Tag Archives: famke janssen


11 Aug


1. Elysium/TriStar                                       Wknd/$  30.5            Total/$  30.4

 2. We’re The Millers/Warners                   Wknd/$  26.6            Total/$  38.0

 3. Planes/Disney                                         Wknd/$  22.5            Total/$  22.5

 4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters            Wknd/$  14.6            Total/$  23.5

 5. 2 Guns/Universal                                    Wknd/$  11.1            Total/$  48.5

 6. The Smurfs 2/Sony                                 Wknd?$    9.5            Total/$  46.6

 7. The Wolverine/Fox                                 Wknd/$    8.0            Total/$ 112.0

 8. The Conjuring/WB                                 Wknd/$    6.7            Total/$ 120.7

 9. Despicable Me 2/Universal                    Wknd/$    5.7            Total/$ 338.3

10. Grown Ups 2/Sony                                 Wknd/$    3.7            Total/$ 123.8



Opening at number one is Elysium and honestly, until Star Wars came along pretty much every science fiction film in the 70’s that wasn’t a drive in creature flick had some political message.  And even there you weren’t entirely safe (Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster anyone?).  So this is actually bit of a throwback to that time, all the way down to the design of the Elysium city in space being a giant wheel in space.  And they were about as subtle as this film where the security forces on the space station of the rich and powerful is called “homeland security” and anyone who isn’t supposed to be there is an illegal immigrant.  Matt Damon is Max Santos…no I’m not kidding. You think someone actually Latino was going to star in this? They wouldn’t have gotten $15 for it much less $115M for a budget.  As I was saying, Max Santos is an ex-car thief—like the actually Spanish Antonio Banderas was in Miami Rhapsody.  Okay, I’ll stop.  Max grew up in an orphanage dreaming of living on Elysium where the rich and power have fled 150 years from now because the Earth is overpopulated and polluted.  Now you’d think if they had the technology to create a giant space station, they’d have the same technology to clean terra firma up, but this a parable about class so save that noise.  They have everything there including medical devices that can cure anything including cancer, but they aren’t sharing.  Max is trying to turn his life around by working in a robot factory when doing so gets him a fatal dose of radiation poisoning.  He’s got 5 days to live so he decides to break into Elysium and cure himself. He’s aided in this by a local crime boss with a social conscience who spends most of his time trying to get people up there and outfits Damon with an exoskeleton to keep him going. Standing in their way is none other than Jodie freaking Foster who is the Defense Secretary of Elysium who thinks of nothing of blowing illegal alien ships out of the sky, much to the chagrin of the space station government, who don’t so much care for the illegals but still draw the line at just killing them outright, which is why they hate the psychopathic agent she has doing the killing that benefits them. Like I said, none of this is subtle and while enjoyable if you think too much on it tends to deflate at bit. Aside from the technology question (you’ve got robots but they aren’t doing the human work?) there’s the question of why is only one guy in LA the only person trying to break in? Shouldn’t everyone all over the world be trying or is Elysium the space station of the rich of California and there are few dozen others, which would have made much more sense?  And if Elysium has its own government, what is the government on Earth and its relationship to it? Does 1600 Pennsylvania Ave matter or does becoming president get you a free ticket up there?  But these are questions you don’t ask yourself when you just want to preach at people through popular entertainment.  Space is America and Earth is Mexico and that’s about as much as you think it through.  It’s clearly all they did here.



We’re The Millers opens at number two and nothing indicates the poor state of big screen comedy than the fact that Jason Sudekis is a leading man.  Yeah, I know Will Ferrell is getting older, but he was a star on TV and Sudekis is just a talented supporting guy.  He’s the new Kevin Nealon…if Kevin Nealon were actually talented.  And Jennifer Anniston should send half her paycheck to Brad Pitt because dumping her for Angelina Jolie made her a star. It’s certainly not her body of work. It’s decidedly mediocre and has more misses than hits. She’s a TV star who somehow escaped to the big screen when she should be in a sitcom that follows Cougar Town (which is actually very funny, by the way). She seems restrained in anything she does, unwilling to commit, like this movie seems. It’s rated “R” but looks PG13, which is why Ferrell is such a clean cut pot dealer, she’s a very wholesome looking stripper and Emma Roberts as a street kid? Are you kidding me?  They clearly were unwilling to go where a movie like this needed to go to be effective. If this were a true R-rated comedy they’d all be much sleazier characters and she’d get butt-ass nekkid for her stripping scene—and I would have been first in line to see that and it would have opened at number one. You gotta be in it to win it, Jen!



