Tag Archives: Kevin Costner

NO SINGING MICE! THANK GOD!

16 Mar

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1. Cinderella/Disney                                               Wknd/$ 70.1   Total/$ 70.1
2. Run All Night/WB                                              Wknd/$ 11.0   Total/$ 11.0
3. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox                 Wknd/$ 6.2    Total/$ 107.4
4. Focus/WB                                                             Wknd/$ 5.8    Total/$ 44.0
5. Chappie/Sony                                                      Wknd/$ 5.8    Total/$ 23.3
6. The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel               Wknd/$ 5.7    Total/$ 18.1
7. The SpongeBob Movie/Par                               Wknd/$ 4.1     Total/$ 154.7
8. McFarland, USA/Disney                                   Wknd/$ 3.7     Total/$ 35.0
9. American Sniper/WB                                         Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 341.5
10. The Duff/LionsGate                                          Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 30.3

MONEY VS. DEPTH: WE KNOW WHO WINS
Cinderella opens at number one and two things got me in to see this and once again risk being the Solo Adult Male at a Kid’s Movie, which I’m sure is one day going to get me arrested: 1) Cate Blanchett, 2) Not A Musical. And believe me it’s the latter that carries the most weight. Remember my rule: if Gene Kelly isn’t dancing I don’t care. This isn’t so much a reinterpretation of the story, but another instance of Disney’s latest cash cow: live action versions of their animated features (Fantasia is going to be interesting). And clearly it a paid off, as evidenced by my ass in a seat and I hated the animated version. If you were hoping for maybe just a little more depth, you know, something for the adults like the great joke about “bears in San Francisco” in the trailer for Inside Out before the movie, dream on. Oh, they toy with it. They hint at actually making Cate Blanchett a three dimensional character whose evil is a result of the pain from losing the husband she loved and not truly being loved by a second husband who also dies, but they don’t follow through and just basically have her blurt out that that she’s mean to Ella (called Cider-ella due to the cinders on her face from being reduced to servant) because she’s so good. Seriously, that’s what she said. It would have made more sense if she blamed that obscenely tiny waist Cinderella has on display at the ball. Look, I know you want to try and recreate the movie, but you can’t force a human to have those proportions. Yes, she’s wearing a corset, but she also had to go on liquid diet to get into it. What. The. Fuck!?! Does Disney really think they would have lost a dollar because a real life human didn’t have the physical dimensions of a fucking cartoon!?! One thing they do get right is that Cinderella isn’t a servant for years. Seriously, I love the revisionist version with Drew Barrymore, but to think that being pretty much a slave for 20 years wouldn’t break or embitter you really is a fairy tale. Her first act as queen would have been to have her stepmother and mean sister beheaded and made the semi-nice one watch as a warning.

IT ALWAYS LEADS BACK TO CONNERY. ALWAYS.
Run All Night opens at number two and by Neeson’s own admission we’re reaching the end of this second act of his career as an action star. Probably because he’s doing it wrong. Yeah, being Dad The Action Hero worked briefly, but eventually you have to balance out that age curve by pairing him with a younger man to do all the heavy lifting. Or in the case of Neeson, the running, which he hates to do and directors have to work around it. In other words, do the Connery. Sean Connery is textbook on how to be an aging action hero, something it would do Schwarzenegger well to follow. In this one Neeson’s fighting Irish mob boss, Ed Harris in NYC, which almost makes this like a sequel to State of Grace where he was also an Irish mob boss in NYC. I like to think he survived being killed by Sean Penn…only to be killed here by Neeson (no, I didn’t see it, but do you really think he lives?). Penn also survived and went on to join the CIA, which is where we’ll see him next week in The Gunman. And if you think he’s not doing action movies because of Neeson, think again. They all owe him a check for opening this up for them.

IN HIS SIXTH DECADE OF EXPLOSIONS
Speaking of aging action heroes, Kingsman: The Secret Service rises back up to number three and as the head of The Kingsmen is Michael Caine, who did some badass movies back in his day as well, like Get Carter. It’s also a bit of a in-joke that he would play the head of a covert agency given he also played a secret agent back in the sixties. The Austin Powers character is based on him and why he also plays the father. Caine also did a turn as an elderly badass a few years back in Harry Brown, where he’s an ex-soldier who’s pushed too far. Yes, they make those films in England too. Death Wish fantasies are not just for Americans. They’re for any society with an underclass who occasionally needs to be taught a lesson.

CINEMATIC COITUS INTERRUPTUS
Down to number four is Focus and also in this is Rodrigo Santuro. Best known, unfortunately for being the Persian leader, Xerxes in 300 and its horrible sequel, but people of taste will know him as the hot guy Laura Linney doesn’t get to bone in Love Actually. Seriously, that was just mean.

