Tag Archives: Mark Ruffalo

THE MONEY MACHINE ROLLS ON

4 May

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1. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney Wknd/$ 187.7 Total/$ 187.7
2. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate Wknd/$ 6.3 Total/$ 23.4
3. Furious 7/Universal Wknd/$ 6.1 Total/$ 330.5
4. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Wknd/$ 5.6 Total/$ 44.0
5. Home/Fox Wknd/$ 3.3 Total/$ 158.1
6. Cinderella/Disney Wknd/$ 2.4 Total/$ 193.7
7. Ex Machina/A24 Wknd/$ 2.2 Total/$ 10.9
8. Unfriended/Universal Wknd/$ 1.9 Total/$ 25.2
9. The Longest Ride/Fox Wknd/$ 1.7 Total/$ 30.4
10. Woman in Gold/Weinstein Wknd/$ 3.5 Total/$ 21.6

WATCH ME GET MY GEEK ON!
Surprising absolutely no one, Avengers: Age of Ultron opens at number one and I found this to be superior to the original because it’s more of a movie unto itself and not so much concerned with setting up the next film. This is not to say it’s not setting up the next movie. Oh, no. They’re not afraid to let you know they’re saving shit for you to pay for later. But it’s less of an obvious placeholder. Scenes that showcase every character individually are less forced and even the sub-plots don’t drop like so many lead weights. And last but not least, there’s no 10-minute sequence where Captain America and Iron Man fix an engine. Seriously. I cannot believe they shot that. The movie opens in full swing with The Avengers going after Hydra, which if you remember where the bad guys in Captain America’s two movies because god forbid he fight a Nazi (yes, I will forever be annoyed by that). There they recover Loki’s scepter from the first film and from it Tony Stark creates an artificial intelligence known as Ultron, whom he intends to use to protect the world from the next invasion. Unfortunately Ultron more than has a mind of its own and thinks humanity is the problem and just plans to wipe us all out, Stark in particular. This sets up the basic plot of the film: superheroes vs. giant angry robot. With Ultron are two enhanced (because Fox owns the rights to the term mutant) people who also hate Tony Stark, Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch making more of a fair fight and actually kicking Avenger ass. Ultron is longtime Avengers villain in the comic whom I actually have never cared for, but James Spader via writer/director Whedon has been improved immensely. Before he was just a one note bad guy while they’ve given him a much-needed personality, which is basically what if your angry, sarcastic teenage son had the power to wipe out the world? He hates Tony Stark but has elements of Stark’s personality and hates being reminded of that. You need these moments of humanity given 90% of the film they’re swimming in a sea of CGI and it gets a little tiring. Seriously. It’s fun to watch, but when it’s over you really don’t need to see any more of it anytime soon (which why I had Daredevil to watch, but we’ll get to that). Ironically the Summer Movie Season has more or less begun, so I guess I’ll be seeing more of it next week. And the week after that. And the week after that.

GONNA FINALLY SEE THAT KESSEL RUN!
Age of Adaline actually moves up to number two, a result I gather of women (or men) who just drew a line in the sand and decided not to accompany their men (or women) into seeing Age of Ultron (which would explain why the sequel failed to be top its predecessor). Basically, if they were going to watch some wacky fantasy movie, it was going to be something they were actually interested in with more kissing and less CGI. Also in this is Harrison Ford and playing him younger, Anthony Ingruber who basically got the job doing Harrison Ford impressions on YouTube. You damn kids today. Once upon a time you had to sleep your way into movies. Granted, it helps that he looks like Ford, but can also do him perfectly. If I’m at Disney I’m hiring this kid and just creating a new revenue stream of Young Han Solo movies. Tell me more people wouldn’t see that than the main Star Wars films themselves!?! And now that Lucas is gone there’d be a whole lot of shootin’ first!