Speaking me not seeing films, Planes opens at number three and it’s good to see America could tell full well this was not a Pixar film even though Disney did all they could to tie it to one. It didn’t help that they tied it to the weakest Pixar film ever, Cars.  Honestly, I might have given this a shot until I learned that they replaced the voice of Jon Cryer with Dane Cook. Are you kidding me? If you want people to see something why on earth would you put Dane Cook in it, even unseen? Jon Cryer isn’t some great talent, but he was appealing at least once in his life and you’d buy him as the voice of the underdog.  Dane Cook is the voice of the douchebag and always has been.  It died there for me and clearly America was in agreement.



Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters opens at number four and you’d think that being the fan of Greek mythology that I was as a kid I’d have loved a movie about a kid who learns he’s the son of a Greek god and then goes on adventures with other demi-gods.  Well, the problem with that is the god they chose.  Poseidon?  Really? Know any great stories about the children of Poseidon?  Exactly. Hercules is the son of Zeus. Perseus is the son of Zeus. You know who can call Poseidon dad?  Theseus and yes, Pegasus (via Medusa, so clearly Poseidon had no standards).  The movie The Immortals was about Theseus and even there they make him mortal, so little does Poseidon matter.  I would have even settled for Apollo, but Poseidon?  No. Also, all your friends are demi-gods too?  Then how are you special?  Oh, and your name is Percy.  Needless to say, I didn’t see the first and have no interest in the second and clearly I’m not alone.



2 Guns is down to number five and also in this is Paula Patton, whom you call because Halle Berry is too expensive and too big a star.  She and Denzel last teamed in the underrated Déjà Vu which was like an overlong episode of The Outer Limits.  She’s proudly telling people she insisted on her topless scene because it wasn’t authentic that you’d be lounging around after having sex with a bra on.  Even though she’s right, that doesn’t make her any less stupid for thinking she accomplished something by being naked onscreen or that it was some kind of battle to begin with. A bunch of dudes are not going to stop a beautiful woman from taking off her top in their R-rated action movie. In fact that she’s the only naked woman in this 80’s throwback is the odd thing. Besides, her hair is so long you can barely see anything anyway, so what was the point?  At least when Halle did it in Swordfish, she made sure you got the goods.  And it was good.



The Smurfs is down to number six followed by The Wolverine at number seven and also in this is Famke Janssen as Jean Grey who died in both X2 and X3, but that’s in-keeping with the comics where Jean Grey has also died a number of times.  She’s not really here, just a series of guilty dreams Wolverine has and apparently his dreams require massive amounts of CGI done to her face to eliminate any aging between now and 2006.  Seriously, it’s ridiculous they felt the need to have done that to her but not to Hugh Jackman, who is supposed to be ageless but is clearly doing it quite well. The needless and unsubtle special effects (she started off as a model, people) make her looks freakishly inhuman next to his lined face.



The Conjuring is down to number eight, followed by Despicable Me 2 at number nine and Grown Ups 2 finally puts us all out of our misery at number ten.


10 Feb


1. Identity Thief/Universal                         Wknd/$  36.6              Total/$  36.6

 2. Warm Bodies/Summit                            Wknd/$  11.5               Total/$  36.7

 3. Side Effects/ORF                                      Wknd/$  10.0             Total/4  10.0

 4. Silver Linings Playbook/Wein               Wknd/$   6.9              Total/$  90.0

 5. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters           Wknd/$   5.8              Total/$  43.8

