Tag Archives: Chris Pratt

ANOTHER BLOODY SEQUEL

10 Jan

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1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story/Disney         Wknd/$ 22.0   Total/$ 477.3
2. Hidden Figures/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 21. 8   Total/$ 24.8
3. Sing/Universal                                                   Wknd/$ 19.6   Total/$ 213.4
4. Underworld: Blood Wars/SGem                    Wknd/$ 13.1    Total/$ 13.1
5. La La Land/LG                                                   Wknd/$ 10.0   Total/$ 51.7
6. Passengers/Sony                                                Wknd/$ 8.8     Total/$ 80.9
7. Why Him/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 6.5     Total/$ 48.6
8. Moana/Disney                                                   Wknd/$ 6.4      Total/$ 225.4
9. Fences/Paramount                                            Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 40.7
10. Assassin’s Creed/Fox                                      Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 49.5

THE SAD TRUTH IS NOSTALGIA PAYS…AND PAYS WELL
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story holds at number one and I’m sorry, but I cannot drink the Kool Aid on this one. It ain’t all that. It’s taking for granted your affection for this universe and so not bothering to build actual characters for you to know or care about. And on top of that throwing in useless fan shout-outs that briefly stop the momentum of a film desperately lacking it. As you know this is the story of how the plans to The Death Star came to be in the hands of Princess Leia. It’s through the use of a kinda of “Magnificent Seven in Space” which was honestly done better in Battle Beyond The Stars. What you don’t know is that it also feels the need to answer unasked questions like “Who was Red Five before Luke Skywalker?” And don’t get me started on the computer-reanimated corpse of Peter Cushing in the form of a total CGI Grand Moff Tarkin. Hella creepy and distracting. I’ve got no problem with the initial concept of the film, but it suffers from one of the same flaws as the horrible prequels: the need to set up everything that follows rather than simply tell its own story. How disappointing is it? Think of the two most inconsequential characters from Star Wars and know they show up here in a “funny” cameo.

FAILURE OF THE BLACK MAN PT 1
Hidden Figures is up to number two and this completes the hat trick of critically acclaimed film with Black actors as leads that I’ve failed to see while somehow finding time to see shit like Christmas Office Party. The other two are Moonlight and Loving. But I still say I’m going to see them. I am. Stop laughing.

PLUS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANY SUCKY NEW SONGS
Sing is down to number three and on one hand this looks like a lot of fun. On the other it’s almost two fucking hours long and this is simply not a two-hour concept. The songs do not need to be played to completion to get the joke and I have the funny feeling that’s exactly the mistake they’ve made here. But I’m sure on cable it will be nothing but fun.

HOT CHICK + ACCENT + GUNS = MY MONEY
Underworld: Blood Wars opens at number four and yes, this I found time for. Sorry, but it’s been a 14-year commitment for me. Well, that and the neverending delight of Kate Beckinsale in skintight rubber. When we last left her the nocturnal family (vampire, half-vampire-half-werewolf and their daughter) had been reunited despite the lack of Scott Speedman. If you think CGI Tarkin was distracting at least he looked like Peter Cushing. The budget of Underworld simply couldn’t handle recreating Speedman and did some sad shit to a poor actor thinking maybe porn would have been less humiliating. Also, Kate Beckinsale’s character been in suspended animation for 15 years and in that time had not given birth to to the afforementioned daughter but humans had learned of both vampires and werewolves and were trying to wipe them all out. As it turned out werewolves were behind all that getting their revenge on almost being wiped out by vampires in the previous films. Well, all that’s gone. No, seriously. They don’t mention anything about the change in the status quo or how werewolves infiltrated the mainstream. All that remains is Kate Beckinsale’s half-vampire-quarter werewolf daughter and the fact the vampires are now on the ropes. But that’s not the problem. The problem is big, emotional moments in the film that tie characters back to the first Underworld and threaten to provide actual character development are rushed through. Imagine if Darth Vader had reveal himself to be Luke’s father and there wasn’t even a beat of drama then he followed it up with “And Leia is your sister.” And even that was followed up by something else as if they had to get it all in before the movie ended. This movie is only 91 minutes so easily could have spared the characters another eight or nine minutes so they could react to things and at least feign giving their characters depth. Being almost two hours long didn’t hurt the first film and why it still remains the best is due to the wide variety of individual characters who are in fact given those little “beats.” There’s the potential for that here as we are introduced at least five new characters who seem interesting, but again, none are really given the time to be fleshed out. We never even learn the bad guy’s plan, which is kind of important because he actually says he’s trying to end the war between vampires and werewolves. And he’s got a vampire lover trying to help him for the same reason. That’s kind of an important plot point given Kate Beckinsale repeatedly expresses how she’s tired of the killing. Finally, at $35M you don’t have the loot for elaborate CGI, so again look to the original and see how many of the werewolf effects were practical, not computer animated. Being the 4th best out of a five movie series is not exactly impressive (in order of best to worst they are Underworld, Underworld Rise of the Lycans, Underworld Evolution, Underworld Blood Wars and Underworld Awakening).

CAN’T GET FROM UNDER THAT “BURDEN” CAN YOU?
LaLa Land is down to number five and I have zero desire to see this, but it’s an Awards favorite now so I guess I have to. Sorry, but they lost me at “White Guy Who Will Be The Savior of Jazz” character and nothing I’ve read about it is really changing my mind.

SUBMITTED FOR YOUR APPROVAL SOMETHING THAT’S BETTER IN SHORTER FORM
Passengers is down to number six and this is yet another Outer Limits/Twilight Zone episode that escaped into theaters. Chris Pratt is an engineer on a spaceship that puts passengers into suspended animation for its 120-year travel time. Unfortunately a meteor storm damages the ship and wakes him up and he cannot go back, so after a year of isolation he wakes up 20-something hottie, Jennifer Lawrence. I like Chris Pratt, but his acting skills aren’t really up to par showing a man who basically goes nuts from loneliness and dooms another person rather than be alone. Jennifer Lawrence can’t do anything with it either and she’s someone whose performance reflects the quality of her material. The biggest problem is the script won’t commit to its dark premise. They want Chris Pratt to stay a likable sane guy but a likable sane guy wouldn’t do what he does, so he has to either be an asshole or nuts and they won’t allow him either. And don’t get me started on the cop-out ending… The Twilight Zone wouldn’t have wussed out like that.

I MEAN…LOOK AT HIM!
Why Him is down to number seven and one of biggest problems in Hollywood is how long they try to hold onto a “younger” male actor. James Franco is not the young male lead any longer. He’s pushing 40 and this role is clearly supposed to be someone in their 20’s. Notice they didn’t cast his love interest older. Nope. She’s actually in her 20’s while he’s “playing” that role. And it looks like ass to boot.

GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!
Moana is down to number eight and Disney needs to stop pushing the ballad for Oscar consideration. The best song is “You’re Welcome.” Not to mention, if nominated it means we’ll see Dwayne Johnson singing it at the Oscars (with help from writer Lin Manuel Miranda). Now who doesn’t want that!?!

FAILURE OF THE BLACK MAN PT 2
Fences is down to nine and my Guilt Trilogy has become a Guilt Quadrilogy because I haven’t seen this fucking thing either. Sigh. I’m failing at being Black in 2017…clearly holding over from 2016.

SAVED FROM MYSELF
Finally, Assassins Creed closes out the top ten at number ten and if I had the time I so would have saw this. I’m sad.

