Tag Archives: Dominic Cooper

JUST TED’S BLOODY ADVENTURE

27 Oct

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1. Quija/Universal                                        Wknd/$ 20.0    Total/$ 20.0
2. John Wick/LG-S                                      Wknd/$ 14.1     Total/$ 14.1
3. Fury/Sony                                                  Wknd/$ 13.0    Total/$ 46.1
4. Gone Girl/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 11.1     Total/$ 124.1
5. The Book of Life/Fox                               Wknd/$ 9.8     Total/$ 29.9
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                             Wknd/$ 8.1      Total/$ 9.2
7. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney     Wknd/$ 7. 0     Total/$ 45.5
8. The Best of Me/Relativity                      Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 17.7
9. The Judge/WB                                         Wknd/$ 4.3      Total/$ 34.4
10. Dracula Untold/Universal                   Wknd/$ 9.9      Total/$ 40.7

I CAN’T SEE A TOMORROW ANY LONGER
Quija opens at number one and we should all be ashamed of this. A movie based unapologetically on a board game? With Michael Bay as a producer? For a moment I thought there was hope when we banded together as a people and rejected Battleship, but now…I just don’t know.

YOU NEED TO LAUGH A LITTLE AS BODIES HIT THE FLOOR
John Wick opens at number two and if the plot of this seems familiar it’s because it’s pretty much the same plot as The Equalizer which came out a month ago: a retired assassin goes on a killing spree when the Russian mob crosses him. Both end with showdowns in the rain (though an artificial in the case of The Equalizer) and both star an aging leading man, in this case Keanu Reeves now in his 50’s. Yeah, you a old muthafucka. The difference being this is much better, starting with the utter lack of pretense of saving someone or righting some wrong. Nope. John Wick is out for revenge, pure and simple and will kill anyone who gets in his way. It just so happens everyone he kills is a bad guy. If a cop had killed the puppy left to him by his late wife the way the son of the Russian Mob boss does you get the feeling he’d have wiped out the New York Police Department with the same lack of hesitation. Not that NYPD is anywhere to be seen as every action scene leaves more bodies on the ground than the last act of Hamlet (one cop is seen in New Jersey and knows better than to get involved…which is authentic Jersey). No, this is one of those films with a romantic fantasy depiction of organized crime, where they have their own hotels and clubs and everyone knows and respects everyone and there’s discipline and honor. Hell, there even seems to be a dress code. Pretty sure the inability to exist in a world of rules is what makes people into criminals, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s fantasy and it’s fun and the latter is what helps to elevate it over The Equalizer. There’s a dry sense of humor about all the carnage and nowhere more than in the primary antagonist. The first rule of action films is that your hero is only as good as your villain and there’s a good one here in the Russian Mob Boss. Now, in every action movie someone delivers the perfunctory expository monologue about how dangerous and deadly the hero is. Richard Crenna’s speech about Rambo in First Blood is the benchmark of this. Here the mob boss gives it to his son and when his son says he can handle Wick, there’s almost a metatextual response of frustration from the mob boss who says “Did he not hear what I just said!?!” At that moment he became the audience who has seen dozens of henchmen ignore these speeches and wanted to yell at the screen the exact same thing. And it’s not just him. This humor comes from a variety of characters throughout the film, all nicely portrayed by character actors who lend the film texture generic actioners often lack. It’s also good to have them when your leading man is Keanu Reeves, whom I like, but is far from the most magnetic personality to hit the screen. In that respect, The Equalizer does come out on top.

FACTS IS FACTS
Fury is down to number three and my friends confirmed what I suspected: any movie with Shia Lebouf in it blows. No exceptions.

YOU KNOW WHO DID ASCEND? MIRA SORVINO. EXACTLY.
Gone Girl is down to number four and also in this is Kim Dickens who seemed positioned to be the next indie film “It Girl” as I seemed to see her in every other art film at the end of the 20th century and one of Showtime’s first attempts at a series (with none other than indie king Eric Stoltz and Justine Bateman’s huge nipples). Alas, she never ascended, but I’m still glad to see her around, especially in a major, A-list film like this providing solid support as the detective investigating the disappearance of Rosamund Pike.

