Tag Archives: Maleficent

ROB LOWE’S ACTUAL SEX TAPE WAS FUNNIER

21 Jul

<> on November 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes/Fox          Wknd/$ 36.0     Total/$ 139.0
2. The Purge: Anarchy/Universal                  Wknd/$ 28.4     Total/$ 28.4
3. Planes: Fire & Rescue/Disney                    Wknd/$ 18.0     Total/$ 18.0
4. Sex Tape/Sony                                               Wknd/$ 15.0     Total/$ 15.0
5. Transformers 4/Paramount                        Wknd/$ 10.0     Total/$ 227.2
6. Tammy/Warner                                             Wknd/$ 7.6       Total/$ 71.3
7. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                    Wknd/$ 4.7       Total/$ 180.5
8. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox            Wknd/$ 3.8       Total/$ 160.7
9. Maleficent/Disney                                        Wknd/$ 3.3       Total/$ 228.4
10. Earth to Echo/Relativity                           Wknd/$ 3.3        Total/$ 32.0

WILL SMITH COULD HAVE SAVED US FROM THE MONKEYS
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes holds on for a second week confirming this has been a very disappointing summer. I refuse to believe it’s just me being picky (though I clearly am). This summer kinda blows. I mean, no big Pixar or other animated movie (last year as Monsters University and Despicable Me 2); only one big superhero movie (last year was Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and The Wolverine) and not even a Will Smith movie? Are you kidding me!?! Yeah, Tom Cruise had his yearly release, but it oddly feels like everyone else took this summer off (last year he had company with Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Denzel Washington and Vin Diesel) so lesser lights like this thing can shine.

THE ILLUSION OF INTELLIGENT THOUGHT
The Purge: Anarchy opens at number two and this is a sequel to one of the surprise hits of last summer, mainly because it was the rare low budget suspense success that wasn’t a freaking found footage film. Though it pretended to border on satire, the very premise failed for me because if it were true the government would basically use this one day a year to kill all its enemies. Likewise, the police. There wouldn’t be criminals any longer because once a year they’d be wiped out and fear of being labeled a criminal would keep people in line. It’d basically be America as a fascist state. Well, supposedly this film explores that a bit basically showing how “the purge” is really about the rich killing the poor, but it’s too little too late for me. I’m clearly alone in this as this cost as little as its predecessor and made 3x budget the opening weekend, so expect The Purge 3 at a theater near you next summer.

IF FROZEN & WRECK IT RALPH WERE TWO STEP FORWARDS, HERE’S YOUR ONE STEP BACK
Planes: Fire & Rescue opens at number three and I cannot remember a more confusing ad campaign for a children’s movie. One was your usual generic silliness while the other treated this film as if it were about actual an actual fire & rescue unit. Um, okay. If you doubt this is crap just know that animated films usually take years to make, even computer generated ones. The first Planes came out August last year, so you know this was slapped together as quickly as a computer could render it. Once upon a time this would be the kind of thing Disney sent straight to video like its other sequels (Mulan 2 and 3 anyone?) but I guess recent successes have them feeling cocky. And my opinion of this remains the same as last year: if you want me to like your movie then why the hell is Dane Cook in it? Even as a voice I cannot bear the thought of him and it pains me that this is helping to keep his career alive.

REAL SEX TAPES ARE FUNNIER
Sex Tape opens at number four and rarely does “underwhelming” so describe a film. All the pieces of a decent comedy are there. You’ve got your basic set of “normal people” who get thrown into a crazy situation the moment they try to do something adventurous. In this case it’s a nice suburban couple who try to recapture the heat of their earlier days by making a sex tape, then forgetting that they have an auto-sync system on their computer that uploads it to the cloud then downloads it to anyone they’ve given an iPad to. Other elements are their children, one of whom is turning into a smartass while the younger daughter is having existentialist thoughts. You have bored neighbors who are dying to be part of they wacky scheme to get the iPads back; a seemingly family-friendly CEO who does coke and listen to gangsta rap and heavy metal the second his family goes away and the kid of the wacky neighbors who is a budding sociopath. Top it off with an R-rating and you have to be supremely sad not to make this into something worth watching. They are supremely sad. This thing just never gets into gear because they are seemingly afraid of their own raunchy premise. Nothing sums this up better than Cameron Diaz unwilling to be topless. Now Jason Segel has proven he’s willing to go all out when he showed his junk in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but Cameron Diaz is in a movie called “Sex Tape” showing a little “A” (very little to be honest about it) and no “T.” All the times they painfully block any shots of her breasts when she’s supposed to be naked you’re reminded how this movie likewise won’t go where it needs to go. They don’t even honestly deal with why they’re in a rut, which seems to be her frustration at not being able to work, which is mirrored by his resentment at being the breadwinner. Like Cameron Diaz’s breasts they dance around it but never give you anything. It makes perfect sense the funniest part of the movie is Jack Black running down a list of porn site in rapid succession, because that’s the type of fearless vulgarity that was needed all along.