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THAT SINGING CAREER?
Furious 7 is down to number three and trying to get on the comic book money train is Tyrese Gibson. Not that I blame him, but I do not want to see this fool as any character I actually care about. Not to mention at 5’11 he’s too short to play the character he wanted, who was Luke Cage (who will have a series on Netflix like Daredevil, but we’ll get to that). That role went to Mike Colter from The Good Wife, who is 6’3”. Damn right. Now Gibson wants to be Jon Stewart, one of the Green Lanterns. Given how Ryan Reynolds crashed and burned, DC will probably go that way. I mean given how bad all their other decisions have been, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gibson got the job. Needless to say, I don’t give a crap about Jon Stewart. I mean, I didn’t care when Common’s talentless ass was cast as him for the aborted Justice League movie, so why would I start now?

THEY’LL PAY FOR THIS NEGLECT IN THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is down to number four, followed by Home at number five and Cinderella oddly returning to the top ten at number six. I have no idea how or why. The number of screens actually dropped by almost a thousand and still it popped up. Again, I’m thinking somehow The Avengers had something to do with this. Short sighted fathers who dropped their daughters off here instead of taking them with their brothers to see The Avengers.

IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO RULE IN HELL
Ex Machina is down to number seven, followed by Unfriended at number eight, The Longest Ride at number nine and The Woman in Gold at number ten and it’s gotta be humbling at home for Ryan Reynolds with Blake Lively’s movie getting more exposure than his. Especially when she’s the star of hers and he’s the co-star of Helen Mirren. Yeah, technically this did better, but is it better to the co-star in a success of the star of a disappointment?

YOU’D HAVE TO BE BLIND NOT TO LOVE THIS.
Since we’re discussing The Avengers and other comic book movies, it’s time I got to my long overdue discussion of Daredevil (told you we’d get to it). Simply put: it’s awesome. Seriously. Forget about that godawful movie with Ben Affleck that even he admits was crap. This. Is. Amazing. Netfilix and Marvel have pulled off something I quite frankly had my doubts about. I know it’s not saying much but this is best superhero TV show ever made. It is gritty and serious as a heart attack, but they make it work. It helps they have time. It’s not so much at TV show, but a 13-hour movie. Each episode builds on the previous episode to a great climax. Having been a fan of the comics this is based upon, my jaw dropped at some of the scenes. They’re making it clear that the comics are merely source material and they feel no obligation to follow them to the letter. Their changes are amazing and may have set the bar too high for them to follow, much less other shows that are coming set in this same world. One primary reason is the villain. It’s an old conceit that your movie can only be as good as its villain and Vincent D’Onofrio brings to life a great villain, The Kingpin. He’s not some two-dimensional bad guy, but a fully realized traumatized human being who has been consumed by his darkside, though he doesn’t admit it even to himself. The other saying is that a good villain is the hero of his own story and in this Wilson Fisk (never called The Kingpin, because what is this, a comic book?) firmly believes he’s saving the city. This city is the New York post-Avengers alien invasion. Hell’s Kitchen isn’t the new home of luxury high rises and nice restaurants that’s threatening to price me out of it, but the crime ridden HK of old thanks to the damage of the alien invasion The Avengers fought off. In a plotline all too real, criminals are making the most of all the new money coming in to redevelop the area. Having grown up there, Fisk thinks he’s saving his old neighborhood and the city with a small consortium of organized crime leaders, from Yakuza to Triads to Russian Mobs (clearly the Italians and Irish are old news). Unfortunately for him, Daredevil, aka, Matt Murdock also grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and is having none of it, going out every night dressed in black, using his hyper senses (developed when he was blinded by radioactive chemicals saving a man’s life) to find crime and beat the crap out of people committing it. They actually make you believe one unarmed guy can derail a business of armed gangsters. It’s fairly simple: you screw up their business enough and the partners start getting impatient and wind up finishing them off. They also do a great job of fleshing out the supporting characters. In the comics Vanessa, The Kingpin’s love interest, is a borderline idiot who has no idea he’s a gangster. Here she’s a woman knowing enough to bring a gun on her second date. She knows what he is and not only accepts it, but helps him somewhat. Karen Page is the secretary/love interest with little going on beyond that in the comics, but here she goes from being a damsel in distress to a pit bull determined to take The Kingpin down no matter what it takes. Daredevil himself had the sense of humor that comes and goes in the comics (depending on who’s writing) and takes a fairly realistic beating for someone fighting crime with no superpowers. When his ability to take a pounding without complaining is pointed out, he quips, “That’s the Catholicism in me.” Seriously, I cannot recommend this enough. It’s not perfect (Asians take it only the chin in all kinds of stereotypes and Daredevil functions a little too well despite vicious beatings). Let me put it this way: just make it to the hallway scene in episode two. That’s when I knew this was the real deal.

