Tag Archives: Die Hard

IT’S FALLEN AND CAN’T GET UP

30 Jun

This_World

 1. Monsters University/Disney           Wknd/$  46.2            Total/$ 171.0

 2. The Heat/Fox                                     Wknd/$  40.0           Total/$  40.0

 3. World War Z/Paramount                Wknd/$  29.8            Total/$ 123.7

 4. White House Down/Sony                Wknd/$  25.7            Total/$  25.7

 5. Man of Steel/Warners                       Wknd/$  20.8           Total/$ 248.7

 6. This Is The End/Sony                       Wknd/$   8.7             Total/$  74.7

 7. Now You See Me/LGF                       Wknd/$   5.5             Total/$ 104.7

 8. Fast & Furious 6/Universal              Wknd/$   2.4            Total/$ 233.3

 9. Star Trek Into Darkness/Par            Wknd/$   3.0            Total/$ 216.6

10. The Internship/Fox                           Wknd?$   1.4             Total/$  41.7

 

IT’LL BE DIFFERENT EXCEPT WHEN IT’S THE SAME

Monsters University holds onto the number one slot and Pixar announced that their new strategy is one year an original film, then the following year a sequel to an original film and so on and so on.  So yeah, the golden age of Pixar pretty much ended how it started: with Toy Story. Number one kicked it off and number three was its beautiful closer. Since then it’s been lesser efforts (Brave) and sequels like Cars 2 and this one, which honestly I prefer to the original, but that’s only because Monsters, Inc. wasn’t one of their A-list films to begin with.  I won’t lie: I’m dying to see Finding Dorry, but I could have lived with just Finding Nemo, which is my absolute favorite Pixar film and proof that not including animated features in the Best Picture category at the Oscars is just Hollywood protecting its own ass, because Pixar would have owned it for years.  No one and I mean not even Pixar itself was hot on a Cars sequel, but the merchandising just made so much money they basically had to, which is sad and that was the beginning of the end. Again, I’ll see an Incredibles sequel, but Ratatouille 2: This Time It’s Roaches is going to have a hard time finding an audience.

 

GLORIA STEINEM WILL UNDERSTAND

The Heat opens strong at number two and while the feminist in me is delighted to see a female led film doing well in the summer where dudes are failing (yes, I’m still laughing at the failure of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) I personally gave it a pass, because I so hated the original, unfunny trailers even though the final batch of commercials contained some genuinely funny moments. Too little, too late.  Oh, and I don’t like Sandra Bullock to begin with so there was that hurdle to overcome and they didn’t get it done.

 

SORRY, GEORGE A. ROMERO, BUT THAT’S HOW I FEEL

World War Z is down to number three and one of my all time favorite science fiction films is The Andromeda Strain, which is basically about scientists trying to fight an alien invasion…of a virus.  Yep, no ships or monsters, just virus from space that wipes out a small town leaving only an infant and an old man alive and they race against the clock to find out how to beat it.  This is why I enjoyed World War Z because it is to zombie movies what that was to alien invasion movies.  I don’t want to call it a “thinking man’s” zombie movie, because it’s still plenty dumb (civilization is collapsing but somehow everyone still has power) but it’s not your typical game of “10 Little Indians” with zombies picking off a group of people one by one.  Ironically, I could still give a crap about The Walking Dead.

 

