Tag Archives: chris pine

YOUR JOKE ABOUT CAREER SUICIDE HERE

8 Aug

15846
1. Suicide Squad/WB                                 Wknd/$ 135.1    Total/$ 135.1
2. Jason Bourne/Universal                       Wknd/$ 22.7     Total/$ 103.4
3. Bad Moms/STX                                      Wknd/$ 14.2      Total/$ 51.1
4. The Secret Life of Pets/Universal       Wknd/$ 11.6       Total/$ 319.6
5. Star Trek Beyond/Paramount             Wknd/$ 10.2      Total/$ 127.9
6. Nine Lives/EC                                         Wknd/$ 6.5       Total/$ 6.5
7. Lights Out/New Line                             Wknd/$ 6.0       Total/$ 54.7
8. Nerve/LGF                                               Wknd/$ 4.9       Total/$ 26.9
9. Ghostbusters/Sony                                Wknd/$ 4.8        Total/$ 116.7
10. Ice Age: Collision Course/Fox           Wknd/$ 4.3        Total/$ 53.5

SUPER DIRTY
Suicide Squad opens at number one and the DC Comics Universe has become to Warner Brothers what the Transformers Universe is for Universal: a critically and consumer reviled cash cow. The difference being there’s not another series of critically and consumer praised giant robot movies out there to compare it to. DC/WB unfortunately has Marvel/Disney to be compared to and they cannot stand being the ugly sister/brother everyone hooks up with on the downlow but disparages in public. Rumor has it the reason this film is such a disjointed mess is because Warner Brothers panicked over the reaction to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and ordered reshoots to make the actual movie look more like the brilliant trailer that came out earlier in the year. Even if that’s the case the real problem with this movie is nonetheless the basic story itself. Trying to make it funnier just made a bad problem worse (or made it less awful). The Suicide Squad is basically The Dirty Dozen of superhero comics. A bunch of supervillains are used by the US Government to run “suicide missions” in exchange for time off their sentences, which are pretty lengthy if you’re a supervillain as you’re usually trying to take over the world. If they try to run away on a mission a small explosive in their skull detonates. It’s been a popular comic and the characters have shown up on Smallville and recently Arrow so it was only a matter of time before they got a film and the success of Guardians of the Galaxy (similarly about a band of outlaws doing good) basically cemented it. Even the trailer that changed the course of the film was clearly based on the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. The film follows the basic concept of the comic, but stumbles almost immediately as Viola Davis (as Amanda Waller, the ruthless head of the agency you can see tell off Obama in this month’s issue of The Suicide Squad) explains her plan to other government officials in a scene that goes on far too long and most crucially stumbles by introducing The Flash. The problem with that is, if The Flash exists and is saving people, exactly why isn’t he there fighting something that’s destroying a city!?! Also, Batman is shown having caught most of the Suicide Squad, but no one mentions the idea of possibly recruiting him. Obviously he wouldn’t do it but it seems stupid it never occurs to anyone. And it just piles on from there. The group is assembled to deal with extra-normal problems, but in fact one of their team members causes the very problem itself, which undercuts the very concept. It’s like if creating The Dirty Dozen caused the Nazi party to gain power. Also, one of the team members is Harley Quinn, girlfriend of The Joker, which results in The Joker showing up in the film trying to get her back. At worst this slows the film down and at best makes you wish he were the main bad guy. As it is he contributes nothing to the film. Let me put it this way: if his entire role were cut the film wouldn’t change in the slightest. That’s the definition of extraneous. The character development is also fumbled. You expect the loose collection of psychopaths to bond and become an actual team that cares for one another, but it only happens here because the film says it happens. There’s no instance that occurs where a bond is actually formed due to self-sacrifice or defense of another. The only thing that even approaches it the relationship between Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and that’s probably because they’ve worked together before and honestly as the biggest names on this got preferential treatment by the script. I’d say this means Zack Snyder didn’t make the worst comic book based movie of the year, but he directed The Flash scene. So when is Warner Brother going to get a clue what the problems are with their films? Hint: they rhyme with “sad biting” and “Jack Rider.”

OLD AGE AND DECEIT APPARENTLY DOESN’T BEAT YOUTH AND EXUBERANCE
Jason Bourne is down to number two and if you’re a well-regarded character actor—especially if you’re an older one—then your presence in a Jason Bourne movie means you’re evil. The Bourne Identity? Chris Cooper. The Bourne Supremacy? Brian Cox (who was actually a good guy in the first). The Bourne Ultimatum? A twofer of David Strathairn and Scott Glenn (Bonus: Ed Norton plays this role in The Bourne Legacy.) So, when you see Tommy Lee Jones’s name in the credits you know what’s going to happen in this one. And it’s always the same motivation: kill Bourne to keep a lid on everything, even though every attempt just makes discovery more likely and actually brings him to your door when he actually had no interest in you to begin with. The only actor not to suffer this fate is Joan Allen, who oddly is not in this one, but she wasn’t evil either.

