Tag Archives: Helen Mirren

IT’D BE A WONDER, WONDER WOMAN

11 Apr

wwomen
1. The Boss/Universal Wknd/$ 23.5 Total/$ 23.5
2. Batman v Superman/WB Wknd/$ 23.4 Total/$ 296.7
3. Zootopia/Disney Wknd/$ 14.0 Total/$ 296.0
4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2/Uni Wknd/$ 6.4 Total/$ 46.8
5. Hardcore Henry/STX Wknd/$ 5.1 Total/$ 5.1
6. Miracles from Heaven/TriStar Wknd/$ 4.8 Total/$ 53.9
7. God’s Not Dead 2/PFR Wknd/$ 4.3 Total/$ 14.1
8. Divergent: Allegiant/LG Wknd/$ 3.6 Total/$ 61.8
9. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount Wknd/$ 3.0 Total/$ 68.0
10. Eye in the Sky/BST Wknd/$ 2.8 Total/$ 10.4

IT’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVING ONE THING AND HATING SOMETHING ELSE
The Boss opens at number one and more power to Melissa McCarthy and her husband for riding this train until the wheels come off. While I personally feel all jokes I needed to see about this were in the “R” rated trailer, I’m glad others felt different, because I like to see women succeed and I especially like when women succeed doing the same shit men do: crude anti-hero comedies. Basically she’s getting that Adam Sandler dollar and I’d much rather she have it than him (though I’m not giving her mine either). At least her trailers make me laugh. He can’t even do that. Next I want her to take the next step and have a Hemsworth brother hot for her, the same way we’ve had to buy Sandler as some kind of pussy magnet. God, I hate him…

IT’D BE A WONDER
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is down to number two and as you may have heard (probably from me) Wonder Woman is the best thing about this. I will give credit to Snyder for this: he has her show up, say very little and be badass (even her music is great). The time-honored prescription to making a pretty actor with discernible personality or skills become successful. Action movies are the perfect vehicle for people like Gal Gadot. It’s no surprise her big break was in The Fast & The Furious franchise. If the director of Wonder Woman can follow this example and ignore literally everything else Snyder does it might not be half bad. Gal Gadot is the former Miss Israel, which takes on a new level when you realize Lynda Carter the Wonder Woman most people know was Miss World USA.

YOU ONLY THINK IT’S NEW BECAUSE YOU’RE YOUNG…AND STUPID
Zootopia is down to number three, followed by My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 at number four and Hardcore Henry opening at number five and while some make think this is an interesting idea to shoot a film strictly from the first person, it’s actually already been done. The Lady in The Lake was a shot purely in the first person in 1947 and honestly isn’t every “found footage” film just that? And this particular case isn’t so much emulating that experiment as much as it is just continuing to the sad evolution of action films into video games. London Has Fallen basically turns into that one point and the comparison I most heard from gamers is how much Batman’s big scene in Batman v Superman was like a video game. This is not a good thing people, from defeating the purpose of cinematic storytelling to the fact that all this would mean to me is two hours puking from motion sickness.

WHAT WOULD JESUS WATCH? THE BOSS, PROBABLY.
Christian propaganda takes the number six and seven spots with Miracles From Heaven followed by God’s Not Dead 2 and given this probably cost nothing even with its low return of $14M you can rest assure God will continue to not be dead and inspire his people to fight the imaginary tyranny of atheists in God’s Not Dead 3.

STUPID PEOPLE CANNOT LEARN BY DEFINITION
The Divergent Series: Allegiant is down to number six they’re probably regretting splitting this into two parts already, given that every entry of this series is lower than the previous one and this one may not even break $100M. Considering given it cost $110M to make that’s not good. I’d say this should be a lesson to others as the last chapter of The Hunger Games (also stupidly split in two) also came in below expectations, but I think we know they won’t and nonetheless expect to reap the same rewards as Harry Potter and Twilight.

