Tag Archives: Jesse Eisenberg

FINDING MONEY

20 Jun

icy
1. Finding Dory/Disney                          Wknd/$ 136.2   Total/$ 136.2
2. Central Intelligence/WB                    Wknd/$ 34.5     Total/$ 34.5
3. The Conjuring 2/WB                          Wknd/$ 15.6      Total/$ 71.7
4. Now You See Me/LG                           Wknd/$ 9.7       Total/$ 41.4
5. Warcraft/Universal                             Wknd/$ 6.5       Total/$ 37.7
6. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                    Wknd/$ 5.2       Total/$ 146.1
7. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2      Wknd/$ 5.2        Total/$ 71.9
8. Me Before You/Warner                      Wknd/$ 4.2       Total/$ 46.1
9. Alice Through the Looking Glass     Wknd/$ 3.6       Total/$ 69.3
10. Captain America: Civil War/BV     Wknd/$ 2.3       Total/$ 401.2

FINDING INSPIRATION
To the surprise of absolutely no one Finding Dory opens at number one. Now, I’m against Pixar sequels on principle but Pixar gets a better response than most because a) they don’t always do them, b) when they do them it’s so far down the line it’s not an obvious money grab and c) they get it right as Toy Story has defied all odds and just gotten better every time. Even Monsters University was better than it had any right to be (no comment on Cars 2 because Cars sucked). So, Finding Dory comes more than a decade after Finding Nemo because they genuinely felt there was no story to tell until now which is stunning in the entertainment business. As if that had anything to do with it. Hell, the Disney board would have been satisfied if Nemo had just gotten lost again and they’d just repeated the first. Luckily for us the Pixar creative leads wanted more and more in this case was about Dory slowly remembering her own family and going off in search of them and while it’s definitely good, there’s no singular brilliant moment like the chant of a seagull being “Mine” or the wonderful irreverence of the sharks who no longer want to eat fellow fish. Despite their good intentions to tell an original story it does feel a bit too familiar, the brightest spark being provided by an octopus who doesn’t want to return to the ocean, but instead wants a nice tank in Cleveland where no one will bother him (voiced by Ed O’Neil). One of the keys to Finding Nemo’s creative success was the wonderful supporting cast, from the adult and child populace of Nemo’s home reef to the laid back turtles to denizens of the dentist office tank to half a dozen others in between. They just don’t match that here and while we see the kids of the reef and the turtles again, they don’t have the same spark. Nonetheless it’s still better than 90% of what else is out there as the sad trailers for Storks and Ice Age: This Goddamn Franchise Has Lasted Longer Than The Actual Ice Age proved. If Finding Nemo was an A+ (and it was) then this is a solid B+. Oh, and make sure you stay through the end credits. There’s always something there…as I found out this weekend with Brave.

WHAT? COULDN’T GET PERMISSION FOR MARIAH?
Central Intelligence opens at number two and it seems logical that two of the hardest working men in show business would finally end up in a movie together. Not since Michael Caine in the 80’s have actors seeming been so omnipresent onscreen. It’s also a great creative move on both their parts for Kevin Hart to actually play the straight man to Dwayne Johnson playing the funny guy. Kevin Hart is Dean Martin while Dwayne Johnson is Jerry Lewis (ask your parents what that means). While I bear it no ill will, I have zero interest in either of them as anything beyond being supporting characters to actual leads. They simply lack that for me. The trailer shows a film, while not aimed at the lowest common denominator of comedy, is severely broad reaching. Oh, look. When Dwayne Johnson was in high school he was fat and sang En Vogue in the shower ‘cause fat guys and guys who sing girl songs are funny. In terms of wit that’s a butter knife level of sharpness. Even on cable this is a hard pass.

AND JAWLINES. DON’T FORGET THE JAWLINES
The Conjuring is down to number three and I’m also glad to see Vera Farminga here on the money train. I’ve loved her as an actress since the short-lived Finding Evil TV show and she improves pretty much everything she’s in. In my movie fantasy she and Gillian Anderson play sisters onscreen as they are seemingly cut from the same cloth (coincidentally they were both on the small screen alongside famous serial killers). In my other fantasy I’ve been very bad and they’ve come to discipline me. Soooo many icy stern looks of disappointment and contempt. Delicious

YUAN BETTER RECOGNIZE
Now You See Me 2 is down to number four followed by the Warcraft at number five and you might be seeing film history being made as China saves an entire franchise single-handedly, which is funny given how movies like Iron Man 3 and Transformers: Whichever The Fuck It Was have bent over backwards trying to win them and been met with contempt. It hasn’t even broken $40M here, but has made ten times that in overseas. Depend on how much studios get (it ranges from 15-14%) this may actually get a sequel…which America will ignore again.

ALSO HE’S A SCUMBAG
Speaking of sequels America has ignored, X-Men: Apocalypse is down to number six and hasn’t even made it’s $178M budget domestically, but like Warcraft has pulled almost $400M from overseas markets, so rest assured there will be another and this time mercifully without Bryan Singer. While he started the franchise and did good things with it, using the metaphor for oppression appropriately, he seems to have forgotten that and they need a director who remembers the core of the X-Men is also appealing to that self-important teenager drama where you think you’re special the entire world is against you for no reason at all. Yes, that’s the dark truth about the real reason so many like it. Not because you’re a person of color or your religion or your sexuality suffering genuine oppression, but because you think you’re special and the world is actively trying to hold you down. You’re wrong.

JUST KIDDING. EVERY ROLE WILL SOMEHOW PUT HER IN A FETISH COSTUME.
I thought this would be the hat trick of franchises supported by overseas money, but it turns out they care even less than we do about Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles: Out of the Shadows, down to number seven. There probably won’t be a third, which must be bittersweet news to Megan Fox who has another child on the way, but at the same time doesn’t have to worry about a contrived reason to put her into a fetish costume in the near future.

