Tag Archives: Meryl Streep

BASED ON THE P.A.S.T.

17 Aug

mfu
1. Straight Outta Compton/Universal     Wknd/$ 56.1   Total/$ 56.0
2. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation     Wknd/$ 17.0   Total/$ 138.1
3. The Man from UNCLE/WB                  Wknd/$ 13.5    Total/$ 13.5
4. Fantastic Four/Fox                                 Wknd/$ 8.0     Total/$ 42.0
5. The Gift/STX                                            Wknd/$ 6.5     Total/$ 23.6
6. Ant-Man/Disney                                     Wknd/$ 5.5      Total/$ 157.6
7. Vacation/WB                                            Wknd/$ 5.3     Total/$ 46.9
8. Minions/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 5.2     Total/$ 313.0
9. Ricki & The Flash/TriStar                     Wknd/$ 4.6     Total/$ 14.7
10. Trainwreck/Universal                          Wknd/$ 3.8     Total/$ 97.1

FRESH OUTTA INTEREST
Straight Outta Compton opens at number one and I’m still staggered by the fact Ice Cube has a son old enough to play him in a movie about his life. Fuck. We’re both old. The only difference being I don’t keep my hair dyed jet black the way he does. You’re not a sports announcer, Cube. Let it go, brutha. I’ll probably watch it on cable in a year because N.W.A. and gangsta rap was never my thing and honestly could give a shit (and don’t let anyone fool you: it started on the east coast. It just blew up on the west coast). I couldn’t name another song beyond the one used for the title of this movie. It might as well be a New Kids on the Block movie as far as I’m concerned. I liked Biggie more and didn’t go to see his movie either.

MOVIE FROM N.O.S.T.A.L.G.I.A.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is down to number two followed perfectly by Man From U.N.C.L.E. as both are adaptations of Cold War spy shows from the 60’s. Now I knew a little about the MI, but nothing about Man From U.N.C.L.E. Seriously. It never showed up on reruns as when I was kid so I have no idea if and when they’re being loyal to the spirit of the show…and it feels great. Seriously. Being pissed off about Star Trek, Superman, etc., uses up a lot of energy that could be better spent doing… Okay, fine. I wouldn’t be doing anything else, but the point is it’s a little exhausting. Here I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I’m just another mouth-breather in the theater looking for a good time. And I got one. It’s not an exceptional movie, but it is an entertaining one. Unlike Mission Impossible, which opted to go modern, Man From U.N.C.L.E. chooses to stay in the 60’s because director Guy Ritchie adores the look and style of the original Bond films and I ain’t mad at him (using period pop music, but staying away from any well-known hits is nice touch). The movie is as much style as substance and doesn’t pretend otherwise. There are a few too many Ritchie-isms (instant flashbacks to let you know how we got to where we are), but his style is a welcome break from the usual action film formula of quick cuts and explosions. Also, Ritchie is clearly more interested in the characters than the toys they play with and it shows with all the chemistry between Henry Cavill and Arnie Hammer. One that Hammer lacked in his last small-to-big-screen attempt, The Lone Ranger. And Cavill gets nothing but points for doing a straight up impression of original star Robert Vaughn the whole time.

IT’S NOT ENOUGH THAT I SUCCEED, BUT OTHERS MUST FAIL
The Fantastic Four is down to number four appropriately and every day there’s a new story about how Fox and/or director Trank screwed the pooch from the beginning…and the schadenfreude is delicious. Seriously. I love the fact that everyone who stupidly tried to take a concept as light-hearted as The Fantastic Four is getting burned by it (their name alone should have been a clue). Not helping matter is the fact that Matthew Teller is a bit of a dick and not able to hide it in interviews where he’s ostensibly promoting the film. He talks about how a car accident changed him (his scars are visible in the film) but clearly not enough. Apparently he and Trank nearly came to blows during production and I can’t help but smile as I write that. And it’s not just me. Trank got this film because of Chronicle, which was successful dark superhero film. But he didn’t write it. Max Landis did, but was apparently not invited to continue the collaboration on a $100M+ superhero movie because when this disaster landed, Landis released the first few pages of his Fantastic Four movie, which is a thousand times better. Basically letting the world know that Trank’s decision to leave him behind was a horrible mistake. Oh, the schadenfreude…it was already delicious, but not more so when seasoned by the hatred of others.

