Tag Archives: Keira Knightley

TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS FOR ME TO BE INVOLVED IN

13 Jul

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1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes/Fox               Wknd/$ 73.0       Total/$ 73.0
2. Transformers 4/Paramount                             Wknd/$ 16.5       Total/$ 209.0
3. Tammy/Warner                                                  Wknd/$ 12.9       Total/$ 57.4
4. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                         Wknd/$ 6.7         Total/$ 172.0
5. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox                  Wknd/$ 5.9         Total/$ 152.1
6. Earth to Echo/Relativity                                   Wknd/$ 5.5         Total/$ 24.6
7. Deliver Us From Evil/SGem                             Wknd/$ 4.7         Total/$ 25.0
8. Maleficent/Disney                                              Wknd/$ 4.2         Total/$ 222.0
9. Begin Again/Weinstein                                     Wknd/$ 2.9         Total/$ 5.3
10. Jersey Boys/Warner                                         Wknd/$ 2.5         Total/$ 41.7

I’M JUDGING YOU, MONKEY (GRANDMA’S BOY REFERENCE)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens at number one and honestly I care even less for this than I did for Transformers: Age of Extinction. I’m not going to get up on my high horse and proclaim the original series defacto better, because honestly I wouldn’t know. I never saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes because of one simple reason: all of this rests on a bunch of monkeys armed only with sticks and stones somehow not being gunned down immediately while rampaging through the streets. That suspension of disbelief I simply cannot give and I watch movies about men in capes who fight unarmed against men with machine guns. That’s how utterly stupid I find that premise. And this film being a sequel to that…nah. I’d rather stay home and read about men in capes who fight unarmed against men with machine guns. Granted, now there’s a logical reason why humans can’t wipe out the apes (a plague that began at the end of the first film has wiped out most of humanity) it all still depends on that first group of apes simply not being gunned down by a handful of cops. The best rationale for this I’ve read is that in any other place but leftist San Francisco it would have happened. That’s funny because it’s true. Only in SF would PETA have enough clout to utterly doom humanity.

SOMETIMES A BRUTHA JUST NEEDS TO GET PAID!
Transformers: Age of Extinction is down to number two and I can only think Stanley Tucci is here to pay for his theater and indie film work. Yeah, that’s what I’ll tell myself. Then again, that’s what I told myself about John Turturro and what did he do with his Transformers money? Make a skeevy vanity project about how Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara would pay him for a threesome. Please don’t do that, Stanley. Please?

ACTUALLY, THE DIRECTOR SLEPT WITH HER TO GET HIS JOB
Tammy is down to number three and before anyone tells you this is a disappointment, know that it’s going to triple its budget domestically alone. Forget what people say about international gross. Studios can only get between 14 and 40% of that take, so domestic is still what matters so they’re very happy with this. Even better Melissa McCarthy’s husband directed it, so they’re building their only little family empire. More power to them.

WAIT TILL YOU SEE WHERE YOU GO GRAY FIRST!
22 Jump Street is down to four followed by How To Train Your Dragon 2 at number five and yes, four out of the top five films are sequels. Now, I’m not going to blame this for the reason this summer has been so disappointing on sequels and sequels to a reboot. If we were looking at sequels to Iron Man and Captain America, I wouldn’t be happier. No, this summer has been disappointing because I’m getting older and pickier even inside my own wheelhouse. Yeah, it took awhile, but it’s finally here. I flat out refused to see three of the four due to personal reasons, whereas there’s a 12-year-old geek inside me screaming his lungs out at all the big screen science fiction that we’re passing on. Sorry, kid but the old me needs more sleep than you ever did. Oh, and we can’t ride rollercoaster’s anymore either.

ALL THAT’S MISSING IS A CANDY TIE-IN
Earth to Echo is down to number six and while this technically isn’t a sequel or a reboot but it might as well be also adding to this summer’s disappointment. It’s also a found footage movie, because it’s shot from various cameras in the film. Not that you needed another reason not to see it.

SAM WORTHINGTON HAS HAD MORE SUCCESS AND YOU KNOW THAT’S WRONG
Deliver Us From Evil is down to number seven and you gotta feel for Erica Bana. He has leading man written all over him, but the work keeps letting him down, from The Hulk to Troy to The Other Boleyn Girl to The Time Traveler’s Wife. The killer is that he was a good actor in a superhero movie before it was cool. His director here, Scott Derrickson, is going to helm the Doctor Strange movie and there’s talk his co-star Edgar Ramirez will have the role. I think Bana would actually be better. Besides, the universe owes him one.

