Tag Archives: Clint Eastwood

THE AFFLECK IDENTITY

17 Oct

emily-blunt-c-magazine-april-2016-cover-photoshoot02
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

m7
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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EVERYBODY LOVES A CHICK FIGHT. EVERY. BODY.

13 Apr

chickfight
1. Furious 7/Universal Wknd/$ 60.6 Total/$ 252.5
2. Home/Fox Wknd/$ 19.0 Total/$ 129.6
3. The Longest Ride/Fox Wknd/$ 13.5 Total/$ 13.5
4. Get Hard/WB Wknd/$ 8.6 Total/$ 71.2
5. Cinderella/Disney Wknd/$ 7.2 Total/$ 180.8
6. The Divergent Series: Insurgent Wknd/$ 6.9 Total/$ 114.8
7. Woman in Gold/Weinstein Wknd/$ 5.9 Total/$ 9.3
8. It Follows/RTWC Wknd/$ 2.0 Total/$ 11.8
9. Danny Collins/BST Wknd/$ 1.6 Total/$ 2.5
10. While We’re Young/A24 Wknd/$ 1.4 Total/$ 1.4

CHICK FIGHT!
Furious 7 holds at number 1 and in addition to Tony Jaa the other martial artist in this is MMA Champion, Ronda Rousey. Like Jaa she has to pretend that her opponent wouldn’t be toast in 30 seconds. Just as Paul Walker’s character suddenly became a master of hand-to-hand combat, Michelle Rodriguez’s character also developed martial skills. Not only does she take on Rousey, but a team of female Arab bodyguards before that. And in the previous installment she took on Gina Carano. But like Carano and Tony Jaa and Bruce Lee before her Rousey clearly made it part of her deal that she wasn’t going to lose in a straight-on fight to some actor. Yes, Jaa loses, but not because Walker punches him out or anything. Similarly, Rousey’s fight with Rodriguez ends in a draw, which is good, because if my eyes had rolled back any further in my head I’d have seen my own brainstem. But don’t get me wrong. I am perverse enough to enjoy a good chick fight and I’m not alone considering this was twice as long as the Carano fight. Though the fact they were in evening gowns is clearly someone else’s fetish. Seriously, you just know that’s his kink because he views it as some kind of clever irony. It’s not.

HE HAS HIS OWN SUPER POWER: PANTY DROPPING
Home holds at number two, followed by The Longest Ride opening at number one and the most notable thing about this is that the male lead is Scott Eastwood. Yes, it’s his son, if you couldn’t tell simply by looking at him. Now I will give him credit for at least attempting a career without using his famous name (he used his mother’s surname), but he quickly realized that it’s stupid not to use every advantage you have. Especially when you actually like your dad unlike say, Angelina Jolie Voight. But let’s face it, if a name really did anything for you, Tyrone Power Jr. would have been a giant star, as would Jennifer Grant (yes, Cary Grant’s daughter). And do we have to once again bring up the sad story of the other son of Kirk Douglas who was an actor? Not everyone can be Jeff and Beau Bridges either. Needless to say the simple fact it’s based on a Nicholas Sparks novel guarantees this a place on the crap list, but I’ll never know because I will never, ever see it. In fact, I’m still angry I was tricked into seeing The Notebook (and by “tricked” I mean a really pretty girl I knew named Jennifer wanted to see it). But being in one has never hurt a career if you’re young (Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Miley Cyrus, Amand Seyfried), so it’s a smart move on his part. Another smart move is getting into a comic book movie. Learning that he’s going to play Steve Trevor actually made me interested in a Wonder Woman movie for the first time.

IT’S AN ABOMINATION
Get Hard is down to number four, followed by Cinderella at number five and yes, they are making live action versions of everything now, including Winnie The Pooh and Dumbo. Now, Pinocchio I get, because that has been made into live action features before, but Winnie The Pooh and Dumbo? Why!?! Simply because CGI means you can doesn’t mean you should. May god have mercy on their money grubbing souls…which they clearly gave up long ago.

NOW BEST KNOWN AS A NAME IN AN EMINEM SONG…
The Divergent Series: Insurgent is down to number six and let’s rundown the adult cast in this thing: Oscar winner Kate Winslet, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, two time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Maggie Q, Tony Goldwyn, Daniel Dae Kim and Mekhi Phifer. Remember when he played the male lead to Beyonce in MTV’s version of Carmen? Me neither. Though judging by his size on House of Lies last season, brutha hasn’t missed many meals.

