Tag Archives: Gerard Butler

ZACK SNYDER V COMPETENT FILMMAKING

28 Mar

Morena-Baccarin-Photoshoot-by-Robert-Ascroft-2013-morena-baccarin-35411576-748-1000

1. Batman v Superman/WB                 Wknd/$170.1   Total/$ 170.1
2. Zootopia/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 23.1    Total/$ 240.5
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2/Uni  Wknd/$ 18.1    Total/$ 18.1
4. Miracles from Heaven/TriStar       Wknd/$ 9.5      Total/$ 34.1
5. Divergent: Allegiant/LG                    Wknd/$ 9.5     Total/$ 46.6
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount      Wknd/$ 6.0    Total/$ 56.0
7. Deadpool/Paramount                         Wknd/$ 5.0    Total/$ 349.5
8. London Has Fallen/Focus                 Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 55.6
9. Hello, My Name is Doris/RA             Wknd/$ 1.7    Total/$ 3.3
10. Eye in the Sky/BST                            Wknd/$ 1.0    Total/$ 1.7

GREED V CHARACTERS: DAWN OF A FRANCHISE
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opens at number one to no one’s surprise. Also not surprising? It’s goddamned awful that way that only a CGI heavy muddle by a hack director like Snyder can be. The movie exists for one reason only: to make Superman and Batman fight, so they wrote it ass backwards trying to come up with reasons to make this happen and they do a horrible job of it. The movie is strongly inspired by the best-selling Batman comics ever: The Dark Knight Returns, which is set in a future where Batman is little more than a psychotic thug and Superman is a government stooge and at its climax Batman beats a weakened Superman who is honestly trying not to hurt him. I have to give the book credit for brilliantly tapping into the not-so-secret longstanding resentment of many for Superman. Simply put, he’s the status quo, the establishment. He’s everything that makes your angry teen-self feel powerless. Your parents, your teachers, the cops…etc. While Batman is literally powerless (unless you count money which makes him the most powerful superhero). Having the “powerless” character defeat the all-powerful character resonated so strongly, the status quo of DC Comics was forever changed and Superman & Batman were no longer best friends, but antagonistic. Frenemies at best. Also, the book sold millions, which never happens, so DC followed the money, which means for the better part of the last 30 years aside from continually making them fight, Batman has also been a near psychotic. Most of these stories are godawful, but all of those stories are better than this one, which involves Lex Luthor (played as “autistic evil” by Jesse Eiesenberg) hating Superman for no real reason and wanting him both disgraced and dead. Meanwhile, Superman has been doing good deeds since accidentally bringing the Kryptonian Civil War to Earth and causing the deaths of thousands. But apparently he has never once spoken to the people he’s protecting as he continues to be a miserable bastard tormented by the fact that some people still don’t like him. If only he knew someone in the media that he could convey what he was all about. Oh, right HE’S A FUCKING REPORTER! HE COULD DO IT ANYTIME HE WANTS TO! Meanwhile, in Gotham city—which in this film is located across the bay from Metropolis basically making it the Oakland to Metropolis’ San Francisco—Batman has apparently been around for 20 years and in that time Wayne Manor has been destroyed, a Robin has been killed and Batman now has no problem literally branding people when he’s not flat out shooting them down with the machine guns in his Batmobile and Batplane. If the reasons why Luthor hates Superman make no sense, neither does the seeming obsession of Clark Kent with Batman. Thousands are dead, half the world hates him, the government is holding hearings about him, but he’s concerned about the civil liberties being trampled in Gotham City. At least Batman’s resentment of Superman is somewhat legit. Some of thousands of people are dead were employees of Wayne Enterprises and in one of the few effective sequences we see the final moments from Man of Steel from the perspective of Bruce Wayne on the ground. And while his resent of Superman is valid, his psychotic need to cut his head off (which he literally tries to do in the battle that takes far too long to happen) does not. Very little of this film does. And it commits the worst sin imaginable: it’s dull. But again, most of Snyder’s films are, though supposedly action films. Man of Steel was dull. Sucker Punch was dull. Because he thinks he’s a real filmmaker he tries to have scenes were people do things besides fight, only they make no sense. And with the exception of Wonder Woman’s five-minute appearance (which is as badass as it is great) even the fights are dull and if that’s the case, this film has no reason to exist whatsoever. But again, it’s not really a movie is it? It’s just a launching platform for other movies and while Marvel/Disney is equally guilty of sacrificing a film to set up for others (both Thors, half of Captain America and even part of Avengers Age of Ultron) at least they are still capable of making a half-decent movie around it. DC/WB clearly are not.

