Tag Archives: Christopher Watlz

FAILING LIKE A BOSS

1 Dec

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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HE WORE A BLAZING SADDLE

6 Jan

jaaf

1. Texas Chainsaw 3D/LGF                        Wknd/$  23.0           Total/$   23.0

2. Django Unchained/Weinstein             Wknd/$  20.1            Total/$ 106.4

3. The Hobbit/WB                                       Wknd/$  17.5            Total/$ 263.8

4. Les Miserables/Universal                      Wknd/$  16.1            Total/$ 103.6

5. Parental Guidance/Fox                          Wknd/$  10.1            Total/$   52.8

6. Jack Reacher/Paramount                      Wknd/$   9.3            Total/$   64.8

7. This Is 40/Universal                               Wknd/$   8.6            Total/$   54.5

8. Lincoln/Touchstone                               Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$  143.9

9. The Guilt Trip/Paramount                    Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$    31.2

10.Promised Land/Focus                            Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$     4.6

GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT

Texas Chainsaw 3D opens at number one and while January and August are traditionally the dumping ground for films the studios are contractually obligated to release, this could have been released at any time and probably would have done as well. This franchise is 40 years old and sadly shows no signs of stopping, though 3D is always a sign that they’re pretty much out of ideas…not that they really had any beyond, “This guy with a chainsaw slaughters a bunch of people.” But apparently that’s all they need.

BLAZING SADDLES PART TWO!

Django Unchained holds at number two and now that I’ve finally seen it my reaction is…what’s the big deal?  Clearly the people getting upset over it (i.e., Spike Lee) are unaware of a period known as “the 70’s” which this is a clear homage to like many of Tarantino’s films (this along with Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds could honestly be seen as a homage trilogy of 70’s exploitation flicks, with Django and Inglorious Basterds having been actual films).  This is positively enlightened compared to films like Mandingo and Drum.  Spike Lee’s problem is Tarantino’s seeming love affair with the “N word” which is legitimate as Tarantino he is one of those people who wants the ultimate “cool pass” of being able to say it with impunity to show “he’s down.”  Tarantino has made claim in interviews how he should be able to say it as he’s been down like a black man understands what it’s like which is an utterly ridiculous and offensive statement.  I don’t care how much Samuel L. Jackson likes you.  However, either by accident or design Tarantino has finally made a film wherein the use of the word is entirely appropriate and its absence would honestly be ridiculous so Lee’s grandstanding sense of propriety is out of place.  If Abraham Lincoln himself is on record for using it, what exactly do you think the men who ran plantations used?  It’s like being offended by a film wherein Nazis referred to Jews in derogatory language while herding them into the gas chambers.  A sadistic plantation overseer isn’t going to refer to a slave as “African American” while he sets dogs on him (which does happen in this film).  That said, it’s not much more than a straight up exploitation flick  though better written and with a sense of humor that the originals were sorely lacking.  The scene where a mob gathers to go after Django could have been dropped into Blazing Saddles without changing a word.  There is no higher praise.  And Christopher Waltz continues to single-handedly justify Tarantino’s existence, once again utterly stealing one of his films on charm alone.

SOMEWHERE LINDSAY LOHAN WONDERS WHY

The Hobbit is down to number three, followed by Les Miserables at number four and also in this is Amanda Seyfried, who is basically making her way through long running Broadway musicals, the first being Mama Mia.  You know she’s regretting her star didn’t ascend before they made Phantom of the Opera and Chicago.  You know the producers of the former are definitely regretting it.  They only had Emily Rossum as the female lead.  They also had Gerald Butler but it was before anyone gave a crap about him. Oh, and they let Joel Schumacher direct.  So yeah, they’ve got a lot of regrets.

COME ON, TOM! GIVE HIM ANOTHER SHOT!

Parental Guidance is down to number four and from the looks of the commercials and the trailers you wouldn’t guess that the kids in the film have two parents, but the dad is played by Tom “wasn’t he supposed to be a star” Everett and so is beneath notice or even simple acknowledgement.  It’s quite a fall from when he was handpicked by Tom Hanks to basically play a young Tom Hanks in the underrated That Thing You Do. It tanked and not even being in a movie produced and starring Spielberg’s wife could save him (Kate Capshaw in The Love Letter).  He was perfect for almost every “nice young guy” role he played but none of them took and now he’s aged out of them into thankless dad roles.

INVASION OF THE ROLE SNATCHERS

Jack Reacher is down to number five and also in this is Alexia Fast. Don’t worry, you’re not supposed to know her and honestly the only thing really notable about her role as the doomed, dumb girl is that she’s practically a clone of Jessica Alba who is now a mother twice over and apparently out of the “young hottie” business and roles like these.  It’s a tad disturbing that they’re got someone to fill her exact slot if needed.  Just like that blonde girl songwriter on Nashville looks just like a young Kirsten Dunst.  Of course what I want is for people like this to play siblings instead trying to convince me Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette are related.

SPOILERS IF A FILM LIKE THIS CAN HAVE THEM

This Is 40 is down to number six and also in this is Megan Fox and if you think Judd Apatow has gotten any better in regards to women just because he’s executive producing the TV show “girls” know that she’s playing a literal whore here.  I mean what else could she be?  She’s young, hot and utterly out of reach of guys like Apatow so of  course she has to play a prostitute.  I suppose we should be grateful she’s not predatory and out to take Paul Rudd from Leslie Mann. But that could never happen as Paul Rudd is an actually attractive man in an Apatow film…which is why she ends up with Jason Segel as the most unlikely physical trainer ever to walk the earth. Pretty sure trainers are supposed to be in shape.

BABY, I’M A STAR

Lincoln is down to number seven and also in this is Walton Goggins, who is best known for playing Boyd Crowder on Justified.  He’s also in Django Unchained, which is a nice bookend in regards to films concerning slavery. Here, he’s a congressman whose vote is sought out to abolish slavery.  In Django Unchained…it’s a tad different.  Seriously different.  Still, he’s got two films in the top ten with two of Hollywood’s biggest directors. Drinks are on him!

THE FILM EQUIVALENT OF VEGETABLES

Finally, The Promised Land enters the top ten at number ten and this reunites Matt Damon and director Gus Van Sant, complete with Damon and his co-star (in this case John Krasinski) having their fingerprints on the script.  It’s deadly serious about big business energy concerns in small town America.  In other words, I’ll be seeing Hansel & Gretel before I see this.