LESS IS MORE…IF YOU’RE AN IDIOT AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR PROPERTIES
Me Before You is down to number eight, followed by Alice Through the Looking Glass at number nine and Captain America: Civil War closes out the top ten at number ten and this is why the Warner Brother/DC Comics hierarchy was recently shaken up as two movies about fighting superheroes came out this summer (well, 3 if you count X-Men, but no one cares enough to do that) with had approximately the same budgets but the one what that the 3 most famous superheroes of all time in them did significantly worse than the film that had a bunch of heroes 90% of the population had never heard of ten years ago. And by “significantly” I mean almost $900M vs over $1B. While this may not seem like too much of a difference to you and I, remember that Batman’s last two solo films both made $1B but teaming him up with Superman and Wonder Woman somehow resulted in less!?! Not good when your very next film will add even more superheroes to the roster that you also hope to spin-off into individual films. Warner Brothers is being force to reconsider their dumb-ass strategy of if your competitor has cornered the market on chocolate and you reconfigure your chocolate machines to make vanilla, rather than simply understand there’s no such thing as too much good chocolate. Instead they’ve made mediocre (Man of Steel) and bad (Batman v Superman) vanilla and surprise! People preferred the better made chocolate. Damn it. Now I want some chocolate!

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REAL ARTISTS ARE APPARENTLY ALL PERVS

13 Jun

psylocke
1. The Conjuring 2/WB                        Wknd/$ 40.4   Total/$ 40.4
2. Warcraft/Universal                          Wknd/$ 24.4   Total/$ 24.4
3. Now You See Me 2/LG                    Wknd/$ 23.0    Total/$ 23.0
4. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2   Wknd/$ 14.8     Total/$ 61.0
5. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                 Wknd/$ 10.0    Total/$ 136.4
6. Me Before You/Warner                   Wknd/$ 9.2      Total/$ 36.8
8. Alice Through the Looking Glass  Wknd/$ 5.5       Total/$ 62.4
7. The Angry Birds Movie/Sony         Wknd/$ 6.7      Total/$ 98.2
9. Captain America: Civil War/BV     Wknd/$ 4.3     Total/$ 396.9
10. The Jungle Book/Disney               Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 352.6

SCREAM KING! EQUALITY AT LAST!
The Conjuring 2 opens at number one and after years of “scream queens” have we developed a “scream king?” Patrick Wilson, a respected character actor on stage, TV and film is the male lead in not just this successful franchise, but also the Insidious films. When you think about it, it’s a wonder it never occurred to horror filmmakers to go to stage actors for their talent. You’ll get better than your average pretty face (sorry, I do hold stage actors in higher regard ‘cause that shit is real) and because they come from the stage where they get little money and less fame they’d be cheap and eternally grateful, because basically film and TV work is to subsidize what they really love. This is the real reason Claire Danes does Homeland. This is why Billy Crudup has no problem showing up in Mission Impossible 3. This visibility and profitability will serve to finance a few off-Broadway plays once Wilson commits to them. Which is good. I like knowing that people who truly care about art succeed in the world occasionally.

IN RETROSPECT I COULD HAVE USED A LONG, DUMB FILM TODAY
Warcraft opens at number two which is a huge fucking failure for them. Not only did this $160M+ movie based on a ridiculously successful video game not open at number one in the summer, but also it lost to an R-rated film that cost ¼ its budget. Yes, it’s doing huge in China, but know that studios get less than 40% of overseas money. Domestic is where the real money is made and it will have to do ridiculously well overseas in order for this not to be written off as a failure. I thought about seeing it because…well, summer. Seeing dumb movies filled with fantasy creatures and special effects is what the summer is for, but sometimes even I have to draw the line and you’re talking to a man who went to see Battleship. Obviously, bad reviews don’t slow me down so what was it? The two-hour running time. I’ve got a new rule about movies I expect to be bad and it flatly states you don’t get 2+ hours (factoring in previews and commercials) of my life anymore unless I fully expect you to be at least entertaining. Needless to say this didn’t pass muster not even with Rathnar Lothbrok in the cast. Not that it should. I haven’t watched Vikings in over two years. I’m busy!

YOU KNOW, BECAUSE BATMAN V SUPERMAN SUCKED
Now You See Me 2 opens at number three and this is oddly a success because would have thought the first would have been a hit, much less enough of one to generate a sequel. It’s gotta feel good to Jesse Esienberg to have an actual success this year that could be a franchise.

SUCKS TO BE YOU!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is down to number four followed by X-Men: Apocalypse at number five and one good thing about this is it sets back the career of Olivia Munn. I don’t know what it is, but I do not like this woman. Something about her makes her someone you love to hate. I’m not so simplistic a geek for it simply to be the title of her autobiography “Wonder Woman Can Suck It” but it didn’t help. Even better is the fact she’s so full of herself she said she had the option for Monica Baccarin role in Deadpool, but turned it down because it was “just another girlfriend.” Granted, Baccarin basically has sex with Ryan Reynolds and then gets kidnapped, so she’s not too far off, but the character eventually becomes a superhero in her own right and thanks to the highest grossing R-rated film in history (not adjusted for inflation) that will probably happen. Whereas seeing Munn return as Psyclocke is highly unlikely. Not helping matters is the fact they not only translated her stupid T&A costume straight from the comics, but also made it even more degrading by adding a boob-window. You know how pathetic you have to be to make a female superhero costume even more exploitative!?! Just glad it happened to her and not an actress that I liked.

JUST ASK JASON MOMOA ABOUT CONAN
Me Before You is down to number six, but with a $36M return on a $20M budget don’t expect the disabled romance porn to go away anytime soon. The female lead is on Game of Thrones which I do watch, but she’s a lot better off that the other woman from Game of Thrones who was the female lead Terminator: Genysis and that dude who was the lead in Pompeii who knows nothing on and off-screen. The lesson here is stop trying to hit home runs at first bat. Be happy to get on base.

