Tag Archives: Jake Gyllenhaal

IT’S STUMBLING TIME!

10 Aug

Rebecca-Ferguson1
1. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation     Wknd/$ 29.4    Total/$ 108.7
2. Fantastic Four/Fox                                 Wknd/$ 26.2   Total/$ 26.2
3. The Gift/STX                                            Wknd/$ 12.0    Total/$ 12.0
4. Vacation/WB                                            Wknd/$ 9.1      Total/$ 37.3
5. Ant-Man/Disney                                     Wknd/$ 7.8       Total/$ 147.4
6. Minions/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 302.4
7. Ricki & The Flash/TriStar                      Wknd/$ 7.0      Total/$ 7.0
9. Pixels/Sony                                               Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 57.6
8. Trainwreck/Universal                            Wknd/$ 6.3      Total/$ 91.1
10. Southpaw/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 4.8      Total/$ 40.7

THE BEGINNING OF A BEAUTIFUL ACTION CAREER
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation holds the number one spot and as the woman who finally gets to be as badass as Tom Cruise is Rebecca Ferguson. It’s okay if you’ve never heard of her. Her two biggest claims to fame before this were The White Queen mini-series and last summer’s flop, Hercules. What’s funny, sad and little bit weird is that she looks a lot like Michelle Monaghan, who played Cruise’s fiancée in Mission Impossible III. I suppose it would have been a bit much to ask that she’d become a super-agent riding bikes and kicking ass alongside him, but it was 9 years ago. A decade’s enough time to develop some secret agent skills, right? But I guess Cruise was adamant that his leading lady always be under 35 and Monaghan has aged out. Ferguson’s character is named Ilsa in this and yes, they do go to Casablanca (Ferguson was even born in Stockholm like Ingrid Bergman). When Cruise arrives she even asks him, “What brings you to Casablanca?” And he doesn’t reply “The waters.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GO THERE WHY DID YOU CALL HER ILSA AND GO TO CASABLANCA!?! Some may respect the movie for not going for the easy reference. I am not one of those people. You go all the way or you don’t go at all!

THE FANTASTIC FOURTH FAILURE
The Fantastic Four reboot opens poorly at number two and let me say right out that this is not a bad movie, certainly nowhere near the level warranting the drubbing it’s getting on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s not a Transformers or Adam Sandler movie, which open insults your intelligence with the laziness of the filmmakers. It’s just not a good movie and is so clearly misguided and a waste of time, money and energy it just makes you angry. But this was a disaster from the word “go.” Even before Josh Trank had been brought on Fox made it clear they wanted to go “dark” with this because The Dark Knight made a billion dollars and for some reason they thought that was the key. Never mind that the bright and shiny Marvel movies were making money hand-over-fist, they wanted billions with a “B”, not millions with an “M.” Trank was the second mistake because he too couldn’t see how utterly ridiculous it was to try and go dark with characters named Mr. Fantastic and The Human Torch. He’d done well with Chronicle which was a similar story about people encountering something other-worldly and developing superpowers and it was on the darker side so he must have seemed like a perfect fit to them. The final mistake was basing this adaptation the 21st Century revision of the Fantastic Four known as Ultimate Fantastic Four. Marvel Comics did it with all their characters with mixed levels of success. Elements of the Ultimate universe have been used in other Marvel-based films (Nick Fury looking like Samuel L. Jackson, Captain America having super strength) but for the most part they remained loyal to the 60’s originals. Clearly that’s another lesson Fox chose to ignore, but honestly this was more an effort merely to hold onto the licensing than make a good movie. It’s the reason Sony made the two disappointing Amazing Spider-Man movies and Man of Steel was made (both also stupidly chose to go darker with lighter characters). They had a deadline to get something, anything out there and all paid a price creatively for it. This is why Fox had no problem slicing the budget later resulting in the loss of all the action films this film desperately needed, as now it’s just a boring pilot about four already sad people (Mr. Fantastic can’t related to his parents, The Thing’s household is abusive from parent to siblings, The Invisible Woman’s behavior borders on autism and The Human Torch has daddy issues) who get transformed and become even sadder superheroes. It’s dull, boring, sad and absolutely nothing anyone anywhere wants from a superhero movie (even the odious Man of Steel had action). But hey, Fox gets to keep the property for a third try, which ironically is exactly why Canon films made the first FF movie back in 1994. Let me put it this way: this is the only Marvel film of the last decade to have no Stan Lee cameo.

I MAINTAIN I WAS A LOVABLE GEEK
The Gift opens at number three and it’s good to see the Fatal Attraction formula of “relationship crosses over to crazy” is still around. In this case it’s that weird kid from high school who thinks now as adults you can finally be friends. Personally, I can’t relate as I didn’t keep up with the actual friends I did have and blew off basically everyone who tried to reconnect. Apparently Jason does the latter a little too late and pays the price. And apparently he did something to the guy in high school that somewhat warrants this. Makes sense as the persona Bateman has in movies, while generally sympathetic, could easily be that smug prick we all knew…or were. You can prove nothing.

CHEVY CHASE: BRINGING DOWN THOSE AROUND HIM SINCE THE 80’S
Vacation is down to number four and I’m happy to see Christina Applegate working but she needs to choose better than this (I still rue the day I sat through The Sweetest Thing). Her short-living series Samantha Who would have made a great movie. The story of an evil bitch who develops amnesia and a personality reversal after being deliberately run over by one of the many people she wronged on a daily basis is still a very funny idea. And it’s not just her who’s wasted. You’ve seen Charlie Day, Ron Livingston, Norman Reedus and Keegan-Michael Key (of Key and Peele), Nick Kroll and Michael Pena in better things. In fact, Pena is in Ant-Man (following at number five) and is nothing but funny (despite the racism) so he at least has something to counteract this on his resume. See, unlike The Fantastic Four reboot, Ant-Man accepted that a guy who shrinks and then controls ants is a little silly, but nonetheless doesn’t hold the idea in such contempt all sense of fun has to be abandoned.

THIS IS WHY SHE CHOSE JESSIE OVER YOU
Minions is down to number six, followed by Ricki and the Flash opening at number seven and while I love Meryl Streep, love Rick Springfield, love director Jonathan Demme and have a passing affection for screenwriter Diablo Cody, this left me cold. The trailer looks like one of the old Touchstone trailers from the 80’s which you know would have just enough risqué behavior and language to get a PG13, but never crossing the line on any level to make you uncomfortable. So while this is ostensibly about a woman who abandoned her family to chase a dream and never looked back, you just know she’s never going to be depicted too harshly, nor will there be anything short of a happy ending. In short, it’s yet another Lifetime Movie that escaped into the theaters. Rick Springfield continues his inability to launch a proper acting career, even with Meryl Streep by his side (he turned down The Right Stuff while accepting Hard to Hold even though he knew it sucked). Even hopping onboard the True Detective didn’t work as the second season has been widely panned. Oh, Ricky…

SORRY, JUST CAN’T BE HAPPY FOR ANY BRUTHA DOIN’ ANYTHING
Trainwreck is down to number eight, followed by Pixels at number nine with Southpaw closing out the top ten at number ten and this was directed by Antoine Fuqua, who despite his repeated attempts is just not a gritty director. You get the feeling he wants to evoke some 70’s Sidney Lumet era filmmaking but he’s simply too slick and his films reflect it. He got lucky with Training Day, but is better at delivering glossy, slightly inept action films like The Equalizer, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen and my personal favorite The Replacement Killers. You know, shit that’s fun to watch at 1:00 am on cable. His attempts to be “real” result flops like Tears of the Sun, Brooklyn’s Finest and now this. I don’t think I need to tell you he comes from music videos.

