Tag Archives: Chef

CAPTAIN UNREASONABLE: CIVIL BORE

9 May

vs

1. Captain America: Civil War/BV Wknd/$ 181.8 Total/$ 181.8
2. The Jungle Book/Disney Wknd/$ 21.9 Total/$ 285.0
3. Mother’s Day/ORF Wknd/$ 9.0 Total/$ 20.7
4. The Huntsman: Winter’s War/Uni Wknd/$ 3.6 Total/$ 40.4
5. Keanu/WB Wknd/$ 3.1 Total/$ 15.1
6. Barbershop: The Next Cut/WB Wknd/$ 2.7 Total/$ 48.4
7. Zootopia/Disney Wknd/$ 2.7 Total/$ 327.6
8. The Boss/Universal Wknd/$ 1.8 Total/$ 59.1
9. Ratchet & Clank/Focus Wknd/$ 1.5 Total/$ 1.5
10. Batman v Superman/WB Wknd/$ 1.0 Total/$ 327.3

ALL THAT’S MISSING IS A “MARTHA” MOMENT
Captain America: Civil War opens at number one and I hate to say but this disappointed the shit out of me. Or rather, it was disappointing like I feared it would be. Civil War was a very bad comic book event from a few years ago that shameless exploited the cheapest money making convention of superhero comics: hero vs. hero. This started with the first kid who liked Superman arguing with his best friend who liked Batman, but didn’t become a part of comics until Marvel in the 60’s, which was all about heroes mistakenly fighting each other before teaming up. DC soon followed suit and eventually it became a self-referential joke in comics that every team-up was preceded by a fight. Then Marvel decided something that was once only part of a story should become the story itself and created Civil War, a story that basically required every hero to go utterly against 50 years of characterization so they could fight one another. But while comics’ fans complained bitterly they still bought the damn thing (like geeks always fucking do) so it paid off. So handsomely in fact that Marvel keeps doing it, much in the way Batman Vs. Superman paid off in the comics in the 80’s and they’ve been doing that ever since. And like Batman Vs. Superman it of course had to be incorporated into its cinematic universe. Now, initially the hope was that Civil War would be “in name only” like Age of Ultron, which was another horrible Marvel Comics event that became a completely different (yet mediocre) movie. This keeps the central point of conflict that superheroes need to register with the governments of the world or retire, but has the same basic flaw: one of our heroes has to act like a complete idiot to guarantee a fight. And in this case it’s actually the titular hero. Captain America must consistently choose the most antagonistic path possible to guarantee the one thing they’re selling: hero vs. hero fighting. The idea that The Avengers operate under some kind of global supervision isn’t unreasonable, yet our hero—and mine in particular—must act like the most unreasonable idiot in the world to make sure we get basically even single Marvel hero ever in a movie trying to punch the lights out of ever other Marvel hero in a movie, including its most profitable, Spider-Man. Spider-Man is to this movie what Wonder Woman was to Batman v Superman: a refreshing breath of air. Even Ant-Man comes off better. I’m having a bad superhero year. My three favorite superheroes are Superman, Captain America and Dick Grayson and so far this year I’ve seen movies where two of them have been made utterly disappointing to me. I’m oddly happy Dick Grayson may never see the light of day in a movie because at least then they can’t ruin him. The only difference between this and Batman v Superman is that I never expected that to be any good. I expected better from the Russo Brothers after The Winter Soldier and they let me down. While there are many enjoyable moments, they can’t overcome the basic flaw of the story, which is that heroes don’t fight each other and they never present a genuine reason why they would. At least not until the last five minutes and that reason is so awful you wish they didn’t because it honestly makes any team ups in the future impossible if you have any respect for character. But they clearly don’t so I guess I’ll see you at the next Avengers movie.

HAPPY’S REVENGE
Speaking of Marvel movies, the man who helped launch them was Jon Favreau, who, no matter what he says, departed under contentious circumstances, one of which was thinking he was going to direct the Avengers movie and that he had Tomorrowland. Neither happened, but the disappointing Cowboys & Aliens did. But then he had the awesome Chef (which was very clearly a commentary on that time), which was nothing short of an artistic comeback. That has resulted in the incredible success of Jungle Book, which on paper looks like a guaranteed failure. Artistically and financially it’s been anything but and not only is it great for Favreau, but he did it for Disney which owns Marvel, so the thought of him returning to the fold isn’t as unlikely as it was just a few months ago. The movie? Hell, I have no interest in the original animated version and even less in this, no matter what anyone says. But I’m happy for him.

