b) starting the next week and c) on 14th & 6th.  I’d sooner ride further downtown than closer to anything on the east side.  Real talk!  One of the complaints about the place was the cramped space so imagine how nice it was to hear the guy tell us when I walked in that this was their new space with a big open window. Score!  It’s a class of 15 people ranging from those with $1000 cameras who know nothing about them to a producer of films who just is tired of being the only guy on set who can’t take nice pictures to people like me who know a little something, but only a little.  It’s only 3 guys and I’m not sure what that says about photography, but my primary goal is to be ready the next time some guy stops me and asks if I want to go to Staten Island and take pictures of girls in a hotel room.  You’d think it’d be mostly guys for that reason alone.  The teacher is an attractive young woman from South Africa who has the patience of a saint, because two hours in that room of people flashing at me would have resulted in murder.  She laughed it off saying that she doesn’t even notice any longer—right after she calmly explained how they could take shots without blinding her.  It’s an 8-week course of the basics and the fact that I learned what the fuck white balance was the first night means I’m already happy.  In 7 more weeks I’ll be ready to start my career in softcore porn.  Oh, come on. We all knew I was headed there eventually. The miracle is I’ve resisted this long.

WE’RE NOT GONNA WATCH IT

18 Jun

1. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                        Wknd/$   35.5           Total/$ 120.5

 2. Prometheus/Fox                                           Wknd/$   20.2           Total/$  88.9

 3. Rock of Ages/Warners                                 Wknd/$   15.1            Total/$  15.1

 4. Snow White & The Huntsman/U              Wknd/$   13.8            Total/$ 122.6

 5. That’s My Boy/Sony                                     Wknd/$   13.0            Total/$  13.0

 6. MIB 3/Sony                                                    Wknd/$   10.0            Total/$ 152.7

 7. The Avengers/Disney                                    Wknd/$    8.8            Total/$ 586.7

 8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel/Fox         Wknd/$    2.2            Total/$  35.1

 9. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                            Wknd/$    2.2            Total/$    6.8

10. What To Expect When…/LGF                     Wknd/$    1.3            Total/$  38.8

 

THIS IS WHY I HAVE TO WATCH PORN

Madagascar 3 holds at number one followed by Prometheus at number two and by now you probably have heard about the movie’s greatest failing: Charlize Thereon and Idris Elba have sex off camera.  What. The Fuck?  Seriously, what the fuck!?!  What is the point in casting the pretty people if we’re not going to see them either naked or fucking or naked and fucking?  Don’t tell me they were the best actors for the job either. That’s bullshit.  I like them both, but world is filled with better ones and we wouldn’t have been put through Elba’s unnecessary southern drawl. Apparently in Alien movies it’s okay to have monsters that are not only phallic and vaginal but usually both at the same time, but to have a non-violent interaction between a phallus and a vagina is inappropriate.  What this says about Ridley Scott I don’t want to know.  Just know that a planned sex scene with Russell Crowe and Conie Nielsen was cut by him as well.

 

KILLING THE 80’S ALL OVER AGAIN

Rock of Ages opens at number three and whenever I have to ask myself why I need to see a film, it’s a pretty good sign that I simply don’t want to see that film.  Rock of Ages is one such film.  The Broadway show it’s based upon is literally blocks away from my house and despite a love of cheesy 80’s hair metal I’ve never had the slightest inclination to see it.  Granted, I don’t care about theater in general but this was something aimed at me and I still didn’t care.  I guess the reasons why are the same reasons most people have for not seeing this movie: I don’t want to hear “Glee” versions of a song I like.  “Pour Some Sugar on Me” doesn’t have some deep emotional connection to anyone with an IQ above room temperature, but by the same token no one wants to hear Tom Cruise do it or see it attached a situation to it that conflicts with our own memories associated with it (which is usually too many sake bombs at karaoke a decade ago that led to that one-night stand with a co-worker).  My other reason is their song choices.  Def Leppard is great; David Lee Roth’s solo material? Not so much.  Seriously. Not Van Halen but that solo shit he did.  Is “Yankee Rose” here too?  And Starship’s “We Built This City” is one of the worse fucking songs of the 80’s (if not all time) and justified every lawsuit Paul Kanter launched to stop the group after he left (it was originally Jefferson Airplane, then became Jefferson Starship, then Starship after the lawsuit).  All the hair metal of the 80’s from Ratt to Warrant to Motley Crue to Winger and this is the shit they chose?  Even the Bon Jovi song they chose isn’t one of the fun ones.  Yes, I hate “Wanted Dead or Alive” and I’m sure I’d hate it even more coming out of the mouth of Tom Cruise.