I SEE MEGAN FOX IN THE MILA KUNIS ROLE
Bad Moms holds at number three and prepare yourself: this might get a sequel. Maybe not a theatrical one, but one of those direct-to-home sequels like Legally Blonde 3 or Kindergarten Cop 2 starring Dolph Lundgren. You only wish I were joking about their existence. It had a $20M budget and has made $50M so far. Not gangbusters, but not the miserable fate it so clearly deserved.

AN EVEN MORE SECRET LIFE
Down to number five this is week is The Secret Life of Pets (which should actually be “The Secret Lives of Pets” as the noun is plural) which will undoubtedly get a sequel and apparently they’re insisting that there will be another entry into the Star Trek reboot which is down to number five. This is highly unlikely given it cost $185M and has only made $127M domestically and another $67M overseas. That doesn’t scream “sequel” to anyone not looking to save face over wrecking a multi-billion dollar franchise…again. The irony being it’s the best of the three…which is only to say it doesn’t suck. They still haven’t quite grasped that whole “work on more than on level” concept.

GET THEM BAT-DOLLARS, GIRL!
Nine Lives opens at number six and you gotta pity Jennifer Garner. First, publicly humiliated by husband Ben Affleck for banging the nanny and now her career has reached that stage where she’s propping up older actors at least a decade her senior. First she was 60-something Kevin Costner’s love interest in Draft Day and now she’s 60-something Kevin Spacey’s wife in this (for the record Garner is 44). For him this is just a lark to get an easy check with two days in the front of the camera, tops. The rest was all voice work. But Jennifer Garner had to show up every day and react to either a cat or tennis ball standing in for a CGI cat. Oh, I hope she has a good lawyer so she can choose to work and choose better shit than this.

IT’S CALLED MORAL SUPPORT
Lights out is down to number seven and Nerve is oddly hanging around at number eight. It’s made $26M on a $20M budget, which isn’t great, but not quite the disaster I thought it was. I’m pulling for you, Emma. Even if I won’t spend a dime to support you.

I HATE GIVING LADIES BAD NEWS
You know what else isn’t getting a sequel? Ghostbusters. Sorry, but it ain’t. It’s done about as well as Star Trek Beyond but had ten times the hype. Yeah, a lot of it was bitching by ugly, pencil-dicked virgins, but it nonetheless kept this movie alive in the public knowledge and still it didn’t do better. Fingers crossed for a second life for tween girl slumber parties.

OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS FINALLY OVER
Finally Ice Age: Collision Course closes out the top ten at number ten and this will hopefully end this goddamn series once and for all. $105M budget and a $54M return. Bwahahahahaha! Get the fuck outta here!

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THE BOURNE REDUNDANCY

1 Aug

jason-bourne-matt-damon
1. Jason Bourne/Universal                       Wknd/$ 60.0    Total/$ 60.0
2. Star Trek Beyond/Paramount             Wknd/$ 24.0    Total/$ 105.7
3. Bad Moms/STX                                      Wknd/$ 23.4    Total/$ 23.4
4. The Secret Life of Pets/Universal       Wknd/$ 18.2    Total/$ 296.2
5. Lights Out/New Line                             Wknd/$ 10.8    Total/$ 42.9
6. Ice Age: Collision Course/Fox             Wknd/$ 10.5     Total/$ 42.1
7. Ghostbusters/Sony                                Wknd/$ 9.8      Total/$ 106.2

8. Nerve/LGF                                              Wknd/$ 9.0      Total/$ 15.1
9. Finding Dory/Disney                            Wknd/$ 4.2       Total/$ 469.0
10. The Legend of Tarzan/WB                 Wknd/$ 2.4       Total/$ 121.9

