Tag Archives: john cusack

BOX OFFICEIMOUS REX!

15 Jun

Jude-Law--jude-law-79470_589_655 1. Jurassic World/Universal                 Wknd/$204.6    Total/$ 204.6
2. Spy/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 16.0      Total/$ 56.9
3. San Andreas/WB                                Wknd/$ 11.0      Total/$ 119.3
4. Insidious 3/Focus                               Wknd/$ 7.3        Total/$ 37.4
6. Entourage/WB                                    Wknd/$ 4.3        Total/$ 25.9
9. Tomorrowland/Disney                      Wknd/$ 3.4        Total/$ 83.6
5. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                  Wknd/$ 6.0        Total/$ 170.7
7. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                 Wknd/$ 4.1         Total/$ 138.6
8. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney      Wknd/$ 3.6        Total/$ 444.7
10. Love & Mercy                                     Wknd/$ 1.8         Total/$ 4.8

STUPIDIOUS REX
Jurassic World opens at number one to the surprise of no one and this is better than Jurassic Park III, but doesn’t come near the original and so sits next to The Lost World as at the very entertaining, but clearly a sequel that doesn’t quite get why the first was so successful. Lost World was better made, but Jurassic World is shorter without a painfully stupid final act. The director says they’re ignoring the other two because they took place on the other island and that this is a direct sequel to the first, which explains why there’s no military presence on the island after what went down in San Diego. Pretty sure after that crap they wouldn’t let this happen without enough firepower to flat out blow the islan up. It also shows that John Hammond in fact learned nothing from both films as with his dying breath he apparently begged another stupid billionaire to take over and open the theme park. Apparently he’s been so successful that the island is commonplace enough for people to get a little bored with it so they have to continually bring in new dinosaurs and in a staggering display stupidity, make a new one called Indominous Rex. That it eats its sibling isn’t a clue to simply get rid of it tells you that disaster is inevitable. Needless to say, like the first, disaster coincides with the visit of two children related to someone running the park. In this case the two nephews of the park’s director, Bryce Dallas Howard (no, not Jessica Chastain). This is partially so mommy and daddy can get divorced in peace which is all kinds of fucked up. “Welcome back! Hey, how was your trip? We’re no longer a family.” The boys show that stupidity runs in the family by not only ignoring an announcement to go back, but in fact going off the path. Since the announcement to back is because the Indominous Rex got out (surprise, surprise) Howard has to go to the he-man Raptor trainer, Chris Pratt to save them. The nonstop acknowledgement of Pratt’s sheer manliness is near Monty Python levels of absurdity, from his ability to stare down dinosaurs to painful need of a good boning that Bryce Dallas Howard gives when she first looks at him, muscles clearly bulging through his shirt as he worked on his motorcycle (you know, a big thing between his legs). I half-expected to hear a “plop” and see her soaking panties hit the ground at the very sight of him. I’m genuinely surprised he wasn’t sweaty and shirtless. We’re told they basically had a romcom first date. She showed up with an itinerary and he was in board shorts. I’m sure that was taken directly from a script meant for Kate Hudson and Matthew McConughey that was shelved after Fool’s Gold tanked. Of course they bicker and fight as they rush to save the kids while the Idominous Rex rips the park to shreds. Trust me, there’s more of the latter than the former which is why it’s a fun movie because giant monsters running wild are usually fun movies. You have to truly try hard to fuck it up and apparently Joe Johnson worked pretty goddamned hard on Jurassic Park III. Almost as hard as Peter Jackson worked on the King Kong remake.

BEING PRETTY ISN’T ENOUGH PART 1
Spy is down to number two and also in this is Jude Law who is honestly just happy to be hear. Once upon a time he was a leading man on the rise, but bad decisions both privately and professionally and the cruelty of the same genetics that once blessed him cost him in the end. He made half a dozen movies that tanked (including an ill-advised remake of Alfie) and so became more famous for banging the much-less-attractive than his then wife (Sadie Frost) nanny than for his work. Given half his appeal was being pretty, the loss of his hair was the final nail in the coffin of any chance of being a lead, so when playing Watson to Robert Downey Jr.’s rolled around Holmes Law—complete with widow’s peak—grabbed it like nobody’s business and so began his much more successful career as supporting actor, looking less like Sting’s more attractive younger brother than Phil Collins’ more attractive younger brother. The English, they don’t age well.

