Tag Archives: Keanu Reeves

THIRD BLOODY TIME’S THE CHARM!

6 Mar

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1. Logan/Fox                                       Wknd/$ 85.3    Total/$ 85.3
2. Get Out/Universal                         Wknd/$ 26.1    Total/$ 76.0
3. The Shack/LG                                Wknd/$ 16.1     Total/$ 16.1
4. The LEGO Batman Movie/WB   Wknd/$ 11.7     Total/$ 148.6
5. Before I Fall/ORF                          Wknd/$ 4.9      Total/$ 4.9
6. John Wick: Chapter Two/LG      Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 82.9
7. Hidden Figures/Fox                      Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 158.8
8. The Great Wall/Universal           Wknd/$ 3.5       Total/$ 41.3
9. Fifty Shades Darker/Universal   Wknd/$ 3.5       Total/$ 109.9
10. La La Land/LG                             Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 145.7

A BLOODY GOOD FINISH
Logan opens at number one and third time’s the charm apparently. In their third outing they finally made a good solo Wolverine movie. No, it’s not the best superhero movie ever made (that still belongs to Iron Man for me) and it’s not even the best X-Men film (that still belongs to X2 for me), but it’s pretty damn good. Wisely dumping pretty much every goddamn thing about the Old Man Logan story from the comics (imagine if Wolverine were made only for angry, sexless, 15-year-old boys and you’ll have an idea of how bad that nonetheless successful series was) they’ve finally learned to follow the Marvel/Disney example and not make a “superhero” movie, but just a movie and plop a superhero into it. Iron Man, Thor and Doctor Strange were all the same movie about the narcissist who discovers the world around him aka, the best movies Tom Cruise and Richard Gere ever made. Captain America is a WWII movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a 70’s spy movie. Guardians of the Galaxy is every movie about a ragtag group of misfits coming together. And Logan is a road movie about two people at the end their days a meager shadow of their former selves who find themselves called to get it together one more time for the sake of a younger person. You’ve seen it a dozen times before only this time you see it with superpowers. Professor X is now a danger to all those around him because his mental powers have been short-circuited by ALS and Alzheimer’s. Wolverine no longer heals the way he use to and is slowly dying for reasons that seem mysterious, but are obvious when you think about it. Into their laps falls a little girl with all Wolverine’s powers and abilities and hot on her heels is an evil corporation (redundant) willing to kill anyone and everyone to get her back. I feel bad for Hugh Jackman in that only in his last outing as Wolverine does he get the film his commitment deserves (he stayed in Wolverine shape for a year waiting for director Darren Aronofsky to get his shit together for what would have been the second Wolverine movie). He’s never been bad in the role, but didn’t always get the material to support him, least of all the god-awful The Wolverine, which ironically had the same creative team. What’s the difference? Deadpool. Deadpool proved you could make the R-rated film Wolverine deserved and make a dollar. I mean, it’s about a guy with razor sharp claws who is prone to homicidal rages. How can you do this honestly without blood and body parts on the ground? You can’t and the comics never shied away from it and in fact his learning not slaughter people was part of the character’s evolution, but what you can do in an all-ages comics oddly becomes an R-rated movie. Blood and darkness isn’t the reason why Logan is good but let’s not kid ourselves in that this will be the only takeaways for future superhero movies, so get ready for a lot of awful superhero crap filled with boobs, blood and cursing.

HOW ABOUT I JUST STAY OUT?
Get Out is down to number two and sorry, I don’t care how universally great the reviews are, I. Will. Never. See. This. I got anxiety just watching the trailer. I don’t do the scary to begin with, so do you really think I’m going to do the scary in a way that relates to me directly!?! The fucker is even a photographer in New York. Oh, hell no! But I’ll glad for everyone involved. Sorry I can’t help.

JESUS-Y IS TOO A WORD!
The Shack is opens at number three and this is some kind of Jesus-y thing and while I understand Sam Worthington has no choice but to be in shit like this—having been replaced as the Charisma-Free-Australian in movies by Jai Courtney—it’s sad Octavia Spencer found herself in this post-Oscar, pre-Hidden Figures.

