Tag Archives: God’s Not Dead

ACTION IS HIS REWARD!

5 May

spideys
1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2/Sony                      Wknd/$ 92.0   Total/$ 92.0
2. The Other Woman/Fox                                        Wknd/$ 14.2    Total/$ 47.3
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier               Wknd/$ 7.8      Total/$ 237.1
3. Heaven is for Real/TriStar                                   Wknd/$ 8.7      Total/$ 65.6
5. Rio 2/Fox                                                                 Wknd/$ 7.6      Total/$ 106.5
6. Brick Mansions/Relativity                                   Wknd/$ 3.5      Total/$ 15.5
7. Divergent/LGF                                                        Wknd/$ 2.1      Total/$ 142.7
8. The Quiet Ones/LGF                                             Wknd/$ 2.0      Total/$ 6.7
9. God’s Not Dead/Free                                            Wknd/$ 1.8       Total/$ 55.6
10 Grand Budapest Hotel/FoxSearch                    Wknd/$ 1.7       Total/$ 51.5

UNLIKE NEW COKE THIS ACTUALLY WORKED
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens at number one and before we begin I’m going to drop some geek knowledge on you. The Amazing Spider-Man is the name of the comic book that started in 1962 (there’s a joke in the movie referring to 1961 for this reason, but obviously incorrect). Ultimate Spider-Man is the name of a new “updated” Spider-Man that started in 2000. And by “updated” I mean Uncle Ben had ponytail and 15-year-old Peter Parker’s job at the Daily Bugle is working on their website, not taking photos. It’s set in a different universe than the regular book where Peter Parker grew up and married Mary Jane (but then their marriage was dissolved when the Editor In Chief had the Devil destroy it; no, I’m not kidding), which still exists. The first Spider-Man trilogy was based more on the original Spider-Man from 1962, while this reboot was based more on the 2000 Ultimate Spider-Man. This doesn’t matter to you people, but to those of us who know it’s a little odd seeing traditional elements like the relationship with Gwen Stacy with the modern elements of Peter Parker’s dad being a scientist that worked with Norman Osborn (in the regular comic Spider-Man’s parents worked for SHIELD). In fact as the film opens we see him and his wife dying in a plane crash engineered by Norman Osborn (it was a plane crash for the SHIELD Agents too, but nothing more). It’s part of plot that makes Spider-Man closer to both Batman (avenging lost parents) and Superman (superpowered legacy of a scientist), but honestly he didn’t need it and it’s not why I enjoyed this film. No, I enjoyed it because this “got” Spider-Man better than any of the previous films did, due in no small part to Andrew Garfield’s performance. When in costume, Peter Parker is a straight up wise-ass that’s pure NYC (Queens, to be exact). That’s something Tobey Maguire and Sam Raimi never fully accomplished, while I think they got Peter Parker right. Also, advance word of disappointment seriously lowered my expectations which helps almost every film, because when I hear it’s bad I fully expect to see the boom mike swing down and people staring at the camera. That’s obviously not the case here and while they do spend a little too much time trying to set up a franchise rather than make a single effective film, it still manages to shine through.

YOU’VE GOT ENOUGH GIFTS THERE ALREADY, SWEETIE.
The Other Woman is down to number two and I was going to let it go because she’s a kid and I think she’s sweet (you know you’re getting old when rather than ogle the hot swimsuit model you just look at her ago “Awww, she’s precious.”), but since Kate Upton has brought up her butt and how people should pay more attention to it, let’s get real: she ain’t got one, which is why that clip of Cameron Diaz freaking out over its perfection is ridiculous. Then again Cameron Diaz ain’t got no booty either so maybe it was big to her. But in the sad tradition of models since the late 60’s, below the waist, Kate Upton is built like a 12-year-old boy, possessing neither waist nor booty, showing you just how much illusion goes into swimsuit photography.

LIKE THE SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK SONG
Heaven Is For Real is hanging around at number three and I’d mention that “3” is traditionally number of luck, but that’s a pagan belief and I know the audience for this would hate that.

NOTHING ENDURES MORE THAN THE LUST OF A 13-YEAR-OLD BOY
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is down to number four and also in this is Jenny Agutter who is part of the UN Council that runs SHIELD (so why people keep insisting it’s American is beyond me), but best known for taking a generation of boys into adulthood in the early 70’s thanks to a willingness to disrobe. Geeks like me know her best from Logan’s Run in 70’s fashions that basically left her nude. Sigh. The 70’s….

