Tag Archives: Lorenzo Semple Jr

LET’S PICK ON JAKE GYLLENHAAL DAY!

27 Jul

jake 1. Ant-Man/Disney                     Wknd/$ 24.8   Total/$ 106.1
2. Pixels/Sony                              Wknd/$ 24.0   Total/$ 24.0
3. Minions/Universal                  Wknd/$ 22.1   Total/$ 261.6
4. Trainwreck/Universal            Wknd/$ 17.3    Total/$ 61.5
5. Southpaw/Weinstein              Wknd/$ 16.5    Total/$ 16.5
6. Paper Towns/Fox                    Wknd/$ 12.5    Total/$ 12.5
7. Inside Out/Disney                   Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 320.3
8. Jurassic World/Universal      Wknd/$ 6.9     Total/$ 623.8
9. Mr. Holmes/RAtt                     Wknd/$ 2.4     Total/$ 85.7
10. Terminator: Genisys/Par      Wknd/$ 5.4     Total/$ 80.6

SEAN CONNERY IS ALWAYS RIGHT
Ant-Man holds at number one and also in this, obviously, is none other than Hollywood Royalty and multiple Oscar winner, Michael Douglas, who finally realized his leading man days were over and wisely hopped onto the Marvel money train. I know it seems obvious and easy, but judging by the Jason Stathams of the world who laugh at it and the Wesley Snipes who are trying to get into it despite having inadvertently launched it with Blade (they are 48 and 52, respectively) it’s not. In fact, Douglas was still trying to play the dude who could get women 18 to 80 up until ’09, in Solitary Man, where he played a guy who bangs his younger girlfriend’s daughter while escorting her to her freshman year of college. But even then he’d at least begun sowing the seeds of this because in the same year he played almost a parody of that role in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, as the player uncle who taught Matthew McConughey’s character all he knew. This what I call “The Sean Connery Rule” wherein once you reach a certain age you have to bring in a hotter, younger actor to carry the weight. And even Connery didn’t always get it right. Lawrence Fishburne in Just Cause and Christian Slater in In the Name of the Rose didn’t do much for him. Neither did Mark Harmon in The Presidio. But those were wiped clean by Nicholas Cage in The Rock, Kevin Costner in The Untouchables, Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October, Wesley Snipes in Rising Sun and even Lorraine Bracco in Medicine Man. So the commercial success of Ant-Man and the critical success of Behind the Candelabra more than wipes the slate clean of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Shia Lebouf. Not to mention the character he plays is part of the foundation of the Marvel Universe. In the comics he’s one of the founding members of The Avengers, playing the role of not just Ant-Man but reversing the effect and becoming, Giant Man/Goliath and also Yellowjacket (who here is the villain). He’s also the actual creator of Ultron. Yes, the antagonist of the recent Avengers sequel. There’s an opening scene here that makes him part of the SHIELD braintrust alongside Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, so he’s also tied to both Iron Man and Captain America now. Pretty sure Douglas isn’t going to hesitate signing any multi-picture deals.

THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES AND SHITS HIMSELF
Pixels opens at number two to some of the most scathing reviews you’ll ever see and given this is Adam Sandler, that’s saying something. Like how much Skyfall sucks and like Bill Cosby being a piece of shit, this is something that I felt was obvious long ago but only now are others seemingly waking up to it. Adam Sandler has been a lazy-ass comedian from day one and the more money he makes the lazier he gets. Low-hanging fruit from day one, never trying harder. Only now when it has reached a toxic level do people finally seem to recognize this. This is based on a short film where video games come to life and attack NYC, pixelating everything they touch eventually taking the entire planet. The creator of that got a cool million, which is why the only thing he can say is “They could have done it better,” and even that may cost him. Honestly, this was done to perfection in an 8 minute sequence on Futurama years ago. That’s all anyone ever need see. Certainly not Adam Sandler’s, old, unfunny, rich, bored ass.

LET ME KNOW WHEN THEY MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT OLD SINGLE GEEKS
Minions is down to number three, followed by Trainwreck at number four and I don’t care how many of my friends love it I’m not seeing this. Yes, it does say something that they are single women in NYC, but that two-hour running time remains bullshit.

