Tag Archives: Howard Stark

CATCH A FALLING STAR. OR NOT.

26 Jan

Snapshots-21-jump-street-29407957-936-1344
1. American Sniper/Warner                     Wknd/$ 89.5    Total/$ 92.9
2. The Boy Next Door/Universal             Wknd/$ 15.0    Total/$ 15.0
3. Paddington/Weinstein                          Wknd/$ 12.4    Total/$ 40.1
4. The Wedding Ringer/SGems               Wknd/$ 11.6     Total/$ 39.7
5. Taken 3/Fox                                            Wknd/$ 7.6       Total/$ 76.1
6. The Imitation Game/Weinstein          Wknd/$ 7.1       Total/$ 60.6
7. Strange Magic/Disney                           Wknd/$ 5.5       Total/$ 5.5
8. Selma/Paramount                                  Wknd/$ 5.5       Total/$ 39.2
9. Mortdecai/Lion’s Gate                          Wknd/$ 4.1        Total/$ 4.1
10. Into the Woods/Disney                       Wknd/$ 3.9       Total/$ 121.5

BARBARIANS AT THE GATE
American Sniper holds at number one and I’m trying to wait for the controversy to blow over before I see it because I don’t want to be stuck in an audience of assholes seeing it for just that reason. Mainly because these assholes are usually assholes who have already made a decision about the film but don’t want to sound like the assholes they are by being forced to admit they haven’t seen it. Hurry up and see it, you assholes!

SUCCEEDING WHERE GLOBBING ONTO IGGY AZALEA FAILED
I understand Jennifer Lopez has two kids and Mark Anthony to support, but honestly? The Boy Next Door!?! Has it come to this already!?! MILF movies!?! At least you could have gotten and up and coming star. A Hemsworth brother or something instead of this nobody. What YA film adaptation has he been in? You don’t see Cameron Diaz doing this shit and she’s doing some lousy shit. Then again, the biggest hits of JLo’s career were suspense thrillers (which I maintain are the female action movie) and since Jodie Foster has shown no interest in hanging onto her throne as queen of them I guess it’s open season on the crown with any crap you can find. But it is a hit for her. It only cost $4M to make and made $15M the first weekend, so it’s all gravy from here on out. But if she were up for an Oscar this would have killed her chances the same way Eddie Murphy’s crappy film cost him a shot. I mean he wasn’t probably going to win anyway, but he probably didn’t even come close as a result of Norbit.

THAT WHITE HOUSE SITCOM IS BETTER OFF FORGOTTEN
Paddington holds at number three, followed by The Wedding Ringer at number four and how successful was Frozen? Josh Gad (who is the hapless groom here) was the voice of the snowman and he’s a B-level star now. I’ll say that again: being the unseen voice of a secondary character has elevated him more than all his other live action performances put together. Including this one.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, NAILED IT SHUT
Taken 3 is down to number five, followed by The Imitation Game at six and somewhere Derek Jacobi is rolling his eyes and sighing, “Whatever, bitchez.” See, he played this role on Broadway and later on a TV film adaptation.

TAINTING THE GREAT ELO SONG WITH THIS IS UNFORGIVABLE
Strange Magic opens at number seven and I almost feel sorry for George Lucas who clearly thinks he has more to offer the world creatively and the world clearly feels differently. Sorry, but there’s just no getting over those godawful Star Wars prequels…and all the other non-Star Wars shit. Let me put it this way: this week he revealed that his ideas for the upcoming sequels were all rejected. Oooh, you want some midichlorians for that burn?

CALL IT THE “THE REASON WHY YOUR PARENTS THINK YOU’RE UNGRATEFUL BECAUSE THEY LIVED THROUGH SOME SHIT” SERIES
Selma is down to number eight and also in this is Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King…again. Yes, she’s played this role before in Boycott, an HBO movie in 2001. You know what would have been awesome? If Denzel Washington came back to play Malcom X who also appears here. Just tie them all together.

ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN
Mortdecai opens at number nine and is the bullshit myth of Johnny Depp finally over? I never understood how he created this iconoclast persona when he went from a hit teenybopper TV (on Fox no less) to mainstream films and dated actresses and supermodels. His only “rebel” behavior was in that he didn’t do more traditional leading man stuff like crap romcoms, but it’s not like he was doing indie films either. I mean, what kind of “rebel” does a movie based on a Disney ride? Well, thankfully his mid-life crisis has finally served to take him down. First the end of his near 20-year relationship with Vanessa Paradis to turn around a date a model/actress half his age and now a string of stupid, money-grabbing mainstream flops (The Tourist, Dark Shadows, Lone Ranger, Transcendence) and some dumb public statements (“Critics killed The Lone Ranger”) have taken the bloom off the rose. AND his looks are finally starting to fade. You ain’t pretty no more, bitch! As for the movie, my biggest sign of what will suck is if my dad likes the commercial and he laughed out loud at this. I wasn’t going to see it anyway, but thanks dad.