 

AT LEAST HE HAS AN EXCUSE: HE’S CANADIAN

Snow White & The Huntsman is down to number four and it’s not often I quote from the internet, but I have to give to give it up here for the blogger who called Kristen Stewart “the Keanu Reeves of this generation.”  Seriously. It’s perfect.  A big block of wood that sits motionless through virtually every film, but is oddly insanely successful. Okay, maybe not so odd. When someone is such a blank slate it allows audience members to easily superimpose themselves on top of them. Not that it works for everyone, as Sam Worthington can attest, but clearly there’s  “blank” and there’s “blank.”  But at least Keanu was pretty.  Stewart’s attractive at best but has one mega-franchise under her belt and they’re talking sequel to this.  I mean, it’s not gonna happen, but that they’re even talking it is amazing.

 

THIS STILL DOESN’T EXCUSE THE AMERICAN PIE FRANCHISE

That’s My Boy opens at number five and in my day a movie team up between two generations of Saturday Night Live members gave you Trading Places.  You poor bastards get this shit.  The only saving grace is that once upon a time this would have opened at number one.  It’s only number five, continuing the world’s utter resistance to Andy Samberg as a big screen star and perhaps letting Sandler know his time is finally running out as well.  So I guess what I’m saying is, I owe you one, all you otherwise tasteless fucking morons who sat this one out.

 

IF I DON’T SEE IT THE TERROISTS WIN!

Men In Black 3 is down to number six, followed by The Avengers at number seven and because a billion dollars isn’t enough money, this may get a “director’s cut” release in August and I hate the fact that I might see it because it will follow the logical concept that Captain America would be the center of the film, as the “stranger in a strange land” rather than Iron Man being more the focus because that was the biggest hit of the Marvel series of films and Robert Downey Jr is a bigger star.  Though nothing’s going to save that stupid plot.  Nothing.

 

THAT’S DAME JUDI DENCH WHOOPING THOR’S ASS

Speaking of hits, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is down to number eight and in terms of dollars spent to dollars earned this actually beats The Avengers having made $117M worldwide from a $10M budget.  The Avengers has only made 7X its budget in comparison.

 

IT’S A MOVIE SURVIVAL MECHANISM

Moonrise Kingdom actually rises to number nine and I still can’t bring myself to see something that looks so precious and quirky I think I’ll vomit.

 

THERE IS NO “I” IN “FLOP ENSEMBLE”

Finally closing out the top ten is What To Expect When You’re Expecting and with a $37M budget and a $49M worldwide return, you won’t see Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez participating in another one of these.  Even crap like The Backup Plan doubled its budget and Bad Teacher was a flat out hit.  Why share failure when you can totally possess a hit?

 

NO LONGER WILL THEY CALL HIM “THE SHUT IN”