SOAKING UP THAT CASH
Chappie is down to number five, followed by The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at number six and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water at number seven and from a $74M budget, this has made $270M worldwide and somewhere the creator of Ren & Stimpy weeks because his little cartoon never graduated from the love of hip kids to an actually license to print money like this one did.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GEEK CRED
McFarland, USA is down to number eight, with American Sniper returning at number nine and finally The DUFF closing out the Top Ten at number ten, and starring in this Mae Whitman who is none other than the President’s daughter in Independence Day. Think she’s coming back for the sequel? And she’s got even more geek cred as the voice of a child Lois Lane on Superman The Animated Series, Batgirl on Batman: The Brave & The Bold and Wonder Girl on Young Justice. Geek cred is there for Robbie Amell, the cousin to none other than Stephen Amell, also known as Green Arrow on Arrow. He recently appeared on The Flash to become the superhero known as Firestorm himself. No geek cred for the pre-naturally pretty Bella Thorne, but given she’s a pretty redhead and they’re rebooting Spider-Man again as a teenager, it should be happening any minute now. I feel I’ll go to jail just for writing about her given she’s only 17 (was it even legal for the 26-year-old Amell to kiss her?). Her porn star name doesn’t help matters in the slightest. Her siblings are equally named Remy Thorne, Kalli Thorne and Dani Thorne because apparently Mary, Susan or Katherine just wouldn’t do. Do I even have to tell you they’re from Florida? Irony alert: in this film she plays the “mean girl” of the high school and like Lindsay Lohan she’s a henna-headed product of the Disney machine. Hopefully being from Florida won’t doom her the way that being from Long Island doomed Lohan.

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I’VE GOT A BRIDGE TO SELL YOU

1 Mar

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1. Focus/WB                                                   Wknd/$ 19.1   Total/$ 19.1
2. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox       Wknd/$ 11.8   Total/$ 85.7
3. The SpongeBob Movie/Par                     Wknd/$ 11.2   Total/$ 140.3
4. Fifty Shades of Grey/ Universal             Wknd/$ 10.9  Total/$ 147.8
5. The Lazarus Effect/Relativity                 Wknd/$ 10.6  Total/$ 10.6
6. McFarland, USA/Disney                          Wknd/$ 7.8    Total/$ 22.0
7. American Sniper/Warner                         Wknd/$ 7.7    Total/$ 331.1
8. The Duff/LionsGate                                  Wknd/$ 7.2    Total/$ 20.1
9. Still Alice/SPC                                            Wknd/$ 2.7    Total/$ 2.7
10. Hot Tub Time Machine 2/Par               Wknd/$ 2.4    Total/$ 10.3

IT’S CLEAR TO ME HOW LITTLE I CARE
Focus opens at number one and in it Will Smith plays a con man…and that’s pretty much where I lost all interest. I cannot stand con man and heist movies. Could not give less of a shit. Some people love ’em, but not me. David Mamet adores con movies and wants to do them the way John Ford did westerns, but I’d sooner see a horror movie than watch heist/con movie. The best part of Ocean’s Eleven is the gathering at the beginning. I stop watching once the actual heist plan starts. That’s how little I care. I know that “they’re all the same” can be applied to pretty much any genre, but it’s particularly annoying with the heist/con flick because it’s going to go one of three ways: 1) it works with the possible exception of painfully faux hiccups that our super-heist/con men improvise their way through, 2) it fails, but this is because one one heist/con men has been conning the other to get all the money all along and 3) it works and afterward everyone starts to betray/kill one another. This looks like the second and I could really care less.

IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE I THINK HE’S AN IDIOT
Kingsman: The Secret Service holds at number two and also in this as the villain is Samuel L. Jackson and is no one going to talk about the fact he’s playing a cross between Bill Gates and Russell Simmons? Especially the latter, all the way down to a man his age stupidly trying to dress like a 20-year-old with a baseball cap on crooked. I mean he’s even got the lisp!

GOOD FOR THE GANDER, NOT SO MUCH FOR THE GOOSE
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water is down to number three followed by 5o Shades of Gray finally dropping to number four and the unfortunate male lead, Jamie Dornan, was doomed from the beginning, because while there may have been better choices (as we discussed last week) no one was really going to be the Christian Grey that exists only in the minds of the fans of the book, so perhaps the only thing they can agree upon is that it’s not this guy. Poor Jamie. You know he got the same speech from his agents that Dakota Johnson got from hers about a role like this making his career: “…it’s a small price to pay…it’ll create more opportunities…it’ll pay for smaller artistic films”…only it actually seems to be working for her.