NO YOU DON’T GET A PASS ‘CAUSE EVERYONE LOVES THEIR MOM.
Mother’s Day is down to number three even on Mother’s Day, which tells you how awful this latest entry in Gary Marshall’s series of “bad movies based on holidays” really is. And it’s almost two fucking hours on top of it! I realize Julia Roberts basically has to do this given she owes him her entire career and Kate Hudson is looking for an easy comeback to being a box office commodity and Jennifer Anniston is just lucky to have a career after “friends” to begin with. (same for fucking Jason Sudekis after SNL). But this is awful and they all need to understand it’s better to rule in the hell of a really good cable TV show than serve in the heaven of big studio releases. I’m talking to you most of all, Jennifer Anniston. The seemingly permanent erect nipples you sported in the 90’s won’t carry you forever. Or will they? The young men who were your fans in then are probably making the casting decisions now and hoping in vain for that one movie where you’ll finally drop your top.

‘CAUSE HONESTLY, HER’S IS BIGGER
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is down to number four and is yet another blow to the idea of Chris Hemsworth as a leading man even though he’s doing exactly what he should be doing and supporting strong female actors. What it is however is another reason to respect Kristen Stewart, as she’s the only thing missing from the marginal success of the first. Has it occurred to you fuckers that she’s the reason why this prequel didn’t work? Not to mention outside of Twilight she’s had at least one financial success with Snow White & The Huntsman and critical success with Still Alice and Clouds of Sil Maria. Robert Patterson has neither so how about you all get up off her dick!?!

BETRAYER OF MY PEOPLE
Keanu is down to number five and I was briefly interested in this when I found out that Keanu Reeves was doing the voice of the kitty. He initially refused—or at least his management did—but when his sister saw the trailer and told him about it, he called them to be a part of it. But I never really watched Key & Peele either, so not seeing it is par the course for me. Sorry, fellas. Yeah, it only cost $15M, but it’s only made that made much, which means it hasn’t even paid for marketing yet. Maybe it’ll be a home viewing success, because that’s the only place I plan on seeing it.

I WANT THE NEXT ONE TO BE BARBER SHOP: GOOD HAIR
Barbershop: The Next Cut is down to number six and between this, NWA and Ride Along, Ice Cube has reemerged as box office force to be reckoned with mainly because he’s not pretending to be catering to White people at all. He’s making Black movies for Black people and not giving a fuck and it’s working for him. I didn’t see the first barbershop because while I understand its place in the community, I’ve been shaving my own head since the 90’s so it’s not really a part of my existence any longer. Plus, I can’t take anything seriously that takes Common seriously as an actor. He. Just. Sucks. Why are we pretending he doesn’t?

DO NOT AS WE DO, LADIES. BUT AS WE SAY.
Zootopia is down to number six follow by The Boss at number eight and honestly I feel the best jokes were in the trailer so why bother? But I’m happy for Melissa McCarthy. Fuck the haters, baby.

THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE SUCCESSES
Ratchet & Clank is down to number nine and it’s yet another movie based on a video game. Apparently this will never die no matter how many of these movies fail. All it takes is one success to make people forget the other nine failures.

ZACK SNYDER SUCKS. THERE’S JUST NO OTHER WAY I CAN PUT IT.
Finally, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice closes out the top ten at number ten and honestly, $326M domestic from a $250M budget isn’t that great even though it has made $865M worldwide. Twice your budget is break even and no matter that they tell you about international gross, the studio gets 40% or less that than so domestic is what matters most and this has made less than Deadpool. Let me say it again, a PG-13 movie with the three most famous superheroes of all time has has made less than an R-rated movie about a character 99% of the general populace has never heard off. Why? Gee, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because Superman is a miserable narcissist who, while being a party to thousands of deaths, doesn’t speak to people yet still wonders why some hate him. Maybe it’s because Batman’s a raving psychotic who quotes Dick fucking Cheney in his justification as to why he has to cut Superman’s head off. Maybe it’s a story that makes no fucking sense and seems to take place completely in the dark even in the day. Maybe it’s because the director’s idea of fun is to have Jimmy Olsen shot in the head in the first five minutes (no, I’m not kidding). Maybe it’s because the only bright spot of the movie, Wonder Woman, is only in it for ten minutes. Maybe it’s because no matter what sells in the comics NORMAL PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO SEE HEROES FIGHT EACH OTHER! Actually it’s a perfect fucking storm of failure and why every day you hear about a director leaving (the director of The Flash bailed, but it’s not like he was some great talent either) and learn that Ben Affleck is taking more control over the Justice League movie.