IT’S CALLED STICKING WITH A BIT
Zootopia is down to number two and outside of the race & gender allegory it’s creating, there are still honest and funny jokes in the film and none so much as the now famous sloth one. That sloths run the DMV is near brilliant in its obvious simplicity, but what makes the joke work it is that they stick with it. At no point do they create some excuse that can make the sloths go faster. No, the audience has to wait alongside the characters and it is hysterical. And while he’s great as the straight man usually, Jason Bateman has a smarm to him as well that works perfectly as the voice of the fox and he clearly enjoys playing the other side of the fence for once.

MY BIG FAT GREEK DESPERATION
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 opens at number three and clearly God hates everyone to have both this and Batman v Superman opening in the same week. No matter what movie you choose, it’s going to be crap made by the incompetent. The first Big Fat Greek Wedding was like Batman v Superman: godawful, stupid and incredibly successful (I’m stunned to realize it got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay when it was only one of those things). Based on what I’ve seen in the commercials and trailers, this is going to get at least two of those down solid. Nia Vardalos has been trying for years to follow that up with a failed TV series (My Big Fat Greek Life) a reteaming with John Corbett (I Hate Valentine’s Day) and revisiting the Greek thing (My Life in Ruins). I hate to knock anyone’s hustle, but girlfriend, it’s time to move the fuck on. I’m sorry Tom Hanks and his wife got all the money the first time around, but you had your moment, you took your shot and you failed. Accept you’re someone’s sidekick and Move. On.

SHE NEEDED SOME JESUS
Miracles from Heaven is down to number four and if you’re wondering why these Christian movies are getting more mainstream Hollywood people in them you need to look at who they’re getting. They’re not getting Ben Affleck who’s winning Oscars and starring in attempted billion dollar franchises. They’re getting his soon-t0-be ex-wife who does credit card commercials and needed the comfort of the lord something fierce this past year. She said she started taking the kids to church after making this movie but let’s not kid ourselves. We know what make you look for meaning in all this and it wasn’t some dumb Christian propaganda movie. It was your husband banging the honestly less-attractive nanny. And the whole world knowing it.

SAY IT WITH ME: THE WORLD IS MADE FOR PEOPLE WHO LACK SELF-AWARENESS
The Divergent Series: Allegiant is down to number five and I’m as surprised to see this still going on as you are because I confused it with The Hunger Games like everyone else. What’s funny is that star Shailene Woodley tries to act like we’re being strange to connect her to Jennifer Lawrence. Oh, and you’re not a tall, attractive 20-something blonde who has drawn raves in small indie films while headlining a Young Adult franchise based on a dystopian future where you’re the chosen on who leads a rebellion? No, honey. The difference is Jennifer Lawrence has four Oscar nominations and one win. You have a one Golden Globe nomination…that you didn’t win.

SERIOUSLY, I HATE YOU ALL
10 Cloverfield Lane is down to number six and this has been successful so I guess we’re going to get more of this Cloverfield shit. I hate you all for making it possible.

TALENT, SCHMALENT. SHE’S SO PURTY.
Deadpool is down to number seven and also in this is Morena Baccarin who is like Ryan Reynolds in that she’s a really pretty person that everyone seems to know whose success in Hollywood should be a foregone conclusion, but like him this is actually her biggest success happening a decade after you thought it would. That she should have been Maria Hill in The Avengers movies must be a little easier to bear now.