NOT FUNNY BECAUSE IT’S TRUE
Jason Bourne opens at number one and Matt Damon once joked that the next sequel would be called “The Bourne Redundancy” because there was only so much of a story to tell. Well, the joke has become reality because there really is nothing left to tell. Every single Bourne film has been about him trying to find out about his past and honestly that pretty much ended in the second one when he learned his real name. The third one was already running on fumes, but at least it left him home in the US, which felt like an even more definitive ending. Even the poster was about him “coming home.” Apparently not to stay, given we open with him participating in illegal bare-knuckle boxing matches in Greece, where apparently no one records them with cell phones ever. Julia Stiles, who only now, 14 years later looks old enough to be working at the CIA, draws him back in because she’s learned even more secrets about his past. This time we learn his father was a) a CIA analyst (yes like Jack Ryan), b) may have created the Super Soldier Program—er, sorry—I mean the Treadstone Program that made him into an undefeatable assassin and c) wanted to tell him something right before he was killed by terrorists. Now, she’s also been living off the grid (working with hackers to expose government secrets) since we last saw her almost ten years ago, which means she’s also got some CIA skills, right? Then why is it when she need needs to disappear into a crowd she doesn’t cover that fucking head of blonde hair!?! Seriously. It sticks out so much it’s like her fucking head was on fire. It’s literally part of the way they track her down! The very first thing that Bourne does to Franke Potente in the first Bourne film is change her fucking hair! Here, Julia Stiles doesn’t have the common sense to put a fucking hat on. That’s basically when I checked out of this. It’s little more than a paycheck for Damon and Greengrass and it feels that way. There’s a “modern” plot about the threat of government surveillance using social media, which means it’s actually about ten years old. Speaking of old, Matt Damon is just that now and part of the appeal of Bourne was that he was young. The group of 20-something girls I saw in the audience at The Bourne Identity was pretty much proof of that. Now he’s a 40-something man and looks every year of it. I’m not saying he didn’t get in shape for this, but I know from experience what 40-something man sucking in his gut looks like and the one scene (and I mean one) where his shirt is off, he’s sucking in his gut. Flashbacks to the slim jawline don’t help. And you know all those badass hand-t0-hand fight scenes from the original trilogy? Well, there’s exactly one in this one and it comes at the very end after a dull car chase through Las Vegas. That’s especially disappointing given the car chase in The Bourne Supremacy is literally one of the best ever put on film. Honestly, The Bourne Legacy was better than this movie and it was as dumb as shit.

SOME…DRAMATIC…PAUSES…COULD…ONLY…HELP
Star Trek Beyond is down to number two and speaking of The Bourne Supremacy the bad guy Bourne faces off with in that is none other than Karl Urban, who plays Dr. McCoy in this reboot. He does a good job in his Deforest Kelly impression even if he does lean into it a little hard at times. I guess he has to, given how charisma free Chris Pine is. Granted, no one wants a bad Shatner impression (or do we?) and Serious Kirk is better than Dumbass Frat Boy Who Fails Upward Kirk, but there was at least some energy in Dumbass Frat Boy Who Fails Upward Kirk. Slightly Depressed Because of Work Kirk whose birthday corresponds to the day his father died is dull and I can’t really blame Pine too much because they don’t give him much to work with. And if you think the basic bad guy plot from Wrath of Khan is borrowed, remember it also started with a Slightly Depressed Kirk drinking with Dr. McCoy discussing his birthday. The difference being Kirk here is thinking of leaving space for a desk job while that Kirk was depressed from having a desk job. The movie is supposed to do the same. Show how a crisis jars him out of his depression with a renewed purpose but that’s sacrificed for generic action. There’s no real character progression from A to B. Again the lackluster bad guy is a failure because he should be Kirk’s opposite number, showing him why Kirk is still needed in space and why it matters and none of that really happens. And goddamnit, where are the English literature references!?! Star Trek is rather infamous for using them, but in three films I cannot recall a single one. One of the few times my degree means something and it’s gone…

I GUESS NEXT TIME IT’LL BE THREE TEENAGE GIRLS
Bad Moms opens at number three and this is from the writers of The Hangover and you can tell. Once again we’ve got three people: The Pretty One, The Crazy One and The Straightlaced One. They used it for Horrible Bosses and the director of The Hangover used it also Project X (though he went old school and had classic movie trinity of Nice Wasp, Obnoxious Ethnic and Fat One). Hey, if it ain’t broke and still makes some cheddar, don’t fix it, amirite? Except it is broken. Horrible Bosses had talented casts in both films, which help to carry it for the first and allowed the second to be at least not awful (it’s the best I can give it). This on the other hand looks bad in that “pathetically desperate for laughs” way. It has an awful trailer where they try sooooo hard to be raunchy funny and fail sooooo miserably. Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis are learning the hard way that life outside the Judd Apatow umbrella isn’t as easy as you might think. Granted, I’m sure they were both tired of pretending to be attracted to Jason Segel and supporting some dude (especially when that dude is Jason Segel), but they just don’t have the comic chops to elevate bad material. I despise Seth Rogen, but as bad as the trailer for The Sitter looked, some of it still made me laugh. Kunis peaked at Jackie on That 70’s Show (along with her husband, Ashton Kutcher) and that was the benefit of good writing and honestly, playing a shallow character. Ask Tom Cruise how beneficial it is for limited actors to play characters who are supposed to be shallow.

NOT EVERYONE BECAME BILL MURRAY YOU KNOW
The Secret Life of Pets is down to number four and lets see who signed up for an easy paycheck and/or to be in a film their kids could see. Louis CK (for the kids), Eric Stonestreet (paycheck), Kevin Hart (both), Jenny Slate (paycheck), Lake Bell (both), Albert Brooks (both, but grandkids), Dana Carvey (sooo needed this paycheck), Hannibal Buress (paycheck) and Bobby Moynihan (paycheck). Wait. Larraine Newman!?! WTF!?! I’d be less surprised to see Charles Rocket and he’s dead.