IT’S THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
The Woman in Gold holds at number seven and also in this is…Katie Holmes? Well, it makes sense given this is little more than a TV movie that escaped into theaters, though the smart move would have been to be an adult in one of the YA novel film adaptations. I also recommend taking that “hot mom” role on a TV show. After all, it’s where you began. Dawson and Pacey have already accepted their small screen fates. Time to join them, Joey.

HOLDING MY WUSSY GROUND
It Follows is down to number eight and yes, I still refuse to see this.

IMAGINE IF THE LETTER HAD BEEN “YOU SUCK. QUIT NOW.”
Entering the top ten at number nine is Danny Collins, which is based on the true story of a folk singer to whom John Lennon once wrote a letter of encouragement, but since no one really gives a crap about a folk singer, the movie makes it a rock singer and if you’re having trouble seeing Al Pacino as an aging rock singer, come sit right next to me. Yes, he was the same age as John Lennon, but still it doesn’t seem to fit. That said, the movie follows this fictional character who like the real life folk singer never received the letter until 40 years later and it makes him reevaluate his life. Honestly, though I still don’t give a crap about folk singing, I’m more interested in how the real life guy handled it, not this clichéd story of about a man trying to re-connect with the son he’s basically ignored for almost 40 years. Not helping is that his growth is also indicated by him dumping his 20-something girlfriend and becoming more interested in the older manager of the hotel where he’s staying, played by Annette Benning. Pacino is 74. Benning is 56. That’s not age appropriate. Not even close. God forbid you give an actress his age a job. Last I heard Julie Christie is still working. How about giving her some fucking work?

OLD PEOPLE NEED MORE SLEEP
Speaking of age appropriate casting, Ben Stiller is forced to submit to it in While We’re Young, entering the top ten at number ten, since age is kinda the focus of the movie. It’s about two 40-somethings played by Stiller and Naomi Watts (two movies in the top ten this week) who reevaluate their lives after striking up a friendship with two 20-somethings, played by Amana Seyfried and the actor, Adam Driver, who plays Hanna’s creepy boyfriend, Adam, on Girls. This is from writer/director, Noah Baumbach (whom I’ve loved since Kicking & Screaming) who’s banging a 20-something in real life while getting divorced from Jennifer Jason Leigh so like most of his work it’s drawn from his real life. I’m not going to say what’s keeping me from seeing this is because it strikes a little too close to home (not the banging a 20-something part), because it’s not. I’m just lazy. That’s the real reason.

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SAD, IRONIC OR BOTH?

20 Jan

chris-hemsworth-768
1. American Sniper/Warner                              Wknd/$ 89.5   Total/$ 92.9
2. The Wedding Ringer/SGems                       Wknd/$ 20.6   Total/$ 20.6
3. Paddington/Weinstein                                  Wknd/$ 19.0   Total/$ 19.0
4. Taken 3/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 63.4
5. Selma/Paramount                                           Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 26.4
6. The Imitation Game/Weinstein                   Wknd/$ 6.8    Total/$ 50.4
7. Into the Woods/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 6.8    Total/$ 114.5
8. The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies             Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 244.6
9. Unbroken/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 4.2     Total/$ 108.5
10. Blackhat/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 3.8

WHY CAN’T IT BE BOTH?
I don’t know if it’s sad or ironic or that on MLK Day weekend the number one film is about a sniper. A holiday for a champion of non-violence and opposer of the Vietnam War who was killed by a sniper’s bullet and America goes to see the movie about the most lethal sniper in US history. Goes to prove the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity as the veracity of the sniper’s claims are being questioned, especially when claimed he and a buddy killed over two dozen Americans during the flood of New Orleans and once punched out Jesse Ventura in a bar. There’s absolutely no proof of the first and Ventura just won almost $2M in a defamation suit against the late sniper’s estate (in more irony the sniper himself was killed by another vet at a shooting range). It’s nominated for a few Oscars so I guess I’ll have to see it, but given it’s Clint Eastwood directing I’m in no great rush. You know how far too many directors are all style and no substance? No one will ever accuse Eastwood of that. “Laconic” is the term most often used to describe his “style.” I prefer “dry as fucking toast.” Just as too much of a spice can kill a dish none at all can leave it equally unappetizing. I mean if you’re going to go that way why not simply make a documentary?