MADRID HAS FALLEN…OH, IT’S JUST SIESTA. NEVER MIND.
London Has Fallen is down to number eight and all you need to know about this movie is that at one point it turns into a video game. Seriously. It turns into a first person shooter as you are Gerard Butler and follow his POV into the action and like a video game, no bullets or shrapnel ever seem to hit him. Thankfully, it hasn’t even made budget yet so no other capitals will fall in the future. What? Were you really looking forward to Paris Has Fallen? Rome Has Fallen? Tokyo Has Fallen? Actually they could do it, just with different characters in each location. Come to think of it, this film would have been infinitely better with no connection with Olympus Has Fallen and just been about a James Bond-like agent dealing with similar circumstances in London. Butler almost does it as his Scottish accent becomes more and more apparent as the film drags on.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE PATRIARCHY IS REAL, YO
Hello My Name Is Doris actually rises to number nine and I’m happy for Sally Field getting this at this stage of the game. But we know that if the genders were reversed and it was a 60-something dude longing for a 30-something female he’d actually get to bang her and he’d rock her world. Or am I the only person who remembers how charming so many critics found Burt Lancaster lusting after Susan Sarandon in Atlantic City? Or most of Michael Douglas’ casting decisions, period?

I MEAN IT, FUCK THAT MOVIE
Finally, Eye In The Sky rises to number ten to remind you that every day we kill innocent people every time we try to kill a terrorist with a drone strike, which reminds me again of the end of London Has Fallen where such a strike is the cause of all the trouble and also the climax you’re supposed to cheer. Seriously, fuck that movie.

PA KENT: THE MOVIE
Midnight Special isn’t in the top ten but it’s basically Superman from the point of view of The Kents. It’s about 10-year-old boy in Texas who has special powers and his father trying to protect him from the government who wants him badly. Okay, it’s not as nice as The Kents in the comics as the father here (played by Michael Shannon who was ironically Zod in Man of Steel) actually is willing to shoot a state trooper simply because he’s in their way because his on is “More important.” In that way he’s closer the horrible Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel who is willing to let a bus filled with children die, but when it comes down to it, he can’t kill someone who might (and actually does) give them away. Also, the mother and father here (mom is Kirsten Dunst) were part of some kind of religious cult run by Sam Shepard that became centered around the boy when his powers began to manifest (Shepard actually took the boy to raise for two years as his own), so they’re a little darker than The Kents. What they do share is a clear an unconditional love for their “special” son with absolutely no fear of him and will do whatever they need to do in order to protect him, even though he clearly possesses amazing powers (at one point the boy downs a military satellite). And if you don’t think it’s not intentional, know that at one point the boy is reading a Superman comic. It could be a little tighter given it’s essentially a chase film (thy aren’t just running from the authorities but the armed cultists who what the boy back as they think Judgment Day is coming) in the era of drones and satellites and amber alerts where running unnoticed is seriously difficult but a satisfying little film nonetheless.

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YOU’LL NEVER SEE WILE E. COYOTE THE SAME

14 Mar

ryan-reynolds-gq-magazine-photoshoot-by-peggy-sirota_2 1. Zootopia/Disney Wknd/$ 50.0 Total/$ 142.6
2. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount Wknd/$ 25.2 Total/$ 25.2
3. Deadpool/Paramount Wknd/$ 10.8 Total/$ 328.1
4. London Has Fallen/Focus Wknd/$ 10.7 Total/$ 38.9
5. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot/Paramount Wknd/$ 4.6 Total/$ 14.6
6. The Perfect Match/Lions Gate Wknd/$ 4.2 Total/$ 4.2
7. The Young Messiah/Focus Wknd/$ 3.2 Total/$ 3.4
8. The Brothers Grimsby/Sony Wknd/$ 3.2 Total/$ 3.2
9. Gods of Egypt/Lions Gate Wknd/$ 2.5 Total/$ 27.3
10. Risen/Sony Wknd/$ 2.3 Total/$ 2.3