YEP, IT’S DOWN AGAIN

White House Down opens at a disappointing number three and I honestly don’t understand why. It’s no worse than your average Hollywood action film and certainly better than anything Michael Bay does, not to mention the latest Die Hard movie.  Of course we have to compare this to Olympus Has Fallen, the first “Die Hard In The White House” movie released earlier this year.  It’s better in some ways and worse in others.  Better because the villain is not some evil minority from a nation we could defeat in our sleep and that we’re mercifully spared having to watch the hero’s backstory. Worse in that even without having to watch the hero’s backstory it’s still over two hours long and Roland Emmerich is a shitty director, while Antoine Fuqua knows how to make an action flick.  This follows the Die Hard formula more closely in that Channing Tatum has a woman in his life that he needs to please then save. In this case it’s his 11-year-old daughter, who just so happens to be a political—and specifically Executive Office and very specifically this president—junkie.  The president is played by Jamie Foxx who is still…Jamie Foxx and while you could buy Aaron Eckhart being the president, Jamie Foxx is something else again. Also the president’s son plot line in Olympus Has Fallen was so useless you wonder why it was even there. Here Channing Tatum’s daughter is a vital part of the story for better or worse.  It’s a matter of personal taste whether or not the relatively bloodless carnage of White House Down is better than the full on R-rated violence of Olympus Has Fallen.  I’m good either way, but I’m pretty sure when this kind of thing happens there’s a lot more cursing.  There are also fewer wasted actors here. While you know Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, etc all could and should be doing better things than Olympus Has Fallen, but with the exception of Maggie Gyllenhaal you know pretty much everyone else here is right where they belong.  The stories are basically the same: bad guys take the White House with some help from within (apparently no one retires gracefully from the Secret Service) with stupefying ease, the president get lectured how he’s actually betrayed the nation and the ex-solider now a cop in DC is the rogue element who steps in to save the day.  Channing Tatum is much more appealing as the younger man trying to save his daughter than Gerard Butler was as the older man looking for redemption.  Also, it’s a buddy film so he doesn’t have to carry the full weight on his shoulders. It works for me because a little Jamie Foxx goes a long way. Plus, as president he has to play the straight man so he’s less Jamie Foxx than usual (in case you haven’t guessed I’m not a fan).  Both films are ridiculous and require massive suspensions of disbelief (one wants you to believe you could take the White House without an army while the other wants you to believe that one was imported from Korea without being noticed), but White House Down, coming from the man who brought you Independence Day of course has to kick it up to 11 with a high speed chase. On the White House Lawn.  In circles around the fountain.  Yeah. That pretty much sums this movie up.

 

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME…

Man of Steel, which is down to number five this week is like World War Z in that the only thing this it has in common with the source material is the name.  The difference being if they’d called World War Z something else it would still be a decent movie, but even if you’d called Man of Steel  “Ultraman” or “Stupendousman” it would still be a bad movie. It’s not just a failure to understand the source material, it’s just a flat out bad execution. The film is overlong, joyless and ends in an orgy of CGI for the sake of it and not much else.  Yes, I’m going to rip on it until it goes away because so long as this damn movie is in the top ten I’m unable to wear any of my 20 Superman T-shirts because if I do I’ll have to talk about it to strangers every time I go out! Seriously, you’d think I was the first person they’d ever seen in a Superman t-shirt.

 

YOU TOO, CHELSEA HANDLER!

This Is The End is down to number six and looking at this and seeing all the cast members is like a party of all the coolest kids in high school, so if you’re not in it, then you’re nobody.  In this case the high school is the world of comedy, so take a hint, Whitney Cummings.

 

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Now You See Me is down to number seven with Fast & The Furious 6 still here at number eight and with us for the last time is Sung Kang, as Han Seoul-Oh. Seriously, that’s his name.  If you stick around after the credits the final scene is his demise in Tokyo Drift setting up the next film with a surprise guest star who is no stranger to movies about cars. Yes, that means. Fast & The Furious 4, 5 and 6 ALL took place before number three.  And now Vin Diesel’s appearance at the end of Tokyo Drift now will formally tie into 7.  The only question is will the stars of Tokyo Drift now finally be able to tap into some of this F&F sequel money?  Apparently Lil Bow Wow needs a check from what I hear?

 

SPACE ADVENTURE II: THE RETRIBUTION OF BAHN

Star Trek Into Darkness is down to number nine so let’s go through the numbers. It had a $190M budget and the basic rule of thumb is that due to marketing costs you need to make twice your budget to break even and 3x your budget to turn a profit theatrically.  It’s hit $438M worldwide so breaking even is assured, but it’s not even going to come close to the $570M needed to turn a profit theatrically.  That will probably come from Pay-per-view and DVD sales.  The only upside here is JJ Abrams is now gone to screw up Star Wars so maybe the next Star Trek movie might actually be a Star Trek. As it stands if you called these movies “Space Adventure” they wouldn’t be awful, but they are failures as Star Trek films.

 

THE SCHADENFREUDE

Finally, The Internship closes out the top ten at number ten and yes, I’m still laughing at its abject failure.

