Tag Archives: Jessica Chastain

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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A DINOSAUR AND HIS PET BOY

30 Nov

michael_b_jordan_main 1. The Hunger Games Mockingjay 2      Wknd/$ 51.6     Total/$ 198.3
2. The Good Dinosaur/Disney                Wknd/$ 39.2     Total/$ 55.6
3. Creed/WB                                               Wknd/$ 30.1     Total/$ 42.6
4. Spectre/Sony                                          Wknd/$ 12.8     Total/$ 176.1
5. The Peanuts Movie/Fox                       Wknd/$ 9.2       Total/$ 116.8
6. The Night Before/Sony                         Wknd/$ 8.2      Total/$ 24.1
7. The Secret in Their Eyes/STX            Wknd/$ 4.5        Total/$ 14.0
8. Spotlight/ORF                                       Wknd/$ 4.5        Total/$ 12.3
9. Brooklyn/FoxSearchlight                    Wknd/$ 3.8        Total/$ 7.3
10. The Martian/Fox                                 Wknd/$ 3.3        Total/$ 218.6

TO WHICH HARRISON FORD RESPONDS, “IT’LL NEVER END.”
The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part II: The Cash Grab Everyone Learned From Harry Potter About Splitting Books holds at number one and you think Jennifer Lawrence just joined the club that Daniel Radcliff and Kristen Stewart started called “Not That I’m Ungrateful, But Thank God It’s Over?” And somewhere Rooney Mara is part of a much, much, much larger club called “It Never Even Got Started.”

IT’S ACTUALLY A JURASSIC WORLD…BUT MUCH, MUCH BETTER
The Good Dinosaur opens at number two and two original Pixar movies in a row!?! In the same year!?! And both of them good!?! Hell, Christmas may have just been taken care of. This is the story of a boy and his dinosaur. Wait. Scratch that. It’s a dinosaur and his boy who is basically a dog. And in case you didn’t get it from the sniffing, the howling and the life on all fours, his name is “Spot.” Set on a world where the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs misses so prehistoric man actually shares the planet with dinosaurs, but in a decided non-Jurassic Park way. Mankind is not only not the top of the food chain, but are so low they aren’t even considered a primary food source by the T-Rexes that later show up. They’re considered “critters” little more than squirrels and annoying in the way they eat the crop the Apatosaurus clan is trying to grow and store for the winter. Because he’s the smallest and can’t farm like his brother and sister, Arlo has the responsibility of a) feeding the scary prehistoric turkeys (why they’re keeping them if they’re vegetarians is unexplained) and b) trapping and killing the “critter” who’s been eating their stored crops. When Arlo instead frees the small boy, his father insists they track him and finish him which leads to the required Disney “Death of a Parent” in a storm that causes the river to flood. It’s hardly a spoiler as I don’t think you’re allowed to make a film associated with Disney without it. It’s probably half the reason they bought Marvel to begin with. From Spider-Man to Captain America to Iron Man to Thor to…shit all of them have at least one dead parent if not both (and in Spider-Man’s case two dead parents and the death of a father figure). Blaming the little human they were tracking instead of his father’s own stubborn nature, Arlo chases him and gets caught in a storm similar to the one that killed his father and both are washed away miles from Arlo’s home. This is when Arlo finds out Spot—as he names him—has bonded with him because Arlo spared his life and they begin a Journey of Natty Gann type of return to his home, where Arlo of course learns to overcome the fears that have plagued him his entire life. It’s not A+ perfect Pixar like a Finding Nemo or The Incredibles or Up, but it’s a solid A and thankfully not a freaking sequel.

AKA ROCKY 7. YEAH, 7
Creed opens at number three and making a seventh film in the Rocky saga sounds like a horrible money-grubbing idea…until you hand it over to an acclaimed indie film director and cut Sylvester Stallone completely out of the creative process. While I thought the last film, Rocky Balboa, was actually a nice little movie with probably the best Stallone performance since the first film (only surpassed by this one), the rest all suffered from Stallone’s total control but limited talents, much in the same way the inspired idea of The Expendables has died so quickly. Stallone’s reach (aka, his ego) continually exceeds his grasp. Ryan Coogler, however, who made the much-acclaimed Fruitvale Station a few years back, is only interested in making a good movie, not feeding his ego and reteamed with his leading man, Michael B. Jordan, that’s exactly what he does. Nothing is new here, but there are no new stories, only how you retell the old ones and the old ones are all retold here very well. Seriously, the main plot is one of a son living in the shadow of his father, topped off with him being a bastard was born after his father died. It doesn’t get more cliché than that…at least until the older mentor develops cancer. Like I said, very few clichés are left unturned. But again, it’s about the execution. The film is over two hours, but it never seems to drag and even the old Rocky theme is dragged out and updated to maximum effect.