NOW WHEN I SAY “I LOVE DICK” WHAT I MEAN IS…
The Lego Batman Movie is down to number four and the mixed blessing for this has come down in director Chris McKay doing a Nightwing movie. For those of you with actual lives and social skills, Nightwing is the identity Dick Grayson adopts after growing up and leaving Batman behind. There’s even a joking reference to it in this movie. It’s good because it’s Chris McKay who is a talented director. It’s bad because DC Comics and Warner Brothers have yet to make a superhero movie that doesn’t suck salty sweaty balls (Chris Nolan made his Batman movies before the official DC/WB unit was created to oversee these films) and the small blessing of no Dick Grayson or Robin in these movies is that they can’t fuck up Dick Grayson or Robin in these movies. It seems that time is over. Sigh.

BY THE WAY: YOU’RE OLD!
Before I Fall opens at number five and this is the latest Young Adult Novel Science Fiction/Fantasy adaptation. This time a teenager has to deal with the “stuck in a repeating day” situation endured by everyone from Bill Murray in Groundhog Day to David Duchovny on the X-Files. The only notable thing about it for an “old” like me is that it stars Zoey Deutch aka daughter of Lea Thompson aka Michael J. Fox’s mom in Back To The Future and also one of the stars of Some Kind of Wonderful (which was directed by dad, Howard Deutch). Like her mom in the latter film she plays a girl who’s a member of the beautiful people clique and there’s even a jerk boyfriend and shy guy who crushes on her. Some sf/fantasy elements would have helped Some Kind of Wonderful, honestly.

TESTING THE KINSEY SCALE WITH EVERY APPEARANCE
John Wick Chapter Two is down to number six and also in this is Ruby Rose who may or may not be playing a dude. The character is mute and no gender is specified, which lends to my theory that she’s here to make everyone question their sexuality. If you’re a straight dude or gay woman you’re wondering why you’re attracted to this boy. If you’re a straight woman or gay dude you’re wondering why you’re attracted to this girl. She’s fucking with all of us! And this is her second action movie this year. She was a sniper in XXX: The Return of Xander Cage. So it’s one step back and one step forward in ’17 for her.

A GOOD INTENTION THAT DOESN’T HELP PAVE THE ROAD TO HELL
Hidden Figures is down to number seven and I finally did my duty as a Black person and saw it! It’s good, not great. Very much a high production TV movie, because in the end all the bigoted White people come around to respect and admire the hard-working capable Black people. And the director even admitted it was to give the White audience something. Now it will go on forever, required viewing for both Black History Month and Women’s History Month in classrooms all over the country.

YUAN GON’ GET NO MONEY FROM THIS
The Great Wall is down to number eight and honestly I have no issue with the idea of an outsider coming in to help with a fight so long as he isn’t the “savior” of the people who’ve been fighting it all this time. At least not without good reason, you know like some advanced technology or strategy, but the Chinese invented fucking gunpowder and The Art of War so what the fuck could Matt Damon really do for them!?! And this isn’t the first big budget movie that throws Western actors (aka White actors) into a period piece in an attempt to get both Chinese and American audiences. Nicholas Cage has been in one (no surprise) and so has John Cusack (and his had Jackie Chan in it)! This is their first attempt with an A-list star, but it fared no better. File under “Great Mistakes Made In The Naked Pursuit of International Money.”

HIS PERSONAL HELL CONTINUES
Fifty Shades Darker is down to number nine and this doubled its budget domestically and made 6x worldwide, so if you think they’re not going to finish out the trilogy, keep dreaming, Jamie Dornan.

THE NOT WINNER OF BEST PICTURE
Finally, La La Land closes out the Top Ten at number ten so it can continue onto home video and maybe, just maybe I’ll catch it on cable one day. And have you noticed the way to succeed in Hollywood is not to be in a successful comic book movie franchise, but in a disappointing one? Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were in the Spider-Man reboot and now she’s got an Oscar while he got a nomination. Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller were in the Fantastic Four reboot and were also in critically praised Oscar-nominated movies. Meanwhile, The Chrises Hemsworth and Evans keep trying big and small for respect and come up empty. If it makes you feel better, boys, you’re taller and prettier than they are. Including Emma Stone.

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FORMER BOY WONDER PHOTO

4TH BEST BATMAN MOVIE EVER!