HERE TO BRING EVERYTHING DOWN
The Gift is down to number five and while this is getting stellar reviews for being a genuine suspense thriller without descending into bunny-boiling and black-and-white good and evil I still have no interest. See, while I don’t do the scary I still have a curiosity about them and read the movie spoilers. The end result seems fairly predictable to me and more-than-given-away by the trailer. This isn’t to say it’s bad as a result—after all there are no new ideas only levels of execution of the old ones—but not the mind twister one might think it is by the praise, much less what people are calling the “twist.”

THE OTHERS
Ant Man is down to number six, followed by Vacation at number seven and minions at number eight.

TAKE OFF THE ROSE COLORED GLASSES, PEOPLE
Ricki and the Flash is down to number eight and I was going to ask what the hell happened to Jonathan Demme but then I look over his history and realize it’s always been hit and miss. And for every Something Wild, Married to The Mob, Silence of the Lambs and Rachel Getting Married, there’s a Manchurian Candidate, Beloved, the hideous mediocre and overpraised Philadelphia and the inexplicable decision to cast Mark Wahlberg in a role once played by Cary Grant in The Truth About Charlie. This is less an unusual failure and more standard operating procedure. The only good thing to come out of this mess is me realizing that they finally put Married to the Mob out on blu-ray last fall. About goddamn time…and keep giving it shitty cover art. Sigh.

SOMEWHERE JUDY GREER WONDERS WHAT THE FUCK!?!
Finally, Trainwreck closes out the top ten at number ten having made almost $100M domestically (it’ll easily reach that goal by this time next week). And this from a $35M budget. Amy Schumer is officially a comedy star and she did it as the lead without first playing the sidekick (which this character usually is), which is doubly impressive. Yes, she’s still an attractive blonde white woman, but she’s not typically so, so it’s still an accomplishment. Needless to say, the clock on her Comedy Central show has probably already started ticking. Hell, Key & Peele have already announced they’re done and without the benefit of a hit movie, so expect hers to come soon. The downside is this secures Judd Apatow’s power in all things comedy related, especially female-oriented. I guess it’s better than nothing or Adam Sandler, but still…

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IT’S STUMBLING TIME!

10 Aug

Rebecca-Ferguson1
1. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation     Wknd/$ 29.4    Total/$ 108.7
2. Fantastic Four/Fox                                 Wknd/$ 26.2   Total/$ 26.2
3. The Gift/STX                                            Wknd/$ 12.0    Total/$ 12.0
4. Vacation/WB                                            Wknd/$ 9.1      Total/$ 37.3
5. Ant-Man/Disney                                     Wknd/$ 7.8       Total/$ 147.4
6. Minions/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 302.4
7. Ricki & The Flash/TriStar                      Wknd/$ 7.0      Total/$ 7.0
9. Pixels/Sony                                               Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 57.6
8. Trainwreck/Universal                            Wknd/$ 6.3      Total/$ 91.1
10. Southpaw/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 4.8      Total/$ 40.7

THE BEGINNING OF A BEAUTIFUL ACTION CAREER
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation holds the number one spot and as the woman who finally gets to be as badass as Tom Cruise is Rebecca Ferguson. It’s okay if you’ve never heard of her. Her two biggest claims to fame before this were The White Queen mini-series and last summer’s flop, Hercules. What’s funny, sad and little bit weird is that she looks a lot like Michelle Monaghan, who played Cruise’s fiancée in Mission Impossible III. I suppose it would have been a bit much to ask that she’d become a super-agent riding bikes and kicking ass alongside him, but it was 9 years ago. A decade’s enough time to develop some secret agent skills, right? But I guess Cruise was adamant that his leading lady always be under 35 and Monaghan has aged out. Ferguson’s character is named Ilsa in this and yes, they do go to Casablanca (Ferguson was even born in Stockholm like Ingrid Bergman). When Cruise arrives she even asks him, “What brings you to Casablanca?” And he doesn’t reply “The waters.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GO THERE WHY DID YOU CALL HER ILSA AND GO TO CASABLANCA!?! Some may respect the movie for not going for the easy reference. I am not one of those people. You go all the way or you don’t go at all!