OR IS IT ROCKY 6 THIS IS REMAKING?
SouthPaw opens at number four and I loves me some Rachel McAdams, but I’m not going to watch a movie where she dies in the first 15 minutes so I can watch Jake Gyllenhaal struggle with it. It looks like cliché central in this thing and honestly, if I want to watch a white fantasy about boxing, I’ll watch Rocky. I mean, there’s a wizened, older black man there to guide him. What’s sad about this is that if Rachel McAdams had lived I’d probably have seen this remake of Rocky III to watch her do her Talia Shire impression. Jake Gyllenhaal is about to run out of both youth and chances soon. He simply has the worst taste in big mainstream films. Prince of Persia, Love & Other Drugs, Prisoners…all mainstream studio films and all crap. His indie work, however, End of Watch and Nightcrawler seems to be stellar (I burned out on indie long ago so I can only relay what I’ve heard), so it seems like he’s taking the big paychecks to pay for those. Well, those movies have to succeed, chief, and this seems like yet another disappointment headed your way. Time to get on that Marvel gravy train if you want to continue with your small work. But if you’re gonna do it, do it. Don’t pretend you want a big A-list movie with integrity then do Prisoners or Love & Other Drugs. Be honest and just do Transformers 5. No one will blame you.

NOT THAT I’M BITTER AND FILLED WITH SELF-LOATHING OR ANYTHING
Paper Towns opens at number six and it’s finally happened: I’m just too old for another brainy-geek-teen-in-love-with-exceptionally-pretty-girl story. Yes, this one is a tad different because the basic story is that she’s not some happy cheerleader, but a tad troubled and when she vanishes he goes looking for her. But still, he’s only looking for her because she’s pretty. That she’s portrayed by model-of-the-moment Carla Delevingne does not help. The only thing that could put me off more would be one of the Jenner sisters. Shame too, because you know they thought getting her would bring people in.

MAYBE IT’S A PLOT BY SPIELBERG TO MAKE SURE HIS IS ALWAYS THE BEST ONE
Inside Out is down to number seven followed by Jurassic World at number eight and this has made over a billion worldwide. Over $600M in the US and $900M overseas. This is great for Chris Pratt and Spielberg and Universal, but sad for anyone who wants good movies because this was an entertaining piece of crap. The kind of crap Jake Gyllenhaal needs to be a part of. Every legitimate piece of criticism now falls on deaf ears so you can expect the next one, already scheduled for 2018, to suck equally.

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
Mr. Holmes actually rises to number nine and this is how you do it, Jake. Not one, but two big franchises (Lord of the Rings and X-Men) which allows Ian McKellan to get funding for movies like these, which turn around and are unexpectedly more successful than anticipated. Probably a few award noms for McKellan coming down the pike as well. And apparently this is a universe where Sherlock Holmes is world famous and appears in movies. Yes, they include the Basil Rathbone series in the film. That alone makes it a guarantee that I will see it…eventually.

CONAN MAY BE YOUR LAST CHANCE
Finally, Terminator Genisys closes out the top ten at number ten and Arnold’s comeback has proven to be anything but. And this was the go-t0-no-way-it-could-fail-endorsed-by-James-Cameron-vehicle. Why did the equally bad Jurassic World succeed while this failed? Well, for one it has a simpler concept: monsters on the loose. Terminator movies have a simple one as well but they forgot it. It’s supposed to be unstoppable killing machine after someone, but they tried to get cute by merging John Connor with the machine and he’s honestly not trying to kill them. There’s another Terminator in the movie that is initially chasing them, but honestly I can’t tell you what happens to him. There’s even a third one and I can’t tell you what happens to her either (she’s played by Sandrine Holt…and not that I think about it, both the forgotten Terminators are Asian). It’s that bad. And Arnold once touched on the appeal of The Terminator himself: the machine does whatever it wants anywhere it wants. That never occurs here. He’s trying to blend in, so if you’re looking for him to kick the shit out of people much less a bunch of cops like he did in the three successful films look elsewhere. So clearly there’s an anti-establishment aspect to the character that they’ve overlooked…in addition to logic and proper casting.

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SO WONDERFULLY ADEQUATE!