THE END
10 Cloverfield Lane is down to number nine and Eye in the Sky closes out the top ten at number ten.

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WEEK #2 AND IT’S STILL SUCKING

4 Apr

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1. Batman v Superman/WB Wknd/$ 52.4 Total/$ 261.5
2. Zootopia/Disney Wknd/$ 20.0 Total/$ 275.9
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2/Uni Wknd/$ 11.1 Total/$ 36.5
4. God’s Not Dead 2/PFR Wknd/$ 8.1 Total/$ 8.1
5. Miracles from Heaven/TriStar Wknd/$ 7.6 Total/$ 46.8
6. Divergent: Allegiant/LG Wknd/$ 5.7 Total/$ 56.3
7. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount Wknd/$ 4.8 Total/$ 63.6
8. Meet the Blacks/Free Wknd/$ 4.1 Total/$ 4.1
9. Eye in the Sky/BST Wknd/$ 4.1 Total/$ 6.1
10. Deadpool/Paramount Wknd/$ 3.5 Total/$ 355.1

SHIT FLOATS: PART 2039840201
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice holds the top spot and forget what you’ve heard about a 68% drop and cries of failure. Huge drops after huge openings are actually very normal. The first Avengers movie suffered at 50% drop and the second a nearly 60% drop. Even the well-reviewed The Dark Knight, the first superhero movie to make a billion, suffered a more than 50% drop its second week and I’m pretty sure none of them were failures. If everyone sees it the first weekend, then logically there are fewer people to see it the next weekend. That’s just a fact of the business. It’s only a problem if you were looking to repeat business to turn a profit. This is now the superhero equivalent of a The Transformers. The fact that they are awful will have no impact on their success. The only issue is the cost of the budget. It’s supposedly $250M, but is rumored to go as high as $410M with all the promotion, which makes sense as it’s everywhere. I wiped my ass once and it somehow came out in the shape of that fucking combined Superman and Batman symbol. And it was more entertaining to see than this. Now, the rule of thumb is at least 3x budget to turn a profit (though some would say it’s actually 4x or 5x) and if that’s the case it’s gonna need at least $1.23B—with a B—to be successful. It’s not improbable but let’s hope for the sake of future movies it does not because there will be no reason to change. For the rumored Batman movie starring, written and presumably directed by Ben Affleck, however, there is every reason to change. He’s been a critical darling too long to go back to being the butt of jokes and he’s not a good enough actor to hide it. Expect to see little resemblance to this flaming bag of donkey poo in anything he does. And I have to admit he’s not the disaster we all anticipated. The problem was going with an older Batman overall, not so much Ben Affleck himself (though he doesn’t convey the intensity that their rumored first choice, James Brolin, would have). And I love Jeremy Irons period, so casting him as Alfred gets nothing but a gold star from me. They both just need to be in a movie far, far away from Zack Snyder, who blew even the action sequences here. Maybe I’m spoiled now by Daredevil, but the fight scenes with Batman were clumsy with too many stuntmen obviously waiting around for their turn to die like a bad 70’s kung fu movie.

ZOOTOPIA 2: SELMA
Zootopia holds at number two and while I hope they don’t make a sequel, I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t be there opening weekend to see it. The only problem would be making the allegories of race and gender work the second time around. Also they have to resist the celebrities who’d love to be in it rather than simply hire the best actors for the job the way they seem to have done this time around. I love Idris Elba and Jason Bateman, but when they’re your biggest stars it’s clear you weren’t looking for that to sell your film, which is a good thing. Also on-hand are Ginnifer Goodwin, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, Tommy Chong, JK Simmons, Octavia Spencer and Shakira. I see two Oscar winners but not one person whose name suggests fame over substance and again, that’s a good thing.

