Tag Archives: Frank Miller

THE MONEY MACHINE ROLLS ON

4 May

Tyrese-Gibson-Goes-Off-on-Fat-People-Look-at-What-You-Did-to-Yourself-2
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney Wknd/$ 187.7 Total/$ 187.7
2. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate Wknd/$ 6.3 Total/$ 23.4
3. Furious 7/Universal Wknd/$ 6.1 Total/$ 330.5
4. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Wknd/$ 5.6 Total/$ 44.0
5. Home/Fox Wknd/$ 3.3 Total/$ 158.1
6. Cinderella/Disney Wknd/$ 2.4 Total/$ 193.7
7. Ex Machina/A24 Wknd/$ 2.2 Total/$ 10.9
8. Unfriended/Universal Wknd/$ 1.9 Total/$ 25.2
9. The Longest Ride/Fox Wknd/$ 1.7 Total/$ 30.4
10. Woman in Gold/Weinstein Wknd/$ 3.5 Total/$ 21.6

WATCH ME GET MY GEEK ON!
Surprising absolutely no one, Avengers: Age of Ultron opens at number one and I found this to be superior to the original because it’s more of a movie unto itself and not so much concerned with setting up the next film. This is not to say it’s not setting up the next movie. Oh, no. They’re not afraid to let you know they’re saving shit for you to pay for later. But it’s less of an obvious placeholder. Scenes that showcase every character individually are less forced and even the sub-plots don’t drop like so many lead weights. And last but not least, there’s no 10-minute sequence where Captain America and Iron Man fix an engine. Seriously. I cannot believe they shot that. The movie opens in full swing with The Avengers going after Hydra, which if you remember where the bad guys in Captain America’s two movies because god forbid he fight a Nazi (yes, I will forever be annoyed by that). There they recover Loki’s scepter from the first film and from it Tony Stark creates an artificial intelligence known as Ultron, whom he intends to use to protect the world from the next invasion. Unfortunately Ultron more than has a mind of its own and thinks humanity is the problem and just plans to wipe us all out, Stark in particular. This sets up the basic plot of the film: superheroes vs. giant angry robot. With Ultron are two enhanced (because Fox owns the rights to the term mutant) people who also hate Tony Stark, Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch making more of a fair fight and actually kicking Avenger ass. Ultron is longtime Avengers villain in the comic whom I actually have never cared for, but James Spader via writer/director Whedon has been improved immensely. Before he was just a one note bad guy while they’ve given him a much-needed personality, which is basically what if your angry, sarcastic teenage son had the power to wipe out the world? He hates Tony Stark but has elements of Stark’s personality and hates being reminded of that. You need these moments of humanity given 90% of the film they’re swimming in a sea of CGI and it gets a little tiring. Seriously. It’s fun to watch, but when it’s over you really don’t need to see any more of it anytime soon (which why I had Daredevil to watch, but we’ll get to that). Ironically the Summer Movie Season has more or less begun, so I guess I’ll be seeing more of it next week. And the week after that. And the week after that.

GONNA FINALLY SEE THAT KESSEL RUN!
Age of Adaline actually moves up to number two, a result I gather of women (or men) who just drew a line in the sand and decided not to accompany their men (or women) into seeing Age of Ultron (which would explain why the sequel failed to be top its predecessor). Basically, if they were going to watch some wacky fantasy movie, it was going to be something they were actually interested in with more kissing and less CGI. Also in this is Harrison Ford and playing him younger, Anthony Ingruber who basically got the job doing Harrison Ford impressions on YouTube. You damn kids today. Once upon a time you had to sleep your way into movies. Granted, it helps that he looks like Ford, but can also do him perfectly. If I’m at Disney I’m hiring this kid and just creating a new revenue stream of Young Han Solo movies. Tell me more people wouldn’t see that than the main Star Wars films themselves!?! And now that Lucas is gone there’d be a whole lot of shootin’ first!