THE FANTASTIC FOURTH FAILURE
The Fantastic Four reboot opens poorly at number two and let me say right out that this is not a bad movie, certainly nowhere near the level warranting the drubbing it’s getting on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s not a Transformers or Adam Sandler movie, which open insults your intelligence with the laziness of the filmmakers. It’s just not a good movie and is so clearly misguided and a waste of time, money and energy it just makes you angry. But this was a disaster from the word “go.” Even before Josh Trank had been brought on Fox made it clear they wanted to go “dark” with this because The Dark Knight made a billion dollars and for some reason they thought that was the key. Never mind that the bright and shiny Marvel movies were making money hand-over-fist, they wanted billions with a “B”, not millions with an “M.” Trank was the second mistake because he too couldn’t see how utterly ridiculous it was to try and go dark with characters named Mr. Fantastic and The Human Torch. He’d done well with Chronicle which was a similar story about people encountering something other-worldly and developing superpowers and it was on the darker side so he must have seemed like a perfect fit to them. The final mistake was basing this adaptation the 21st Century revision of the Fantastic Four known as Ultimate Fantastic Four. Marvel Comics did it with all their characters with mixed levels of success. Elements of the Ultimate universe have been used in other Marvel-based films (Nick Fury looking like Samuel L. Jackson, Captain America having super strength) but for the most part they remained loyal to the 60’s originals. Clearly that’s another lesson Fox chose to ignore, but honestly this was more an effort merely to hold onto the licensing than make a good movie. It’s the reason Sony made the two disappointing Amazing Spider-Man movies and Man of Steel was made (both also stupidly chose to go darker with lighter characters). They had a deadline to get something, anything out there and all paid a price creatively for it. This is why Fox had no problem slicing the budget later resulting in the loss of all the action films this film desperately needed, as now it’s just a boring pilot about four already sad people (Mr. Fantastic can’t related to his parents, The Thing’s household is abusive from parent to siblings, The Invisible Woman’s behavior borders on autism and The Human Torch has daddy issues) who get transformed and become even sadder superheroes. It’s dull, boring, sad and absolutely nothing anyone anywhere wants from a superhero movie (even the odious Man of Steel had action). But hey, Fox gets to keep the property for a third try, which ironically is exactly why Canon films made the first FF movie back in 1994. Let me put it this way: this is the only Marvel film of the last decade to have no Stan Lee cameo.

I MAINTAIN I WAS A LOVABLE GEEK
The Gift opens at number three and it’s good to see the Fatal Attraction formula of “relationship crosses over to crazy” is still around. In this case it’s that weird kid from high school who thinks now as adults you can finally be friends. Personally, I can’t relate as I didn’t keep up with the actual friends I did have and blew off basically everyone who tried to reconnect. Apparently Jason does the latter a little too late and pays the price. And apparently he did something to the guy in high school that somewhat warrants this. Makes sense as the persona Bateman has in movies, while generally sympathetic, could easily be that smug prick we all knew…or were. You can prove nothing.

CHEVY CHASE: BRINGING DOWN THOSE AROUND HIM SINCE THE 80’S
Vacation is down to number four and I’m happy to see Christina Applegate working but she needs to choose better than this (I still rue the day I sat through The Sweetest Thing). Her short-living series Samantha Who would have made a great movie. The story of an evil bitch who develops amnesia and a personality reversal after being deliberately run over by one of the many people she wronged on a daily basis is still a very funny idea. And it’s not just her who’s wasted. You’ve seen Charlie Day, Ron Livingston, Norman Reedus and Keegan-Michael Key (of Key and Peele), Nick Kroll and Michael Pena in better things. In fact, Pena is in Ant-Man (following at number five) and is nothing but funny (despite the racism) so he at least has something to counteract this on his resume. See, unlike The Fantastic Four reboot, Ant-Man accepted that a guy who shrinks and then controls ants is a little silly, but nonetheless doesn’t hold the idea in such contempt all sense of fun has to be abandoned.