YOU WON THE GENETIC LOTTERY. LET THAT BE ENOUGH.
The Lazarus Effect opens at number five and remember what I said about movies I just don’t like to see? Well of course the only two wide release films to open this week were in both categories I don’t like and here we have the second: the scary. And by now I think we’ve learned that if Olivia Wilde is in it, it will suck. Such is the most common fate of the Hot Girl or Guy of The Moment who takes every big movie thrown his or her way in hopes it will cement them, but due to a lack of luck none of them do. I say “luck” rather than blaming them for a bad movie, because 50 Shades of Grey is a bad movie and that’s just leapfrogged Dakota Johnson ahead of all the other girls in the trenches. You know someone who made a movie with both James Bond and Indiana Jones that was directed by the guy who brought Iron Man into the world is wondering just what the hell went wrong for her.

BUT I WON’T PRETEND PRIME SUSPECT WAS GOOD EITHER
McFarland USA drops to number six and also in this is Maria Bello and between this and Grown Ups clearly someone clearly has mortgage payments to make. She deserves so much better than to play the wife for actors who could never get her (looking at you, Kevin James) and are too old for her like Kevin Costner, who was playing an over-the-hill baseball player 3o years ago in Bull Durham when Bello was finishing her senior year of college.

THE WE-OWED-YOU-ONE AWARD
Oscar-Free American Sniper drops one notch to number seven, followed by The DUFF at number eight and buoyed by Julianne Moore’s Oscar win to number nine is Still Alice. And good for all of you, but I’m still not rushing to a film about a brilliant mind dealing with early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s just too depressing for me no matter how good it is. The Constant Gardner is a good film. Doesn’t exactly leave you jumping for joy either. But I’m glad she finally won, even though it means I was denied my “Two Best Actress Winners Once Fought To Death in A Bond Film” dream.

THE END
Finally, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 closes out the top ten at number ten.

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FLASH! HE CAN STILL SAVE EVERYONE OF YOU!

8 Feb

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1. The SpongeBob Movie/Par                        Wknd/$ 56.0   Total/$ 56.0
2. American Sniper/Warner                          Wknd/$ 24.2   Total/$ 282.3
3. Jupiter Ascending/Warner                        Wknd/$ 19.0   Total/$ 19.0
4. Seventh Son/Universal                               Wknd/$ 7.1      Total/$ 7.1
5. Paddington/Weinstein                               Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 57.3
6. Project Almanac/Paramount                    Wknd/$ 5.3      Total/$ 15.8
7. The Imitation Game/Weinstein                Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 74.7 8.
8. The Wedding Ringer/SGems                    Wknd/$ 4.8     Total/$ 55.1
9. Black or White/Relativity                          Wknd/$ 4.5      Total/$ 13.1
10. The Boy Next Door/Universal                Wknd/$ 4.1      Total/$ 30.7

I DON’T WATCH ADVENTURE TIME EITHER
The SpongeBob Movie opens at number one and I’ve never seen the show. That whole hipster moment totally passed me by. And while the trailer did look exceptionally funny I feel it’s a little late to hop onboard.

CAREERS DESCENDING
American Sniper is down to number two, followed by Jupiter Ascending opening at number three. Now this was supposed to be one of the big summer movies last year, but got pushed back, which is never a good sign. That they chose to release it in February made it perfectly clear the studio thought it was a dud and unfortunately they were right. The Wachowskis (no longer the brothers as one has become a woman) have never made an unattractive film, but they’ve only made two actually good ones: Bound and The Matrix. The others range between messy but entertaining (Cloud Atlas, Matrix Reloaded Speed Racer) to flat out bad (The Matrix Revolutions). This sadly goes into that latter category, though like always is easy on the eyes. It thoroughly embraces the idea of eye candy in space opera which has basically been lost since 2001: A Space Odyssey utilized actual science in its production so the “look” science fiction space operas has been utilitarian ever since. Seeing this makes me wish they’d done an adaption of Flash Gordon instead as they could have brought the beautiful imagery of Alex Raymond’s work to life, all the way down to women in slutwear being a fashion universal. I never enjoyed the film more than when they just showing gigantic spaceships that basically looked like chandeliers flying through space. And honestly that’s all I had, because The Wachowskis once again utilize the idea of an ordinary person who is in fact a very special person who enters into a fantastic world that was around them all the time. The difference being while Neo became an actual participant in that world, Jupiter is always the spectator or the damsel to be saved. She’s the protagonist, but not the hero. The story would have been better told from the perspective of her savior, Channing Tatum, a human spliced with a wolf to be a better space soldier who tracks her down as a result of the inner struggles of a family space dynasty. Yeah, I make it sound more interesting than it is. Basically, she’s the genetic recreation of the matriarch and is now a pawn between the matriarch’s three children as she “owns” the earth, which would make her richer than all of them. Okay, it’s actually as dull as that sounded. It’s so ill conceived, that one of the siblings is totally dropped by the third act and you don’t even miss her, nor do we see what happens when one of them dies, which literally changes everything because the whole fucking movie is driven by sibling rivalry! I think it’s telling that Channing Tatum, who is best known for his body didn’t feel the need to get in top shape for this despite the fact that the movie has him shirtless for half-an hour for no real reason. A weak script isn’t worth crunches or dieting. And what’s the point of having reincarnation as a central plot point when the character is only the physical reincarnation and has no memories from their previous life?