GET IT? HE’S LITTLE
The Wedding Ringer opens at number two and Kevin Hart isn’t just striking the iron while it’s hot, he beating down into pennies with this onslaught on the theaters of America. But can you blame him? Being the hot comedian of the moment has a shelf life of the average fruit fly. Remember Dane Cook’s moment? Granted Kevin Hart is actually funny, something that Cook was unburdened with, but these movies look as generic as anything he put out. And you know any moment now he’s probably going to make the mistake they all make and attempt to be the lead in a romantic comedy, not realizing no one wants to see him kiss anyone. I gave this a pass, as I will all his films, because like Jack Black and others before him, he’s a sidekick, not a lead. A little goes a long way. Yes, that’s a deliberate play on words.

OR THE CLASSIC “GO, DOG! GO!”
Paddington opens at number three and I never read the books so we’re done here. When they make a movie about Richard Scary’s work I’ll be front and center.

ALSO MOMMY DRINKS BECAUSE YOU CRY
Taken 3 is down to number four and what kind of life can his daughter have after this? Her best friend and her mother were both murdered because of a trip she took to Europe. If she just went to Cabo like everyone else none of this ever happens. Then again, Liam Neeson shut down a European sex slavery ring as a result saving untold numbers of girls so I guess there’s a greater good to look at.

THE ACADEMY DIDN’T SEE SO WHY SHOULD YOU, RIGHT?
Selma is down to number five and this actually lives up to the hype. Very few films do, but this is like Lincoln in how it shows a particular moment behind an historical event and gets “warts and all” with it being honest about the fact the goal was to beaten up in front of the cameras to show the honesty of racism. Also it means bringing up MLK’s infidelities and how J. Edgar Hoover tried to destroy him with them. While some have found fault with a less-than-favorable portrayal of LBJ, it’s par the course for historical drama. To cite Lincoln again, that film completely falsified his viewpoint on Black people. He didn’t believe in slavery, but he didn’t believe in an integrated society either. He was going ship every Black person back to Africa. I question both decisions in films that are seemingly afraid of showing that great men are still just flawed human beings. But honestly how the hell do you not go see a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. on his holiday weekend!?! He’s the reason you’ve got three days and you can’t spare two hours!?! Bet you saw freaking Lincoln on President’s Day weekend, ya sorry muthafuckas.

MODERATION WAS NEVER HIS STRONG SUIT
The Imitation Game is down to number six, followed by Into The Woods at number seven and also in this is Johnny Depp. And this isn’t as surprising as you might think when you remember that he was in the underrated Sweeny Todd. Also, Depp was in a band before his big TV break. Oh, and then there’s Cry Baby from John Waters so Depp is no stranger to the musical, which makes sense given they’re over-the-top which is where he likes it.

HONESTLY, HITCHCOCK COULDN’T MAKE TYPING ON A COMPUTER SUSPENSEFUL
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is down to number eight, followed by Unbroken at number nine and finally Blackhat opens at number ten which may be too good for it. Initially I was surprised to see a Michael Mann film opening in January, which is the dumping ground for the studios because he’s a major league director, but then again he cast Chris Hemsworth as a hacker which is your first clue things are not quite right. That actually surpasses previous ridiculous hacker castings such as Hugh Jackman, Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock. And what do three out of those four have in common? They get topless (Bullock’s the prude). In fact, Hemsworth surpasses the shirtless screentime of Jackman, Jolie and both Thor movies. The film stumbles right out of the gate as Mann, undaunted by previous failures to make the inner working of a computer seem interesting gives it his shot as we watch path of electronic impulses that make their way though a system and cause the failure of a nuclear power plant in China. It’s even more boring than I make it sound. Do you know what the difference between this and Selma? There is actual levity in Selma. Even when dealing with life and death issues and the future of a nation, humans still find humor to make it through. Not so with Michael Mann. I don’t think there’s been a deliberate attempt at a laugh since Pacino messing with Hank Azaria in Heat 20 years ago. This is no exception. This painful somberness forces you to take the film completely and utterly seriously, which I suspect is Man’s, but winds up as its undoing when ridiculous things happen, starting with the FBI, which put Hemsworth in prison for hacking not knowing his college roommate is the same guy who handles China’s cyberterroism problem who comes over to work on the case with them. They know everything about him, except that piece of information, which should have been glaring. Then there’s the SWAT team that doesn’t notice the claymore clearly on the walls of the tunnels they’re chasing the bad guys through. Finally, there’s the matter of the characters who might as well have countdown clocks over their heads like that horrible Nickleback video. You know they’re going to die and die they do, which is a problem when they’re all more interesting than the main character. While I like that Mann is unlike other directors and not wasting his time bitching the loss of film and just jumping right into digital, he loves to shoot at night which is not a friend to it. Either get more lights or let it go because pixelated and grainy are not a good film style. The final nail in the coffin has to be when Mann pays homage to himself by having Hemsworth all but quote a William Petersen line from the great Manhunter. It’s not good to remind us you were once better than this.