GONNA PUT SOMETHING IN MY BUTT
HBO was supposed to give me a free weekend a few weeks ago, but because Time Warner is a bag of dicks (and tiny ones at that), they didn’t pass it on to us. Fortunately, HBO seriously wants my money, which is why it was offering one free month of HBO Now. Now the catch is, unlike HBO Go, you can only watch Now on a device, so I had to watch Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures on my iPad. The first legit use I’ve had for it. The title comes from Senator Jesse Helms’ speech about defunding the NEA over their exhibit of Mapplethorpe’s work, which he found obscene and pornographic. Well, it kinda is, but the difference is Mapplethorpe wasn’t trying to titillate or arouse, which is the goal of porn. Also he was looking to push buttons, to make you acknowledge a world that existed. Watching the doc made me realize my first interest in photography wasn’t a few years ago, but back in high school when I first saw his pictures of Lisa Lyon and actually bought the book. It also reminded me of a photographer I met back in college who’d was not a fan of Mapplethorpe’s work. He was Black and Mapplethorpe had a well-known fetish for Black men to the point he slept with them exclusively. They’d met in a gay bar and Mapplethorpe actually dropped the “Do you know who I am?” line and my friend replied that he knew in a way that showed he was not thrilled at being fetishized and Mapplethorpe moved on. But it wouldn’t have worked. As the documentary showed like most fetishizers he only cared for his stereotypical fantasy of Black men as somewhat thuggish (makes one wonder if he ever crossed paths with Madonna who indulging a similar fetish at the same time in NYC) and not a reality of intelligent, college-educated like my friend or even his most photographed model, Ken Moody, who was not his lover. The documentary oddly contains no interview with Patti Smith who was his lover and best friend for a very formative period in his life (his most famous work may actually be her album cover). The creators insist it wasn’t needed because her book, Just Kids, more than covers that period, but that’s just bullshit. No way you don’t have her input on a comprehensive doc the way this is. Clearly she disagreed with them on something crucial. In her absence the primary source is Mapplethorpe’s kid brother, Edward, who initially idolized him and later became his assistant and photographer in his own right. Mapplethorpe is yet another photographer who wasn’t formally trained (his father was ironically a hobbyist photographer) and also yet another artist who wanted fame and fortune from day one and made no bones about it (yet another comparison with Madonna). His first patron was his rich lover whom he fully admits he would not have been with without the money. He promoted his shows like a professional ad campaign and towards the end when he was dying of AIDs his concerns were increasing his fame and whether or not he’d die with more money than Andy Warhol. Even his foundation was more about accumulating both after his death. He certainly didn’t leave his work for his family. Edward Mapplethorpe also became a photographer and Robert made him change his name so as not to “cash in” on Robert’s growing fame. And even though Edward took care of Robert in his last days, there was never any moment where Robert expressed gratitude or love and Edward is still openly pained about it. It’s the kind of honesty that makes this documentary so good. Shame about Patti, though.

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OH, CALM DOWN. NOBODY IS RAPING YOUR CHILDHOOD.

10 Aug

Star_lord_1
1. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles/Par             Wknd/$ 65.0    Total/$ 65.0
2. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney                 Wknd/$ 41.5     Total/$ 175.9
3. Into The Storm/WB                                       Wknd/$ 18.0     Total/$ 18.0
4. The Hundred-Foot Journey/Disney           Wknd/$ 11.1      Total/$ 11.1
5. Lucy/Universal                                                Wknd/$ 9.3       Total/$ 97.4
6. Step Up All In/LG                                           Wknd/$ 6.6       Total/$ 6.6
7. Hercules/Paramount                                      Wknd/$ 5.7       Total/$ 63.5
8. Get on Up/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 5.0       Total/$ 22.9
9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes/Fox           Wknd/$ 4.4       Total/$ 197.8
10. Planes: Fire & Rescue/Disney                    Wknd/$ 2.4       Total/$ 53.0

SOMEWHERE CORY FELDMAN WEEPS
Am I the only person not surprised that Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles opened at number one? It’s a reboot of a childhood favorite. It’s like being surprised that Transformers or Scooby Doo opened at number one. Nostalgia plus a crapload of CGI will put butts in seats (unless you’re Speed Racer that is). Now, as old geek I remember the comic (it was a parody of all that was successful in comics at the time: teen superheroes, mutants and ninjas) but never read it. I also never watched the TV series. I did see the first film, but passed on its sequels only to return to the animated feature a few years back. So while I’ve no loyalty to it, I’m not instantly dismissive either. The simple fact Michael Bay was a producer took care of that. The more I saw of this the less I was inclined to see it. It looked as slick and as joyless as pretty every other thing he touches. I personally think he only made it just to remind Megan Fox where each sat in the Hollywood hierarchy. He was on top and she…well, she was far from it and every time a new hot girl shows up like Kate Upton or that girl from the “Blurred Lines” video, she gets pushed down a little bit further—unless she just happens to be in a successful movie primed for sequels. Like this one. Never underestimate what a jerk will go through to avenge his ego.