13 Feb

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1. The LEGO Batman Movie/WB      Wknd/$ 55.6    Total/$ 55.6
2. Fifty Shades Darker/Universal     Wknd/$ 46.8    Total/$ 46.8
3. John Wick: Chapter Two/LG        Wknd/$ 30.0    Total/$ 30.0
4. Split/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 9.3     Total/$ 112.3
5. Hidden Figures/Fox                        Wknd/$ 8.0      Total/$ 131.5
6. A Dog’s Purpose/Universal            Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 42.6
7. Rings/Paramount                             Wknd/$ 5.8      Total/$ 21.5
8. La La Land/LG                                 Wknd/$ 5.0      Total/$ 126.0
9. Lion/Weinstein                                 Wknd/$ 4.1      Total/$ 30.4
10.The Space Between Us/STX          Wknd/$ 1.8      Total/$ 6.6

BETTER THAN SNYDER, BUT YOU KNEW THAT
The LEGO Batman Movie opens at number one and if you remember, Will Arnett as Batman in The Lego Movie basically stole the thing so it’s no surprise that they gave him his own movie. But what’s odd about it is it’s this silly animated toy movie that has one of the best examinations of his personality and the only movie to just flat out say that Alfred is his father and Dick Grayson was his son. Not “butler” and “ward” but “father” and “son.” Not that it stops it from being funny in a very chaotic Airplane and Naked Gun sort of way. Let me put it this way: included in the villains here are Agents from The Matrix, Raptors from Jurassic Park and Sauron from Lord of the Rings. Oh, and Voldemort from Harry Potter. I’m not kidding. And the bulk of the humor is based on another prominent aspect of Batman’s personality that the movies have ignored but is a major thing in the comics: Batman is an asshole. Not the vainglorious asshole Will Arnett is playing here, but sharing the same character trait that he always thinks he’s right so it’s okay for him to do what he wants to anyone at any time. In this case when The Joker makes him obsolete by surrendering and making all the other bad guys in Gotham City surrender too, Batman realizes that it has to be some part of a greater scheme so he steals Superman’s Phantom Zone projector (easy because the Justice League is busy with their anniversary party which they’ve having for 57 years and never once inviting him…because he’s an asshole) and puts him there to safe. Unfortunately, that was The Joker’s plan exactly, so when he breaks out and brings all the villains imprisoned within to destroy Gotham it’s essentially Batman’s fault. Oh, and Batman’s been put in jail himself by Barbara Gordon for breaking in and putting The Joker in The Phantom Zone. It’s fun for normal people, but if you’re a geek, five times a much due to all the little “in” jokes that are thrown in.

SEXY? EHH, NOT SO MUCH.
50 Shades Darker opens at number two and briefly some thought it would open at number one and it’s clear those people don’t have kids. Every kid’s movie is kids admission + adult’s admission, whereas this only had adult’s admission, mostly female. Okay, maybe two adults on a date, but that’s not going to make up the difference. I saw the first as basically a joke with a friend who had a free screening passes. It was not good, though Dakota Johnson was and gave the movie a performance it didn’t deserve. Jaime Dornan gave the role the contempt he clearly has for it (and himself for taking the easy money & fame role which only gave him the former). That said, I’ve no interest in these characters whatsoever and not even bringing in Kim Basinger—who made the movie this could only hope to be in its wildest dreams, 9 ½ Weeks—is going to persuade me to give it a look. But it does make me want to watch 9 ½ Weeks again, so thanks for that.

