Tag Archives: jennifer garner

YOUR JOKE ABOUT CAREER SUICIDE HERE

8 Aug

15846
1. Suicide Squad/WB                                 Wknd/$ 135.1    Total/$ 135.1
2. Jason Bourne/Universal                       Wknd/$ 22.7     Total/$ 103.4
3. Bad Moms/STX                                      Wknd/$ 14.2      Total/$ 51.1
4. The Secret Life of Pets/Universal       Wknd/$ 11.6       Total/$ 319.6
5. Star Trek Beyond/Paramount             Wknd/$ 10.2      Total/$ 127.9
6. Nine Lives/EC                                         Wknd/$ 6.5       Total/$ 6.5
7. Lights Out/New Line                             Wknd/$ 6.0       Total/$ 54.7
8. Nerve/LGF                                               Wknd/$ 4.9       Total/$ 26.9
9. Ghostbusters/Sony                                Wknd/$ 4.8        Total/$ 116.7
10. Ice Age: Collision Course/Fox           Wknd/$ 4.3        Total/$ 53.5

SUPER DIRTY
Suicide Squad opens at number one and the DC Comics Universe has become to Warner Brothers what the Transformers Universe is for Universal: a critically and consumer reviled cash cow. The difference being there’s not another series of critically and consumer praised giant robot movies out there to compare it to. DC/WB unfortunately has Marvel/Disney to be compared to and they cannot stand being the ugly sister/brother everyone hooks up with on the downlow but disparages in public. Rumor has it the reason this film is such a disjointed mess is because Warner Brothers panicked over the reaction to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and ordered reshoots to make the actual movie look more like the brilliant trailer that came out earlier in the year. Even if that’s the case the real problem with this movie is nonetheless the basic story itself. Trying to make it funnier just made a bad problem worse (or made it less awful). The Suicide Squad is basically The Dirty Dozen of superhero comics. A bunch of supervillains are used by the US Government to run “suicide missions” in exchange for time off their sentences, which are pretty lengthy if you’re a supervillain as you’re usually trying to take over the world. If they try to run away on a mission a small explosive in their skull detonates. It’s been a popular comic and the characters have shown up on Smallville and recently Arrow so it was only a matter of time before they got a film and the success of Guardians of the Galaxy (similarly about a band of outlaws doing good) basically cemented it. Even the trailer that changed the course of the film was clearly based on the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. The film follows the basic concept of the comic, but stumbles almost immediately as Viola Davis (as Amanda Waller, the ruthless head of the agency you can see tell off Obama in this month’s issue of The Suicide Squad) explains her plan to other government officials in a scene that goes on far too long and most crucially stumbles by introducing The Flash. The problem with that is, if The Flash exists and is saving people, exactly why isn’t he there fighting something that’s destroying a city!?! Also, Batman is shown having caught most of the Suicide Squad, but no one mentions the idea of possibly recruiting him. Obviously he wouldn’t do it but it seems stupid it never occurs to anyone. And it just piles on from there. The group is assembled to deal with extra-normal problems, but in fact one of their team members causes the very problem itself, which undercuts the very concept. It’s like if creating The Dirty Dozen caused the Nazi party to gain power. Also, one of the team members is Harley Quinn, girlfriend of The Joker, which results in The Joker showing up in the film trying to get her back. At worst this slows the film down and at best makes you wish he were the main bad guy. As it is he contributes nothing to the film. Let me put it this way: if his entire role were cut the film wouldn’t change in the slightest. That’s the definition of extraneous. The character development is also fumbled. You expect the loose collection of psychopaths to bond and become an actual team that cares for one another, but it only happens here because the film says it happens. There’s no instance that occurs where a bond is actually formed due to self-sacrifice or defense of another. The only thing that even approaches it the relationship between Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and that’s probably because they’ve worked together before and honestly as the biggest names on this got preferential treatment by the script. I’d say this means Zack Snyder didn’t make the worst comic book based movie of the year, but he directed The Flash scene. So when is Warner Brother going to get a clue what the problems are with their films? Hint: they rhyme with “sad biting” and “Jack Rider.”