BASICALLY HE’S RAINMAN IN THE MOVIE BIZ
The Angry Birds movie is down to number seven and this is another which needs overseas loot to save it. $98M off a $73M budget isn’t awful, but the $213M from overseas (which is at most $85M and probably less) will be needed to save this from being a disappointment. This is from David Maisel who is apparently as responsible for the Marvel Universe as anyone, but since he’s clearly not with them, they no longer like to talk about it. Apparently he not only came up with the sale to Disney, but the sequel strategy and its original plan to self-finance which meant no more licensing characters out to other companies like they’d done with Spider-Man, The X-Men, Blade, The Punisher and The Fantastic Four And to top it off it he also came up with the idea they could use The Hulk without paying Universal to get him back so long as he wasn’t the lead character. Given how fucking major all this is, you can see why they don’t like to talk about him. But of course he’s a nutcase. He apparently pocketed millions from the Disney sale, but still lives with his mom in a 2-bedroom apartment. So yeah, ladies beware, but if you need financial advice, he’s clearly your dude.

JUST ASK MARY LOUISE PARKER IF ONE CLAIRE DANES IS ENOUGH
Alice Through The Looking Glass is down to number eight and is there any more painful irony that the billion dollar grossing first film did jack shit for the career of Mia Wasikowska who is only the title character in both films!?! Needless to say this won’t be changing that a bit. Not helping is the fact she looks like Claire Danes in a world that thinks one Claire Danes is plenty.

GEEK ANGER LIVES FOREVER
Captain America: Civil War is down to number nine, followed by Jungle Book at number ten. As most people know, The Black Panther finally appeared in the Marvel movies and honestly is one of the best parts about this. It sure as shit isn’t Captain America acting like an asshole or the stupid contrivances created to make him and Iron Man fight. Yes, I’m still annoyed.

CAMERA, GUITAR, GUN = DICK
I finally watched the documentary on famed photographer, Bert Stern: The Original Mad Man, even though I’ve had it on my hard drive forever. Only taking the actual DVD out from the liberry finally got me to see it. It didn’t get great reviews but I thought it was a pretty decent summation of the man’s career and life. Directed by the woman who was thought to be his decades younger girlfriend (they first met when she was 13 and it’s as icky as it sounds) it turns out she was secretly his wife, but we’ll get to that. You know Bert Stern even if you don’t think you know him. The famous “Last Sitting” of Marilyn Monroe, her final photo session before she died which stupid starlets and half-assed photographers keep trying to emulate? He did that. The Lolita poster? He did that. He did those and a dozen more iconic shots of celebrities as well as from the history of advertising. It’s subtitled “The Original Mad Man” in a sorry and failed attempt to cash in on the show as Stern was a major player in advertising in the late 50’s and early 60’s, coming up with innovative ideas for campaigns and shooting them himself. Unlike most, he was so good at his job, he basically had a free hand to do what he wanted. Unfortunately, the documentary is short on exploration in areas that seem obvious. We’re told his father attempted suicide and his mother was beautiful but they’re literally never mentioned again after he turns 13. Given he’s famous for taking beautiful shots of women especially, you’d think his relationship with his mother would play into that and be discussed, but it is not. Even the court fight for shots of Marilyn Monroe he took that were stolen in the early 60’s and were rediscovered in the ‘00’s by people who claimed ownership is given the short shrift. What we do get is far too many of shots of the director/girlfriend/wife naked. Even worst is the realization that some of the nudes were taken recently and by a seemingly nude Stern (his reflection is seen in one of the shots). Ewww. Still, there are enough legitimate examinations of the man and his work to make me actually take an interest in his famous “Last Session” as I am not part of the cult that romanticizes Marilyn Monroe. She lived a sad life (sexually abused when young and had to trade on her sex appeal far too much to make it) and died a sad death (accidental drug overdose alone). Her life is cautionary tale, people. Stop romanticizing it. It also caused the “Well, duh” realization that the best photographers of women in fashion (Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, David Bailey, etc) were straight men, which is only unique because the industry is well regarded as being both gay and female driven. Stern flat out states that when he took a picture it was because in that way he could possess the woman in question. He laughs, but you know it’s true. He made me think that the others were probably no different as they all dated and occasionally married the women they shot (Avedon was famously with Dovema, Bailey with Jean Shrimpton and Penn married the impeccable Lisa Fonssagrives). Stern just admits it. It makes me wonder if you have to use your camera as your surrogate dick to truly take beautiful photos of people, as it’s pointed out in the documentary that knowing that Stern worshipped them may have actually served to bring out the best in the women he was shooting. It would similarly be the case with others. The safety of being adored and complimented by someone who would do no more than document said adoration would undoubtedly produce better results than say a worthless fucking creep rapist like Terry Richardson (who’s a shitty photographer on top of being a rapist). Then again, you have Herb Ritts, who was open gay and also took beautiful photographs of women. Must think on this… Not including in the film which came out before Stern’s death in 2013 is the fact the heretofore unknown wife became the sole beneficiary of Stern’s will and the children (two of whom are interviewed along with the ex-wife and a still living girlfriend) are currently suing her over it. Oh, and I bought the book of Stern’s last session with Monroe. Some of the details are seriously fascinating. I mean, if I drank champagne with a shot of vodka like she did, I’d probably be taking my clothes off at every opportunity too.