John Wick: Chapter Two is the flipside to 50 Shades darker. It got the male money, but made less because honestly it’s not exactly a date movie. Granted, some people may get hot watching two-hours of breaking bones and headshots, but I’m willing to wager it’s not quite as many as those watching people boning (fewer to the tune of $16M). And this film is committed to headshots. A friend joked it should be called “HeadShot: The Movie.” Well, this is no different. I mean there’s actually a character that commits suicide…and he still shoots this person in the head. Like the first, Chapter Two is a borderline comedy in this concept there’s this secret underground criminal society that’s actually built on honor and respect and cops mysteriously never show up no matter how much mayhem is unleashed. This time they kick it up a notch when John Wick’s actions in the first result in someone he owed a debt to calling to collect. When Wick refuses, the guy blows up Wick’s house and the underground criminal society tells him he’s got to honor the debt, period. It’s a snake eating its tail because he incurred the debt leaving the life in the first place. Also, had he not gone on a killing spree in the first (to avenge the death of the puppy his late wife left to him) the marker would not have been called in, but fulfilling his obligation on this marker serves to create a mess that guarantees a John Wick Chapter 3 aka Even More Head Shots. And I’ll be there, ‘cause this silly ass shit is fun.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS! READ ON AT YE PERIL!
Split is down to number four and this is considered part of M. Night Shymaylan’s comeback and it’s a comeback in the only way that matters: money. From a $9M budget it’s made over a $100M domestic alone making it the highest grossing horror movie in four years. His previous hit was The Visit, which made $65M domestic from a $5M budget. This gets him a little bit of his mojo back, but it’s still doubtful any studio’s going to drop $100M blockbuster in his lap again anytime soon and that’s probably for the best. Some people only shine with limitations. I’ll never know because honestly I was never a big fan. He just makes Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episodes as full-blown movies and makes up that time difference by dragging things out needlessly. There’s deliberately pacing and there’s just dragging shit out. He just drags shit out. Of course by now you may be aware this isn’t a mere stand-alone movie. It’s actually connected to Unbreakable. The character James McAvoy plays eventually metamorphoses into a super-strong bulletproof super-villain that Bruce Willis as his Unbreakable character reads about in the paper at the end setting up a new movie where they fight. According to Shyamalan, this character was actually supposed to be in Unbreakable, but he felt it was overstuffed. God forbid we use all that time where he dragged shit out to tell another story. I wasn’t the greatest fan of Unbreakable so connecting this to it doesn’t make me suddenly want to see it. I left horror behind long ago and this is still technically a horror movie about a loon kidnapping three terrified girls. He kills and eats two of them and I am not paying to see that shit. How does the third one survive? Well, she was sexually abused by her uncle and James McAvoy’s character who was also horrifically abused feels a kinship with her for it. No, she doesn’t even get to be the girl at the end of a horror movie that beats or outwits the villain.

A DISAPPOINTMENT TO MY PEOPLE
Hidden Figures is down to number five and I still have embarrassingly not seen it. I’ve no excuse. None.

WHO’S THE BEST PILOT YOU EVER SEEN?
A Dog’s Purpose is down to number five and I’m actually glad Dennis Quaid has this little hit. He was always a guy who was supposed to be a big A-list star, but his big A-list films didn’t quite work out. It’s hit and miss with mostly miss. After The Right Stuff and The Big Easy it’s disappointment after disappointment even when the movies were good like Innerspace. Probably the biggest disappointment was Great Balls of Fire, the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic that co-starred Alec Baldwin who had a similar career. They were briefly “hot” then longtime “not” around the same time, but while Baldwin was reborn on TV, Quaid has stuck with feature films, apparently not realizing he’s one white-hot TV show away from reclaiming some of his promised glory. I mean, did we ever think Cuba Gooding Jr. would be in something worth discussing again until The People vs OJ? Take it, Hot Dog!

NO BLOOD FROM THIS STONE
Rings is down to number seven and this may be the end of this franchise unless they dial down the cost. Horror franchises now cost under $10M and this cost $25 and hasn’t even made that yet.

AT LEAST I’M NOT DISAPPOINTING MY PEOPLE
La La Land is down to number eight and also on my Oscar Must See list with Moonlight, Hidden Figures and the number nine film Lion. Remember: I’ve seen XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and Underworld: Blood Wars but not a single one of these.

BETTER TO RULE IN HELL
Closing out the top ten is The Space Between us and I feel sorry for Britt Robertson. She’s making all the right moves, doing all the “right” films but it’s not working out for her. I guess it’s because I was a fan of The Secret Circle, which was a CW show about gorgeous teen witches in a small town. Hey to a geek, superpowered teens are superpowered teens. Since then she’s been in A-list films (Tomorrowland, Mother’s Day, Mr. Church, Delivery Man with A-list stars (George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Anniston, Eddie Murphy, Vince Vaughn) and even did a damn Nicholas Spark novel adaptation with rising star Scott Eastwood, but it’s not working. This little science fiction teen romance is sadly another one for the failure pile. Maybe her TV adaptation of Girl Boss will work out for her. Just ask Alec Baldwin. Everyone wasn’t meant to be a movie star.