TIME TO DROP SOME GEEK KNOWLEDGE ON YOUR ASS
Guardians of the Galaxy is down to number two and while I loved the movie this isn’t my Starlord. Then again neither was the original Starlord. The original Starlord was, well…Space Jesus. He was born as the result of a planetary convergence. “The galaxy” basically impregnated his mother. Welcome to comics, people. His father, like Joseph, knew the kid wasn’t his, but unlike Joseph no angel shows up to set him straight, so he’s about to kill the kid with an axe when he “suddenly” has a heart attack. The Universe don’t like ugly. So Peter Quill grows up strangely loving the stars when one day he just happens to see random aliens land—and then they kill his mother. He grows up wanting revenge, joins NASA and when The Master of Earth’s sun—who just happens to look a whole lot like what people imagine God to look like—appears offering the “Starlord” mantle to someone of earth, he basically steals it from the guy NASA choose and becomes Starlord. He’s given powers and a sentient ship called “Ship” (who is also female and may be in love with him) so he can go do good deeds throughout the universe. Which he does…right after he kills the aliens who killed his mom. The Starlord I love was from Chris Claremont and John Byrne (famous for their work on The X-Men). They took over they decided it shouldn’t just be “random aliens” who just show up and kill his mother. They also abandoned the whole “cosmic impregnation” idea. Starlord’s dad was an space prince who crash landed on Earth, fell in love with his mother while repairing his ship and then wiped her mind when he left because he wasn’t sure the ship could get him home and didn’t want her waiting in case he died. Unfortunately she hooked up with her childhood sweetheart almost immediately after and then we’re back to the original story as it was before except he finally does meet his dad and finds out that his great uncle sent a single alien there to kill them both so that there’d be no heir to the throne. Starlord kills the alien who killed his mother and then his uncle who hired him. He then rejects the throne to continue doing good deeds in space. Pure over-dramatic, humor-free space opera and I loved it. Then it was changed the Master of the Sun actually being one of the aliens who killed his mother (so clearly not God) and the uncle assassination plot was gone. There was another version after that (welcome to comics, people) before reaching our latest one, which is back to the second one where mom is murdered by aliens, but this time simply because they’re trying to kill his bloodline. Also now Peter kills them right there on the spot. No evil uncle, but we still have NASA and “God” giving him the job of Starlord. The movie is different even still and this is why people who read comics are crazy.

LIKE PORN, ONE DAY WE’RE JUST GOING TO GET RID OF THE PLOT, PERIOD
Into The Storm opens at number three and I almost admire this for just being flat out disaster porn with no apologies. It’s just an excuse to have Mother Nature open up a can of CGI whup-ass. None of that crap about estranged couples, scientific research, yadda-yadda that made Twister so difficult to sit through and why almost no one remembers it. While I’m sure there’s some attempt at a story, I’m also sure it’s the definition of threadbare and doesn’t get in the way of what people are there to see: all the planes at an airport being sucked into a tornado!

ONE BAD MEAL IS ALL YOU GET TO SERVE ME.
The Hundred Foot Journey opens at number four and I’m a lover of some food porn (it’s all porn this week, people). Eat, Drink, Man Woman, Big Night, Mostly Martha, Dinner Rush and the most recent Chef are prime examples of good movies that wonderfully fetishizing eating. The American remakes of Eat Drink Man Woman (Tortilla Soup) and Mostly Martha (No Reservations) are examples of getting it wrong. Also a failure, Chocolat. How can you have a movie about chocolate with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp and not come away hungry and horny? By having Lasse Halstrom direct it, that’s how and because he directed this, I gave it a pass, despite the presence of Helen Mirren. Even worse, this film is going same cheap-ass, utterly obnoxious “we deserve a medal simply for trying” route as Chocolat. The producers of Chocolate flat out said they deserved success and Oscar nominations because it had positive message. This, coming from Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey is basically saying the same. How about you realize a movie about food should be about food first and “coming together” second?

WE CALL IT “THE ELVIS EFFECT”
Lucy is down to number five, followed by Step Up All In at number six and this continues to be for street dancing what Rocky was for boxing and every martial arts movie not starring an Asian: white people fantasy. If this were ballet it’d be one thing, but it’s street dancing so who are we kidding? Seriously, it’s like if French kept making football movies about how they were the best there is and kept beating Americans. Or Latin America making baseball movies about how they’re better. Whoops. That’s actually true. But you get my meaning. What’s really funny is how they try to duck this by making sure to have the dance teams interracial, but the people on top, the stars of the movie and the defacto best dancers are always white. Not even an interracial relationship. It’s like the Brown Shirts had a team.

THE SCHADENFREUDE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE
Hercules is down to number seven and you’d think after three weeks, I’d stop giggling how this tanked, but you’d be wrong.

SOMEWHERE JAMES BROWN IS PISSED PRINCE GAVE NOT A DIME
Get On Up is down to number eight and this is chock full of actual musicians. Not only was it produced in part by Mick Jagger, but also in the cast are Jill Scott and Aloe Blacc, which is not a type a skin cream but the guy who sings “I’m The Man” from all those headphone commercials. He’s basically proof that the world needed a new Bill Withers. He even does a song to make you cry about an elderly relative. But I doubt it’ll be sampled to become something as awesome as “No Diggity” the way “Grandma’s Hands” was.

THE END
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is down to number nine followed by Planes: Fire & Rescue closing out the top ten at number ten.