 6. Mama/Universal                                      Wknd/$   4.3              Total/$  64.0

 7. Zero Dark Thirty/Sony                            Wknd/$   4.0              Total/$  83.6

 8. Argo/Warners                                           Wknd/$   2.5              Total/$ 123.7

 9. Django Unchained/Weinstein               Wknd/$   2.3              Total/$ 154.5

10. Bullet To The Head/Warners               Wknd/$   1.9               Total/$    8.2



Identity Thief opens at number one and it’s official: Melissa McCarthy is a comedy A-lister.  “But what about Bridesmaids?” you ask. Yeah, yeah, yeah. She got an Oscar nod for Bridesmaids.  So what?  That $2.25 will get you on the train.  Opening at number one however, will make sure your next check is eight-figures, easy.  “But what about Jason Bateman?” you ask and let me tell you, you’re getting annoying with these questions and it’s only the first movie.  Jason Bateman is a solid supporting player.  He’s the go-to straight man—which is incredibly important in comedy—but he alone is not a guarantee.  Notice how Jason Bateman and Jennifer Anniston tanked in The Switch last year.  That’s because Anniston is faux-A-list.  She’s famous like she’s A-list but nothing she’s done backs it up. And everyone she flops with does better elsewhere.  She flopped with Gerald Butler in The Bounty Hunter, but he made an equally bad movie with Katherine Heigl that made money.  She flopped with Paul Rudd in Wanderlust, but then he makes the unpleasant This Is 40 with Leslie Mann whom no one confuses with an A-lister and it at least doubles its budget. And who was the best part of This Is 40? Melissa McCarthy. A-list star…who’s trying to figure out how to get the hell out of her TV contract as we speak.



Warm Bodies drops to number two and the female lead in this is Teresa Palmer who seems to finally have a hit (it’s already made budget in just two weeks) after a few years of tanking in projects that looked like sure things.  First there’s Take Me Home Tonight, where she’s “the girl” for Topher Grace, which is so bad it sits on the shelf for a year to be released to expected disappointment.  Then there’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice where she’s “the girl” for Jay Baruchel who was supposed to be the cute, geeky heartthrob, but is more geeky than he is cute and now people have stopped trying to make that happen (he’s the “fetch” of young actors).  Then she was the best part of I Am Number Four as the badass Number Six.  Mainly because she didn’t have to be “the girl.”  But that would-be franchise couldn’t get out of the gate, though was hardly the failure some made it out to be. We’ll know if this takes her to the next level if her next leading man is 10+ years her senior.  That’s how you really know, when every aging leading man wants suck on your youth to help him seem, like a friggin’ vampire.



Side Effects opens at number three and for someone who has been talking about leaving films for years, Steven Soderbergh seemingly has a new one out every other day.  This is his fourth film in two years.  Clearly you’re still interested, Stevie, so what’s your problem? Oh, I don’t care. I’ve liked Soderbergh since sex, lies & videotape, a film that still holds up 20 years later but he’s very hit or miss with me.  His style is indefinable and sometimes borders on being so low-key it’s boring (he directed the action film Haywire about a secret agent struggling with betrayal pretty much the same way he directed the drama Magic Mike, about a stripper struggling to move up in the world) and it often depends solely upon the subject matter to carry it.  This subject matter didn’t pique my interest at all other than the fact Soderbergh directed it and sadly that isn’t enough any longer. He wasn’t helped by trailers that changed from making Jude Law seem like the sinister doctor to Rooney Mara as the lead, to making him seem like a the fall guy of the sinister pharmaceutical companies, with her as his supporting character.  I would have been more inclined to the latter as Rooney Mara is more than a little off-putting, but too little too late. I’ll throw this on the pile of Soderbergh films I keep telling myself I’m going to sit down and watch one day, going back to King of the Hill.  But that’s not my fault. It hasn’t been available on any kind of home video for almost 20 years and only now has shown up on Netflix. But I’d love to see Kafka again, as I’m one of the two people in the world who liked it.



Yes, Silver Linings Playbook is down to number four. No, I still haven’t seen it. Shut up. I have a life…and have rediscovered video games on my computer.



Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is down to number five and also in this as the big, bad witch is Famke Janssen (former model) who I will give credit to because when Goldeneye  made her briefly hot, she went and did indie films with her heat and rarely did big budget crap like I Spy. In act it was when her heat had run out that X-Men came and gave some of it back. And guess what she did?  More indie films.  This too is probably to pay for more of them.  Well that and the little rat dog she has that I constantly see her walking in the West Village.



Mama is down to number six and at $77M worldwide from a $15M budget you can expect some weird kind of sequel.  Grandmama?  It’s followed by Zero Dark Thirty at number seven giving us back-to-back Jessica Chastain.  It’s followed by Argo at number eight, returning to the top ten on its run to winning the Oscar for Best Picture giving us back-to-back…Kyle Chandler?  I know some wonder why he was never a bigger star but I think he’s as big as he’s capable of being. He’s kinda dull, which is why he’s perfect for the authority figures he plays, be it high school football coaches or in the case of these two films, government officials.  Basically, he was born to wear a suit and tie on film and argue with the younger, more attractive actual lead.  He’ll be playing the president within five years, mark my words.