STRIKE TWO
Spectre is down to number four and if you need any greater clue to how incompetent this film is, know they wasted Christoph Waltz, which I thought was impossible. First they waste Monica Bellucci in what is little more than a glorified cameo—seriously, Teri Hatcher had a more important role in Tomorrow Never Dies and she gets killed—and then Christoph Waltz as the villain is pissed away which is a horrible mistake as most action films tend to only be as good as their villains.

IT’S NOT ENOUGH THAT I LOSE WEIGHT, BUT THAT OTHERS GET FATTER
The Peanuts Movie is down to number five, followed by The Night Before at number six and yes, Thanksgiving does officially open the doors for the Christmas Season, but this still feels too soon. That said, Seth Rogen’s participation basically means an automatic pass for me and there’s precious little to change that opinion. Yeah, I like Lizzy Caplan, but not that much. In fact, the best thing about this for me was seeing the three leads on Lip Sync Battle, where we got to see how flabby Anthony Mackie is currently. Yes, schadenfruede is how I roll. Now and always.

AIN’T NO PRETTY WOMAN TO ME
Speaking of movies I give an automatic pass to, The Secret in Their Eyes is down to number seven and this stars Julia Roberts and I’ve been an anti-fan since Pretty Woman. I’ve never understood her popularity much less her success or any indication of talent. She’s a movie star like Tom Cruise is movie star. Neither is an actor. It’s a shame because there are two good actors in this: Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor. They’re actually capable of being other people in films. Roberts, not so much.

MOVIES I SWEAR I’LL SEE, BUT PROBABLY NEVER WILL
Spotlight holds at number eight and this is another for the “Oscar Bait” list, which is getting longer every day. So far it’s Steve Jobs, Bridge of Spies, Trumbo and Room. And hell, since we’re making a list, let’s just throw the number nine entry, Brooklyn, on it. Based on the novel about an Irish immigrant girl in 1950’s Brooklyn it looks freaking gorgeous and has garnered great reviews but I’ve got cartoon and sequels to see. I’ll get to it one day (maybe never).

NEED THAT FUNNY MONEY
The Martian holds at number ten and also in this is Kristen Wiig, who needed a hit more than you know. Seriously. It’s been awhile since Bridesmaids and while it’s great she’s been putting herself out there with dramatic indie work (always remember: brave = naked when it comes to female actors) lending her name to get smaller films made, that means about as much as good intentions. She needs to be in something that makes money. Hopefully, next time she’ll be the actual star.

END OF THE LINE
Okay, there are no more new TV shows (until the mid-winter replacement season), but there are at least two more to mention…

Agent X: Seemed like a decent enough concept. The Vice President actually has a freaking job beyond going to funerals and that job is deploy a one man task force (charming and wisecracking of course) to handle threats totally off the books and beyond political affiliations and this has been in place since the founding of the country. Also, the VP is none other than Sharon Stone, rocking pantsuits and knee-high boots in modest skirts. Seemed pleasant enough for light Sunday night viewing. I rag on shit like Quantico, but I get why people like it for the same reason I like Blood & Oil, which airs right before it. Dumb fun. Unfortunately, Agent X lost me when it decided that it was going to have a serialized subplot about a conspiracy within the government. Just…no. I wanted light “one-and-done” episodes along the line of Burn Notice with maybe a reoccurring villain (which the plot set up). This conspiracy was not only a buzzkill, but doubled down it by making Sharon Stone’s late hubby on the show an adulterer and maybe the car crash that killed him wasn’t an accident. Yawn.