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FOR EVERY MICHAEL DOUGLAS THERE’S AN ERIC DOUGLAS

3 Nov

ap
1. Nightcrawler/ORF                                             Wknd/$ 10.9   Total/$ 10.9
2. Quija/Universal                                                  Wknd/$ 10.9  Total/$ 35.0
3. Fury/Sony                                                            Wknd/$ 9.1     Total/$ 60.4
4. Gone Girl/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 136.6
5. The Book of Life/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 8.3    Total/$ 40.5
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                                       Wknd/$ 7.8    Total/$ 19.5
7. John Wick/LG-S                                                 Wknd/$ 8.1     Total/$ 27.6
8. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney               Wknd/$ 6.5     Total/$ 53.6
9. The Judge/WB                                                    Wknd/$ 4.4     Total/$ 39.6
10. Dracula Untold/Universal                              Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 52.9

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE X-MAN EITHER
Nightcrawler opens at number one, no doubt as a result of some slightly intoxicated Halloween moviegoers who kept wondering when the monster was going to show up. Not that kind of Nightcrawler, kids. While I’m not entirely put off by the premise of a bottom-feeding video journalist who trolls the LA night for crime stories and gets caught up in one, two things put me off: 1) I could care less about Jake Gyllenhaal. Seriously, a different leading man and maybe I make the time. And 2) I seriously could care less about LA. Once again, you set this in San Francisco a real city, one worth seeing at night and again, maybe I make the time. Yes, I know. I’m as fickle as hell.

SHAME ON YOU, REDUX!
Quija is down to number two and once again, America, you should be ashamed. And I’ll shame you again when the sequel comes out as this only cost $5M to make and has now made almost $35M.

MAKE MY DAY…BY MAKING MY SON A STAR
Fury holds at number three and also in this is Scott Eastwood. Yes, son of Clint. May his career turn out a little better than that of his sister, Allison Eastwood, who peaked with a horrible southern accent in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, also directed by dad. He did her no favors with that one. Scott also started working for dad, but under the name of Scott Reeves. Yeah, kid. It may seem honorable, but life is hard enough. If you’re letting your dad give you a job you might as well use name. Otherwise you’re just half-assing it. Take Martha Plimpton for example. She’s a fucking Carradine, but you don’t see her using that name.

YEAH THAT TITLE WAS ALL-TOO-ACCURATE FOR SOME
Gone Girl is down to number four and also in this and unrecognizable as an adult is Patrick Fugit, the kid journalist from “almost famous.” While his starring role clearly didn’t lead to bigger and better things, he’s one of the few from that cast in a movie of this caliber. In fact, let’s play a little “Where Are They Now?” Kate Hudson clearly went on to waste her moment at the “Hot Young Thing” on increasingly vapid romantic comedies and was last seen playing Zach Braff’s wife in another of his vanity projects that his dumb fans actually paid for (while he works on Broadway). Frances McDormand is awesome and is probably awesome on her new HBO series that I will never see. Jason Lee of course had My Name is Earl and is clearly looking for a new series as it didn’t have the syndication success like the godawful crapfests of How I Met Your Mother or Big Bang Theory. Zooey Deschanel obviously has New Girl though never became a big screen star because that eccentric cutesy thing is annoying. Anna Paquin had the two-fer of The X-Men and True Blood, while Fairuza Balk needs to get the band back together and make that Craft sequel if she wants people to care about her again. Billy Crudup has stayed on the big screen in A-list movies though in supporting roles, while doing stage work, indie films and leaving his wife for Clair Danes (who’s now married to someone else). And we know what happened to poor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hey, did you remember that Jimmy Fallon was in it too?

ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN SCARLETT JOHANNSON
The Book of Life is down to number five, followed by John Wick at number six and also in this is Adrienne Palicki as a hit woman with no code of honor who comes after John Wick on a place where even the criminals don’t shed blood. She’s also currently on Agents of SHIELD as Mockingbird, whom geeks like me know eventually marries Hawkeye (they were clearly Marvel’s answer to Green Arrow and Black Canary). And before this she was in the never-aired Wonder Woman pilot and the G.I. Joe sequel. She was also briefly teased as being Supergirl on Smallville, but turned out to be a human who just thought she was Superman’s cousin. With this resume, she looks to be on the fast track to being an action hero in her own right which I’d welcome as she’s 5’11.” Action heroes should be bigger than life.