So, I’ve been making an effort to enjoy the cultural opportunities NYC all but drops on the heads of its citizens.  Seriously, you can’t walk down the fucking street without running into some festival or show opening (especially in the summer) which seems great, but really I just want to go to the grocery store without having to cross to the other side of the street.  So far I’ve just been going to museums and parks, but thanks to a friend who is on a mission to get me to go out dancing (good luck with that), I learned that performing at Summerstage was none other than a reunited Groove Theory. Now anyone who knows me knows that “Tell Me” by Groove Theory is my favorite R&B song of the 90’s bar none and that’s saying something.  I’ve even forced myself to follow lead singer Amiel Larrieux’s solo career as a result (“solo career” and “Bryce Wilson” simply don’t go together).  Thankfully, time has either healed old wounds or allowed them grow up enough to realize they were never as successful apart as they were together.  Personally, I think it’s Larrieux’s daughter hitting college age that made her realize it was time to get back to making some real money. Higher education isn’t cheap.  For this I needed someone my own age to come with me, but of course Yoga Woman who is my age and down for some R&B (she’s a white girl from Nebraska) has no memory of them.  Sigh. Nevertheless she was game for an outdoor show and ironically was a longtime devotee of another group on the bill, Black Thought.  Yeah, Groove Theory she’s never heard of, but when Black Thought hit the stage she shot up closer to the stage like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Beiber concert.  You’re allowed to bring food into the venue, but not your own booze.  Thankfully the brutha in front of us knew a guy who worked security and advised us on how to properly smuggle in the bottle of Malbec I’d brought with me.  He was also hysterically adamant about the rules of concert going.  “You’re either upfront in the shark tank dancing in the crowd or in the kiddie pool sitting in the bleachers.”  It turned out to be unwarranted a warning. It was a very chill group. I wasn’t surprised, but Yoga Woman was, suggesting that the crowd was probably predominantly Brooklyn.  Yeah, right. When I think “peaceful gathering” I think of a bunch of muthafuckas from Brooklyn.  I told her it was probably a) Groove Theory didn’t attract a raucous type of crowd, b) anyone who loved them in 1995 is too damn old and tired to start trouble now and c) while I hate to stereotype my people, the NBA Finals were also on. When the show finally started it was my time to be a fan and move up to the front.  As always Amiel Larrieux’s enthusiasm continues to outweigh her talent and honestly both she and the music would be better served if she stopped trying to hit so many high notes and most of all scat.  It’s annoying when Christina Aguilera does it and she’s got a great voice.  Amiel is beautiful, has a nice enough voice and puts on a good show.  That’s three a lot of people don’t have so let it be enough. One Patti LaBelle is one too many for some people (i.e., my mom).  The voice that was unexpectedly impressive was that of her equally beautiful teenaged daughter, Skye, who performs with the band on keyboards and backing vocals.  It’s a richer version of her mother’s and hopefully when she starts performing she’ll have learned some restraint. I guess the reason I really dislike all the needless wailing like an American Idol contestant is that it not only stretches out a song, limiting the number they can perform (i.e., my personal favorites going unheard), but also wears her voice out so she can no longer hit the high notes on the one song everyone came to hear.  And honestly, doing a tribute to Donna Summer is nice, but again, only shows the light years of difference between her voice and yours.  Same for doing Maxwell’s “Ascension.”  Again, this meant fewer songs from your ONE ALBUM.  You should be playing the fucking thing in its entirety!  But since they’ve formally reunited hopefully that will no longer be an issue in the future.

IN SPACE NO ONE CAN SEE YOU’RE A MORON

10 Jun

 

1. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                       Wknd/$   60.4           Total/$  60.4

 2. Prometheus/Fox                                           Wknd/$   50.0          Total/$  50.0

 3. Snow White & The Huntsman/U              Wknd/$   23.0          Total/$  98.5

 4. MIB 3/Sony                                                   Wknd/$   13.5           Total/$ 135.5

 5. The Avengers/Disney                                  Wknd/$   10.8           Total/$ 571.9

 6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel/Fox       Wknd/$    3.2            Total/$  31.0

 7. What To Expect When…/LGF                   Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$  35.7

 8. Dark Shadows/Warners                             Wknd/$    3.9            Total/$  70.8

 8. Battleship/Universal                                   Wknd/$    2.3            Total/$  59.8

 9. The Dictator/Paramount                            Wknd/$    2.2            Total/$  55.2

10. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                        Wknd/$    1.6             Total/$   3.8

 

HAPPY FEET…OF DEATH

Madagascar 3 opens at number one and I checked out on this lame franchise after the first one. The penguins were great, but it’s not about them. It’s about these four boring characters whose only real purpose seems to be to give Jada Pinkett Smith some semblance of a movie career. Speaking of those penguins, it’s been a common discussion on the internet but just in case you missed it, if you remember the first film you know that the penguins took over the ship and put the humans off in lifeboats.  Well, in that part of the world there’s no way they would have survived long enough to make it to civilization, so in effect they were murdered by a bunch of crazy penguins.  Now that’s funny.

 

COMING SOON: JAMES CAMERONS PROMETHUSES!