IT DOESN’T FEEL CREEPY WHEN THEY KISS
San Andreas is down to number three and also in this is Carla Gugino and I’m glad to see her in something successful. She’s more of an indie film and theater girl so this will help her continue that. This is in fact her third film with Dwayne Johnson and they are good together onscreen and hopefully that he remembers that when they try to pair him with someone younger. He’s one of the few action stars who gets paired with appropriate aged leading women, actually playing the dad to a girl who was Woody Harrelson’s love interest on True Detective (Johnson is more than a decade younger than Harrelson). I doubt it’s by accident, so I’m respecting him more each day.

THE MAN BEHIND THE WOMEN. NO, LITERALLY.
Insidious Chapter three is down to number four and as the dad in this is Dermot Mulroney, a man who can best be described as a Keanu Reeves’ less attractive brother. But it guarantees him work as he’s attractive enough to be a supporting male lead to a variety of women (everyone from Holly Hunter to Debra Messing), but not overshadow them. He’s part of that club with Mark Ruffalo and David Strahairn. He’s doing it again here, supporting the leads of his daughter and the medium who has been in all three Insidious films. Laugh if you want to, but he’s probably been in more successful films than Jude Law.

BEING PRETTY ISN’T ENOUGH PART 2
Pitch Perfect 2 is down to number five, followed by the odious Entourage at number six (I become more ashamed for having watched it for so long every day) and someone was cruel enough to actually ask Adrian Grenier about his career as opposed to the career of his character. Ouch. He should call Dermot Mulroney and see if you can join the “Support a Stronger Female Lead” club. I’m sure they’d love a piece of eye candy like him and it’s not like he hasn’t had practice as the love interest for Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. In retrospect, he was lucky to even be on that set with both her and Meryl Streep.

YOU CAN LOVE THEM BOTH
Mad Max: Fury Road is down to number seven and I’m disappointed in you, America. This is the best summer blockbuster in years and you aren’t turning out for it. It hasn’t even made its budget here yet! Meanwhile, Avengers: Age of Ultron holds at number eight has made almost twice its much higher budget here and almost a billion dollars overseas!

ANY BLACK GUY WILL DO REALLY
Tomorrowland is down to number nine and right now Clooney is thinking maybe Ocean’s 14 isn’t such a bad idea after all and that Samuel L. Jackson could take the Bernie Mac role. He hasn’t been the lead in a hit since The Descendants in 2011, which is now best known for launching Shailene Woodley’s movie career.

HE AND CAMERON CROWE BOTH NEED HELP SO SHOULD REUNITE
Finally, Love & Mercy enters the top ten. This is the story of Brian Wilson’s descent in to mental instability and his ultimate rise from it…and the scumbag therapist who took advantage of it to the point where he has co-writing credit on some of Wilson’s later solo albums. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, he did help him, but afterward latched onto him like a tick. A good therapist would have done it without needing to fulfill his lost rock & roll dreams. Wilson is played young by Paul Dano and older by John Cusack, who all too often seems to be just beaten and defeated by Hollywood. Not to mention his hair is still jet black and we know that’s bullshit. As with far too many things, I feel it all went bad with Julia Roberts. He starred with her in America’s Sweethearts. Do you remember that movie? No one does, but it’s clearly the movie that broke John Cusack. He hasn’t been the same since.