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THE AFFLECK IDENTITY

17 Oct

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1. The Accountant/WB Wknd/$ 24.7 Total/$ 24.7
2. Kevin Hart: What Now? Wknd/$ 12.0 Total/$ 12.0
3. The Girl on the Train/Universal Wknd/$ 12.0 Total/$ 46.6
4. Miss Peregrine’s Home…/Fox Wknd/$ 8.9 Total/$ 65.8
5. Deepwater Horizon/Lions Gate Wknd/$ 6.4 Total/$ 49.3
6. Storks/WB Wknd/$ 5.6 Total/$ 59.1
7. The Magnificent Seven/Sony Wknd/$ 5.2 Total/$ 84.8
8. Middle School/LGF Wknd/$ 4.3 Total/$ 13.8
9. Sully/WB Wknd/$ 3.0 Total/$ 118.4
10. The Birth of a Nation/FoxSearch Wknd/$ 2.7 Total/$ 12.2

NEXT UP: THE TAX ATTORNEY
The Accountant opens at number one and Ben Affleck needed this like he needs air. It’s clear that despite universal praise and an Academy Awards, he still wants to be a superstar in front of the camera like Matt Damon and will do most anything to get there. In case Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t made clear this attempt to create a Jason Bourne like franchise for himself will remove all doubt. As The Accountant of the title, Affleck is playing the go-to moneyman for the richest bad guys in the world and somehow in this world of near constant surveillance, not a single person has noticed or gotten a picture of him until a treasury agent is put on his tail. You know that’s kinda impossible but you let it go. Then the treasury agent investigating him is the only person who’s notices the similarity between his faux names and that’s when you realize it’s time to turn off your brain and just enjoy the violence. And we haven’t even gotten to him being a merciless trained killer from childhood…as a way to deal with his autism. No, I’m not kidding. And unlike the Bourne films it does take the time to throw a little humor into the mix. But the dumber this movie gets (and it gets dumb) the more fun it becomes. It was enjoyable enough on the big screen, but it’s going to be a choice late-night, rainy afternoon piece of cable viewing in the future. Probably back-to-back with a Bourne movie.

HOW CAN WE MISS YOU IF YOU WON’T GO AWAY? PT 89
Kevin Hart knew you missed the few weeks he wasn’t in the movie theaters so he sent you this concert film, Kevin Hart: What Now? to tide you over until his next mainstream movie where he’s partnered with yet another star that has come to realize they also cannot carry a movie on their own. You’re welcome.

IN CASE LIKE ME YOU WERE WONDERING WHY SHE WAS HOSTING SNL
The Girl on the Train is down to number three and this is one of those books that “everyone” has read and has been cautiously looking forward to which is how it opened at number one last week.. This year’s Gone Girl for lack of a better term. Unfortunately, it’s not in the hands of a craftsman like David Fincher who was wise enough to employ the book’s actual writer to aid in the screen translation keeping it as substantive as it was stylish. Not that Tate Taylor is without a solid history, but aside from his debut film, Winter’s Bone which proved Jennifer Lawrence could act, he’s made generic safe films like The Help and the James Brown bio, Get On Up. I never read the book so my interest in this film could only be generated by what it looked like and it never rose above mild and there’s been no word-of-mouth to help it get above that. Honestly, the most appealing thing about it for me is Emily Blunt. Shame her post The Devil Wears Prada career hasn’t gone as well as hoped. If only she’d been able to be The Black Widow in the Marvel movies as rumored. I’d soooo much prefer her to ScarJo.

APPARENTLY WEIRD PEOPLE DON’T LIKE SOLID STORIES EITHER
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children aka Tim Burton’s X-Men is down to number four and this seems tailor made for Tim Burton whose entire career has been based upon him making movies about “odd people” since he considered himself one of them. Well, he may have been but his habit of dating actresses and models pretty much secures him in “Just Another Dude” territory for me I don’t care how much black he wears or how much he listens to The Cure. And honestly, how much of an outsider can someone who only makes big-budget special effects films for major studios truly be? Both he and his frequent collaborator, Johnny Depp need to let this go or try and find a new take on it. While this looked interesting, the mere fact Tim Burton’s name was on it meant that whatever the story may have been it was going to be an afterthought for him and I just can’t waste anymore if my time on his visually stunning yet ultimately boring and uninteresting films.

OUR GUILT OUTWEIGHS OUR CONCERN
Deepwater Horizon is down to number five and watching Kate Hudson be slowly confined to playing wives and girlfriends of older leading men is just becoming sad. And no one was more annoyed than I when she was omnipresent in generic mainstream films as the lead. Here she’s the waiting wife to Mark Walberg as he fights to survive and save his crew on the offshore oil rig that created the worst oil spill in US History. It’s probably the latter that has contributed to this film’s lack of success despite mostly positive reviews. People really don’t feel sympathetic to a disaster that poisoned the Gulf of Mexico. It probably should have stressed more the culpability of BP in the disaster, but instead chose to ignore that and go straight for the human drama and is paying the price. We like our disaster movies global and leaning more towards science fiction more those that are all too real with real life consequences.

ONLY ONE AT THE TOP OF THIS MOUNTAIN
Storks is down to number six followed by The Magnificent Seven at number seven and playing that woman you’re understandably confused to learn was not Bryce Dallas Howard is Haley Bennett, who is also in The Girl on the Train making her a would-be “It Girl” of the moment, meaning she would be if these films did a little better. This hasn’t even made budget yet after a month, which is odd given Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt are supposed to be big stars. This is more Pratt’s problem than Denzel’s as Pratt hasn’t had much success after his one-two punch of Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World two years ago, whereas Denzel launched his own franchise last year with The Equalizer…which also costarred Haley Bennett, thus bringing us full circle.

PROBABLY TALKS ABOUT HOW TEST PAPERS SMELLED FRESHLY MIMEOGRAPHED
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is down to number eight and exactly who thinks actually seeing authors in ads will increase sales of anything. Especially when they look like James Patterson. I don’t see this working for his adult mystery novels, much less when it’s an old man talking about a book set in grade school.

HE DIDN’T POLLUTE THE HUDSON FOR ONE
Sully is down to number nine and this is a success both Clint Eastwood and Tom Hanks sorely needed. Unlike Deepwater Horizon, there’s no conflict here because the ending was straight up happy.

THOUGH I’M SURE SCORSESE DOESN’T CARE
The Birth of a Nation is down to number ten and I want to see this and will probably eventually see it, but I’m honestly not going to do anything that will contribute to Nate Parker’s career. Sometimes you just can’t separate the dancer from the dance.