20 Jul

Flash-Gordon-flash-gordon-poster 1. Ant-Man/Disney                    Wknd/$ 58.0    Total/$ 58.0
2. Minions/Universal                Wknd/$ 50.2    Total/$ 216.7
3. Trainwreck/Universal           Wknd/$ 30.2    Total/$ 30.2
5. Jurassic World/Universal    Wknd/$ 11.4     Total/$ 611.2
4. Inside Out/Disney                  Wknd/$ 11.7    Total/$ 306.4
6. Terminator: Genisys/Par      Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 80.6
8. The Gallows/WB                     Wknd/$ 4.0     Total/$ 18.0
7. Magic Mike XXL/WB             Wknd/$ 4.5      Total/$ 58.6
9. Ted 2/Universal                      Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 77.5
10. Mr. Holmes/RAtt                  Wknd/$ 2.5     Total/$ 2.5

DECENT THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES
Ant-Man opens at number one and Marvel clearly has formula to make a superhero hit movie. The problem is the formula is getting a little stale and it’s not simply because it’s a matter of having seen it all before so much as their need now to control everything. The original writer/director of this was Edgar Wright and he started even before Iron Man was made, but in taking so long, an industry crept up around him and he was asked to conform to it and could not or would not. Can’t say as I fault him much. Having to use chunks of my movies to promote other movies would have annoyed me too. Both of the Thor movies sit at the bottom of my list of the Marvel work, because basically they seem to exist only to set up a later Marvel movie and are not films unto themselves (Iron Man 2 is the very bottom because it does that and it sucks). Captain America and Avengers Age of Ultron also suffer from this. But what’s oddly ironic is that, while clearly part of the Marvel movie universe, Ant-Man isn’t sacrificed for it, so Wright may have walked for no reason in the end beyond less creative control, which is still an issue because this needed a little more creativity. Don’t get me wrong: it’s still a fun movie. Entertaining from start to finish. It’s just lacking that extra element to make it above merely competent. In a weird way, it’s almost a superhero remake of The Mark of Zorro with Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas with its wise mentor, estranged fiery daughter, and ex-con hero seeking redemption. Michael Douglas as we learn throughout the course of the film was the original Ant-Man, out being a superhero for SHIELD back in the day (where we see Iron Man’s dad and Captain America’s girlfriend, Peggy Carter) when personal tragedy forced him to quit and take his super-shrinking technology with him. Now his former assistant has figured it out on his own and wants to sell tiny superpowered soldiers to the world and is willing to kill anyone who stands in his way. To stop him, Douglas tricks the fresh-out-of-prison cat burglar Paul Rudd into stealing the Ant-Man suit to test him, much to the annoyance of Douglas’ estranged daughter, Evangeline Lilly, who is pretending to be loyal to the former assistant, but wants to put it on herself and do the job. Aside from the by-the-numbers filmmaking a big problem her is the villain. Your hero can only be as good as he is and Corey Stoll lacks the weight of a Jeff Bridges (Iron Man) or a Hugo Weaving (Captain America) or even the voice of James Spader (Avengers: Age of Ultron). There’s supposed to be a type of father-son dynamic between Stoll and Douglas, but we only know because they tell us. They don’t give it any real depth. Similarly the estrangement between Douglas and his daughter is saucer deep and the revelation of the reasons behind it handled about as well as an episode of Gray’s Anatomy. There’s no reason he’s only telling her now with Paul Rudd around how her mother died a superhero in her own right and not previously in the 25 years beforehand. Especially when it relates to why they have to stop the bad guy. He could still refuse to let her wear the suit, which would more than justify the animosity. They were simply lazy about it. And that’s basically what this film is: fun but lazy in its execution. Rudd is the most charismatic lead they’ve had since Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man and if they’d risen to meet him they would have had the best Marvel film since Iron Man, which I still regard as the best.

NOW YOU’RE LUCKY JUST TO HAVE HIM
Minions is down to number two and lending her voice to this is Sandra Bullock and like most A-listers who do animated films this is just for the fun of it. She doesn’t need it and can show it to her kid. As a matter of fact, most of the “name” voices are clearly just here for the fun of it, not needing any kind of cheap career boost. Okay, maybe when they were making it two years ago Michael Keaton might have needed it, but now he’s another legitimate star alongside Allison Janney, Steve Carell and Jon Hamm.