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SOMEWHERE RUSS MEYER IS SMILING

29 Apr

1. Think Like a Man/SGem                             Wknd/$  18.0            Total/$  60.9

2. The Pirates! Band of Misfits/Sony            Wknd/$  11.4             Total/$   11.4

3. The Lucky One/Warners                            Wknd?$  11.3              Total/$  39.9

4. The Hunger Games/LionsGate                  Wknd/$  11.3             Total/$ 372.5

5. The 5 Year Engagement/Universal           Wknd/$  11.2             Total/$   11.2

6. Safe/Lion’s Gate                                            Wknd/$    7.7            Total/$     7.7

7. The Raven/Relativity                                    Wknd/$    7.3            Total/$     7.3

8. Chimpanzee/Disney                                      Wknd/$    5.5            Total/$   19.2

9. The Three Stooges/Fox                                 Wknd/$    5.4            Total/$   37.1

10. The Cabin In The Woods/LionsG              Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$   34.7

CASSANDRA WOULD HAVE KILLED IN SHOW BUSINESS

Think Like A Man holds at number one, which is shocking ‘cause usually when a Black film opens big at number one it drops like a rock the following week.  Whoever chose this release date is getting a raise, because they guessed right about the competition. “Look, people are gonna be tired of watching that girl kill people, claymation scares kids as much as it attracts them, Nicholas Sparks is the same-old-same-old and are you kidding me with a movie about the Three Stooges?  We could own this bitch!”  This is the person you take with you to Vegas.

UNFUNNY AND UGLY…LIKE YOUR MOM

The Pirates! Band of Misfits opens at number two and honestly this has taken so long to come out I thought it was actually a sequel to itself.  Seriously, haven’t they been advertising this for six months?  This comes from the people who bought you Wallace & Gromit, one of those English comedies that certain friends of yours swear by but then you watch it and wonder what the fuck is wrong with them (also on this list Faulty Towers and anything with Rowan Atkinson).  Part of the problem is they seem unconcerned that their stop-motion animation figures are ugly, but then again they are English so perhaps in their minds this is attractive.

THE HIGH REGARD OF OTHERS DOESN’T PAY THE CABLE BILL

The Lucky One is down to number three and one constant in all the Nicholas Sparks movies is that a surprisingly talented actor shows up as the parent of one of the characters, clearly slumming it.  This time it’s Blythe Danner.  In The Vow it was Jessica Lange and Sam Neil. In The Notebook it was my fave, Joan Allen and none other than Paul Newman was Kevin Costner’s dad in Message in A Bottle (in a reversal James Franco shows up as Richard Gere’s son in Nights in Rodanthe).  What’s funny is that each one was probably convinced by their agents due to the presence of those before them.  “Hey, who are you to turn down what Paul Newman did? You think you’re special!?!”

IF YOU’RE GONNA BE UGLY, YA GOTTA BE TOUGH

The Hunger Games is down to number four, followed by The Five Year Engagement at number five and I get that Jason Segel is more the “everyman” type of lead but you know what? I don’t go to the movies to see “the everyman” and instantly knew I wouldn’t be seeing this.  He, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill are polluting my movie screens far too much as leading men and I fully support the movie exec who told him to lose some fucking weight to play Emily Blunt’s love interest.  All three of them have had to deal with slimming down and while it may seem unfair it’s only a taste of what women deal with daily and there are still lots of fat guys onscreen with women much too hot for them so it’s hardly a step forward.  Not mention losing weight doesn’t make you better looking and they’re still getting paired with hot women so no tears for them.