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THAT SINGING CAREER?
Furious 7 is down to number three and trying to get on the comic book money train is Tyrese Gibson. Not that I blame him, but I do not want to see this fool as any character I actually care about. Not to mention at 5’11 he’s too short to play the character he wanted, who was Luke Cage (who will have a series on Netflix like Daredevil, but we’ll get to that). That role went to Mike Colter from The Good Wife, who is 6’3”. Damn right. Now Gibson wants to be Jon Stewart, one of the Green Lanterns. Given how Ryan Reynolds crashed and burned, DC will probably go that way. I mean given how bad all their other decisions have been, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gibson got the job. Needless to say, I don’t give a crap about Jon Stewart. I mean, I didn’t care when Common’s talentless ass was cast as him for the aborted Justice League movie, so why would I start now?

THEY’LL PAY FOR THIS NEGLECT IN THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is down to number four, followed by Home at number five and Cinderella oddly returning to the top ten at number six. I have no idea how or why. The number of screens actually dropped by almost a thousand and still it popped up. Again, I’m thinking somehow The Avengers had something to do with this. Short sighted fathers who dropped their daughters off here instead of taking them with their brothers to see The Avengers.

IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO RULE IN HELL
Ex Machina is down to number seven, followed by Unfriended at number eight, The Longest Ride at number nine and The Woman in Gold at number ten and it’s gotta be humbling at home for Ryan Reynolds with Blake Lively’s movie getting more exposure than his. Especially when she’s the star of hers and he’s the co-star of Helen Mirren. Yeah, technically this did better, but is it better to the co-star in a success of the star of a disappointment?

YOU’D HAVE TO BE BLIND NOT TO LOVE THIS.
Since we’re discussing The Avengers and other comic book movies, it’s time I got to my long overdue discussion of Daredevil (told you we’d get to it). Simply put: it’s awesome. Seriously. Forget about that godawful movie with Ben Affleck that even he admits was crap. This. Is. Amazing. Netfilix and Marvel have pulled off something I quite frankly had my doubts about. I know it’s not saying much but this is best superhero TV show ever made. It is gritty and serious as a heart attack, but they make it work. It helps they have time. It’s not so much at TV show, but a 13-hour movie. Each episode builds on the previous episode to a great climax. Having been a fan of the comics this is based upon, my jaw dropped at some of the scenes. They’re making it clear that the comics are merely source material and they feel no obligation to follow them to the letter. Their changes are amazing and may have set the bar too high for them to follow, much less other shows that are coming set in this same world. One primary reason is the villain. It’s an old conceit that your movie can only be as good as its villain and Vincent D’Onofrio brings to life a great villain, The Kingpin. He’s not some two-dimensional bad guy, but a fully realized traumatized human being who has been consumed by his darkside, though he doesn’t admit it even to himself. The other saying is that a good villain is the hero of his own story and in this Wilson Fisk (never called The Kingpin, because what is this, a comic book?) firmly believes he’s saving the city. This city is the New York post-Avengers alien invasion. Hell’s Kitchen isn’t the new home of luxury high rises and nice restaurants that’s threatening to price me out of it, but the crime ridden HK of old thanks to the damage of the alien invasion The Avengers fought off. In a plotline all too real, criminals are making the most of all the new money coming in to redevelop the area. Having grown up there, Fisk thinks he’s saving his old neighborhood and the city with a small consortium of organized crime leaders, from Yakuza to Triads to Russian Mobs (clearly the Italians and Irish are old news). Unfortunately for him, Daredevil, aka, Matt Murdock also grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and is having none of it, going out every night dressed in black, using his hyper senses (developed when he was blinded by radioactive chemicals saving a man’s life) to find crime and beat the crap out of people committing it. They actually make you believe one unarmed guy can derail a business of armed gangsters. It’s fairly simple: you screw up their business enough and the partners start getting impatient and wind up finishing them off. They also do a great job of fleshing out the supporting characters. In the comics Vanessa, The Kingpin’s love interest, is a borderline idiot who has no idea he’s a gangster. Here she’s a woman knowing enough to bring a gun on her second date. She knows what he is and not only accepts it, but helps him somewhat. Karen Page is the secretary/love interest with little going on beyond that in the comics, but here she goes from being a damsel in distress to a pit bull determined to take The Kingpin down no matter what it takes. Daredevil himself had the sense of humor that comes and goes in the comics (depending on who’s writing) and takes a fairly realistic beating for someone fighting crime with no superpowers. When his ability to take a pounding without complaining is pointed out, he quips, “That’s the Catholicism in me.” Seriously, I cannot recommend this enough. It’s not perfect (Asians take it only the chin in all kinds of stereotypes and Daredevil functions a little too well despite vicious beatings). Let me put it this way: just make it to the hallway scene in episode two. That’s when I knew this was the real deal.