I’M AN ATHEIST AND I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 holds at number three and between this and Batman v Superman that the fourth film is entitled God’s Not Dead 2 comes off as a complete lie. How could he be alive and let all that other crap thrive? Is it perhaps part of his ongoing jealousy of Superman? This along with the fourth film, Miracles from Heaven (as opposed to what?), is part of the new wave of Christian themed films, which are making a nice profit and honestly I have no problem with them because it means its audience can shut the fuck up about other films and just watch their own. What’s wrong with them is that they are seemingly obsessed with atheists and view them as some kind of powerful majority in America who is out to get them. Uh, no. There’s more reality in Lord of the Rings than there is in that scenario. Sauramon has more power over America than atheists do.

A SCREAMING FAT DUDE IMPROVES EVERY MOVIE
The Divergent Series: Allegiant is down to number six, followed by 10 Cloverfield Lane at number seven and also in this is John Goodman and while I’ll never see this I’m glad he’s got a hit under his belt where you actually see him (his voice was in Transformers: Age of Extinction and of course Monsters University), though his presence in Hail Caesar might have made it a bit more interesting. Of course he was in Inside Llewyn Davis the Coen Brothers movie I didn’t see, but I don’t apologize for that because they are famously hit and miss and honestly I had no interest in a movie about a folk music failure. Mostly because of the folk music.

JUST BECAUSE HE’S BLACK DOESN’T MEAN I HAVE TO SUPPORT HIM
Meet the Blacks opens at number eight and all I know about this is Mike Epps is in it so will never watch it not even under threat of torture. I hate that muthafucka on sight and cannot imagine how he landed the starring role in a Richard Pryor bio. I can only think it’s being made directly for BET because what person would ever make him the star of drama they’d like taken seriously and expect people to pay to see? If it ever really gets made (they’ve been trying to do this since Pryor was alive and Damon Wayans was cast) I’ll add it to the list of Lee Daniels films I’ll never see in this lifetime. No, TV does not count, though I’m like 8 episodes behind on Empire too.

ONLY THE MOVIE COLLATERAL DAMAGE WAS FUNNY, THOUGH NOT INTENTIONALLY
Eye in the Sky rises to number nine and this is actually the second movie about drone usage and the human cost in the last year. I’m gonna guess neither of them are comedies.

MAN OF STEEL, WOMAN OF TITANIUM
Deadpool closes out the top ten at number ten and this has made over half-a-billion worldwide and $355M in the US alone. It’s so successful the Suicide Squad movie is being sent back for reshoots to add comedy to it. Forget that its success is because it’s loyal to its source material. Oh, no. All Hollywood took away from this was “R-rating” and “comedy.” Suddenly all my optimism for the Suicide Squad movie (thanks to that awesome trailer) has evaporated. Also in this movie is Gina Carano who is making some pretty good decisions with her career. First, hopping onboard The Fast & The Furious franchise, then doing a film with Steven Soderbergh (though a complete drag, as the auteur is so above an action film he refused to anything that would make it even remotely fun to watch), doing small films you’ve never heard of even though they had Bruce Willis (Extraction) and Robert DeNiro (Heist) and finally hopping onboard the superhero franchise in one of its most successful entries ever. I supposed you could add boning Superman to that list as she was with Henry Cavill exactly when both their films were out in 2013, but I doubt that was planned. Though I’d respect the shit out of her if it were. Fucking someone hot which also serves to promote you is a win/win. The opposite is like Lara Flynn Boyle was a) boning David Spade which did nothing for her and she was fucking David Spade and b) when she dumped him for bone Jack Nicholson which made her more famous than she’d ever been before…but she had to fuck Jack Nicholson. To fully illuminate the horror this I’ve uncharacteristically added additional pictures. Ironically, Spade would be with her at her peak, while Nicholson had her when she was as skinny as she was old and fat.

