Tag Archives: Christoph Waltz

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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BOO! VAGINAS!

18 Jul

Alexander-Skarsgard-The-Legend-Of-Tarzan-New
1. The Secret Life of Pets/Universal        Wknd/$ 50.6     Total/$ 203.1
2. Ghostbusters/Sony                                Wknd/$ 46.0     Total/$ 46.0
3. The Legend of Tarzan/WB                   Wknd/$ 11.1       Total/$ 103.1
4. Finding Dory/Disney                             Wknd/$ 11.0      Total/$ 445.5
5. Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates     Wknd/$ 7.5        Total/$ 31.3
6. The Purge: Election Year/Universal   Wknd/$ 6.1        Total/$ 71.0
7. Central Intelligence/WB                        Wknd/$ 5.3       Total/$ 117.5
8. The Infiltrator/BG                                  Wknd/$ 5.3       Total/$ 6.7
9. BFG/Disney                                             Wknd/$ 3.7        Total/$ 47.3
10. Independence Day 2/Fox                    Wknd/$ 3.5       Total/$ 98.5

IT’S TWO HOURS OF SLEEPING AND BALL LICKING
The Secret Life of Pets holds at number one and I had zero interest in seeing this movie when the jokes in the trailer seemed so…conventional, but I am clearly alone in this. Yeah, it’s summer and seemingly damn near anything that can keep your out-of-school kids occupied for two hours can make a dollar if you’re even the least bit competent, but it’s gotten some decent reviews as well. So, maybe on cable in 18 months. Maybe. I mean that damn movie about blue parrots is on cable now too, but I still won’t watch it.

UNLIKE THEIR REAL LIVES, THIS IS FILLED WITH WOMEN
Ghostbusters: It’s Chicks Now opens at number two and the lonely, neckbeards who kicked and screamed and stomped their feet over this remake are undoubtedly cheering for it missing the number one slow. I don’t know why. It’s still a solid opening with some decent reviews so it’s not a failure creatively or financially. Well, the latter still remains to be seen, but I think it’ll be okay. Not to mention, to be perfectly the original Ghostbusters wasn’t that goddamn great. It wasn’t and you’re either lying or only saw it as a child the first time. It’s a solid “B” which unfortunately came from three guys who’d made “A” comedies around the same time. Harold Ramis and Bill Murray both had Stripes and Dan Akroyd had Trading Places and even Sigourney Weaver would have Working Girl by the end of the decade. But I have to admit this is not better than the original. It lacks the focus in both storytelling and character and fails to make the most of its reservoir of comedic talent. Not to mention the very New York attitude of the original is sorely missing. I mean, you’ve got a problem when the funniest person is Chris Hemsworth, who is not successful because of his comedic chops. He not only gets to play the rock dumb receptionist but also the villain when his body is possessed but even that is undercut by an omission of a potentially great comedic sequence and just using it to accompany the credits (seriously, don’t leave until the lights come up). It’s a B- remake of a movie that was a B+ on its best day. Not to mention if Ghostbusters was so fucking sacred to you, then Ghostbusters 2 was more fucking sacrilegious to you than this could ever be as it just flat out remade the first and poorly. The best thing about it was the Bobby Brown song…which itself was a remake of his “Don’t Be Cruel.”

WHICH SIDE YOUR BREAD IS BUTTERED, GENIUS!?!
The Legend of Tarzan is down to number three and I meant to see this but then I read Alexander Skarsgard say in an interview that he doesn’t get to wear the loincloth even though he had in fact campaigned for it. And I get it. You don’t put on twenty pounds of muscle to play an ironic hero then get told you can’t wear the iconic clothing. That the director failed that basic bit of common sense to have Tarzan in his famous garb, not to mention the obvious commercial aspect of Alexander Skarsgard in a fucking loincloth let me know that maybe, just maybe his common sense failed in a lot of other areas as well. It looks something that’s probably most enjoyable at home while clothed in one’s own loincloth like garment.

WOMEN WHO TALK DIRTY
Finding Dory is down to number four followed by Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates at five and once again, Zac Efron gives the finger to playing to his looks and goes straight for the crude “R” rated dollar. Back with him is his Bad Grandpa costar, Aubrey Plaza, but also dipping a toe into the dirty pool this time is none other than Anna Kendrick who brings along her Pitch Perfect costar, Adam Devine. Everybody’s taking a trip to the dark side it seems. I’ve never seen a single one of Zac Efron’s movies and nothing about the way this looked threatened to change that, but I am hoping one day to give an Aubrey Plaza movie my money. I do like her and she’s even more fearless as Efron in her choice of comedic roles (check out The To Do List on cable).