BOOM! IN YOUR FACE, DEPP!
Ironically enough, Depp is also in Into The Woods closing out the top ten at number ten. He’s not a major character so he gets no boost from it, unlike say, Josh Gad.

TV
It’s been awhile, but the New Year did bring more of the most wonderful thing on earth: new TV shows to watch. Let’s get started…

State of Affairs: Now you knew this was going to be crap the moment they pushed it as being from “the director of The Blacklist” as if that’s a sign of quality. But I gave it a shot because I do like Katherine Heigl. Oh, go fuck yourselves. She didn’t say anything about Gray’s Anatomy or Knocked Up that wasn’t true. The problem is when she was in charge (she and her mother run her production company) she didn’t do anything better. This continues that trend. Making the head of the CIA a complete moron in order to make Heigl’s character look smart was just it for me. That he could be wrong was fine; making him too stupid to be in the position he was in was just too much. And having her picking up men in bars then kicking them out because she’s trying to dull the pain of losing her fiancée (who was the president’s son, no less) was just too hamfisted and she simply doesn’t sell self-loathing sex well at all (I am available for lessons). Sigh. I remember when I thought Joe Carnahan was someone to watch. Now he’s someone to be avoided.

Hindsight: Yes, we’re at the point where the 90’s are a point of nostalgia. I’ll admit I suffer from it mainly because of it was the last good decade of R&B (not to mention the existence of actual rock bands) and a large-breasted Lara Flynn Boyle lookalike co-worker that I missed out on, but that’s a story for another day. This is about a woman who is having cold feet on the day of her second wedding then passes out in the elevator and wakes up the day of her first wedding 20-years earlier, which she then runs out on to try and change her life. Now, I won’t get into how none of these people look like the 40-somethings they’re supposed to be at the beginning and barely the 20-somethings they have to be for the 90’s but it does stink of production laziness. Was a little aging make-up not in the budget? No, what turned me off instantly was the appearance of a minority dispensing sage advice as if they—gasp!—knew what was going on in the character’s mind and were some kind of guardian angel. Yes, once again we get the Magical Person of Color to see the lead White character through their time of need. Just…no. Not helping is the elephant in the room, the thing that happens once the 90’s ends: 9/11. How can she not say anything or do anything? This is like setting a romantic comedy at Pearl Harbor in the late ‘30’s. How can you enjoy it when you know what horrible event is going to happen!?! And speaking of the future, given the jokes about NY real estate going up and iPhones, how is she not investing in all this? Usually the characters in these types of stories are either only back for a specific time or purpose or “everymen” and can’t afford to, but she comes from a well-off family on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and is apparently staying. She can afford to buy some stock. It would be better if the Magical Black Man (who also shows up in the past and vanishes mysteriously when she’s talking to him) just flat out revealed himself to be an angel or something and given her a set of rules regarding what she could and could not do so it’s just off the table and out of our minds. Finally, the show unabashedly promotes the music played the 90’s, which is fine, but it’s only the most overplayed stuff of that decade and even Upper West Side blondes listened to hip-hop in the 90’s, but not on this show. The best part? A 30-second breakdown of 90’s fashion when she goes through her clothes: “Mock turtleneck baby-tee?”