GLAD TO SEE A PRETTY BLONDE GIRL FINALLY MAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD
Lights Out is down to number five and at over 9x its budget in two weeks, it’s safe to say this is a serious hit. I’m glad for one reason only: Teresa Palmer finally has a hit. She’s an Australian actress who’s been hopping around for a few years in mediocre genre flicks supporting some dude who has none of her natural charisma. She was “the girl” in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for Jay Baruchel whom thankfully they’ve stopped trying to make a lead. She was “the girl” in Take Me Home Tonight for Topher Grace whom thankfully they’ve stopped trying to make a lead. She was “the girl” in Warm Bodies for Nicholas Hoult whom they haven’t stopped trying to make a lead just yet. And while she wasn’t “the girl” in I Am Number Four—that was poor Diana Argon—for walking mannequin, Alex Pettyfer whom they’ve thankfully stopped trying to make a lead, but she was the only girl that mattered as the badass Number Six who shows up to kick ass and take names. Helping immensely was the fact she got to use her Australian accent and not be another generic American blonde.

NOT ONE GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL IS TOLD THEY DON’T HAVE A DICK
Ice Age: Collision Course is down to number six, followed by Ghostbusters at number seven and yeah, this ain’t gettin’ a sequel unless it does massively well on the home video (DVD, on-demand, etc) and one thing it does really gets wrong is that the first was very much a New York comedy. It had plenty of local color. Things happened there that couldn’t happen anywhere else. Every single person on a civil service level was cranky and cynical just like real life. And it looked a little dirty. None of that exists here. They might as well have set it in Boston where they filmed most of it, location mattered so little and it should have mattered.

ALREADY BETTER THAN HER AUNT
Nerve opens at number eight and do you think they cast Emma Roberts because Dave Franco (yes, James’ younger brother) is so short or they cast Dave Franco because Emma Roberts is so short? And this is a bad sign for both their careers, especially hers. A slick, youth-oriented film based on a Young Adult novel with two young stars that can’t even break the top five? In the middle of summer!?! Ouch. I like Emma Roberts because I like that she’s over trying to be nice, pretty blonde female lead (she was the star of the last Nancy Drew movie). She’s been the icy, blonde bitch since becoming legal and does it well. Lets you know she learned from dad, Eric Roberts, that the most interesting roles are always a bit darker. And while she should change it up a bit, I hope the lessons of Teresa Palmer are not lost on her. Yes, be the lead in a low-budget genre flick. Get that instant boost. Oh, and don’t support lame-ass dudes.

THE SUMMER WHERE YOU ACTUALLY LOOKED FORWARD TO WATCHING THE OLYMPICS
Finding Dory is down to number nine followed by The Legend of Tarzan at number ten and how lame has this summer been for movies? I don’t think I’ve seen this few in a forever and even the ones I’ve seen haven’t been good or bad enough to be that memorable. When the numbers come out in September I’m not going to be even remotely surprised to read this was a low-grossing summer. See, when people go to see a movie that’s good they’re more apt to try again the next week and the week after that. If they see two bad or disappointing movies in a row, they might not go again in a month even if something that was previously interesting to them was being released. Especially in summer, when it’s actually nice to be outside actually doing something. So yeah, a shocking as it sounds, good movies are good for business.

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GOING WHERE WE’VE GONE BEFORE

25 Jul

katemc
1. Star Trek Beyond/Paramount             Wknd/$ 59.6    Total/$ 59.6
2. The Secret Life of Pets/Universal       Wknd/$ 29.4   Total/$ 260.7
3. Ghostbusters/Sony                                Wknd/$ 21.6    Total/$ 86.9
4. Lights Out/New Line                             Wknd/$ 21.6    Total/$ 21.6
5. Ice Age: Collision Course/Fox             Wknd/$ 21.0    Total/$ 21.0
6. Finding Dory/Disney                             Wknd/$ 7.2      Total/$ 460.2
7. The Legend of Tarzan/WB                   Wknd/$ 6.4      Total/$ 115.8
8. Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates    Wknd/$ 4.4      Total/$ 40.4
9. Hillary’s America/QF                             Wknd/$ 3.7      Total/$ 3.7
10. The Infiltrator/BG                                Wknd/$ 3.3      Total/$ 12.2