I GUESS TODAY IT’S BEING “A HEMMSWORTH”
Transformers: Age of Extinction is down to number five and you gotta give Mark Walberg points for how wisely he manages his career. This and Ted may not be art, but they keep him on the A-list where he’s been since Clueless. The joke about him being a desirable celebrity (“We may get Marky Mark to plant a tree”) is as valid now as it was almost 20 years ago. Unlike the joke about being “a Baldwin” synonymous with male desirability. The only one still in the public eye is Alec who’s easily 30-4 pounds heavier, which makes him indistinguishable from Daniel. Wherefore art thou Billy? And Stephen was just riding the wave anyway.

EARN LIKE A MAN
Tammy is down to number six and it appears I wasn’t the only person who noticed that this was in fact a very successful movie despite what other people would have you believe. It’s up to $71M from a $20M budget and that’s all domestic loot, baby, which is the kind that really matters. Apparently the idea that a talented woman could churn out subpar crap just like a man (see above paragraph) and still make money off it was bothersome to some.

HOW DARE YOU NOT SHAMELESSLY MILK EVERY DIME FROM EVERYTHING!?!
22 Jump Street is down to number five, followed by How To Train Your Dragon 2 at number eight and Maleficent at number nine and given that the two princesses from Frozen are going to turn up on ABC/Disney’s Once Upon A Time show because that film was so major, you have to wonder why isn’t Maleficent suffering the same fate? It would seem an obviously ploy by the “Never Shy To A Money-Making Ploy” Disney. They could get that girl who looks like Megan Fox, ‘cause Megan Fox kinda looks like Angelina Jolie. Whatshername? The only one who still has to do TV…Oddette Yustman! Damn, girl. You’re the reason people take stage names.

NOT ECHOING SUCCESS THAT’S FOR SURE
Finally, Earth to Echo closes out the top ten at number ten and somewhere Steven Spielberg has a drink and laughs.

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TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS FOR ME TO BE INVOLVED IN

13 Jul

eric-bana-001

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NO, NOT A REMAKE OF THE DEBBIE REYNOLDS MOVIE

6 Jul

tammy-bachel_ger_58_a 1. Transformers 4/Paramount                    Wknd/$ 36.4      Total/$ 174.7
2. Tammy/Warner                                         Wknd/$ 21.2      Total/$ 32.9
3. Deliver Us From Evil/SGem                    Wknd/$ 9.5       Total/$ 15.0
4. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                Wknd/$ 9.4       Total/$ 158.9
5. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox         Wknd/$ 8.8       Total/$ 140.0
6. Earth to Echo/Relativity                          Wknd/$ 8.3       Total/$ 13.5
7. Maleficent/Disney                                     Wknd/$ 6.1        Total/$ 213.9
8. Jersey Boys/Warner                                 Wknd/$ 5.2        Total/$ 36.7
9. Think Like A Man Too/SGem                 Wknd/$ 4.9        Total/$ 57.2
10. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                Wknd/$ 3.6         Total/$ 90.9

LIKE A TECHNICALLY PROFICIENT GUITAR PLAYER WITH NO SENSE OF MELODY
Transformers: Age of Extinction holds at number one and if you want to know why Michael Bay sucks but lack the film literacy than “It makes my head hurt” then watch the analysis of Tony Zhou wherein he breaks down the method to the madness. Simply put: Bay tries to pack as much into every scene as he possible can. Now on one level that makes sense when you’re dealing with giant robots fighting, but the problem is he’ll do it with two people talking and a scene with two people talking only needs to be about that conversation. Even when it’s just two robots talking it still needs only to be about that conversation, but with Bay it’s them the sky, the building and whatever the hell else he can cram into it with a camera that’s always in motion. But the analysis is only about the narrative of the film itself, not exploring why the screenplays are equally horrible. Nor does it delve into Bay’s need to have women appear in white or beautiful women in tight skirts, high heels and lots of cleavage in the background (cough “casting couch” cough). That’s fine if the character is visiting a modeling agency, not the Defense Department, but like all of his shots Bay likes to put things were they don’t belong.