SOMETHING’S GONNA STICK
The Book of Life is down to number five and providing the voice to one of the characters is none other than Channing Tatum, clearly the hardest working man in show business. I have to respect someone who doesn’t just strike the iron while it’s hot, but wisely. He’s made a wide variety of choices from silly comedy (21 Jump Street) to action (White House Down) to romantic drama (The Vow) big budget sci-fi (Jupiter Ascending which was supposed to come out over the summer) to Oscar-bait drama (Foxcatcher opening this fall) to this, which isn’t some Dreamworks or Pixar guaranteed moneymaker, but a little off the beaten path. It suggests he’s actually looking for things that are interesting.

BUT HE WON’T DO A GHOSTBUSTERS SEQUEL
St. Vincent enters the top ten and this may be the third of an unofficial trilogy of Bill Murray that started with Meatballs and continued in Rushmore of the jaded older man who bonds with a boy. This might explain my lack of desire to see it. I’ve seen it done before and so well I don’t see how this could be better.

WRITING FULLY REALIZED CHARACTERS IZ HARD
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is down to number seven, followed by The Best of Me at number eight and The Judge at number nine and also in this is…Leighton Meester!?! Blair Waldorf? Yeah, I don’t get it either. She’s Vera Farmiga’s daughter that Robert Downey Jr. makes out with not knowing who she is. This is an example the some of the weaker writing in the film. They want this little surprise twist without thinking of what it takes to exist, which is sadly common in any movie or TV show about a guy who leaves home and is gone for years. Now it would be one thing if Vera Farmiga had also left town, but as it stands we’re supposed to believe that for twenty years he hasn’t heard a single thing about his high school love from anyone in his family who all still live in the same town. We’re also told his mother was close to her, but somehow never mentioned that his ex had a child twenty years ago. And even though he loved his mother, apparently he also has never been home once in twenty years to visit her. We know he has never taken his daughter to his home, but apparently no one travelled to see her either. There’s a repeated line from Very Famiga about him going to a Metallica concert and never being seen again that’s never elaborated upon. Probably because they never thought beyond that line.

LEARNING FROM THE MISTAKES OF LEONARD NIMOY
Finally, Dracula Untold closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Dominic Cooper, better known to you as Iron Man’s dad, Howard Stark. And how happy is he that Agent Carter got her own series that he can appear on and continue to draw from the Mighty Marvel Money Machine? Very happy indeed.

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THE SPRING CIVILIAN

6 Apr

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1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier            Wknd/$ 96.0            Total/$ 96.2

2. Noah/Paramount                                               Wknd/$ 17.0            Total/$ 72.3

3. Divergent/LGF                                                   Wknd/$ 13.0            Total/$ 114.3

4. God’s Not Dead/Free                                        Wknd/$   7.7             Total/$ 32.5

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel/Fox                     Wknd/$   6.3            Total/$ 33.4

6. Muppets Most Wanted/Disney                      Wknd/$   6.3            Total/$ 42.1

7. Mr. Peabody & Sherman/Fox                         Wknd/$   5.3            Total/$ 102.2

8. Sabotage/ORF                                                   Wknd/$   1.9             Total/$   8.8

9. Need for Speed/Touchstone                           Wknd/$   1.8            Total/$ 40.8

10. Non-Stop/Universal                                       Wknd/$   1.8            Total/$ 88.1

 