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CAFFEINE RUSH: DIE HARD IN A STARBUCKS

24 Mar

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1. The Croods/Fox                                       Wknd/$ 44.7             Total/$ 44.7

2. Olympus Has Fallen/FD                        Wknd/$ 30.5             Total/$ 30.5

3. Oz The Great & Powerful/ Disney        Wknd/$ 22.0             Total/$177.6

4. The Call/TriStar                                       Wknd/$   8.7            Total/$  30.9

5. Admission/Focus                                     Wknd/$   6.4              Total/$    6.4

6. Spring Breakers/A24                               Wknd/$   5.0              Total/$    5.4

7. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone        Wknd/$   4.3              Total/$  17.4

8. Jack the Giant Slayer/Warners             Wknd/$   3.0              Total$    59.1

9. Identity Thief/Universal                         Wknd/$   2.5              Total/$127.7

10. Snitch/LGF                                               Wknd/$   1.9               Total/$  40.3

DID THEY CHECK THE DIRECTOR’S RESUME?

The Croods opens at number one and I stopped seeing every single CGI animated film that comes down the pike awhile back because the allure of the sheer beauty of the imagery wore off long ago.  They ALL look good so they have to bring something more and I honestly didn’t see anything all that appealing to me in the trailers here.  The early indications that this young girl’s curiosity brought her family into a new way of life were seemingly abandoned for scenes of silliness in a way that say, trailers for Brave took pains to avoid (not that Brave didn’t ultimately disappoint me too).  You knew that film possibly was essentially about character in the midst of everything else.  This film is about jokes where fire is thought to be a living thing you might to try and hide from in the dry grass.  Yeah, exactly.  No matter how often Pixar succeeds with both heart and actual wit other companies still are content to just coast on the most basic belly laugh or gag and leave out the former entirely.  What’s sad is that one of the directors actually comes from Disney, having worked as a writer on Beauty & The Beast, Mulan, The Lion King, Aladdin and the underrated Lilo & Stich. The other director, however, brought us Chimps in Space.  ‘Nuff said.

VALHALLA, HOWEVER, IS STILL OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Olympus Has Fallen is a glorious R-rated throwback to the action films of the 80’s and I mean that as a compliment.  For most of the 80’s and well into the 90’s every other film was “Die Hard on a ____.” Speed was actually sold as “Die Hard on bus.”  Passenger 52 was “Die Hard on a plane.”  And Under Siege was “Die Hard on a warship” (its underrated sequel was “Die Hard on a train”).  It’s such an effective storyline of a man against the odds it almost always works no matter how inept the talent.  I’ve seen film that was “Die Hard in nuclear silo” with Dolph Lundgren another that was “Die Hard on a military transport plane” that were both enjoyable on a late Saturday night on cable.  But even I drew the line at—Zeus as my witness—one set at a beauty pageant.  Maybe if they’d let Miss Alabama be the hero instead of some dude…  That this opened well isn’t so much a surprise as the fact the basic plot a) hasn’t been done before (there’s another one coming this year with Channing Tatum and Jaime Foxx) and b) the basic “Die Hard on a ____” concept has been left languishing sometime.  No cliché goes unturned here.  Our hero is one type of badass (Secret Service) with a history of being another type of badass (special forces; it’s always special forces) who has suffered a type of traumatic failure in his past (in this case saving the president over the First Lady) and the ongoing crisis is a way to redemption.  Also the villain is of course an international terrorist aided by a traitor (his motivation? The bailout of the banks, I shit you not).  While it seems like this continues making North Korea our new boogey men (because everyone lacks the balls to make it China whose backing of North Korea is ironically the only reason it’s still standing), it honestly lacks even those balls and he is actually unaffiliated, missing the brilliant twist of Die Hard of the bad guys just being thieves pretending to be terrorists.  Some of that self-awareness would be been welcome here, but it wasn’t missed thanks to a steady stream of non-stop, blood-drenched, wise-cracking hero action that moves steadily enough that you never stop to think about how utterly stupid and improbable this all is. You know, like Die Hard.  It also has a solid cast of actors good enough to keep a straight face and sell this, probably with the knowledge it will pay for another project to remind people they are actual actors.

YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO RIDE THIS RIDE

Oz The Great & Powerful is down to number three, followed by The Call at number four and speaking of Under Siege, also in this is Morris Chestnut who was in Under Siege 2 and for awhile he was in contention for who’d be the next Denzel Washington along with Taye Diggs and few others only to wind up the lead in smaller films and a supporting player in larger ones because apparently there’s a height requirement to be THE African American leading man and none of them met it.  Personally, I feel it’s what ultimately limited Wesley Snipes. It can’t simply be because he was nuts because so is Nicholas Cage.  Nope. America wants it’s leading man negroes tall. Let me put it this way: Sidney Poitier is 6’2”.