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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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TOUGH GUYS DON’T DIRECT MUSICALS

22 Jun

Weaver_Sigourney_041

1. Think Like A Man Too/SGem                         Wknd/$ 30.0       Total/$ 30.0
2. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                        Wknd/$ 29.0       Total/$ 111.5
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox                 Wknd/$ 25.3        Total/$ 95.2
4. Jersey Boys/Warners                                        Wknd/$ 13.5         Total/$ 13.5
5. Maleficent/Disney                                              Wknd/$ 13.0       Total/$ 186.0
6. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                            Wknd/$ 10.3       Total/$ 74.5
7. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                              Wknd/$ 8.6         Total/$ 98.7
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox                    Wknd/$ 6.2          Total/$ 216.8
9. Chef/ORF                                                             Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 16.9
10. Godzilla/Warner                                               Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 194.9

THE BEST MAN 2.5
Think Like a Man Too opens at number one and I’ll say it again: when the primary depictions of yourself onscreen are as sidekicks, servants (or slaves) or how you heroically endured oppression, you tend grab any depiction of yourself as happy and whole and enjoying life with both hands, which why this sequel opens big. You could make Latino-American and Asian-American versions of this and also make money and I can’t believe no one has. In fact, given it’s basically about a best man it could be counted as an unofficial sequel or spin-off of The Best Man which first dared to show happy, successful, educated African Americans. I gave this a pass because a) a little Kevin Hart (who is working his 15 minutes) goes a loooooonnnng way and b) I will put no money the misogynist pocket of Steve Harvey, whose book the original drew upon as source material is basically saying the problem with men and women is women. This from a man divorced three times. I’m just sayin’, maybe the problem is you and your attitude, playa.

NO 23 JUMP STREET. NOT. EVER.
22 Jump Street is down to number two and apparently there’s a hysterical end credit sequence where they show the next 20 sequels to this, basically letting you know there will actually be no sequels to this. What there will be coming down the pike is a return to good-looking person/not-so good-looking person team up comedies. You’ve already seen it for women with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat and between this and Neighbors and the utter failure of Adam Sandler’s last film, consider the days of solo “ugly but funny” days over. How it differs from the past is that the less attractive person isn’t just here for fat loser jokes. Progress?

HOW TO COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY’VE HATCHED
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is down to number three and how cruel an irony is it that Jonah Hill is technically in this as one of the voices? He had a great weekend last week. Everyone else, not so much. Jay Baruchel (the voice of Hiccup) was a guest on Craig Ferguson’s show (he’s the voice of Gobber) and they talked about being in the third installment of this. Needless is to say, not so fast, fellas.

GO AHEAD. MAKE MY MUSICAL.
Jersey Boys opens at number four which isn’t as disappointing as it seems given it only cost $40M to make. Clint Eastwood is famously frugal a director. He’s also famously sparse and laconic which are not two things one associates with Broadway shows. Existentialist westerns? Sure. But a story filled with passion and music? Not so much. Yes, it borders of pigeonholing the man, but given his open love of popular music (take it out of his films and see what happens) and the fact this combines it with both Italian Americans and the mob, how the hell did Martin Scorsese not do this!?! He would have brought the style and passion this story needed. And while that’s a big problem with this movie, the other is the problem that afflicts most stage-to-screen adaptations and that’s an inability to depict it properly without it being just a filmed version of the play. The best way to deal with it is to set it in the same type of “non-reality” the show existed in. Chicago clearly takes place in no Chicago that ever existed and if they’d tried to ground it reality too much it would have faltered. This tries to take place in the real world, which granted, makes sense given it’s a true story, but when you do that you have to pay more attention to details. You have to fill out the world in which they exist. Not having it leads to the common problem of most movie bios: a lack of context because they don’t fill out the world in which these people exist. The only other musician ever mentioned is Frank Sinatra (who was the ironically enough the only other musician ever mentioned in the Ray Charles bio pic). Pretty sure they weren’t competing with him. In fact, there was an entire East coast vs. West Coast stunt set up with them and The Beach Boys. You wouldn’t know they or any other musical act from that time period existed by this film (Elvis? Beatles? Who are they?), not to mention the incredible social changes going on around them. Again, that’s fine for a stage show, but with film you have to flesh these things out. There’s also such a thing, ironically enough, as being too faithful to the stage production. Yeah, the lead actor can play a character 15 to 50, but on film a 30+ actor playing 15 is simply not going to fly. Just get a younger actor! I won’t even get into the makeup disaster that is the climax of their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Everyone a party to that should be embarrassed. The stage show probably did it better just painting their hair gray.