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MAGNIFICENT DIVERSITY

26 Sep

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1. The Magnificent Seven/Sony         Wknd/$ 35.0     Total/$ 35.0
2. Storks/WB                                         Wknd/$ 21.8     Total/$ 21.8
3. Sully/WB                                            Wknd/$ 13.8     Total/$ 92.4
4. Bridget Jones’s Diary/Universal   Wknd/$ 4.5       Total/$ 16.5
5. Snowden/ORF                                  Wknd/$ 4.1        Total/$ 15.1
6. Blair Witch/LGF                               Wknd/$ 4.0       Total/$ 16.1
7. Don’t Breathe/SGems                      Wknd/$ 3.8       Total/$ 81.1
8. Suicide Squad/WB                           Wknd/$ 3.1        Total/$ 318.1
9. When The Bough Breaks/SGem    Wknd/$ 2.5       Total/$ 26.6
10. Kubo & The Two Strings/Focus   Wknd/$ 1.1        Total/$ 46.0

MAYBE THE NEXT TIME THERE’LL BE WOMEN OF COLOR
The Magnificent Seven opens at number one and do you know what every single remake of The Seven Samurai has in common? No matter how ridiculously inept they may be (I’m looking at you TV version which became a series), they’re still as entertaining as fuck. This is no exception. It’s not superlative in any way shape or form beyond making minorities the majority of the seven and making the people in need of help white rather than a bunch of Mexicans speaking accented English. In fact, it’s actually staggering in how shallow the characterization is, but if you know anything about Antoine Fuqua action movies that’s not surprising. Then again in the first western remake you really didn’t know anything beyond Yul Brynner or Steve McQueen or Robert Vaughn or James Coburn beyond some surface color (cool gunfighter, fancy dan gun for hire) and this is pretty much the same, so in fact it’s half-assing any attempt to give them depth that’s a problem. Either do it or don’t. There is no try. Honestly, what made them watchable before is the same as now and that’s the charisma that seasoned actors like Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke and Peter Skarsgaard (and movie stars like Chris Pratt and Byung-Hun Lee) bring to it. So if you want to watch good guy movie stars mow down lots of faceless stuntmen—and every action movie ever says you do—then this isn’t the worst way to spend an afternoon. However, if you think an action movie in 2016 should be a bit more sophisticated than a movie made in 1960 then perhaps it’s not.

SOME BULLSHIT RIGHT HERE
Storks opens at number two and when small children in your audience keep making noise when the trailer for your animated movie comes up, then your movie is probably shit. No child anywhere ever went silent for Storks. It looks as unfunny as shit and only makes you count the days before the next Disney or Pixar movie.

SAVING US ALL
Sully is down to number three and its success returns Tom Hanks safely to his perch as “America’s Dad” after a series of misfires and keeps him away from playing Miles Teller’s dad one more day. Unfortunately its success also allows Clint Eastwood to remain safely in his position as “America’s Slightly Racist Sexist Grandfather Who Doesn’t Think He’s a Sexist Racist.”

YOU’RE LUCKY YOU HAD GRAY’S ANATOMY. SERIOUSLY.
Bridget Jones’s Baby is down to number four and while I loves me some Bridget Jones, I’ve never seen or read anything beyond the first book and movie (which are decidedly different but equally entertaining). Ironically, while there was no reason whatsoever for Hugh Grant to be in a sequel, Patrick Dempsey is such a poor replacement you wish they’d bent over backwards to find a way. There’s absolutely no way he’s competition for Colin Firth in anything, anywhere at any time. He is proof positive some people simply do not have the presence to occupy the big screen. Clooney can, Dempsey cannot. It’s just that simple. See you in your new show with a decade-younger wife in the fall of 2017.

AND SO IT BEGINS…
Snowden is down to number four and this signals the official beginning to Oscar-bait season. In other words, I’ll see it only once it’s been nominated by a body I respect (not you Hollywood Foreign Press). I have a firm rule against Oliver Stone so it has to be exceptional to make me break it.

ONCE AN INNOVATOR NOW JUST ANOTHER FACE IN THE CROWD
Blair Witch is down to number six and the movie that not only kicked off the “found footage” horror genre but “viral marketing” is back for another serving. It cost $5M to make and has so far made $15M. Of course if they were really smart they’d have waited until Halloween, but they’ve been out of the fame awhile. Needless to say I didn’t see it as I did not see the first and have only seen one “found footage” movie (Cloverfield) and regretted the shit out of it.

HAVE SOME GODDAMN STANDARDS FOR YOUR SCARY
Ironically, one of Blair Witch’s low-budget horror stepchildren is showing how it’s done in Don’t Breathe, which is down to number seven, but has made a whopping $91M off a paltry $10M budget. That’s fucking ridiculous. What’s wrong with you people!?!

YET ANOTHER REASON TO HATE THIS MOVIE
Suicide Squad is down to number seven showing ridiculous legs even in a weak movie season. So far it’s out-grossed Man of Steel while costing less and is only $12M away from Batman v. Superman’s domestic gross. To repeat: a superhero concept almost no one knows has outgrossed the most famous superhero ever and is gaining on the first ever screen outing of the three most famous superheroes ever. But the greatest sin is that it’s helping to sustain the career of Jai Courtney, aka Sam Worthington 2.0. Proof positive that no matter what Hugh Jackman and Chris Hemsworth have led you to believe, not all Australians are charismatic.

KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS
When The Bough Breaks is down to number nine, but like the other low-budget films on this list that is not the end of the world because it only cost $10M to make and so far has made almost $27M. Sadly I estimated 2o years ago that if you wanted to make Black films keep the costs $8-10M and you’d be okay and nothing has changed. If you’re not Denzel Washington or Will Smith keep it low. Or better yet, just stick to TV where the checks come every week for years like the lead of this, Morris Chestnut, has learned and the female lead, Regina Hall is hoping to learn with that shitty looking TV adaptation of Uncle Buck. Just ask Keenan on Saturday Night Live who has become the new Tim Meadows who did not become the new Eddie Murphy.

A PRETTY PICTURE OF FAILURE
Finally, Kubo & The Two Strings closes out the top ten at number ten and maybe this will teach these guys to stop trying to write their own stuff.

THE MOST WONDERFULEST TIME OF THE YEAR

The new fall season has started and because I love, love, loves me some TV I try to give every new show a shot. I mean unless it stars someone like Kevin James or Tim Allen or that douchey-looking guy from CSI who should have stuck with a sure thing and not let his agent blow smoke up his ass that he was some kinda lead. Especially in a show inspired by fucking Dr. Phil. But it’s on CBS and people who watch CBS will watch any. fucking. thing.

Atlanta: I was never a fan of Community. A little of that show went a long way and the jokes were always a beat or two off from truly being effective in my opinion. But I am a fan of Donald Glover and his music under Childish Gambino after avoiding it for years because of that stupid name. Also, being from Atlanta I had to give it a shot…and it is some good shit. Aside from the fact it’s getting a total pass on FXX for language (yes, the F bomb drops regularly) it’s wonderfully weird for the sheer sake of being weird and indulges in mercifully needed irreverent wit in black-centric TV shows, especially comedy. In a world where Michael Epps works far too much this is needed like oxygen. And the character of Darius is everything for me. He takes the weird sidekick beyond the one-note level of the average weird sidekick.

Designated Survivor: I have to admit this sounds more like the premise of a movie starring Larry the Cable Guy or Adam Sandler than a dramatic show much less a real thing, but it is very much a real thing and while I was just giving the show a cursory look, it hooked the shit out of me. They stacked the deck hard with Keifer Sutherland’s character as the the bleeding heart Housing Secretary (who was actually being fired by the president the day of the terrorist attack) who has to man up for a nation in chaos, but you know he’s going to and you want to see it happen. Even the improbably pretty and painfully thin Maggie Q as a seasoned anti-terrorist FBI agent doesn’t take away from it.

Lethal Weapon: I can’t help but think this is a way of pushing Mel Gibson out of public consciousness once and for all. After all, the first one came out in the 80’s and unlike the superior Die Hard hasn’t really continued into the new century for the kids to know it. At the same time it’s amazing it took this long for them to do it. Back in the old days a successful movie had a TV series based on it the next year, not 30 years later. But Keenan Wayans isn’t complaining. Last time you saw him he was playing his fully adult son’s father on Happy Endings about three years ago (sigh, has it been that long). At one point in his stand up years ago he joked about how his film career vanished. The show is as silly and disconnected from reality as the movies ever were so if you liked them, you’ll probably like this. I never liked the movies and in fact like this a bit better because it doesn’t ask you to take it all that seriously. It’s Bugs Bunny as an action hero and as stupid as it is, maybe a little less stupid than the movies. Certainly less ham-fisted.