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FORMER BOY WONDER PHOTOGRAPHY

CAPTAIN UNREASONABLE: CIVIL BORE

9 May

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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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JUST TED’S BLOODY ADVENTURE

27 Oct

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1. Quija/Universal                                        Wknd/$ 20.0    Total/$ 20.0
2. John Wick/LG-S                                      Wknd/$ 14.1     Total/$ 14.1
3. Fury/Sony                                                  Wknd/$ 13.0    Total/$ 46.1
4. Gone Girl/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 11.1     Total/$ 124.1
5. The Book of Life/Fox                               Wknd/$ 9.8     Total/$ 29.9
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                             Wknd/$ 8.1      Total/$ 9.2
7. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney     Wknd/$ 7. 0     Total/$ 45.5
8. The Best of Me/Relativity                      Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 17.7
9. The Judge/WB                                         Wknd/$ 4.3      Total/$ 34.4
10. Dracula Untold/Universal                   Wknd/$ 9.9      Total/$ 40.7

I CAN’T SEE A TOMORROW ANY LONGER
Quija opens at number one and we should all be ashamed of this. A movie based unapologetically on a board game? With Michael Bay as a producer? For a moment I thought there was hope when we banded together as a people and rejected Battleship, but now…I just don’t know.

YOU NEED TO LAUGH A LITTLE AS BODIES HIT THE FLOOR
John Wick opens at number two and if the plot of this seems familiar it’s because it’s pretty much the same plot as The Equalizer which came out a month ago: a retired assassin goes on a killing spree when the Russian mob crosses him. Both end with showdowns in the rain (though an artificial in the case of The Equalizer) and both star an aging leading man, in this case Keanu Reeves now in his 50’s. Yeah, you a old muthafucka. The difference being this is much better, starting with the utter lack of pretense of saving someone or righting some wrong. Nope. John Wick is out for revenge, pure and simple and will kill anyone who gets in his way. It just so happens everyone he kills is a bad guy. If a cop had killed the puppy left to him by his late wife the way the son of the Russian Mob boss does you get the feeling he’d have wiped out the New York Police Department with the same lack of hesitation. Not that NYPD is anywhere to be seen as every action scene leaves more bodies on the ground than the last act of Hamlet (one cop is seen in New Jersey and knows better than to get involved…which is authentic Jersey). No, this is one of those films with a romantic fantasy depiction of organized crime, where they have their own hotels and clubs and everyone knows and respects everyone and there’s discipline and honor. Hell, there even seems to be a dress code. Pretty sure the inability to exist in a world of rules is what makes people into criminals, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s fantasy and it’s fun and the latter is what helps to elevate it over The Equalizer. There’s a dry sense of humor about all the carnage and nowhere more than in the primary antagonist. The first rule of action films is that your hero is only as good as your villain and there’s a good one here in the Russian Mob Boss. Now, in every action movie someone delivers the perfunctory expository monologue about how dangerous and deadly the hero is. Richard Crenna’s speech about Rambo in First Blood is the benchmark of this. Here the mob boss gives it to his son and when his son says he can handle Wick, there’s almost a metatextual response of frustration from the mob boss who says “Did he not hear what I just said!?!” At that moment he became the audience who has seen dozens of henchmen ignore these speeches and wanted to yell at the screen the exact same thing. And it’s not just him. This humor comes from a variety of characters throughout the film, all nicely portrayed by character actors who lend the film texture generic actioners often lack. It’s also good to have them when your leading man is Keanu Reeves, whom I like, but is far from the most magnetic personality to hit the screen. In that respect, The Equalizer does come out on top.

FACTS IS FACTS
Fury is down to number three and my friends confirmed what I suspected: any movie with Shia Lebouf in it blows. No exceptions.

YOU KNOW WHO DID ASCEND? MIRA SORVINO. EXACTLY.
Gone Girl is down to number four and also in this is Kim Dickens who seemed positioned to be the next indie film “It Girl” as I seemed to see her in every other art film at the end of the 20th century and one of Showtime’s first attempts at a series (with none other than indie king Eric Stoltz and Justine Bateman’s huge nipples). Alas, she never ascended, but I’m still glad to see her around, especially in a major, A-list film like this providing solid support as the detective investigating the disappearance of Rosamund Pike.

SOMETHING’S GONNA STICK
The Book of Life is down to number five and providing the voice to one of the characters is none other than Channing Tatum, clearly the hardest working man in show business. I have to respect someone who doesn’t just strike the iron while it’s hot, but wisely. He’s made a wide variety of choices from silly comedy (21 Jump Street) to action (White House Down) to romantic drama (The Vow) big budget sci-fi (Jupiter Ascending which was supposed to come out over the summer) to Oscar-bait drama (Foxcatcher opening this fall) to this, which isn’t some Dreamworks or Pixar guaranteed moneymaker, but a little off the beaten path. It suggests he’s actually looking for things that are interesting.

