Tag Archives: Leighton Meester

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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REDHEADS ARE TROUBLE. ESPECIALLY WHEN ARMED.

24 Jun

1. Brave/Disney                                                Wknd/$   66.7            Total/$   66.7

 2. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                      Wknd/$   20.2            Total/$ 157.6

 3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter         Wknd/$   16.5            Total/$   16.5

 4. Prometheus/Fox                                           Wknd/$   10.0            Total/$ 108.5

 5. Snow White & The Huntsman/U              Wknd/$     8.0            Total/$ 137.1

 6. Rock of Ages/Warners                                 Wknd/$     8.0            Total/$  28.8

 7. That’s My Boy/Sony                                     Wknd/$     7.9            Total/$  28.2

 9. MIB 3/Sony                                                   Wknd/$     5.6            Total/$ 163.3

 8. The Avengers/Disney                                  Wknd/$     7.0            Total/$ 598.3

10. Seeking A Friend…/Focus                         Wknd/$     3.8            Total/$    3.8

 

HOW ABOUT SOME COWARDICE AND AVARICE?

To no one’s surprise, Brave opens at number one and unfortunately this is not one of Pixar’s better works.  They’re never bad (no, not even Cars), but when you do something as transcendent as the first 20 minutes of Up or Wall*E the standards are much higher for you than anyone else.  And while this is better than pretty much every thing Dreamworks or Blue Sky (those horrible Ice Age movies) has ever done, by Disney standards, it’s lacking. To me, the real problem is no villain. You need some great threat to fight. It doesn’t have to be evil, as Finding Nemo proved, but some significant opposition.  What’s the issue here? Rebellious princess Merida accidentally turns her mother into a bear.  No, seriously. Not even a monster, a bear.  And she’s not even a dangerous bear, as she maintains her faculties for the most part, even continuing to wear her crown. Is the witch who provides the spell secretly evil and trying to take the kingdom like countless Disney movies?  No, she’s just wacky. Is there someone lurking who will benefit from this, like Scar in The Lion King?  Nope. Nothing will really change in the land.  Can the spell only be broken by some dangerous quest our archer princess has to embark upon, like Marlin crossing the ocean in Finding Nemo?  Nope. There’s simply no actual malice t0 be found or great task to accomplish and this results in a serious lack of drama or tension. It only kicks into gear when the king, who hates bears after losing his leg to one, starts unknowingly hunting the transformed queen as the deadline for her transformation to become permanent approaches. As always, it’s utterly gorgeous and I’m sure the hair on Merida alone took up most the computer space on the Pixar hard drives, but everyone makes pretty movies so that means nothing. Let me put it this way: when the movie is stolen by literally three little bears who are onscreen maybe five minutes, you’ve got a serious problem.

 

NEXT: THOMAS JEFFERSON, WEREWOLF SLAYER!

Speaking of lackluster animated movies, Madagascar 3 is down to number two, followed by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opening at number three and this is so wonderfully and gloriously ridiculous it may well be the most fun I’ve had at the movies all year.  How can you not love a movie wherein Harriet Tubman and Mary Todd Lincoln use the Underground Railroad to deliver silver bullets to the Union Soldiers at Gettysburg because Jefferson Davis has made a pact with the vampires to fight for the Confederacy.  No I’m not kidding. It’s that awesome! And it’s almost immediate as the film opens with 8-year-old Abe going to the aid of a boy who being taken away as a slave even though he’s free and the whip comes directly at the camera!  Sensitivity to African-Americans be damned! We gotta justify our inflated 3D ticket prices!  Needless to say this boy grows up to be Lincoln’s right hand as he enters politics and even onto the White House. You say there’s nothing in the history books about Abe’s black best bud?  Whitewashing, I say! Just as they hid his kung-fu axe skills.  What makes this great is that everyone plays it straight no matter how insane it gets.  No winking at the camera here as Lincoln explains the only way to stop the vampires….is to end slavery.  Again, I’m not kidding.   With no respect for history, physics, logic, the continuing sensitivity to slavery by African-Americans or a president regarded as one of our greatest this movies takes us back to a time when such crass filmmaking was commonplace: the 70’s. Whenever someone brings up that bullshit about it being Hollywood’s last creative time period, give them one word: Mandingo. Speaking of which, only thing missing from this movie is some gratuitous interracial sex with Lincoln and some slave love interest…at an orgy.  Not to mention with Mary Todd…with his hat still on. If they’d made this in the 70’s we would have gotten both.