Into the Badlands: Now this is what I’m talking about. Set in a dystopic future where a feudal system has evolved and there are no guns so martial arts and swordfights (which is technically a martial art but a lot of people don’t get this) are how people settle their business. So basically, every Sunday I get mucho buttkicking in the best way possible. Of course our hero, Sunny, is the best fighter of them all, but is working for an evil baron who only becomes moreso once he learns a tumor is killing him. Our Sunny’s only hope is a teenaged boy from a mythical city beyond The Badlands. It seems Sunny may have been born there as well, but cannot remember. The boy can lead him to the city, but to do so they must go…INTO THE BADLANDS. Oh, did I mention the boy has some kind of power that manifests itself whenever he bleeds and another evil baron known as “The Widow” is after him for it? Unlike Agent X that addition only makes the show more interesting. It’s probably science but if it’s magic I’m down with that too. The fight scenes are so well done, you’d never know the lead actor isn’t even a martial artist. Can’t say that about every show (I’m looking at you, Arrow). And do I even have to say it? An Asian dude as the lead. Yeah, he’s doing martial arts, but sadly it still means something. Especially when they a) actually give him a love interest and b) she’s not Asian.

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WEAK MEN FEAR THE FINEST WINES

16 Nov

MBcaviar

1. Spectre/Sony                                     Wknd/$ 35.4     Total/$ 130.7
2. The Peanuts Movie/Fox                  Wknd/$ 24.2    Total/$ 82.5
3. Love the Coopers/CBS                    Wknd/$ 8.4       Total/$ 8.4
4. The Martian/Fox                              Wknd/$ 6.7       Total/$ 207.4
5. The 33/WB                                        Wknd/$ 5.8       Total/$ 5.8
6. Goosebumps/Sony                           Wknd/$ 4.7       Total/$ 73.5
7. Bridge of Spies/Disney                    Wknd/$ 4.3       Total/$ 61.7
8. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo/FIP          Wknd/$ 2.4       Total/$ 2.8
9. Hotel Transylvania 2/Sony            Wknd/$ 2.4        Total/$ 165.2
10. The Last Witch Hunter/LG          Wknd/$ 1.5        Total/$ 26.1

DRINK THE FINE WINE, MUTHAFUCKA! THE FINE WINE!
Spectre holds at number one and much has been made of Monica Bellucci appearing as a Bond girl actually Bond’s age. In fact, she’s actually older. This has only happened twice before. First, with Honor Blackman, who as Pussy Galore was also older than Sean Connery and Diana Rigg who was older than George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Know what else these two women have in common? Both were partners to John Steed on The Avengers TV show. Honor Blackman in fact was on the show before Diana Rigg. Sadly, both women played roles that were more integral to the plot than the one Monica Bellucci plays. Bond shows up, has sex with her and leaves. That’s it. It’s the 20-something blonde French girl who is the actual female lead here. Yet another of this film’s mistakes. It should have been reversed. When John McTiernan made The Thomas Crown Affair he fought to have an age appropriate female lead, insisting a middle-aged man (ironically, another Bond, Pierce Brosnan) wasn’t going to open up to a twenty-something. He was right.

BUT I GET IT. THOSE SONGS CAN BE ANNOYING.
The Peanuts Movie holds at number two and there are only two things I can think of that were missing from this movie (even the Kite Eating Tree shows up): Rerun, Linus & Lucy’s younger brother and the Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron songs by the Royal Guardsman. The latter stands out because a good portion of the movie is dedicated to Snoopy’s imaginary battles against The Red Baron.

LIKE REAL FAMILY YOU LOVE THEM WITHOUT SEEING THEM
Love the Coopers opens at number three and this is what you get opening a Christmas movie even before Thanksgiving. In fact, this is too good for it. And isn’t Diane Keaton getting tired of playing the matriarch to a family gathered for some occasion? But someone should have told her, if Olivia Wilde is in it, it’s gonna tank. Seriously, she’s basically the female Ryan Reynolds. Someone who seemingly has everything going for them, but couldn’t buy a hit. I gotta be honest: you’re both TV stars. You’re too generically attractive for the big screen, but would work on the small one. Go there and prosper.