WU TANG FOREVER
Rio 2 is down to number five followed by Brick Mansions at number six and I will never stop being amused at The RZA in movies, well after the Wu Tang Clan’s peak, which is when most rappers go Hollywood. It’s like he’s old enough not to give a crap any longer and does what he likes. If the name of the group wasn’t a clue, The RZA is down seriously with martial arts which is why it comes a no surprise he’s in this particular film. Now being on Californication? That I can’t explain. Or forgive.

SON OF A MAN CALLED HORSE
Divergent actually rises to number seven followed by The Quiet Ones down to number eight and in this as the scientist getting in over his head by toying with the supernatural is Jared Harris who looks just like his dad, the late great Richard Harris, but only the older Richard Harris. Unfortunately, he got none of dad’s young, blonde glory.

LAZARUS…BECAUSE I’M TOO SCARED TO SAY THE OTHER GUY
God’s Not Dead rises back into the top then, thanks it seems to that heaven movie. I guess you could say it was “resurrected.” Please don’t kill me, Christian crazies.

HAUNTING ME
Also returning in The Grand Budapest Hotel and if this continues I’ll have no choice but to see it.

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GIRL YOU’LL BE A WOMAN…ONE DAY

20 Apr

blackwidows 1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier        Wknd/$ 26.6     Total/$ 201.5
2. Rio 2/Fox                                                         Wknd/$ 22.5     Total/$ 75.4
3. Heaven is for Real/TriStar                           Wknd/$ 21. 5     Total/$ 28.5
4. Transendence/Warners                                Wknd/$ 11.2      Total/$ 11.2
5. A Haunted House 2/ORF                             Wknd/$ 9.1        Total/$ 9.1
6. Draft Day/LG                                                  Wknd/$ 5.9        Total/$ 19.5
7. Divergent/LGF                                                Wknd/$ 5.8       Total/$ 133.9
8. Oculus/Relativity                                           Wknd/$ 5.2        Total/$ 21.0
9. Noah/Paramount                                           Wknd/$ 5.0        Total/$ 93.3
10. God’s Not Dead/Free                                   Wknd/$ 4.8       Total/$ 48.3

THERE’S JUST NO PLEASING A GEEK
Captain America: The Winter Soldier holds onto the number one slot for the third week, which is great for me because I’m a Cap fan, but sad for me because I think this success should have been for a better Cap movie. I’m also not thrilled that this cements Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. Yeah, I know this is the third time she’s played the role, but she’s still horribly miscast. The Black Widow is a woman, not a girl and even though she’s 30 now, ScarJo (as she hates to be called) still looks like a girl and I’m supposed to buy her as the best spy in the world (which is what she’s referred to in the comics). It’s still painful to think that Emily Blunt was in consideration for this role and we got stuck with someone who was cast for obvious reasons (blonde hair, boobs). It’s not to say she doesn’t make a decent sidekick. She is and gets some great lines, most of them at the expense of Captain America whom she gently teases throughout the film, but she’s just not The Black Widow as shown in Marvel Comics for the last 50 years. Now, if they made her the character in the comics who was the successor to The Black Widow, using her name and who was in fact a young blonde, the angrygeek in me would be fine with that. But they didn’t so I’m not. Grrrrrrr….

GET IT?
Rio 2 holds at number two and it’s still too little too late for me to see or care about it.

GUESS WHO MISSES THE FIRST DECADE OF THIS CENTURY?
It’s somehow fitting that Heaven is For Real is opening at number three in front of Transcendence at number four because “transcendence” is achieving at type of heaven, no? The former is just the latest in a stream of Christian movies that its target audience is only too happy to turn out and support, turning a profit almost immediately in defiance of all reviews. What’s surprising is that Greg Kinnear is in this one, as these movies are usually for no-name actors or those who need work and are in no position to be picky. While Kinnear is far from his glory days as an Oscar nominee (utterly undeserved for his stereotypical portrayal of a gay man) he still manages to be enough of a name to get cast as a male lead in A-list films and on television. How is a mystery, given he hasn’t be in a hit since Baby Mama which was a Tina Fey/Amy Poelher success. He was just the guy lucky enough to be in it. Yeah, he was in Anchorman 2, but no one saw it for him. Same for this film. It’s a success, but he has nothing to do with it. The failure of Rake is closer to reality. It’s also becoming a reality for Johnny Depp who hasn’t had a hit without special effects, Tim Burton or a pirate hat since Finding Neverland in ’04 and now even with special effects (The Lone Ranger and this) and Tim Burton (Dark Shadows) it’s slim pickings so look for him to put that pirate hat back on in the next 15-20 minutes. In fact, he’s the main reason I didn’t bother seeing this. I likes me some science fiction and have no problem the trope of the scientist who loses his humanity when he achieves some degree of omnipotence of omniscience, so I was ripe for this. Honestly, it’s the casting of Johnny Depp that put me off. I have such a dislike of him that even with commercials every day I still didn’t remember it opened this weekend. It seems many people felt the same. I, for one, have been insisting for years that the Emperor of Cool has no clothes but now that he’s openly the pathetic stereotype of a middle-aged man, hooked up with a 20-something former model now actress (who was gay before Depp, so make of that what you will), others are seeing it as well. Such a shame too, as there’s no shortage of good actors I do like in it from crusty old Morgan Freeman to relatively fresh and new Kate Mara and people like Paul Bettany, Cole Hauser (how is this man not as star) and Cillian Murphy in between.