BLERG THE MOVIE!

Admission opens at number four and while I understand why, after seven years of writing and starring in a weekly show Tina Fey would like to just show up for work, the simple fact is she shouldn’t appear in anything she doesn’t write because we have certain expectations from just seeing her onscreen and there’s no way something from one of the directors of American Pie is going to live up to that.  There was not one ounce of the trademark wit we expect from her in the trailers for this and so her fanbase clearly took a pass fearing what most critics have now confirmed.  Come on and give us the thinly veiled Liz Lemon we want on the big screen, Tina!

YOU DON’T SEE  JENNIFER LAWRENCE DOING THIS

Finally opening wide and entering the top ten at number five is the most discussed movie at the moment, Spring Breakers, which honestly is a relief because I swear I’ve been reading about this for a year.  It’s most noted for being yet another attempt by child stars trying to grow up by doing something edgy and honestly that they’re not playing drug addicted hookers instantly makes it better than most attempts.  Here, they’re girls who decided to fund their spring break by committing a robbery on the way and it continues on a downward spiral there once they meet a corn-rowed James Franco who seems considerably more invested in this role than Oz and has the reviews to match.  My lack of interest in seeing this is actually the reason most seem to like it: its deliberate haze of sleaze.  I felt nauseous just watching the sun-drenched dayglow trailer.  I could practically smell the vomit from vodka-laced drinks, so I can’t imagine sitting through two hours of it.  My other reason is how hipsters are flocking to this, making it “the” film to see and then quote as if they’re doing something subversive, much like the actresses making it.  It’s ironic, dontcha think?

SOON RETURNING TO A WEEKLY TV SHOW

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is down to number six and also in this as mentioned last week is Olivia Wilde whose minutes as the “hot girl” of the moment are ticking away thanks to yet another disappointing movie.  This started off with Cowboys and Aliens, continued with The Change Up on through the disappointing Tron: Legacy and add to that The Words, In Time, Deadfall, People Like Us and Butter.  Only London in WWII saw so many bombs.  But if you need any more confirmation of her questionable taste know that she had her choice of men in Hollywood and is now engaged to Jason Sudeikis.  Yeah, I said it.

THE UNSPOKEN TRUTH ABOUT RYAN REYNOLDS

Jack the Giant Slayer is down to number seven, followed by Identity Thief at number eight and speaking of failures, what does it say that a poorly reviewed film starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy is a hit, while a poorly reviewed film starring Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds tanked?  I think we know.

SOME PEOPLE CAN’T GET OUT OF THEIR OWN WAY

Finally, Snitch closes out the top ten at number ten and somewhere rather than simply do his own version of Die Hard, The Rock is signing contracts for a spin-off of Fast & The Furious and probably another bad family film which the sole point of humor is this big dude dealing with a kid.

BAD BOOKS MAKE GOOD MOVIES MAKE MEDIOCRE TV

TV never stops (thank god) and this week’s new entry is The Bates Motel, a prequel series about Norman Bates and his mother, Norma. Hell, that he was named after his mom is pretty much all we need to know about why Norman started hacking people up.  This however, purports to give us even more answers to questions we never asked and honestly it lost me at Norman’s hot teacher advisor at high school (yes, it’s “I Was A Teen Psycho”). Had she been played by an older, less attractive woman it would be more of a shock that she dies one day, but that she’s young and hot, you can practically see the countdown clock over her head ticking away.  Ditto the very forward hot teenage girl who practically mounts him within moments of their meeting and her equally hot friends. Someone’s gonna notice that the varsity cheerleading squad all died soon after Norman came to town, no?  Yes, they’re trying to set the town up as already having dark & dirty secrets, but clearly those aren’t the type with an escalating body count that would command notice. I love Vera Farmiga.  She’s pretty much great in everything she does and this is no exception.  You see her casual passive aggressive possessive behavior to Norman clearly laying the groundwork for his demented persona and she does it all well without leaning over into camp.  Now, the film opens with a scene strongly suggesting that she’s murdered her husband and even if she didn’t, she clearly could give a shit. This is why it didn’t need a scene with her killing a guy but only after he handcuffs and rapes her on the kitchen table (the assailant is the previous owner of the hotel who resents her buying it from the bank).  Rape is a cheap, lazy device in the hands of most writers and it would have been the same scene if he’d tried and failed (Norman does show up to his mother’s rescue).  It would have been even better if he’d returned drunk but non-violent saying he’d found away to get his hotel back and she killed him. It would have been better if Norman had encountered him first and assaulted him and his mother then killed him and told Norman he was responsible  There were far too many ways to make a statement about her character and setting Norman for a nice dose of mother controlling guilt than a graphic rape scene.  I won’t even get into Norman discovering Japanese comic book porn, which is clearly supposed to be aiding his way into darkness. That’s when you know they just stopped trying. I’ll be sticking to the fun silliness of The Following and giving this a pass. Besides, I already know how it ends.