Django Unchained is down to number nine and believe it or not but this may wind up being Tarantino’s highest grossing film, already at the $310M mark worldwide.  Only Inglorious Basterds is higher at $316 and the two Kill Bill films combined made $300M.  The downside being people will continue to cast Jamie Foxx in movies as the lead, which seemed to be just about over. “But what about his Oscar for Ray?” you ask and I was hoping you’d stopped doing that. What of it?  Hilary Swank has two. What was the last Hilary Swank movie you saw? What was the last one you can even remember?  Exactly.



Finally, Bullet To The Head closes out the top ten at number ten and hopefully this won’t put too much of a damper on the career of Sung Kang who plays Han in the Fast & The Furious movies.  In fact, in every movie Justin Lin directs, he plays a character named Han, who actually called Han Seoul-Oh in Fast Five.  Get it? Han Solo?  Yeah.  But a friend of mine who is Korean described him as an “Asian Andrew McCarthy” which has got to be on the list of things he never wanted to hear.



Starting this week was The Face, an idea so great I can’t believe it took this long.   Basically it’s giving Naomi Campbell her own modeling show where she can just be an unrepentant bitch every week.  Yeah, there are two other models, but that’s what they’re really selling.  It’s what Naomi Campbell is only too happy to sell and we’re buying it hand over fist. The only way it could be bitchier would be to have Claudia Schiffer as one of the other judges.  I’m not a watcher of America’s Next Top Model so I don’t know how it all goes down, but during the opening selection episode it was actually a bit painful watching these girls—and they are just girls—getting rejected (“I’m sorry. You’re not The Face.”).  But if you want to do anything in the world, much less modeling, then rejection is just part of it.  Nonetheless, I was relieved when they didn’t put us through every single one and just had some happen off-screen.  Of course this cost us Naomi’s “Bitch, please” reaction anytime a contestant didn’t choose to be on her team in the event of two judges wanting her for their team. And I think it actually mattered more when the girl in question was black, which is ironic given how she treated Tyra Banks initially.  I suppose it’s never too late to be a sista.  This is going to be the show to get me through till spring, especially now that Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apt. 23 is gone and Happy Endings is hanging on by a thread.


21 Oct



1. Paranormal Activity 4/Parmount            Wknd/$  30.0            Total/$  30.2

 2. Argo/Warners                                              Wknd/$   16.6            Total/$  43.2

 3. Hotel Transylvania/Sony                           Wknd/$   13.5            Total/$ 119.0

 4. Taken 2/Fox                                                  Wknd/$   13.4            Total/$ 106.0

 5. Alex Cross/Summit                                      Wknd/$   11.8            Total/$  11.8

 6. Sinister/Summit                                           Wknd/$    9.0            Total/$  32.0

 7. Here Comes The Boom/Sony                     Wknd/$    8.5            Total/$  23.2

 8. Pitch Perfect/Universal                               Wknd/$    7.0            Total/$  45.8

 9. Frankenweenie/Disney                               Wknd/$    4.4            Total/$  28.3

10. Looper/TriStar                                             Wknd/$    4.2            Total/$  57.8



As you well know, I don’t do the scary.  Not good scary, not bad scary, not bloodless nail-biting suspense scary and not super graphic torture porn scary. None of it. So I’ve seen none of these Paranormal Activity movies and I’m not going to start now.  Clearly I’m alone in this as the fourth in this series opens at number one.  But if you’re looking for someone to blame, know that for the first movie Steven Spielberg advised them to an ending that allowed for sequels.  So along with Shia LeBeouf and Robert Zemeckis, you can add this to his list of crimes.  But I suppose this beats a new freaking Saw movie every year.  Barely.



Argo or as it’s know around the Affleck household, “I got your Bourne right here, pally,” holds onto number two while Hotel Transylvania actually rises to number three and again I must hold this against ParaNorman.  Guys you didn’t even try.  But this isn’t the hit you think it is.  With an $85M budget $119M isn’t that great and even with overseas returns of $68M it hasn’t reached the break-even point (usually twice the budget) so my little black heart feels a touch of joy.