SEIZING THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION
A Haunted House 2 opens at number five and this is the franchise that spun out of the Scary Movie franchise when the Wayans family realized that even though they launched it, they didn’t own it and decided to just make their own and keep all the money. And given the first Haunted House basically went head-to-head with Scary Movie 5 and made about the same but at literally 1/10 the cost, I’d say it was a wise decision. Releasing this in April rather than October? Now that decision I question. But it only cost $4M and already made $9M so clearly the Wayans family knows more than I do.

SUPERMAN FAMILY
Draft Day is down to number six and also in this is none other than Tom Welling, who played Clark Kent on the show Smallville, not to mention Frank Langella who played Perry White in Superman Returns. I like to think they both looked at Costner with pity for being in Man of Steel. And all three of them looked at Jennifer Garner with pity for being in Daredevil and Elektra.

YOU AIN’T JENNIFER LAWRENCE YET, GIRL
Divergent is down to number seven and even with a $200M+ worldwide box office, this isn’t a rock solid franchise success, given it had an $85M budget. Even by conservative estimates, it’s gonna have to hit at least $255M, which seems less and less likely as we approach the summer releases.

GOD COULD MAKE IT RAIN ON THE BOX OFFICE JUST A BIT MORE
Oculus is down to number eight and it’s already turned a profit so the producers could care less as they prep Oculus 2, while Noah—down to nine—faces the same issue as Divergent in that it cost so much, it’s$290M box office still isn’t enough to be profitable.

NO, BUT THIS FINALLY IS
Finally God’s Not Dead closes out this very Christian friendly top ten.

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SUPER MINORITY BEST FRIEND

13 Apr

falcon

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier     Wknd/$ 41.4      Total/$ 159.0
2. Rio 2/Fox                                                      Wknd/$ 39.0     Total/$ 39.0
3. Oculus/Relativity                                        Wknd/$ 12.0      Total/$ 12.0
4. Draft Day/LG                                               Wknd/$ 9.8        Total/$ 9.8
5. Divergent/LGF                                             Wknd/$ 7.5        Total/$ 124.9
6. Noah/Paramount                                        Wknd/$ 7.5        Total/$ 84.9
7. God’s Not Dead/Free                                  Wknd/$ 5.5        Total/$ 40.7
8. The Grand Budapest Hotel/Fox               Wknd/$ 4.1        Total/$ 39.5
9. Muppets Most Wanted/Disney                Wknd/$ 2.2        Total/$ 45.7
10. Mr. Peabody & Sherman/Fox                 Wknd/$ 1.8        Total/$ 105.2

A FRANCHISE MAKES EVERYTHING OKAY
Hanging on to the number one slot is Captain America: The Winter Soldier and appearing in this one is Captain America’s modern day partner, The Falcon (as opposed to his WWII partner, Bucky), played by Anthony Mackie, who was briefly the “Hot New Thing: Minority Version” a few years back appearing alongside other Hot New Things (Shia LeBeouf, Ryan Gosling, Sam Worthington) in major studio releases, but none of them amounted to much and while his smaller, indie film work was well-received, his biggest success, The Hurt Locker, was the lowest grossing Best Picture winner Oscar history. Needless to say once it was clear he was not going to be the new Denzel or Will Smith, when Marvel came a-knocking he grabbed onto it with both hands, not hesitating to sign up for as many sequels as they wanted. This contrasts with Chris Evans who refused the Captain America role and its initial 12 movie requirement (he got them down to 9 and clearly he’s already tired of it at 3). Mackie on the other hand is trying to get into movies he’s not even supposed be in like the Avengers sequel. In the comics The Falcon is actually an unwilling Avenger, joining only as a favor to Cap because the government demands more minorities. His presence as Cap’s partner was very notable in the 60’s and 70’s for obvious reasons and he even shared the title, but as written by Stan Lee it was more than a bit homoerotic. So basically it was like every male action team in history.