THE MUSTACHE ABIDES
Opening a number four is The Seventh Son, another delayed film whose February dumping boded ill and once again that decision was dead on. This film is about Jeff Bridges’ mustache and a male model in their battle against Julianne Moore paying the bills so she can do Oscar-worthy indie film work. Yes, this is yet another attempt to create a franchise out of a Young Adult novel and yet another failure because they don’t seem to realize that unless it’s a mega success like Harry Potter or Twilight in print form it’s not coming with a built-in audience of millions. You actually have to but something behind it. This is just a waste of actually talented actors and a decent CGI budget because it lacks a better director who realizes you just can’t say there’s light in the villain and dark in the hero, you have to show it. That way you get fully realized characters. And if you want just a big cartoon (which is fine too) then you have to drop those concepts and amp up the pace. It does neither of those things. But it didn’t bore me like Jupiter Ascending did.

TO BE FAIR, NO ONE SAW HER MOVIES WHEN SHE WAS MRS. CRUISE EITHER
Paddington is down to number five and I suppose I should say something about this since it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. Um, Nicole Kidman is in it. Clearly making movies her kids can see…or that someone, somewhere might even want to see.

THE MORE YOU KNOW
Project Almanac is down to number six, followed by The Imitation Game at number seven and that actually sounds like the title of a science fiction movie too, but it’s just about real science.

IF YOU WANNA BE A STAR, GOTTA ACT LIKE ONE
The Wedding Ringer is down to number eight, but has more than doubled its budget, so while not a runaway hit, it ain’t no failure either. Both Kevin Hart and Josh Gad have done better but Kaley Cucco needed it. Especially if she insists on hyphenating her famous maiden name with her less known rebound-married name. Courtney Cox did that for a hot second then realized her error and wound up dropping both it and the man it came from.

ONCE IS HAPPENSTANCE, TWICE IS COINCIDENCE, MORE THAN TIMES IS A CURSE!
Black or White is down to number nine and also in this is Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and while yes, the lack of change in her career is partly racial and partly sexist, I feel it’s mostly the curse of Best Supporting Actress. I mean, seen Melissa Leo lately? Marcia Gay Harden? Rachel Weisz? Mo’Nique? Jennifer Hudson? It even took down Renee Zellweger and Catherine Zeta Jones after they won it. Tilda Swinton seems unaffected because she never gave a crap about mainstream success anyway, but Cate Blanchett is the only survivor of the last decade.

CRITICS DON’T PAY YOUR BILLS!
Finally, The Boy Next Door closes out the top ten at number ten. $30M from a $4M budget and JLo was also a producer. Make that money, girl.

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THE OPPOSITE OF KIERA KNIGHTLEY

2 Feb

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1. American Sniper/Warner                           Wknd/$ 31.9    Total/$ 248.9
2. Paddington/Weinstein                               Wknd/$ 8.5      Total/$ 50.5
3. Project Almanac/Paramount                     Wknd/$ 8.5      Total/$ 8.5
4. Black or White/Relativity                           Wknd/$ 6.5      Total/$ 6.5
5. The Boy Next Door/Universal                   Wknd/$ 6.1      Total/$ 24.7
6. The Wedding Ringer/SGems                     Wknd/$ 5.7      Total/$ 48.1
7. The Imitation Game/Weinstein                Wknd/$ 5.2      Total/$ 68.0
8. Taken 3/Fox                                                  Wknd/$ 3.7      Total/$ 76.1
9. Strange Magic/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 3.4     Total/$ 9.0
10. The Loft/ORF                                              Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 2.9

OH, I LOVED KEEN EDDIE SO MUCH
American Sniper holds at number one, which makes sense given this is the holy American holiday of the Super Bowl, but sadly getting lost in the controversy is the return of Sienna Miller. You remember her from the 00’s, right? Pretty, blonde, English actress slowly rising before sadly becoming most famous for boning Jude Law during his “moment” then being humiliated when he started boning his kid’s nanny. Not helping was an unremarkable indie film career. It’s one thing to do good work and go unnoticed, but she wound up in mediocrity both big (Alfie, Stardust, GI Joe: Rise of Cobra) and small (Casanova, Factory Girl, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh). This is her second go round and don’t think she doesn’t know it. I know she’s happy to be in a hit, but it’s got to be killing her that she’s making a comeback (she’s also in Foxcatcher) and no one is noticing.