SPOILERS ARE MUSIC TO MY EARS
Begin Again enters the top ten at number nine and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, it’s a bit of fairy tale, but like I said, fuck that grim indie bullshit. It’s summer. Also here (but mercifully only moments) is Cee Lo as the kind star who helps the down on his luck Ruffalo for old time’s sake. Like I said, fairy tale. I also don’t get why Ruffalo needs to have an old Jaguar that he drives in the city!?! It would have made so much more sense if he actually sold it to pay for making Keira Knightley’s album. Oh, I promise a spoiler. You ready? You sure? Here we go…3…2…1…Ruffalo and Knightley never hook up. Yes, we finally have a movie where a broken middle-aged man isn’t magically healed between the thighs of a younger woman. More than that, he actually goes back to his wife played by the wonderful Catherine Keener. They definitely toy with them confusing being in love with making the music with being in love with each other, but just when you think it’s about to happen, it’s wonderfully and humorously derailed, never to return.

WE JUST WEREN’T READY FOR PENNIES FROM HEAVEN
Ironically enough, as one good movie about musicians enters the top ten, a mediocre one leaves, as Jersey Boys closes out the top ten at number ten. You now what would have saved this film? If they made it a flat out real musical and allowed Christopher Walken to sing and dance. No, I’m not kidding. I think more people would have paid to see that that than this as it is.

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MICHAEL BAY IS THE DEVIL AND YOU KNOW IT!

30 Jun

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1. Transformers 4/Paramount                  Wknd/$100.0       Total/$ 100.0
2. 22 Jump Street/Sony                             Wknd/$ 15.4         Total/$ 139.8
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox      Wknd/$ 13.1          Total/$ 121.8
4. Think Like A Man Too/SGem              Wknd/$ 10.0         Total/$ 48.2
5. Maleficent/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 8.2           Total/$ 201.9
6. Jersey Boys/Warner                               Wknd/$ 7.6           Total/$ 7.6
7. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                Wknd/$ 5.2            Total/$ 84.2
8. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                  Wknd/$ 4.8           Total/$ 109.5
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox        Wknd/$ 3.3            Total/$ 223.4
10. Chef/ORF                                               Wknd/$ 1.7            Total/$ 19.4

WIPING OUT TASTE IN A GENERATION
Transformers: Age of Extinction opens unsurprisingly at number one and in the interest of full admission I did see all three previous Transformers film, finding the first actually entertaining. It was your archetypical boy discovers he’s the “the special one” and becomes a hero. Hell, that’s the basic premise of everything from King Arthur to Star Wars, but in this case everyone including the hero is utterly obnoxious and the stupidity nearly chokes the film to death. Let me put it this way: at one point the robots are all encouraging the protagonist to run. Again: ROBOTS WHO TURN INTO VEHICLES ARE TELLING HIM TO RUN. Just let that sink in a moment. The second film had none of the minimal charm of the first, but dialed the obnoxious stupidity up to 11 and the third doubled even that to the point where my movie buddy became visibly upset with me for having made her seen it (I had to see the final Harry Potter film as a result). With that in mind I gave this one a pass, my already dim outlook made fatally dark by news that it decided to go darker. Again: A FILM ABOUT GIANT ROBOTS RIDING GIANT ROBOT DINOSAURS WANTED TO GO DARK. I think that says it all.

I HAVE WATCHED TV FOR A LONG, LONG TIME
Holding at number two is 22 Jump Street and because I actually watched the original show, I know why Channing Tatum’s character is called Jenko. He was the captain who recruited Johnny Depp to the “jump street” program and was played by Frederic Forrest. And for a show that was about pretty, 20-something cops going undercover in high schools that only worked because all those students were also played by 20-something actors, it could get a little intense. Perhaps the best example of this was the episode “Orpheus 3.3” where Johnny Depp’s girlfriend is killed in a hold-up in front of him and he just basically has a nervous breakdown, not helped by the fact that he gets the security footage and watches her murder over and over again trying to figure out what he could have done in the 3.3 seconds (hence the title) it took her to be killed. They were also shockingly ahead of the curve in an episode based clearly on the Tawana Brawley case where Booker (aka, Richard Grieco) speaks opening about appreciating Male White Privilege a term that only came into existence a few years ago. Hmm, I’m now wondering why, given Depp’s superstardom and the success of these movies, it’s not in syndication.