THIS IS WHY SHE CHOSE JESSIE OVER YOU
Minions is down to number six, followed by Ricki and the Flash opening at number seven and while I love Meryl Streep, love Rick Springfield, love director Jonathan Demme and have a passing affection for screenwriter Diablo Cody, this left me cold. The trailer looks like one of the old Touchstone trailers from the 80’s which you know would have just enough risqué behavior and language to get a PG13, but never crossing the line on any level to make you uncomfortable. So while this is ostensibly about a woman who abandoned her family to chase a dream and never looked back, you just know she’s never going to be depicted too harshly, nor will there be anything short of a happy ending. In short, it’s yet another Lifetime Movie that escaped into the theaters. Rick Springfield continues his inability to launch a proper acting career, even with Meryl Streep by his side (he turned down The Right Stuff while accepting Hard to Hold even though he knew it sucked). Even hopping onboard the True Detective didn’t work as the second season has been widely panned. Oh, Ricky…

SORRY, JUST CAN’T BE HAPPY FOR ANY BRUTHA DOIN’ ANYTHING
Trainwreck is down to number eight, followed by Pixels at number nine with Southpaw closing out the top ten at number ten and this was directed by Antoine Fuqua, who despite his repeated attempts is just not a gritty director. You get the feeling he wants to evoke some 70’s Sidney Lumet era filmmaking but he’s simply too slick and his films reflect it. He got lucky with Training Day, but is better at delivering glossy, slightly inept action films like The Equalizer, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen and my personal favorite The Replacement Killers. You know, shit that’s fun to watch at 1:00 am on cable. His attempts to be “real” result flops like Tears of the Sun, Brooklyn’s Finest and now this. I don’t think I need to tell you he comes from music videos.

 

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BOX OFFICEIMOUS REX!

15 Jun

Jude-Law--jude-law-79470_589_655 1. Jurassic World/Universal                 Wknd/$204.6    Total/$ 204.6
2. Spy/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 16.0      Total/$ 56.9
3. San Andreas/WB                                Wknd/$ 11.0      Total/$ 119.3
4. Insidious 3/Focus                               Wknd/$ 7.3        Total/$ 37.4
6. Entourage/WB                                    Wknd/$ 4.3        Total/$ 25.9
9. Tomorrowland/Disney                      Wknd/$ 3.4        Total/$ 83.6
5. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                  Wknd/$ 6.0        Total/$ 170.7
7. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                 Wknd/$ 4.1         Total/$ 138.6
8. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney      Wknd/$ 3.6        Total/$ 444.7
10. Love & Mercy                                     Wknd/$ 1.8         Total/$ 4.8

STUPIDIOUS REX
Jurassic World opens at number one to the surprise of no one and this is better than Jurassic Park III, but doesn’t come near the original and so sits next to The Lost World as at the very entertaining, but clearly a sequel that doesn’t quite get why the first was so successful. Lost World was better made, but Jurassic World is shorter without a painfully stupid final act. The director says they’re ignoring the other two because they took place on the other island and that this is a direct sequel to the first, which explains why there’s no military presence on the island after what went down in San Diego. Pretty sure after that crap they wouldn’t let this happen without enough firepower to flat out blow the islan up. It also shows that John Hammond in fact learned nothing from both films as with his dying breath he apparently begged another stupid billionaire to take over and open the theme park. Apparently he’s been so successful that the island is commonplace enough for people to get a little bored with it so they have to continually bring in new dinosaurs and in a staggering display stupidity, make a new one called Indominous Rex. That it eats its sibling isn’t a clue to simply get rid of it tells you that disaster is inevitable. Needless to say, like the first, disaster coincides with the visit of two children related to someone running the park. In this case the two nephews of the park’s director, Bryce Dallas Howard (no, not Jessica Chastain). This is partially so mommy and daddy can get divorced in peace which is all kinds of fucked up. “Welcome back! Hey, how was your trip? We’re no longer a family.” The boys show that stupidity runs in the family by not only ignoring an announcement to go back, but in fact going off the path. Since the announcement to back is because the Indominous Rex got out (surprise, surprise) Howard has to go to the he-man Raptor trainer, Chris Pratt to save them. The nonstop acknowledgement of Pratt’s sheer manliness is near Monty Python levels of absurdity, from his ability to stare down dinosaurs to painful need of a good boning that Bryce Dallas Howard gives when she first looks at him, muscles clearly bulging through his shirt as he worked on his motorcycle (you know, a big thing between his legs). I half-expected to hear a “plop” and see her soaking panties hit the ground at the very sight of him. I’m genuinely surprised he wasn’t sweaty and shirtless. We’re told they basically had a romcom first date. She showed up with an itinerary and he was in board shorts. I’m sure that was taken directly from a script meant for Kate Hudson and Matthew McConughey that was shelved after Fool’s Gold tanked. Of course they bicker and fight as they rush to save the kids while the Idominous Rex rips the park to shreds. Trust me, there’s more of the latter than the former which is why it’s a fun movie because giant monsters running wild are usually fun movies. You have to truly try hard to fuck it up and apparently Joe Johnson worked pretty goddamned hard on Jurassic Park III. Almost as hard as Peter Jackson worked on the King Kong remake.