The Good Place: Another show that seems more like a movie concept than a sustaining series turned out to have more to it that meets the eye. Kristen Bell is a pretty awful person who mistakenly gets into a neighborhood in heaven, but we learn heaven is far from perfect which is what saves it from being a dull show about her learning a lesson in sharing & caring each week. Not only is its designer, Ted Danson, enormously flawed, but even the other people there are a tad questionable. Best part: the sins and virtues that got people in and kept them out are hysterical as they’re on a point scale. Commissioner of any Sports Organization is a negative but being a devoted Cleveland Browns Fan is a positive. Being a vegan is a positive, but being a vegan who never reveals this unless prompted is even more points.

Better Things: I like all the tiny brunettes in Hollywood and Pamela Aldon is no exception and that she opens the show with her and another tiny brunette, Constance Zimmer, audition for the same role endeared this show to me instantly. The only way it could have been better would be to have Janeane Garafolo also show up. Granted, the world didn’t need yet another behind-the-scenes of the lives of show business people because they aren’t nearly as interesting to us as they think they are, there’s enough here worth watching as it’s just as much about her raising her three daughters and dealing with an English mother who lives across the street. That it’s yet another show that allows celebrities to play obnoxious versions of themselves is another plus. David Duchovny repays his Californication co-star in the third episode.

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THE FRANCHISE REFUSES TO SELF-DESTRUCT

2 Aug

600full-michelle-monaghan 1. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation    Wknd/$ 56.0    Total/$ 56.0
2. Vacation/WB                                          Wknd/$ 14.9    Total/$ 21.2
3. Ant-Man/Disney                                    Wknd/$ 12.6    Total/$ 132.1
4. Minions/Universal                                Wknd/$ 12.2    Total/$ 287.4
5. Pixels/Sony                                             Wknd/$ 10.4    Total/$ 45.6
6. Trainwreck/Universal                           Wknd/$ 9.7      Total/$ 79.7
7. Southpaw/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 7.5       Total/$ 31.6
8. Paper Towns/Fox                                  Wknd/$ 4.6       Total/$ 23.8
9. Inside Out/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 4.5       Total/$ 329.6
10. Jurassic World/Universal                  Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 631.5

FIFTH VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST!
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation opens at number one and this may be the most solid entry in the franchise, even though it’s the fourth time in five movies Ethan Hunt is wanted by his own government. Seriously. In the first, he’s framed by his own boss for betraying and killing his whole team. In the third he’s framed by someone who’s kind of his boss for freeing an international arms dealer that he just caught. In the fourth, he’s framed for blowing up the Kremlin by a Russian general who thinks we need to just have a nuclear and get it over with and humanity will be the better for it. Here he’s not framed but considered a bit crazy because he believes in a super-secret terrorist organization called “The Syndicate” and is being hunted by the CIA which has also shut down the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) and absorbed its people and operations. What’s funny is the way the CIA shuts them down is by pointing out all the crazy shit they’ve done from breaking into Langley in the first film and almost getting San Francisco nuked in the most recent film. So basically CIA Director Alec Baldwin is completely right in saying it’s an agency of chaos. Every film backs it up. Three out of the five films involve either current or ex members of the IMF being behind all the trouble. It reminds me of the scenes from Under Siege where they also question the logic behind employing crazy people and the CIA responds that sane people can’t do the jobs they need to be done. This would apply to Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt who apparently can’t do anything the safe way. It’s actually joked about by the bad guy in MI2 and is briefly alluded to by a young agent at the beginning of this. But if he did things the smart and rational way, what fun would it be to watch? Yeah, he could have taken the two seconds it would taken to put on a motorcycle helmet from the downed bad guy whose bike he takes, but then wouldn’t get what is clearly Tom Cruise barreling down the highway at ridiculous speeds and crazy leaning angles. He’s basically embarrassing the shit out of every other action star working with their sane use of CGI and stunt doubles. But more than that, this is perhaps the best story since the first and I guess after having recycled it so many times the were bound to get it right simply by the law of averages. It’s not saddled with a love story like MI2 (which was basically a remake of Notorious but with guns and motorcycles), the underwhelming action scenes of MI3 (really, a fight with a drone?) or the dampening revelation in MI4 that the bad buy was a good decade senior to Cruise but had not only outfought but outrun him and almost does him in at the end (it was as bad as that wussy French dude giving Bond trouble at the climax of Quantum of Silence). It helps that they finally give him a badass female counterpart who does everything he does without mussing her hair (speaking of Bond, she’s British Secret Service). They give her the all-out action scenes that both Maggie Q and Paula Patton were denied, which is insult to injury given neither one of them was brought back (supposedly they were busy, but who are we kidding?), but all the guys but John Rhys Myers (who should have inherited the franchise had he not self-destructed) and the helicopter pilot from MI2 (whom no one remembers any) were.

IT’S NOTHING I’VE EVER WANTED (GO-GO’S REFERENCE)
Vacation opens at number two and I’ve never seen a single one of these movies and I wasn’t about to start now. I know the first has somehow gained a place of being a near semi-classic 80’s comedy, directed by Harold Ramis and written by John Hughes at near the peak of their powers, but I’m just not feeling it. Maybe it’s just Chevy Chase, but…no, it’s just Chevy Chase. I love Caddyshack and Foul Play, but his very presence is basically a giant warning sign of a bad movie. And guess what? He makes an appearance in this, given this is supposed to be the adult son from the first movie trying to recreate the trip with his own kids (Anthony Michael Hall, you dodged a bullet). I’ve no choice but to stick to my strategy as it has served me well (I ignored it to Hot Tub Time Machine and paid the price). And why would anyone want to recreate that trip anyway? It was a disaster and they should have nothing but horrible, if not traumatic memories of it.

WONDER WOMAN AND BLACK PANTHER MOVIES CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH
Ant Man is down to number three and while it’s nothing but fun there’s a slight bitter taste for me because no one in the production seemed to notice that every single person of color from The Falcon, to Ant-Man’s crew (Michael Pena and TI—yes, TI), to the cop his ex-wife is dating (Bobby Cannavale) is the butt of a joke. Yes, there are jokes about everyone (it’s an action comedy) but everyone else has something else going on. Michael Douglas’ character was a superhero and still is a super-genius and sets everything in motion. Awkward expository dialogue tells us that Paul Rudd’s character went to prison because he attacked a corporation that hurt people, has a Master’s Degree in Engineering and also becomes a super-hero. Even the villain is a genius in his own right, but the Black and Latino characters are all just there to make you laugh. Now, I’m not saying that this was planned, I’m just saying that when it was all said and done no one noticed this. That’s a sad lack of racial sensitivity. It’s the equivalent of movies where all the guys are dreamers and the women are just wet blankets. Not that they get much of a break here either. There’s only one actually involved and while it’s explained that Michael Douglas won’t give his daughter (played by Evangeline Lilly) the suit even though she’s more than capable than Paul Rudd and is already on the inside, because he doesn’t want to lose her the way he lost her mother (she joined Michael Douglas on his adventures), the movie doesn’t give her the motivation to just take the damn thing and do it. If they’re estranged, why is she being the obedient daughter now? The irony being, in the comic this is all based, that’s exactly how the character Paul Rudd is playing gets the suit! He’s not lured; he just takes it to try and save his daughter! We won’t even get in her “You know I’m a no nonsense woman” stupid haircut, because I’ve got friend going off on that somewhere else on the internet.