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CAPTAIN UNREASONABLE: CIVIL BORE

9 May

vs

1. Captain America: Civil War/BV Wknd/$ 181.8 Total/$ 181.8
2. The Jungle Book/Disney Wknd/$ 21.9 Total/$ 285.0
3. Mother’s Day/ORF Wknd/$ 9.0 Total/$ 20.7
4. The Huntsman: Winter’s War/Uni Wknd/$ 3.6 Total/$ 40.4
5. Keanu/WB Wknd/$ 3.1 Total/$ 15.1
6. Barbershop: The Next Cut/WB Wknd/$ 2.7 Total/$ 48.4
7. Zootopia/Disney Wknd/$ 2.7 Total/$ 327.6
8. The Boss/Universal Wknd/$ 1.8 Total/$ 59.1
9. Ratchet & Clank/Focus Wknd/$ 1.5 Total/$ 1.5
10. Batman v Superman/WB Wknd/$ 1.0 Total/$ 327.3

ALL THAT’S MISSING IS A “MARTHA” MOMENT
Captain America: Civil War opens at number one and I hate to say but this disappointed the shit out of me. Or rather, it was disappointing like I feared it would be. Civil War was a very bad comic book event from a few years ago that shameless exploited the cheapest money making convention of superhero comics: hero vs. hero. This started with the first kid who liked Superman arguing with his best friend who liked Batman, but didn’t become a part of comics until Marvel in the 60’s, which was all about heroes mistakenly fighting each other before teaming up. DC soon followed suit and eventually it became a self-referential joke in comics that every team-up was preceded by a fight. Then Marvel decided something that was once only part of a story should become the story itself and created Civil War, a story that basically required every hero to go utterly against 50 years of characterization so they could fight one another. But while comics’ fans complained bitterly they still bought the damn thing (like geeks always fucking do) so it paid off. So handsomely in fact that Marvel keeps doing it, much in the way Batman Vs. Superman paid off in the comics in the 80’s and they’ve been doing that ever since. And like Batman Vs. Superman it of course had to be incorporated into its cinematic universe. Now, initially the hope was that Civil War would be “in name only” like Age of Ultron, which was another horrible Marvel Comics event that became a completely different (yet mediocre) movie. This keeps the central point of conflict that superheroes need to register with the governments of the world or retire, but has the same basic flaw: one of our heroes has to act like a complete idiot to guarantee a fight. And in this case it’s actually the titular hero. Captain America must consistently choose the most antagonistic path possible to guarantee the one thing they’re selling: hero vs. hero fighting. The idea that The Avengers operate under some kind of global supervision isn’t unreasonable, yet our hero—and mine in particular—must act like the most unreasonable idiot in the world to make sure we get basically even single Marvel hero ever in a movie trying to punch the lights out of ever other Marvel hero in a movie, including its most profitable, Spider-Man. Spider-Man is to this movie what Wonder Woman was to Batman v Superman: a refreshing breath of air. Even Ant-Man comes off better. I’m having a bad superhero year. My three favorite superheroes are Superman, Captain America and Dick Grayson and so far this year I’ve seen movies where two of them have been made utterly disappointing to me. I’m oddly happy Dick Grayson may never see the light of day in a movie because at least then they can’t ruin him. The only difference between this and Batman v Superman is that I never expected that to be any good. I expected better from the Russo Brothers after The Winter Soldier and they let me down. While there are many enjoyable moments, they can’t overcome the basic flaw of the story, which is that heroes don’t fight each other and they never present a genuine reason why they would. At least not until the last five minutes and that reason is so awful you wish they didn’t because it honestly makes any team ups in the future impossible if you have any respect for character. But they clearly don’t so I guess I’ll see you at the next Avengers movie.

HAPPY’S REVENGE
Speaking of Marvel movies, the man who helped launch them was Jon Favreau, who, no matter what he says, departed under contentious circumstances, one of which was thinking he was going to direct the Avengers movie and that he had Tomorrowland. Neither happened, but the disappointing Cowboys & Aliens did. But then he had the awesome Chef (which was very clearly a commentary on that time), which was nothing short of an artistic comeback. That has resulted in the incredible success of Jungle Book, which on paper looks like a guaranteed failure. Artistically and financially it’s been anything but and not only is it great for Favreau, but he did it for Disney which owns Marvel, so the thought of him returning to the fold isn’t as unlikely as it was just a few months ago. The movie? Hell, I have no interest in the original animated version and even less in this, no matter what anyone says. But I’m happy for him.

NO YOU DON’T GET A PASS ‘CAUSE EVERYONE LOVES THEIR MOM.
Mother’s Day is down to number three even on Mother’s Day, which tells you how awful this latest entry in Gary Marshall’s series of “bad movies based on holidays” really is. And it’s almost two fucking hours on top of it! I realize Julia Roberts basically has to do this given she owes him her entire career and Kate Hudson is looking for an easy comeback to being a box office commodity and Jennifer Anniston is just lucky to have a career after “friends” to begin with. (same for fucking Jason Sudekis after SNL). But this is awful and they all need to understand it’s better to rule in the hell of a really good cable TV show than serve in the heaven of big studio releases. I’m talking to you most of all, Jennifer Anniston. The seemingly permanent erect nipples you sported in the 90’s won’t carry you forever. Or will they? The young men who were your fans in then are probably making the casting decisions now and hoping in vain for that one movie where you’ll finally drop your top.

‘CAUSE HONESTLY, HER’S IS BIGGER
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is down to number four and is yet another blow to the idea of Chris Hemsworth as a leading man even though he’s doing exactly what he should be doing and supporting strong female actors. What it is however is another reason to respect Kristen Stewart, as she’s the only thing missing from the marginal success of the first. Has it occurred to you fuckers that she’s the reason why this prequel didn’t work? Not to mention outside of Twilight she’s had at least one financial success with Snow White & The Huntsman and critical success with Still Alice and Clouds of Sil Maria. Robert Patterson has neither so how about you all get up off her dick!?!

BETRAYER OF MY PEOPLE
Keanu is down to number five and I was briefly interested in this when I found out that Keanu Reeves was doing the voice of the kitty. He initially refused—or at least his management did—but when his sister saw the trailer and told him about it, he called them to be a part of it. But I never really watched Key & Peele either, so not seeing it is par the course for me. Sorry, fellas. Yeah, it only cost $15M, but it’s only made that made much, which means it hasn’t even paid for marketing yet. Maybe it’ll be a home viewing success, because that’s the only place I plan on seeing it.