LIKE IT COULD BE ANYMORE RIDICULOUS THAN REALITY
The Purge: Election Year is down to number six, but do not fear. At $70M from a $10M budget, this series isn’t going anywhere any time soon, even though the plot of this film has to do with getting rid of the titular occurrence. And even though it’s made serious loot, you know the producers wish they’d had an inkling of what the political situation would be so they could incorporate it into the film itself. The best they could do was to add “Make America Great Again” into the ad campaign.

TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT, BUT CAN CARRY THE OCCASIONAL FILM
Central Intelligence is down to number seven and Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart continue their streak of neither being able to carry a film themselves but to pair up with someone who can help them. It’s like two half-stars making a single star, rather than a film with two actual stars, like the similar Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.

GROWN UPS TAKE THE SUMMER OFF TOO
The Infiltrator opens at number eight and this is what we call “counter programming” kids. Every summer someone tries to release a serious drama in the middle of summer convinced that adults would be dying for release from the neverending series of big budget action, science fiction and kids movies. They are almost always wrong. Look for this to probably get a brief re-release in the fall to generate some awards notice. I mean it is Bryan Cranston in a “based on a true story.” It would have to be a total dumpster fire not to. Ooh. Only 66% on Rotten Tomatoes? Ouch. Methinks I smell smelly smoke. And poor Benjamin Bratt. To be so pretty yet still have to play the roles that Latino actors have to play. This is yet another drug dealer for him. At least go back to playing cops, dude. Or get a sitcom. ABC has a black family comedy and an Asian family comedy. Be the dad in their Latino family comedy!

YOU SHOULD HAVE DIRECTED THE STAR WARS MOVIE AND EVERYBODY KNOWS IT
The BFG is down to number nine and I can’t help but enjoy this failure because not only is it Steven Spielberg, not only is it his first film with Disney, but it’s in the middle of summer on top of it! Once upon a time that would have been a license to print money, but here it’s one. big. flop. And did I mention it’s also based on a well-known children’s book? That means it had a built-in audience and still couldn’t get it done. Their first mistake was to keep that acronym title instead of going with Big Friendly Giant, as for the last 20 years BFG means one thing in popular culture: Big Fucking Gun from the Doom video game. Not really conducive with a children’s film. I can’t wait to see who Spielberg will blame for this and he will blame everyone but himself.

FUCK THIS GUY
My other piece of extraordinary schadenfreude is the tanking of Independence Day Resurgence. Fuck Roland Emmerich and the horse he rode in on. This asshole took women and minorities out of Stonewall (which also flopped) and later claimed it was a white male movement, then for this he brought back everyone who’d come back—including a character who fucking died in the first one—but neglected to bring back the president’s daughter, played by Mae Whitman and instead replaced her with someone more traditionally pretty (i.e., thin and blonde). His excuse was that she wouldn’t come in and read for the role. I’m not kidding. He wanted her to come in and read for her own damn role, when the real reason it most likely he didn’t think she was pretty enough to be the love interest for Liam Hemsworth. You think he asked Bill Pullman or Jeff Goldblum to read for their roles? Of course not. Bear in mind, of all the returning cast members not a single one of them was the lead in a successful theatrical film in the last decade (even Liam Hemsworth has only been a supporting player in successful films, never the lead). You know who has been? Mae Whitman, who was the star of The Duff. Not a $100M blockbuster, but it made 4x its freaking budget and she was the sole and unquestioned star. Not to mention she’s been on Parenthood for the last couple of years. To sum up, he’s an asshole and this bombed domestically and critically. Yeah, it’s making money overseas, but it won’t be enough as Warcraft just proved which made even more, but still is a failure and won’t have sequels like Emmerich hoped for this. The weird thing is the third idea actually sounded interesting: the earth invades the alien world. But again, fuck this guy.