YOU MIGHT AS WELL CALL IT THE SPRING ’12 STATHAM MOVIE

Safe opens at number seven and this is the best Jason Statham action movie in a long time, but opening poorly and Statham has no one but himself to blame by trying to get gritty and serious recently with the far-too-dour Killer Elite and The Mechanic.  He built his rep on fun action movies like The Transporter and Crank not movies where there’s no room for wisecracks when you snap a bad guy’s neck. Not to mention there’s just too many with little-to-no difference in them because Statham refuses to go outside his wheelhouse and do science fiction because he hates greenscreen (you know his agent’s losing his mind over that).  So it’s understandable that people decide they’ll skip one comfortable that they’re not missing anything, but in this case they’re wrong.  Not that this is a great movie. Oh, no.  But it’s great in its use of all the cheesy things we love about action movies.  The aforementioned wisecracking, seriously illogical plot points (Statham is being punished by the Russian mob who are willing to expend the time and energy to kill every one he’s nice to instead of just killing him), painfully expository dialogue from more talented actors like Chris Sarandon and Robert John Burke who actually seem embarrassed about having to say it and the unstoppable action lead who never misses a shot while bullets fly around him.  Bear in mind this comes from the guy who wrote Prince of Persia and Dirty Dancing 2 so you’re clearly in cheese country.  But all movies are clichés so it’s more a matter of how effectively you use them and this one does a pretty good job with a few interesting touches.  For example, the movie begins initially with a series of flashbacks between Statham and the small girl upon their first meeting in a subway. It’s a tad clumsy at first, but actually manages to build up some degree of momentum and suspense so when they finally meet it appropriately kicks into high gear.   And there’s unexpected and actually very clever twist at the end I won’t spoil for you.  If Boaz Yakin—who wrote the equally entertaining 80’s low-budget Punisher movie and once had the chance to ruin Batman —can continue along these lines he might finally become a decent action auteur.

AS A RULE, MOVIES ABOUT WRITERS ARE USUALLY POORLY WRITTEN

Opening at number seven is The Raven and the idea of Edgar Allen Poe who created the detective story having to solve a crime isn’t a bad one. It’s just when they decided to make the crimes come from his novels that they screwed up.  This has been done before with writers but the one thing they got right that this missed is that it’s usually an adventure that happens beforehand that inspires the work. This looked far too much like Se7en and I’m sure it’s no coincidence, which brings forth the other problem. The “hook” is watching people being killed by various horrible methods from Poe’s work, which means for most of the movie Poe has to fail!  Otherwise you don’t get to see the various gruesome deaths.  Again, who wants to see a movie where the hero spends most of the time not catching the villain while he covers the screen in blood?  Oh, yeah. You fucking morons who loved Se7en.  Poor John Cusack (the Ryan Gosling of Gen X). He’s seemingly been wandering in the wilderness for a few years now (High Fidelity was in 2000).  This will only  serve to continue it.

A CASTING RUSS MEYER WOULD HAVE APPROVED OF

Chimpanzee is down to number eight, followed by The Three Stooges at number nine and also in this is the “hot” model of the moment, Kate Upton and for the love of god, please stop saying she’s “curved.” She’s a skinny girl with big tits.  Aside from them her body is a straight line that needs poses and Photoshop to prevent her from looking like a 10-year-old boy with tits.  Now genuinely curved is Sofia Vergara who is also in this (marketing fail for not emphasizing them both and maybe some concerns about casting requirements) and her appearance on Saturday Night Live showed her comic skills on Modern Family are no fluke.  She’s got the chops and hopefully will move on to better work, far away from people like The Farrelly Brothers who directed this in what is almost a comeback for them both critically and financially.

DROPPIN’ SOME GEEK KNOWLEDGE ON YO’ ASS!

Finally, The Cabin in The Woods closes out the top ten at number ten and I stand corrected. A fellow geek has pointed out this isn’t an abandoned episode of Buffy, but in fact pretty much a remake of one of the episodes: “Restless” the season four finale. I couldn’t tell you. I loved Buffy, but once it went up against Smallville there was no choice as to where my loyalties lay.  The irony being, despite the comparisons to Dawson’s Creek, Smallville was actually little more than Buffy with the Superman mythos laid over it.  A superpowered teen (Buffy/Clark) and their buddies (Willow & Xander/Pete & Chloe) battle villains who are metaphors for teen anxieties (a literally predatory older woman/a girl whose eating disorder causes her to suck the life out of people) in their small town (Sunnydale/Smallville) and the cause is a common source (The Hellmouth/radiation from kryptonite over 16 years).  This has been your geek observation of the day.