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN CARTOON ANIMALS TALK
Zootopia holds at number one and the rumors you have heard are true: Disney’s animated wing has finally caught up to Pixar. Of course it’s under the control of Pixar that it’s happened, but nonetheless it has. Aside from being technically gorgeous, Zootopia not only comes up with good characters, but works on a level aside from funny talking animals because Zootopia is all about race and gender discrimination. Seriously. It’s about a bunny (Judy Hops) wants to be a cop all her life despite everyone telling her she can’t be and that there are no bunny cops because only predators can be cops and bunnies are prey. That predators are “masculine” and “prey” are feminine is pretty obvious. Especially when Judy actually does become a cop it is a clear mandate of a “diversity program” and she’s promptly assigned to be a meter maid. But it doesn’t stop there as the actual plot of the film is how some predators are de-evolving to walk on all fours and want to hunt fellow prey citizens. We learn then that predators are actually a “minority” in Zootopia and are seen as aggressive and dangerous. Get it? This is crystalized in the form of the fox, Nick Wilde, who first outwits Judy but is later outwitted and blackmailed by her into helping with the case. Like Judy, he wanted to break outside of society’s conventions about what a “minority” could be and like her was violently rebuffed as a child. Do I even have to point out that foxes are seen as deceitful and untrustworthy? This leads to a scene I thought I’d never see in an animated Disney movie where Nick confronts Judy about what she erroneously said about predators and she blurts out, “But you’re not like the others.” As someone who has actually had this said to his face (thank you, Georgia upbringing) it was beyond stunning. I’m actually surprised the same idiots who slowly realized the Ice Queen in Frozen was a lesbian haven’t attacked the lessons of this movie. And while I wish I could praise it for being yet another animated film that wasn’t a fucking musical, we do have a song by animal superstar, Gazelle (voiced by Shakira). But luckily it’s at the very end. And yes, the sloth joke still works.

JUST…NO
10 Cloverfield Lane opens at number two and since I hated the first Cloverfield, this was never going to get a moment of my time.

THIS IS WHY YOU’LL SEE WONDER WOMAN’S BOOBS ONE DAY
Deadpool is down to number three and finally Ryan Reynolds is successful just being Ryan Reynolds as he’s done in almost every role in his career from Van Wilder to this. In fact, this is just superpowered Van Wilder. Deadpool is a character that gained success after I’d walked away from X-Men books, but in my meager knowledge of the character I know exactly why he’s such a fan favorite: he’s a 14-year-old boy’s dream. He’s vulgar, indestructible, with a dark origin and hangs out with Wolverine. Also he breaks the fourth wall in the comics as he does in the movie (there’s even a joke about how Reynolds’ career has lasted only because of his good looks) and while the chorus chants how this is exactly the kind of shake up superhero needs, I have to point out its just being loyal to the source material. That’s why it succeeded. Yes, being an R-rated comedy helped distinguish it from the pack, but that’s what the books were (or so I’m told). All the most successful superhero movies are loyal to their source material in spirit. The failures are from assholes who are ashamed of comics and think those ties need to be abandoned for something more “realistic.” How’s that realism treating The Fantastic Four? Exactly. Of course Hollywood took only the worst lesson from this and now the next Wolverine movie will be R-rated. And while it does make sense that a guy whose primary power is slicing people up will get an R-rating, that’s not why they’re doing it. And there’s simply no reason ever for Superman to be in a movie with an R-rating but apparently that’s going to be a thing that happens too when Superman v. Batman is released on DVD. Please note that Marvel, the studio that gets it so right it sold you Ant Man, has flat out declared it won’t be making R-rated superhero movies.