I WANT THE NEXT ONE TO BE BARBER SHOP: GOOD HAIR
Barbershop: The Next Cut is down to number six and between this, NWA and Ride Along, Ice Cube has reemerged as box office force to be reckoned with mainly because he’s not pretending to be catering to White people at all. He’s making Black movies for Black people and not giving a fuck and it’s working for him. I didn’t see the first barbershop because while I understand its place in the community, I’ve been shaving my own head since the 90’s so it’s not really a part of my existence any longer. Plus, I can’t take anything seriously that takes Common seriously as an actor. He. Just. Sucks. Why are we pretending he doesn’t?

DO NOT AS WE DO, LADIES. BUT AS WE SAY.
Zootopia is down to number six follow by The Boss at number eight and honestly I feel the best jokes were in the trailer so why bother? But I’m happy for Melissa McCarthy. Fuck the haters, baby.

THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE SUCCESSES
Ratchet & Clank is down to number nine and it’s yet another movie based on a video game. Apparently this will never die no matter how many of these movies fail. All it takes is one success to make people forget the other nine failures.

ZACK SNYDER SUCKS. THERE’S JUST NO OTHER WAY I CAN PUT IT.
Finally, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice closes out the top ten at number ten and honestly, $326M domestic from a $250M budget isn’t that great even though it has made $865M worldwide. Twice your budget is break even and no matter that they tell you about international gross, the studio gets 40% or less that than so domestic is what matters most and this has made less than Deadpool. Let me say it again, a PG-13 movie with the three most famous superheroes of all time has has made less than an R-rated movie about a character 99% of the general populace has never heard off. Why? Gee, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because Superman is a miserable narcissist who, while being a party to thousands of deaths, doesn’t speak to people yet still wonders why some hate him. Maybe it’s because Batman’s a raving psychotic who quotes Dick fucking Cheney in his justification as to why he has to cut Superman’s head off. Maybe it’s a story that makes no fucking sense and seems to take place completely in the dark even in the day. Maybe it’s because the director’s idea of fun is to have Jimmy Olsen shot in the head in the first five minutes (no, I’m not kidding). Maybe it’s because the only bright spot of the movie, Wonder Woman, is only in it for ten minutes. Maybe it’s because no matter what sells in the comics NORMAL PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO SEE HEROES FIGHT EACH OTHER! Actually it’s a perfect fucking storm of failure and why every day you hear about a director leaving (the director of The Flash bailed, but it’s not like he was some great talent either) and learn that Ben Affleck is taking more control over the Justice League movie.

GONNA PUT SOMETHING IN MY BUTT
HBO was supposed to give me a free weekend a few weeks ago, but because Time Warner is a bag of dicks (and tiny ones at that), they didn’t pass it on to us. Fortunately, HBO seriously wants my money, which is why it was offering one free month of HBO Now. Now the catch is, unlike HBO Go, you can only watch Now on a device, so I had to watch Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures on my iPad. The first legit use I’ve had for it. The title comes from Senator Jesse Helms’ speech about defunding the NEA over their exhibit of Mapplethorpe’s work, which he found obscene and pornographic. Well, it kinda is, but the difference is Mapplethorpe wasn’t trying to titillate or arouse, which is the goal of porn. Also he was looking to push buttons, to make you acknowledge a world that existed. Watching the doc made me realize my first interest in photography wasn’t a few years ago, but back in high school when I first saw his pictures of Lisa Lyon and actually bought the book. It also reminded me of a photographer I met back in college who’d was not a fan of Mapplethorpe’s work. He was Black and Mapplethorpe had a well-known fetish for Black men to the point he slept with them exclusively. They’d met in a gay bar and Mapplethorpe actually dropped the “Do you know who I am?” line and my friend replied that he knew in a way that showed he was not thrilled at being fetishized and Mapplethorpe moved on. But it wouldn’t have worked. As the documentary showed like most fetishizers he only cared for his stereotypical fantasy of Black men as somewhat thuggish (makes one wonder if he ever crossed paths with Madonna who indulging a similar fetish at the same time in NYC) and not a reality of intelligent, college-educated like my friend or even his most photographed model, Ken Moody, who was not his lover. The documentary oddly contains no interview with Patti Smith who was his lover and best friend for a very formative period in his life (his most famous work may actually be her album cover). The creators insist it wasn’t needed because her book, Just Kids, more than covers that period, but that’s just bullshit. No way you don’t have her input on a comprehensive doc the way this is. Clearly she disagreed with them on something crucial. In her absence the primary source is Mapplethorpe’s kid brother, Edward, who initially idolized him and later became his assistant and photographer in his own right. Mapplethorpe is yet another photographer who wasn’t formally trained (his father was ironically a hobbyist photographer) and also yet another artist who wanted fame and fortune from day one and made no bones about it (yet another comparison with Madonna). His first patron was his rich lover whom he fully admits he would not have been with without the money. He promoted his shows like a professional ad campaign and towards the end when he was dying of AIDs his concerns were increasing his fame and whether or not he’d die with more money than Andy Warhol. Even his foundation was more about accumulating both after his death. He certainly didn’t leave his work for his family. Edward Mapplethorpe also became a photographer and Robert made him change his name so as not to “cash in” on Robert’s growing fame. And even though Edward took care of Robert in his last days, there was never any moment where Robert expressed gratitude or love and Edward is still openly pained about it. It’s the kind of honesty that makes this documentary so good. Shame about Patti, though.