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A DINOSAUR AND HIS PET BOY

30 Nov

michael_b_jordan_main 1. The Hunger Games Mockingjay 2      Wknd/$ 51.6     Total/$ 198.3
2. The Good Dinosaur/Disney                Wknd/$ 39.2     Total/$ 55.6
3. Creed/WB                                               Wknd/$ 30.1     Total/$ 42.6
4. Spectre/Sony                                          Wknd/$ 12.8     Total/$ 176.1
5. The Peanuts Movie/Fox                       Wknd/$ 9.2       Total/$ 116.8
6. The Night Before/Sony                         Wknd/$ 8.2      Total/$ 24.1
7. The Secret in Their Eyes/STX            Wknd/$ 4.5        Total/$ 14.0
8. Spotlight/ORF                                       Wknd/$ 4.5        Total/$ 12.3
9. Brooklyn/FoxSearchlight                    Wknd/$ 3.8        Total/$ 7.3
10. The Martian/Fox                                 Wknd/$ 3.3        Total/$ 218.6

TO WHICH HARRISON FORD RESPONDS, “IT’LL NEVER END.”
The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part II: The Cash Grab Everyone Learned From Harry Potter About Splitting Books holds at number one and you think Jennifer Lawrence just joined the club that Daniel Radcliff and Kristen Stewart started called “Not That I’m Ungrateful, But Thank God It’s Over?” And somewhere Rooney Mara is part of a much, much, much larger club called “It Never Even Got Started.”

IT’S ACTUALLY A JURASSIC WORLD…BUT MUCH, MUCH BETTER
The Good Dinosaur opens at number two and two original Pixar movies in a row!?! In the same year!?! And both of them good!?! Hell, Christmas may have just been taken care of. This is the story of a boy and his dinosaur. Wait. Scratch that. It’s a dinosaur and his boy who is basically a dog. And in case you didn’t get it from the sniffing, the howling and the life on all fours, his name is “Spot.” Set on a world where the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs misses so prehistoric man actually shares the planet with dinosaurs, but in a decided non-Jurassic Park way. Mankind is not only not the top of the food chain, but are so low they aren’t even considered a primary food source by the T-Rexes that later show up. They’re considered “critters” little more than squirrels and annoying in the way they eat the crop the Apatosaurus clan is trying to grow and store for the winter. Because he’s the smallest and can’t farm like his brother and sister, Arlo has the responsibility of a) feeding the scary prehistoric turkeys (why they’re keeping them if they’re vegetarians is unexplained) and b) trapping and killing the “critter” who’s been eating their stored crops. When Arlo instead frees the small boy, his father insists they track him and finish him which leads to the required Disney “Death of a Parent” in a storm that causes the river to flood. It’s hardly a spoiler as I don’t think you’re allowed to make a film associated with Disney without it. It’s probably half the reason they bought Marvel to begin with. From Spider-Man to Captain America to Iron Man to Thor to…shit all of them have at least one dead parent if not both (and in Spider-Man’s case two dead parents and the death of a father figure). Blaming the little human they were tracking instead of his father’s own stubborn nature, Arlo chases him and gets caught in a storm similar to the one that killed his father and both are washed away miles from Arlo’s home. This is when Arlo finds out Spot—as he names him—has bonded with him because Arlo spared his life and they begin a Journey of Natty Gann type of return to his home, where Arlo of course learns to overcome the fears that have plagued him his entire life. It’s not A+ perfect Pixar like a Finding Nemo or The Incredibles or Up, but it’s a solid A and thankfully not a freaking sequel.

AKA ROCKY 7. YEAH, 7
Creed opens at number three and making a seventh film in the Rocky saga sounds like a horrible money-grubbing idea…until you hand it over to an acclaimed indie film director and cut Sylvester Stallone completely out of the creative process. While I thought the last film, Rocky Balboa, was actually a nice little movie with probably the best Stallone performance since the first film (only surpassed by this one), the rest all suffered from Stallone’s total control but limited talents, much in the same way the inspired idea of The Expendables has died so quickly. Stallone’s reach (aka, his ego) continually exceeds his grasp. Ryan Coogler, however, who made the much-acclaimed Fruitvale Station a few years back, is only interested in making a good movie, not feeding his ego and reteamed with his leading man, Michael B. Jordan, that’s exactly what he does. Nothing is new here, but there are no new stories, only how you retell the old ones and the old ones are all retold here very well. Seriously, the main plot is one of a son living in the shadow of his father, topped off with him being a bastard was born after his father died. It doesn’t get more cliché than that…at least until the older mentor develops cancer. Like I said, very few clichés are left unturned. But again, it’s about the execution. The film is over two hours, but it never seems to drag and even the old Rocky theme is dragged out and updated to maximum effect.

STRIKE TWO
Spectre is down to number four and if you need any greater clue to how incompetent this film is, know they wasted Christoph Waltz, which I thought was impossible. First they waste Monica Bellucci in what is little more than a glorified cameo—seriously, Teri Hatcher had a more important role in Tomorrow Never Dies and she gets killed—and then Christoph Waltz as the villain is pissed away which is a horrible mistake as most action films tend to only be as good as their villains.

