Tag Archives: Lone Survivor

ASSAULT OF THE 80’S REMAKES!

18 Feb

jennifer_connelly_05

 1. The LEGO Movie/WB                             Wknd/$  50.0            Total/$  130.3

 2. About Last Night/SG                               Wknd/$  25.7            Total/$   25.7

 3. RoboCop/Sony                                          Wknd/$  21.7            Total/$   26.4

 4. The Monuments Men/Sony                   Wknd/$  15.5            Total/$   44.2

 5. Endless Love/Universal                          Wknd/$  13.2            Total/$   13.2

 6. Ride Along/Universal                              Wknd/$   8.7             Total/$  116.1

 7. Winter’s Tale/Warner                              Wknd/$   7.3             Total/$     7.3

 8. Frozen/Disney                                           Wknd/$   6.2             Total/$ 376.4

 9. Lone Survivor/Universal                         Wknd/$   4.1              Total/$  118.4 

10. That Awkward Moment                          Wknd/$   3.4              Total/$   21.5

 

2ND BEST BATMAN SONG EVER

The LEGO Movie holds deservedly at number one and one particular instance of its brilliance is its skewering of Batman, though it’s sad to say, their version could be dropped into any Christopher Nolan Batman without a single change made to it so often those films crossed over to self-parody. I love my comic book superheroes, but too many geeks take it too seriously, which is why this Batman is awesome. Especially his theme song, which sums up the “modern” Batman perfectly: “DARKNESS…NO PARENTS…CONTINUED DARKNESS…MORE DARKNESS, GET IT?…THE OPPOSITE OF LIGHT…” Simply. Awesome.

 

THOUGH KEVIN HART IS  A DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT OVER JIM BELUSHI

About Last Night begins the “Assault of the 80’s Remakes” with this remake of the 80’s film, because it sure as hell isn’t an adaptation of the of the original David Mamet play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago.”  They tried to take a Mamet play and make it into a romantic comedy-drama. Yeah, that pretty much ended up how you’d expect.  This looks like it abandoned the drama completely which is a wise idea but I was too traumatized by that horrible original film to even think of giving this a shot. Not to mention enough already with Kevin Hart. I understand you have to make that money while you can because you’ll be Tommy Davidson before you know it, but there’s such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  You can actually cause your own demise with over-saturation. Especially when you’re just playing the same character over and over again, which is yourself.

 

MECHANIZED POLICE MAN ISN’T AS CATCHY

Robocop is our second entry in the “Assault of the 80’s Remakes” and this joins the recent Superman and Star Trek reboots under “Most Clueless Remakes Ever.”  The original was a bloody, satirical, action adventure film.  This is a PG13 drama with a little action and zero satire.  I realized that they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t try to do an original film, but if you’re going to go this far off the reservation then don’t call it Superman, don’t call it Star Trek and don’t call it Robocop.  But they realize that no one wants to see their version of a superhero, their version of a space opera and their version of a cyborg police officer so they slap a name you know on it, sprinkle it liberally with cultural touchstones and boom! Instant hit, right?  Wrong. This will join Total Recall as another failure to understand what made Paul Verhoven’s films successful.  A $100M budget with a $22M opening weekend is not good. What’s sadder is that this isn’t a bad film. It’s just not a very good one and definitely not a Robocop film. It’s a drama about man struggling with his humanity after being made into 90% machine.  This would be a pretty decent pilot for a TV series but for a major motion picture it’s a dud and for a movie called “Robocop” it’s a complete and utter failure.

 

THE PRICE OF HUBRIS

The Monument Men is down to number four and being a fan of schadenfreude I know it when I see it and I see it here with people cackling at George Clooney’s writing/directing/starring flop.  It’s not a bad movie but he’s been too handsome and too successful for too long so at the first sign of weakness the vultures come out.  Not that it’s entirely undeserved. I’ve no doubt this was his attempt to have his own Argo and “beat” Ben Affleck, who is a great director and has an Oscar for screenwriting but has a miserable failure as a leading man, while Clooney has been a very successful leading man and received minor acclaim for directing and writing (remember Good Night And Good Luck, Leather Heads, The Ides of March? I didn’t think so).  Bear in mind Clooney was a producer of Argo and actually got an Oscar for it!  But clearly it wasn’t enough and as they say, pride goeth before the fall.