BUT IT SHOULD STICK TO ADAM SANDLER LIKE FUCKING GLUE
Minions is down to number four, followed Pixels at number five and also in this wreck is Michelle Monaghan (aka Lara Flynn Boyle 2.0), who was “The Young Hot Thing” a few years back, killing it in smaller movies like Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang with a pre-Iron Man Robert Downy Jr, before being bumped up to sharing the screen with Jake Gyllenhaal in one of his few leading man hits, The Source Code. After that she hit solid gold A-list as Tom Cruise’s kidnapped bride-to-be in Mission Impossible 3. But after that…things just seemed to slip away. The smaller films were mediocre and even movie a post-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr and post-Captain America Chris Evans went nowhere. Luckily she was in the highly acclaimed first season of True Detective. Well, lucky until this came out. Hopefully so few people will it see the stench won’t stay with her. You know, like how Zoe Kravitz was in After Earth with Will & Jaden Smith. If anyone had known she might not have had the summer she’s had with Mad Max: Fury Road and Dope.

THEY SHOULD BE FINED IT’S SUCH A WASTE
Trainwreck at number six and while I love Bill Hader and am glad he’s getting some movie success with this it’s still not enough to get me into this, mainly because why the fuck do you hire someone with Bill Hader’s talents and just make him the straight man!?! Anyone good looking meat puppet could have done this and honestly every dude playing a superhero would give a left nut to be in a hit where they aren’t in a costume. Getting Bill Hader to just play a nice, normal guy is like buying a Porsche and never taking it out of first gear. You gotta a redline or don’t bother!

I WOULDN’T SEE IT IF THAT’S ALL IT COST TO GET IN
Southpaw is down to number seven and your first clue this was going to be a mistake was the casting of 50 Cent who has never once made a successful film. Not. Once. Even though he’s made movies with everyone from Robert DeNiro to Bruce Willis. You’ve never heard of them because they went straight to home viewing. Even the movie where he plays himself in a story of his own life tanked. No wonder he’s filing for bankruptcy. Not really. He’s doing that to keep from getting sued of everything he owns because he’s a stupid, vindictive prick and finally going to pay for it.

ALSO: VOICE IN ANIMATED FILM
Paper Towns is down to number eight and starring here as the dream girl is current model-of-the-moment, Cara Delevingne and I hope this is a wonderfully sobering moment for the world at large, because the reason she can play a teenager is because like most models, she’s just a fucking kid. Yes, she’s 23, but in real world terms that would mean she graduated college just last year and high school just 5 years ago. How long have you seen her in stiletto heels and lingerie making come hither stares? Probably longer than that and it’s fucked up. Sorry, I’m still a little bitter over a story about 14-year-old model where the photo showed her in a translucent top. Yeah, she’s six-feet-tall, but that’s still a fucking 14-year-old and I should never ever have seen her nipples. Nor should the rest of the world. Okay, end of rant. I’ll say this for Carla Delevingne, her management is making sure to get her in on every hot movie trend to launch her acting career. This is an adaptation of a Young Adult novel and next year she’ll be in comic book movie: The Suicide Squad. All that’s missing is a “found footage” horror movie.

EXTINCT
Inside Out is down to number nine followed by Jurassic World closing out the top ten at number ten. Thank god. I was totally out of things to say about it.

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LET’S PICK ON JAKE GYLLENHAAL DAY!

27 Jul

jake 1. Ant-Man/Disney                     Wknd/$ 24.8   Total/$ 106.1
2. Pixels/Sony                              Wknd/$ 24.0   Total/$ 24.0
3. Minions/Universal                  Wknd/$ 22.1   Total/$ 261.6
4. Trainwreck/Universal            Wknd/$ 17.3    Total/$ 61.5
5. Southpaw/Weinstein              Wknd/$ 16.5    Total/$ 16.5
6. Paper Towns/Fox                    Wknd/$ 12.5    Total/$ 12.5
7. Inside Out/Disney                   Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 320.3
8. Jurassic World/Universal      Wknd/$ 6.9     Total/$ 623.8
9. Mr. Holmes/RAtt                     Wknd/$ 2.4     Total/$ 85.7
10. Terminator: Genisys/Par      Wknd/$ 5.4     Total/$ 80.6

SEAN CONNERY IS ALWAYS RIGHT
Ant-Man holds at number one and also in this, obviously, is none other than Hollywood Royalty and multiple Oscar winner, Michael Douglas, who finally realized his leading man days were over and wisely hopped onto the Marvel money train. I know it seems obvious and easy, but judging by the Jason Stathams of the world who laugh at it and the Wesley Snipes who are trying to get into it despite having inadvertently launched it with Blade (they are 48 and 52, respectively) it’s not. In fact, Douglas was still trying to play the dude who could get women 18 to 80 up until ’09, in Solitary Man, where he played a guy who bangs his younger girlfriend’s daughter while escorting her to her freshman year of college. But even then he’d at least begun sowing the seeds of this because in the same year he played almost a parody of that role in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, as the player uncle who taught Matthew McConughey’s character all he knew. This what I call “The Sean Connery Rule” wherein once you reach a certain age you have to bring in a hotter, younger actor to carry the weight. And even Connery didn’t always get it right. Lawrence Fishburne in Just Cause and Christian Slater in In the Name of the Rose didn’t do much for him. Neither did Mark Harmon in The Presidio. But those were wiped clean by Nicholas Cage in The Rock, Kevin Costner in The Untouchables, Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October, Wesley Snipes in Rising Sun and even Lorraine Bracco in Medicine Man. So the commercial success of Ant-Man and the critical success of Behind the Candelabra more than wipes the slate clean of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Shia Lebouf. Not to mention the character he plays is part of the foundation of the Marvel Universe. In the comics he’s one of the founding members of The Avengers, playing the role of not just Ant-Man but reversing the effect and becoming, Giant Man/Goliath and also Yellowjacket (who here is the villain). He’s also the actual creator of Ultron. Yes, the antagonist of the recent Avengers sequel. There’s an opening scene here that makes him part of the SHIELD braintrust alongside Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, so he’s also tied to both Iron Man and Captain America now. Pretty sure Douglas isn’t going to hesitate signing any multi-picture deals.

THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES AND SHITS HIMSELF
Pixels opens at number two to some of the most scathing reviews you’ll ever see and given this is Adam Sandler, that’s saying something. Like how much Skyfall sucks and like Bill Cosby being a piece of shit, this is something that I felt was obvious long ago but only now are others seemingly waking up to it. Adam Sandler has been a lazy-ass comedian from day one and the more money he makes the lazier he gets. Low-hanging fruit from day one, never trying harder. Only now when it has reached a toxic level do people finally seem to recognize this. This is based on a short film where video games come to life and attack NYC, pixelating everything they touch eventually taking the entire planet. The creator of that got a cool million, which is why the only thing he can say is “They could have done it better,” and even that may cost him. Honestly, this was done to perfection in an 8 minute sequence on Futurama years ago. That’s all anyone ever need see. Certainly not Adam Sandler’s, old, unfunny, rich, bored ass.