Marco Polo: This debuted on Netflix and is the first show of its kind that I’ve actually watched and by that I mean where the entire season is just flat out made available. No waiting. And much like my choice of King Arthur on Starz rather than Game of Thrones on HBO, I’ve made the less popular, clearly less accomplished choice. Sorry, but I simply don’t care about Orange is the New Black or House of Cards. I’m sure they’re great, but I’ve no interest in hopping on the bandwagon. In fact, I only starting watching this out of boredom while on my lunch hour at work. I had no interest to begin with and the reviews had sealed that coffin. But watching it I was and thanks to low expectations, I found it somewhat enjoyable. Yes, the lead character is boring, but that’s fine. Kublai Khan, a Mongol ruling China balanced between a culture he covets and the one he comes from should be more interesting. As well as the Prime Minister of the one city the Mongols cannot conquer. As well as the Khan’s son, raised Chinese but needing to be more Mongol to hold the throne and a half dozen other characters. For the valid criticisms of Asians who speak in stilted tones, you’re not going to find this many Asians (as well as other races) with speaking roles of with this level of complexity anywhere else (good to see you again, Joan Chen). Sad but true. The one character that does speak that way is, of course, the blind martial arts instructor, but at one point Kublai Khan himself mocks him for it and says he’s drunk. And he is! However, the martial arts instructor provides the moment that might actually justify the existence of this show, which is a definition of “gung-fu” or “kung fu.” Kung fu is not a martial art. Wushu is the name for martial arts. Kung fu is the discipline it takes to achieve excellence so a great chef is a master of kung fu the same way a great tailor is. It has nothing to do with martial arts. This of course was followed immediately by the most annoying and ridiculous part of the show: gratuitous female nudity in a scene I can only call “Mongolian Idol” wherein candidates who wanted to be in the Khan’s harem were lined up to compete. Totally naked of course. And how do courtesans compete? Why, by having sex with one another of course in front of the judges! But nowhere was this more ridiculous than in the scene where the Prime Minister tells three soldiers they could have the courtesan of the late emperor (she’s his sister, by the way). Her response is to kill them all using her martial arts skill…while totally naked. Now, I’ve got nothing against ridiculous martial arts scenes or gratuitous nudity, but if you’re going to do it, go all the way. Everyone should have been naked. After all they were wearing armor. It would have actually made some kind of sense if she convinced them to get naked first then broke out her Bruce Lee skills. Even when a princess commits suicide she disrobes first. It’s ridiculous. Yes, you get an actual penis in episode five but nly after countless nude women. It’s only 9 episodes so I’m going to stick it out to the end, but I won’t be returning for the already greenlit second season.

Agent Carter: I will have to give Marvel credit. They realized the mistakes they made with Agents of B.O.R.E.D.O.M. and started this show off right with scenes from Captain America and referencing it constantly, not to mention having Howard Stark return as a character. It sets the foundation before even trying to move on its own. After that, however, it hits the ground running. One nice aspect of the show is that despite being about secret agents and super-science it nonetheless deals with the sexism of the 40’s, especially the women who are being forced out of their job and back into the home by returning men. Clearly the freedom they fought for wasn’t for dames. More than once is Agent Carter called little more than Captain America’s whore, which she has to grin and bear despite the fact she’s twice the agent of anyone in the room. Because I’m a geek they basically had me when they introduced Edwin Jarvis. In the movies, Jarvis is the computer that runs Tony Stark’s home. In the comics he’s the flesh & blood butler. Basically the Alfred to his Batman. Here Jarvis is Howard Stark’s butler and his partnership with Agent Carter as they work to secretly clear Howard of treason charges is nothing but fun. Also, they only have 8 episodes so there’s no time to tread water. It has to move and move it does.

Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce: I loves me some Lisa Edelstein. She fits the “type” I only now realize I have and no, I’m not going to tell you what that entails. I only watched House to see her as the most inappropriately dressed hospital administrator ever and stopped watching when she left. Her with her own comedy drama show about being a divorcee is as welcome to me as when Sarah Jessica Parker got her own show, which is appropriate because this is honestly just another Sex & the City clone (we even learn that Edelstein’s character is originally from NYC). You’ve got your Semitic writer as the center surrounded by her extreme-behavior gentile friends. You’ve got the free-spirited promiscuous one model (played by ex-model Beau Garrett whom I’ve loved because never fixed her teeth) and you’ve got your no bullshit attorney played by Janeane Garofalo. So you’ve got your Samantha, your Miranda and your Carrie—if Carrie wasn’t such a narcissistic asshole. I loved the show but she was. No, there’s no Charlotte but is that really a loss. But hold on! In some of the most awkward writing since Suzanne Sommers left Three’s Company and Shannen Doherty was booted off 90210…and Charmed, Janeane Garofalo, the other person I was thrilled to see weekly has left the show. Totally off camera with an awkward, unbelievable bullshit expository phone call. Now, suddenly Lisa Edelstein gets a best friend she hasn’t spoken to in years, who is short and abrasive. Hmmm. Guess we can only rewrite those scripts so much. In addition, Garofalo played a lawyer and the lawyer who was her nemesis at work who was tall, thin, conventionally pretty and very girly-girly, basically everything she’s not is now the fourth member of the group. Guess they had some legal plotlines they couldn’t write out as well. The only advantage to the change is that with her being Indian the primary group is no longer all-white, though we do get another woman of color who seemingly never dates men of color. Baby steps, people. But the show won me over almost instantly when Edelstein has a scene where she got drunk and took all her clothes off to dance around the house. It’s like they wrote it just for me.

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THE SPRING CIVILIAN

6 Apr

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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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