 

YES, I DO MIND

Endless Love rounds out our “Assault of 80’s Remakes” opening at number five and may be the least of them all and that’s sad because the original was no great shakes but at least that had Franco Zeffirelli who knew a little something about star-crossed lovers (he directed the most acclaimed movie version of Romeo & Juliet) and people knew who Brooke Shields was.  Alex Pettyfer was one of the stars of Magic Mike but people wouldn’t know him if they saw him in the street.  But the biggest crime has to be the loss of the most successful part of the original movie: the theme song by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross!  Then again who would do it? Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez? I think not.

 

FACE IT.

Ride Along is down to number six giving Kevin Hart two films in the top ten.  Two very successful films in the top ten.  Sigh.

 

NOBODY LIKES YOU. SERIOUSLY.

Winter’s Tale opens at number seven and I thought Colin Farrell was making a nice little comeback playing supporting roles.  He should have stuck to that plan because clearly no one wants to see him in a leading role.  No one.  Not to mention my own personal pet peeve of when producers keep casting guys who were once the “Hot New Thing” in young roles after they’ve clearly aged out of them. Ewan McGregor is no longer in his 20’s but you wouldn’t know it from the roles he’s still being cast in or the age of his leading ladies.  Neither is Colin Farrell, but again you wouldn’t know it by the 13 years his junior leading lady.  You know who’s closer to his age? The gorgeous Jennifer Connelly who is also his co-star but god forbid she be cast younger than her actual age or his love interest.  This is based on a book that people love given the way they’re ripping the film version apart.  I never read the book, but I know this looked awful and that was enough for me. Being directed by the man who wrote Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Lost In Space, I Robot and I Am Legend was merely the cherry on top.

 

EVERYONE’S COMING OUT SONG FROM THIS POINT ON

Frozen is down to number eight and can a day go by without yet another person doing a cover of “Let It Go?” I guess not.

 

MATH IS ACTUALLY THEIR FRIEND

Lone Survivor is down to number nine followed by That Awkward Moment closing out the top ten at number ten and while some may laugh and call this a failure, the laugh’s on them.  It only cost $8M and has made $22M domestically. That’s not a failure, kids.  Robocop and Endless Love wish they were that successful.

 

 

 

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THAT MEGA BLOCKS MOVIE IS STRAIGHT TO VIDEO

9 Feb

watersbros

 1. The LEGO Movie/WB                         Wknd/$  69.1            Total/$   69.1

 2. The Monuments Men/Sony               Wknd/$  22.7            Total/$   22.7

 3. Ride Along/Universal                          Wknd/$   9.4             Total/$  105.2

 4. Frozen/Disney                                       Wknd/$   6.9             Total/$ 368.7

 5. That Awkward Moment                       Wknd/$   5.5             Total/$   16.8

 6. Lone Survivor/Universal                     Wknd/$   5.3             Total/$  112.6

 7. Vampire Academy/Weinstein             Wknd/$   4.1             Total/$     4.1

 8. The Nut Job/ORF                                  Wknd/$   3.8            Total/$   55.1

 9. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit/Par         Wknd/$   3.6            Total/$   44.5

10. Labor Day/Paramount                         Wknd/$   3.2            Total/$   10.2

 

STILL WAITING ON THAT PLAY DOH MOVIE

Opening at number one is The LEGO Movie and I’m pretty sure this is the greatest movie ever made. Okay, maybe not “ever” but certainly in my lifetime. Okay, maybe not my lifetime, but definitely this year…so far.  What could a have been a two hour commercial for Lego toys (and I’m not saying it still isn’t) is a near brilliant satire of everything from action movies to other children’s films which are essentially toy commercials to the adults who still buy toys with a fanatical devotion. Wait. What are you looking at me for!?!  The LEGO Movie joins Toy Story in that rarified air of being more than just the wet dream of the marketing department but an actual film in its own right. The main target of its satire is the heroic concept of the average man being “the chosen one” on when everyone around him devotedly helping him is clearly more qualified for the job ,starting with the acolyte who finds “the chosen one.”  In The Matrix it was Morpheus. In Star Wars it was Obi Wan Kenobi. Here it’s the woman known as “Wild Style” who must continually face the question as to whether or not she’s a DJ.  The hero is Emmett who is such a blank slate he spends most of the movie having everyone from Wild Style to Batman (who practically steals the movie) telling him he’s the dumbest man alive.  Try and watch Trinity and Neo now. The jokes come fast and furious, not slowing down for adults, much less the kids who were presumably its main audience but it’s obvious from the beginning with jokes about $32 coffee and conformity that a great deal of this is aimed at their parents who are undoubtedly grateful having sat through a million family films a year without a brain in any of their CGI heads.