“HEY, I’M PHOTOGRAPHIN’ HERE! I’M PHOTOGRAPHING HERE!

The greatness of New York isn’t merely that the space in my neighborhood where a hardware store used to be is now a gay bar called “Hardware” (get it?) or that it’s right around from another gay bar called “FairyTail” (get it?).  Not, it’s how New Yorkers simultaneously don’t give a shit about you but have no problems getting all up in your business.  Case in point, Friday night. I haven’t been doing much of my beloved night shooting because now that the enthusiasm of both riding my bike and taking photos has diminished a bit, I’m simply not willing to spend hours out in the cold any longer, here in our neverending winter (apparently that’s what was keeping me warm).  But I finally screwed my courage to the sticking place and went out to try and complete my Upper West Side shooting that I started when I did Central Park West on another buttfucking cold night.  This time I went up West End Avenue then down Broadway and the entire way it was either completely ignoring the loon with the camera out in the cold or “Hey, whatcha shooting?”  “What settings are you using?” “Are you making a movie?” And my personal favorite, “Hey, cameraman! Take a picture of this!”  I’m genuinely surprised the last one was fully clothed, but I guess it was too cold even for the most devoted exhibitionist perv.  What’s funny is you know they don’t do this to tourists so I was clearly recognized as someone who belongs. Seems finally getting a NY State drivers license did the trick.  Now, with the exception of the Logan’s Run-esque 96th Subway station, it wasn’t as picturesque as I’d hoped but then again I still do kinda suck so it’s probably just me, which makes me wonder if the less-than-memorable Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues will be worth shooting at night. One is best known for a bar scene so annoying the community board of my neighborhood made it a point of trying to zone so we didn’t become “Like Amsterdam Avenue” and the other isn’t known for anything at all. It makes me think pictures of my penis wearing tiny costumes is a worthwhile project after all.

SO, WHAT YOU’RE SAYING IS SEXY ISN’T COMING BACK?

Now there was no way Justin Timberlake could have lived up to expectations after a six-year-gap, but he didn’t do himself any favors making every song 8 minutes long then dividing it up into two albums.  Better to cut out the mediocore songs entirely and just release the best tracks from both albums as one good one, but no one asked me.  Why don’t you ask Maxwell how that worked out for him after more than a decade of waiting? Oh, wait. We’re still waiting of the second part of that two album release. Have we learned nothing from Nelly’s “Sweat” and “Suit” disaster?  What I do like is “Shift To Reverse” from a singer/songwriter named N*Grandjean and part of me hopes he never succeeds thanks to that pretentious fucking bohemian bullshit name (I felt the same way about Musiq Soulchild and got my wish), but this one track is awesome. Because I’m old I had to hear it on a TV show. In this case House of Cards.  And yes, I Shazamed it. But thanks to my Pandora station I’ve discovered Michiko and Little People.  Yes, it’s all the same kind of chill music, but I’m old and this is all I can handle now.  Case in point “La Vie En Rose.” One of the oldest songs ever, but there’s a version by Duo Gadjo that I simply cannot stop listening to.

9 FILMS IN NO DANGER OF AN OSCAR NOMINATION

24 Feb

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1. Identity Thief/Universal                           Wknd/$  13.7            Total/$  93.7

 2. Snitch/Summit                                           Wknd/$  13.0            Total/$  13.0

 3. Escape From Planet Earth/Wein            Wknd/$  11.0             Total/$  35.1

 4. Safe Haven/Relativity                                Wknd/$  10.6            Total/$  48.1

 5. A Good Day to Die Hard/Fox                   Wknd/$  10.0            Total/$  51.8

 6. Dark Skies/Weinstein                                Wknd/$   8.9             Total/$    8.9

 7. Silver Linings Playbook/Wein                  Wknd/$   6.1              Total/$107.5

 8. Warm Bodies/Summit                               Wknd/$   4.8              Total/$  58.3

 9. Side Effects/ORF                                         Wknd/$   3.5              Total/$  25.3

10. Beautiful Creatures/Warners                   Wknd/$   3.4              Total/$  16.4

 