AND NO GODDAMN LENS FLARES!
Opening at number one is Star Trek Beyond and honestly until the Rhianna song was used effectively in the trailer to give it gravitas I’d planning on giving this the same pass I gave Star Trek Insurrection, so kudos to whomever cut that thing. They deserve a serious fucking raise. Hell, I even bought the song so they got me all around. This is the first of the “nu Trek” to come even close to the original series and I don’t think it’s any coincidence it’s the first without cut-rate Spielberg, JJ Abrams. It’s akin to one of the more action oriented episodes, meaning there’s punching and shooting and things blowing up just fine, but once again there’s zero depth and no examination of anything relevant. The trailers suggest something about “the Frontier” pushing back against the Federation and I thought they’d take a look at some civilizations resenting the idea they’re being “discovered” or rejecting being part of some galactic organization. Nope. Once again the “nu Trek’s” bad guy is just some dick with a grudge, so basically they keep remaking Wrath of Khan. And they really, really, really need to stop with the callbacks to the original series. It just pulls me out of this film and reminds me how inferior it is to the source material. I know people usually love easter eggs, but not three goddamn films in. Enough already. The problem has always been the writing, never the casting so Chris Pine is finally allowed to play Kirk as a captain and not a frat boy failing upwards, but goddamn he’s aging fast. They’re going to be recasting this thing any day now. Zachary Quinto has always been good as Spock and how they address the death of Leonard Nimoy in the film makes an old geek a little misty. All the other cast members do as much with their roles as they can in what is a pretend ensemble piece (it’s always about Kirk & Spock and everybody knows it).

THIS YEAR’S FUNNY BLONDE
The Secret Life of Pets is down to number two, followed by Ghostbusters at number three and Kate McKinnon is awesome. Sadly there probably won’t be a sequel to this where they can give her direction and character beyond, “Be as weird as possible for no reason.” Basically she’s the Harold Ramis character in this film but replace small bits of wit (“Print is dead.” “I collect spores, molds and fungus.” “It would be a Twinkie 35 feet long weighing approximately 600 lbs.”) with excessive mugging. But her wink makes boys and girls alike melt. She’s a comedic superstar just waiting to happen.

SERIOUSLY, IT’S FUCKED UP
Lights Out opens at number three and as we all know I don’t do the scary and this looks scary to the point of being utterly. fucked. up. Being haunted by a creature that appears when the lights go out!?! Could you channel primal fucking fears any better? I will never fucking see this more than I’ll never see all the other horror movies released. If you’re just basically competent this should work. Hell, there was another, less creepy version of this 13 years ago called Darkness Falls that also made money. In fact, the only odd thing about it was the lack of a sequel. This, however will probably get one, having cost $5M and making FOUR TIMES that much the opening weekend. And I’m not going to point out the irony of a female led ghost movie outdoing the female led Ghostbusters movie. Nope. Not me.

DID I MENTION IT WAS SHITTY AND LAME?
Ice Age: Collision Course opens at number five and if I weren’t an atheist I’d pray that this poor opening would mean an end to this shitty, shitty, fucking lame animated franchise. I only saw the shitty, shitty fucking lame first installment, but I sincerely doubt it got any less shitty or fucking lame.

THIS YEAR’S SEXY BLONDE
Finding Dory is down to number six, followed by The Legend of Tarzan at number seven and while this is a blow to the leading man career of Alexander Skarsgard, it’s not doing anything to Margot Robbie other than keeping her in the public eye until she truly blows up which seems to be the case in the upcoming Suicide Squad. Fortunately for her, the male leads are getting the blame for the failure of these. Last time it was Will Smith in Focus. Makes sense as they undoubtedly got paid much more.

BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU FOR FUN AND PROFIT
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is down to number eight with Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party opening at number nine and there seems to be a growing sub-category of right-wing-conspiracy nut films. I’d love to see the money trail of who really paid for this. This is the second one from self-hating brown person Dinesh D’Souza (writer, director and star of course) who last went after Obama in—you guessed it—Obama’s America. I wonder if he’s aware of the irony that actually succeeding with these films in tarnishing or bringing down his targets would put him out of a job? I think he does and he’s voting Hilary in November so he can bank on a sequel and a second home in the mountains.

IT AIN’T SHOW ART, IT’S SHOW BUSINESS. NO BUSINESS, NO SHOW.
Finally, The Infiltrator closes out the top ten at number ten and Bryan Cranston needs to generate some green to go along with his accolades because prestige only goes so far. But I think he knows that already which is why he was in Godzilla two years ago, Kung Fu Panda this year and Power Rangers next year. He’s been in this business too long not to know its realities.

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NEXT TIME YOU’LL BE TAKEN STRAIGHT TO STREAMING AND DVD

11 Jan

gander
1. Taken 3/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 40.4   Total/$ 40.4
2. Selma/Paramount                                     Wknd/$ 11.2    Total/$ 13.5
3. Into the Woods/Disney                            Wknd/$ 9.8     Total/$ 102.3
4. The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies        Wknd/$ 9.4     Total/$ 236.5
5. Unbroken/Universal                                 Wknd/$ 8.4     Total/$ 101.6
6. The Imitation Game/Weinstein             Wknd/$ 7.6      Total/$ 40.8
7. Night at the Museum: Secret…                Wknd/$ 6.7     Total/$ 99.5
8. Annie/Sony                                                 Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 79.4
9. The Woman in Black 2/Relativity          Wknd/$ 4.8     Total/$ 22.3
10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1  Wknd/$ 3.8     Total/$ 329.5