BUT HE WON’T DO A GHOSTBUSTERS SEQUEL
St. Vincent enters the top ten and this may be the third of an unofficial trilogy of Bill Murray that started with Meatballs and continued in Rushmore of the jaded older man who bonds with a boy. This might explain my lack of desire to see it. I’ve seen it done before and so well I don’t see how this could be better.

WRITING FULLY REALIZED CHARACTERS IZ HARD
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is down to number seven, followed by The Best of Me at number eight and The Judge at number nine and also in this is…Leighton Meester!?! Blair Waldorf? Yeah, I don’t get it either. She’s Vera Farmiga’s daughter that Robert Downey Jr. makes out with not knowing who she is. This is an example the some of the weaker writing in the film. They want this little surprise twist without thinking of what it takes to exist, which is sadly common in any movie or TV show about a guy who leaves home and is gone for years. Now it would be one thing if Vera Farmiga had also left town, but as it stands we’re supposed to believe that for twenty years he hasn’t heard a single thing about his high school love from anyone in his family who all still live in the same town. We’re also told his mother was close to her, but somehow never mentioned that his ex had a child twenty years ago. And even though he loved his mother, apparently he also has never been home once in twenty years to visit her. We know he has never taken his daughter to his home, but apparently no one travelled to see her either. There’s a repeated line from Very Famiga about him going to a Metallica concert and never being seen again that’s never elaborated upon. Probably because they never thought beyond that line.

LEARNING FROM THE MISTAKES OF LEONARD NIMOY
Finally, Dracula Untold closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Dominic Cooper, better known to you as Iron Man’s dad, Howard Stark. And how happy is he that Agent Carter got her own series that he can appear on and continue to draw from the Mighty Marvel Money Machine? Very happy indeed.

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“SECRET” LIFE SOUNDS BETTER THAN “QUIET DESPERATION”

29 Dec

47_Ronin_Poster_Intenational_e_JPosters

 1. The Hobbit 2/Warner                               Wknd/$  29.9           Total/$ 190.3

 2. Frozen/Disney                                            Wknd/$  28.8          Total/$ 248.4

 3. Anchorman 2/Paramount                        Wknd/$  28.8          Total/$   83.7

 4. American Hustle/Sony                             Wknd/$  19.6           Total/$   60.0

 5. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                    Wknd/$  18.5            Total/$   34.3

 6. Saving Mr. Banks/Disney                         Wknd/$  14.0           Total/$   37.8

 7. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty/Fox       Wknd/$  13.0           Total/$   25.6

 8. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                       Wknd/$  10.2           Total/$ 391.1

 9. 47 Ronin/Universal                                    Wknd/$   9.9           Total/$   20.6

10. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Xmas/LGF          Wknd/$    7.4          Total/$   43.7

 

FILLED WITH ELFIN HOTNESS

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug holds at number one and here as the character of Badass Chick Elf created by Peter Jackson is Evangeline Lilly and I maintain that’s the name of someone who sleeps with James Bond, not a real, live person. She acquits herself well enough with the English accent—that all characters must have in fantasy films and historical characters that are not American must have—like Liv Tyler before her. Which makes sense given that she’s here basically to fill that hole of a hot, badass chick elf.

 

DOING THE HEAVY LIFTING THE SCRIPT DOESN’T

Frozen actually rises to number two and I seem to be in the minority of people who don’t see this as a new Disney “classic.”  I’m thinking crap like Madagascar has lowered the bar so severely of what people expect from an animated film that anything even slightly above average gets an undue amount of praise.  In this case it’s that damn song that’s basically carrying this whole film, which I kinda understand. I hate songs in animated films, but even I like it. It’s that good.

 

WILL FERRELL IS BETTER FOR YOU THAN A GIANT ROBOT

Anchorman 2 is down to number three and finally in a big A-list film is Meagan Good, who was basically Megan Fox before Megan Fox, as in an actress whose name and look is more commonly found in porn, in that both are very exaggerated.  Between this and actually being the lead in a serious “let’s-cash-in-on-the-success-of-Scandal-with-a-hot-black-chick” drama in prime time (yes, it was cancelled almost immediately, but that she even got the role is the victory), it seems after 15 years in front of the camera, Meagan Good is becoming an overnight success.  I mean, unless you’re black, which means you’ve been watching her for 15 years, since Eve’s Bayou and are quite frankly shocked to see her in a role where she’s not in short-shorts and a push-up bra. Maybe we’ll all be shocked to see Megan Fox make the same type of ascension in ten years. Hey, it could happen!