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IT’D BE A WONDER, WONDER WOMAN

11 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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WEEK #2 AND IT’S STILL SUCKING

4 Apr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ZACK SNYDER V COMPETENT FILMMAKING

28 Mar

Morena-Baccarin-Photoshoot-by-Robert-Ascroft-2013-morena-baccarin-35411576-748-1000

1. Batman v Superman/WB                 Wknd/$170.1   Total/$ 170.1
2. Zootopia/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 23.1    Total/$ 240.5
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2/Uni  Wknd/$ 18.1    Total/$ 18.1
4. Miracles from Heaven/TriStar       Wknd/$ 9.5      Total/$ 34.1
5. Divergent: Allegiant/LG                    Wknd/$ 9.5     Total/$ 46.6
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount      Wknd/$ 6.0    Total/$ 56.0
7. Deadpool/Paramount                         Wknd/$ 5.0    Total/$ 349.5
8. London Has Fallen/Focus                 Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 55.6
9. Hello, My Name is Doris/RA             Wknd/$ 1.7    Total/$ 3.3
10. Eye in the Sky/BST                            Wknd/$ 1.0    Total/$ 1.7

GREED V CHARACTERS: DAWN OF A FRANCHISE
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opens at number one to no one’s surprise. Also not surprising? It’s goddamned awful that way that only a CGI heavy muddle by a hack director like Snyder can be. The movie exists for one reason only: to make Superman and Batman fight, so they wrote it ass backwards trying to come up with reasons to make this happen and they do a horrible job of it. The movie is strongly inspired by the best-selling Batman comics ever: The Dark Knight Returns, which is set in a future where Batman is little more than a psychotic thug and Superman is a government stooge and at its climax Batman beats a weakened Superman who is honestly trying not to hurt him. I have to give the book credit for brilliantly tapping into the not-so-secret longstanding resentment of many for Superman. Simply put, he’s the status quo, the establishment. He’s everything that makes your angry teen-self feel powerless. Your parents, your teachers, the cops…etc. While Batman is literally powerless (unless you count money which makes him the most powerful superhero). Having the “powerless” character defeat the all-powerful character resonated so strongly, the status quo of DC Comics was forever changed and Superman & Batman were no longer best friends, but antagonistic. Frenemies at best. Also, the book sold millions, which never happens, so DC followed the money, which means for the better part of the last 30 years aside from continually making them fight, Batman has also been a near psychotic. Most of these stories are godawful, but all of those stories are better than this one, which involves Lex Luthor (played as “autistic evil” by Jesse Eiesenberg) hating Superman for no real reason and wanting him both disgraced and dead. Meanwhile, Superman has been doing good deeds since accidentally bringing the Kryptonian Civil War to Earth and causing the deaths of thousands. But apparently he has never once spoken to the people he’s protecting as he continues to be a miserable bastard tormented by the fact that some people still don’t like him. If only he knew someone in the media that he could convey what he was all about. Oh, right HE’S A FUCKING REPORTER! HE COULD DO IT ANYTIME HE WANTS TO! Meanwhile, in Gotham city—which in this film is located across the bay from Metropolis basically making it the Oakland to Metropolis’ San Francisco—Batman has apparently been around for 20 years and in that time Wayne Manor has been destroyed, a Robin has been killed and Batman now has no problem literally branding people when he’s not flat out shooting them down with the machine guns in his Batmobile and Batplane. If the reasons why Luthor hates Superman make no sense, neither does the seeming obsession of Clark Kent with Batman. Thousands are dead, half the world hates him, the government is holding hearings about him, but he’s concerned about the civil liberties being trampled in Gotham City. At least Batman’s resentment of Superman is somewhat legit. Some of thousands of people are dead were employees of Wayne Enterprises and in one of the few effective sequences we see the final moments from Man of Steel from the perspective of Bruce Wayne on the ground. And while his resent of Superman is valid, his psychotic need to cut his head off (which he literally tries to do in the battle that takes far too long to happen) does not. Very little of this film does. And it commits the worst sin imaginable: it’s dull. But again, most of Snyder’s films are, though supposedly action films. Man of Steel was dull. Sucker Punch was dull. Because he thinks he’s a real filmmaker he tries to have scenes were people do things besides fight, only they make no sense. And with the exception of Wonder Woman’s five-minute appearance (which is as badass as it is great) even the fights are dull and if that’s the case, this film has no reason to exist whatsoever. But again, it’s not really a movie is it? It’s just a launching platform for other movies and while Marvel/Disney is equally guilty of sacrificing a film to set up for others (both Thors, half of Captain America and even part of Avengers Age of Ultron) at least they are still capable of making a half-decent movie around it. DC/WB clearly are not.

IT’S CALLED STICKING WITH A BIT
Zootopia is down to number two and outside of the race & gender allegory it’s creating, there are still honest and funny jokes in the film and none so much as the now famous sloth one. That sloths run the DMV is near brilliant in its obvious simplicity, but what makes the joke work it is that they stick with it. At no point do they create some excuse that can make the sloths go faster. No, the audience has to wait alongside the characters and it is hysterical. And while he’s great as the straight man usually, Jason Bateman has a smarm to him as well that works perfectly as the voice of the fox and he clearly enjoys playing the other side of the fence for once.

MY BIG FAT GREEK DESPERATION
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 opens at number three and clearly God hates everyone to have both this and Batman v Superman opening in the same week. No matter what movie you choose, it’s going to be crap made by the incompetent. The first Big Fat Greek Wedding was like Batman v Superman: godawful, stupid and incredibly successful (I’m stunned to realize it got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay when it was only one of those things). Based on what I’ve seen in the commercials and trailers, this is going to get at least two of those down solid. Nia Vardalos has been trying for years to follow that up with a failed TV series (My Big Fat Greek Life) a reteaming with John Corbett (I Hate Valentine’s Day) and revisiting the Greek thing (My Life in Ruins). I hate to knock anyone’s hustle, but girlfriend, it’s time to move the fuck on. I’m sorry Tom Hanks and his wife got all the money the first time around, but you had your moment, you took your shot and you failed. Accept you’re someone’s sidekick and Move. On.

SHE NEEDED SOME JESUS
Miracles from Heaven is down to number four and if you’re wondering why these Christian movies are getting more mainstream Hollywood people in them you need to look at who they’re getting. They’re not getting Ben Affleck who’s winning Oscars and starring in attempted billion dollar franchises. They’re getting his soon-t0-be ex-wife who does credit card commercials and needed the comfort of the lord something fierce this past year. She said she started taking the kids to church after making this movie but let’s not kid ourselves. We know what make you look for meaning in all this and it wasn’t some dumb Christian propaganda movie. It was your husband banging the honestly less-attractive nanny. And the whole world knowing it.