TIME (TRAVEL) AFTER TIME (TRAVEL)
Paddington rises to number two, while Project Almanac opens at number three and once upon a time I would have been head first into this kind of thing, but as I’ve grown older nothing turns me off sooner than a time paradox movie. Honestly, I could not give less than a crap that the main character couldn’t exist unless he’d gone back in time and introduced his grandparents or the main character accidentally kills his dad before he’s conceived. They all think they’re clever and they rarely are (I’m looking at you, Looper, Interstellar, etc). Not to mention it’s another “found footage” film, which means it means instant nausea from the ironically named “steady cam.” Sadly it probably cost nothing so at the very least will probably break even thus insuring more of them are made. Sigh.

BUT I’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU AS CRASH DAVIS
Black or White opens at number four and while this may seem like a timely film, the presence of Kevin Costner (who also financed it) means it’ll be about as deep as a saucer with nothing really to say about race relations in America. The trailers suggest hamfisted deliveries without the slightest hint of nuance. I sat through Losing Isaiah so I feel no need to go through it again here.

‘CAUSE THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS TO SLUTS, AMIRITE, FELLAS?
The Boy Next Door is down to number five and also in this is Kristen Chenoweth, so it’s just filled with women who deserve better but have bills to pay. Given this all about punishing a woman for sex (when was the last time you saw a movie about a guy who bangs a legal teenager and suffers for it?) and she’s the horny best friend, I’ve no doubt she dies a horrible death and I seriously don’t have time for that bullshit.

DOUBLE EDGED SUCCESS SWORD
The Wedding Ringer is down to number six, followed by The Imitation Game at number seven and Taken 3 at number eight. Probably my favorite commercial of the Super Bowl was Liam Neeson making fun of his new tough guy image as an angry online gamer. I know a few women who loved it a little too much…and by that I mean it’s become basically a 30 second porn film. Much in the way that other online gaming commercial with Kate Upton is for lonely, lonely, lonely dudes.

IT’S A GEEK’S WORLD NOW
Strange Magic is down to number nine while The Loft opens at and closes out the top ten and because I can only think geek, when I see a movie with Karl Urban, James Marsden and Wentworth Miller all I see is a movie about Judge Dredd, Cyclops and Captain Cold (the comic book characters they’ve played) getting an apartment together. Of course it’s going to end badly, what with the superbattles. And you may not know it, but there are actually five guys involved in the loft, but one is European actor you wouldn’t know and the other is Eric Stonestreet who plays Cam on Modern Family. Yeah, exactly. They’re not going to show the fat guy who’s probably better known than all of them put together. Poor Cam.

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GIRL YOU’LL BE A WOMAN…ONE DAY

20 Apr

blackwidows 1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier        Wknd/$ 26.6     Total/$ 201.5
2. Rio 2/Fox                                                         Wknd/$ 22.5     Total/$ 75.4
3. Heaven is for Real/TriStar                           Wknd/$ 21. 5     Total/$ 28.5
4. Transendence/Warners                                Wknd/$ 11.2      Total/$ 11.2
5. A Haunted House 2/ORF                             Wknd/$ 9.1        Total/$ 9.1
6. Draft Day/LG                                                  Wknd/$ 5.9        Total/$ 19.5
7. Divergent/LGF                                                Wknd/$ 5.8       Total/$ 133.9
8. Oculus/Relativity                                           Wknd/$ 5.2        Total/$ 21.0
9. Noah/Paramount                                           Wknd/$ 5.0        Total/$ 93.3
10. God’s Not Dead/Free                                   Wknd/$ 4.8       Total/$ 48.3

THERE’S JUST NO PLEASING A GEEK
Captain America: The Winter Soldier holds onto the number one slot for the third week, which is great for me because I’m a Cap fan, but sad for me because I think this success should have been for a better Cap movie. I’m also not thrilled that this cements Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. Yeah, I know this is the third time she’s played the role, but she’s still horribly miscast. The Black Widow is a woman, not a girl and even though she’s 30 now, ScarJo (as she hates to be called) still looks like a girl and I’m supposed to buy her as the best spy in the world (which is what she’s referred to in the comics). It’s still painful to think that Emily Blunt was in consideration for this role and we got stuck with someone who was cast for obvious reasons (blonde hair, boobs). It’s not to say she doesn’t make a decent sidekick. She is and gets some great lines, most of them at the expense of Captain America whom she gently teases throughout the film, but she’s just not The Black Widow as shown in Marvel Comics for the last 50 years. Now, if they made her the character in the comics who was the successor to The Black Widow, using her name and who was in fact a young blonde, the angrygeek in me would be fine with that. But they didn’t so I’m not. Grrrrrrr….

GET IT?
Rio 2 holds at number two and it’s still too little too late for me to see or care about it.