 

NEITHER QUANTITY NOR QUALITY

Prometheus is down to number four followed by Snow White & The Huntsman at number five and having two big budget films in the top ten kinda makes this The Summer of Charlize Theron (formerly known as The Summer of Channing Tatum until GI Joe 2 was moved to next spring).  She was actually supposed to be the idiot scientist played by Noomi Rapace but was waiting on the new Road Warrior movie to begin shooting so she opted for the smaller role insisting “…it’s better to have a smaller role in a great film, rather than star in a crap one.”  Well, she failed in that endeavor as she’s starring and supporting in crap films, so it’s actually The Critically Crappy Summer of Charlize Theron, because believe it or not both films are somewhat if not extraordinarily successful.  If it seems like she’s suddenly everywhere when she was nowhere before, it’s not your imagination.  Unlike say, Nicholas Cage (who’s probably in both these movies if you look hard enough), Theron only makes on average one or two movies a year.  You’d think this would mean better films, but you’d be wrong.

 

YOU REMIND ME…HOW MUSICAL ARTISTS ALMOST ALWAYS MAKE BAD MOVIES

Rock of Ages is down to number six and honestly what the hell has happened to Mary J. Blige!?!  Why is she here!?!  When has she ever, ever been associated with rock?  Shouldn’t she have been in the upcoming (and probably disappointing) remake of Sparkle.  It’s like they wanted Tina Turner but couldn’t afford her…or she saw the stage show and said “Fuck no.”  Not to mention this is one big joke and Mary has never had the greatest sense of humor about herself or anything else.  It’s called “No More Drama” not “No More Comedy.”

 

WHY? BECAUSE HE CAN.

That’s My Boy is down to number seven and the failures of the Gossip Girl cast continue as this also stars Leighton Meester as the fiancée of Andy Samberg.  Yeah, that’s how you know it’s both a comedy and an Adam Sandler movie because goofy-looking muthafuckas get girls like her.

 

BOY’S CLUB

The Avengers is down to number eight, followed by MIB 3 at number nine and while this has made $163M domestically, it’s made more than twice that overseas meaning Hollywood probably won’t stop beating this dead horse yet.  Though how they’ll convincingly make a 4th one is beyond me as Tommy Lee Jones looks like he’s 80 in this.  It’s clearly no accident the plot keeps him off-screen in favor of Josh Brolin.  Granted, he never looked young even when he was, but all the jokes Will Smith makes about his age in this movie have a disturbing ring of truth.  Logically, his character should have assumed the job that Rip Torn had and Will Smith mentoring a new partner but that makes entirely too much sense, which is why Linda Fiorentino had to be let go.  No, I’m not letting that go. She was a great part of the first film and I’m still waiting for them to notice that.

 

MISSING 2005 ARE WE?

Finally, Seeking A Friend At The End of the World opens at number ten and since we’re talking about an average looking guy being paired with a hot girl, look no further than this and honestly that alone was enough to put me off this. Granted, they’re supposed to be friends but even as a platonic pairing it’s not something I or anyone else would like to see for that matter. And how many times is Steve Carrell going to play this role?  Didn’t he just do it last year in Crazy Stupid Love?  Does that make this Crazy Stupid Love At The End of the World?  And Keira Knightely is starting to miss Pirates of the Caribbean more than Orlando Bloom and that’s saying something.