YOU CAN PROMOTE WHATEVER YOU LIKE

Identity Thief returns to the top spot and also in this is T.I. of all people and given his level of fame it’s either a supreme vote of confidence to Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman not have him shown or mentioned or they’re a bunch of morons not to exploit him. They also failed to show John Cho aka Harold of Harold & Kumar who also has own fanbase, especially in regards to comedy.  At least they knew enough to throw in Eric Stonestreet, aka, Cam from Modern Family, so they aren’t complete imbeciles.  He was also in Bad Teacher last year with Cameron Diaz, giving him a growing resume of $100M comedy films.

 

SNITCH 2: NOW HIS SON IS SELLING GUNS

Snitch opens at number two and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has the worst taste in films.  Almost none of the personal vehicles he’s chosen since he crossed over from wrestling to movies have been worth seeing.  I know it’s hard to say “No” to bags of money being thrown at you, but he’s got to have enough money by now to be more discriminating.  Just because real actors agree to be in them doesn’t mean anything. They’re just making car payments, dude.  Also, unlike you this isn’t really their “day job.”  The only person not slumming is you.  Susan Sarandon is simply picking up a paycheck here. This movie is about a father trying to get his son off the hook for drug dealing.  Seriously? How can you root for him now!?!  This makes him one of those parents who are always getting their kids out of trouble and then are surprised when the kid keeps screwing up. This doesn’t make him a hero. Hell it doesn’t even make him a good parent. 

 

DON’T THINK SEX & THE CITY 3 ISN’T COMING

Escape from the Planet Earth actually rises to number three and let’s see who’s doing a voice here and guess who needed the paycheck and who just did it for fun.  Brendan Fraser. Needed it. Rob Corddry. Needed it. Ricky Gervais. Fun, but he is a whore.  Jessica Alba. A little of both. Sofia Vergra.  A little of both. Sarah Jessica Parker. Fun. Though she made it need it soon.

 

IT’S ONLY A SPOILER IF YOU GIVE A CRAP

Safe Haven is down to number four and as everyone knows now there’s an uber stupid plot twist in that the woman’s best pal is actually the ghost of the man’s dead wife.  So yeah, for all of you who said, “I loved The Sixth Sense, but wish it was more romantic” this is your movie.

 

DAMN THESE SEQUELS! DAMN THEM ALL TO HELL!

A Good Day To Die Hard drops down to number five and these have become like the Planet of the Apes series…except those didn’t drag out over twenty years and were still entertaining up until the end.  What’s really sad is that Bruce Willis actually does the aging action hero shtick fairly well in RED, which has apparently become another franchise for him. And he’ll be trotting it out again for GI Joe 2 this year.  Basically, every other film he’ll be releasing this year will be better than this.

 

FELICITY IS A SOVIET SPY

Dark Skies aka “Felicity In A Haunted House” opens at number six and you know things are bad when you make a genre picture, which is usually money in the bank and it still fails.  Lucky for Keri Russell, The Americans has not only gotten good reviews but has already been given a second season.  Maybe try a kid’s film next time.

 

I HAVE A LIFE, DAMNIT!

The Silver Linings Playbook actually rises to number seven and fine, I didn’t see it. I probably never will. Are you happy now!?!  I predict the woman playing the mother will be a Best Supporting Actress upset.  That’s usually where it occurs.

 

THE IRONY OF ZOMBIES BEATING WITCHES CONTINUES

Warm Bodies is down to number eight, followed by Side Effects at number nine and closing out the top ten is Beautiful Creatures and probably the most interesting thing about this movie is the fact the lead actress is Jane Campion’s daughter and honestly that’s not very interesting.