IT’S NOT ENOUGH THAT I LOSE WEIGHT, BUT THAT OTHERS GET FATTER
The Peanuts Movie is down to number five, followed by The Night Before at number six and yes, Thanksgiving does officially open the doors for the Christmas Season, but this still feels too soon. That said, Seth Rogen’s participation basically means an automatic pass for me and there’s precious little to change that opinion. Yeah, I like Lizzy Caplan, but not that much. In fact, the best thing about this for me was seeing the three leads on Lip Sync Battle, where we got to see how flabby Anthony Mackie is currently. Yes, schadenfruede is how I roll. Now and always.

AIN’T NO PRETTY WOMAN TO ME
Speaking of movies I give an automatic pass to, The Secret in Their Eyes is down to number seven and this stars Julia Roberts and I’ve been an anti-fan since Pretty Woman. I’ve never understood her popularity much less her success or any indication of talent. She’s a movie star like Tom Cruise is movie star. Neither is an actor. It’s a shame because there are two good actors in this: Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor. They’re actually capable of being other people in films. Roberts, not so much.

MOVIES I SWEAR I’LL SEE, BUT PROBABLY NEVER WILL
Spotlight holds at number eight and this is another for the “Oscar Bait” list, which is getting longer every day. So far it’s Steve Jobs, Bridge of Spies, Trumbo and Room. And hell, since we’re making a list, let’s just throw the number nine entry, Brooklyn, on it. Based on the novel about an Irish immigrant girl in 1950’s Brooklyn it looks freaking gorgeous and has garnered great reviews but I’ve got cartoon and sequels to see. I’ll get to it one day (maybe never).

NEED THAT FUNNY MONEY
The Martian holds at number ten and also in this is Kristen Wiig, who needed a hit more than you know. Seriously. It’s been awhile since Bridesmaids and while it’s great she’s been putting herself out there with dramatic indie work (always remember: brave = naked when it comes to female actors) lending her name to get smaller films made, that means about as much as good intentions. She needs to be in something that makes money. Hopefully, next time she’ll be the actual star.

END OF THE LINE
Okay, there are no more new TV shows (until the mid-winter replacement season), but there are at least two more to mention…

Agent X: Seemed like a decent enough concept. The Vice President actually has a freaking job beyond going to funerals and that job is deploy a one man task force (charming and wisecracking of course) to handle threats totally off the books and beyond political affiliations and this has been in place since the founding of the country. Also, the VP is none other than Sharon Stone, rocking pantsuits and knee-high boots in modest skirts. Seemed pleasant enough for light Sunday night viewing. I rag on shit like Quantico, but I get why people like it for the same reason I like Blood & Oil, which airs right before it. Dumb fun. Unfortunately, Agent X lost me when it decided that it was going to have a serialized subplot about a conspiracy within the government. Just…no. I wanted light “one-and-done” episodes along the line of Burn Notice with maybe a reoccurring villain (which the plot set up). This conspiracy was not only a buzzkill, but doubled down it by making Sharon Stone’s late hubby on the show an adulterer and maybe the car crash that killed him wasn’t an accident. Yawn.

Into the Badlands: Now this is what I’m talking about. Set in a dystopic future where a feudal system has evolved and there are no guns so martial arts and swordfights (which is technically a martial art but a lot of people don’t get this) are how people settle their business. So basically, every Sunday I get mucho buttkicking in the best way possible. Of course our hero, Sunny, is the best fighter of them all, but is working for an evil baron who only becomes moreso once he learns a tumor is killing him. Our Sunny’s only hope is a teenaged boy from a mythical city beyond The Badlands. It seems Sunny may have been born there as well, but cannot remember. The boy can lead him to the city, but to do so they must go…INTO THE BADLANDS. Oh, did I mention the boy has some kind of power that manifests itself whenever he bleeds and another evil baron known as “The Widow” is after him for it? Unlike Agent X that addition only makes the show more interesting. It’s probably science but if it’s magic I’m down with that too. The fight scenes are so well done, you’d never know the lead actor isn’t even a martial artist. Can’t say that about every show (I’m looking at you, Arrow). And do I even have to say it? An Asian dude as the lead. Yeah, he’s doing martial arts, but sadly it still means something. Especially when they a) actually give him a love interest and b) she’s not Asian.

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