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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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YOUR CAREER STRATEGY MAY NEED SOME RETHINKING

11 May

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1. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney     Wknd/$ 77.2    Total/$ 312.6

2. Hot Pursuit/WB                                 Wknd/$ 13.3    Total/$ 13.3

3. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate      Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 31.5

4. Furious 7/Universal                          Wknd/$ 5.3      Total/$ 338.4

5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                       Wknd/$ 5.2      Total/$ 58.1

6. Ex Machina/A24                                Wknd/$ 3.5      Total/$ 15.7

7. Home/Fox                                            Wknd/$ 3.0     Total/$ 162.1

8. Woman in Gold/Weinstein               Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 27.0

9. Cinderella/Disney                               Wknd/$ 1.6     Total/$ 196.2

10. Unfriended/Universal                      Wknd/$ 1.4     Total/$ 30.9

GEEK HISTORY 101: WHAT IS AN ULTRON?

Avengers: Age of Ultron holds at number one and in the film Tony Stark creates Ultron, but in the comics it’s created by Henry Pym who was an original Avenger known as Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellowjacket. Henry Pym wasn’t in either Avengers movie, but will appear in Ant-Man later this year, but as neither Ant-Man nor Yellowjacket. Got it? Good. I never liked Ultron as a villain because ultimately it made every bad thing he did the fault of The Avengers (one of those things being actual fucking genocide). How can you be a hero when all you’re doing is cleaning up your own mess? They hint that there’s another cause, because Tony is messing with Loki’s Scepter, but to the world at large Tony Stark and The Avengers are responsible ultimately for every life lost and every bit of damage Ultron causes so how can they still be seen as heroes? That said, one good thing they do is give him an actual personality via James Spader. In the comics he’s just “I am evil and hate humans.” Here he’s a perversion of Tony Stark all the way down to the wiseass sarcasm. At one point he unknowingly quotes Tony and becomes enraged when it’s pointed out to him like an actual character with daddy issues would be. In the comics, Henry Pym uses his own brain patterns to create Ultron, but such a simple and effective device of having Ultron act like him. has never been utilized in the character’s near 50-year history to my knowledge. It’s just, “I hate you, father.” That’s it. One of the film’s flaws is that some of the more interesting aspects get shortchanged to accommodate everyone and that is clearly one of them. Whedon says the original cut was three hours long so maybe we’ll see that restored in the inevitable directors cut on DVD. In a better world that whole bullshit “Beauty & The Beast” storyline between Black Widow and The Hulk would have gotten cut in favor of…well anything else. Seriously, it sucks that bad.

LUCKILY THEY HAVE OSCAR NOMS AND COMMERICALS TO FALL BACK ON

Hot Pursuit opens at number two and while nothing was pushing AoU out of the top spot this is still a weak opening and throws a monkey wrench into the Reese Witherspoon comeback machine. Because I like both her and Sofia Vegara, I wanted this to do better, but at the same time, I was unwilling to put myself through it. Sorry, but it just looked like the most painfully forced of “wacky hijinks.” In the past Witherspoon has been somewhat vocal about how she’ll never be in an action film. She might want to rethink that strategy in a world where an action film grossed in a day than her film did all weekend. Especially given her ex-hubby is in talks to hop on the Marvel superhero gravy train.

BEHIND EVERY STRONG ACTRESS IS A TALL, REALLY PRETTY DUDE

Age of Adaline holds at number two and while not a success, it’s not a failure either having at least made its production budget. Too bad there’s a promotional budget that often costs as much as the film itself to consider. Also in this is Michael Huisman who is the latest addition to those guys you know because they always support a stronger, more famous leading actress. Twenty years ago, David Straitharn was guy you went to for Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver. Ten years ago, Mark Ruffalo was there for Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow and now Michael Huisaman is the guy here for Blake Lively, there for Connie Britton on Nashville, with Gisele in those Chanel commercials and also for Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Expect to see him kissing Jennifer Lawrence onscreen any day now.

GUESS NO ONE WANTED ESCAPE FROM CHICAGO…

Furious Seven is down to number four and also in this is Kurt Russell, apparently knowing the place of the aging action hero is playing the higher up the younger heroes have to deal with. I’ve no doubt part of his deal was that his character doesn’t die so he too can get on the F&F gravy train. Spoiler? Oh, fuck you. It’s been out for a month and a half.