INTELLIGENCE HAS FALLEN AND CAN’T GET UP
London Has Fallen is down to number four and how this got made is astonishing to be as the first one sucked and didn’t do that well. Granted it did better than White House Down, but at least there was fun to be had in White House Down. Olympus Has Fallen took itself seriously if you can believe that shit. But numbers don’t lie and relative to its cost, it was the better performer and clearly had a life on home video that garnered a sequel. Granted, this is more fun than the previous version and unlike that one is a serviceable action movie and by that I mean I wouldn’t turn the channel if it were on cable and I do that to Olympus Has Fallen (there’s not one second of that film I want to see again). But as dumb as OHF was, this is even dumber. The British Prime Minister has died so all the actual heads of government gather in London for the funeral where terrorists attack, killing the heads of Japan, Italy and France. Apparently none of the other heads of state who clearly would have been in attendance—especially the European Union—mattered enough to kill. Speaking of the European Union, serious shade is thrown at Italy and France in this. First off, the head of Italy is a middle-aged man showing his new wife around Westminster Abbey as a present for her 29th birthday. No, I’m not kidding. So you know what this movie thinks of Italians. Second, the French PM dies because he makes a conscious decision to arrive late. I’m not kidding. If he leaves on time, he lives, period. Better still we see later that the US is scrambling to get its nearest forces in from Italy because the terrorists shut London down by disguising themselves as police so there’s no way any force in London will be able to distinguish good guys from bad and will be slaughtered. No, this doesn’t stand up under any logical examination (like simply officially ordering all police off the street so anyone who remains is clearly a terrorist), but go with it. France is the closest of all, but not once do we hear of them making a move to avenge their fallen leader. Guess they were too busy smoking cigarettes and hating America. And you say you want some racism and xenophobia with your stupid action? Well, you got it as the terrorists are Arab Muslims, the head of which is avenging the death of his daughter whose wedding was hit by a drone strike ordered by the G8. Oh, did you think that includes Russia? Well, not in this movie as there is no Russian PM to be seen. The plot point about civilian loss is important because at the end when they get the bad guy—hardly a spoiler now—and after Gerard Butler gives a little speech about how “they” will never beat “us” as he beats on one of the terrorists, WE ARE SHOWN CIVILIANS BEING KILLED IN A DRONE STRIKE. I’m not kidding. God bless this stupid fucking movie and God Bless America!

I’M HERE FOR YOU, BABY…ONCE I WAKE UP
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is down to number five and I will see this. I loves me some Tina Fey and will do my best to support her. Unfortunately Daylight Savings Time and some mild food poisoning screwed up my weekend and daddy needed sleep.

THERE MUST BE BETTER LOOKING BRUTHAS OUT THERE
The Perfect Match opens at number six, followed by Young Messiah at number seven and this makes sense because both are aimed at niche audience. The former is Black people and the latter is Jesus freaks. And that’s not a bad thing. Every film can’t be all things to all people and they shouldn’t always have to try. Work for your audience and fuck everyone else. The Perfect Match is yet another variation on the lothario who meets his match theme and Young Messiah is Adventures of Young Jesus. While I do maintain a soft spot in my heart for romantic comedies the formula has grown tiresome for me as I’ve gotten older. It needs to be changed up a little. And while I don’t know who the fuck Terrence Jenkins is I do know that he’s not good looking enough to pulling women like Cassie (yes, I know she was dating P. Diddy, but he’s rich and gave her a music career she didn’t deserve). I need my romantic leading men to be good looking, especially if they’re playing ladykillers. And Judeo-Christian mythology has never held my interest so Young Messiah was never happening. Yeah, I said it!

SERIOUSLY, THAT SHIT HURTS
The Brothers Grimsby open at number eight and Mark Strong inches just a tad closer to actually being the good guy lead in an action movie. That’s all I can say about this as I find Sacha Baron Cohen as funny as an ingrown hair on my nutsack.

UP NEXT: GODS OF JAPAN STARRING JENNIFER LAWRENCE AND BRADLEY COOPER
Gods of Egypt is down to number nine and when was this ever a good idea!?! Did someone stupidly see Thor and think you could plug in any mythological gods and make a dollar? Or were they just a decade late for the whole Mummy franchise? And then the casting… It’s the Gods of Egypt, not Switzerland. Who the fuck makes a movie about Egyptian gods and casts White people? Yes, Idris Elba was Heimdall in Thor. But he was one, not the star and the majority and most powerful gods were all White. Here only one of the Egyptian gods is Black and none are Arabic and is not the star (and if you need more proof this was probably based on Thor, know that they also have a single Asian in the mix). And the logic is as racist as the casting. You won’t invest $140M in a minority led cast, but you would in Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau? Are you fucking kidding me!?! They wouldn’t cough up that money for him for the goddamn Olympus is Fallen sequel. And if you didn’t that was sad enough, director Alex Proyas (who has made 1 ½ good movies between The Crow and Dark City) blamed the critics for the hate this film received. Not that it had a bunch of brown people worshiping white people or anything. It was the critics.