OLD AGE AND DECEIT APPARENTLY DOESN’T BEAT YOUTH AND EXUBERANCE
Jason Bourne is down to number two and if you’re a well-regarded character actor—especially if you’re an older one—then your presence in a Jason Bourne movie means you’re evil. The Bourne Identity? Chris Cooper. The Bourne Supremacy? Brian Cox (who was actually a good guy in the first). The Bourne Ultimatum? A twofer of David Strathairn and Scott Glenn (Bonus: Ed Norton plays this role in The Bourne Legacy.) So, when you see Tommy Lee Jones’s name in the credits you know what’s going to happen in this one. And it’s always the same motivation: kill Bourne to keep a lid on everything, even though every attempt just makes discovery more likely and actually brings him to your door when he actually had no interest in you to begin with. The only actor not to suffer this fate is Joan Allen, who oddly is not in this one, but she wasn’t evil either.

I SEE MEGAN FOX IN THE MILA KUNIS ROLE
Bad Moms holds at number three and prepare yourself: this might get a sequel. Maybe not a theatrical one, but one of those direct-to-home sequels like Legally Blonde 3 or Kindergarten Cop 2 starring Dolph Lundgren. You only wish I were joking about their existence. It had a $20M budget and has made $50M so far. Not gangbusters, but not the miserable fate it so clearly deserved.

AN EVEN MORE SECRET LIFE
Down to number five this is week is The Secret Life of Pets (which should actually be “The Secret Lives of Pets” as the noun is plural) which will undoubtedly get a sequel and apparently they’re insisting that there will be another entry into the Star Trek reboot which is down to number five. This is highly unlikely given it cost $185M and has only made $127M domestically and another $67M overseas. That doesn’t scream “sequel” to anyone not looking to save face over wrecking a multi-billion dollar franchise…again. The irony being it’s the best of the three…which is only to say it doesn’t suck. They still haven’t quite grasped that whole “work on more than on level” concept.

GET THEM BAT-DOLLARS, GIRL!
Nine Lives opens at number six and you gotta pity Jennifer Garner. First, publicly humiliated by husband Ben Affleck for banging the nanny and now her career has reached that stage where she’s propping up older actors at least a decade her senior. First she was 60-something Kevin Costner’s love interest in Draft Day and now she’s 60-something Kevin Spacey’s wife in this (for the record Garner is 44). For him this is just a lark to get an easy check with two days in the front of the camera, tops. The rest was all voice work. But Jennifer Garner had to show up every day and react to either a cat or tennis ball standing in for a CGI cat. Oh, I hope she has a good lawyer so she can choose to work and choose better shit than this.

IT’S CALLED MORAL SUPPORT
Lights out is down to number seven and Nerve is oddly hanging around at number eight. It’s made $26M on a $20M budget, which isn’t great, but not quite the disaster I thought it was. I’m pulling for you, Emma. Even if I won’t spend a dime to support you.

I HATE GIVING LADIES BAD NEWS
You know what else isn’t getting a sequel? Ghostbusters. Sorry, but it ain’t. It’s done about as well as Star Trek Beyond but had ten times the hype. Yeah, a lot of it was bitching by ugly, pencil-dicked virgins, but it nonetheless kept this movie alive in the public knowledge and still it didn’t do better. Fingers crossed for a second life for tween girl slumber parties.

OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS FINALLY OVER
Finally Ice Age: Collision Course closes out the top ten at number ten and this will hopefully end this goddamn series once and for all. $105M budget and a $54M return. Bwahahahahaha! Get the fuck outta here!