Prometheus opens at number two and this warms my heart just a tad as I do not like Ridley Scott and flat out hate his fervent fanbase who insist that Blade Runner is the greatest science fiction film of all time. It’s not. It may be the most beautiful, but it’s cold and empty, which is typical of a Ridley Scott film. Looks great, but with a heart of ice.  I didn’t expect this to be any different and I was right.  Basically a prequel to Alien because Scott was convinced someone besides himself thought the dead alien pilot they found in the first film was interesting, the film takes two hours to explain what anyone with a brain knew: the ship was transporting eggs, one got loose and killed him.  But even Ridley Scott knew that wasn’t enough so the actual plot is on how life on earth may have been founded by that same race of aliens and an expedition is sent off to find them, led by the absolute dumbest, most deserving-to-die bunch of scientists you’ve ever seen.  Seriously, if the goal was to have a cast of people you want to see eaten, Scott succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.  There are actually two scientists who quite rationally flee any type of contact with alien life, but when they come face-to-face with it, literally stop to fucking touch it and you can imagine how that turns out for them.  I won’t even get into the scientist who’s driving this entire thing (Noomi Rapace, the original Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) doesn’t do so based on any actual science, but faith alone. Sorry, but that’s the exact opposite of a fucking scientist.  Her boyfriend, who is also supposedly a scientist, gets drunk in a petulant hissy-fit because when they arrive on the planet all they find initially are corpses.  Seriously!?!  You find proof of intelligent alien life, the exact alien life you were looking for along with their technology and you’re butt-hurt because they’re not there to have a conversation with you!?!  Somebody get this guy a face-hugger quick. The saving grace of this film is Michael Fassbender as the android David.  He carries this film on his back and honestly when the most interesting and sympathetic character onscreen isn’t even human you’ve failed.  Still, like the original android in the Alien series, he’s not quite to be trusted, but at least in his case he’s earned it as pretty much everyone on the ship treats him like utter crap.  What’s funny is that his time alone while the humans are in hypersleep is pretty much the same of that as Wall-E, except he watches Lawrence of Arabia, rather than My Fair Lady. So don’t piss off Wall-E, you fat bastards.

 

BLUDGEN-Y

Snow White & The Huntsman is down to number two giving Charlize Theron two apparently successful, yet ultimately mediocre films in the top ten wherein she plays blonde ice queens.  Alfred Hitchcock would have loved her.  She’s come a long way since her catfight with Teri Hatcher in 2 Days in the Valley, which launched her career.  Also in this movie are a who’s who of crotchety old English dudes in Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones and Nick Frost…as the Seven Dwarves.  Seriously.  Only because this movie is all serious and shit, they don’t have names like Dopey and Doc because they’re warrior dwarves.  Yes, I’m still serious.  Still, they could have had names like “Killy” and “Stabby” and “Throat Slitty.”  Apparently actual little people are somewhat pissed at losing work over this and I suppose they have a point. These guys work in regular films all the time.  Not too many dwarves get cast as the CEO of a company or a police chief unless it’s a joke and even those jokes are few and far between.

 

HI, I WAS HOT FOR 15 MINUTES IN 2007

Men In Black 3 is down to number four and also in this for about five minutes is the former lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls, Nichole Scherzinger.  Yeah, no one in the audience cared either.

 

MMMM, YOU SMELL LIKE LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL

The Avengers is down to number five and they’ve started to rerun Chris Evans’s Gucci commercial from two years ago to try and catch a little heat from its billion dollar success.  Yeah, that’d be a good idea if the thing weren’t so freaking stylized you can’t tell who the fuck that is.

 

JOHN CANDY COULD NEVER MAKE IT TODAY

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel holds at number six with What To Expect When You’re Expecting holding at number seven and Battleship down to number eight and you know who else is in this?  Freaking Turtle from entourage.  I couldn’t tell you where but that’s understandable given he’s lost about a hundred pounds and no longer looks like himself.  Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen and now Jerry Ferrara would like you to know that while it’s still better to be a fat dude than a fat girl, it’s still not good to be fat in Hollywood.  And now you know why I never made it as an actor.  More chicken fingers over here!

 

WE’RE JUST GOING TO IGNORE THE OCEAN’S 11 SEQUELS, OKAY?

The Dictator is down to number nine, followed by Moonrise Kingdom entering the top ten at number ten.  Now I do like Wes Anderson, but like so many indie filmmakers he has a tendency to be a tad too precious and whimsical for the sake of being precious and whimsical and when it works it’s amazing. Unfortunately it misses more than it hits and this looks like one big cutesy, twee, eccentric miss.  The only thing it’s missing is fucking Zoey Deschanel.  Sadly, he may sit alongside much, much, much lesser talents like Kevin Smith and Ed Burns as guys whose first films that suggested so much more, but soon stood out as actually the best they could do.  Makes you realize just how impressive Steven Soderbergh is to make sex, lies and videotape and to just keep getting better.