 

OCEAN’S 14…MINUS 7

Opening at number two is The Monuments Men, which is based on a the true story of a group of soldiers in WWII assigned to protect the art treasures that Hitler not only looted from Europe but wanted destroyed if he lost.  Talk about the ultimate sore loser. It’s one thing to take your toys and go home, but to take someone else’s? This one of those well-intentioned films that gets an “A” for effort, but not for what it actually manages to accomplish.  A story like this, which is so easily “good vs. evil” would seem to be an easy home run, but maybe it’s too easy, so easy Clooney thought he could do it all (he writes and directs along with being the star).  Ben Affleck accomplished something similar but his virtue is that even as an Oscar winning screenwriter, never thought he could write it himself (if I didn’t know better, I’d say Clooney was competing just a little bit).  A little modesty might have done Clooney some good and ceded the writing to one person and the direction to another as the story just seems to wander from Point A to Point B with little suspense or momentum, which is odd given it’s about the fall of the Nazi empire and the race to save irreplaceable treasures.  Only when a competing faction of Soviet soldiers who plan on keeping the works for themselves do we even get a hint of tension, but it’s not enough. The movie is placed fully on the backs of its amenable stars and luckily for Clooney you’d be hard pressed to find a more likable group of actors than Matt Damon, Billy Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin and Clooney himself. Watching them be charming and save western culture actually was enough for me but I understand if some need a bit more dramatic heft. I’ve no doubt the History Channel is preparing a special that will be twice as interesting in half the time. If you’ve seen the special about the 300 Spartans you know what I’m talking about.

 

YOUR MOST ROMANTIC MOMENTS ARE USUALLY SPENT NAKED ANYWAY

Ride Along is down to number three, followed by Frozen at number four (a victim of a children’s film actually worth seeing) and That Awkward Moment down to number five and I didn’t realize this was Rated R which is odd for romantic comedies, but something I actually support. I’m still not going to see this, but I support the idea that not every romcom needs to be rated PG. Four Weddings & A Funeral remains one of my favorites and opens with a nonstop you use of f**k and one of the funniest scenes has Hugh Grant trapped by newlyweds who can’t stop boning.

 

AS OF THIS MOMENTS JOKES ABOUT BAD VAMPIRE MOVIES SUCKING ARE FORBIDDEN

Lone Survivor is down to number six followed by Vampire Academy opening at number seven and this was an unfortunately full weekend so I didn’t get to see the film that was actually at the top of my list, having been written and directed by the brothers who brought the world Heathers and its nicer sister, Mean Girls. You’d think with that pedigree and vampires on top of it all this would have been given a larger push, but it was clear from the beginning that they didn’t know what to do with this latest attempt to turn a supernatural young adult book series into a movie franchise. The original trailer was straight up comedy while all the new ones have been seriously action oriented, which was clearly a mistake given the talent behind it and now the box office return.  Personally, I was much more interested in a teen vampire comedy than I was a another serious teen vampire film, but Twilight was more successful than Buffy no matter what your geek friend tells you.

 

NOT FAR FROM THE TREE

The Nut Job is down to number eight the deserved victim of the success of The LEGO Movie, followed by Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit at number nine and last and least Labor Day closing out the top ten at number ten. This was directed and co-written by Jason Reitman the son of Ivan Reitman, who brought the world Stripes, Ghostbusters and Meatballs (aka the Bill Murray Trilogy). Jason is no slouch himself having directed Up in the Air and Juno so he’s allowed the occasional miss (and boy did he ever).  But then again, so did dad who has actually made more sow’s ears than silk purses. My Super Ex-Girlfriend anyone? Father’s Day? Evolution? Legal Eagles?