LET ME KNOW WHEN THEY MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT OLD SINGLE GEEKS
Minions is down to number three, followed by Trainwreck at number four and I don’t care how many of my friends love it I’m not seeing this. Yes, it does say something that they are single women in NYC, but that two-hour running time remains bullshit.

OR IS IT ROCKY 6 THIS IS REMAKING?
SouthPaw opens at number four and I loves me some Rachel McAdams, but I’m not going to watch a movie where she dies in the first 15 minutes so I can watch Jake Gyllenhaal struggle with it. It looks like cliché central in this thing and honestly, if I want to watch a white fantasy about boxing, I’ll watch Rocky. I mean, there’s a wizened, older black man there to guide him. What’s sad about this is that if Rachel McAdams had lived I’d probably have seen this remake of Rocky III to watch her do her Talia Shire impression. Jake Gyllenhaal is about to run out of both youth and chances soon. He simply has the worst taste in big mainstream films. Prince of Persia, Love & Other Drugs, Prisoners…all mainstream studio films and all crap. His indie work, however, End of Watch and Nightcrawler seems to be stellar (I burned out on indie long ago so I can only relay what I’ve heard), so it seems like he’s taking the big paychecks to pay for those. Well, those movies have to succeed, chief, and this seems like yet another disappointment headed your way. Time to get on that Marvel gravy train if you want to continue with your small work. But if you’re gonna do it, do it. Don’t pretend you want a big A-list movie with integrity then do Prisoners or Love & Other Drugs. Be honest and just do Transformers 5. No one will blame you.

NOT THAT I’M BITTER AND FILLED WITH SELF-LOATHING OR ANYTHING
Paper Towns opens at number six and it’s finally happened: I’m just too old for another brainy-geek-teen-in-love-with-exceptionally-pretty-girl story. Yes, this one is a tad different because the basic story is that she’s not some happy cheerleader, but a tad troubled and when she vanishes he goes looking for her. But still, he’s only looking for her because she’s pretty. That she’s portrayed by model-of-the-moment Carla Delevingne does not help. The only thing that could put me off more would be one of the Jenner sisters. Shame too, because you know they thought getting her would bring people in.

MAYBE IT’S A PLOT BY SPIELBERG TO MAKE SURE HIS IS ALWAYS THE BEST ONE
Inside Out is down to number seven followed by Jurassic World at number eight and this has made over a billion worldwide. Over $600M in the US and $900M overseas. This is great for Chris Pratt and Spielberg and Universal, but sad for anyone who wants good movies because this was an entertaining piece of crap. The kind of crap Jake Gyllenhaal needs to be a part of. Every legitimate piece of criticism now falls on deaf ears so you can expect the next one, already scheduled for 2018, to suck equally.

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
Mr. Holmes actually rises to number nine and this is how you do it, Jake. Not one, but two big franchises (Lord of the Rings and X-Men) which allows Ian McKellan to get funding for movies like these, which turn around and are unexpectedly more successful than anticipated. Probably a few award noms for McKellan coming down the pike as well. And apparently this is a universe where Sherlock Holmes is world famous and appears in movies. Yes, they include the Basil Rathbone series in the film. That alone makes it a guarantee that I will see it…eventually.

CONAN MAY BE YOUR LAST CHANCE
Finally, Terminator Genisys closes out the top ten at number ten and Arnold’s comeback has proven to be anything but. And this was the go-t0-no-way-it-could-fail-endorsed-by-James-Cameron-vehicle. Why did the equally bad Jurassic World succeed while this failed? Well, for one it has a simpler concept: monsters on the loose. Terminator movies have a simple one as well but they forgot it. It’s supposed to be unstoppable killing machine after someone, but they tried to get cute by merging John Connor with the machine and he’s honestly not trying to kill them. There’s another Terminator in the movie that is initially chasing them, but honestly I can’t tell you what happens to him. There’s even a third one and I can’t tell you what happens to her either (she’s played by Sandrine Holt…and not that I think about it, both the forgotten Terminators are Asian). It’s that bad. And Arnold once touched on the appeal of The Terminator himself: the machine does whatever it wants anywhere it wants. That never occurs here. He’s trying to blend in, so if you’re looking for him to kick the shit out of people much less a bunch of cops like he did in the three successful films look elsewhere. So clearly there’s an anti-establishment aspect to the character that they’ve overlooked…in addition to logic and proper casting.

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SO WONDERFULLY ADEQUATE!

20 Jul

Flash-Gordon-flash-gordon-poster 1. Ant-Man/Disney                    Wknd/$ 58.0    Total/$ 58.0
2. Minions/Universal                Wknd/$ 50.2    Total/$ 216.7
3. Trainwreck/Universal           Wknd/$ 30.2    Total/$ 30.2
5. Jurassic World/Universal    Wknd/$ 11.4     Total/$ 611.2
4. Inside Out/Disney                  Wknd/$ 11.7    Total/$ 306.4
6. Terminator: Genisys/Par      Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 80.6
8. The Gallows/WB                     Wknd/$ 4.0     Total/$ 18.0
7. Magic Mike XXL/WB             Wknd/$ 4.5      Total/$ 58.6
9. Ted 2/Universal                      Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 77.5
10. Mr. Holmes/RAtt                  Wknd/$ 2.5     Total/$ 2.5

DECENT THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES
Ant-Man opens at number one and Marvel clearly has formula to make a superhero hit movie. The problem is the formula is getting a little stale and it’s not simply because it’s a matter of having seen it all before so much as their need now to control everything. The original writer/director of this was Edgar Wright and he started even before Iron Man was made, but in taking so long, an industry crept up around him and he was asked to conform to it and could not or would not. Can’t say as I fault him much. Having to use chunks of my movies to promote other movies would have annoyed me too. Both of the Thor movies sit at the bottom of my list of the Marvel work, because basically they seem to exist only to set up a later Marvel movie and are not films unto themselves (Iron Man 2 is the very bottom because it does that and it sucks). Captain America and Avengers Age of Ultron also suffer from this. But what’s oddly ironic is that, while clearly part of the Marvel movie universe, Ant-Man isn’t sacrificed for it, so Wright may have walked for no reason in the end beyond less creative control, which is still an issue because this needed a little more creativity. Don’t get me wrong: it’s still a fun movie. Entertaining from start to finish. It’s just lacking that extra element to make it above merely competent. In a weird way, it’s almost a superhero remake of The Mark of Zorro with Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas with its wise mentor, estranged fiery daughter, and ex-con hero seeking redemption. Michael Douglas as we learn throughout the course of the film was the original Ant-Man, out being a superhero for SHIELD back in the day (where we see Iron Man’s dad and Captain America’s girlfriend, Peggy Carter) when personal tragedy forced him to quit and take his super-shrinking technology with him. Now his former assistant has figured it out on his own and wants to sell tiny superpowered soldiers to the world and is willing to kill anyone who stands in his way. To stop him, Douglas tricks the fresh-out-of-prison cat burglar Paul Rudd into stealing the Ant-Man suit to test him, much to the annoyance of Douglas’ estranged daughter, Evangeline Lilly, who is pretending to be loyal to the former assistant, but wants to put it on herself and do the job. Aside from the by-the-numbers filmmaking a big problem her is the villain. Your hero can only be as good as he is and Corey Stoll lacks the weight of a Jeff Bridges (Iron Man) or a Hugo Weaving (Captain America) or even the voice of James Spader (Avengers: Age of Ultron). There’s supposed to be a type of father-son dynamic between Stoll and Douglas, but we only know because they tell us. They don’t give it any real depth. Similarly the estrangement between Douglas and his daughter is saucer deep and the revelation of the reasons behind it handled about as well as an episode of Gray’s Anatomy. There’s no reason he’s only telling her now with Paul Rudd around how her mother died a superhero in her own right and not previously in the 25 years beforehand. Especially when it relates to why they have to stop the bad guy. He could still refuse to let her wear the suit, which would more than justify the animosity. They were simply lazy about it. And that’s basically what this film is: fun but lazy in its execution. Rudd is the most charismatic lead they’ve had since Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man and if they’d risen to meet him they would have had the best Marvel film since Iron Man, which I still regard as the best.