 

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THE FRANCHISE REFUSES TO SELF-DESTRUCT

2 Aug

600full-michelle-monaghan 1. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation    Wknd/$ 56.0    Total/$ 56.0
2. Vacation/WB                                          Wknd/$ 14.9    Total/$ 21.2
3. Ant-Man/Disney                                    Wknd/$ 12.6    Total/$ 132.1
4. Minions/Universal                                Wknd/$ 12.2    Total/$ 287.4
5. Pixels/Sony                                             Wknd/$ 10.4    Total/$ 45.6
6. Trainwreck/Universal                           Wknd/$ 9.7      Total/$ 79.7
7. Southpaw/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 7.5       Total/$ 31.6
8. Paper Towns/Fox                                  Wknd/$ 4.6       Total/$ 23.8
9. Inside Out/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 4.5       Total/$ 329.6
10. Jurassic World/Universal                  Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 631.5

FIFTH VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST!
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation opens at number one and this may be the most solid entry in the franchise, even though it’s the fourth time in five movies Ethan Hunt is wanted by his own government. Seriously. In the first, he’s framed by his own boss for betraying and killing his whole team. In the third he’s framed by someone who’s kind of his boss for freeing an international arms dealer that he just caught. In the fourth, he’s framed for blowing up the Kremlin by a Russian general who thinks we need to just have a nuclear and get it over with and humanity will be the better for it. Here he’s not framed but considered a bit crazy because he believes in a super-secret terrorist organization called “The Syndicate” and is being hunted by the CIA which has also shut down the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) and absorbed its people and operations. What’s funny is the way the CIA shuts them down is by pointing out all the crazy shit they’ve done from breaking into Langley in the first film and almost getting San Francisco nuked in the most recent film. So basically CIA Director Alec Baldwin is completely right in saying it’s an agency of chaos. Every film backs it up. Three out of the five films involve either current or ex members of the IMF being behind all the trouble. It reminds me of the scenes from Under Siege where they also question the logic behind employing crazy people and the CIA responds that sane people can’t do the jobs they need to be done. This would apply to Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt who apparently can’t do anything the safe way. It’s actually joked about by the bad guy in MI2 and is briefly alluded to by a young agent at the beginning of this. But if he did things the smart and rational way, what fun would it be to watch? Yeah, he could have taken the two seconds it would taken to put on a motorcycle helmet from the downed bad guy whose bike he takes, but then wouldn’t get what is clearly Tom Cruise barreling down the highway at ridiculous speeds and crazy leaning angles. He’s basically embarrassing the shit out of every other action star working with their sane use of CGI and stunt doubles. But more than that, this is perhaps the best story since the first and I guess after having recycled it so many times the were bound to get it right simply by the law of averages. It’s not saddled with a love story like MI2 (which was basically a remake of Notorious but with guns and motorcycles), the underwhelming action scenes of MI3 (really, a fight with a drone?) or the dampening revelation in MI4 that the bad buy was a good decade senior to Cruise but had not only outfought but outrun him and almost does him in at the end (it was as bad as that wussy French dude giving Bond trouble at the climax of Quantum of Silence). It helps that they finally give him a badass female counterpart who does everything he does without mussing her hair (speaking of Bond, she’s British Secret Service). They give her the all-out action scenes that both Maggie Q and Paula Patton were denied, which is insult to injury given neither one of them was brought back (supposedly they were busy, but who are we kidding?), but all the guys but John Rhys Myers (who should have inherited the franchise had he not self-destructed) and the helicopter pilot from MI2 (whom no one remembers any) were.

IT’S NOTHING I’VE EVER WANTED (GO-GO’S REFERENCE)
Vacation opens at number two and I’ve never seen a single one of these movies and I wasn’t about to start now. I know the first has somehow gained a place of being a near semi-classic 80’s comedy, directed by Harold Ramis and written by John Hughes at near the peak of their powers, but I’m just not feeling it. Maybe it’s just Chevy Chase, but…no, it’s just Chevy Chase. I love Caddyshack and Foul Play, but his very presence is basically a giant warning sign of a bad movie. And guess what? He makes an appearance in this, given this is supposed to be the adult son from the first movie trying to recreate the trip with his own kids (Anthony Michael Hall, you dodged a bullet). I’ve no choice but to stick to my strategy as it has served me well (I ignored it to Hot Tub Time Machine and paid the price). And why would anyone want to recreate that trip anyway? It was a disaster and they should have nothing but horrible, if not traumatic memories of it.

WONDER WOMAN AND BLACK PANTHER MOVIES CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH
Ant Man is down to number three and while it’s nothing but fun there’s a slight bitter taste for me because no one in the production seemed to notice that every single person of color from The Falcon, to Ant-Man’s crew (Michael Pena and TI—yes, TI), to the cop his ex-wife is dating (Bobby Cannavale) is the butt of a joke. Yes, there are jokes about everyone (it’s an action comedy) but everyone else has something else going on. Michael Douglas’ character was a superhero and still is a super-genius and sets everything in motion. Awkward expository dialogue tells us that Paul Rudd’s character went to prison because he attacked a corporation that hurt people, has a Master’s Degree in Engineering and also becomes a super-hero. Even the villain is a genius in his own right, but the Black and Latino characters are all just there to make you laugh. Now, I’m not saying that this was planned, I’m just saying that when it was all said and done no one noticed this. That’s a sad lack of racial sensitivity. It’s the equivalent of movies where all the guys are dreamers and the women are just wet blankets. Not that they get much of a break here either. There’s only one actually involved and while it’s explained that Michael Douglas won’t give his daughter (played by Evangeline Lilly) the suit even though she’s more than capable than Paul Rudd and is already on the inside, because he doesn’t want to lose her the way he lost her mother (she joined Michael Douglas on his adventures), the movie doesn’t give her the motivation to just take the damn thing and do it. If they’re estranged, why is she being the obedient daughter now? The irony being, in the comic this is all based, that’s exactly how the character Paul Rudd is playing gets the suit! He’s not lured; he just takes it to try and save his daughter! We won’t even get in her “You know I’m a no nonsense woman” stupid haircut, because I’ve got friend going off on that somewhere else on the internet.