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PRETTY BOYS LEAD CAREERS OF QUIET DESPERATION

3 Feb

zacvan

 1. Ride Along/Universal               Wknd/$  12.3            Total/$   93.0

 2. Frozen/Disney                           Wknd/$   9.3             Total/$ 360.0

 3. That Awkward Moment           Wknd/$   9.0             Total/$     9.0

 4. The Nut Job/ORF                      Wknd/$   7.6             Total/$   50.2

 5. Lone Survivor/Universal          Wknd/$    7.2            Total/$  104.9

 6. Jack Ryan/Par                            Wknd/$   5.4             Total/$   39.0

 7. Labor Day/Paramount              Wknd/$   5.3              Total/$     5.3

 8. American Hustle/Sony             Wknd/$   4.3              Total/$  133.6

 9. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par     Wknd/$   3.6             Total/$  104.1

10. I, Frankenstein/LGF                 Wknd/$   3.5              Total/$    14.5

 

It’s Super Bowl weekend and I’m sick so let’s rip though this…

 

STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED

Ride Along holds at number one and is actually about to hit $100M so it’s time to call it: Kevin Hart is a star.  Yeah, I d0n’t understand either.

 

“WHY ARE THEY ALL SHOUTING? MARVIN GAYE DIDN’T SHOUT.”  EVERYONE’S PARENTS

Frozen rises up again to number two and my confusion continues. Then I realize I’m an old man and this isn’t for me anyway. It’s like that utterly clueless conversation your parents had about rap.

 

EVEN WENT TO REHAB AND STILL, NO ONE CARED

That Awkward Moment opens at number three and given this only cost $8M to make it’s not that big a disappointment and may have actually bought Zach Efron a few extra minutes, as his 15 had pretty much expired.  You think he and Vanessa Hudgens call each other in the middle of the night and wonder what they’re doing wrong?  They do the family friendly mainstream stuff and they do the edgy indie stuff but the result turns out the same: no one cares. Hudgens is even taking off her shirt and still no one cares.

 

IN BELGIUM HE’S A SUPERSTAR!

The Nut Job is down to number four, followed by Lone Survivor at number five, and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit down to number six and while this is disappointing domestically, overseas it has made almost double its domestic take which suggests that Chris Pine is the new Jean Claude VanDamme.  Yeah, that’s gotta hurt.

 

SOMETIMES IT’S BETTER JUST TO STARVE

Labor Day opens at number seven and doesn’t this just scream, “based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks?” It looks awful. Seriously, awful.  Apparently everyone had bills to pay and there were no porn shoots open.

 

SORRY, DAVID HASSELHOFF. IT’S NOT FOR YOU.

American Hustle is down to number eight, followed by The Wolf of Wall Street at number nine and none other than Rob Reiner shows up here as Leonardo DiCaprio’s dad.  Yeah, Meathead in a Scorsese film.  I think Scorsese does this just to mess with the minds of actors and give them a false sense of hope when the reality is Reiner got this because everyone loves The Princess Bride.

 

DEAD AGAIN

Finally, I, Frankenstein closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Bill Nighy who elevates pretty much anything he appears in. This is no exception.

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I, NOT A SEXY VAMPIRE

26 Jan

oldyounglion

 1. Ride Along/Universal                              Wknd/$  21.2            Total/$   75.4

 2. Lone Survivor/Universal                        Wknd/$  12.1            Total/$   93.6

 3. The Nut Job/ORF                                    Wknd/$  12.3            Total/$   40.3

 4. Frozen/Disney                                           Wknd/$   9.0           Total/$ 347.8

 5. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit/Par            Wknd/$   8.8           Total/$   30.2

 6. I, Frankenstein/LGF                                Wknd/$   8.3            Total/$     8.3

 7. American Hustle/Sony                            Wknd/$   7.1             Total/$  127.0

 8. August: Osage County/Weinstein         Wknd/$   5.0            Total/$    26.5

 9. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                   Wknd/$   5.0            Total/$    98.0

10. Devil’s Due/Fox                                        Wknd/$   2.8           Total/$    12.9

 

D.W.A. (DADDIES WITH ATTITUDE).