 

JUST DIE ALREADY

18 Feb

awap

1. A Good Day to Die Hard/Fox                Wknd/$  25.0            Total/$  33.1

 2. Identity Thief/Universal                        Wknd/$  23.7            Total/$  71.0

 3. Safe Haven/Relativity                             Wknd/$  21.5            Total/$  30.3

 4. Escape From Planet Earth/Wein          Wknd/$  15.9            Total/$  15.9

 5. Warm Bodies/Summit                             Wknd/$   8.8            Total/$  50.1

 6. Beautiful Creatures/Warners                 Wknd/$   7.6             Total/$    7.6

 7. Side Effects/ORF                                       Wknd/$   6.3             Total/$   19.1

 8. Silver Linings Playbook/Wein                Wknd/$   6.0            Total/$  98.4

 9. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters             Wknd/$   3.5            Total/$  49.7

10. Zero Dark Thirty/Sony                             Wknd/$   3.0            Total/$  87.9

 

IT COULD BE WORSE; IT COULD BE ANOTHER LETHAL WEAPON

To no one’s surprise, A Good Day To Die Hard opens at number one and the title couldn’t be any more appropriate because this franchise is dying very hard, with every chapter being more inept than the one before it.  Though to be fair, I’d put Live Free or Die Hard before either this or Die Hard With A Vengeance, despite all the CGI and the sight of Bruce Willis beating a jet unarmed.  I’d be hard pressed to think of a sequel more utterly clueless about what made the original films so successful.  It seems to think that Bruce Willis wisecracking and killing people is all you need, but in their defense all of us still going to see these prove them right somewhat.  Then again $33M opening for a 20-year-old franchise is actually kind of weak.  Let me put it this way: Skyfall opened at almost three times this gross and Wreck It Ralph made more its second week.  What made John McClane so exceptional was that he was a reluctant hero. In Die Hard he tries the best he can to avoid taking on the bad guys.  Even the weak Live Free or Die Hard got this character point right.  Not here. Here, there’s much talk of “going out and killing” scumbags because that’s what their family does. He also used to bleed. Now McClane is nearly indestructible, crawling out of devastating car crashes literally without a scratch.  This is clearly meant to hand over the franchise to literally John McClane Jr, but this poor actor has none of Bruce Willis’s charm and the script does nothing to help him.  We ran the “McClane’s kids hate him” idea into the ground the last time and like last time we really don’t bother getting into why. When your dad heroically saves your mom twice, it’d be nice to know why you and your sister resent him so, other than he “worked all the time.”  It’s not like he was out busting jaywalkers.  He’s got the best reason possible.  Last time he literally saved the whole damn country, which as a CIA agent, Jr. would know better than anyone.  But  here Jr. just seems like an asshole and Sr is giving him stiff competition in a script that does all it can to also drain Willis of his natural charm. These are your heroes and you don’t really like either one of them.  The best comparison I can make is that Die Hard is a 2+ hour movie that you don’t want to end, while A Good Day To Die Hard is a 98 minute movie that seems like it will never end.

 

LIKE DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN

Identity Thief drops to number two and also in this is Amanda Peet and you know she’s got to be chafing over Allison Williams being heralded as some kind of beauty when she looks just like Amanda Peet who got none of this kind of fanfare even when she was the “Hot New Thing” running around topless with Bruce Willis in The Whole Nine Yards.  Let Amanda Peet’s career be a cautionary tale for you, Allison Williams. One day you’re making movies with Bruce Willis and Ashton Kutcher, next you’re playing thankless “wife” roles to men who aren’t big enough stars to be able to command younger actresses.  Though her show Bent last year was a very funny series that should have been a very funny 90-minute movies. Seriously, how’d they plan to have her romance with her handyman stretch out over the years of a TV show?

 

BUT SHE’S DIFFERENT!

Speaking of franchises that need to die, Save Haven opens at number three and this is the latest from the Nicholas Sparks franchise of complete crap.  These are romance novels for the same people who think 50 Shades of Gray is hot.  I will give him this much: Sparks flat out said he started writing these books to make money and nothing but.  So I respect him as a capitalist but despise him as both a writer and human being for continuing to pump this dreck out. He’s got to have enough money by now. He can stop but chooses not to.  These movies have been become the romantic equivalent of a horror movie or family film: a vehicle for actors who need a boost because they come with a built in audience. No one is clamoring to see Josh Duhamel, who is basically the dumb person’s Timothy Olyphant and almost no one knows who Julianne Hough is, despite Ryan Seacrest’s attempt to buy her a career.  Ask William Randolph Hearst how that worked out.  She’s thin, cute and blonde? You don’t say! Can’t be too many of them in Hollywood.