BECAUSE FEM-BOTS UNLEASHED WAS TOO OBVIOUS A TITLE

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is down to number five, followed by Ex Machina actually rising to number six, so I guess I’m the only person who has no tolerance for cautionary tales with sexy robots.

HEY, HER MONEY IS JUST AS GREEN

Home is down to number seven followed by Woman in Gold rising to number eight and I can’t imagine why. I mean who wants to see a movie about an strong, older female lead who is supported by a handsome younger man when there’s hockey and basketball playoffs on TV and a movie where some woman is cursed to look like 28-year-old Blake Lively for eternity in the theater? Oh. Your mom. And clearly you took her to see this on mother’s day.

THE END…AGAIN

Cinderella is down to number nine and Unfriended closes out the top ten at number ten.

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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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I’M A VICTIM OF MY CULTURE

27 Apr

blake-lively-gossip-03
1. Furious 7/Universal                        Wknd/$ 19.3    Total/$ 320.5
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                    Wknd/$ 15.5    Total/$ 44.0
3. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate   Wknd/$ 13.4    Total/$ 13.4
4. Home/Fox                                        Wknd/$ 8.3      Total/$ 153.8
5. Unfriended/Universal                    Wknd/$ 6.2      Total/$ 25.2
6. Ex Machina/A24                             Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 6.9
7. The Longest Ride/Fox                    Wknd/$ 4.4      Total/$ 30.4
8. Get Hard/WB                                   Wknd/$ 3.9      Total/$ 84.1
9. Monkey Kingdom/Disney             Wknd/$ 3.6       Total/$ 10.3
10. Woman in Gold/Weinstein         Wknd/$ 3.5       Total/$ 21.6

THE DUMB AND THE ARROGANT
Furious 7 holds onto the top spot for one last week ‘cause we know that once the Avengers sequel comes out that’ll be all she wrote. Returning for this is Ludacris and somewhere Ja Rule weeps because he was in the original The Fast and The Furious and was asked back for 2 Fast 2 Furious but as director John Singleton tells it, Ja thought he was too good for it. Tell me, when was the last time you thought of Ja Rule? Exactly. Not to mention Luda’s role has gone from being a garage owner who manages illegal races to computer tech genius in Fast Five to buff computer tech genius in Fast & Furious 6 to buff computer tech genius who also learned some hand-to-hand combat here in Furious 7. Which is smart on his part, because his future is clearly onscreen It’s a rule: all rappers must segue into acting or die, because it’s seriously a young man’s (or woman’s) game. Not too many at the top of hip-hop in their 30’s. Jay-Z being the exception that proves the rule and event here Beyoncé had a little to do with it.

SOME DESERVE TO BE HERE
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 holds at number two. I’d rundown his co-stars if I weren’t sure they’d like to forget what they were forced to do for rent money and I don’t want to embarrass them further. Except Neal McDonough, who doesn’t do love scenes because he’s married. What an idiot. I have to think that he got on the nerves of the writers on Justified where he played a psychotic killer, which is apparently okay. Fake love scene bad. Fake murder good. As the season ran down his looks were openly mocked by characters on the show. I like to believe that it was because they’d all come to hate him.