A PROUD HOLLYWOOD STEREOTYPE, ER, TRADITION
Tammy opens at number two and like many a performer who has shone as sidekick or supporting character, Melissa McCarthy is not my idea of a lead because a little of her goes a long way. Not to mention the whole “dumb, fat slob” genre of comedy has always left me cold. I didn’t care for it with John Candy or Chris Farley or Jack Black and I don’t care for it here. It’s not helping that the advertising is leaving out that her character is in fact reacting to the failure of her marriage which suggests there’s a little more going on. Nonetheless, I wish her as much success as every fat bastard we’ve ever had to endure onscreen (it cost $20M and made $32M its first five days). I’m just not gonna help with it.

SCHIZOPHRENIA? NO WAY. IT’S SATAN!
Deliver Us From Evil opens at number three and this is yet another “inspired by a true story” movie complete with the actual police officer involved turning up in the ads for it, which only makes me think the requirements to join NYPD aren’t as strenuous as they might be. Then again, you don’t want to be the only police department to ask, “Do you believe in ghosts and demons” on the application. While this does fall technically under the “I Don’t Do Scary” rule it doesn’t look the slightest bit scary to me because it just seems so. stupid. Honestly, I’d respect it more if they hadn’t insisted it was based on real events, which means “serious psychological issues misinterpreted by religious nutjobs.”

THEME SONG: “TURN ON YOUR CELL PHONE LIGHT”
22 Jump Street is down to number four, followed by How To Train Your Dragon 2 at number five and Earth To Echo opening at number six and is Spielberg getting a check for this? It’s so clearly e.t.: The Extra Terrestrial for the camera phone generation it’s not even funny. You know how whenever Paul Rudd appears on a Conan O’Brien he keeps tricking Conan by showing footage from the painfully obvious e.t. rip-off Mac and Me? Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if next time he uses this.

SADLY THIS DIDN’T STAY IN VEGAS
Maleficent is down to number seven followed by Jersey Boys at number eight and Think Like A Man Too at number nine and also in this ensemble cast are Wendy Williams, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Ronald DeVoe (from New Edition and BBD), Ndaamukong Suh, Cheryl Hines, Carl Weathers and Kelsey Grammer? There are Love Boat episodes with a less diverse collection of people. What the hell? You think it was anyone who just happened to be in Vegas when they filmed this? “Hey do a scene and we’ll give you a few grand in chips.”

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, BLAME COMPUTERS
Finally Edge of Tomorrow closes out the top ten at number ten and while people are looking for some reason to blame this disappointing return of a mostly positively reviewed movie on Cruise fatigue (no one really turned out for Oblivion last year either) I’m gonna put it down to the exo-skeleton armor they wear. Don’t ask me why, but even I, a science fiction and comic book loving geek who sees it all the time in print was oddly put off by it. It’s just unappealing visually. Equally unappealing were the CGI aliens. Honestly if there’s any fatigue at play here, it’s excessive CGI monster fatigue. They all look the same, like a swirling mass of pixels. Not so much threatening as boring.

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MICHAEL BAY IS THE DEVIL AND YOU KNOW IT!

30 Jun

union-4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TOUGH GUYS DON’T DIRECT MUSICALS

22 Jun

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1. Think Like A Man Too/SGem                         Wknd/$ 30.0       Total/$ 30.0
2. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                        Wknd/$ 29.0       Total/$ 111.5
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox                 Wknd/$ 25.3        Total/$ 95.2
4. Jersey Boys/Warners                                        Wknd/$ 13.5         Total/$ 13.5
5. Maleficent/Disney                                              Wknd/$ 13.0       Total/$ 186.0
6. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                            Wknd/$ 10.3       Total/$ 74.5
7. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                              Wknd/$ 8.6         Total/$ 98.7
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox                    Wknd/$ 6.2          Total/$ 216.8
9. Chef/ORF                                                             Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 16.9
10. Godzilla/Warner                                               Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 194.9