GUESS WHO MISSES THE FIRST DECADE OF THIS CENTURY?
It’s somehow fitting that Heaven is For Real is opening at number three in front of Transcendence at number four because “transcendence” is achieving at type of heaven, no? The former is just the latest in a stream of Christian movies that its target audience is only too happy to turn out and support, turning a profit almost immediately in defiance of all reviews. What’s surprising is that Greg Kinnear is in this one, as these movies are usually for no-name actors or those who need work and are in no position to be picky. While Kinnear is far from his glory days as an Oscar nominee (utterly undeserved for his stereotypical portrayal of a gay man) he still manages to be enough of a name to get cast as a male lead in A-list films and on television. How is a mystery, given he hasn’t be in a hit since Baby Mama which was a Tina Fey/Amy Poelher success. He was just the guy lucky enough to be in it. Yeah, he was in Anchorman 2, but no one saw it for him. Same for this film. It’s a success, but he has nothing to do with it. The failure of Rake is closer to reality. It’s also becoming a reality for Johnny Depp who hasn’t had a hit without special effects, Tim Burton or a pirate hat since Finding Neverland in ’04 and now even with special effects (The Lone Ranger and this) and Tim Burton (Dark Shadows) it’s slim pickings so look for him to put that pirate hat back on in the next 15-20 minutes. In fact, he’s the main reason I didn’t bother seeing this. I likes me some science fiction and have no problem the trope of the scientist who loses his humanity when he achieves some degree of omnipotence of omniscience, so I was ripe for this. Honestly, it’s the casting of Johnny Depp that put me off. I have such a dislike of him that even with commercials every day I still didn’t remember it opened this weekend. It seems many people felt the same. I, for one, have been insisting for years that the Emperor of Cool has no clothes but now that he’s openly the pathetic stereotype of a middle-aged man, hooked up with a 20-something former model now actress (who was gay before Depp, so make of that what you will), others are seeing it as well. Such a shame too, as there’s no shortage of good actors I do like in it from crusty old Morgan Freeman to relatively fresh and new Kate Mara and people like Paul Bettany, Cole Hauser (how is this man not as star) and Cillian Murphy in between.

SEIZING THE MEANS OF PRODUCTION
A Haunted House 2 opens at number five and this is the franchise that spun out of the Scary Movie franchise when the Wayans family realized that even though they launched it, they didn’t own it and decided to just make their own and keep all the money. And given the first Haunted House basically went head-to-head with Scary Movie 5 and made about the same but at literally 1/10 the cost, I’d say it was a wise decision. Releasing this in April rather than October? Now that decision I question. But it only cost $4M and already made $9M so clearly the Wayans family knows more than I do.

SUPERMAN FAMILY
Draft Day is down to number six and also in this is none other than Tom Welling, who played Clark Kent on the show Smallville, not to mention Frank Langella who played Perry White in Superman Returns. I like to think they both looked at Costner with pity for being in Man of Steel. And all three of them looked at Jennifer Garner with pity for being in Daredevil and Elektra.

YOU AIN’T JENNIFER LAWRENCE YET, GIRL
Divergent is down to number seven and even with a $200M+ worldwide box office, this isn’t a rock solid franchise success, given it had an $85M budget. Even by conservative estimates, it’s gonna have to hit at least $255M, which seems less and less likely as we approach the summer releases.

GOD COULD MAKE IT RAIN ON THE BOX OFFICE JUST A BIT MORE
Oculus is down to number eight and it’s already turned a profit so the producers could care less as they prep Oculus 2, while Noah—down to nine—faces the same issue as Divergent in that it cost so much, it’s$290M box office still isn’t enough to be profitable.

NO, BUT THIS FINALLY IS
Finally God’s Not Dead closes out this very Christian friendly top ten.

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SUPER MINORITY BEST FRIEND

13 Apr

falcon

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier     Wknd/$ 41.4      Total/$ 159.0
2. Rio 2/Fox                                                      Wknd/$ 39.0     Total/$ 39.0
3. Oculus/Relativity                                        Wknd/$ 12.0      Total/$ 12.0
4. Draft Day/LG                                               Wknd/$ 9.8        Total/$ 9.8
5. Divergent/LGF                                             Wknd/$ 7.5        Total/$ 124.9
6. Noah/Paramount                                        Wknd/$ 7.5        Total/$ 84.9
7. God’s Not Dead/Free                                  Wknd/$ 5.5        Total/$ 40.7
8. The Grand Budapest Hotel/Fox               Wknd/$ 4.1        Total/$ 39.5
9. Muppets Most Wanted/Disney                Wknd/$ 2.2        Total/$ 45.7
10. Mr. Peabody & Sherman/Fox                 Wknd/$ 1.8        Total/$ 105.2