BUT IT SHOULD STICK TO ADAM SANDLER LIKE FUCKING GLUE
Minions is down to number four, followed Pixels at number five and also in this wreck is Michelle Monaghan (aka Lara Flynn Boyle 2.0), who was “The Young Hot Thing” a few years back, killing it in smaller movies like Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang with a pre-Iron Man Robert Downy Jr, before being bumped up to sharing the screen with Jake Gyllenhaal in one of his few leading man hits, The Source Code. After that she hit solid gold A-list as Tom Cruise’s kidnapped bride-to-be in Mission Impossible 3. But after that…things just seemed to slip away. The smaller films were mediocre and even movie a post-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr and post-Captain America Chris Evans went nowhere. Luckily she was in the highly acclaimed first season of True Detective. Well, lucky until this came out. Hopefully so few people will it see the stench won’t stay with her. You know, like how Zoe Kravitz was in After Earth with Will & Jaden Smith. If anyone had known she might not have had the summer she’s had with Mad Max: Fury Road and Dope.

THEY SHOULD BE FINED IT’S SUCH A WASTE
Trainwreck at number six and while I love Bill Hader and am glad he’s getting some movie success with this it’s still not enough to get me into this, mainly because why the fuck do you hire someone with Bill Hader’s talents and just make him the straight man!?! Anyone good looking meat puppet could have done this and honestly every dude playing a superhero would give a left nut to be in a hit where they aren’t in a costume. Getting Bill Hader to just play a nice, normal guy is like buying a Porsche and never taking it out of first gear. You gotta a redline or don’t bother!

I WOULDN’T SEE IT IF THAT’S ALL IT COST TO GET IN
Southpaw is down to number seven and your first clue this was going to be a mistake was the casting of 50 Cent who has never once made a successful film. Not. Once. Even though he’s made movies with everyone from Robert DeNiro to Bruce Willis. You’ve never heard of them because they went straight to home viewing. Even the movie where he plays himself in a story of his own life tanked. No wonder he’s filing for bankruptcy. Not really. He’s doing that to keep from getting sued of everything he owns because he’s a stupid, vindictive prick and finally going to pay for it.

ALSO: VOICE IN ANIMATED FILM
Paper Towns is down to number eight and starring here as the dream girl is current model-of-the-moment, Cara Delevingne and I hope this is a wonderfully sobering moment for the world at large, because the reason she can play a teenager is because like most models, she’s just a fucking kid. Yes, she’s 23, but in real world terms that would mean she graduated college just last year and high school just 5 years ago. How long have you seen her in stiletto heels and lingerie making come hither stares? Probably longer than that and it’s fucked up. Sorry, I’m still a little bitter over a story about 14-year-old model where the photo showed her in a translucent top. Yeah, she’s six-feet-tall, but that’s still a fucking 14-year-old and I should never ever have seen her nipples. Nor should the rest of the world. Okay, end of rant. I’ll say this for Carla Delevingne, her management is making sure to get her in on every hot movie trend to launch her acting career. This is an adaptation of a Young Adult novel and next year she’ll be in comic book movie: The Suicide Squad. All that’s missing is a “found footage” horror movie.

EXTINCT
Inside Out is down to number nine followed by Jurassic World closing out the top ten at number ten. Thank god. I was totally out of things to say about it.

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LET’S PICK ON JAKE GYLLENHAAL DAY!

27 Jul

jake 1. Ant-Man/Disney                     Wknd/$ 24.8   Total/$ 106.1
2. Pixels/Sony                              Wknd/$ 24.0   Total/$ 24.0
3. Minions/Universal                  Wknd/$ 22.1   Total/$ 261.6
4. Trainwreck/Universal            Wknd/$ 17.3    Total/$ 61.5
5. Southpaw/Weinstein              Wknd/$ 16.5    Total/$ 16.5
6. Paper Towns/Fox                    Wknd/$ 12.5    Total/$ 12.5
7. Inside Out/Disney                   Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 320.3
8. Jurassic World/Universal      Wknd/$ 6.9     Total/$ 623.8
9. Mr. Holmes/RAtt                     Wknd/$ 2.4     Total/$ 85.7
10. Terminator: Genisys/Par      Wknd/$ 5.4     Total/$ 80.6

SEAN CONNERY IS ALWAYS RIGHT
Ant-Man holds at number one and also in this, obviously, is none other than Hollywood Royalty and multiple Oscar winner, Michael Douglas, who finally realized his leading man days were over and wisely hopped onto the Marvel money train. I know it seems obvious and easy, but judging by the Jason Stathams of the world who laugh at it and the Wesley Snipes who are trying to get into it despite having inadvertently launched it with Blade (they are 48 and 52, respectively) it’s not. In fact, Douglas was still trying to play the dude who could get women 18 to 80 up until ’09, in Solitary Man, where he played a guy who bangs his younger girlfriend’s daughter while escorting her to her freshman year of college. But even then he’d at least begun sowing the seeds of this because in the same year he played almost a parody of that role in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, as the player uncle who taught Matthew McConughey’s character all he knew. This what I call “The Sean Connery Rule” wherein once you reach a certain age you have to bring in a hotter, younger actor to carry the weight. And even Connery didn’t always get it right. Lawrence Fishburne in Just Cause and Christian Slater in In the Name of the Rose didn’t do much for him. Neither did Mark Harmon in The Presidio. But those were wiped clean by Nicholas Cage in The Rock, Kevin Costner in The Untouchables, Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October, Wesley Snipes in Rising Sun and even Lorraine Bracco in Medicine Man. So the commercial success of Ant-Man and the critical success of Behind the Candelabra more than wipes the slate clean of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Shia Lebouf. Not to mention the character he plays is part of the foundation of the Marvel Universe. In the comics he’s one of the founding members of The Avengers, playing the role of not just Ant-Man but reversing the effect and becoming, Giant Man/Goliath and also Yellowjacket (who here is the villain). He’s also the actual creator of Ultron. Yes, the antagonist of the recent Avengers sequel. There’s an opening scene here that makes him part of the SHIELD braintrust alongside Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, so he’s also tied to both Iron Man and Captain America now. Pretty sure Douglas isn’t going to hesitate signing any multi-picture deals.

THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES AND SHITS HIMSELF
Pixels opens at number two to some of the most scathing reviews you’ll ever see and given this is Adam Sandler, that’s saying something. Like how much Skyfall sucks and like Bill Cosby being a piece of shit, this is something that I felt was obvious long ago but only now are others seemingly waking up to it. Adam Sandler has been a lazy-ass comedian from day one and the more money he makes the lazier he gets. Low-hanging fruit from day one, never trying harder. Only now when it has reached a toxic level do people finally seem to recognize this. This is based on a short film where video games come to life and attack NYC, pixelating everything they touch eventually taking the entire planet. The creator of that got a cool million, which is why the only thing he can say is “They could have done it better,” and even that may cost him. Honestly, this was done to perfection in an 8 minute sequence on Futurama years ago. That’s all anyone ever need see. Certainly not Adam Sandler’s, old, unfunny, rich, bored ass.

LET ME KNOW WHEN THEY MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT OLD SINGLE GEEKS
Minions is down to number three, followed by Trainwreck at number four and I don’t care how many of my friends love it I’m not seeing this. Yes, it does say something that they are single women in NYC, but that two-hour running time remains bullshit.