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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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GIRL YOU’LL BE A WOMAN…ONE DAY

20 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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19 Aug

 1. The Expendables 2/LGF                            Wknd/$   28.8           Total/$  28.8

 2. The Bourne Legacy/Universal                 Wknd/$   17.0            Total/$  69.6

 3. ParaNorman/Focus                                    Wknd/$   14.0            Total/$  14.0

 4. The Campaign/Warners                            Wknd/$   13.4            Total/$  51.7

 5. Sparkle/TriStar                                            Wknd/$   12.0            Total/$  12.0

 6. The Dark Knight Rises/Warners              Wknd/$   11.1             Total/$ 409.9

 7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green                Wknd/$   10.9            Total/$   15.2

 8. Hope Springs/Sony                                     Wknd/$     9.1             Total/$   35.1

 9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3/Fox                      Wknd/$     3.9            Total/$   38.8

 10. Total Recall/Sony                                       Wknd/$     3.5            Total/$   51.8

 

SURPRISED THERE’S NO PRODUCT PLACE FROM VIAGRA

The Expendables 2 opens at number one and it’s pretty much impossible to get mad at a film this stupid as it clearly embraces its own stupidity and silliness.  I mean, you can’t get much campier without men being in drag.  The entrance of Chuck Norris is the stuff of instant legend.  It’s so over the top it’s practically a parody of Chuck Norris.  And it doesn’t stop there as he appears to the sounds of “The Good The Bad & The Ugly” along with jokes about how he’s been a “Lone Wolf” at times.  In fact, in a movie with Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger you hear “I’ll back” “You’ll be terminated” ‘Who’s next? Rambo?” and “Yippie Ki Yay.”  And that’s in addition to jokes about Dolph Lundgren’s character going to MIT and having a Fulbright scholarship.  See, it’s funny because Dolph Lundgren did go to MIT on Fulbright scholarship.  The problem with this film is that there are simply too other many scenes where they clearly aren’t in on the joke and still think they represent bad-ass action heroes, not the least of which is when Stallone says to villain Jean Claude Van Damme in the showdown, “I’ll man you up” AS HE UNDOES HIS BELT!  For a second I thought they’d screwed up the reels and put on some gay porn.  Also there’s nonstop use of the type of filter once reserved for “actresses of a certain age.”  Well, it’s not just for girls any more. Now you need it to prop up the egos of men like Stallone, who unlike his co-stars, stopped being an A-lister about a decade back.  It’s so intense the film looks out of focus at times.  In addition, from his “badass” chopper, to his oddly-looking and strangely still jet-black hair, to the hot younger Asian chick who wants him, Stallone has made this film so male-menopausal they may need a new word for it. Hell, we should just use his name.  “You hear about Bob?  Left his wife for a young girl, bought a sports car, wearing as toupe…he’s gone full on Stallone.”  Oddly, only Van Damme (who along with Norris turned down the first film) acquits himself well. He started off as a movie villain against Sho Kosugi (and why the hell isn’t he here) and coming full circle has become very good at it.

 

BEHIND EVERY INVINCIBLE ACTION HERO IS A WOMAN WITH A DOCTORATE

The Bourne Legacy is down to number two and also in this is Rachel Weisz who is no stranger to the female scientist lead in an action movie, going back to Chain Reaction with Keanu Reeves and the two Mummy films.  Here she’s one of the scientists who helped make the super-soldiers and it does them credit that they remembered what made Bourne appealing was that despite all his skills he still needed someone to help him. That he was somewhat scared and confused.  Here we learn that Aaron Cross in fact lacked the IQ to join the army and the recruiter fudged his application to make a quota. He needs what she does because he’ll lose the intelligence he’s gained.  This humanizes him because it adds a level of understandable fear and desperation to what he does. Also like Bourne, when the time comes he tells her to leave and she chooses to stay with him, though there’s no hint of romance until the very end of the film which might as well have “To Be Continued…” pop up on the screen.

 

REASON #93847 WHY MARKETING DEGREES ARE A JOKE

Para Norman opens at number three and why in the world is this being released two months before Halloween? It’s the second-most profitable holiday behind Christmas, so why you releasing this in the dog days of summer where it’s opening a weak third as opposed to October 26th, where it could have cleaned up?  It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.  I’m mildly interested in this if for no other reason fucking Tim Burton isn’t involved.  Again, something to watch on cable in a year.

 

MIGHT, COULD DIRECT TRAFFIC ON A ONE WAY STREET

The Campaign is down to number four and another reason to never see this movie is its director, Jay Roach, the man behind Meet The Parents and the horrible sequels as well as every Austin Powers movie.  Yeah, exactly. He makes comedy for morons.