GOOD THING SHE STILL LOOKS 25
How To Train Your Dragon 2 holds at number three, followed by Think Like A Man Too and also in this is Gabrielle Union and you have to wonder how she feels being part of an ensemble dominated by Kevin Hart when she was briefly an leading woman? It’s gotta sting just a little. And watching her Bring It On co-star Kirsten Dunst wind up in a much the same boat isn’t much consolation.

A FAMILY AFFAIR
Maleficent holds at number five and the only other person you might know in this is Elle Fanning, who plays Sleeping Beauty. Obviously she’s the younger sister of Dakota who clearly decided a semi-normal high school experience was more important than making movies, thus opening the door up for her sister.

MAYBE THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS MOVIE
Jersey Boys is down to number six apparently Joe Pesci was instrumental in the creation of The Four Seasons by introducing them to their fourth member who was also their songwriter. Pesci’s friend in the group was Joey DeVitto. Pesci played a different Joey DeVitto who didn’t have quite as nice a life in GoodFellas. Joey DeVitto wound up working for Joe Pesci in the end. And that’s your ironic trivia of the day!

WE COULD ALL USE A LITTLE MORE PAXTON
Edge of Tomorrow is down to number seven and also in this is Bill Paxton who has not come full circle, playing the “go get ‘em” sergeant in big science fiction movies rather than smart-ass private like he did in Aliens. And one of the flaws in this film is when Tom Cruise decides to take the fight to the aliens, he somehow fails to recruit the gung-ho sergeant. It not only makes no sense, but also denies us a little more Paxton. His presence might have made a few of those clichés go down a little easier.

MICHAEL BAY HASN’T WON YET!
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number eight, followed by X-Men Days of Future Past at number nine and Chef holding on at number ten. Seriously, every time I see that while big summer movies like Godzilla come and go it makes me smile.

MUSIC MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER
Speaking of Chef, what do it, Snowpiercer and Begin Again have in common? All have good critical reviews and all have actors who have been suckling from the Marvel teat for the last few years. Actors have been saying forever how they only do big studio films so they can be free to do smaller, more personal films and it’s bullshit for the most part, but Mark Ruffalo, Jon Favreau and Chris Evans are actually walking the walk. It’s not too much of a surprise for Ruffalo and Favreau who both made their bones in indie land, but now that he’s free to do so, Evans seems hellbent on making his home there. But now we’re talking about Ruffalo, who like most, talked shit about mainstream films then started showing up in shit like 13 Going on 30, Rumor Has It, View From The Top and Just Like Heaven, basically being the go-to “Young Leading Man” for young actresses Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Anniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. Somewhere along the way he had a life-threatening medical condition and while that may have sent him looking for money I prefer to think it made him realize that he needed more, which meant a return to indie, which he how he turned up in the career revitalizing The Kids Are All Right which then led him to his payday-for-life turn in The Avengers. I also like to think that got Begin Again made because the money they needed for some of their music licensing, much less shooting in the streets of New York, was not cheap and you’d need veterans of billion dollar films in the lead and so they have them in Keira Knightley and now Mark Ruffalo. Begin Again is the story of a music producer/label head at a very low point in his life who rediscovers himself producing the album of a young songwriter recovering from heartbreak after her musician boyfriend dumps her on his rise to the top. You know it’s an indie film when you time jump not just once, but twice, as we get the opening where Mark Ruffalo meets Keira Knightley at an open mike night first flashing back from his point of view, then from hers. There’s also the indie trademark of your protagonist being very nearly unlikably flawed (as opposed to “charming flawed” like most mainstream films) for most of the film, while giving some redeeming qualities to your antagonists, like Ruffalo’s more business-oriented partner, Mos Def and Keira Knightley’s slightly douchey boyfriend, Adam Levine (whose actual acting was probably the non-douchey aspects). Like Favreau in Chef, Ruffalo is a bad parent to a teenage daughter who is looking for male attention in the most traditional way possible: dressing slutty. The difference, which makes Chef superior is that Favreau doesn’t really learn until the last minute, making the same mistake in the last ten minutes that he did in the first ten. Ruffalo’s character in comparison is essentially healed by Knightley’s music and returns to being an attentive, loving dad (even quitting drinking). It helps that his daughter (played by Hailee Steinfeld) turns out to be a decent guitar player and all wounds are healed when they play together at one point. But honestly, I don’t mind a total happy ending because I still enjoyed the journey. And fuck it, it’s summer. Save that bleak-ass indie shit for the fall and winter.

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