 

THE DAY THE KIDS WOULD BE STILL

Escape From Planet Earth opens at number four and when you can’t float a CGI animated kids science fiction film, you may need to call it a day.  This couldn’t look more unappetizing and clearly no kids were clamoring to see it.  Even parents who desperately needed a place to park their kids for 90 minutes gave it a pass.  In a world where the miserable Ice Age franchise is on its fifth installment and the odious Madagascar has reached three, that’s saying something.

 

ZOMBIES VS. WITCHES

Warm Bodies is down to number five, followed by Beautiful Creatures opening at number six and guess what isn’t going to be the next Twilight?  This goes on the heap with all the other Young Adult literature franchise books that have failed to make it onscreen.  This one is apparently about witches as opposed to vampires and they’ve got no one but themselves to be blame because the ads didn’t tell you anything. No hint of a story, character, nothing. Just some young girl is going to become powerful with two slumming Oscar-winning English actors trying to make you think it’s not just total teen crap. Even Twilight sold you the idea of a young girl in a small town who meets a mysterious stranger who turns out to be a vampire.  This seemed to think that “Hey, we’re a successful book series” was going to be enough to put butts in seats and it wasn’t.  And maybe it’s not time for witches. The Secret Circle failed on TV just last year. That’s a successful book series too. Maybe its failure should have been a clue.

 

NATURE VS. NURTURE

Side Effects is down to number seven and Catherine Zeta-Jones disappeared so completely after winning her Oscar for Chicago every appearance seems like a novelty.  Maybe after seeing what happened to Michael Douglas’s other kid and his brother she decided to be a full-time mom to try and overcome the Douglas DNA.  Oh, shut up. You know it’s true.

 

LAST CHANCE

Silver Linings Playbook is down to number eight and I know this is my last week to see it before the Oscars. I’ll get to it. I promise.

 

IT’S CALLED A PATRIARCHY, KIDS

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is down to number nine and after seeing Beautiful Creatures tank and this succeed ($150M worldwide from a $50M) I’m now seriously convinced that people don’t want to see witches unless they’re dying.  Let’s pretend we don’t notice that witches tend to be very powerful women.

 

MOMENTS BEFORE ASCENSION

Finally, Argo closes out the top ten at the top ten. Next time this week it’ll be the “Oscar-winning Argo.”

 

HOLY ROSE COLORED GLASSES

In the 80’s Frank Miller’s reimagining of Batman in The Dark Knight Returns along with The Watchmen made comics history with over a million dollars in sales and an overall change in the tone of comics.  Darker, edgier elements had begun creeping in before then (a hero as light as The Flash already had to deal with angel dust and a murdered wife), but these works showed it could also enormously profitable for an audience who regularly mistake sex and violence for maturity like most teenagers—or grown men trapped emotionally as teenagers, which is the bulk of the comic reading audience.  A wave of darkness overtook almost every character but none so much as Batman who hasn’t been the same since.  He stopped being simply a “darker” superhero and more often than not became a borderline psychotic taking out his emotional trauma on criminals while apparently secretly preparing for the day he’d have to take out Superman and any other superhero who actually believed in due process. Nonetheless, it remains a brilliant interpretation of the character and the only real question is why it took this long for Warners Animated division to finally adapt it.  On the plus side they were smart enough to realize that they couldn’t do it justice in the required 80 minute run time for all animated direct to video features and split it into two films.  On the other hand, the luxury of time exposes many of the flaws of both the work and the people adapting it.  Simply because comics are a primarily visual medium and actually look like storyboards for a film doesn’t mean that they are.  Comics are no more movies than books are movies and likewise need to be adapted and translated, not copied directly.  There’s precious little adaptation and translation going on here and things that would have served the story better like the first person narration from many of the characters have been dropped, while the brief, brutal battle with Superman from the comics is dragged out by giving Batman a super-suit so he can go toe-to-toe with Superman as they throw wrecking balls at one another.  Then there are the problems with the original work itself. As a kid I could only see the most obvious, like how everyone who disagrees with Batman’s black-and-white view of crime is weak and wrong, but as an adult am can now see the homophobia (The Joker is made disturbingly effeminate) and misogyny (Superman’s first love, Lana Lang, is now an overweight talking head on TV, while Catwoman is an overweight whore, literally).  They should no more have been included than the racism, homophobia and misogyny of Frank Miller than they should of any writer when their work is transferred to the screen. Of course I had to pull the book out and it still stands up flaws and all, but there was a better adaptation done in a five-minute segment on the 90’s Batman animated series.