I SINCERELY DOUBT IT TAKES LONGER TO BEAT UP PEOPLE IN LA
Taken 3 opens at number one while Selma moves into the top ten at number two and what’s the difference between it and the second sequel to an utterly ridiculous action film? 19 minutes. What. The. Hell!?! There’s not much good I can say about the first Taken movie other than it gave Liam Neeson a new career and it was short. 93 minutes was all it needed to tell its severely right wing fantasy (American dad is the savior while mom is wrong, daughter is wrong, foreigners are bad, the French are untrustworthy allies, the party girl dies a heroin addicted prostitute and the virginity of the good girl saves her because it makes her valuable to the dirty Arabs trying to buy her). This somehow needs nearly the same amount of time another film needs to deliver a complex, detailed accounting of one of the most turbulent times in this nation’s history. This is not to say a good, dumb action film cannot be long. Die Hard is over two hours, but given how the first one was so ridiculous I passed on the second (which was actually 92 minutes, because they didn’t need to explain the plot), I sincerely doubt this is similar. I did mean to see it but either I was more tired than I thought or my subconscious simply refused to let me awaken to go through this again. This is supposedly the last one but don’t kid yourself. They are not going let go of this cash cow. Neeson just won’t be in it. And it’ll probably show up on Netflix. Let me put it this way. They fourth Scorpion King movie has just arrived on DVD. Fourth. There were only three Mummy movies, which is where the character originated.

CLEARLY SOMEONE REALIZES STAR TREK CAN’T BE DEPENDED UPON
Down to number three is Into the Woods and once again I have to give Chris Pine his props for choosing roles that take him outside of the typical leading man fare. Though he’s playing the leading man archetype of Prince Charming it’s still a musical, which is as anti-action film as you can get. Not to mention it’s a supporting role. This is how you manage a career, people. Especially when you’re never going to be mistaken for Daniel Day Lewis.

BECAUSE THE BRITS ARE EVIL TO BEGIN WITH, THAT’S WHY
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is down to number four, followed by Unbroken at number five and The Imitation Game rising to number six and also in this are Charles Dance and Mark Strong which would be so awesome if this were a Bond film and they were facing off against Daniel Craig. If you don’t recognize the names, trust me, you know their faces. If you’ve been watching action films for the last 20 years you’ve seen them on a regular basis tormenting basically every leading action hero from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Russell Crowe. Strong is actually in that Jaguar commercial about being a villain. He’s neither Gandhi nor Loki. Yeah, that guy.

UNFORTUNATELY NOT EVERYONE CAN END IT WITH MOVIE LIKE NETWORK
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is down to number seven and it’s not just Robin Williams for whom this is a posthumous release, but Mickey Rooney as well. If you remember he was one of the night watchmen along with Dick Van Dyke. If you’re surprised he lasted that long, know that no one was more surprised than Mickey.

PEOPLE DON’T APPRECIATE A MOVIE CALLED SEX TAPE WITH NO NUDITY. JUST SAYIN’.
Annie is down to number eight and also in this is Cameron Diaz who had a bad 2014 thanks to Sex Tape and the abomination that was The Other Woman. She needed a good film like this to round it all out, even if it’s not breaking box office records. Needless to say, Bad Teacher 2 is coming, as it was her last real hit.

NOT BAD. FOR A GIRL.
Woman in Black: Angel of Death is down to number nine with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 finally closing out the top ten at number ten after being here for two months. Let’s take a look at the numbers: $125M budget, $701 worldwide with $330 of that being domestic, which is the money that really matters. Divergent comes from the same studio so you’re probably not surprised when I tell you that the final book of that series has also been divided into two films. Thanks for nothing, Harry Potter. You realize if they did Star Wars now Return of the Jedi would probably be two movies? It’s only got about 30 minutes of watchable material as it is. Hey, there are no sacred cows here!

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LULLABY OF BIRDMAN

7 Dec

article-0-1A13D612000005DC-162_634x1098
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1        Wknd/$ 21.6   Total/$ 257.7
2. Penguins of Madagascar/Fox                     Wknd/$ 11.1    Total/$ 49.6
3. Horrible Bosses 2/WB                                 Wknd/$ 8.6     Total/$ 36.1
4. Big Hero 6/Disney                                        Wknd/$ 8.1     Total/$ 177.5
5. Interstellar/Paramount                               Wknd/$ 8.0     Total/$ 158.7
6. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal             Wknd/$ 4.2     Total/$ 78.1
7. The Theory of Everything/Focus               Wknd/$ 2.7     Total/$ 13.6
8. Gone Girl/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 1.5     Total/$ 162.9
9. The Pyramid/Fox                                          Wknd/$ 1.4     Total/$ 1.4
10. Birdman/FoxS                                             Wknd/$ 1.2     Total/$ 18.9