BEING PRETTY ISN’T ENOUGH PART 1
Spy is down to number two and also in this is Jude Law who is honestly just happy to be hear. Once upon a time he was a leading man on the rise, but bad decisions both privately and professionally and the cruelty of the same genetics that once blessed him cost him in the end. He made half a dozen movies that tanked (including an ill-advised remake of Alfie) and so became more famous for banging the much-less-attractive than his then wife (Sadie Frost) nanny than for his work. Given half his appeal was being pretty, the loss of his hair was the final nail in the coffin of any chance of being a lead, so when playing Watson to Robert Downey Jr.’s rolled around Holmes Law—complete with widow’s peak—grabbed it like nobody’s business and so began his much more successful career as supporting actor, looking less like Sting’s more attractive younger brother than Phil Collins’ more attractive younger brother. The English, they don’t age well.

IT DOESN’T FEEL CREEPY WHEN THEY KISS
San Andreas is down to number three and also in this is Carla Gugino and I’m glad to see her in something successful. She’s more of an indie film and theater girl so this will help her continue that. This is in fact her third film with Dwayne Johnson and they are good together onscreen and hopefully that he remembers that when they try to pair him with someone younger. He’s one of the few action stars who gets paired with appropriate aged leading women, actually playing the dad to a girl who was Woody Harrelson’s love interest on True Detective (Johnson is more than a decade younger than Harrelson). I doubt it’s by accident, so I’m respecting him more each day.

THE MAN BEHIND THE WOMEN. NO, LITERALLY.
Insidious Chapter three is down to number four and as the dad in this is Dermot Mulroney, a man who can best be described as a Keanu Reeves’ less attractive brother. But it guarantees him work as he’s attractive enough to be a supporting male lead to a variety of women (everyone from Holly Hunter to Debra Messing), but not overshadow them. He’s part of that club with Mark Ruffalo and David Strahairn. He’s doing it again here, supporting the leads of his daughter and the medium who has been in all three Insidious films. Laugh if you want to, but he’s probably been in more successful films than Jude Law.

BEING PRETTY ISN’T ENOUGH PART 2
Pitch Perfect 2 is down to number five, followed by the odious Entourage at number six (I become more ashamed for having watched it for so long every day) and someone was cruel enough to actually ask Adrian Grenier about his career as opposed to the career of his character. Ouch. He should call Dermot Mulroney and see if you can join the “Support a Stronger Female Lead” club. I’m sure they’d love a piece of eye candy like him and it’s not like he hasn’t had practice as the love interest for Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. In retrospect, he was lucky to even be on that set with both her and Meryl Streep.

YOU CAN LOVE THEM BOTH
Mad Max: Fury Road is down to number seven and I’m disappointed in you, America. This is the best summer blockbuster in years and you aren’t turning out for it. It hasn’t even made its budget here yet! Meanwhile, Avengers: Age of Ultron holds at number eight has made almost twice its much higher budget here and almost a billion dollars overseas!

ANY BLACK GUY WILL DO REALLY
Tomorrowland is down to number nine and right now Clooney is thinking maybe Ocean’s 14 isn’t such a bad idea after all and that Samuel L. Jackson could take the Bernie Mac role. He hasn’t been the lead in a hit since The Descendants in 2011, which is now best known for launching Shailene Woodley’s movie career.