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Buckle up for this one, kids, because Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened at number one and Cap is a character near and dear to my heart, so I’ve got a few things to say about it. First of all, take all the great things you’ve heard and bring it down a notch. It’s not bad but it is definitely not amazing and is only just a tad smarter than your average dumb action movie. And even while its attempt for relevancy by having the debate over a surveillance state at the center of the film isn’t totally bungled, the rationalization for evil acts the for greater were argued better at the end of Good Guys Wear Black with Chuck Norris. I think that says it all when you’re not as smart as a Chuck Norris flick. The Winter Solider is one of most famous and successful storylines of the Captain America comic, but the only thing this really has in common with it is the use of the titular character, The Winter Solider (whose identity is probably known by now, but just in case I’m not going to spoil it). In the comic, The Winter Soldier is an infamous assassin used by The Red Skull as he tries to take over America from within by sowing discord and putting forth a puppet candidate for president to take advantage of it. This movie is about Captain America discovering the omnipresent SHIELD isn’t what he thought it was and the Winter Soldier plays a part in this, starting with him trying to kill Nick Fury. One of the issues he faces is a secret plan to basically monitor the world and possibly kill people just for being a potential threat. Needless to say, he’s got a problem with this, but the debates about this are laughable in their lack of any real communication or exchange of viewpoints (Samuel L. Jackson sounds so bored you half expect to see a book in his hands). It’s just “This is bad” followed by “Well, you did bad stuff too.” No one is capable of seeing the advantages of something they don’t like but still convincingly argue their points. You really shouldn’t go into the deep water if you can’t swim, guys. You’d think the first thing Nick Fury would say to Cap would be “What if someone had taken Hitler out at the beginning?” But he can’t because that would required acknowledging the horrible things Hitler did, meaning The Holocaust and like the first one this refuses to do just that, no matter how often they reference Nazi Germany. On the upside, they maintain the Marvel standard of having a solid sense of humor, much of it at the expense of Captain America (the first line from The Black Widow when she shows up to pick up Cap is “Can you tell me the way to The Smithsonian? I’m looking for a fossil.”) Also the action scenes are good, especially the hand-to-and fighting, though it comes off a little unfair, because Captain America in the movies has super-speed and strength, which he doesn’t in the comics. Until he takes on the Winter Soldier who has a robot arm, it’s not really a fair fight as he beats up guys who stand no chance against him. Overall it’s still one of the better Marvel movies and does a much better job of conveying that Captain America is just one of those people who instantly inspires confidence and leadership than the first. But remember its competition consists of the “not bad” Thor movies, the “not awful” Incredible Hulk, a surprisingly lackluster Avengers, two good Iron Man movies and one godawful one.

 

MY KID COULD BEAT YOUR KID

Noah is down to number two and speaking of superheroes this contains a triumvirate of onscreen superhero dads in Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins and Nick Nolte who were the fathers of Superman, Thor and The Incredible Hulk, respectively. Do you think they talked about what constituted an easy paycheck? Anthony Hopkins wins because he still picks up one every few years, while the other two died onscreen so it was a one time deal.

 

WAKE UP MAGGIE, I THINK I’VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY TO YOU…

Divergent is down to number three and also in this is Maggie Q which reminds me that I still need to watch the final two seasons of Nikita. Or do I? Maybe it says something that I never went back? Then again I’ve got all of The Good Wife on my DVR and I know I like that. Am I really too lazy to watch TV? But back to Maggie Q. I don’t know anything about her character here or whether or not she’ll be in the sequels, but she needed to be in a hit. She comes from Hong Kong action movie like Michelle Yeoh, but like Michele Yeoh found out quickly the only roles really available in Hollywood are “hot good Asian female” or “hot bad Asian female” (which she played in Live Free or Die Hard). Michelle Yeoh just went home where she could still be a star and even produce her own stuff. Maybe Maggie will do a little better…but I doubt it.

 

IT’S NOT LIKE YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IT ENDS

God is Dead actually rises to number four, which is impressive. I guess not doing a “period” religious movie is what these people want more that simply seeing Jesus die for them…again.

 

THEY’RE ALSO USUALLY UGLY

The Grand Budapest Hotel rises to number four and you know why? Because it was all your pretentious, pseudo-intellectual friends going so they could feel superior all the people who went to see Captain America because they’d never deign to see “a comic book movie.” Basically they’re all that asshole in Annie Hall in the movie line.