THE ONLY TIME IT’S OKAY TO SAY THEY DO ALL LOOK ALIKE
The Martian is down to number four and also in this is Jessica Chastain, who also needed this to wash away her involvement with Interstellar. Not to mention a hit to balance out the flop that was Crimson Peak. No, that wasn’t her in Jurassic World, but you’re within your rights for thinking so. Even Bryce Dallas Howard has joined the joke of the two of them being mistaken for one another. Kate Mara is also in this, which I think violates the One Carrot Top Per Film Rule. Seriously. You will not see two redheads in a film unless they’re related somehow.

NOT TO MENTION THE TITLE SOUNDS LIKE A HORROR MOVIE
The 33 opens at number five and this is a-bit-too-late movie about those trapped Chilean miners from a few years ago. Honestly, this should have been a TV movie, because it’s something that’s interesting if done right, but not so much if people have to pay for it. Not to mention more people would have seen it.

VANITY THY NAME IS DUDE
Goosebumps is down to number six, followed by Bridge of Spies at number seven and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo at number eight. What is that you ask? Yet another Bollywood film crashing the top ten. Apparently this is based on The Prince & The Pauper. That’s all I know. Well, that and the fact film businesses all over the world are the same, as the female lead in this film is two decades younger than the male lead. Sigh.

THE KEY TO LONG-LASTING CAREER…AND MULTIPLE HOMES
Hotel Transylvania 2 is down to number nine and The Last Witch Hunter closes out the top ten at ten and with only $26M domestic and $84M worldwide, it’s safe to say that this $90M film is not giving birth to a franchise. Good. I want another Riddick movie anyway. Also in this is Michael Caine who is continuing his long-established policy of not choosing movies based on the quality, but on the paycheck and whether or not his character is alive at the end of the movie.

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YOU KNOW IT’S SCIENCE FICTION WHEN A REDHEAD IS SAVING THE WORLD

23 Nov

kathleen-turner-11
1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1    Wknd/$ 123.0  Total/$ 123.0
2. Big Hero 6/Disney                                    Wknd/$ 20.1    Total/$ 135.7
3. Interstellar/Paramount                            Wknd/$ 15.1    Total/$ 120.7
4. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal          Wknd/$ 13.8   Total/$ 57.5
5. Gone Girl/Fox                                            Wknd/$ 2.8     Total/$ 156.8
6. Beyond the Lights/Relativity                  Wknd/$ 2.6     Total/$ 10.1
7. St. Vincent/Weinstein                              Wknd/$ 2.4     Total/$ 36.6
8. Fury/Sony                                                  Wknd/$ 1.9      Total/$ 79.2
9. Birdman/FoxS                                           Wknd/$ 1.9      Total/$ 14.4
10.The Theory of Everything/Focus          Wknd/$ 1.5      Total/$ 2.8

THE WANT OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL
Opening at number one is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1. Why part one? Well, thanks to Harry Potter and Twilight it has now become the custom to drag out the concluding novel of a best selling book series to two parts. And because you assholes pay for both, they’ve got no reason to stop. But this time around the naked greed may have oddly bitten them in the ass given one important cast member died during filming. See, if you’d just made the movie apropos to the book rather than dragging it out (which meant a longer than average filming time) it wouldn’t have been a problem, but now they’ve got to CGI Philip Seymour Hoffman to finish it. I hope something goes wrong and a dinosaur or a giant robot appears speaking his lines. Maybe then I’ll see it, because there’s no other way I would. As I said before, I haven’t seen a single frame of any of these films because of the initial premise of children being forced to kill other children. I didn’t like it when it was first used as Battle Royale and I don’t like it now. Full grown adults who are horrible and probably deserve it? Sure. Maybe even teenagers who can be equally horrible, but children? No way, no day.

GEEK WORLD PROBLEMS
Big Hero Six holds at number two and even though this isn’t a Marvel Production it is nonetheless based on a Marvel comic book which means one thing: an appearance by Stan Lee. And make sure you stay through the end of the credits to get the payoff of that cameo. Now, given this is animation and they can put Stan Lee in the movie, why they hell couldn’t they have added Jack Kirby somewhere? 90% of the Marvel Universe is impossible without him. And don’t tell me he had nothing to do with Big Hero 6. Stan Lee flat out said he had no idea what the hell Guardians of the Galaxy was, but he’s still in the movie.