THE BEST MAN 2.5
Think Like a Man Too opens at number one and I’ll say it again: when the primary depictions of yourself onscreen are as sidekicks, servants (or slaves) or how you heroically endured oppression, you tend grab any depiction of yourself as happy and whole and enjoying life with both hands, which why this sequel opens big. You could make Latino-American and Asian-American versions of this and also make money and I can’t believe no one has. In fact, given it’s basically about a best man it could be counted as an unofficial sequel or spin-off of The Best Man which first dared to show happy, successful, educated African Americans. I gave this a pass because a) a little Kevin Hart (who is working his 15 minutes) goes a loooooonnnng way and b) I will put no money the misogynist pocket of Steve Harvey, whose book the original drew upon as source material is basically saying the problem with men and women is women. This from a man divorced three times. I’m just sayin’, maybe the problem is you and your attitude, playa.

NO 23 JUMP STREET. NOT. EVER.
22 Jump Street is down to number two and apparently there’s a hysterical end credit sequence where they show the next 20 sequels to this, basically letting you know there will actually be no sequels to this. What there will be coming down the pike is a return to good-looking person/not-so good-looking person team up comedies. You’ve already seen it for women with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat and between this and Neighbors and the utter failure of Adam Sandler’s last film, consider the days of solo “ugly but funny” days over. How it differs from the past is that the less attractive person isn’t just here for fat loser jokes. Progress?

HOW TO COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY’VE HATCHED
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is down to number three and how cruel an irony is it that Jonah Hill is technically in this as one of the voices? He had a great weekend last week. Everyone else, not so much. Jay Baruchel (the voice of Hiccup) was a guest on Craig Ferguson’s show (he’s the voice of Gobber) and they talked about being in the third installment of this. Needless is to say, not so fast, fellas.

GO AHEAD. MAKE MY MUSICAL.
Jersey Boys opens at number four which isn’t as disappointing as it seems given it only cost $40M to make. Clint Eastwood is famously frugal a director. He’s also famously sparse and laconic which are not two things one associates with Broadway shows. Existentialist westerns? Sure. But a story filled with passion and music? Not so much. Yes, it borders of pigeonholing the man, but given his open love of popular music (take it out of his films and see what happens) and the fact this combines it with both Italian Americans and the mob, how the hell did Martin Scorsese not do this!?! He would have brought the style and passion this story needed. And while that’s a big problem with this movie, the other is the problem that afflicts most stage-to-screen adaptations and that’s an inability to depict it properly without it being just a filmed version of the play. The best way to deal with it is to set it in the same type of “non-reality” the show existed in. Chicago clearly takes place in no Chicago that ever existed and if they’d tried to ground it reality too much it would have faltered. This tries to take place in the real world, which granted, makes sense given it’s a true story, but when you do that you have to pay more attention to details. You have to fill out the world in which they exist. Not having it leads to the common problem of most movie bios: a lack of context because they don’t fill out the world in which these people exist. The only other musician ever mentioned is Frank Sinatra (who was the ironically enough the only other musician ever mentioned in the Ray Charles bio pic). Pretty sure they weren’t competing with him. In fact, there was an entire East coast vs. West Coast stunt set up with them and The Beach Boys. You wouldn’t know they or any other musical act from that time period existed by this film (Elvis? Beatles? Who are they?), not to mention the incredible social changes going on around them. Again, that’s fine for a stage show, but with film you have to flesh these things out. There’s also such a thing, ironically enough, as being too faithful to the stage production. Yeah, the lead actor can play a character 15 to 50, but on film a 30+ actor playing 15 is simply not going to fly. Just get a younger actor! I won’t even get into the makeup disaster that is the climax of their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Everyone a party to that should be embarrassed. The stage show probably did it better just painting their hair gray.

RIPLEY COULD HAVE SAVED THE DAY…AGAIN
Maleficent is down to number five, followed by Edge of Tomorrow at number six and obviously Emily Blunt is the female lead here and she’s in her 30’s while Cruise is in his 50’s, my usual pet peeve. The director, Doug Liman, overheard this criticism at a party and felt it was unjust because the film wasn’t about them as a couple. Well, dude, then you probably shouldn’t have had her seemingly falling for him towards the end, much less have her kiss him. And not that hindsight is 20/20, but how could casting Sigourney Weaver in her role as the badass alien fighter not have been a great idea? She would have brought in so many other people (i.e., women) who might not have otherwise seen a Tom Cruise vehicle. But 50-something Cruise isn’t kissing a 60-something Weaver onscreen so you can just forget that.