SAY IT WITH ME: THE WORLD IS MADE FOR PEOPLE WHO LACK SELF-AWARENESS
The Divergent Series: Allegiant is down to number five and I’m as surprised to see this still going on as you are because I confused it with The Hunger Games like everyone else. What’s funny is that star Shailene Woodley tries to act like we’re being strange to connect her to Jennifer Lawrence. Oh, and you’re not a tall, attractive 20-something blonde who has drawn raves in small indie films while headlining a Young Adult franchise based on a dystopian future where you’re the chosen on who leads a rebellion? No, honey. The difference is Jennifer Lawrence has four Oscar nominations and one win. You have a one Golden Globe nomination…that you didn’t win.

SERIOUSLY, I HATE YOU ALL
10 Cloverfield Lane is down to number six and this has been successful so I guess we’re going to get more of this Cloverfield shit. I hate you all for making it possible.

TALENT, SCHMALENT. SHE’S SO PURTY.
Deadpool is down to number seven and also in this is Morena Baccarin who is like Ryan Reynolds in that she’s a really pretty person that everyone seems to know whose success in Hollywood should be a foregone conclusion, but like him this is actually her biggest success happening a decade after you thought it would. That she should have been Maria Hill in The Avengers movies must be a little easier to bear now.

MADRID HAS FALLEN…OH, IT’S JUST SIESTA. NEVER MIND.
London Has Fallen is down to number eight and all you need to know about this movie is that at one point it turns into a video game. Seriously. It turns into a first person shooter as you are Gerard Butler and follow his POV into the action and like a video game, no bullets or shrapnel ever seem to hit him. Thankfully, it hasn’t even made budget yet so no other capitals will fall in the future. What? Were you really looking forward to Paris Has Fallen? Rome Has Fallen? Tokyo Has Fallen? Actually they could do it, just with different characters in each location. Come to think of it, this film would have been infinitely better with no connection with Olympus Has Fallen and just been about a James Bond-like agent dealing with similar circumstances in London. Butler almost does it as his Scottish accent becomes more and more apparent as the film drags on.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE PATRIARCHY IS REAL, YO
Hello My Name Is Doris actually rises to number nine and I’m happy for Sally Field getting this at this stage of the game. But we know that if the genders were reversed and it was a 60-something dude longing for a 30-something female he’d actually get to bang her and he’d rock her world. Or am I the only person who remembers how charming so many critics found Burt Lancaster lusting after Susan Sarandon in Atlantic City? Or most of Michael Douglas’ casting decisions, period?

I MEAN IT, FUCK THAT MOVIE
Finally, Eye In The Sky rises to number ten to remind you that every day we kill innocent people every time we try to kill a terrorist with a drone strike, which reminds me again of the end of London Has Fallen where such a strike is the cause of all the trouble and also the climax you’re supposed to cheer. Seriously, fuck that movie.

PA KENT: THE MOVIE
Midnight Special isn’t in the top ten but it’s basically Superman from the point of view of The Kents. It’s about 10-year-old boy in Texas who has special powers and his father trying to protect him from the government who wants him badly. Okay, it’s not as nice as The Kents in the comics as the father here (played by Michael Shannon who was ironically Zod in Man of Steel) actually is willing to shoot a state trooper simply because he’s in their way because his on is “More important.” In that way he’s closer the horrible Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel who is willing to let a bus filled with children die, but when it comes down to it, he can’t kill someone who might (and actually does) give them away. Also, the mother and father here (mom is Kirsten Dunst) were part of some kind of religious cult run by Sam Shepard that became centered around the boy when his powers began to manifest (Shepard actually took the boy to raise for two years as his own), so they’re a little darker than The Kents. What they do share is a clear an unconditional love for their “special” son with absolutely no fear of him and will do whatever they need to do in order to protect him, even though he clearly possesses amazing powers (at one point the boy downs a military satellite). And if you don’t think it’s not intentional, know that at one point the boy is reading a Superman comic. It could be a little tighter given it’s essentially a chase film (thy aren’t just running from the authorities but the armed cultists who what the boy back as they think Judgment Day is coming) in the era of drones and satellites and amber alerts where running unnoticed is seriously difficult but a satisfying little film nonetheless.

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TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE MUNCHIES

24 Aug

eisencera
1. Straight Outta Compton/Universal            Wknd/$ 26.8   Total/$ 111.5
2. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation            Wknd/$ 11.7    Total/$ 157.8
3. Sinister 2/Focus                                             Wknd/$ 10.6   Total/$ 10.6
4. Hitman: Agent 47/Fox                                  Wknd/$ 8.2     Total/$ 26.6
5. The Man from UNCLE/Paramount            Wknd/$ 7.4     Total/$ 26.6
6. American Ultra/LGF                                     Wknd/$ 5.5     Total/$ 5.5
7. The Gift/STX                                                   Wknd/$ 4.3     Total/$ 31.1
8. Ant-Man/Disney                                             Wknd/$ 4.1     Total/$ 164.5
9. Minions/Universal                                        Wknd/$ 3.7      Total/$ 320.0
10. Fantastic Four/Fox                                      Wknd/$ 3.7      Total/$ 49.6