RIPLEY COULD HAVE SAVED THE DAY…AGAIN
Maleficent is down to number five, followed by Edge of Tomorrow at number six and obviously Emily Blunt is the female lead here and she’s in her 30’s while Cruise is in his 50’s, my usual pet peeve. The director, Doug Liman, overheard this criticism at a party and felt it was unjust because the film wasn’t about them as a couple. Well, dude, then you probably shouldn’t have had her seemingly falling for him towards the end, much less have her kiss him. And not that hindsight is 20/20, but how could casting Sigourney Weaver in her role as the badass alien fighter not have been a great idea? She would have brought in so many other people (i.e., women) who might not have otherwise seen a Tom Cruise vehicle. But 50-something Cruise isn’t kissing a 60-something Weaver onscreen so you can just forget that.

AS FATTY ARBUCKLE ROLLS OVER IN HIS GRAVE
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number seven, followed by X-Men: Days of Future Past at number eight and at almost $700M from a $200M budget, we can safely say that that this train is back on track…and that Fox will be coughing up an ungodly amount of money for Bryan Singer’s legal defense, because he is clearly the key.

SOMEWHERE MATTHEW BRODERICK LAUGHS
Chef actually rises to number nine and I couldn’t be happier, while Godzilla drops to number ten and I honestly couldn’t care less. It wasn’t bad, but as time passes, the more I think about how the director jerked us around not showing Godzilla for the longest time then having it happen at night, the more annoyed I become. He thought he was being clever, well given it’s barely going to break the 3x budget rule of profitability, he was a little too clever for his own good. Honestly, it’s only done a little better than the much-maligned version with Matthew Broderick. A good lesson in how perception is reality.

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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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INDEPENDENT GROUNDHOG DAY

8 Jun

Lake-Bell-NY-Magazine-600

1. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                       Wknd/$ 48.2       Total/$ 48.2
2. Maleficent/Disney                                      Wknd/$ 33.5        Total/$ 127.4
3. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                    Wknd/$ 29.1        Total/$ 29.1
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox            Wknd/$ 14.7        Total/$ 189.1
5. A Million Ways To Die in the West         Wknd/$ 7.2          Total/$ 30.1
6. Godzilla/Warner                                         Wknd/$ 6.0         Total/$ 185.0
7. Neighbors/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 5.2          Total/$ 128.6
8. Blended/Warner                                         Wknd/$ 4.1          Total/$ 36.5
9. Chef/ORF                                                     Wknd/$ 2.0          Total/$ 6.9
10. Million Dollar Arm/Disney                     Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 31.3

IT’S FROM SHAKESPEARE? GET IT?
The Fault in Our Stars opens big at number one so if you were tired of movies being based on a Young Adult novel you might want to get over it, because this will just keep it going. Forget about the failures, because Hollywood sure has. It’s the only business where a 1-in10 success rate will still warrant ten more tries. To be fair, however when it succeeds it’s Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, but the failures are legion: Bridge to Terabithia, Eragon, The SpiderWick Chronicles, Ender’s Game, I Am Number Four, The Mortal Instruments, The Host, The Seeker, The Vampire’s Assistant…seriously, I could do this all day. I have read none of them and seen only two and that didn’t change with this weekend despite actual positive buzz. You know how I don’t do the scary? I also don’t do the tearjerker. If I want to cry I’ll watch pet rescue videos online. Not that I do so and weep like a child and you can’t prove otherwise.

SLEEPY DOODY. OH, SHUT UP. THEY CAN’T ALL BE WINNERS.
Maleficent is down to number two as the tween crowd left this behind to their younger sisters and brothers so they could see the number one flick. Another failure of this revisionist Sleeping Beauty is the changing of the curse. It’s a horrible compromise to make Maleficent palatable, because cursing a child to die is simply an unforgivable act and this isn’t Unforgiven 2. Instead she just curses her to sleep, but even that gets screwed up thanks to the other three fairies you know from the animated film being mangled from beginning to end. They’re just here for cheap comic relief and not much else. Not to mention since the third fairy was the one who changed the curse from death to sleep, she loses any purpose whatsoever. Then there’s the painful contrivance of the king sending the baby off to be raised in secret by the three fairies. This makes zero sense given the curse doesn’t kick in until her 16th birthday. If he sent her away on her 15th year, that I get. But the only purpose of this is for Maleficent to become her surrogate mother. Seriously, after the billion-dollar success of Alice In Wonderland with its equally horrible story, Disney knew it never again had to try in its live-action adaptations. Just stick big stars in the middle of a lot of CGI and sit back and count the money. And they’re right. You people simply don’t care. Neither do your damn kids.