YOU KNOW, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE STILL HOLDS UP
Finally, it’s a good time to be a Jesus-loving movie goer because you have not just Young Messiah, but Rising, which tells the tale of the resurrection of Jesus from the point of view of Roman Soldier sent out to investigate. Of course he’s changed by the experience. If they had any real balls they’d show him catching up to Jesus now living in France with Mary Magdeline under a different name with their kids. I see the name of Joseph Fiennes in this and I wonder how much he misses the 90’s when he had that white-hot moment of fame. And his hairline.

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G.I. BLOWS

31 Mar

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1. G.I. Joe: Retaliation/Paramount            Wknd/$ 41.2               Total/$   51.7

2. The Croods/Fox                                        Wknd/$ 26.5               Total/$  88.6

3. Tyler Perry’s Temptation/LGF              Wknd/$ 22.3               Total/$  22.3

4. Olympus Has Fallen/FD                         Wknd/$ 14.0                Total/$  54.7

5. Oz The Great & Powerful/ Disney         Wknd/$ 11.6                 Total/$198.3

6. The Host/ORF                                           Wknd/$  11.0                Total/$   11.0

7. The Call/TriStar                                         Wknd/$   4.8                Total/$  39.5

8. Admission/Focus                                       Wknd/$   3.3                Total/$   11.8

9. Spring Breakers/A24                                 Wknd/$   2.8                Total/$   10.1

10. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone          Wknd/$   1.3                Total/$  20.6

G.I. JOKE

G.I. Joe: Retaliation opens at number one and action movies and romantic comedies are like porn and pizza: they seem deceptively relatively easy to make until you realize just how much of it out there sucks and you then realize maybe it’s not so easy to do after all.  G.I. Joe: Retaliation drives this home because it has everything you’d think an action movie needs to succeed: big stars, a decent budget and a built in audience and narrative.  Even the sheer “we’re about as grounded in reality as a cartoon” stupidity of the first film has being totally jettisoned along with most of its annoying cast, save Channing Tatum.  However, the MVP in an action film is always its director, not its star.  The Fugitive is one of the dumbest movies ever written, but Andrew Davis is a great action director who knows how to keep a film moving over all obstacles. Let me put it this way: he’s the man who made Steven Segal a star.  John M. Chu, however, is no Andrew Davis and in addition to attention-deficit action scenes (STOP WITH THE CUTTING ALREADY) looses focus overall and allows it to split into two films. One a para-military action film the other a ninja flick and honestly the ninja one is more interesting, but guess what which G.I. Joe ultimately wants to be?  But most of all it commits the greatest sin any action film can: it’s a tad boring.  For the final half hour where the good guys finally mount their forces to issue the “retaliation” of the title the speed of the film should kick into high gear, but honestly it feels like it slows down. Not to mention it has no sense of humor about what it is, given it’s filled with characters named Roadblock, Mouse and Snake Eyes.  Only Jonathan Pryce as the villain who’s assumed the identity of the president seems to understand what this film needs to be in order to succeed and embraced the fact that what he’s doing is ridiculous.

CHICK VOICES RULE!

The Croods is down to number two and both Ryan Reynolds and Nicholas Cage needed one in the win column like nobody’s business, while the women, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener and Cloris Leachman are all doing just fine, thank you very much.

TYLER PERRY’S LASTEST ASSAULT ON THE MEDIUM OF FILM

Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (what the hell is up with that title!?!) opens at number three giving us basically our third cartoon in a row.  Clearly Perry’s recent stumbles (Alex Cross was named one of the worst films of 2012) have sent him scurrying back to his bread and butter and his audience has been there waiting for him, unwilling to following him to mainstream Hollywood productions. Good. The man is as horrible in front of the camera as he is behind it.  As much as I didn’t care for the Star Trek reboot, his appearance actually made me like it even less.  He puts the threat in triple threat (bad actor, bad writer, bad director). Actually it’s quadruple, because he’s a producer too, but he keeps making money to make more films so he’s actually good at that part, unfortunately.  I’d just as soon be beaten naked in the streets than sit through his little Christian morality plays.  The bruises and humiliation of that will fade. This crap will scar you for life.  And nothing sums up better how low rent on every level this is than the presence of Kim Kardashian.  Did Kanye promise a song for the soundtrack if they cast her or something?