YES, HE’S ONE OF THOSE GETTYS
St. Vincent is down to number seven followed by Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day and The Judge at number nine, and also in this is Balthazar Getty. Remember him? Exactly.

THE REST OF THE WORLD SUCKS JUST AS MUCH
Finally, Dracula Untold holds onto the ten slot for one more week, but now that Halloween is over that reprieve is pretty much over. But this thing made $136M overseas so remember that when people tell you Americans have no taste.

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR PART 2

Madame Secretary
You know how you wanted a combination of The Good Wife and Scandal? No? Well, someone clearly thought you did. As a rule, I avoid any show where a rule-breaker gets a position that no rule breaker could ever get. You don’t rise to the top of any established position “playing by your own rules.” At best that means you undo your tie after 5:00, so as much as I like Tea Leoni (third redhead of a certain age to get her own show after The Mysteries of Laura and Bad Judge) I was somewhat skeptical of this, but I gave it a shot and the commercials made it seem much worse than it is. It’s not a bad show, but it’s still The Good Wife mixed in with a little Scandal and I haven’t watched The Good Wife in three years and I can’t bear Scandal, though to its credit Scandal realizes you can’t really take stories about conspiracies in Washington DC seriously. Madame Secretary lost any chance of me returning when we find out at the end of the first episode the previous secretary of state was not only murdered, but his entire flight brought down just to kill him…which was a point of discussion on Arrow last week. Yeah. This is what they want me to take seriously.

Marry Me
This is from the creators of Happy Endings and starring one of its actors. So, how much like it is this show? About the same. And oddly that’s why I can’t watch it. It reminds me too much of the show that I lost. It’s like trying to date your dead girlfriend’s sister. Let me put it this way: remember Derrick, the flamboyantly gay guy Max introduced Penny to? He appears on this show. Yeah.

Jane The Virgin
In the tradition of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Cougar Town a great show has been cursed with a horrible title. Let me put it this way: even though it got great reviews I still was not going to watch this until my baby sister insisted. It’s basically a spoof of a soap opera, complete with an omniscient narrator, constant flashbacks and onscreen texts telling you what people are thinking. Jane is traumatized by her grandmother (and her mother giving birth to Jane at 16) into hanging onto her virginity, hence the surprise when what should have been a simple pap smear result in her being artificially inseminated by a doctor who was distracted by the fact that her wife had cheated on her. The intended recipient of the sperm was in fact the doctor’s sister-in-law as her husband (the doctor’s brother) was now sterile due to cancer treatments. The same cancer treatments that reformed him from a bad boy into the responsible manager of a hotel…where Jane works. Oh, and five years ago she and the hotel manager kissed. And the wife was only trying to get pregnant to keep her marriage going until the terms of her pre-nup were satisfied. Did I mention the owner of the hotel is the father of the doctor and hotel manager and that his wife is the doctor’s former lover? It’s so much fun and only been on a month so catching up is easy. Do it!

Constantine
Yes, this is the same character from the movie with Keanu Reeves, which was basically Constantine in name only, with little resemblance to the character, starting with him being a barely moral Englishman constantly in a dirty raincoat who battles demons by being nearly as mean as them himself, willing to do whatever it takes to win, even sacrificing the innocent. It was a serviceable enough pilot though I admit if he weren’t a comic book character I was familiar with I probably wouldn’t be watching. I don’t watch Supernatural or Grimm because they just insulted my intelligence off the bat (every demon lives in freaking Portland!?!). This was better than that, but still not really drawing me in with the “monster of the week” format. It needs to have something more, which will hopefully be tied to the greater DC Comics Universe. I don’t mean a crossover with Arrow, but there are a lot of supernatural characters and if they’re going to show up (we’ve already seen the helmet of Dr. Fate) I’ll hang around.

The Flash
Needless to say I love it. It already started off better than Arrow because it had the advantage of being spun off of that show and learning from its mistakes. It successfully translates the comic to the screen in a way that attracts new viewers but satisfies geeks like me. THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE FUCKING GORILLA GRODD ON THE SHOW! GORRILA GRODD!

Mulaney
My god. One of the worst shows you will ever see. Imagine a 10-year-old boy watching Seinfeld then growing up to being a comedian himself then trying to recreate it. Well drop that in shit and you’ll have this show.

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TOUGH GUYS DON’T DIRECT MUSICALS

22 Jun

Weaver_Sigourney_041

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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