SPOILER ALERT: IT’S THE SAME DAMN GINGER
Holding at number three is Interstellar and also in this is Jessica Chastain and given how they were making a big deal about keeping the last third of the plot from being in the trailers or the commercials, they probably shouldn’t have shown her or acknowledged her being the movie (the way they did another Oscar winning actor who only shows up for the third act). Seeing Matthew McConughey’s little redheaded 10-year old daughter then seeing full-grown redhead Jessica Chastain tells you a lot about how the movie unfolds. Showing her talking with Michael Caine, made it abundantly clear.

ONCE HEIR TO THE LAUREN BACALL THRONE
Dumb and Dumber To is down to number four and also in this is…Kathleen Turner? Holy crap. Where the hell has she been? You kids won’t know this, but once upon a time she was the hottest thing on two legs. Just watch Body Heat, the movie that put her on the map. It will explain everything. As for what went wrong? Well, bad choices (VI Warshawski for one) and unfortunately twists of fate (she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis), but she’s appearing more and more recently (it’s in remission and hopefully she has a new agent) which is a good thing. It almost makes me forgive this because it helps her. Almost.

A SUCESSFUL SITCOM IS THE BEST REVENGE
Gone Girl holds at number five, followed by Beyond The Lights at number six and also in this as the domineering stage mom is Minnie Driver, who’s experiencing a bit of a comeback herself between this, the About A Boy series and she’ll be the voice of the adult Wendy on the live Peter Pan show coming up. And it’s no coincidence that all three have a musical component as she’s been making music in her time away from the center ring with no less than four albums under her belt. But do you think she’s still pissed at Matt Damon? Yeah, me too. But look at it this way, you’re doing better than the woman he dumped you for: Winona Ryder.

CHRIS EVANS HAS PROBABLY SEEN THIS TWICE
St. Vincent is down to number seven followed by Fury at number eight and Birdman moves up to number nine and as I mentioned last week also in this is Edward Norton who had a falling out with Marvel after The Incredible Hulk which is why he wasn’t in The Avengers. But if you know anything about Marvel or Edward Norton it means an irresistible force met an immovable object, aka, they were too cheap for his ego. I know it looks like Marvel won, but there’s no actor in the Marvel films who wouldn’t change places with him to constantly be in in so many prestige indie flicks like this one. Except, ironically, the man who replaced him, Mark Ruffalo, who is always a mainstay in prestigious indie flicks.

THE HAT TRICK OF OSCAR WINNING
Finally, The Theory of Everything enters the top ten at number ten and there’s an old saying in Hollywood that if you want an Oscar “play drunk, crippled or crazy” especially if said portrayal is of a real person. It’s been amended to add “gay”, but still the same (for women it’s “play drunk, crippled, crazy or a whore” also with the gay amendment). And here’s your proof. There’s already Oscar talk about Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Professor Steven Hawking, who suffers from a debilitating disease. Real person? Check. Mentally or physically crippled? Check. For bonus points, are there English accents involved? Check! We could have a winner.

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YO’ MAMA

20 Jan

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1. Mama/Universal                                        Wknd/$ 28.1              Total/$   21.1