AS FATTY ARBUCKLE ROLLS OVER IN HIS GRAVE
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number seven, followed by X-Men: Days of Future Past at number eight and at almost $700M from a $200M budget, we can safely say that that this train is back on track…and that Fox will be coughing up an ungodly amount of money for Bryan Singer’s legal defense, because he is clearly the key.

SOMEWHERE MATTHEW BRODERICK LAUGHS
Chef actually rises to number nine and I couldn’t be happier, while Godzilla drops to number ten and I honestly couldn’t care less. It wasn’t bad, but as time passes, the more I think about how the director jerked us around not showing Godzilla for the longest time then having it happen at night, the more annoyed I become. He thought he was being clever, well given it’s barely going to break the 3x budget rule of profitability, he was a little too clever for his own good. Honestly, it’s only done a little better than the much-maligned version with Matthew Broderick. A good lesson in how perception is reality.

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YOU TAME A DRAGON WITH TATUM!

15 Jun

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1. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                       Wknd/$ 60.0     Total/$ 60.0
2. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox               Wknd/$ 50.0      Total/$ 50.0
3. Maleficent/Disney                                           Wknd/$ 19.0       Total/$ 163.5
4. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                         Wknd/$ 16.1        Total/$ 56.6
5. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                           Wknd/$ 15.7        Total/$ 81.7
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox                 Wknd/$ 9.5          Total/$ 205.9
7. Godzilla/Warner                                              Wknd/$ 3.2          Total/$ 191.3
8. A Million Ways To Die in the West              Wknd/$ 3.2          Total/$ 39.0
9. Neighbors/Universal                                       Wknd/$ 2.5         Total/$ 143.1
10. Chef/ORF                                                         Wknd/$ 2.3         Total/$ 14.1

“LIVER & POTATOES, PLEASE” SAID NO ONE EVER.
22 Jump Street opens at number one and I’m serious: Jonah Hill is on my list of actors I will look at only if I have to, right next to Seth Rogen. It had better be some big-ticket item like an Oscar-bait Scorsese film or it’s simply not going to happen. Give this is clearly not from Marty, it’s safe to say I gave it a pass, though clearly one of the few. I like Channing Tatum…enough. He’s like a big potato; only as tasty as what you add to it and teaming him with Jonah Hill is like adding liver.

HOW TO TAME MULTI-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS
How To Train Your Dragon 2 opens at number two, which was a great surprise to everyone given it’s a big animated film. Me, I’m not so surprised give how the first was just good and not much else. It was the definition of perfunctory, utterly lacking in any ambition beyond simply telling a simple story. This is more of the same, if not beautifully so. Seeing the giant alpha dragons almost made me wish I’d seen it in IMAX. Almost. It’s just that gorgeous, as are most of the flight scenes. What’s steadily earthbound is a script where there are earth-shattering emotional events that are simply glossed over as if they were nothing. As the commercials and trailers show, Hiccup’s mother is still alive and is a dragonrider herself. Seems she’s been with them all this time, letting her loving husband and infant son think she was dead…and neither of them care. Seriously. Not even a single, “Why didn’t you come back to see me?” Nothing. No. Thing. A complete and utter abandonment by a wife and parent results in zero resentment from the characters. They’re just a happy family again. Bear in mind she’s the caretaker of FLYING DRAGONS. She could have gone home at any time. She just didn’t. Her excuse was that she believed dragons were not evil but no one there did, so why try? You know the way her son did in the first film and basically changed their culture in a week? Because he actually tried. Once again, you shouldn’t go into the deep water if you can’t swim and they can’t even float. This is what it has in common with the number three film, Maleficent. It also tries to go into the deep water by having the king and Maleficent be in a previous relationship, but also backs away from it, but at least they muddy the water a little (he can’t kill her because he loves her and she loves his daughter), in what is purely a soulless, naked, corporate money grab. There’s not so much as a dust cloud here. But it is purty.