 

TELL ME HOW THAT MAKES YOU FEEL…OR I WILL CRUSH YOU!

Muppets Most Wanted is down to number six followed by Mr. Peabody & Sherman at number seven and because it’s all geek references this week, Ty Burrell who is in both was in The Incredible Hulk as Dr. Samson who in the comics gets infused with The Hulk’s blood and becomes the world’s most powerful…psychiatrist. You think I’m kidding. I am not.

 

YOU KNOW IT’S WHAT I THINK THAT REALLY MATTERS, RIGHT?

Sabotage is down to number eight and given this is the worst opening of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie since he became a star you’d think he’d be banging on the doors at Disney and Fox and Sony trying to get into a comic book movie as he’s basically been an onscreen comic book character in everything he’s ever done (Conan was a pulp novel before he was a comic book character so he doesn’t count). Also in this is Joe Manganiello who looks like a comic book character, ridiculous with muscles and towering over Arnold. He was actually up for the odious Man of Steel and while I think it’s better for him, he’s closer to how I think Superman should be.

 

IRON DADDY!

Need for Speed is still hanging around at number nine and also in this is Dominic Cooper who was Iron Man’s dad in the first Captain America movie. His role was also played by John Slattery in Iron Man 2 and you think they’re hoping for some flashbacks so they too can get on the “easy paycheck” bandwagon like Anthony Hopkins? Me too.

 

BAT DADDY!

Finally, Non-Stop closes out the top ten again at number ten. You think there’s no geek film connection here? Think again. Also in this is Linus Roache who played Thomas Wayne in Batman Begins. Yeah. Who’s your geek daddy now!?!

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YOUNG ADULT NOVEL ADAPTATION NUMBER 15

23 Mar

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 1. Divergent/LGF                                           Wknd/$  56.0           Total/$  56.0

 2. Muppets Most Wanted/Disney              Wknd/$  15.6            Total/$  16.5

 3. Mr. Peabody & Sherman/Fox                 Wknd/$  11.7             Total/$  81.0

 4. 300: Rise of an Empire/Warner            Wknd/$   8.7             Total/$  93.8

 5. God’s Not Dead/Free                                Wknd/$   8.6            Total/$    8.6

 6. Need for Speed/Touchstone                   Wknd/$    7.8            Total/$  30.4

 7. The Grand Budapest Hotel/Fox             Wknd/$    6.8            Total/$   13.0

 8. Non-Stop/Universal                                 Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$  78.6

 9. The LEGO Movie/WB                              Wknd/$    4.1             Total/$ 243.4

10. Single Mom’s Club/LGF                         Wknd/$    3.1             Total/$  12.9

 

YOUNG PERSON, SPECIAL POWERS…BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…YOU KNOW THE REST

Divergent opens big at number one and you know how for the past decade every studio has been buying up and making films based on Young Adult series in hopes of getting their own Harry Potter or Twilight and how when that seemed about done, The Hunger Games reignited it? Well, buckle up for the third wave because despite only three successes out of literally over dozen tries—what? You think I’m kidding? Let’s count it off: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Eragon, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Ender’s Game, I Am Number Four, The Mortal Instruments, The Host, Beautiful Creatures, The Seeker, Cirque Du Freak, Vampire Academy… Yeah, now you believe me. But all this will be washed away from their memories with Divergent opening at number one. Now, I didn’t see this for pretty much the same reason I didn’t see the others: I don’t like the young people and I really don’t like reminders that I am no longer one of them.  That’s it. No, I’m not going to throw stones in my glass house made of comic books at Young Adult novels. No snobbery here. But I will say this: knowing that it’s a series tells me the movie won’t have a definitive ending and that does put me off a bit.  I’ve got my comic books for freaking stories that never end, thank you very much.