WHY BOTHER READING WHEN IT WILL BE ONSCREEN NEXT WEEK?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1 holds at number one and the continuing success of these Young Adult novel adaptations in pretty much every category (drama, romance, science fiction) has resulted in the odd bit of rational response as the numerous failures are treated as individuals rather than a sign the entire genre is a running down. This isn’t how corporate execs normally think. When their vampire or superhero film fails they immediately think that the whole genre is coming to a close rather than accept they just screwed the property up. Percy Jackson, Eragon, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Ender’s Game, I Am Number Four, Beautiful Creatures, Vampire Academy, Blood & Chocolate Milk, Inkheart, The Host, The Mortal Bones, etc, just blew it, period, because the audience is still clearly very much here.

LEARNING IS FOR SUCKERS
Penguins of Madagascar holds at number two which on one hand is good because it’s a decent movie and deserves success and this hopefully will inspire Dreamworks not to suck so much. On the other hand it’s bad because they never learn and this will inadvertently result in another awful Madagascar film. You’d think watching Disney make money and win awards constantly would give them motivation to do better, but you’d be wrong. And don’t even get me started on the no-talents that make the Ice Age movies.

WILLIAM SHATNER IS STILL FUNNIER THOUGH
Horrible Bosses 2 actually rises to number three which means that grownups desperately wanted something light to watch. All that’s out there right now are Oscar bait dramas and movies for kids and teenagers. Not to mention TV is going into reruns until the new year. They simply had no choice but see this weak sauce. Also in this is Chris Pine making smart moves to build a career outside of the lackluster Star Trek reboot. With something like this he gets to show range beyond being just a pretty boy leading man and the weight of the film doesn’t rest on him. It’s a win-win. But it felt familiar to me having just seen him in Stretch were he plays another horrible boss in the form of a psychotic fare of desperate limo driver who needs one of the fare’s legendary tips to payoff a gambling debt. Pine actually punches himself there as he does here. Now that’s a weird coincidence. At least here you don’t see his (or possibly the stuntman’s) scrotum the way you do in Stretch, which I could have lived without.

YEAH, MORE SPOILERS FOR INTERSTELLAR
Big Hero 6 is down to number four, followed by Interstellar at number five and also in this as Matthew McConughey’s adult son is Casey Affleck which means both Affleck brothers have been in the top ten for the last month in Oscar bait films. Sadly the more successful, more talented brother got the good one. The other brother got Chris Nolan and a story wherein all mention of his character is missing at the end. Matthew McConughey gets to meet his daughter who’s been waiting in hypersleep for two years to see her father once more before she dies. But never once is her older brother mentioned by either her or McConughey. I understand that being older he would have naturally died first, but for McConughey’s character not to even ask about his son’s is as bad as him apparently having no interest in his grandchildren. Bear in mind part of the reason Affleck’s character loses faith in his dad is that his first child dies as the result of deteriorating conditions on earth and his sister actually has to start a fire as a distraction to save the second. It’s in this same scene she discovers mankind’s salvation? That kinda means he has to show up, right? Nope.

A GOOD MOVIE MAKING A LOT OF MONEY STILL STUNS ME
Dumb and Dumber To is down to number six followed by The Theory of Everything at number seven and at number eight with the other Affleck brother, Gone Girl, still here after over two months and holding at number eight for two weeks which is good news for nominations because it means the film hasn’t faded from memory. It’s also good for the box office because this film has grossed $163M from a $63M budget domestically alone. Worldwide it’s $336M, which means more grown up best-selling novels will be adapted into films too. Maybe all those other books that had women in red coats on the cover. You know there’s someone in Hollywood dumb enough to think that way. And he’s making more money than you or me.

ALL MOVIES MUST BE MADE WITH ME IN MIND
The Pyramid opens at number nine and unfortunately the “found footage” genre is also benefitting from being seen as individual films so their failures also aren’t view as signs the whole damn genre needs to die, because it really, really does. I know that seems unfair, but I don’t care. They’re mostly garbage and they make me nauseous with all that camera movement. Not to mention they’re mostly horror films and since I don’t do the scary it’s no big loss for me. And who makes a movie about a pyramid without mummies anyway? Dummy.