 

THE LOVESEAT IS A LITTLE OLE PLACE WHERE WE CAN SIT TOGETHER

So, I’ve done an adult thing. I bought a couch.  I kinda had one before because my futon bed of over 15 years could be converted into one.  Then the women around me let it be known that they’d never have sex in such a thing and that it was somewhat immature (my thanks goes out to all those women who were clearly sluts because they actually did have sex with me in it).  I replaced it with a real bed, but this meant in the event I should ever have any kind of company, there was no longer any place to sit but the bed, and while that was the ultimate destination it’s somewhat tacky to start there.  So at the end of last year I began to slowly try and clear my space of clutter to allow for a small couch, probably a loveseat.  I got rid of all my CD towers and subsequently the jewel cases and put my CD’s into books.  You know, like someone of my friends have wisely been doing since Day 1.  Next came the search for a couch to fit the space and the budget.  Leather was not happening, nor was used.  Unless it’s a friend, that’s like getting a used mattress. You don’t know what the fuck was happening on it and I mean “fuck” literally.  Granted, your friends probably fuck on theirs too, but you’re already exposed to their germs.  Finally the answer to home needs came as they always do: from IKEA.  $150 would not only get me a small couch that fits the space, but it actually becomes a bed, so the next time someone visits I won’t have to awkwardly share my bed (seriously, dude, I love you, man, but we will never do that again).  Of course delivery was $100 (plus the tip for the movers) and IKEA wouldn’t have to me for two weeks.  Maybe. I looked for “Man With Van” like we used to in the old days, but they weren’t much better and then someone suggested U-Haul, which I totally forgot about in the city.  Sure enough there’s one a block away from me, so one fine Saturday afternoon, I got myself a pick up truck and headed off to Red Hook. To save money I went with three hours rather than the recommended four, which I thought I was clever until it took me an hour just to get out of the fucking city.  Seriously, what is wrong with you people who drive here?  It’s insane!  It took me no time to pick up my current Movie Buddy/Full Time Geek Girl from her place in Brooklyn to help me with it and even less time to get it from IKEA.  Getting back into the city and back up to my place was over a fucking hour. I can ride to IKEA on my bike in 45 minutes!!!  As it turns out the couch was not that heavy or large and I theoretically could have done it alone, but it was still nice to have help. I rewarded her with booze and empanadas, ‘cause I’m classy.  I put it together in less than half an hour and promptly took a nap on it to break it in.  It works.

 

PICTURES OF LILLY

So long as I’m improving my life, I signed up to take formal classes to learn how to use my camera.  Every time I think I’ve gotten better, I wind up with a bunch of incredibly shitty photos that say otherwise. You people only see the 3 or 4 good ones; not the 196 bad ones I deleted.  So, like everything I do, there was literally months of internet research to find one that fit my budget and needs. Mostly my budget because I need everything.  Real courses at places like School of Visual Arts were out of the question.  I don’t a $1,000 worth of interest in this.  Also, seminars and the like simply weren’t enough and they begin to add up.  Internet and home courses depended on my personal ability to motivate myself, so that was clearly out of the question, leaving the half-dozen or so various schools here in Manhattan (I also don’t care enough about this to go to Brooklyn either).  I narrowed it down to two and while one was reviewed better on Yelp!, it was a) more expensive, b) I missed the window to start and c) on the east side in midtown.  PhotoManhattan was left and it was a) cheaper (even moreso if you paid in advance), b) starting the next week and c) on 14th & 6th.  I’d sooner ride further downtown than closer to anything on the east side.  Real talk!  One of the complaints about the place was the cramped space so imagine how nice it was to hear the guy tell us when I walked in that this was their new space with a big open window. Score!  It’s a class of 15 people ranging from those with $1000 cameras who know nothing about them to a producer of films who just is tired of being the only guy on set who can’t take nice pictures to people like me who know a little something, but only a little.  It’s only 3 guys and I’m not sure what that says about photography, but my primary goal is to be ready the next time some guy stops me and asks if I want to go to Staten Island and take pictures of girls in a hotel room.  You’d think it’d be mostly guys for that reason alone.  The teacher is an attractive young woman from South Africa who has the patience of a saint, because two hours in that room of people flashing at me would have resulted in murder.  She laughed it off saying that she doesn’t even notice any longer—right after she calmly explained how they could take shots without blinding her.  It’s an 8-week course of the basics and the fact that I learned what the fuck white balance was the first night means I’m already happy.  In 7 more weeks I’ll be ready to start my career in softcore porn.  Oh, come on. We all knew I was headed there eventually. The miracle is I’ve resisted this long.