 

THE DOUCHE OF WALL STREET

American Hustle holds at number four and no matter how many people tell me this is a mess, a mess with this cast is still going to be interesting at the very least, unlike say The Wolf of Wall Street which opens at number five.  It has a pretty interesting supporting cast, but unfortunately a center of doucheness composed of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. Yes, I know that their actual personalities shouldn’t affect your opinion of them onscreen, but guess what? They’re playing douchebags here too, so I’m not sure how much acting went into it.  But it’s Scorsese Oscar-bait so I guess I have to see it.

 

NICE PEOPLE DON’T GET MUCH DONE

Saving Mr. Banks (the unofficial sequel to Saving Private Ryan?) is down to number six and remember how I said this was a fairy tale to portray Walt Disney as a great man at her expense?  Well, she was no saint either.  Seems she adopted a little boy…but not his twin brother! Why?  Astrology. You only wish I were joking. But it gets worse. She never told him he had a brother…until he ran into him in a bar one day.  A bar because they both developed alcohol problems.  Gee, I wonder why?  Yeah, you’d have to lie to tell a story that put either of these two people in a favorable light.

 

THE BEN STILLER MOVIE

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens at number seven and this isn’t so much a remake as it is a reinterpretation of the short story, as the difference in tone and intent is as different as night and day.  The Danny Kaye version was a lighthearted musical comedy while this is an introspective comedy drama about a man who feels his life has so passed him by he can only cope by constantly losing himself into his daydreams.  Now if you’re someone of a comparable age and situation you might find yourself crying at regular points throughout, especially when his daydream actually enables him to find the courage to take a literal leap when reality fails him. All set to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” being sung by Kristen Wiig (I’m not crying! You’re crying!). I’ve long complained about not being able to take any more of Ben Stiller’s “Theater of Pain” style of comedy, which is basically watching him suffer an infinite number of indignities. It got so bad someone once joked that it was amazing he wasn’t in Passion of the Christ (get it? a suffering Jew?).  This film is ironically both the best use of that idea and the source of its worse missteps.  The humor that comes from him struggling to live life rather than just dream about it as he unburdens himself with the responsibility of taking care of his family is  very natural. The bit where he’s beaten down by airport security over a flute—all seen through an x-ray machine—is like a leftover bit from his show on Fox in the 90’s.  It’s a very flawed film, but sadly it spoke to me and I loved it as a result. This unfortunately means I lose the high ground I once had over my baby sister who loves the horrid Casual Sex movie for similar reasons. Nah. This is still better than that turd of a film.

 

47 REASONS WHY NO ONE SAW THIS

The Hunger Games: Catching Fires is down to number eight while 47 Ronin opens at number nine and Universal has already written this off for their 2013 taxes.  Ouch.  It was plagued with production troubles and while I don’t mind taking the famous story of the 47 Ronin (it’s considered a defining moment in Japanese culture and is celebrated annually) and setting it in within the world of Japanese mythology where magic and monsters are real you kinda wonder what was the point?  Especially when there are a) so few and b) only one of them that really matters.  And you have ample time to wonder because the film is paced so poorly. The first 30 minutes should have been part of the opening narration, as the story doesn’t begin until the 47 samurai become 47 ronin at the death of their lord (a samurai’s duty is to protect his lord and to become ronin is a disgrace because it means he as failed).  That would take this down from a bloated two hours to a tidier, yet still weak 90 minutes. Sorry, but a samurai film where the only blood seen is when they cut their thumbs to mark a document is ridiculous.  And we haven’t even gotten into the Keanu Reeves factor. Now, I like Keanu and am impressed that he’s finally playing Asian after all these years (his father was Philipino-Chinese) but he still sounds like a surfer with a head cold and even though the film is filled with Japanese actors speaking accented English, it sticks out like a sore thumb. The best part is the female villain who is working for a much better movie than she gets.

 

DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE ASS

Finally, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas closes out the top ten at number ten and good riddance.

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