BET YOU’D LIKE TO REPEAT ‘96 RIGHT ABOUT NOW (JERRY MAGUIRE, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE)
Edge of Tomorrow opens at number three and almost $30M for an opening weekend would be impressive for anyone else, but since it’s Tom Cruise and this is his Big Summer Movie, it’s a disappointment. The other big action sci-fi movies have opened at number one in the $90M range and even Maleficent did about $70, so for Tom Cruise’s Big Summer Movie to open only at number three and only $30M…well let’s just say Jack Reacher 2 and Mission Impossible 5 are a go. Maybe even that horrible Top Gun sequel they keep threatening us with. Even Jerry Maguire 2 seems possible right about now. It’s mistake because this cross of Groundhog Day and Independence Day is one of the best things he’s done in years. The idea is simple: aliens have invaded and Tom Cruise acquires their power to turn back time and keeps reliving the day until he figures out how to defeat them with the help of Emily Blunt who once had the same ability. There’s a strain of decidedly black humor as Tom Cruise has to die a thousand deaths to possibly make it to a single brave one (he begins the movie as a very much non-Tom Cruise coward) with an impatient Emily Blunt who is more than willing to cap him over and over again to restart the process. Not to mention the later scenes where Tom Cruise has a moments reminiscent of Bill Murray the diner where he tries to convince Andie McDowell of his situation. Just because it’s in the middle of an alien invasion and meant to be deadly serious doesn’t make it any less amusing. It’s telling that the film doesn’t start to drag until its final act where it becomes an idiot plot and people need to act like idiots in order to insure a very clichéd series of events, because if they don’t the movie is basically over as the smart, intelligent response will guarantee success. Even though this was based on a Japanese manga with the much cooler title of All You Need Is Kill, it’s very much like an Outer Limits episode and honestly could have been told in 45 minutes—but only if everyone is smart, which cannot be tolerated in big summer movie.

JUST BE HAPPY YOU WERE IN THE BEST ONE
X-Men: Days of Future Past and you have to wonder how Rebecca Romijn and Allan Cummings feel given they had prominent roles in the best X-Men movie, X2, and are nowhere to be seen here. Now, the plot doesn’t allow for the adult Mystique to appear, but the lack of Alan Cummings who shone as Nightcrawler and was part of the original comics story is a missed opportunity to bring him back. Ironically Quicksilver is to this film what he was to X2: the character whose appearance and powers (super speedster in goggles) could easily be a disaster winding up to totally steal the film in a single scene (seriously, it is the best scene in the film). Unlike basically every mutant we’ve seen so far, Quicksilver is very pleased with himself and his powers, which he’s using to a sadly logical conclusion, which is to steal anything and everything he can. Joss Whedon just had his already ton of pressure increased for Avengers 2 as his version of Quicksilver appears there as well (in fact, you’ve already seen him in the post credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier alongside his sister, Wanda). In the comics, Quicksilver is the son of Magneto. There’s an in-joke about this in the film, so pay attention.

ETC..
A Million Ways to Die in the West is down to number five, followed by Godzilla at number six and Neighbors at number seven.

BET YOU’D LIKE TO REPEAT ’98 RIGHT ABOUT NOW (WEDDING SINGER, WATERBOY)
Blended is down to number eight and along with Tom Cruise someone else missing the 90’s right about now is Adam Sandler. Once his schtick was guaranteed gold, especially with Drew Barrymore beside him but now he needs half the cast to be former SNL performers just to keep his head above water (Grown Ups) as this is tanking and at best will probably only make a little above budget which is nothing. What makes this flop even better is that he openly admits it was just a way of getting a paid vacation to Africa with his family. Given that the utter laziness of his humor is why I despise him so much, it’s very sweet that it’s finally bitten him in the ass.

ART MAKING MONEY? ARE YOU SURE?
Chef holds at number nine as every week they add a few more theaters to it. I’m happy with this.

BECAUSE EVERY SPORTS MOVIE MUST HAVE A HOT GIRL
Finally, Million Dollar Arm closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Lake Bell as basically, “the girl” for Jon Hamm. This was clearly just work for her (well, that and getting paid to make out with Jon Hamm), because she’s so much better than this, currently making the transition to writing and directing. Though how she never made it as the “the girl” in every movie with a body that rocking is beyond me (as Black Rob once said, “Body like ‘Whoa!'”). Clearly this was a route she could have easily gone, but refused…and we’re back to that thing about brains and self-awareness.

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SLEEPING ON THE SCREENPLAY

2 Jun

Carla Gallo as Lizzie on UNDECLARED on FOX.  ª©2001FOX BROADCASTING  CR:FOX

1. Maleficent/Disney                                         Wknd/$ 70.0      Total/$ 70.0
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox              Wknd/$ 32.6       Total/$ 162.1
3. A Million Ways To Die in the West           Wknd/$ 17.1        Total/$ 17.1
4.Godzilla/Warner                                            Wknd/$ 12.2       Total/$ 174.7
5. Blended/Warner                                           Wknd/$ 8.4         Total/$ 29.6
6. Neighbors/Universal                                   Wknd/$ 7.7          Total/$ 128.6
7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2/Sony             Wknd/$ 3.8         Total/$ 192.7
8. Million Dollar Arm/Disney                        Wknd/$ 3.8         Total/$ 28.1
9. Chef/ORF                                                       Wknd/$ 2.0         Total/$ 6.9
10. The Other Woman/Fox                             Wknd/$ 1.4          Total/$ 81.1