NOW YOU’RE LUCKY JUST TO HAVE HIM
Minions is down to number two and lending her voice to this is Sandra Bullock and like most A-listers who do animated films this is just for the fun of it. She doesn’t need it and can show it to her kid. As a matter of fact, most of the “name” voices are clearly just here for the fun of it, not needing any kind of cheap career boost. Okay, maybe when they were making it two years ago Michael Keaton might have needed it, but now he’s another legitimate star alongside Allison Janney, Steve Carell and Jon Hamm.

SOMEWHERE WHITNEY CUMMINGS IS WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED?
Trainwreck opens at number three and if you’ve doubted this is the “Summer of Women” at the movies, this should shut that door soundly. Not only does it put Amy Schumer firmly in the top echelon of comedy stars (she also wrote it), but it exceeded expectations. And don’t think there weren’t many hoping she’d fail as she has reached a saturation point. I can take or leave Amy Schumer. I think her stand up is good, marred only by her ventures into race (her bullshit non-apology “I’m a comedian so it’s okay” doesn’t help) and the show borders on brilliance at times, so I might have seen this…until I saw the 2-hour running time. What. The. Fuck? This is not a 2-hour concept. Party girl meets boy, party girl loses boy and party girl gets boy back is a 90-minute concept at best and a cast filled with pretty much everyone with a day off still doesn’t give me faith that they fill it the way they managed to do with 40-Year-Old Virgin. Unfortunately Judd Apatow is the director and he’s got a problem cutting himself. All his movies are too long but he’s now too powerful for anyone to make him do it. I suspect some needless maudlin melodrama that has no place in a movie about a guy with a giant dick.

NO CRAP MOVIE BUT WHAT YOU MAKE
Inside Out is down to number four, followed by Jurassic World at number five and Terminator Genisys at number six and rounding out the bad performances in this is Jason Clarke giving the worst John Connor portrayal ever. Granted the crappy script gave him nothing to work with, but if you’d been burdened from birth with the knowledge you’d save all humanity, you might at least show a little wear and tear on your soul. As the trailers give away, John Connor is possessed by Skynet, making him into a “terminator” in his own right. Yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds and you just know they thought they were being clever, but if Skynet could do this, why wasn’t it doing it all along to all the humans? Why build detectable machines, when you can possess undetectable humans? Also the script ignores that John Connor doesn’t want to kill his parents, but wants them to join him, which means he’s in there somewhere and isn’t just a machine. A better movie would have explored the idea that Skynet may have him, but he also has Skynet. But this is not a better movie.

THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR SELF HATRED
Magic Mike XXL is down to number seven and adding the aforementioned minority quotient to the movie are Jada Pinkett, Donald Glover, Michael Strahan and Stephen “Twitch” Boss who, like Channing Tatum has a “Step Up” movie or two under his belt. Jada Pinkett plays the ex-girlfriend and ex-boss of Channing Tatum who runs her own strip club, though it’s more of a house women come to. Boss, Strahan and Donald Glover all work there. Granted Strahan has the body, but seriously? We couldn’t find anyone better looking? I know for a fact Shemar Moore ain’t that busy and Will Smith could a have used a hit, so maybe Jada should have brought him along. And I’m sorry but, Donald Glover? He looks like Stripper Smurf next to all the others and no woman is paying for that. You pay for the fantasy you can’t have, not the geek you can have anytime he comes up from IT to fix your computer. No, I’m not projecting my own self-loathing! Why do you ask!?!

THE DEFINITION OF TRIVIA(L)
The Gallows is down to number eight and also in this is the daughter of Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford….Yeah, I still don’t care.

FLASH! NO-OOOOOO!
Ted 2 is down to number nine and once again Sam Jones returns because of Seth McFarland’s love of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. Okay, now we have to put an end once and for all that this was a good movie that was simply misunderstood for being campy when Star Wars and Star Trek were being serious. It’s. Just. Bad. Even as a camp film it fails. Just because you’re campy doesn’t mean you still don’t have a responsibility to tell the story as if it were straight. It was directed by Lorenzo Semple Jr who to no surprise directed the 1966 Batman TV show. Like many directors, the limitations of television worked for him in a way the freedom of film did not. Not to mention he had Dino DeLaurentis to deal with and it’s typical of Europeans to insist that fantastic concepts cannot be taken seriously (the producers of Superman tried to make that campy all the way down to having Superman grab Telly Savalas because he mistakes him for Lex Luthor). So that’s two strikes with the third being a flat out untalented lead actor in Sam Jones. The best things about it were Max Van Sydow as Ming, Ornella Muti as Princess Aura and of course that amazing Queen soundtrack. Otherwise it’s crap and we need to stop seeing it through the easily impressed eyes of an 8-year-old who knows no better. There’s a six minute edited version of the movie on YouTube whose brevity not improves the movie immeasurably, it also shows how much it sucks by how much can be cut without being missed.

ELEMENTARY MY DEAR…UH, WHAT WAS YOUR NAME AGAIN?
Mr. Holmes closes out the top ten and yes, this is about Sherlock Holmes in the twilight of his years, Watson long dead, trying to solve a case as his mental facilities deteriorate. Ian McKellan plays Holmes and while I’d love to see it, honestly I’m two seasons behind on both Sherlock Holmes series (Elementary and Sherlock) that I was watching, so this will have to get in line.

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FOOL ME THRICE AND I’LL COME TO YOUR HOUSE

13 Jul

emilia-clarke-gq-apr-pr-photo-shoot-843592646 1. Minions/Universal                    Wknd/$ 115.2   Total/$ 115.2
2. Jurassic World/Universal       Wknd/$ 18.1     Total/$ 590.6
3. Inside Out/Disney                     Wknd/$ 17.1     Total/$ 283.6
4. Terminator: Genisys/Par        Wknd/$ 13.7     Total/$ 68.7
5. The Gallows/WB                       Wknd/$ 10.0    Total/$ 10.0
6. Magic Mike XXL/WB               Wknd/$ 9.6      Total/$ 48.4
7. Ted 2/Universal                         Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 71.6
8. Self/Less/Focus                         Wknd/$ 5.3      Total/$ 5.4
9. Baahuball: The Beginning       Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 3.6
10. Max/WB                                    Wknd/$ 3.4      Total/$ 33.7

FOR I AM A CABLE WHORE
The Minons take the number one spot, which should come as no surprise to anyone as they were the only things about the Despicable Me movies worth watching. Ironically, I opted not to see this because I’d been tricked into seeing those mediocre films because of The Minions and am still a little pissed. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Well, then this should be perfect for you, right? You know, like The Penguins of Madagascar, which you did see?” WRONG! Too little, too late! And The Penguins always had a dark, funny edge that The Minions never did. Not to mention Madagascar 3 is great, so my experience with Madagascar was 50% (I have not, nor will I ever see the number two). My experience with The Minions, however, has been 100% movies I regret wasting my time on. It wasn’t going to happen again…at least until it’s on cable in a year. I’ll watch damn near anything on cable…except Madagascar 2.