 

“IT’S DAGGONE ELEMENTARY THAR WATSON”

The summer TV season has kicked off and on my list was Longmire, based on a series of books by the same name.  It’s about a sheriff in Wyoming and it’s done in a very laconic, style, which I suppose, is another word for slow, but I prefer “deliberate.” It’s setting a style and mood in a Clint Eastwod kinda way and I appreciate it (while ironically hating when Eastwood does it), but I understand why others may have fallen asleep.  Longmire is a sheriff slowly beginning to crawl out the hole of grief he went into when his wife died a year previously, but it’s too little, too late for his deputy who is now running against him in the next election creating serious office tension. His other deputy is Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, who is a former homicide detective from Philadelphia, which we learn in a clumsy piece of expository dialogue in the first five minutes.  His best friend is Lou Diamond Philips who runs the local bar and apparently will serve as his unofficial liaison to the Indian reservation where Longmire has no jurisdiction and less help since he put their police chief in prison. Basically, it’s a western wrapped around a police procedural and I’m okay with that. The pilot was bit clumsy but most are, so I’m willing to give it some time to grow.

 

JUST DON’T BLOW ANYONE ONSCREEN, HONEY

One hallmark of an indie film is the number of visible moles on the stars.  Hollywood likes people to be perfect, but in indie town we keeps it real. Sadly this is what was on my mind during Lola Versus because it’s not like what was going on onscreen was all that compelling.  I was down for a little shot-in-NYC indie romantic comedy about a girl dealing with her life after he fiancée breaks up with her, but because it’s indie I was expecting something different than what I’d find Kate Hudson doing and aside from a few raunchy moments, that simply didn’t happen.  It’s so freaking conventional I’m surprised “Suddenly I See” doesn’t appear on the soundtrack during the montage sequence (yes, there is a montage sequence where she “finally pulls it all together”).  In addition to that crap we get a dirty-talking, man-hungry female sidekick, a nice sensitive male best friend who becomes a love interest, wacky parents, funny co-workers…etc.  And aside from a few witty wisecracks here and there, does nothing to elevate or re-imagine the concepts.  Greta Gerwig is the Lola of the title, but honestly she should be called Chloe Sevigny 2.0 because that’s who she looks like, that’s who she sounds like and that’s who she acts like, but I guess since Sevigny put Vincent Gallo’s dick in her mouth onscreen people have been looking for a new one.  One advantage Sevigny definitely has is nudity, because it’s utterly stupid that Gerwig and even the guys are constantly having sex with their shirts on.  Yeah, that’s the kind of edge you expect from indie film—or Lifetime TV.

 

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL/WHO MADE THE WORST SNOW WHITE FILM OF ALL?

3 Jun

1. Snow White & The Huntsman/U            Wknd/$   56.3           Total/$  56.3

2. MIB 3/Sony                                                Wknd/$   29.3           Total/$ 112.3

3. The Avengers/Disney                               Wknd/$   20.3           Total/$ 552.7

4. Battleship/Universal                                Wknd/$    4.8            Total/$  55.1

5. The Dictator/Paramount                         Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$  50.8

6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel/Fox    Wknd/$    4.6            Total/$  25.5