ALSO I’VE NEVER SEEN FRIDAY AND NEVER WILL
Straight Out of Compton holds at number one and now that I know that director F. Gary Gray was the cameraman who watched Dr. Dre beat Dee Barnes chances of me seeing this went from slim to nil. I’ve always said you should be careful in looking into the private life of anyone creative because you probably won’t like what you find. History is filled with examples of the most talented people you can imagine being utterly fucking despicable. From Wagner’s anti-Semitism to Lewis Carroll’s unnatural obsession with the girl who inspired Alice to John Lennon and Stevie Wonder slapping around their wives to Michael Jackson molesting young boys (shut up. you know he did it) to a fucking laundry list of crappy parenting, exceptional talent seems to go hand-in-hand with being a total asshole. But where do you separate the dancer from the dance? The journalist who exposed the more than two-dozen statutory charges against R. Kelly (not that I’d ever call that fucker exceptionally talented) that Kelly bought off put it best: R. Kelly is basically singing about what he does, while Michael Jackson never sung about molesting children. There’s also an element of culpability. John Lennon admitted to what he did as a bad husband and bad father and presumably strove to be better without any public pressure. Dr. Dre didn’t admit to jackshit until Apple clearly made him issue an apology last week due to their investment in his billion-dollar Beats (horribly ironic name it seems) sound system. And even then he doesn’t own it, instead citing being a drinker. Yeah, that’s right up there with blaming racist statements on drinking. Booze doesn’t make you anything; it only reveals what you are. It’s like money in that. The problem with N.W.A. is that they did talk about beating women, which is clearly what at least one of them was doing (ironically, not the actual drug dealing gang member). So, while I can still enjoy The Italian Job remake or “Keep Their Heads Ringing (which was written by Jay Z anyway), this shit will not take up one second of my life. Ever.

‘CAUSE THAT SCORSESE THING REALLY DIDN’T TAKE NOW DID IT?
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation holds at number two and Tom Cruise seems to have finally found the right writer/director for him in Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote not only wrote Valkyrie, Edge of Tomorrow and Jack Reacher but directed Jack Reacher as well. He also handled writer/director duties here. They may not be perfect movies, but they are satisfying for the most part and most of all they were all successes for Cruise and having someone who maintains A-list status for over 30 years looking to you is great trump card for a writer/director. He’ll be given a free pass to work between Cruise films and there’s no way he’s going to turn that down.

AT LEAST IN THE OLD DAYS THE MONSTER SEEMED TO DIE IN THE END
Sinister 2 opens at number three and given I didn’t see the first it was pretty much guaranteed I wouldn’t be seeing this. Say it with me, kids: I don’t do the scary. Plus a sequel means the bad guy clearly won in the first film and I hate that shit.

‘CAUSE THERE’S MORE BLOOD ON NETFLIX
Hitman: Agent 47 opens at number four, one of two “super-soldier” movies opening this weekend and while I did see the first one and was a little intrigued by a second once they showed there was going to be a badass woman, I ultimately decided to give it a pass. I’ll catch it on Netflix in a year because it does look like fun at the very least. Yes, that’s the new “I’ll catch it on cable.”

KEATON WAS NEVER BATMAN TO BEGIN WITH, THAT’S WHY!
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is down to number five and I’m sorry this isn’t doing better. First, because it’s a decent movie and second, because I always root for guys playing superheroes to have careers outside of it. I don’t blame Henry Cavill for the shitstorm he signed up for and want him to have a good career because one of the reasons it’s actually difficult to get good actors to be play superheroes is because some of them are such icons you really can’t escape it afterwards (to this day, Lynda Carter is Wonder Woman). Christian Bale doesn’t live in the shadow of Batman because he had career defining roles before an after it, not to mention an Oscar. Kilmer and Clooney never played the role more than once and like Bale had significant work outside of it. But Christopher Reeve never “escaped the cape” like George Reeves before him. And let’s not pretend Dean Cain and Tom Welling had a chance to begin with, shall we?

NOT SCOTT PILGRIM VS. ONLY THE CIA
Speaking of super soldiers and Superman, American Ultra opens at number six and this is basically what if Captain America or Jason Bourne were a stoner. Seriously. Jesse Eisenberg is playing Lex Luthor in the next horrible Superman movie, but here he’s a three-strike stoner who gets recruited by the government for experiments into making super-soldiers. For reasons that are explained later the program is shut down and he’s dropped into a one-horse town as a convenience store clerk with a post-hypnotic suggestion that causes him anxiety attacks whenever he tries to leave. He’s clearly self-medicating with weed but has a girlfriend who seems to have no problem with him. Problems occur when Topher Grace (whose ease at playing dicks seems to confirm rumors about him) decides that Eisenberg has tried to leave town one too man times and sends assassins in to take him out. Connie Britton was the head of the program that recruited Eisenberg and to save him, activates him, so much to his own surprise, he becomes a badass killer whenever he’s attacked…but reverts to his sad stoner self between attacks. Given how often he and Michael Cera are so often and justifiably compared this is very much his own Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, where Cera kicked ass left and right, while otherwise being a whiny dweeb. Unfortunately, it’s meeting with the same lack of success. It’s also not as good, being seemingly unwilling to really cut loose with its premise until the final showdown. They get the stoner part right, but take far too long with the killing machine aspect. It’s a one-joke premise that needed to move a little more quickly before wearing out its welcome.

PUTTING THAT EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS MONEY TO GOOD USE
The Gift is down to number seven and I had no idea Joel Edgerton both wrote and directed this. Also well played to choose the weirdo role over the protagonist. He’s become the odd genuinely talented Australian import, in a world where Jai Courtneys and Sam Worthingtons are given big budget films in which to be utterly bland. Not even bad, which would be fun at least, but boring which is the worst thing an artist can be.

MONEY, HONEY
Ant-Man is down to number eight and while this is far from a flop, it’s not the hard success some might have you think. $361M worldwide from a $130M budget may seem good, but you have to remember that studios get less than half of the overseas take, so at best they’re getting $80M from that $197M overseas take. Combine that with the $165 domestic take and you haven’t even doubled the budget, which is the basic minimum to cover production and advertising costs. Expect a sequel to be much heavier on super-hero guest stars to help out.

AN AMC SERIES JUST AIN’T PAYING FOR SHIT
Minions is down to number nine while Fantastic Four closes out the top ten on its third miserable week and I can’t stop laughing at it. Thankfully, no one will blame Kate Mara (who was apparently forced onto them by the studio), Michael B. Jordan (who was in Chronicle) or Jamie Bell (who should have played Don Blake in a proper adaptation of Thor) for this mess. Especially Jamie Bell. This was clearly to give him some kind of clout to make better indie films, like how Snowpiercer was probably only made because his co-star in that film, Chris Evans, agreed to be in it. There’s no other reason he’s here.

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