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FRANK MILLER SUCKS. THAT IS ALL.

25 Aug

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1. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney                  Wknd/$ 17.6    Total/$ 251.9
2. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles/Par            Wknd/$ 16.8    Total/$ 145.6
3. If I Stay/WB                                                     Wknd/$ 16.3    Total/$ 16.4
4. Let’s Be Cops/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 11. 0    Total/$ 45.2
5. When The Game Stands Tall/TS                 Wknd/$ 9.0      Total/$ 9.0
6. The Giver/Weinstein                                      Wknd/$ 6.7      Total/$ 24.1
7. The Expendables 3/LGF                                Wknd/$ 6.6      Total/$ 27.5
8. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For                        Wknd/$ 6.5      Total/$ 6.5
9. The Hundred-Foot Journey/Disney           Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 32.8
10. Into The Storm/WB                                      Wknd/$ 3.8     Total/$ 38.3

AND LORD OF THE RINGS CAME FROM KING ARTHUR. GET OVER IT.
Guardians of the Galaxy returns to the number one spot and also in this is Glenn Close and if this comes as a surprise to you I have to ask you where the hell you’ve been for 35 years, as A-list dramatic stars have been part of superhero movies since Superman The Movie opened with Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman billed above the title. Still, even after Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, Jeff Bridges, Cliff Robertson, Anthony Hopkins, Tommy Lee Jones, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliot, Peter O’Toole, Faye Dunaway, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, John Travolta and Morgan Freeman have all appeared in them, people are still surprised to see them there. It’s called show “business” people and if there is no business there will be no show. It’s the new “animated movie” where stars want an easy mainstream gig to pad both their resumes and bank accounts with hits. Glenn plays Nova Prime who is the head of the Nova Corps, a type of intergalactic police force which was a very clearly rip off of the Green Lantern Corps in the Green Lantern comics, (which in turn were a rip off of the Lensmen series of science fiction novels). This, however worked out much better for Glen Close than basically everyone in the Green Lantern movie as the success of this film opens the door for a Nova solo film. Oh, and guess who’s going to be in the Ant Man movie currently filming? Michael Douglas.

ACTUALLY SOFT CORE PORN WOULD BE MORE INTERESTING
Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles is down to number two and while this is also based on a comic book, to be in this basically means you’re desperate and one step away from soft-core porn on Cinemax or a eponymously named sitcom. Only one of those I’d actually watch.

NOT A COMPARISON YOU WANT MADE
If I Stay Opens at number three and this is based on a Young Adult novel, a section of the bookstore still being pillaged by movie studios all trying to get the “next big hit.” Clearly this ain’t it. I don’t read, so I know nothing about it, but as a movie the plot of someone in a coma reminds me of that horrible Reese Witherspoon thing, Just Like Heaven, which helped drag both hers and Mark Ruffalo’s careers down. The difference being Ruffalo had no problem doing a superhero movie, whereas Reese Witherspoon has made it clear she’ll never do anything like that. Really? Enjoy starring in “Reese” next fall on NBC.

THE GREAT ESCAPE
Let’s Be Cops is down to number four and I’m actually happy for the success of this film because I like the two guys in it and cannot stand the TV show “Zoe Deschanel is Just So Precious.” Though you might know it as “New Girl.” They’re both on it and this is one step closer to them being set free. Especially Marlon Wayans Jr., who was in the much, much, MUCH superior Happy Endings. Though ironically he was in the pilot for New Girl, but left it for Happy Endings, only to return when it was cancelled, so he’s owed this.