7. What To Expect When…/LGF                Wknd/$    4.4            Total/$  30.7

8. Dark Shadows/Warners                          Wknd/$    3.9            Total/$  70.8

9. Chernobyl Diaries/Warner                      Wknd/$    3.0            Total/$   14.4

10. For Greater Glory/Arc                            Wknd/$    1.8            Total/$    1.8

YOU’RE NEXT, SLEEPING BEAUTY

Snow White & The Huntsman opens at number one, which is good because it shows that a female themed and lead action/fantasy movie can do well.  The downside is that it sucks and will drop like a rock next week resulting in the impression that a female themed and lead action/fantasy film can’t do well.  Nice production design, beautiful costumes (Academy Award Winner, Colleen Atwood), solid cast (Kristen Stewart not withstanding) and a decent premise are all ultimately wasted thanks to listless direction and a weak script.  That the Evil Queen is so because she herself was a victim of the way men treated her for her beauty is a great jumping off point, but they ultimately do nothing with it.  If you’re gonna tell a feminist Snow White story, then fucking tell a feminist Snow White story!  That there’s a scene with an entire village of women who have scarred themselves and their daughters because The Evil Queen literally sucks it out of beautiful women suggests that’s exactly what they were going to do.  Instead they wussed out because they were clearly afraid of scaring off the frank & beans in the audience.  Then there’s the abandonment of logic.  Don’t have Charlize Theron keep Kristen Stewart alive “just because.” That doesn’t make a lick of fucking sense to a kingdom you’ve taken by force. So long as a legitimate heir lives she’s a threat.  It would make more sense if The Evil Queen had kept her alive because she either needed her to convince the people she had a legitimate claim or better yet saw a kindred spirit in her and wanted to make Snow White like herself and tried to fill her with a hatred and mistrust of men.  And she would do this against the advice of the Mirror who has foretold her fate should Snow White live.  This way you have an actual multi-faceted villain instead of a flat 2D one.  Also, maybe some of her lessons actually affected Snow White so she doesn’t fully trust The Huntsman giving them a genuinely antagonistic relationship instead of the faux one they have here.  When he tells her she’s given him nothing but trouble it makes no sense as she does pretty much everything he says.  They also fail in the basic story of Snow White, in that she lives with the Dwarves for an extended period of time.  Here, the dwarves (played by a who’s who of crusty old English character actors) are warriors so it would make sense that after a few years with them and The Hunstman she’d learned to a) trust men and b) become an actual leader and warrior which she isn’t but we’re supposed to believe she has become both after just a few days, delivering perhaps the worst inspirational speech in the history of film.  I know this was rushed to compete with the other Snow White film, Mirror Mirror, but that’s still no excuse not to have seen the glaring flaws therein.

RULE#1: BLONDES RULE. RULE #2: BOOBS RULE MORE THAN BLONDES

Men In Black 3 is down to number two and this is missing the one thing from the first that managed to actually be funny in the second movie: David Cross (the pug was only funny in the first movie).  He was the morgue clerk in the first film and the video clerk in the second.  Apparently both he and Rip Torn were given the brush off for this.  Yes, Zed is also not a part of this, his character being killed off and replaced by Emma Thompson, as “OO” who is played by Alice Eve in the 1967 sequences.  If I were Emma Thompson I’d be offended if I’m supposed to be considered the same age as fucking Tommy Lee Jones, who looks a thousand here.  Granted, there’s a joke about how the job has aged his character prematurely, but she’s supposed to be in her 60’s!  Alice Eve doesn’t care because after premature announcements as the “New Hot Young Thing” this is her first hit after a number of disappointments, including She’s Out of My League, Sex & The City 2 (she was the braless nanny) and most recently The Raven.  She’s even going to be in the Star Trek sequel (thank god there’s no Moneypenny in the new Bond films or she’d probably be playing her too), so she’s clearly got the hardest working agent in show business..…or maybe if you’re blonde, pretty with a big, real rack you get more chances than others.  Nah, that couldn’t be it.

HE’S IN A LOT OF MUTHAFUCKIN’ MOVIES

The Avengers is down to number three and this isn’t the first time the cast has met one another.  Jeremy Renner was in S.W.A.T with Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Evans was in The Nanny Diaries with Scarlett Johansson.  What does this mean?  It means the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon gets easier every day and honestly should be changed to The Six Degrees of Samuel L. Jackson and possibly reduced to Three or Four Degrees.

PROVING MY POINT

Battleship is down to number four and also in this is Tadanobu Asano, who was Hogun in Thor with Chris Hemsworth who is in The Avengers with Samuel L. Jackson?  See what I’m saying?  And Asano really doesn’t care one way or another how much this tanks in America because in Japan he’s like Johnny Depp.  Not to mention overseas this dungheap of a film is actually doing well, so it’s not hurting him in that respect either.

BEEFCAKE! BEEFCAKE!

The Dictator is down to number five, followed by The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at number six and What To Expect When You’re Expecting at number seven and they seriously hedged their bets with this by not only stocking it with A, B and C list female stars, but every hot dude with a day off.  We have everything from the mature in Dennis Quaid to the teen thrill in Chace Crawford.  In between are Matthew Morrison from Glee, Rodrigo Santoro (who will forever be the hot guy Laura Linney didn’t get to bone in Love Always) and Joe Manganiello from True Blood.  Chris Rock is here too, but he’s one of “the dads” who’s here for comic relief because Chris Rock remains the only person who wants to see Chris Rock hook up onscreen.