IT’S A WEAKNESS AND I FULLY ADMIT IT
Age of Adaline opens at number three and as much as I rag on Hollywood’s (and America’s) preoccupation with skinny blondes, I likes me some Blake Lively. I suffered through at least four years of Gossip Girl just to watch her (yes, I know it ran for six). Yeah, she’s kinda become a wannabe Gwyneth Paltrow, but that’s fine, ‘cause I likes me some Gwyneth too. And the reason I like Blake is because of her fairly obvious flaws, namely that clear nose job and that overbite (Gwynneth aint’ perfect neither). I like perfection in my stars as much as anyone and am openly opposed to looking at ugly dude leads, but occasionally a flaw here or that makes someone a little more compelling. I know it makes me sound crazy, but if I were sane wouldn’t be writing this to begin with. That said, I’m not totally averse to seeing her in a movie. My only rule with stars I like that I’m not going to watch them die and in the case of women be raped. It’s my “Taye Diggs Rule.” I don’t see anything were I know he’s going to die. (or if it just sucks to begin with like that TV show last year). But I do have an overall rule for seeing mediocre movies in the theater: nothing more than 90 minutes and when I saw this was nearly 2 hours I had to give it a pass. Sorry, but an immortal finding love (which undoubtedly will lead to her being mortal again, who are we kidding?) isn’t a two hour movie. Hell, it’s not even a book that should take two hours to read. It’s yet another Outer Limits episode needless stretched out. Guilty pleasures should be brief. Like the 45 minutes (0r less when I fast-forwarded) of Gossip Girl I used to enjoy every week. What do you mean she didn’t end up with Dan? Dan was Gossip Girl? That makes no sense at all! So glad I skipped those last two years.

DOLLA DOLLA BILLS, Y’ALL
Home holds at number four, followed by Unfriended at number five. Not that anyone cares. This turned a profit the first week, so all the rest is just gravy.

SERIOUSLY. JUST RELAUNCH THE OUTER LIMITS
Ex Machina opens wide and enters the top ten at six and I was going to say this was yet another version of the science fiction trope of man creating artificial life and living (or not) to regret it, but then I realized that was Frankenstein. They’re all Frankenstein. Only now the life forms are made up of plastic and steel. Being a science fiction geek I’ve no problem with it and have seen it a couple hundred times, but even though this was given all kinds of positive reviews I gave it a pass because of one aspect: the trope of the fuckable robot. Sorry, but that just immediately makes my eyes roll back into my head. It goes from being a cautionary tale to just making a big version of that sock you keep in your bottom drawer you think your mom doesn’t know about. It’s different when it’s the scientist’s dead loved one. This wants me to take the story of a sex-bot seriously and I just can’t. This isn’t even The Outer Limits; it’s that cable reboot that had T&A. Which means it’s even less deserving of full length movie.

ROYALTY, BITCHES
The Longest Ride is down to number seven and there always seems a perquisite “older person” in these Nicholas Sparks movies to be either be the voice of reason or the voice of warning and in this case it’s Alan Alda, who will always be Hawkeye Pierce to me because I’m old. But even more interesting than that is the fact that the younger version of his character is played by Jack Huston (son of Anjelica, grandson of John, great-grandson of Walter) and his love interest is played by Oona Chaplin (daughter of Geraldine, granddaughter of Charles, great granddaughter of Eugene O’Neil). Seriously, their bios alone are probably more interesting than this movie.

THE END
Get Hard is down to number eight, followed by Monkey Kingdom at number nine and Woman in Gold at number ten.

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ONE, TWO, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, THREE, SEVEN

20 Apr

kenneth-branagh-image
1. Furious 7/Universal                          Wknd/$ 29.1    Total/$ 294.4
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                      Wknd/$ 24.0   Total/$ 24.00
3. Unfriended/Universal                      Wknd/$ 16.0    Total/$ 16.0
4. Home/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 10.3    Total/$ 142.6
5. The Longest Ride/Fox                      Wknd/$ 6.9      Total/$ 23.5
6. Get Hard/WB                                     Wknd/$ 4.8      Total/$ 78.3
7. Monkey Kingdom/Disney                Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 4.7
9. The Divergent Series: Insurgent     Wknd/$ 4.2      Total/$ 120.6
8. Woman in Gold/Weinstein              Wknd/$ 4.6      Total/$ 15.9
10. Cinderella/Disney                            Wknd/$ 3.9      Total/$ 186.3