Taken 2 is down to number three and back for an easy paycheck is Famke Janssen as Liam Neeson’s ex-wife, who has clearly dumped her husband from the first movie, in the face of Neeson’s sheer daughter-rescuing manliness.  Geek Connection: She did at least two indie films with Jon Favreau back when that was his thing so you have to wonder if she encouraged him to hop on the comic book money train, because she wound up in the X-Men franchise while he followed to helm the first two Iron Man films as well as co-starring as Happy Hogan (he’ll be back in the role for 3, though not directing).



Alex Cross opens poorly at number five and this was doomed from the moment anyone anywhere decided Tyler Perry should be the lead, taking over a role after none less than Morgan fucking Freeman.  If that weren’t bad enough Idris Elba was originally announced as the new Alex Cross.  Who the hell goes from sex-on-two-legs Idris Elba to a man best known for bad movies where he wears a dress!?!  Seriously. He’s not even good-looking, much less a good actor.  But someone somewhere saw he made a lot of money starring and thought it was just translate. Uh, no.  Because I cannot stand Tyler Perry or his minstrel show movies and TV series this tanking kinda made my weekend. Haters gon’ hate!



Sinister is down to number six and I can only think Ethan Hawke is only here for some quick genre movie cash so he can continue to do his theater work.  It only cost $3M and has made $31M so it seriously paid off.  I hope he negotiated for some of the backend because that will pay for a lot of Ibsen. God knows I won’t even though it’s only six blocks away and I know the theater manager.



Here Comes The Boom is down to number seven and also in this is Henry Winkler and there’s a soft spot in my heart for him. Not simply because he was The Fonz, but because he when he was briefly a superstar, he once did one of those TV shows designed to introduce kids to Shakespeare and sure enough I read my first Shakespeare play after seeing it.  So I guess what I’m saying is, you had your chance and you blew it, Zac Efron.



Pitch Perfect is down to number eight and this is actually a small success.  With a budget of $17M ($10M was probably pure music licensing fees) it’s made $45M, which is only $6M shy of the “3x budget” rule that measures profit at the box office. So expect more “Glee” type movies and at the very least some direct-to-video sequels to this.  Let me put it this way: Bring It On has had four of them. 



Frankenweenie is down to number nine and this has gotta hurt. How do you not make money with kid’s Halloween movie at Halloween?  When your main character is dead dog, that’s how (or you just wuss out like ParaNorman).  This personally was always my issue with Casper the Friendly Ghost. You don’t have a kid ghost without a dead kid somewhere.  And you can’t bring your dog back from the dead without having it die first which is not something most kids want to see. Even the little goth ones.



Finally, Looper closes out the top ten at number ten and with a modest $30M budget this has made only $57 domestically, but overseas has brought in another $75M so it’s a hit.  I’d say it was a spoiler that Bruce Willis kills a lot of people but honestly who goes to a Bruce Willis movie and doesn’t expect that?  In any case so much of the movie revolves around actions that do and don’t change the past, but little thought is given to the fact that Bruce Willis basically comes back and wipes out the mob. Um, doesn’t that change the future a tad?  Also, the film opens with a similar incident happening where another Looper’s future self gets loose.  They say they can’t kill his younger self because that will screw up time, but they horrifically mutilate him until his future self comes back, because every time they take a finger or limb, the future self loses it.  It’s a great scene but then you have to ask, what about the two-legged, five-fingered life this guy has lead for the last 30 years. He clearly isn’t going to lead it now, so things have been changed.  At least the film is self-aware enough to make more than one joke about how thinking too much about time travel makes your head hurt.



The Most Wonderful Time of the year is winding down as the last few new fall shows make their debut and I have to admit that—your usual bad southern accents aside—Nashville lives up to the hype. Not only is it a top notch soap opera with some nicely realized characters up meshing nicely with some wonderfully rendered near-caricatures (Powers Boothe may be the best nighttime soap villain since JR Ewing) but they accomplish the impossible: make you like country music.  Seriously, there’s a song at the end of the first episode that had everyone asking “What the hell is that!?!” (It’s called “If I Didn’t Know Better” and it’s from The Civil Wars and you can download a live version free from their website).  Now, it might be expected given the show’s music producer is T Bone Burnett and that it was created by Callie Khouri who happens to be his wife (and friggin’ JD Souther is a cast member), but A-listers in other areas come to TV every year to fail miserably.  Ask Steven Spielberg.  He’s been failing on TV since Amazing Stories in the 80’s and kept his streak going with Terra Nova and Smash last. Yes, Smash is coming back, but it’s still awful. I know because I watched every single episode.