2. Zero Dark Thirty/Sony                             Wknd/$  17.6             Total/$  55.9

3. Silver Linings Playbook/Wein                Wknd/$  11.4              Total/$   55.3

4. Gangster Squad/Warners                        Wknd/$   9.1               Total/$  32.2

5. Broken City/Fox                                         Wknd/$   9.0              Total/$    9.0

6. A Haunted House/                                    Wknd/$   8.3               Total/$  30.0

7. Django Unchained/Weinstein                 Wknd/$   8.2              Total/$ 138.0

8. Les Miserables/Universal                        Wknd/$   7.8               Total/$ 130.0

9. The Hobbit/WB                                          Wknd/$   6.5               Total/$ 287.0

10. The Last Stand/LGF                                 Wknd/$   6.3               Total/$     6.3

MAMA TOLD ME NOT TO COME

Mama opens at number one and with Zero Dark Thirty behind it at number two Jessica Chastain is officially a star.  Granted, the real star of a genre film is the genre itself and you could have had Denise Richards starring in this and it probably would still be number one, but her ascending star and nominations probably got the number of screens for this bumped up and the interest of a few people who wouldn’t have see it otherwise.  The other star in a genre film is occasionally the creator behind it.  When fans see “from the people who brought you ____” they know what they’re getting and they flock to it.  In this case it’s Guillermo Del Toro, a man of amazing visuals and crap stories. Sorry, but when your most coherent movie is Blade 2, you need to back away from the keyboard and let someone else handle it.  Yes, I know he’s only a producer here, but like Lucas even that tends to be too much.  I wouldn’t know because as we all know, I don’t do the scary and incompetent though it probably is, there looked to be some potential for genuine creepiness going here and that’s too much for me. Though I would have liked to have seen Jessica Chastain with black hair, tats and cleavage. Yes, now that she’s a certified star, we can begin to objectify her.

THE CURSE OF COACH TAYLOR

As mentioned before, Zero Dark Thirty holds the #2 position and also in this is Kyle Chandler who’s also in Agro, so clearly it’s his fault neither director received a nomination despite their films being nominated for best picture.

YOU’RE MUCH TOO YOUNG GIRL

Silver Linings Playbook jumps up to number three thanks to an expanded release and Gloden Globe wins.  I finally figured out why I can’t bring myself to see this: I HATE the trope of older men being emotionally healed by a younger woman. I once read an article that roasted every other French film for ending with a salt & pepper haired man arguing with his 20-something girlfriend until she bared her breasts to him then he sighed with a smile and they lived happily ever after.   A friend tried to argue the point that Jennifer Lawrence is in fact the emotionally older person here and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that’s ALWAYS HOW IT IS! It’s part of the trope that “ironically” it’s a younger woman that finally helps him mature. Clearly this ability leaves a woman after she turns 25. The closer her breasts and ass get to the ground the less an impact she can have on a man’s emotional state.  And no, this doesn’t strike too close to home. I hated this in my 20’s too. Now, I certainly wouldn’t turn down any 20-something hottie who wanted to heal my troubled geek soul, but I’d have the decency to be ashamed of it and I wouldn’t make you pay to watch.

EXACTLY HOT MANY HUSKY VOICED REDHEAD ROLES ARE THERE?

Gangster Squad is down to number four and how long before we’re able to look at Emma Stone and not think her career is based mainly on the implosion of Lindsay Lohan’s?  And honestly, Lindsay Lohan would have been so much more believable as a girl mixed up with a mobster.  Emma Stone looks like she’s in her high school production of Guys & Dolls.  She and Sean Penn sit right next to Nicole Kidman & Dustin Hoffman in Billy Bathgate in terms of believability.  Even Angelina Jolie & Timothy Hutton had greater credibility in Playing God.

IT’S A WONDERFUL TOWN. THE BRONX IS UP AND THE BATTERY’S DOWN.

Broken City opens at number at five and I’ve a weakness for films clearly shot in NYC, but an utter hatred of films shot in NYC by people who clearly don’t know a damn about it. You can tell from the trailer it’s “Generic City” by the way they shoot it.  Every other romantic comedy suffers from this in that there’s nothing about this that says NYC other than them telling you it is.  The other obstacle? Russell Crowe clearly choosing his roles based on how weird his hair can be.  Dude, you’re not Nicholas Cage and his collection of hairpieces.  Or are you?

GET IT WHILE YOU’RE HOT!

Haunted House is down to number five, followed by Django Unchained at number six and as the female lead in this is Kerry Washington, who honestly should be everywhere given she’s in a hit Oscar nominated movie and has a hit TV series.  Girl, you need a new publicist.  Halle Berry’s stranglehold on being “the black female” lead has got to be weakened by now. She hasn’t had a hit since the last X-Men movie (No, being one of the million stars in New Year’s Eve does not count).  Zoe Saldana failed in her chance to take title thanks to her very own Catwoman in Colombiana.  Someone has to grab it. It might as well be you. By my count this is your second chance, because your first was back when Ray came out.

HERE’S A THOUGHT: STOP TRYING TO SING

Les Miserables is down to number eight and I just realized this gives Russell Crowe two movies in the top ten and strangely neither of which make him any hotter as a star. Granted he had his moment and has his Oscar, but does anyone look at him as “the” male lead any longer the way they still do Clooney?