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FRANK MILLER SUCKS. THAT IS ALL.

25 Aug

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1. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney                  Wknd/$ 17.6    Total/$ 251.9
2. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles/Par            Wknd/$ 16.8    Total/$ 145.6
3. If I Stay/WB                                                     Wknd/$ 16.3    Total/$ 16.4
4. Let’s Be Cops/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 11. 0    Total/$ 45.2
5. When The Game Stands Tall/TS                 Wknd/$ 9.0      Total/$ 9.0
6. The Giver/Weinstein                                      Wknd/$ 6.7      Total/$ 24.1
7. The Expendables 3/LGF                                Wknd/$ 6.6      Total/$ 27.5
8. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For                        Wknd/$ 6.5      Total/$ 6.5
9. The Hundred-Foot Journey/Disney           Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 32.8
10. Into The Storm/WB                                      Wknd/$ 3.8     Total/$ 38.3

AND LORD OF THE RINGS CAME FROM KING ARTHUR. GET OVER IT.
Guardians of the Galaxy returns to the number one spot and also in this is Glenn Close and if this comes as a surprise to you I have to ask you where the hell you’ve been for 35 years, as A-list dramatic stars have been part of superhero movies since Superman The Movie opened with Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman billed above the title. Still, even after Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, Jeff Bridges, Cliff Robertson, Anthony Hopkins, Tommy Lee Jones, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliot, Peter O’Toole, Faye Dunaway, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, John Travolta and Morgan Freeman have all appeared in them, people are still surprised to see them there. It’s called show “business” people and if there is no business there will be no show. It’s the new “animated movie” where stars want an easy mainstream gig to pad both their resumes and bank accounts with hits. Glenn plays Nova Prime who is the head of the Nova Corps, a type of intergalactic police force which was a very clearly rip off of the Green Lantern Corps in the Green Lantern comics, (which in turn were a rip off of the Lensmen series of science fiction novels). This, however worked out much better for Glen Close than basically everyone in the Green Lantern movie as the success of this film opens the door for a Nova solo film. Oh, and guess who’s going to be in the Ant Man movie currently filming? Michael Douglas.

ACTUALLY SOFT CORE PORN WOULD BE MORE INTERESTING
Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles is down to number two and while this is also based on a comic book, to be in this basically means you’re desperate and one step away from soft-core porn on Cinemax or a eponymously named sitcom. Only one of those I’d actually watch.

NOT A COMPARISON YOU WANT MADE
If I Stay Opens at number three and this is based on a Young Adult novel, a section of the bookstore still being pillaged by movie studios all trying to get the “next big hit.” Clearly this ain’t it. I don’t read, so I know nothing about it, but as a movie the plot of someone in a coma reminds me of that horrible Reese Witherspoon thing, Just Like Heaven, which helped drag both hers and Mark Ruffalo’s careers down. The difference being Ruffalo had no problem doing a superhero movie, whereas Reese Witherspoon has made it clear she’ll never do anything like that. Really? Enjoy starring in “Reese” next fall on NBC.

THE GREAT ESCAPE
Let’s Be Cops is down to number four and I’m actually happy for the success of this film because I like the two guys in it and cannot stand the TV show “Zoe Deschanel is Just So Precious.” Though you might know it as “New Girl.” They’re both on it and this is one step closer to them being set free. Especially Marlon Wayans Jr., who was in the much, much, MUCH superior Happy Endings. Though ironically he was in the pilot for New Girl, but left it for Happy Endings, only to return when it was cancelled, so he’s owed this.