OR IS IT ROCKY 6 THIS IS REMAKING?
SouthPaw opens at number four and I loves me some Rachel McAdams, but I’m not going to watch a movie where she dies in the first 15 minutes so I can watch Jake Gyllenhaal struggle with it. It looks like cliché central in this thing and honestly, if I want to watch a white fantasy about boxing, I’ll watch Rocky. I mean, there’s a wizened, older black man there to guide him. What’s sad about this is that if Rachel McAdams had lived I’d probably have seen this remake of Rocky III to watch her do her Talia Shire impression. Jake Gyllenhaal is about to run out of both youth and chances soon. He simply has the worst taste in big mainstream films. Prince of Persia, Love & Other Drugs, Prisoners…all mainstream studio films and all crap. His indie work, however, End of Watch and Nightcrawler seems to be stellar (I burned out on indie long ago so I can only relay what I’ve heard), so it seems like he’s taking the big paychecks to pay for those. Well, those movies have to succeed, chief, and this seems like yet another disappointment headed your way. Time to get on that Marvel gravy train if you want to continue with your small work. But if you’re gonna do it, do it. Don’t pretend you want a big A-list movie with integrity then do Prisoners or Love & Other Drugs. Be honest and just do Transformers 5. No one will blame you.

NOT THAT I’M BITTER AND FILLED WITH SELF-LOATHING OR ANYTHING
Paper Towns opens at number six and it’s finally happened: I’m just too old for another brainy-geek-teen-in-love-with-exceptionally-pretty-girl story. Yes, this one is a tad different because the basic story is that she’s not some happy cheerleader, but a tad troubled and when she vanishes he goes looking for her. But still, he’s only looking for her because she’s pretty. That she’s portrayed by model-of-the-moment Carla Delevingne does not help. The only thing that could put me off more would be one of the Jenner sisters. Shame too, because you know they thought getting her would bring people in.

MAYBE IT’S A PLOT BY SPIELBERG TO MAKE SURE HIS IS ALWAYS THE BEST ONE
Inside Out is down to number seven followed by Jurassic World at number eight and this has made over a billion worldwide. Over $600M in the US and $900M overseas. This is great for Chris Pratt and Spielberg and Universal, but sad for anyone who wants good movies because this was an entertaining piece of crap. The kind of crap Jake Gyllenhaal needs to be a part of. Every legitimate piece of criticism now falls on deaf ears so you can expect the next one, already scheduled for 2018, to suck equally.

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
Mr. Holmes actually rises to number nine and this is how you do it, Jake. Not one, but two big franchises (Lord of the Rings and X-Men) which allows Ian McKellan to get funding for movies like these, which turn around and are unexpectedly more successful than anticipated. Probably a few award noms for McKellan coming down the pike as well. And apparently this is a universe where Sherlock Holmes is world famous and appears in movies. Yes, they include the Basil Rathbone series in the film. That alone makes it a guarantee that I will see it…eventually.

CONAN MAY BE YOUR LAST CHANCE
Finally, Terminator Genisys closes out the top ten at number ten and Arnold’s comeback has proven to be anything but. And this was the go-t0-no-way-it-could-fail-endorsed-by-James-Cameron-vehicle. Why did the equally bad Jurassic World succeed while this failed? Well, for one it has a simpler concept: monsters on the loose. Terminator movies have a simple one as well but they forgot it. It’s supposed to be unstoppable killing machine after someone, but they tried to get cute by merging John Connor with the machine and he’s honestly not trying to kill them. There’s another Terminator in the movie that is initially chasing them, but honestly I can’t tell you what happens to him. There’s even a third one and I can’t tell you what happens to her either (she’s played by Sandrine Holt…and not that I think about it, both the forgotten Terminators are Asian). It’s that bad. And Arnold once touched on the appeal of The Terminator himself: the machine does whatever it wants anywhere it wants. That never occurs here. He’s trying to blend in, so if you’re looking for him to kick the shit out of people much less a bunch of cops like he did in the three successful films look elsewhere. So clearly there’s an anti-establishment aspect to the character that they’ve overlooked…in addition to logic and proper casting.

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FOR EVERY MICHAEL DOUGLAS THERE’S AN ERIC DOUGLAS

3 Nov

ap
1. Nightcrawler/ORF                                             Wknd/$ 10.9   Total/$ 10.9
2. Quija/Universal                                                  Wknd/$ 10.9  Total/$ 35.0
3. Fury/Sony                                                            Wknd/$ 9.1     Total/$ 60.4
4. Gone Girl/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 136.6
5. The Book of Life/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 8.3    Total/$ 40.5
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                                       Wknd/$ 7.8    Total/$ 19.5
7. John Wick/LG-S                                                 Wknd/$ 8.1     Total/$ 27.6
8. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney               Wknd/$ 6.5     Total/$ 53.6
9. The Judge/WB                                                    Wknd/$ 4.4     Total/$ 39.6
10. Dracula Untold/Universal                              Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 52.9

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE X-MAN EITHER
Nightcrawler opens at number one, no doubt as a result of some slightly intoxicated Halloween moviegoers who kept wondering when the monster was going to show up. Not that kind of Nightcrawler, kids. While I’m not entirely put off by the premise of a bottom-feeding video journalist who trolls the LA night for crime stories and gets caught up in one, two things put me off: 1) I could care less about Jake Gyllenhaal. Seriously, a different leading man and maybe I make the time. And 2) I seriously could care less about LA. Once again, you set this in San Francisco a real city, one worth seeing at night and again, maybe I make the time. Yes, I know. I’m as fickle as hell.

SHAME ON YOU, REDUX!
Quija is down to number two and once again, America, you should be ashamed. And I’ll shame you again when the sequel comes out as this only cost $5M to make and has now made almost $35M.

MAKE MY DAY…BY MAKING MY SON A STAR
Fury holds at number three and also in this is Scott Eastwood. Yes, son of Clint. May his career turn out a little better than that of his sister, Allison Eastwood, who peaked with a horrible southern accent in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, also directed by dad. He did her no favors with that one. Scott also started working for dad, but under the name of Scott Reeves. Yeah, kid. It may seem honorable, but life is hard enough. If you’re letting your dad give you a job you might as well use name. Otherwise you’re just half-assing it. Take Martha Plimpton for example. She’s a fucking Carradine, but you don’t see her using that name.

YEAH THAT TITLE WAS ALL-TOO-ACCURATE FOR SOME
Gone Girl is down to number four and also in this and unrecognizable as an adult is Patrick Fugit, the kid journalist from “almost famous.” While his starring role clearly didn’t lead to bigger and better things, he’s one of the few from that cast in a movie of this caliber. In fact, let’s play a little “Where Are They Now?” Kate Hudson clearly went on to waste her moment at the “Hot Young Thing” on increasingly vapid romantic comedies and was last seen playing Zach Braff’s wife in another of his vanity projects that his dumb fans actually paid for (while he works on Broadway). Frances McDormand is awesome and is probably awesome on her new HBO series that I will never see. Jason Lee of course had My Name is Earl and is clearly looking for a new series as it didn’t have the syndication success like the godawful crapfests of How I Met Your Mother or Big Bang Theory. Zooey Deschanel obviously has New Girl though never became a big screen star because that eccentric cutesy thing is annoying. Anna Paquin had the two-fer of The X-Men and True Blood, while Fairuza Balk needs to get the band back together and make that Craft sequel if she wants people to care about her again. Billy Crudup has stayed on the big screen in A-list movies though in supporting roles, while doing stage work, indie films and leaving his wife for Clair Danes (who’s now married to someone else). And we know what happened to poor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hey, did you remember that Jimmy Fallon was in it too?

ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN SCARLETT JOHANNSON
The Book of Life is down to number five, followed by John Wick at number six and also in this is Adrienne Palicki as a hit woman with no code of honor who comes after John Wick on a place where even the criminals don’t shed blood. She’s also currently on Agents of SHIELD as Mockingbird, whom geeks like me know eventually marries Hawkeye (they were clearly Marvel’s answer to Green Arrow and Black Canary). And before this she was in the never-aired Wonder Woman pilot and the G.I. Joe sequel. She was also briefly teased as being Supergirl on Smallville, but turned out to be a human who just thought she was Superman’s cousin. With this resume, she looks to be on the fast track to being an action hero in her own right which I’d welcome as she’s 5’11.” Action heroes should be bigger than life.

YES, HE’S ONE OF THOSE GETTYS
St. Vincent is down to number seven followed by Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day and The Judge at number nine, and also in this is Balthazar Getty. Remember him? Exactly.

THE REST OF THE WORLD SUCKS JUST AS MUCH
Finally, Dracula Untold holds onto the ten slot for one more week, but now that Halloween is over that reprieve is pretty much over. But this thing made $136M overseas so remember that when people tell you Americans have no taste.

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR PART 2

Madame Secretary
You know how you wanted a combination of The Good Wife and Scandal? No? Well, someone clearly thought you did. As a rule, I avoid any show where a rule-breaker gets a position that no rule breaker could ever get. You don’t rise to the top of any established position “playing by your own rules.” At best that means you undo your tie after 5:00, so as much as I like Tea Leoni (third redhead of a certain age to get her own show after The Mysteries of Laura and Bad Judge) I was somewhat skeptical of this, but I gave it a shot and the commercials made it seem much worse than it is. It’s not a bad show, but it’s still The Good Wife mixed in with a little Scandal and I haven’t watched The Good Wife in three years and I can’t bear Scandal, though to its credit Scandal realizes you can’t really take stories about conspiracies in Washington DC seriously. Madame Secretary lost any chance of me returning when we find out at the end of the first episode the previous secretary of state was not only murdered, but his entire flight brought down just to kill him…which was a point of discussion on Arrow last week. Yeah. This is what they want me to take seriously.

Marry Me
This is from the creators of Happy Endings and starring one of its actors. So, how much like it is this show? About the same. And oddly that’s why I can’t watch it. It reminds me too much of the show that I lost. It’s like trying to date your dead girlfriend’s sister. Let me put it this way: remember Derrick, the flamboyantly gay guy Max introduced Penny to? He appears on this show. Yeah.

Jane The Virgin
In the tradition of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Cougar Town a great show has been cursed with a horrible title. Let me put it this way: even though it got great reviews I still was not going to watch this until my baby sister insisted. It’s basically a spoof of a soap opera, complete with an omniscient narrator, constant flashbacks and onscreen texts telling you what people are thinking. Jane is traumatized by her grandmother (and her mother giving birth to Jane at 16) into hanging onto her virginity, hence the surprise when what should have been a simple pap smear result in her being artificially inseminated by a doctor who was distracted by the fact that her wife had cheated on her. The intended recipient of the sperm was in fact the doctor’s sister-in-law as her husband (the doctor’s brother) was now sterile due to cancer treatments. The same cancer treatments that reformed him from a bad boy into the responsible manager of a hotel…where Jane works. Oh, and five years ago she and the hotel manager kissed. And the wife was only trying to get pregnant to keep her marriage going until the terms of her pre-nup were satisfied. Did I mention the owner of the hotel is the father of the doctor and hotel manager and that his wife is the doctor’s former lover? It’s so much fun and only been on a month so catching up is easy. Do it!

Constantine
Yes, this is the same character from the movie with Keanu Reeves, which was basically Constantine in name only, with little resemblance to the character, starting with him being a barely moral Englishman constantly in a dirty raincoat who battles demons by being nearly as mean as them himself, willing to do whatever it takes to win, even sacrificing the innocent. It was a serviceable enough pilot though I admit if he weren’t a comic book character I was familiar with I probably wouldn’t be watching. I don’t watch Supernatural or Grimm because they just insulted my intelligence off the bat (every demon lives in freaking Portland!?!). This was better than that, but still not really drawing me in with the “monster of the week” format. It needs to have something more, which will hopefully be tied to the greater DC Comics Universe. I don’t mean a crossover with Arrow, but there are a lot of supernatural characters and if they’re going to show up (we’ve already seen the helmet of Dr. Fate) I’ll hang around.

The Flash
Needless to say I love it. It already started off better than Arrow because it had the advantage of being spun off of that show and learning from its mistakes. It successfully translates the comic to the screen in a way that attracts new viewers but satisfies geeks like me. THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE FUCKING GORILLA GRODD ON THE SHOW! GORRILA GRODD!

Mulaney
My god. One of the worst shows you will ever see. Imagine a 10-year-old boy watching Seinfeld then growing up to being a comedian himself then trying to recreate it. Well drop that in shit and you’ll have this show.

VISIT

THE ORIGINAL ANGRYGEEK.COM

FORMER BOY WONDER PHOTOGRAPHY

RUSH TO JUDGEMENT

29 Sep

nfury4

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2      Wknd/$  35.0      Total/$  35.0

 2. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$  11.3       Total/$  39.0

 3. Rush/Universal                                           Wknd/$  10.0     Total/$  10.6

 4. Baggage Claim/Fox                                    Wknd/$   9.3       Total/$    9.3

 5. Don Jon/Relativity                                     Wknd/$   9.0       Total/$    9.0

 6. Insidious 2/FD                                            Wknd/$    6.7       Total/$  69.5

 7. The Family/Relativity                                Wknd/$    3.7       Total/$  31.7

 8. Instructions Not Included/LGF               Wknd/$    3.4      Total/$  38.6

 5. Battle of the Year/SG                                  Wknd/$    5.0      Total/$    5.0

 9. We’re The Millers/Warners                       Wknd/$    2.9      Total/$ 142.4

10. Lee Daniel’s The Butler/Weinstein         Wknd/$    4.3      Total/$ 106.5

 

ALSO THE LEEK AS THE CHRIST FIGURE BOTHERS ME

Cloudy With Meatballs 2 opens big at number one and since I never saw the first I feel I would miss out on some of the subtleties of the sequel so I gave it pass.