YOU WON’T NEED A SPELL TO SLEEP FOR THIS ONE
Maleficent opens at number one and it takes a special talent (or lack thereof) to waste Angelina Jolie, a classic Disney character and $180M. Not to mention the interesting twist on the story of Sleeping Beauty that the king and Maleficent were once in love, hence her hatred of the child that could have easily have been hers. The movie even makes Maleficent the surrogate mother of the child, but never, ever deals with that aspect of it. In fact, their love is lost as she becomes “the good guy” and he just becomes “the bad guy.” Disney is very, very bad with gray, and so rushes back to their comfort zone of “black and white” “good and evil” whenever they can even though they insist Maleficent is both things. No. No, she’s not. If she and the king had been allowed to be both, then this would have been a much better film. The premise of the film is that there are neighboring kingdoms of fairy-folk and people and the people hated the fairy folk because they were living a much more awesome life and don’t have a king. Seriously. That’s the only reason. When the first king attacks and fails he promises his kingdom to the person who brings him the head of Maleficent. The man who has loved Maleficent from childhood sees this as a chance to rise in power but cannot bring himself to kill her, so only takes her wings as proof of her “death.” What the film overlooks is apparently he never attacked the fairylands again. A better film would have gone into the gray are of it possibly being a worthy sacrifice for her or his guilt over the betrayal that robs her of flight, but this isn’t a better film. This is a Disney film of sad absolutes and winds up being utterly disappointing and a waste of two hours of your life. Oh, it’s only 90 minutes, but it feels like two freaking hours because it’s that boring, which is the only thing worse than bad.

STRAIGHT TO THE BANK IS ALL THAT MATTERS
X-Men: Days of Future Past is down to number two, but it’s already at $500M worldwide so no one cares. Also returning for this is Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde, and you know she never thought she’d have to honor that multi-film contract after X-Men: The Last Stand. But given her recent coming out (which was news to those of you who are utterly clueless) a success like this couldn’t have come at a better time.

AND LIKE THE SIMPSONS, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL
A Million Ways to Die in the West opens at number three and apparently those adolescent fans (in body as well as mind) who love Seth McFarlane don’t so much love the sight of him. A voice on Family Guy or Ted? Sure. In person? Not so much. I’ve never been a fan of Family Guy. It’s basically The Simpsons for really, really, really stupid people. Who love penis jokes. And while there are clearly more of them than we ever imagined, not enough to beat out geeks and actual children at the box office. Though it only cost $40M to make, it’s doubtful this is going to make 3x its budget with a new Big Summer Movie coming out every week. And that makes me happy, because I’m not a really, really, really stupid fan of penis jokes.

NOT ALL GIANT MONSTERS ARE THE SAME. THEY’RE NOT! STOP LAUGHING!
Godzilla is down to number four and the director of this was the director of another monster film, called simply, Monsters. And while this worked out for the most part it just goes to show you the utterly simplistic thinking process of Hollywood. “Oh, he directed a low-key, moody film about giant monsters that nobody saw. Let’s give him $160M to make our big summer blockbuster about a monster that everyone wants to see.” It’s why Godzilla isn’t seen for the first 30 minutes and when he does it’s in quick glimpses…at night. Yeah, I’m still annoyed by that.

USUALLY IT’S VIRGIN/WHORE, BUT WE’RE JUMPING STRAIGHT TO WHORE HERE
Blended is down to number five, followed at number six by Neighbors and apparently Seth Rogen is giving work (he’s listed as a producer) to his fellow Apatow alum, Carla Gallo who also appears in this. I hope he treats her better than Apatow has done. Let me put it his way: since playing the female lead in Undeclared, her roles in Apatow films has been as “Toe Sucking Girl” (40 Year Old Virgin) “Gag Me Girl” (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and “Period Blood Girl” (Superbad). She was also the girl in Get Him To The Greek who used a dildo on Jonah Hill. I think that says it all.

‘CAUSE WHO UNDERSTANDS CHICKS? AMIRITE?
The Amazing Spider-Man is down to number seven followed by Million Dollar Arm at number eight and Chef holding on at number nine. As I said before, it’s good but not perfect and nowhere is that clearer than in the roles of the women. Scarlett Johansson is the fantasy hostess who supports and sleeps with Jon Favreau and is never seen again, while Sofia Vergara is the fantasy ex-wife who is nothing but supportive even while Favreau neglects their son time and time again. But that’s par the course with Favreau. If you remember Swingers, women weren’t fully formed there either. Come on, dude. You should be better at this by now.

BUT I STILL BLAME THE REST OF YOU MORE
Finally, The Other Woman closes out the top ten at number ten and at $172M worldwide from a $40M budget, Cameron Diaz is carving out a little niche for herself of successful, yet painfully mediocre comedies. What Happens in Vegas, Bad Teacher and now this. I don’t expect Sex Tape will be much better, but like most of these I will still be there hoping for the best. So, basically, even though I didn’t see The Other Woman, I’m part of the problem.

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