 

WHAT’S WANTED IS MORE CREATIVE PEOPLE AT THE HELM

Muppets Most Wanted opens at a disappointing number two, but honestly I’m partially to blame for that as I am clearly a representative of people who love The Muppets, have loved them all their lives, but still didn’t go to see this (and I saw Muppets From Space).  Not helping was that underwhelming movie that came out last year with one of the worst new Muppets since Scooter’s uncle…or Elmo. Yeah, I said it. Elmo sucks.  It’s like a red Grover baby-talking to you. This looks better, wisely making my favorite Muppet, Kermit, the central character, but still once bitten, twice shy so I gave it a pass in favor of more sleep and clearly I was not alone.  Especially when I saw that damn dull-ass Muppet from last time in the previews. He’s so horrible not even Tina Fey could overcome him.

 

NOTHING PERSONAL

Mr. Peabody & Sherman drop to number three and as the voice of Mr. Peabody is Ty Burrell who is also in Muppets Most Wanted and it’s looking like I’m personally dissing him. I am not. I love him as Phil on Modern Family.  It’s not you, dude. It’s me…and how you seem to appear in movies appealing to the child in me but getting it all wrong.

 

THAT’S SHE’S USUALLY NAKED HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT

300: Rise of an Empire is down to number four and if there’s any good to come out of this being a success, let it be that Eva Green is creeping ever closer to becoming a leading lady in her own right as she’s clearly the best part of this, leaving the charisma-free Sullivan Stapleton in the dust.  She’s going to be starring in Penny Dreadful on  Showtime, whose original programming is the best part of it.  But that’s not saying much given its abysmal movie choices. Let me put it this way: I’m getting it for free and I kinda want it to stop.  May it boost her profile to the next time I see her onscreen she actually lives to see the end. Oh, shut up. It is not a spoiler to tell you the bad guy dies.

 

SOUNDING A LITTLE DEFENSIVE, AREN’T WE?

God’s Not Dead opens strong at number five, picking up the baton dropped by Son of God Last week and whatever fundamentalist Christian movie came out before that.  I’m actually glad these people have their own films so now they can stop bitching about everyone else’s.  And you can’t beat that title.  Even though it’s not true. If it were, there wouldn’t be a fourth Transformers movie coming out this year.

 

EVERYONE KNOWS BAD GUYS ARE UGLY

Need for Speed drops deservedly to number six and one of the biggest mistakes of this is the casting of Aaron Paul as your lead. Sorry, but did they learn nothing from Fast & The Furious? Former model Paul Walker wasn’t cast as the good guy against appealing but-never-mistaken-for-pretty, Vin Diesel by accident. I maintain that Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper were sent each other’s scripts by accident and like the annoying actors they are, were happy to play against type for once.  They also failed to make Aaron’s character a genuinely good guy. As it stands he’s just the protagonist, which doesn’t necessarily make him moral.  And he’s not. He’s just better than Dominic Cooper, who’ll commit manslaughter without blinking and frame someone else for it.  Neither one cares about the innocent lives put into jeopardy by their racing on public streets in broad daylight. Even in Fast & The Furious the racers go out of their way to try and make the streets as empty as possible.  Not to mention Paul Walker being an actual cop (not to mention FBI Agent later).  Cannonball Run had a better grasp on these things than this movie does, which is not a good sign.

 

BUT I SAW NEED FOR SPEED. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?

The Grand Budapest Hotel rise to number seven after literally tripling the number of screens on which it’s playing. Hopefully my living room will eventually be one of them, because it’s looking like that’s the only way I’ll see it.

 

I BLAME HER LACK OF ONSCREEN NUDITY

Non Stop is down to number eight, followed by The LEGO Movie at number nine and Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club closing out the top ten at number ten.  You know it’s killing Nia Long to being reduced to being in this given at one point she was the Halle Berry heir apparent (remember: Hollywood can only handle one leading minority actor at a time; one from each ethnic group), but it’s clearly and overwhelmingly Kerry Washington (having been Zoe Saldana for a hot second, Thandie Newton before that and might be Lupita Nyong’o tomorrow).  Both she and Best Man Holiday co-star, Eddie Cibran, are both in this and I wonder if they rolled eyes at one another at the difference between that film and this one.

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