 

MORE LIKE PRISONERS OF THE BOX OFFICE

Prisoners is down to number two and it’s a toss up to who is happier about its success: Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard or Jake Gyllenhaal, because they all needed it. Seriously needed it.  Hugh Jackman because he doesn’t have a success outside of singing a beloved musical or having claws (and honestly it should be “having claws in an ensemble cast” because both Wolverine solo movies have been less-than-impressive). Terrence Howard, who is honestly the reason the Marvel Comics Movie Machine exists as it started with Iron Man and Iron Man only happened because his signing up to play Rhodey off his Oscar heat is what caused everyone else to sign on.  For his trouble he was told to take less money or take a hike. He took a hike and you know he has to question it every day. But he’s in The Butler, which is a huge hit. But I’m thinking Jake is the most grateful because his only hit outside of Brokeback Mountain was The Source Code after a double dose of leading man failure in Prince of Persia and Love & Other Drugs.  So Jake is the happiest because Hugh Jackman has something else at least and Terrence Howard is just one film away from a hat trick this year (Best Man Holiday).

 

OPIE DOES FORMULA ONE RACERS IN TYPICAL OPIE FASHION

Rush opens at number two and speaking of subtly, if it and complexity are colors in filmmaking then Ron Howard has never had more than a 8 piece box of Crayolas. Not 12, not 16 and definitely not the childhood prize of 64 (remember how happy you were to get that bad boy?).  He comes from mainstream television and the sad simplicity of that is driven home with every film he makes. More and more it’s clear that A Beautiful Mind was the exception and not the rule. Rush has the advantage of being a true story that people know little about (a professional competition between the freewheeling posh Englishman, James Hunt and the tightly wound Austrian Niki Lauda in Formula 1 Racing) and could care less, so you have actual tension at your disposal. It’s also set in the freewheeling (no pun intended) 70’s but to Howard who actually lived through those times it means little more than window dressing.  Long hair, bad fashion (at least on the men; women’s 70’s fashions were awesome) and some classic rock.  In a good period piece the period should be another character. Here it’s so poorly realized one woman wears the same hairstyle for six years no matter what the setting. I shit you not. When they meet, when they marry and even when she’s in the hospital by his bedside when he’s near death. It. Does. Not. Change.  Now, I do realize that still living people or their surviving relatives from whom you need rights aren’t really excited to let you portray them “warts & all” (though Niki Lauder apparently had no problem being depicted in a fairly unsympathetic fashion and I’ve no doubt being Austrian had something to do with that) but that’s no excuse for storytelling so simplistic you sometimes think the actors are reading the descriptions for their characters rather than actually speaking to one another. I feel half the dialogue between Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl is them describing one another to one another.  How do we know Chris Hemsworth’s marriage to Olivia Wilde is going to end? When they describe each other’s flaws to each other. Oh, and Hemsworth drinks about seventeen drinks in rapid succession and smokes a joint. You know, so you understand when she mentions his drinking and drug use.  Supposedly there’s some infidelity, but you’d never know because despite the numerous women we see him with, none are when he’s supposed to be married to her.  Now, you might be forgive a film about racecar drivers being short on character so long as the racing scenes are exciting but it’s fairly routine there as well. The best scene actually occurs when Hemsworth is in fact “visualizing” racing on the track at Monte Carlo, not say actually racing the dangerous rainy track in Japan at the climax of the film, which should be fraught with suspense after watching Lauda’s accident in a similarly rainy race earlier. Speed Racer had more dramatic tension and you knew he was going to win.

 

BETTER TO RULE IN HELL

Baggage Claim opens at number four, followed by Don Jon at number five and honestly I’m down for them both, but didn’t find the time for either and I think I reflect most of America in this.  Fortunately for both films neither had a budget over $9M so they’re already on the road to success despite opening low. This is good news for Paula Patton who’s been struggling for years to be the new Halle Berry and Joseph Gordon-Levitt who both wrote and directed his film, making him the latest triple threat.

 

THE BLONDE LEADING THE BLONDE

Insidious 2 is adown to number six, followed by The Family at number seven and also in this is Diana Argon and I do like her casting as the daughter of Michelle Pfeiffer. And I hope she’s learning from this, as even though Pfieffer is in her 50’s, her leading man is in his 70’s.  These are the realities of show business, baby girl.  It’s not a hit at$32M worldwide from a $30M budget, but it’s not a flop either and you can have worst things on your resume than a movie with Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfieffer that was produced in part by Martin Scorsese. And to be honest, writer/director Luc Besson is not too shabby either when you’re talking international success.  Just ask Liam Neeson Jason Statham both Taken and Transporter franchises come from his company.

 

FORTUNATELY, HOLLYWOOD ALWAYS HAS WORK FOR BLONDES

Instructions Not Included is followed by We’re The Millers which now that I think about is the second comedy in the top ten about a “criminal family” which happens to have a young, pretty blonde daughter played by an actress usually cast in a slightly bitchy role. Seriously. You could swap the actresses out and I doubt either movie would change.

 

DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOUR EGO IN THE ASS

Closing out the top ten at number ten is Lee Daniel’s The Butler.  A word to the wise dude: Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese don’t make their names part of the official title. Only people like Tyler Perry do. It signifies more ego than talent.

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR PT 2

The new fall season continues to roll out and I realize I forgot a few last week so I’ll throw them in with this week’s crop…Brooklyn 99 is funnier than it has any right to be. I wasn’t expecting much beyond Andy Samberg mugging for 20 minutes a week and it’s so much more than that. He’s smarter than most former SNL members and signed up not so much to be the star but the center of a very funny ensemble cast with Andre Braugher pretty much spoofing his entire cop career as the stoic captain who just happens to be gay. And more than that , they get the lighting of New York better than any supposedly seriously cop show set here…Welcome To The Family is funny only as long as it’s about the dads and stays away from the kids. Unfortunately, the only reason situation of this comedy is about them being connected by their kids…Mom is ironically challenging Dads for the most unpleasant half hour you can spend watching TV, but due to its lack of nasty racism comes in second. But it’s a close second…Trophy Wife suffers from the same malady as Welcome To The Family: the situation of the comedy is the least amusing thing about it, in this case poor Malin Ackerman who can’t seem to catch a break on the big or small screen (she’s like a less-annoying Kate Hudson who does nudity).  Everything and everyone is funny in this show but her. You could take her out and just make this about a guy dealing with his two “wacky” ex-wives and their kids and it would be the same, though slightly better show. And you wouldn’t be faced with the ridiculous prospect of her marrying Bradley Whitford. Were there no attractive older actors available? Every time they kiss it’s so much “Ewwwww”…The Blacklist is the new The Following, as it’s basically yet another series seeming inspired by Hannibal Lecter. In this case it’s not so much brilliant serial killer but the relationship of the sophisticated criminal leading the attractive, young, female FBI agent.  It’s also The Following in that it’s painfully stupid. When super-criminal James Spader turns himself in and will only speak with one FBI Agent, they send a helicopter and an army of FBI agents just to pick her up. Later, when he escapes and is the key to a chemical bomb and a kidnapped admiral’s daughter only one agent is chasing him.  Did they use of that helicopter’s fuel budget?  Similarly, when he warns them about the admiral’s daughter kidnapping he tells them THERE WILL BE A DISTRACTION. Guess what they ignore? Dumb, dumb, dumb. The big action scene on the bridge is somewhat reminiscent of the bridge scene in Mission Impossible 3 which isn’t that strange when you realize that this episode was directed by Joe Carnahan who was originally supposed to direct MI3 before ultimately walking away…I shouldn’t laugh like I do at Back In The Game, because it will only encourage them to keep doing it, but James Caan as the crusty ex-baseball player whose former collegiate athlete daughter moves back in with him and winds up coaching the her son’s team of losers works better than it should…the promos for The Michael J. Fox Show were HORRIBLE so expectations were low for a show seemingly based on “Look, we’re not afraid to laugh at Parkinson’s!” but fortunately it’s so much more than that, while they do lean on that crutch a bit. Hopefully less so as the series goes on….finally, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D premiered and it was pretty much as underwhelming as I expected.  As a geek I’ve read about SHIELD all my life as a constant in the world of Marvel Comics, but that’s why it works; as kind of a sauce for the food of the heroes (there also another version where they’re like a James Bond organization led by Nick Fury that fights evil, but clearly they’re not going that way, though the opening action scene acknowledges it). SHIELD adventures without the superheroes are like sauce with no pasta or a show about the roadies for the Rolling Stones where the Rolling Stones never appear. You don’t even hear the songs.  Given the literal hundreds of Marvel Comics superheroes you think they could spare a C-list one for this show if for no other reason than an nice set up for their own film. Needless to say, I’m going to keep watching it anyway. What part of “geek” did you not understand?