IRONICALLY ROBIN WOULD BE THE PERFECT SIDEKICK FOR THIS GUY
Birdman closes out the top ten at number ten and I finally got off my ass and saw it…and it was okay. The crisis of a man trying to put on a show (or make a film) and slowly falling apart is a genre to itself and while this isn’t a bad one, it’s not exactly new either. I believe the filmmakers are aware of this which is why I think they chose a different technique to its approach as it’s done as a series of long takes, ostensibly making the film look like just one long giant shot. It’s befitting the film as it’s about Broadway, which means actors basically had to act like they would onstage, with each scene going on for 10-15 minutes straight. Michael Keaton is an actor best known for playing a superhero called Birdman, which made him a global superstar. Get it? He played Batman (which when adjusted for inflation is still #50 in the biggest films of all time, on the list that includes Gone With The Wind, Godfather, Gone With The Wind, Titanic and Star Wars). But no one really identifies him as Batman, do they? If anything Beetlejuice has stuck with him more. Christian Bale is Batman now and Affleck’s about to replace him. In any case the actor Keaton portrays has put all his money into a Broadway show he wrote directed and stars in based on a Raymond Carver novel and it’s causing him to unravel to the point where the character of Birdman is always talking to him and he hallucinates having superpowers. Not helping is the added pressure of a prima donna actor constantly pushing him and Keaton trying to bond with his daughter who’s fresh out of rehab and working as his assistant. The pretentious actor is perfectly played by Edward Norton in a clearly parody of Norton’s reputation as such. I’d give him credit for being so willing to be in on the joke if I didn’t know somewhere at this very moment he’s actually patting his own back for the same thing. Add to this a needy female lead (who is in fact the pretentious actor’s girlfriend), a co-star girlfriend who may or may not be pregnant (who hooks up with the female lead) and Broadway’s most powerful critic who doesn’t appreciate Hollywood coming to their sacred land and you’ve got a ticking time bomb of a man’s psyche and boom it does go by the end with plenty of tiny detonations along the way. The biggest irony of this is that his performance in this film may do for Michael Keaton what the show is supposed to for his character. In fact there are many levels of irony at work and I’ve no doubt that they were all intentional as the writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hates superhero franchises and yet has as his main stars people associated with some of the biggest (Batman, Avengers, Spider-Man). This is a well put-together plan.

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FAILING LIKE A BOSS

1 Dec

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PRETTY BOYS LEAD CAREERS OF QUIET DESPERATION

3 Feb

zacvan

 1. Ride Along/Universal               Wknd/$  12.3            Total/$   93.0

 2. Frozen/Disney                           Wknd/$   9.3             Total/$ 360.0

 3. That Awkward Moment           Wknd/$   9.0             Total/$     9.0

 4. The Nut Job/ORF                      Wknd/$   7.6             Total/$   50.2

 5. Lone Survivor/Universal          Wknd/$    7.2            Total/$  104.9

 6. Jack Ryan/Par                            Wknd/$   5.4             Total/$   39.0

 7. Labor Day/Paramount              Wknd/$   5.3              Total/$     5.3

 8. American Hustle/Sony             Wknd/$   4.3              Total/$  133.6

 9. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par     Wknd/$   3.6             Total/$  104.1

10. I, Frankenstein/LGF                 Wknd/$   3.5              Total/$    14.5

 

It’s Super Bowl weekend and I’m sick so let’s rip though this…

 

STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED

Ride Along holds at number one and is actually about to hit $100M so it’s time to call it: Kevin Hart is a star.  Yeah, I d0n’t understand either.

 

“WHY ARE THEY ALL SHOUTING? MARVIN GAYE DIDN’T SHOUT.”  EVERYONE’S PARENTS

Frozen rises up again to number two and my confusion continues. Then I realize I’m an old man and this isn’t for me anyway. It’s like that utterly clueless conversation your parents had about rap.

 

EVEN WENT TO REHAB AND STILL, NO ONE CARED

That Awkward Moment opens at number three and given this only cost $8M to make it’s not that big a disappointment and may have actually bought Zach Efron a few extra minutes, as his 15 had pretty much expired.  You think he and Vanessa Hudgens call each other in the middle of the night and wonder what they’re doing wrong?  They do the family friendly mainstream stuff and they do the edgy indie stuff but the result turns out the same: no one cares. Hudgens is even taking off her shirt and still no one cares.

 

IN BELGIUM HE’S A SUPERSTAR!

The Nut Job is down to number four, followed by Lone Survivor at number five, and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit down to number six and while this is disappointing domestically, overseas it has made almost double its domestic take which suggests that Chris Pine is the new Jean Claude VanDamme.  Yeah, that’s gotta hurt.

 

SOMETIMES IT’S BETTER JUST TO STARVE

Labor Day opens at number seven and doesn’t this just scream, “based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks?” It looks awful. Seriously, awful.  Apparently everyone had bills to pay and there were no porn shoots open.

 

SORRY, DAVID HASSELHOFF. IT’S NOT FOR YOU.

American Hustle is down to number eight, followed by The Wolf of Wall Street at number nine and none other than Rob Reiner shows up here as Leonardo DiCaprio’s dad.  Yeah, Meathead in a Scorsese film.  I think Scorsese does this just to mess with the minds of actors and give them a false sense of hope when the reality is Reiner got this because everyone loves The Princess Bride.

 

DEAD AGAIN

Finally, I, Frankenstein closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Bill Nighy who elevates pretty much anything he appears in. This is no exception.

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