AS SIMPLE AS A-B-STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM KATHERINE HEIGL

Olympus Has Fallen is down to number four and after G.I. Joe: Retaliation I have new respect for how this silly film still managed to do its job.  But no one appreciates this more than Gerard Butler who along with his management lacks the common sense god gave a paper boat in a stream.  It knows enough to go with the flow.  Butler does not and neither does anyone taking 10%. If, after years of supporting above-the-title stars like Angelina Jolie and Christian Bale you score a hit in an action film, THEN YOU MAKE MORE ACTION FILMS.  See, when you have half a dozen successful action films, then you can make the occasional drama, romantic comedy, family film, um, musical and it won’t matter if it fails of not and you’ll get some praise for trying to diversify.  Butler, however, followed 300 eight years ago with seriously bad dramas, romantic comedies, family films and yes, Phantom of the Opera.  Basically he’s a B-list Russell Crowe.  Even as  late of last year he was still trying with twin flops Chasing Mavericks—because what the world really wanted was a surfing bio pic—and Playing For Keeps along with Jessica Biel who is one more flop away from simply be known as Mrs. Justin Timberlake and nothing else.  You’ve got a second chance here, Gerry. Don’t blow it again.  Let me put it this way: they wouldn’t even put your face on the poster for this movie.

HE’D BE PERFECT FOR GQ THE MOVIE

Oz The Great & Powerful is down to number five, followed by The Host at number six and this would be the first Andrew Niccol film I’ve never seen, but I was put off by the fact this comes from the writer (and I use that term loosely) of the Twilight films.  Combining a director who could care less about story as much as he does making every film look like a live-action fashion shoot with someone who really can’t write a story is not a good idea.  I’m sure he thought it’d be a much-needed hit for him but this goes on the pile with all the young adult novels that have tried in vain to cash in on Twilight over the past few years, something not even its creator can do apparently.

THEY’RE NOT GOING TO BUY THE COW IF THEY GET THE NAKED MILK FOR FREE

The Call is down to number seven, followed by Admission at number eight and Spring Breakers at number nine and with a $5M budget, Spring Breakers has already doubled it, which qualifies as a modest success and no one is happier than Vanessa Hudgens, who was seconds away from “accidentally” having a sex tape released to make sure everyone knows she’s no longer some Disney kid, because clearly her first “accidental” nude photo didn’t do it and was followed by a seriously explicit second “accidental” release, which got the worst result possible: public indifference.  Her ambition is literally naked and has sadly been rewarded with movies like Beastly and Sucker Punch. You know who was also a child actor who is being taken seriously as an adult actor without nude pictures “accidentally” being released or making allegedly “edgy” films with sex and violence?  Jennifer Lawrence. She just gives good performances.  Just a thought.

LET’S JUST PRETEND THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN

Finally, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone closes out the top ten putting us all out of our misery.

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9 Dec

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1. Skyfall/Sony                                                Wknd/$  10.5            Total/$  261.6

2. Rise of the Guardians/PDW                    Wknd/$  10.5            Total/$   61.9

3. Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2                      Wknd/$    9.2            Total/$  268.7

4. Lincoln/Touchstone                                  Wknd/$    9.1            Total/$   97.3

5. Life of Pi/Fox                                              Wknd/$    8.3            Total/$   60.9

6. Playing For Keeps/FD                              Wknd/$    6.0            Total/$    6.0

7. Wreck-It-Ralph/Disney                            Wknd/$    4.9            Total/$  164.4

8. Red Dawn/FD                                             Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$   37.3

9. Flight/Paramount                                       Wknd/$    3.1            Total/$   86.2

10. Killing Them Softly/Weinstein               Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$   11.8

THINK THEY’LL MAKE MORE?

Skyfall actually rises to number one and for the life of me I cannot imagine why.  It’s a mess of plot holes, inconsistent characterization and a return to blatant misogyny.  Then again, maybe that’s exactly the reason why.  And believe it or not, unadjusted for inflation, it’s now the number one Bond film of all time ($918M) with Quantum of Solace at number two and Casino Royale at number three. Adjusted for inflation it’s still number four behind Thunderball, Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice. Thunderball and Goldfinger are almost double its take, but You Only Live Twice is in jeopardy.