HE AND CAMERON CROWE BOTH NEED HELP SO SHOULD REUNITE
Finally, Love & Mercy enters the top ten. This is the story of Brian Wilson’s descent in to mental instability and his ultimate rise from it…and the scumbag therapist who took advantage of it to the point where he has co-writing credit on some of Wilson’s later solo albums. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, he did help him, but afterward latched onto him like a tick. A good therapist would have done it without needing to fulfill his lost rock & roll dreams. Wilson is played young by Paul Dano and older by John Cusack, who all too often seems to be just beaten and defeated by Hollywood. Not to mention his hair is still jet black and we know that’s bullshit. As with far too many things, I feel it all went bad with Julia Roberts. He starred with her in America’s Sweethearts. Do you remember that movie? No one does, but it’s clearly the movie that broke John Cusack. He hasn’t been the same since.

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NEW YEAR, SAME CRAP

4 Jan

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1. The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies         Wknd/$ 21.9    Total/$ 220.8
2. Into the Woods/Disney                             Wknd/$ 19.1    Total/$ 91.2
3. Unbroken/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 18.4   Total/$ 87.8
4. The Woman in Black 2/Relativity           Wknd/$ 15.1    Total/$ 15.1
5. Night at the Museum: Secret…                 Wknd/$ 14.5   Total/$ 89.7
6. Annie/Sony                                                  Wknd/$ 11.4    Total/$ 72.6
8. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1     Wknd/$ 7.7      Total/$ 323.9
7. The Imitation Game/Weinstein               Wknd/$ 8.1     Total/$ 30.8
9. The Gambler/Paramount                          Wknd/$ 6.3     Total/$ 27.6
10. Big Hero 6/Disney                                    Wknd/$ 4.8     Total/$ 211.3

LITTLE BIG MAN
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies holds at number one and I wonder about the future of the actors who play dwarves, because honestly that’s how I see them, even though I know the actual actor, Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin, the leader and king, is 6’2”. You think he shows up for auditions and people are like, “Oh. We thought you’d be…shorter. Sorry.” Notice how the only people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy who really got boosts in their careers played regular sized people. Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom even Ian McKellan. None of The Hobbits found a lot of leading man work, much less Brian Blessed as the dwarf (he’ll always be Voltran the Hawkman who stole the Flash Gordon movie). Martin Freeman’s lucky he already had an established career before he took on the role of Bilbo or he’d be lucky to have a TV show on basic cable talking to a man in a dog suit. Sorry, Elijah.

THE POINT IS THERE IS NO POINT TO BE MADE
Into the Woods rises to number two and in this are Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep, reuniting after both being nominated for Oscars for The Devil Wears Prada. Meanwhile, their other co-star, Anne Hathaway, who wasn’t nominated actually won an Oscar for a musical. I don’t really have a point. I just thought that was interesting and a tad ironic. And this is doing relatively well. Are we really seeing a comeback of the musical? God, I hope not.

IT CAN BE A SOAPY BATH TOO. I’M NOT INFLEXIABLE
Unbroken is down to number three and this was directed by none other than Angelina Jolie and it remains odd that anyone anywhere would give her money to direct a film that she’s not even in (this is her second). Usually, it’s a Stallone kinda thing where he can direct all he wants so long as he’s also in front of the camera shooting people. Or Eddie Murphy, so long as he’s being funny in front of the cameras. You’d think to give Jolie a film there’d be an insistence she at least play the girl back home waiting on him to return…who takes long, soapy showers. Well, that’s what I’d have demanded anyway.

IT’S COLD & DARK IN THE THEATERS RIGHT NOW
The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death opens at number four and here’s your first clue it’s January, one of the traditional dumping ground of films. August is the other time period. This is where you drop films that you feel can’t handle any real competition. And it didn’t. It’s literally the only wide release this week…and still couldn’t break the top three. But if it cost as little as the first, then it may not matter. That was only $15M with Daniel Radcliff as the star. This has no one so may have been even less, which meaning it’s already made budget.