SOMEWHERE WHITNEY CUMMINGS IS WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED?
Trainwreck opens at number three and if you’ve doubted this is the “Summer of Women” at the movies, this should shut that door soundly. Not only does it put Amy Schumer firmly in the top echelon of comedy stars (she also wrote it), but it exceeded expectations. And don’t think there weren’t many hoping she’d fail as she has reached a saturation point. I can take or leave Amy Schumer. I think her stand up is good, marred only by her ventures into race (her bullshit non-apology “I’m a comedian so it’s okay” doesn’t help) and the show borders on brilliance at times, so I might have seen this…until I saw the 2-hour running time. What. The. Fuck? This is not a 2-hour concept. Party girl meets boy, party girl loses boy and party girl gets boy back is a 90-minute concept at best and a cast filled with pretty much everyone with a day off still doesn’t give me faith that they fill it the way they managed to do with 40-Year-Old Virgin. Unfortunately Judd Apatow is the director and he’s got a problem cutting himself. All his movies are too long but he’s now too powerful for anyone to make him do it. I suspect some needless maudlin melodrama that has no place in a movie about a guy with a giant dick.

NO CRAP MOVIE BUT WHAT YOU MAKE
Inside Out is down to number four, followed by Jurassic World at number five and Terminator Genisys at number six and rounding out the bad performances in this is Jason Clarke giving the worst John Connor portrayal ever. Granted the crappy script gave him nothing to work with, but if you’d been burdened from birth with the knowledge you’d save all humanity, you might at least show a little wear and tear on your soul. As the trailers give away, John Connor is possessed by Skynet, making him into a “terminator” in his own right. Yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds and you just know they thought they were being clever, but if Skynet could do this, why wasn’t it doing it all along to all the humans? Why build detectable machines, when you can possess undetectable humans? Also the script ignores that John Connor doesn’t want to kill his parents, but wants them to join him, which means he’s in there somewhere and isn’t just a machine. A better movie would have explored the idea that Skynet may have him, but he also has Skynet. But this is not a better movie.

THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR SELF HATRED
Magic Mike XXL is down to number seven and adding the aforementioned minority quotient to the movie are Jada Pinkett, Donald Glover, Michael Strahan and Stephen “Twitch” Boss who, like Channing Tatum has a “Step Up” movie or two under his belt. Jada Pinkett plays the ex-girlfriend and ex-boss of Channing Tatum who runs her own strip club, though it’s more of a house women come to. Boss, Strahan and Donald Glover all work there. Granted Strahan has the body, but seriously? We couldn’t find anyone better looking? I know for a fact Shemar Moore ain’t that busy and Will Smith could a have used a hit, so maybe Jada should have brought him along. And I’m sorry but, Donald Glover? He looks like Stripper Smurf next to all the others and no woman is paying for that. You pay for the fantasy you can’t have, not the geek you can have anytime he comes up from IT to fix your computer. No, I’m not projecting my own self-loathing! Why do you ask!?!

THE DEFINITION OF TRIVIA(L)
The Gallows is down to number eight and also in this is the daughter of Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford….Yeah, I still don’t care.

FLASH! NO-OOOOOO!
Ted 2 is down to number nine and once again Sam Jones returns because of Seth McFarland’s love of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. Okay, now we have to put an end once and for all that this was a good movie that was simply misunderstood for being campy when Star Wars and Star Trek were being serious. It’s. Just. Bad. Even as a camp film it fails. Just because you’re campy doesn’t mean you still don’t have a responsibility to tell the story as if it were straight. It was directed by Lorenzo Semple Jr who to no surprise directed the 1966 Batman TV show. Like many directors, the limitations of television worked for him in a way the freedom of film did not. Not to mention he had Dino DeLaurentis to deal with and it’s typical of Europeans to insist that fantastic concepts cannot be taken seriously (the producers of Superman tried to make that campy all the way down to having Superman grab Telly Savalas because he mistakes him for Lex Luthor). So that’s two strikes with the third being a flat out untalented lead actor in Sam Jones. The best things about it were Max Van Sydow as Ming, Ornella Muti as Princess Aura and of course that amazing Queen soundtrack. Otherwise it’s crap and we need to stop seeing it through the easily impressed eyes of an 8-year-old who knows no better. There’s a six minute edited version of the movie on YouTube whose brevity not improves the movie immeasurably, it also shows how much it sucks by how much can be cut without being missed.

ELEMENTARY MY DEAR…UH, WHAT WAS YOUR NAME AGAIN?
Mr. Holmes closes out the top ten and yes, this is about Sherlock Holmes in the twilight of his years, Watson long dead, trying to solve a case as his mental facilities deteriorate. Ian McKellan plays Holmes and while I’d love to see it, honestly I’m two seasons behind on both Sherlock Holmes series (Elementary and Sherlock) that I was watching, so this will have to get in line.

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