Ride Along holds the number one spot which I’m thinking Ice Cube appreciates more than Kevin Hart given it’s been a long time since he made money at the movies playing anything more than a dad with a ruff exterior but with a heart of gold and it’s not like he’s selling albums…

 

SOMETIMES A CIGAR IS JUST A CIGAR AND A SINGLE QUEEN JUST HASN’T MET THE RIGHT GUY

Lone Survivor holds at number two followed by The Nut Job also holding at number three, but Frozen steps up to number four probably because kids who went to see The Nut Job last week told mom and dad they wanted to see Frozen again.  It’s also got a growing audience who see it as a metaphor for not just her emerging sexuality, but her homosexuality, because as you may notice, Elsa never winds up with a dude and one is never introduced for her. There are also some who read every tiny action as an example of feminism, from the accommodating male character to the fact that Elsa governs alone. Yes, art is subjective, but I think they’re looking for Atlantis in a puddle. In other words, it ain’t deep enough for all that.

 

THE MOVIE STAR CIRCLE OF LIFE

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit drops one notch to five and you know who comes across decently? Kevin Costner.  It seems he’s finally adjusted to this “lion in winter” stage of his career and it makes sense he should given his biggest break was in someone else’s.  He was the young star for Sean Connery in The Untouchables two decades ago.  Now, between this and Man of Steel, he’s the mature male lead for the rising leading man (or rather would be if this weren’t tanking).  Lending instant legitimacy to the new guy as well as providing something for the moms to look at when they take their teenagers to the movies.

 

ME, HAD A GOOD TIME

I, Frankenstein opens weakly at number six which is a great disappointment to me, because I enjoyed this silly, silly movie from the same people who brought you Underworld, which was also silly, silly fun combining classic monsters with CGI.  It’s more of the same: secret war to save all mankind that’s been going on for centuries and now there’s been discovered a man who will tip the balance for one side unless the other side finds out why that is.  This time however it’s the super-strong immortal creation of Frankenstein wanted by demons for their nefarious plan, while—and hang on now—it’s gargoyles representing the angels on Earth defending mankind. Yes, gargoyles.  No, I don’t know why that is other than they look awesome flying around and smashing demons that descend to hell in a red fireball when they go down, while gargoyles ascend to the heavens in a bolt of blue-white light.  Granted it’s not as fun as Underworld because, let’s face it, the sexy decadence of vampires is missing.  There’s a reason people never get tired of them and often want to be them. Reanimated patchwork , demons and gargoyles? Not so much.  Also missing are the solid characters that made Underworld feel so fleshed out.  Nearly every substantial speaking role was different from the next and you felt the weight of a story behind them even if were untold. Selene, Michael, Kraven, Viktor, Lucien.  Even the minor roles of the vampire gunsmith, the werewolf scientist and vampire scheming for advancement where are distinct and memorable.  Not so much here. Only two demons are different from the horde and mainly because one is played by the writer/producer Kevin Giroux.  The gargoyles are even worse. The queen wants to save the monster (who rejects the Frankenstein name) while her right hand wants to destroy him. That’s it. Black and white. There are two others that seem to have personalities but in their five minutes of screen time aren’t given a chance to distinguish themselves.  Even a potentially interesting aspect isn’t revealed until they “ascend” so there’s no exploration of it whatsoever. Still, it was more fun than freaking Shadow Recruit, which deserved its January graveyard release date aka fast track to April home video release date.  It’ll be sitting right next to I, Frankenstein I’m afraid.

 

MUCH IN THE SAME WAY JOHN WAYNE WAS AN ACTOR

American Hustle drops one to number seven followed by August: Osage County holding at number eight and The Wolf of Wall Street holding at number nine and while I find Jonah Hill personally repellant to the point where I avoid his films (along with his frequent co-star, Seth Rogen) as much as possible only making exceptions for major stuff like this, I cannot deny he’s very good here. He didn’t deserve a best supporting actor nod for Moneyball but he definitely earned it this time. Then again, he’s playing a complete jerk and based on his interviews (and one horrible story told to me by someone who dated him at a party that I will not repeat) there may not be a lot of acting is going on beyond the Noo Yawk accent.

 

AND THE TRILOGY CONCLUDES WITH PRESCHOOL IN HELL

Finally, Devil’s Due closes out the top ten at number ten and with a $19M return off a $7M budget you can be sure that there will be a Devil’s Due 2: Deadly Daycare!

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