AND HOW MANY NFL PLAYERS CAME OUT OF THAT? EXACTLY.
When The Game Stands Tall opens at number five and I’m actually glad this didn’t do better because while I love football I cannot stand this “Football Is A Holy Religion That Will Cure All” mentality and this film utterly comes from that type of thinking. It’s “based on a true event” which means it’s all but fictional and the fiction will overtake the truth like that Remember The Titans movie with Denzel Washington (the coach was a jerk and hated). This is about a high school team that went undefeated for years then lost. OH. MY GOD! THE HUMANITY! They lost a football game!?! In high school!?! How could they go on!?! Seriously, who gives a crap? High school football players should only be in movies as the villains to the quirky, artistic protagonist, period.

I ALSO DON’T BELIEVE IN THE INTERNET. OR MOBILE PHONES.
The Giver is down to number five and this is another science fiction/fantasy Young Adult adaptation and remember how I said that comic book movies were the new way for actors to pad their resumes and bank accounts? Coming up a close second on that are YA adaptations. I mean look at the adult cast list for The Hunger Games. And here you’ve got Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, though it must be noted Bridges has been trying to get this made for so long he envisioned his father, Lloyd, in the role he himself is playing. Fine. So it’s the exception to the rule. I stand by my cynical observation. Now, you’d think I’d have seen this if for no other reason than the science fiction angle. Well, maybe, but I was on vacation and if I don’t see a film opening week, my chances of ever seeing it at all are slight. Also, I just have a old man prejudice against Young Adult. They’re just not “real” books to me.

THREE STRIKES YOU’RE OUT. TIME FOR ROCKY 18.
The Expendables 3 has dropped to number six and I probably would have seen this as well had I not been on vacation even though I know it’s complete and utter crap. Even worse, it’s selling out its weak-ass premise. The whole conceit of the film was that it was a bunch of old action stars together. That’s it. It’s a one trick pony. Realizing that was why people saw it, the second film decided to wink so hard at the audience that it sprained an eye muscle and the Expendables 2 did less business than the first film. See, the joke only goes so far then you actually have to make an movie worth watching and honestly they didn’t even do that in the first film and the second one was even worse, despite Chuck Norris, Bruce Willis and Arnold doing actual action scenes instead of just cameos and Jean Claude Van Damme showing up as the villain. This sent them into panic mode and rather than just trying to make a better movie, they lowered the water and opted for a PG-13 rating with more of the same crap. As if anyone didn’t let their kid see the first two because of that. Not even the inclusion of Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson and Wesley Snipes as well as a bunch young people (the less said about Kelsey Grammar the better) could make up for this series’ diminishing returns. Look for a fourth one to show up directly on cable if at all.

YOU’RE BETTER OFF KILLING FOR A BETTER WRITER
Sin City: A Dame To Kill For opens at number eight and I don’t know why I went to see this given I’ve never been a fan of the Sin City series or Frank Miller or even the first film. Oh, I know why: Eva Green. She was the best thing about 300: Rise of an Empire and she’s the best thing about this piece of crap. Like The Expendables there was a “gimmick” to get people in to see it. In this case it was visually mimicking Frank Miller’s artistic style, but like The Expendables, once that was done you still had to make a movie worth seeing and given Miller’s bleak, cynical, misogynist, derivative books aren’t even worth reading, that they didn’t make a good film is not surprising. It’s also not surprising that like the Expendables sequel this sequel underperformed as well. People are aware there’s nothing beneath the surface…and the surface gets old fast. Eva Green, however, is a film noir movie waiting to happen. Her raspy voice and intense look make her a natural for a femme fatale that a knight in tarnished armor would risk all to save, even though he knows she’s lying to him the whole time. Also look for any further sequels to show up directly on cable and honestly it would work better as series of half hour episodes. Too short to grow weary of the bleakness and style and realize there’s not much else there.

THE END
A Hundred Foot Journey is down to number nine followed by Into The Storm closing out the top ten at number ten.

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TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS FOR ME TO BE INVOLVED IN

13 Jul

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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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MICHAEL BAY IS THE DEVIL AND YOU KNOW IT!

30 Jun

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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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