WHAT OTHER EARLY 70’S CHARACTERS CAN WE RUIN?

Dark Shadows is down to number eight and once again overseas box office is making sure shit floats.  This is has made $120M internationally bringing the total to $191, making it very close to being profitable even before the home markets which is amazing, sad and ultimately horrible because it means Tim Burton and Johnny Depp will continue their love affair with make-up and eccentric characters over actual storytelling.

SPOILER ALERT!

There may be some of you strange enough to want to see the #9 movie, Chernobyl Diaries, so if that’s the case skip this paragraph….  Still here?  Okay.  Now, I read the Moviespoiler.com summary of this movie and really, who the fuck are you people who like it when the monsters kill everyone?  The only thing I want to see less than a horror movie is one where everybody dies and everybody dies in this at the hands of the flesh-eating mutants.  Who really likes that kind of darkness in their movie-going?  I need monsters to die at the end, period.  I can get bleak shit here in my real life.  I don’t need mutated Russian cannibals killing everyone onscreen when I’ve got the Russian Mob on Brighton Beach doing whatever the fuck it wants.  Now that’s scary.

VIVA LA REVOLUCION!

For Greater Glory opens at number ten and you’ll never hear about this movie again so pay attention.  This is about the Cristeros War in Mexico where the government was atheistic and actually came down on the Catholics which makes me wonder why it wasn’t called the War of Consummate Irony given how they’d done it to pretty much everyone else on the planet.  But seriously, fighting religion in a Catholic country makes about as much sense as fighting rain in a rainstorm and that it lasted even a day much less years is amazing.  Equally amazing is that this movie is even in the top ten because the last time anyone paid to see Andy Garcia, he was helping to destroy The Godfather. Since then he makes a buck getting punked by George Clooney. I can’t feel bad for him because he’s out of his mind and my tolerance for crazy people ended long ago.  Now, to see him here and actually a guest star on George Lopez’s sitcom makes me smile.  Also in this are Eva Longoria, Nestor Carbonell, Ruben Blades and every other Latin actor with a day off.  Tomorrow they’ll be back as “Latina Hottie” “White Guy’s Partner” and “Drug Kingpin.”

YOU WEAR IT WELL

So my fashion documentary viewing (Bill Cunningham’s New York, The September Issue) continues with Valentino: The Last Emperor, chronicling the 45th Anniversary and what ultimately turned out to be the last show of the famous designer.  But it’s as much about his partner, Giancarlo Giammetti who has handled the business end of the empire as well as seeing to the needs of its creative namesake.  I never knew Italians actually said “Mama mia” until hearing him sigh it for the umpteenth time after trying to reassure or placate Valentino.  Ultimately what ends Valentino’s career isn’t merely time but the changing times.  A subplot is the corporation that bought Valentino trying to inflict their will upon him, making it clearly they consider Valentino replicable at Valentino.  Giammetti explains the business was built of making and selling dresses, but no longer.  Now it’s the licensing of the name on other products that makes the money.  It’s the cache of the name from making the glamorous dresses that sells not the clothing itself and you get the definite feeling the corporate overlords were looking to have him making low-end dresses for Target, which is unthinkable for a man whose work was hand-fucking-made up until the end.  Giammetti flat out says about the president of the corporation that owns Valentino, “I like him, I consider him a friend, but what he thinks means nothing.” In the end that company sells Valentino to yet another, bigger corporation and rather than continue fighting these assholes, Valentino and Gianetti wisely decide to call it a day.  Honestly, there’s an air of sadness and finality about all the fashion movies as if an era has ended or is ending.  Fashion simply makes too much money to be left in the hands of women or those who love it for the sake of fashion.  The moneymen come in, promise support with no interference and are lying through their teeth.  Designers who know nothing about business are happy to turn it over to someone who does and then are shocked when they’re ousted because they won’t put their name on socks they didn’t make for some extra loot.  When you don’t create anything you don’t understand those who do and think they’re crazy for caring about it.  Whoa. Where’d that rant come from?  Anyway, Anna Wintour is also in this and given I’ve got two more to go, I’m hoping she’ll go 5-for-5.