A FRANCHISE MAKES EVERYTHING OKAY
Hanging on to the number one slot is Captain America: The Winter Soldier and appearing in this one is Captain America’s modern day partner, The Falcon (as opposed to his WWII partner, Bucky), played by Anthony Mackie, who was briefly the “Hot New Thing: Minority Version” a few years back appearing alongside other Hot New Things (Shia LeBeouf, Ryan Gosling, Sam Worthington) in major studio releases, but none of them amounted to much and while his smaller, indie film work was well-received, his biggest success, The Hurt Locker, was the lowest grossing Best Picture winner Oscar history. Needless to say once it was clear he was not going to be the new Denzel or Will Smith, when Marvel came a-knocking he grabbed onto it with both hands, not hesitating to sign up for as many sequels as they wanted. This contrasts with Chris Evans who refused the Captain America role and its initial 12 movie requirement (he got them down to 9 and clearly he’s already tired of it at 3). Mackie on the other hand is trying to get into movies he’s not even supposed be in like the Avengers sequel. In the comics The Falcon is actually an unwilling Avenger, joining only as a favor to Cap because the government demands more minorities. His presence as Cap’s partner was very notable in the 60’s and 70’s for obvious reasons and he even shared the title, but as written by Stan Lee it was more than a bit homoerotic. So basically it was like every male action team in history.

BAD SCIENCE = BAD MOVIE
Rio 2 opens at number two and clearly someone pointed out to them that simply having two birds cannot recreate an entire species which was the conceit of the first film, so this one is about them discovering they are not alone and the species is in fact alive and well. Maybe if they’d included them in the first film I might have seen it because that unbelievable bit of genetic stupidity is what put me off the first one. That it was basically about a doomed species was simply too depressing for a kiddie animated film. This is too little, too late…as its box office opening suggests.

BLOODLESS SCARY IS STILL SCARY
Oculus opens at number three and as we all know I DON’T DO THE SCARY! And this looked scary in a real way, not a stupid way like most. And while that PG13 suggests a major cop out, it still wasn’t enough for me. And look to an Oculus 2 because it only cost $5M to make and opened at $12M.

SWING AND A MISS
Draft Day opens at number four and the only real surprise is that it opened this high as the only people who give a crap about draft day for real are too fat and lazy to get up out of their easy chairs to go and see it. I know Kevin Costner is on a mild comeback run right now, but he should have stuck with what works for him: baseball. His bland cornfed appeal suits that sport perfectly, but you know the only thing more boring than a football draft? A baseball draft. Actually a baseball anything.

HEY, LEO! SHE’S GOT AN OSCAR, NOW SHE’S GETTIN’ THE MONEY TOO!
Divergent is down to number five and also in this catching a free ride on the backs of the kids is Kate Winslet. Hey, she’s earned it. Maybe she’ll become to young female leads what Jon Voight and Dennis Hopper were to young male leads: a strong, older antagonist whose presence automatically elevates the film…and who makes a buttload of money for only being onscreen for 20 minutes tops.

JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN
Noah is down to number six and also in this are Emma Watson and Logan Lerman and if you think they were cast to try and get the kids in to see a movie about the Bible give yourself a star. Give yourself two if you’re over 30 and even know who the hell they are. But no kids not forced by their churches are going to see God’s Not Dead at number seven, so they didn’t waste their time trying to Zac Efron.

THE END
The Grand Budapest hotel is down to number eight, followed by Muppets Most Wanted at number nine and Mr. Peabody & Sherman closing out the top ten at number ten.

THIS! IS! CRAP!

9 Mar

300

 1. 300: Rise of an Empire/Warner            Wknd/$  45.1            Total/$  45.1

 2. Mr. Peabody & Sherman/Fox                Wknd/$  32.5            Total/$  32.5

 3. Non-Stop/Universal                                 Wknd/$  15.4            Total/$  52.1

 4. The LEGO Movie/WB                             Wknd/$   11.0            Total/$ 225.0

 5. Son of God/Fox                                         Wknd/$  10.0            Total/$  41.5

 6. The Monuments Men/Sony                    Wknd/$    3.1            Total/$   70.6

 7. 3 Days To Kill/Relativity                          Wknd/$    3.1            Total/$   25.6 6.