BAD SCIENCE = BAD MOVIE
Rio 2 opens at number two and clearly someone pointed out to them that simply having two birds cannot recreate an entire species which was the conceit of the first film, so this one is about them discovering they are not alone and the species is in fact alive and well. Maybe if they’d included them in the first film I might have seen it because that unbelievable bit of genetic stupidity is what put me off the first one. That it was basically about a doomed species was simply too depressing for a kiddie animated film. This is too little, too late…as its box office opening suggests.

BLOODLESS SCARY IS STILL SCARY
Oculus opens at number three and as we all know I DON’T DO THE SCARY! And this looked scary in a real way, not a stupid way like most. And while that PG13 suggests a major cop out, it still wasn’t enough for me. And look to an Oculus 2 because it only cost $5M to make and opened at $12M.

SWING AND A MISS
Draft Day opens at number four and the only real surprise is that it opened this high as the only people who give a crap about draft day for real are too fat and lazy to get up out of their easy chairs to go and see it. I know Kevin Costner is on a mild comeback run right now, but he should have stuck with what works for him: baseball. His bland cornfed appeal suits that sport perfectly, but you know the only thing more boring than a football draft? A baseball draft. Actually a baseball anything.

HEY, LEO! SHE’S GOT AN OSCAR, NOW SHE’S GETTIN’ THE MONEY TOO!
Divergent is down to number five and also in this catching a free ride on the backs of the kids is Kate Winslet. Hey, she’s earned it. Maybe she’ll become to young female leads what Jon Voight and Dennis Hopper were to young male leads: a strong, older antagonist whose presence automatically elevates the film…and who makes a buttload of money for only being onscreen for 20 minutes tops.

JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN
Noah is down to number six and also in this are Emma Watson and Logan Lerman and if you think they were cast to try and get the kids in to see a movie about the Bible give yourself a star. Give yourself two if you’re over 30 and even know who the hell they are. But no kids not forced by their churches are going to see God’s Not Dead at number seven, so they didn’t waste their time trying to Zac Efron.

THE END
The Grand Budapest hotel is down to number eight, followed by Muppets Most Wanted at number nine and Mr. Peabody & Sherman closing out the top ten at number ten.

THE SPRING CIVILIAN

6 Apr

gods

 

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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HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN

30 Mar

Ashley-Judd-ashley-judd-146503_581_666

1. Noah/Paramount                                       Wknd/$ 44.0      Total/$ 44.0
2. Divergent/LGF                                          Wknd/$ 26.5       Total/$ 95.3
3. Muppets Most Wanted/Disney              Wknd/$ 11.4        Total/$ 33.2
4. Mr. Peabody & Sherman/Fox                 Wknd/$ 9.5         Total/$ 94.9
5. God’s Not Dead/Free                                Wknd/$ 9.1         Total/$ 22.0
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel/Fox             Wknd/$ 8.8        Total/$ 24.5
7. Sabotage/ORF                                            Wknd/$ 5.3        Total/$ 5.3
8. Need for Speed/Touchstone                   Wknd/$ 4.3         Total/$ 37.8
9. 300: Rise of an Empire/Warner            Wknd/$ 4.3         Total/$ 101.1
10. Non-Stop/Universal                               Wknd/$ 4.1         Total/$ 85.2

BASED ON THE “ORIGINAL” BEST SELLER…
Noah opens up at number one and apparently The Bible is big box office these days. Well, maybe when you remake it as ecologically minded disaster porn, which basicall makes this a biblical version of The Day After Tomorrow. And just as we last saw Jesus as a hot surfer dude, Noah’s back as a sexy DILF, played by none other than Russell Crowe who’s gotta be glad this is washing the memory of Winter’s Tale out of people’s minds like the great flood. Needless to say, I had no interest. Not simply because it was a Bible story, because director Darren Aronofsky is using the “good book” merely for source material like any other best seller. In other words: giving it lip service. They even added the disclaimer “inspired by” to make it clear to the bible-thumpers they were not getting their usual handjob of a movie like those that have preceded this one. This is Hollywood, baby. We’re here to put butts in the seats, lifting your wallets, not your spirits. And clearly they’ve done it, but the question is what happens next week when that Christian money is gone, because if you’ve noticed something about these films, they open big because every. single. one. of those goes to see it, but rarely twice and no one else really cares. That’s okay when your movie costs about $10 and your biggest stars are Dean Cain and Kevin Sorbo (more on that later), but this is a $125M film with an Oscar winner who has flat out told you he doesn’t cut his fee for big studio films. It’s gonna have to hang around for a while if you ever want to see another big budget Ten Commandments. My guess? Don’t hold your breath.