EXPECT THE EXPECTED!

Rise of the Guardians is up to number two which isn’t unexpected as the holidays draw nearer.  Also not unexpected is Twilight Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 finally beginning to drop as this franchise (hopefully) breathes its last.

HEY, IT’S THAT GUY, PT 8!

Lincoln holds at number four and continuing the character actor rundown is one of the lords of supporting character actors, Hal Holbrook, who instantly lends weight and gravitas to almost any movie in which he appears, usually playing some kind elder statesman role even when he’s a bad guy. This is no different.  But almost every actor in this gets a chance to shine. It’s going to be a nightmare at awards time choosing which one to submit for a nomination.

EVERYBODY’S NOT GONNA MAKE IT, SO USE IT HOOK UP WITH HOT PEOPLE

Life of Pi holds at number five, followed by Playing for Keeps opening at number six and this is pretty much a “twofer” of the wasted heat of Gerard Butler and Jessica Biel.  Gerard Butler, who was once the “doomed best friend” to Christian Bale in Reign of Fire and one of Angelina Jolie’s former lovers in the Lara Croft films (the other was Daniel Craig to let you know the other side of the coin) rose seemingly overnight to leading man status thanks to 300. Since then, however, it’s been one bad movie after the other, mainly because rather than do the smart thing and become an action star, he decided to “broaden” and do stupid, painfully generic romcoms like this. Probably because someone said he’d appeal to women more. Newsflash: women liked him plenty already and it had nothing to do with being funny…or wearing clothes  Don’t worry. Christian Bale is still a big star so you can always be his doomed best friend.  Now Jessica Biel was for a brief moment the white hot “girl of the moment” on every magazine cover and being paired with a bunch of older actors (always the sign of a rising female star) based on…I’m not so sure what it’s based on, because I’m sure being a white girl with an amazing ass does that.  If it did, Stacey Keibler wouldn’t need George Clooney.  No, her heat was like so many others: she just seemed poised to be a star so people acted like she was one, though her big breakthrough movies (Blade: Trinity, Stealth, Easy Virtue, Next) all tanked and the ones that succeeded (those horrible holiday movies like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve) had nothing to do with her. Like Butler, She also needed this to be considered viable. Good thing she married well.

IF HE’S NOT EVIL WHY ARE HIS EYES LIKE THAT?

Wreck It Ralph is down to number six, followed by Red Dawn at number eight and I pity poor Will Yun Lee seemingly doomed now to be the “evil Asian” in movies.  This is the third film I can think of (Elektra, Die Another Day) and the second where he’s an evil North Korean (the first was Die Another Day).  Next up: the bad guy to fight Hugh Jackman in the Wolverine sequel.  Oh, well. Car payments don’t care how they’re paid.

WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU THINK CAPTAIN SAVE-A-HO USES TO SAVE THEM?

Flight holds at number nine and also in this is Kelly Reilly, who is best known as Mrs. Watson from the two recent Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.  And could she be any more Irish? A redhead named Kelly Reilly?  She might as well be named Erin Go Braless.  She represents another trend in movies with Denzel Washington: white women he saves, usually with his penis, but not always.  There’s Mila Jovovich in He Got Game who stops being a hooker after sleeping with him; his sex scene with Rahada Mitchell in Man on Fire was cut, but he does save her daughter played by Dakota Fanning; he saves Mila Kunis in Book of Eli without his penis and now Kelly Reilly is a junkie he meets in the hospital whom he saves from a evil landlord and she moves in with him. She manages to pull herself together thanks in part to this but he continues to descend, so does that count as a penis save?

DIRT IS ONE THING; DIRTY AND SHIRTLESS IS ANOTHER

Finally, Killing Them Softly is softly killed itself by audience indifference to seeing Brad Pitt going sleazy and closes out the top ten at ten.  Oh, they’ll flock to a piece of crap like Benjamin Button where he eventually becomes pretty, but not this.  Maybe if he’d taken his shirt off like he did in Snatch.