USE A WORD THAT DON’T MEAN NOTHIN’, LIKE LOOPDED

30 Sep

1. Hotel Transylvania/Sony                        Wknd/$  43.0            Total/$  43.0

2. Looper/TriStar                                         Wknd/$   21.2            Total/$  21.2

3. End of Watch/ORF                                  Wknd/$     8.0            Total/$  26.2

4. Trouble with the Curve/Warners          Wknd/$     7.5            Total/$  23.7

5. House at the End of the Street               Wknd/$     7.2            Total/$  22.2

6. Pitch Perfect/Universal                           Wknd/$     5.2            Total/$    5.2

7. Finding Nemo 3D/Disney                       Wknd/$     4.1            Total/$  36.5

8. Resident Evil Retribution/SG                 Wknd/$     3.0            Total/$  38.7

9. The Master/Weinstein                              Wknd/$     2.7            Total/$    9.6

10.Won’t Back Down/Fox                              Wknd/$     2.7            Total/$    2.7

MONSTERS MASHED

Hotel Transylvania opens at number one and I can’t help but think, “This could have been you ParaNorman.”  And I wish it had been because ParaNorman looked like it was made by people with actual talent and vision, while this comes from Adam Sandler (he’s the voice of Dracula as well as a co-writer and executive producer), so you know it probably blows. Chunks. And no I’m not just bitter because I also went to NYU like Sandler and he’s a multi-millionaire casting Salma Hayek as his wife and I’m doing this for free while being ignored by women online.  He’s made one funny film in his life and that was Happy Gilmore. The rest all blow.  All the jokes are the dumbest, weakest, lowest hanging fruit possible and I don’t believe that’s okay simply because a movie is for kids.  Pixar and the occasional Dreamworks film all prove you can be funny, be for kids and not be insultingly lazy about it (yes, I’m looking at you, Shrek, Ice Age, Madagascar, etc.).

WHERE’S THE DIGITIAL UNDERGROUND THEME SONG?

Looper opens at number two and being a geek from way back, I enjoy a good time travel movie. They almost always use paradox and it’s always fun if they make it work, like the end of The Terminator.  On the other hand you can get overrated pieces of crap like 12 Monkeys and an abomination called Retroactive whose purpose seems to punish you for staying up late and watching B-movies on cable TV. How bad was it? Two words: Jim Belushi.  That said, while this is technically science fiction, it’s also heavily hard-boiled noir, which makes sense as the first teaming of Joseph-Gordon Leavitt and director Rian Johnson was Brick, which transferred the detective genre to high school with no small measure of success.  This is basically the story of a hitman dealing both with his past and his future, but because it’s science fiction it takes what’s metaphoric and makes it literal.  Joseph Gordon-Leavitt is a “Looper” which is a hitman who kills off mob targets sent back from the future. They’re called “loopers” because eventually that target will be you, so your “loop” gets closed by you.  Of course the time comes when Joseph Gordon-Leavitt has to kill himself and in the last 30 years he’s somehow become Bruce Willis.  Willis gets away and tries to change his past which is Gordon-Leavitt’s present and future—and while Gordon-Leavitt doesn’t love his  present he still wants his planned future to be his own and sets out to kill his future self while avoiding his bosses who have a horrible, vicious punishment for loopers who fail to kill their future selves.  They try to make Gordon Leavitt look a little like Willis but honestly it was unnecessary and ultimately distracting, because we know Joseph Gordon-Leavitt doesn’t look anything like Bruce Willis! And the occasional angle where he does is just weird.  Different actors play the same character all the time and no one cares.  They should have worried more about the gaping hole in the premise which is, if the problem in the future is that there’s no way to completely dispose of a body, why don’t they simply kill them there then just dump the body in the past? Because then you’d have no movie, that’s why. Now, if I can accept that hole to enjoy the movie, I can accept that Joseph Gordon-Leavitt grows two inches in his thirties and forties and the entire structure of his face changes.  That said it’s a fun ride as we jump through time not just literally in the story but in terms of the storytelling with a  flashback/flashforward at a key moment in the film. If there’s one flaw (aside from the pace bogging down a bit in the second act) it’s there’s a little too much science fiction with a subplot about people with mutant powers that really wasn’t necessary.  Take it out and you speed your film up and nothing really changes.

BETTER TO RULE IN HELL

End of Watch is down to number three and this is much-needed success for Jake Gyllenhaal who was the “It Boy” after Brokeback Mountain, but that was followed a lot of A-list failures in every conceivable genre from Jarhead to Prince of Persia to Love & Other Drugs.  This had a budget of $7M and so far has grossed $27M, which more than surpasses the “3x budget” rule that dictates actual profits.  Given his last hit was the Source Code, which also had a relatively small budget ($32M with a $147M worldwide gross) he might want to leave the big summer blockbuster work to others.

FORGET SEXY.  IT’S TIME TO BRING THE MUSIC BACK

The Trouble With the Curve is down to number four and will someone please point out to Justin Timberlake that the only reason he gets to make movies is because he’s a pop star?  And that nothing he’s been the star in has ever succeeded? Jesse Eisenberg was the star of The Social Network. Cameron Diaz was the star of Bad Teacher.  You were the star of In Time and Friends with Benefits, which both bombed. You wanna keep making movies, you better keep making music. Elvis understood this and his movies were actually successful.