IT TEACHES THE KIDS MATH…KINDA. WELL, NOT REALLY.
Furious 7 holds at number one and why this is called Furious 7 while the previous entry was Fast & Furious 6, but the one before that was Fast Five while the one before that was Fast & Furious, which is not to be confused with the very first one, which was THE Fast and THE Furious? I have no freaking idea. The only other title to have “The” in it was the much maligned third entry: The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift and yes, they do make a return here for a brief scene in Tokyo because the films 4, 5, and 6 all take place before the events in number 3. So the order is The Fast and The Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast and Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and now Furious 7. Got it? Good. Needless to say the nine years between entries were not kind to, Lucas Black, the male lead of Tokyo Drift, while the other two leads, Lil’ Bow Wow (understandably going by his real name of Shad Moss these days) and that ethnically dubious girl who’s now more famous for being in a Bruno Mars video, were relatively unchanged. So it’s not only black that doesn’t crack but also brown (she’s Peruvian-Argentine).

FOR EVIL TO SUCCEED ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS FOR GOOD PEOPLE TO SEE BAD MOVIES
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 opens at number two and stop trying to tell me that God exists. What kind of god would let this happen. Twice. On the other hand, if the greatest trick The Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist, then he’s giving himself away by greenlighting films in Hollywood.

A MOVIE NO ONE OVER 60 WILL UNDERSTAND
Unfriended opens at number three and just as a broken clock is right twice a day, apparently a low-budget stepchild of found footage films (everything is seen from the screen of one computer) is both successful and critically praised. The fact that it may be scary is just more reason for me never to see it.

ANOTHER PRETTY BLONDE SUCCEEDS IN LA. NEWS AT ELEVEN.
Home is down to number four, followed by The Longest Ride at number five and this is a another rung up the ladder for Britt Robertson, who I know because I watched both Life Unexpected and The Secret Circle (where she wore her skirts so short they had to be digitally lengthened in post). Shut up! Shame is for lesser people! She and her team have been making good, solid choices. She was the lead on that show though it was cancelled, got steady exposure on Under The Dome, was in Jennifer Anniston’s Oscar-bait movie, Cake, wisely chose this piece of popular crap and it will culminate in Tomorrowland this summer, directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney. Remember the last young woman to co-star with Clooney? Shailene Woodley. Good, because I swear this girl’s been chomping at the bit for superstardom for as long as I’ve seen her. We were moments away from a sexually explicit film from her to get noticed. Whoops. She did that last year.

SO FATIGUED IT’S NOT FUNNY
Get Hard is down to number six and given it hasn’t even doubled its budget in the month it’s been out (compare to Furious 7 which hit a billion dollars last week) people may have had enough of both Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell’s manchild routine. I know I have and I’ve only seen one or two of them.

MONKEY FUNNY. ALWAYS AND FOREVER.
Monkey Kingdom opens at number seven and I swear I will watch the shit about of some monkeys in the jungle on The Discovery Channel, but don’t think I’m gonna get up and go pay for it. But great for all of you who did!

I’M TELLING MYSELF HE DOES THIS TO PAY FOR THEATER WORK
Woman in gold is down to number eight, followed by The Divergent Series: Insurgent at number nine with Cinderella closing out the top ten at number ten and while that seems as disappointing as Get Hard given it failed to double its budget domestically, globally it quadrupled it and while Disney isn’t getting all of that, it’s damn sure getting enough. Not to mention what this is going to pull on home video. Oh, and did we ever mention this was directed by Kenneth Branagh? He’s sadly become a director of very mediocre big budget studio films recently. There was nothing exceptional about this. The best thing about Thor was one man’s performance and there was no best thing about Jack Ryan. This is sad because Dead Again was huge dose of campy fun. Given the difference trajectory of their careers, I’m starting to wonder how much of that had to do with Emma Thompson. Especially now that I remember the awfulness that was his version of Frankenstein, which also had Helena Bonham Carter in it. Seems it’s easier to work with ex-girlfriends than ex-wives.

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