IT’S LIKE JACKASS, BUT WITH BULLETS AND LESS PLOT

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is down to number nine, followed by The Last Stand opening at number ten and talk about humbling. If you thought you could just walk right back into it, Arnold, you were sorely mistaken. Granted cameos in The Expendibles were the right move, but this lame, sleepwalk of a movie was as wrong as wrong can get.  First of all, it looks cheap, which isn’t the same thing as “spartan” as a no frills kind of gritty action movie isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Second, it’s a premise utterly lacking in any kind of suspense.  How seriously are we taking a driving druglord. If he’s so bad-ass why is he driving!?!  Where’s his private jet?  For that matter where are the jets of the authorities who know exactly where he’s headed!?!  Even for action fans there is such a thing as too stupid.  Finally, the other name above the title is Johnny Knoxville.  Even Bruce Willis has learned he needs someone young and hot to help him now. It’s called “The Sean Connery Rule” and his younger c0-stars were people like Alec Baldwin, Kevin Costner, Nicholas Cage, Wesley Snipes and Lawrence Fishburne.  The only thing Johnny Knoxville has in common with them is gender and a pulse.

DEATH BY GINGER

13 Jan

ryan-reynolds-bradley-cooper

1. Zero Dark Thirty/Sony                             Wknd/$ 24.0            Total/$  29.5

 2. A Haunted House/                                    Wknd/$ 18.8            Total/$  18.8

 3. Gangster Squad/Warners                        Wknd/$  16.7            Total/$  16.7

 4. Django Unchained/Weinstein                Wknd/$  11.1             Total/$ 125.4

 5. Les Miserables/Universal                        Wknd/$  10.1             Total/$ 119.2

 6. The Hobbit/WB                                         Wknd/$    9.1             Total/$ 278.1

 7. Lincoln/Touchstone                                  Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$  152.6

 8. Parental Guidance/Fox                            Wknd/$    6.1             Total/$   60.7

 9. Texas Chainsaw 3D/LGF                         Wknd/$   5.2              Total/$   23.0

10.Silver Linings Playbook/Wein                Wknd/$    5.0             Total/$   41.3

 

REDHEADS ARE DANGEROUS

Zero Dark Thirty jumps to the number one slot thanks to multiple Oscar nominations (and the addition of over 2000 more screens) and much like Argo, you know a film is good when it tells you a story you already know (0r at least think you do) and it’s still suspenseful and interesting.  Jessica Chastain is a CIA agent who was apparently recruited out of high school (I think we just found the pitch for Justin Bieber’s first movie) and basically spends the whole of her twenties as part of the team tracking down Osama Bin Laden.  I don’t know about you, but I spent my 20’s slowly becoming less and less of a jackass and not much else. And I’m still pretty much a jackass, so it’s not like I was even good at it, much less having my actions change the world like she does.  But it makes sense to me because if I wanted to destroy a man I’d sic a redhead on him, especially a young one.  Those creatures don’t forgive or forget and won’t rest until they’ve put you in a grave. I’m lucky I escape…every time it happens.  When we first meet her she’s a rookie wearing her best suit to an interrogation that she can barely watch, but as time passes soon she’s not just participating in the interrogations, but telling off her bosses to the point where they goes along with her and ultimately describing herself to the head of the CIA as “that mutherfucker” that found Bin Laden, but all the while still seeming like this smart, geeky girl who has no business being there, much less in that line of work (given her pale skin, you’d think the desert sun would burn her to a crisp).  All the Oscar nominations here are clearly well deserved.

 

THE ONLY THING SCARIER THAN ONE LAME FRANCHISE IS TWO

A Haunted House opens at number two and the Scary Movie franchise was actually started off by the Wayans family for Miramax and later taken over by the Zucker team who brought us Airplane and The Naked Gun. Clearly there was a a falling out of some sort as this is the Wayans Family starting a rival franchise as the Scary Movie 5 is coming up which doesn’t look quite as funny as this one, even thought that’s not saying much at all and this one.  Clearly they’re stronger together than they are apart.  I might watch this on cable one day, but would never go out of my way to see it, which again is saying something given I paid to see all four previous Scary Movie films.