BUT I’M SURE PAT BOONE LIKED IT

The House At The End of the Street is down to number five and “Glee Goes To College” aka Pitch Perfect opens at number six, giving Anna Kendrick two films in the top ten (she’s Jake Gyllenhaal’s wife in End of Watch) and in the latter she proves in thirty seconds all that Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Hall & Oates, George Michael, Eminem and Justin Timberlake have spent 50 years trying to disprove: the painful stiffness of white people trying to get down.  Her trying to do Dr. Dre’s rap from BlackStreet’s “No Diggity” is one of the most excruciating musical moments on film since Michael Madsen decided to remove a man’s ear in Reservoir Dogs to Stealer’s Wheels “Stuck In The Middle With You.”  The time travel in Looper is more believable than her suddenly stirring up the crowd with her vanilla mayonnaise stylings.  Now I like Anna Kendrick.  She was great in her Oscar-nominated role in Up In The Air, but she is so painfully WASPy she has no upper lip!  I can believe she hasn’t played the uptight girlfriend of the main character who leaves her for a full-lipped, ethnic bohemian. So hearing her even use the phrase “Let’s remix this business” is like nails on a chalkboard. And all these things are from the trailer! You couldn’t have done more to keep me (and undoubtedly others) out of this film if you hired a man to kill me waiting at the door!  No wonder the bulk of the commercials stresses the comedy of Rebel Wilson because Anna Kendrick as some kind of “hip” music type is so ridiculous they may invalidate her Oscar nod.

THE ONLY SURVIVOR

Finding Nemo 3D is down to number seven, followed by Resident Evil: Retribution at number eight and The Master at number nine and also in this is Amy Adams who is also in The Trouble With The Curve and despite the fact that she’s clearly ascended to the A-list with two Oscar nominations for The Fighter and Junebug, to me she’ll always be the girl who played the Sarah Michelle Gellar role in the Cruel Intentions prequel ironically called Cruel Intentions 2.  Yes, they made a prequel, but it was originally supposed to an entire series that was a prequel to the movie, but was cancelled before it even aired because Aaron Spelling found it so offensive.  It’s so bad and so over-the-top with its attempt to show how decadent rich kids are it’s hysterical (they make the Gossip Girl cast look like 3rd graders).  They also break the fourth wall with direct looks at the camera and at one point they comment on how their conversation “sounds like dialogue from a cancelled TV series.” She was also on Smallville, which brings her full circle as she’s Lois Lane in the upcoming Superman movie, Man of Steel.

TO SCABS WITH LOVE

Finally, Won’t Back Down enters the top ten at number ten and has apparently pissed off every teacher in the nation as it’s basically an anti-teacher’s union, pro-charter school movie.  Makes no difference to me. I wasn’t gong to see it when I thought it was just another “spunky single mom and dedicated teacher fight the system” movie with no political leanings.  But it not only gives us two Gyllenhaals in the top ten, but a reunion of Radio Raheem and Tina from Do The Right Thing as also starring in this are Bill Nunn and Rosie Perez. Think she dances in the credits to this?  Too bad.  That might be worth seeing.

ANYBODY CAN HAVE FRIENDS OR READ BOOKS

The most wonderful time of the year continues as the Fall TV Season rollout continues.  I try to give everything a even shake, but couldn’t make through a full episode of Partners, which is about—get this—a gay guy and straight guy who are lifelong friend. OH. MY GOD!  This is barrier breaking…if this were 1982.  It’s from the guys who gave us Will & Grace and is based on their relationship, just as Will & Grace was also based on the relationship of one of the team with his unknowing girlfriend.  Honestly, that was clearly the more interesting relationship because this just recycles most of that.  It’s more like “Straight Will & Jack” which is a show no one asked for.  There’s even a Rosario character continuing the disturbing habit of gay men who feel their own disenfranchised state frees them to stereotype others (see the “Sassy Black Female” currently used on The New Normal and the horrible Asian stereotype continuing on Two Broke Girls).  I like Brandon Routh and Sophia Bush and hope they both find better work soon…Vegas comes from none other than Nicholas Pileggi who wrote both the Goodfellas screenplay and the book it was based upon.  He’s also the executive producer here .  No wonder this was one of the more entertaining things I’ve seen so far this year.  It’s set in the early 60’s when Vegas was just beginning to grow and how that new world of money & the mob runs into the old world already there; specifically rancher turned sheriff Dennis Quaid. He’s based on a real sheriff who’s also a consultant on the show so hopefully the abundance people concerned with actual facts will give this show a nice edge that all the other shows borne out of an attempt to cash in on Mad Men have lacked (yes, I’m looking at you Playboy Club and Pan Am).  One thing I like that is that Dennis Quaid is only doing the job because he wants the mayor to keep planes from flying over his property.  So it starts off as quid pro quo more than any need or concern for justice.  It’s also has a nice cast of character actors, including James Russo who’s always nice to see.  The only problem is he can’t really “win” because we know the mob ran Vegas during that time period and no one pretended they didn’t so it’ll be interesting to see how they balance out reality with a TV need to see good guys win on a weekly basis.  But you know what I would really love?  If they had an appearance by a young boy named Dan Tanna.  That’s a joke for the old people…CBS clearly has room for only one show by smart people, which is unfortunate when your show about a smart character isn’t that show.  Elementary is the attempt to cash in on the Sherlock Holmes resurgence going on with hit movies and the hit BBC modern interpretation. The difference being those are run by the English and they aren’t going to dumb down others to make Sherlock look smart. They’re just going to make him smart. Elementary is American so everyone else has to be dumb for him to be smarter (the smartest thing they do is the use of Elvis Costello’s “Watching The Detectives”).  They also wuss out on the acerbic personality of Holmes, which makes no sense. If an unapologetic rude Sherlock Holmes is something people are clearly willing to pay to see in the theater, what makes you think they want your “Oh, I’m sorry” Holmes for free?  Unfortunately, I have a weakness for shows shot in NYC and Lucy Liu, so I’ll probably give this another shot….now truly stupid is the basic premise of Made in Jersey, because if there’s anything that’s not even remotely unique or unusual it’s a girl from New Jersey working in Manhattan, but whomever ever created this show seems not only to lack a basic knowledge of the city but of basic geography.  This would make sense if the show was set in the south where a Jersey girl (the working-class aspect is given in shows like these) would stand out. In New York City there are literally millions of people from New Jersey who come into work every. single. day.  She wouldn’t stand out, she wouldn’t be special and she’d be far from the toughest person walking the streets as we’re supposed to gather from the way she confronts a bike messenger in the first five minutes. They’ve clearly confused the Upper East Side of Manhattan for all of New York, because everyone in the law firm where she works is clearly some kind of uber-WASP while she’s earthy and ethnic (with a last name that ends in a vowel). And of course, she just can’t be really smart; everyone else has to be a little dumb to make her look smart. In the first 5 minutes she’s the only person who realizes you can’t kill someone by hitting them with just a pair of pliers because apparently no else has ever touched a pair in their lives. At first glance this seems like they’re trying to cash in on The Jersey Shore, but while that clearly has something to do with it, it’s actually a junior sized (translation “younger female lead”) version of The Good Wife (they even give her a kickass ethnic investigator to work with), meaning it’s a police procedural masquerading as a legal drama, only lacking in all the nuances that make The Good Wife interesting. Not to mention her accent is wrong (she’s doing Brooklyn) and she’s too damn skinny as evidenced by the fact none of her casual shirts seem to fit and always “just happen” to reveal her flat, toned stomach…I don’t do the scary at the movies and I don’t do it on TV either, so 666 Park Avenue will not happen for me.