AND HOW MANY NFL PLAYERS CAME OUT OF THAT? EXACTLY.
When The Game Stands Tall opens at number five and I’m actually glad this didn’t do better because while I love football I cannot stand this “Football Is A Holy Religion That Will Cure All” mentality and this film utterly comes from that type of thinking. It’s “based on a true event” which means it’s all but fictional and the fiction will overtake the truth like that Remember The Titans movie with Denzel Washington (the coach was a jerk and hated). This is about a high school team that went undefeated for years then lost. OH. MY GOD! THE HUMANITY! They lost a football game!?! In high school!?! How could they go on!?! Seriously, who gives a crap? High school football players should only be in movies as the villains to the quirky, artistic protagonist, period.

I ALSO DON’T BELIEVE IN THE INTERNET. OR MOBILE PHONES.
The Giver is down to number five and this is another science fiction/fantasy Young Adult adaptation and remember how I said that comic book movies were the new way for actors to pad their resumes and bank accounts? Coming up a close second on that are YA adaptations. I mean look at the adult cast list for The Hunger Games. And here you’ve got Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, though it must be noted Bridges has been trying to get this made for so long he envisioned his father, Lloyd, in the role he himself is playing. Fine. So it’s the exception to the rule. I stand by my cynical observation. Now, you’d think I’d have seen this if for no other reason than the science fiction angle. Well, maybe, but I was on vacation and if I don’t see a film opening week, my chances of ever seeing it at all are slight. Also, I just have a old man prejudice against Young Adult. They’re just not “real” books to me.

THREE STRIKES YOU’RE OUT. TIME FOR ROCKY 18.
The Expendables 3 has dropped to number six and I probably would have seen this as well had I not been on vacation even though I know it’s complete and utter crap. Even worse, it’s selling out its weak-ass premise. The whole conceit of the film was that it was a bunch of old action stars together. That’s it. It’s a one trick pony. Realizing that was why people saw it, the second film decided to wink so hard at the audience that it sprained an eye muscle and the Expendables 2 did less business than the first film. See, the joke only goes so far then you actually have to make an movie worth watching and honestly they didn’t even do that in the first film and the second one was even worse, despite Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis and Arnold doing actual action scenes instead of just cameos and Jean Claude Van Damme showing up as the villain. This sent them into panic mode and rather than just trying to make a better movie, they lowered the water and opted for a PG-13 rating with more of the same crap. As if anyone didn’t let their kid see the first two because of that. Not even the inclusion of Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and Wesley Snipes as well as a bunch young people (the less said about Kelsey Grammar the better) could make up for this series’ diminishing returns. Look for a fourth one to show up directly on cable if at all.

YOU’RE BETTER OFF KILLING FOR A BETTER WRITER
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For opens at number eight and I don’t know why I went to see this given I’ve never been a fan of the Sin City series or Frank Miller or even the first film. Oh, I know why: Eva Green. She was the best thing about 300: Rise of an Empire and she’s the best thing about this piece of crap. Like The Expendables there was a “gimmick” to get people in to see it. In this case it was visually mimicking Frank Miller’s artistic style, but like The Expendables, once that was done you still had to make a movie worth seeing and given Miller’s bleak, cynical, misogynist, derivative books aren’t even worth reading, that they didn’t make a good film is not surprising. It’s also not surprising that like the Expendables sequel this sequel underperformed as well. People are aware there’s nothing beneath the surface…and the surface gets old fast. Eva Green, however, is a film noir movie waiting to happen. Her raspy voice and intense look make her a natural for a femme fatale that a knight in tarnished armor would risk all to save, even though he knows she’s lying to him the whole time. Also look for any further sequels to show up directly on cable and honestly it would work better as series of half hour episodes. Too short to grow weary of the bleakness and style and realize there’s not much else there.

THE END
A Hundred Foot Journey is down to number nine followed by Into The Storm closing out the top ten at number ten.

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