 

APPARENTLY NO ONE LIKES THIS PERIOD STORY, PERIOD

Gangster Squad opens at number three leaving Ryan Gosling still searching for that mainstream movie hit to match his commiserate level of fame.  This movie with Nick Nolte about the infamous “Hat Squad” of the LAPD which used dubious methods to keep organized crime from the east out of Los Angeles is not to be confused with Mulholland Falls, another Nick Nolte movie about the infamous “Hat Squad” of the LAPD which used dubious methods to keep organized crime from the east out of Los Angeles.  And neither is to be confused with LA Confidential, which also had the LAPD using dubious methods to keep organized crime from the east out of LA as part of its storyline. The difference between this and Mulholland Falls is that the writers strangely thought this interesting piece of history wasn’t interesting enough and spun off into some ridiculous story about atomic bomb testing and cover-ups.  Even the awesome LA Confidential didn’t make it the main story.  However, Mulholland Falls did manage to get Jennifer Connelly naked before the title credits even stopped rolling so there’s that.  Nick Nolte was the leading man in that one, but almost 20 years later now he’s old guy boss and Josh Brolin is the guy leading the hat squad (though that aspect seems to have been dropped here as well) and Ryan Gosling is one of his young, hot cops (between Chazz Palmenteri, Chris Penn and Michael Madsen, Nick Nolte’s team could also have been called “The Fat Squad”). I hate to say it, but the reason I passed on this story as opposed to the other two has more to do with Sean Penn in silly makeup and overacting as Mickey Cohen (his character’s death is the catalyst for much of what happens in LA Confidential, but is nowhere to be seen in Mulholland Falls).  He looks like he wandered in off the  set of Dick Tracy.  Is Haiti fixed?  Doesn’t he have something better to do than be the unpleasant hole in films I might otherwise have seen?

 

KEEPING B-MOVIE ACTORS WORKING

Django Unchained is down to number four and because this is a Quentin Tarantino it’s filled with all sorts of odd pop culture friendly casting, as evidenced by none other than Tom Wopat showing up as a US Marshal.  Yeah, Luke Duke in a Tarantino film.  Also here are Dennis Christopher from Breaking Away, Lee Horsley from Matt Houston and the great The Sword & The Sorcerer; Russ Tamblyn who once starred in a film called Son of A Gunfighter and plays that character here and daughter Amber is along for the ride as, yes, Daughter of Son of a Gunfighter.  And to top it all off, Don freaking Johnson.  Half the cast is a game of “Hey, it’s that guy!”

 

THE OTHERS

Les Miserables is down to number five followed by The Hobbit at number six and Lincoln at number seven.

 

WHEN BILLY MET MONEY

Parental Guidance is down to number eight and it looks like the joke is on me as this has made $65M off a $25M budget ($83M worldwide) and it looks like Billy Crystal has found the payday for his twilight years. And for him it’s not the move of a desperate actor looking to stay relevant (I’m looking at you Eddie Murphy), it’s just the easy payday he’s earned after 40 years.

 

SOMEWHERE ROGER CORMAN BEAMS WITH PRIDE

Texas Chainsaw 3D is down to number nine, but that’s okay.  It’s made $30M and probably cost about $5, so everyone is happy.  And it’ll be out on DVD in about a week.

 

IT’S LIKE THE BROCOLI OF MOVIES

Finally, The Silver Linings Playbook also returns to the top ten as a result of Oscar nominations and still they were not enough to get me into see it. Seriously.  I know it’ll be good, but I just can’t seem to get myself into the theater.  I chose Zero Dark Thirty at over two-and-a-half hours over this.  I’m going to have to make it a date or something so I feel obligated to go.  I’m blaming Bradley Cooper, whom I don’t mind, but still find terribly interesting and remain shocked he’s a now a box office draw and an Oscar nominated actor.  Somewhere Ryan Reynolds is confused, because he’s the same kinds of dull.  Yeah, but he’s a boring American, Canada-boy. Trivia: the role of Green Lantern came down to Bradley Cooper and Ryan Reynolds.  Reynolds got the role and a wife from it, while Cooper went on to be in successful, critically acclaimed films.  Don’t kid yourself if you think Reynolds wouldn’t switch places with him. Hell, Blake Lively would switch places with him.  They’ve made film together so that press tour is going to fun…for one of them. The other will be staring daggers the entire time.