 8. Frozen/Disney                                           Wknd/$    3.0            Total/$ 393.1

 9. 12 Years A Slave/FoxSearchlight            Wknd/$    2.2            Total/$   53.1

10. Ride Along/Universal                               Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$  123.2

 

IF THIS WERE A ROCK STAR IT’D BE DAVID COVERDALE

300: Rise of an Empire opens at number one and before seeing this, 21st Century Movie Buddy and I had a few drinks.  Now, when I say “before” I mean I smuggled a 32 oz container of hard cider with a few shots of whiskey in it into the theater. That 32 ounces was not enough tells you all you need to know. 300 was not a good movie, but it was at least fun to watch and not boring. In addition to not being good, this is not fun to watch and is mostly boring; the trifecta of suck.  In a weird way this almost validates crap filmmakers like Michael Bay and Zack Synder much in the same way the $50M attempted makeover of Jessica Simpson into a dance pop princess validated Brittney Spears: it’s harder than it looks (it ended Tommy Mottola’s tenure at Sony). No, it’s not art but some kind of effective skill is clearly needed.  Needless to say director Noam Murro lacks these skills. Yes, he’s hobbled by Zack Synder still writing and producing, but his previous effort was a talking head movie with Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid called Smart People and that wasn’t much good either, so his skills are questionable in any arena.  In actual history while Leonidas and the 300 (not to mention twice the number of slaves and additional Greeks, so the number was closer to 5,000) were fighting on land, there was another war being waged at sea by Themistocles, which he won. While Athens itself actually burned, the people themselves had been evacuated, the culture survived and the Persians were finally stopped a year later in the battle that’s about to start at the end of 300. This was supposedly going to be that story…except it’s not.  It’s so desperate to tie itself to 300, it forgets to be its own film (they even open like the first with a narration telling you that the hero of the story is the person who partially caused the trouble and it is equally erroneous).  Basically every actor from 300 they could get to make an appearance is here. Xerxes, the queen, the guy who was sent back, the emissary who was thrown into the pit, even the hunchback.  Sadly, all played by the original actors whom you think would have moved on to better things and been able to say no. Even Lena Headey who has enjoyed a bump thanks to Game of Thrones is here (then again, she’s in the middle of a messy divorce and probably needed the cash).  Even the physiques of the male actors, for which the first film is most famous, is inferior. They couldn’t even get a trainer as good as the first. Now that’s just sad.

 

THIS TRICK NEVER WORKS

Mr. Peabody and Sherman opens at number two and while I hold a special place in my heart for these characters and was considering seeing it I ultimately gave it a pass because as part of the Jay Ward universe of Rocky & Bullwinkle and George of the Jungle the heart of the humor was the self-aware satire.  They mocked their cheap animation as world much as they were part of it.  This a $145M CGI feature. Not much to mock there.  Well, actually there’s a lot to mock about spending $145M on a near 50-year-old cartoon that wasn’t even title character (it was part of The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show), but the trailer shows they aren’t even trying. This kind of misses the point to me, but I will watch when it shows up on cable next year.

 

BABY, SHE’S A STAR

Non Stop is down to number three and shouldn’t they be broadcasting that it also stars Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o?  Strike the iron while it’s hot, kids. In fact, between Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Lupita, there’s a boatload of all kinds of nominations and awards…and more people will see this than any of those films that earned them.  Same for Liam Neeson’s other film on this top ten, The Lego Movie, now down to number four. Real talk.

 

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL

Son of God is down to number five, followed by The Monuments Men at number six and Three Days to Kill at number seven and also in this is Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld who is learning as Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore have that nominations are nice, but they pay for jack shit.  Gotta do the popcorn movies too. Though hopefully better ones than this. Liam Neeson will always need someone to play his kids that are threatened so he can whoop some ass.

 

LEMONS FROM LEMONADE

Surprisingly Frozen got no Oscar bump from wining Best Animated Film. I’m sure the fact that the Academy utterly screwed up Idina Menzel’s performance didn’t help her.  Not only did they rush her, but also a verse was clearly cut.  The Roots did better with children’s instruments on The Tonight Show. Fortunately for her that was all overlooked thanks to John Travolta screwing up her name, which actually put her name on everyone’s lips the next day.

 

LIKE A WELL-MADE VEGETARIAN DISH; GOOD FOR YOU TO EAT, BUT YOU ‘D PREFER NOT TO MAKE A HABIT OF IT

12 Years a Slave did get a bounce for its Oscar wins back into the top ten at number nine. Now I said when it came out this was the type of film I’d probably see only if it got Oscars nominations and even then only on the day of.  That’s how I did Schindler’s List and this was the same. It’s good. It’s very good, but it’s difficult to watch for reasons you might expect. Accurate depictions of slave conditions will never be G-rated or for the weak of stomach and sadly, many of the things that transpire were taken directly from the book written by Solomon Northrup. I can’t really fault anyone for wanting to take a pass for that very reason, though like Schindler’s List when it’ s this good it’s something you need to do…and then you have a built-in excuse not to see any others.

 

MUCH LIKE THAT COFFEE, PEOPLE COMPLAIN, BUT THEY KEEP BUYING

Finally, Ride Along hangs on like a freaking barnacle. I blame the endless winter.  Cabin fever forces people to leave their homes, but the cold means they have to find another place to keep warm.  And it’s cheaper than Starbucks.

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