THAT MATTHEW MCCONUGHEY ISN’T PLAYING DADS HAS GOT TO HURT
Divergent is down only to number two so we may have actually found our successor to The Hunger Games and while I personally don’t care I’m a little pleased that the trend seems to be female driven. None of the dude-based Young Adult novels have come through onscreen besides Harry Potter. Between Twilight, Hunger Games and now this, it’s clear that women are more likely to turn out to see themselves. And you’ve even got an earlier generation of female lead actresses on-hand to support them as Ashley Judd is here and there was a brief moment in time when her name was above the title and expected to bring people in. Now she’s the mom of the main character. I am so old…

WHAT’S PLURAL FOR JESUS? JESUII?
Muppets Most Wanted is down to number three, followed by Mr. Peabody & Sherman at four and God’s Not Dead at number five and in this are Superman and Hercules, aka Dean Cain and Kevin Sorbo. Somehow it seems appropriate that a pagan Jesus and a pop culture Jesus are in this movie. And given that Dean Cain is a bit of a jerk (we now see that it wasn’t Teri Hatcher but him all this time) there’s schadenfreude that he’s been reduced to doing these kinds of movies. Feel bad for Sorbo, though. Even if he does believe his career has been hurt by being a devout Christian in Hollywood. Yeah, that’s the reason all your co-stars from the show have become such huge stars.

YOU KNOW THEY WANTED THE BEASTIE BOYS SONG
The Grand Budapest Hotel is down to number six with Sabotage opening at number seven and it’s an apt metaphor for Arnold’s attempts to return to movies. He can’t get out of his own way if these are the choices he’s making. First we need to give props to the audacity of the marketing. Rarely has a film been so utterly misrepresented in an attempt to get people into the theater. You think you’re seeing a film about Arnold and his team taking on a drug cartel who are coming after him and his family because they think money was stolen from them? Nope. His wife and family are shown taken (and killed) in the first two minutes then when jump ahead eight months where we see Arnold and his team steal the $10M in a raid where they destroy the rest. The movie is actually a grim drama about the corruption of vengeance with a Hamlet level body count so don’t get too attached to anyone and I mean anyone. But that doesn’t mean it’s any smarter than say Commando. No, Commando looks like it was written by Shakespeare compare to this. It’s stupid beyond measure and lacking the gunfire and explosions you need to forgive it. After the opening raid where the $10M goes missing, the entire DEA team is investigated. One character even asks how the government knew $10M was missing given their mission was to blow it all up and he’s never answered because there is no way they could have known! None! It was a perfect robbery. Then we get to our second bit of stupidity, that the Mexican cartels would be after them for stealing $10M when the team incinerated HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS. Um, wouldn’t they be more pissed about that!?! And once we get into the story of Arnold’s wife and kid being kidnapped and killed we’re asked to believe that they [the cartels] came after them because Arnold’s team arrested a kingpin. Okay, that makes a little sense, but then we see that the cartel had the kingpin assassinated in custody, so why take a DEA agent’s family? And then we’re told body parts were shipped to him weekly? Pretty sure the DEA and the Justice Department along with the military would have unleashed the mother of all retaliations if for no other reason than to let it slide would set a horrible precedent for everyone carrying a badge everywhere. The cherry on top this is when we see part of the video of his wife’s death, the face of the guy who kills his her is easily identified (Arnold finds him relatively easily as well), but the whole of the entire US Justice department couldn’t find him!?! Also when the reasons for who is killing the team one by one (and horribly) is revealed it makes No. Freaking. Sense. At. All. It’s a waste of time, talent (seriously, look at that cast) and your life. No wonder Arnold is doing another Terminator film. He needs it like he needs air if these are the only other options available to him.

RENAME IT QUICK & ANGRY ALREADY
Need For Speed is down to number eight and you think this was a complete flop? Think again. It’s made $130M overseas. Yeah, I can’t believe it either. This actually makes sequels a possibility. Well, they’ve got nowhere to go but up quality-wise and given the bulk of the money came from overseas, expect it to be set there as well. You know, like that franchise it really wants to be.

THE END
300 Rise of an Empire is down to number nine followed by Non Stop closing out the top ten at number ten giving everyone in it one in the “win” column and Liam Neeson showing exactly how a 60-something has an action career. Paying attention, Arnold?

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YOUNG ADULT NOVEL ADAPTATION NUMBER 15

23 Mar

936full-eva-green

 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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