 

NOTHING I WANT TO FEEL

Sparkle opens at number five and if you’re black and especially if you’re black and of a certain age, you know all about Sparkle, a fictional account of a Supremes-type girl group from the 70’s starring Irene Cara.  If you didn’t see it, then your mom and dad had it on VHS (it only came out on DVD when Dreamgirls was released).  Either way it was part of your life, especially the music from none other than Curtis Mayfield and sung by Aretha Franklin (En Vogue’s hit “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” was a remake of one of those songs).  It’s a very, very black experience.  When R. Kelly showed up with a singer who went by the name “Sparkle” every black person in America got the reference.  That said Mike Epps is in this remake so I will never fucking see it. Ever.  Cannot stand Mike Epps.   It doesn’t matter how good or bad the film is, he makes it worse. He’s either the biggest turd in a pile of shit or he’s a piece of shit someone dropped onto your otherwise nice cake.  There’s a lot of sadness already attached to this film with it being Whitney Houston’s last, but his presence is insult to injury. Yes, I really hate him.

 

I COULD BLAME ELEKTRA, BUT IT’S REALLY JUST YOU.

The Dark Knight Rises is down to number six, followed by The Odd Life of Timothy Green opening at number seven and in this is Jennifer Garner and her presence here means that she’s pretty much given up.  Like Vin Diesel and The Rock before her, after a number of flops she’s turned to family films (this is from Disney no less).  Honestly, she should have stayed with TV.  She was never a big screen star and at best she’s just a prettier Hilary Swank who isn’t exactly lighting up the box office either.  For Joel Edgerton this is covering his bases, as Warrior and the prequel to The Thing both disappointed.  He’s actually Tom Buchanan in the upcoming Great Gatsby from Baz Lurhman (always giving his Australian countrymen work) and given that’s been pushed back from Oscar-baiting December to next year, things do not look good for him either.

 

TIG OLE BITTYS!

Hope Springs is down to number eight and also in this is Mimi Rogers who is Tommy Lee Jones’s sexual fantasy neighbor.  I guess because she’s got ginormous boobs.  Seriously.  And isn’t afraid to show them as half-a-dozen movies will prove.  But what she will inevitably be most famous for is being briefly married to crazy-ass Tom Cruise in the 80’s…when he also dated Cher, indicating a clear “mommy period.”

 

HERE COMES UNDERWORLD 5…

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is down to number nine, followed by Total Recall wrapping up the top ten at number ten and given this movie tried to leave behind so much of the first film, why the hell is there a three-breasted hooker?  She was a mutant in the first, but since there’s no Mars, where’d she come from?  It’s a fun flourish in a movie that clearly doesn’t want to have any fun.  So many, many mistakes… but the upside is maybe people will stop giving Len Wiseman money.  It’s only made $51M domestic and another $58M overseas.  Too bad the budget was $125M, meaning it’d need $375M to be a clear hit and $250M just to break even.

 

DANCING QUEEN

I’ve come late to the table on Bunheads, but I enjoy it.  Big city person in small, strange town has worked since The Egg & I and isn’t stopping now, least of all in this show about a once promising dancer now a Vegas showgirl who accepts a marriage proposal drunk and winds up in small town, where her mother-in-law just happens to run a dance studio for the town’s young people.  I never watched Gilmore Girls but I’m aware that loquacious women in a quirky small town are part of the Amy Sherman Palladino formula and she continues to follow (it even includes a young ballet dancer who looks just like Alexis Bledel).  Granted, it can seriously be grating at times and the forced eccentricies of the townspeople really annoys others, but for the most part I find it fun and I’m big on fun TV these days.  Also, I like the fact that while, Laura Graham was far from ugly, the female lead here also isn’t some beauty queen.  It makes her more human and relatable.  I mean as relatable as tall, thin Tony-nominated Broadway performer Sutton Foster can be.  What’s great is that I get to watch the entire summer season in on fell swoop because I’m so behind.