ALWAYS A PLACE FOR OLD MEN
Edge of Tomorrow is down to number four here and also in this is Brendan Gleeson and if you’re paying attention, if Tom Cruise likes you, you’ll be back in one of his other films. Robert Duvall was in Days of Thunder and returned in Jack Reacher. Brendan Gleeson, who also improves anything he’s in, was in Mission Impossible II and returns here as the general who sends Tom Cruise to the front for being a coward, but you should really check him out in The Guard with Don Cheadle. He was cheated out of an Oscar nod for it. Then again, people would have to see it first…

AMERICA’S NEW SWEETHEART
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number four and your new Jennifer Lawrence is…Shailene Woodley. She’s got the critical acclaim and now a one-two punch of box office success with a franchise (Divergent) and now a romantic drama. It would have been two franchises, but her role as Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was cut. Right now there’s someone at Sony combing through her contract to see if she’s obligated to come back for fear of losing his job.

PRETTY WOMAN SUCKED THEN AND SUCKS NOW
Speaking of Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men Days of Future Past is down to number six and it’s no accident her role was bumped up or that she and Hugh Jackman are the most prominent on the poster. This actually gives her two franchises in addition to the prestige stuff she keeps getting Oscar nominations for. It’s good there’s a new Jennifer Lawrence as she’s moving on to be the new Julia Roberts, that all-encompassing movie star who can’t fail. Except she can actually act.

NOTHING MORE LEFT TO BE SAID
Godzilla is down number seven, A Million Ways to Die in The West is down to number eight and Neighbors is down to number nine.

IRON CHEF?
Chef finally drops a notch to ten and is probably coming to the end of its noble little run. You done good, Jon (he’s also behind the TV adaptation of About A Boy, which will be coming back). Hope you made a little loot and learned a lesson.

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INDEPENDENT GROUNDHOG DAY

8 Jun

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1. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                       Wknd/$ 48.2       Total/$ 48.2
2. Maleficent/Disney                                      Wknd/$ 33.5        Total/$ 127.4
3. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                    Wknd/$ 29.1        Total/$ 29.1
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox            Wknd/$ 14.7        Total/$ 189.1
5. A Million Ways To Die in the West         Wknd/$ 7.2          Total/$ 30.1
6. Godzilla/Warner                                         Wknd/$ 6.0         Total/$ 185.0
7. Neighbors/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 5.2          Total/$ 128.6
8. Blended/Warner                                         Wknd/$ 4.1          Total/$ 36.5
9. Chef/ORF                                                     Wknd/$ 2.0          Total/$ 6.9
10. Million Dollar Arm/Disney                     Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 31.3

IT’S FROM SHAKESPEARE? GET IT?
The Fault in Our Stars opens big at number one so if you were tired of movies being based on a Young Adult novel you might want to get over it, because this will just keep it going. Forget about the failures, because Hollywood sure has. It’s the only business where a 1-in10 success rate will still warrant ten more tries. To be fair, however when it succeeds it’s Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, but the failures are legion: Bridge to Terabithia, Eragon, The SpiderWick Chronicles, Ender’s Game, I Am Number Four, The Mortal Instruments, The Host, The Seeker, The Vampire’s Assistant…seriously, I could do this all day. I have read none of them and seen only two and that didn’t change with this weekend despite actual positive buzz. You know how I don’t do the scary? I also don’t do the tearjerker. If I want to cry I’ll watch pet rescue videos online. Not that I do so and weep like a child and you can’t prove otherwise.

SLEEPY DOODY. OH, SHUT UP. THEY CAN’T ALL BE WINNERS.
Maleficent is down to number two as the tween crowd left this behind to their younger sisters and brothers so they could see the number one flick. Another failure of this revisionist Sleeping Beauty is the changing of the curse. It’s a horrible compromise to make Maleficent palatable, because cursing a child to die is simply an unforgivable act and this isn’t Unforgiven 2. Instead she just curses her to sleep, but even that gets screwed up thanks to the other three fairies you know from the animated film being mangled from beginning to end. They’re just here for cheap comic relief and not much else. Not to mention since the third fairy was the one who changed the curse from death to sleep, she loses any purpose whatsoever. Then there’s the painful contrivance of the king sending the baby off to be raised in secret by the three fairies. This makes zero sense given the curse doesn’t kick in until her 16th birthday. If he sent her away on her 15th year, that I get. But the only purpose of this is for Maleficent to become her surrogate mother. Seriously, after the billion-dollar success of Alice In Wonderland with its equally horrible story, Disney knew it never again had to try in its live-action adaptations. Just stick big stars in the middle of a lot of CGI and sit back and count the money. And they’re right. You people simply don’t care. Neither do your damn kids.