THE DINOSAURS REPRESENT THE PENIS…
Jurassic World is down to number two and in an otherwise enjoyable, bad movie there’s a particularly brutal an innocuous female character which means the actress either turned down the producer or the director for a date or one of them was dumped just before the film was made. Seriously, you can’t pretend people don’t die for reasons in a monster movie. It’s usually always for a point. Either a pretense at randomness to prove that no one is safe, even the innocent—which is bullshit because there always are safe and the “innocent” who dies was only there for that reason—or heroic sacrifice or most often as punishment. In Jurassic Park the lawyer, Newman and even the big game hunter are punished for cowardice, avarice and arrogance, respectively (Samuel J. Jackson’s character doesn’t count because his death was offscreen). Similarly in The Lost World the poor driver dies horribly in the while saving them in a very faux “random” way to make you think no one is safe when you know there’s no fucking way in the world Jeff Goldblum or his daughter are going to die. After that it’s straight up punishment left and right for avarice and arrogance. Here, the CEO dies for his arrogance and the bad guy for his avarice, while you know the children won’t be touched and Chris Pratt and Byrce Dallas Howard have to survive to kiss at the end. You could say the her assistant died to show that no one was safe, but unlike the driver in Lost World, she wasn’t onscreen enough to become attached to even though it’s hinted she’s the only friend Bryce Dallas Howard had (not that she shows the slightest concern for her missing assistant). Nor is she doing a good deed for a touch of ironic cruelty. The longest, ugliest death in the Jurassic Park franchise for no real reason…unless you go back to last week’s theory that this movie is self-satirical and the scene was mocking the whole “no one is safe” conceit. Nah, some dickweed just didn’t get any and vented it onscreen.

LIKE A MAN!
Inside Out is down to number three and I’m just counting the days until I can buy this fucker and cry freely in my own home.

IT ALSO MAKES HER RELATIONSHIP WITH KYLE REESE LOOK CREEPY
Terminator: Genisys is down to four and while Jurassic World is fun bad, this is just bad-bad. Even Terminator: Salvation had one action sequence worth watching. This doesn’t even have that. I don’t watch Game of Thrones, so Emilia Clarke is more or less new to me and to my eye I’m watching the teen adventures of Sara Connor. I know she’s an adult, but she looks 15 and I can’t believe no one thought this might not be a problem. Not to mention after being attacked by a Terminator and being informed there was a holocaust coming, Sarah Connor turned herself into a lean, mean fighting machine by the time Terminator 2 rolled around. Here, Sarah’s known since she was a child what was coming and doesn’t look like she could manage push up. There’s not even a cheap thrill watching a beautiful woman with a big gun because you’re just wondering how she could even pick it up.

DAD COULDN’T TEACH HIM CHEMISTRY, BUT AT LEAST HE’S ALIVE
The Gallows opens at number five and given how often found footage horror films basically turn a profit in the their opening weekend it’s no surprise they keep trying, but hopefully this will fail miserably by their blatant attempt to start a franchise. Jason, Freddy and Michael were not planned horror franchises. You can’t “make” that happen, but greed isn’t listening so here you have them trying to create a franchise around “Charlie” a ghost who hangs people at the high school. Yeah, see things that are really scary can’t be avoided simply by home schooling.

IF I WERE A STRIPPER MY STAGE NAME WOULD BE WILLIAM E. GOAT
Magic Mike XXL is surprisingly down to number six which makes me think it’s suffering from whatever made Mad Max: Thunder Road underperform. And by that I mean out-of-shape dudes with small dicks. I mean granted, it only cost $15M to make and has already tripled that, but first made almost that much its opening weekend and made over $100M domestically which is the money that matters. What really makes this surprising is that they’ve clearly gone out of their way to open up the audience. And by that I mean, black people. Seriously, the movie basically stops to show you that there are also bruthas stripping for sistas. In an odd way it’s brutally honestly about the segregation that exists in certain areas, specifically sexuality. A bunch blonde sorority girls probably don’t want to see Julian St. Jox swinging his dick onstage (are you old enough to get that Eddie Murphy joke) or the management assumes they don’t. Either way everyone knows there are black strip clubs and white strip clubs and while there may be a sista or two in a white club, the male equivalent rarely happens. At best, like the first movie showed, you’ll get a Latin lover. I’m not even sure where Asian women go, but if there’s a third (an international competition, Magic Mike: World Cup and I’ve copywritten that idea) maybe we’ll get guy whose stage name is…Long Dong. You know you want it!

NEW AGENT…OR MANAGER…OR BOTH
Speaking of underperforming sequels, Ted 2 is down to number seven and all these superhero franchises running around and this is where Morgan Freeman is picking up easy paychecks!?! Bear in mind (no pun intended) he turned down the brilliant joke in This Is The End where when all the characters die and go to heaven, he’s God and has been all along. Wouldn’t do that, but did this. And of the two big budget science fiction movies Tom Cruise made in two years (Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow), he was in the bad one (Oblivion).

EVEN THAT TV SHOW WITH THE PIZZA PLACE WAS AWFUL
Self/Less opens at number eight and when are people going to realize that Ryan Reynolds cannot carry a movie? It’s funny to think he and Bradley Cooper were not only up for the same roles at one point but were going to make a movie together. Now he’s the anti-Bradley Cooper. No Oscar nomination and no hits. What’s funny—and by that I mean sad—is that he’s talking about how he’s not going to do another superhero movie after Deadpool. Like a) he’s done a single good one and b) that’s gonna be some kind of massive hit that he’s even going to have a choice. Bear in mind this was done at the same time Hugh Jackman was announcing he’s done playing Wolverine after the next film. You know, another success story with Oscar nominations. Time to face it dude: you peaked cinematically at Van Wilder.

DESI MYSTERY
Baahubali: The Beginning opens at number nine with an almost 3-hour running time. What is it about? Who knows? It’s so under the radar IMDB only has nine films on it’s Top Ten Weekend Box Office as a result. Judging by the name one can take an educated guess that another one of those Indian films that pops up from time to time. I care only a little more than IMDB, but not enough to even look it up.

BECAUSE I CAN RELATE EVERYTHING TO A COMIC BOOK
Finally, Max closes out the top ten at number ten and this is from writer/director Boaz Yakin whose resume as a writer includes movies like Prince of Persia, Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, The Punisher and the surprise hit Now You See Me (the one about the magicians who steal money). As a director it’s stuff like Remember The Titans, Uptown Girls and Safe with Jason Statham (which I actually think was one of Statham’s better films). As you can see it’s basically a mid-level director. It’s a far cry from 20 years ago when indie was hot and he debuted with Fresh. But it makes me happy that he never got to do the Batman Beyond movie, which would have been based on the animated series. It’s set in a future where Bruce Wayne is too old, so recruits a kid to take over for him. Where’s Dick Grayson? Well, he left to find his own way and give Bruce boned Barbara Gordon after that you can be sure he wasn’t coming back. Barbara later went on to become a cop and is now commissioner and doesn’t like a new Batman, because apparently she doesn’t understand irony. Yeah, it’s best this guy not be trying to translate that to the big screen.

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