BET YOU’D LIKE TO REPEAT ‘96 RIGHT ABOUT NOW (JERRY MAGUIRE, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE)
Edge of Tomorrow opens at number three and almost $30M for an opening weekend would be impressive for anyone else, but since it’s Tom Cruise and this is his Big Summer Movie, it’s a disappointment. The other big action sci-fi movies have opened at number one in the $90M range and even Maleficent did about $70, so for Tom Cruise’s Big Summer Movie to open only at number three and only $30M…well let’s just say Jack Reacher 2 and Mission Impossible 5 are a go. Maybe even that horrible Top Gun sequel they keep threatening us with. Even Jerry Maguire 2 seems possible right about now. It’s mistake because this cross of Groundhog Day and Independence Day is one of the best things he’s done in years. The idea is simple: aliens have invaded and Tom Cruise acquires their power to turn back time and keeps reliving the day until he figures out how to defeat them with the help of Emily Blunt who once had the same ability. There’s a strain of decidedly black humor as Tom Cruise has to die a thousand deaths to possibly make it to a single brave one (he begins the movie as a very much non-Tom Cruise coward) with an impatient Emily Blunt who is more than willing to cap him over and over again to restart the process. Not to mention the later scenes where Tom Cruise has a moments reminiscent of Bill Murray the diner where he tries to convince Andie McDowell of his situation. Just because it’s in the middle of an alien invasion and meant to be deadly serious doesn’t make it any less amusing. It’s telling that the film doesn’t start to drag until its final act where it becomes an idiot plot and people need to act like idiots in order to insure a very clichéd series of events, because if they don’t the movie is basically over as the smart, intelligent response will guarantee success. Even though this was based on a Japanese manga with the much cooler title of All You Need Is Kill, it’s very much like an Outer Limits episode and honestly could have been told in 45 minutes—but only if everyone is smart, which cannot be tolerated in big summer movie.

JUST BE HAPPY YOU WERE IN THE BEST ONE
X-Men: Days of Future Past and you have to wonder how Rebecca Romijn and Allan Cummings feel given they had prominent roles in the best X-Men movie, X2, and are nowhere to be seen here. Now, the plot doesn’t allow for the adult Mystique to appear, but the lack of Alan Cummings who shone as Nightcrawler and was part of the original comics story is a missed opportunity to bring him back. Ironically Quicksilver is to this film what he was to X2: the character whose appearance and powers (super speedster in goggles) could easily be a disaster winding up to totally steal the film in a single scene (seriously, it is the best scene in the film). Unlike basically every mutant we’ve seen so far, Quicksilver is very pleased with himself and his powers, which he’s using to a sadly logical conclusion, which is to steal anything and everything he can. Joss Whedon just had his already ton of pressure increased for Avengers 2 as his version of Quicksilver appears there as well (in fact, you’ve already seen him in the post credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier alongside his sister, Wanda). In the comics, Quicksilver is the son of Magneto. There’s an in-joke about this in the film, so pay attention.

ETC..
A Million Ways to Die in the West is down to number five, followed by Godzilla at number six and Neighbors at number seven.

BET YOU’D LIKE TO REPEAT ’98 RIGHT ABOUT NOW (WEDDING SINGER, WATERBOY)
Blended is down to number eight and along with Tom Cruise someone else missing the 90’s right about now is Adam Sandler. Once his schtick was guaranteed gold, especially with Drew Barrymore beside him but now he needs half the cast to be former SNL performers just to keep his head above water (Grown Ups) as this is tanking and at best will probably only make a little above budget which is nothing. What makes this flop even better is that he openly admits it was just a way of getting a paid vacation to Africa with his family. Given that the utter laziness of his humor is why I despise him so much, it’s very sweet that it’s finally bitten him in the ass.

ART MAKING MONEY? ARE YOU SURE?
Chef holds at number nine as every week they add a few more theaters to it. I’m happy with this.

BECAUSE EVERY SPORTS MOVIE MUST HAVE A HOT GIRL
Finally, Million Dollar Arm closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Lake Bell as basically, “the girl” for Jon Hamm. This was clearly just work for her (well, that and getting paid to make out with Jon Hamm), because she’s so much better than this, currently making the transition to writing and directing. Though how she never made it as the “the girl” in every movie with a body that rocking is beyond me (as Black Rob once said, “Body like ‘Whoa!'”). Clearly this was a route she could have easily gone, but refused…and we’re back to that thing about brains and self-awareness.

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