BETTER OR WORSE THAN BEING LIZ HURLEY?
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is down to number five, followed by Annie at number six and The Imitation Game picking up steam to rise to number seven and also in this is Keira Knightley who may have mixed feelings about this being a success. Obviously it’s good to be in a well-reviewed successful movie, but once again it’s a period piece for her. She’s become the new Helena Bonham Carter…which means she’d better get used to it.

THERE ARE NO SMALL JOBS, ONLY SMALL ACTORS
The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 1 is down to number eight, followed by The Gambler at number nine and also in this is Jessica Lange who’s having a bit of a resurgence in her career thanks to being the only reoccurring cast member on American Horror story, playing different yet similar characters. So maybe that FX show may work for Elijah Wood after all. Oh, wait. It was already cancelled. Whoops.

THEY’VE A YEN FOR SUCCESS. GET IT?
Finally, Big Hero 6 returns to the top ten at number ten and this is finally going to see a general Asian release which it kinda needs given that it has yet to make 3x its budget, our usual rule of thumb for a successful film. Though recent information has suggested that really needs to happen domestically because the bulk of international grosses stay international and the Hollywood take can be as little as 14%. But given this is Disney, they’re probably going to make their real money off the merchandising so it matters little. Thanks for nothing, Cars.

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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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herc

1. Lone Survivor/Universal                        Wknd/$  38.5            Total/$   38.9

 2. Frozen/Disney                                         Wknd/$  15.1             Total/$ 317.7

 3. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                 Wknd/$   9.0            Total/$   78.6

 4. The Legend of Hercules/LGF               Wknd/$   8.6            Total/$     8.6

 5. American Hustle/Sony                          Wknd/$   6.6            Total/$  101.6

 6. The Hobbit 2/Warner                            Wknd/$   8.0           Total/$ 242.2

 7. August: Osage County/Weinstein       Wknd/$   7.3            Total/$     7.9

 8. Saving Mr. Banks/Disney                      Wknd/$   6.6            Total/$   68.9

 9. Paranormal Activity 4/Par                    Wknd/$   6.3            Total/$   28.5

10. Anchorman 2/Paramount                    Wknd/$   6.1            Total/$ 118.5

 

THERE’S MORE TO DIRECTING THAN A SNAP ZOOM

Lone Survivor opens at number one and I was all set to see this until I saw the words “directed by Peter Berg” and that was all she wrote. It’s bad enough he sits in the “all style no substance” category, but not only is his style not that stylish but he thinks he’s a director of merit and weight, telling god’s own truth and it drips off every freaking frame. I can only imagine how filled pretension this true story of courage, heroism and sacrifice is going to be. He’s Michael Bay if Michael Bay thought he was a filmmaker.  Dude, you made Battleship. A movie so bad it made Transformers look like Lord of the Rings.

 

WHO?

Frozen is down to number two and we’ve talked about the women behind the voices but not the men who are played by…well, nobody. Seriously, who are these dudes? Never mind…

 

NICE GUYS DON’T WIN OSCARS

The Wolf of Wall Street rises to number three and I’d have something to say it finally if my alarm had gone off and I could have gone to the early show like I ‘d planned. I’ve got this weird thing about seeing movies with as few people as possible. My brief tenure as a critic has ruined me for sitting with…you people.  Also, I’m clearly not hot to see yet another 3-hour Scorsese exploration of an anti-hero, which is a fancy word of saying the main character is a jerk. Think about it. Raging Bull, GoodFellas, The Aviator, The Departed, Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, etc.  He has zero interest in nice guys. The Last Temptation of Christ being the obvious exception that proves the rule.

 

SOMEWHERE THE ROCK IS LAUGHING INTO HIS PROTEIN SHAKE

Speaking of anti-heroes, we have the polar opposite in Hercules, whose legend gets yet another retelling in The Legend of Hercules opening at number four.  This time around he’s the hated son of a king who knows that Zeus impregnated his wife and is more than a little angry about it and taking it out on Hercules.  Somehow this results in Hercules becoming a gladiator, which doesn’t seem fair given he’s demi-god son of Zeus. I’ve got nothing against altering a legend but any movie about Hercules where he’s fighting men instead of monsters pretty much misses the point of Hercules. Even the schlocky Italian Hercules movies of the late 50’s, early 60’s knew that.  These guys clearly thought that the style of 300 (“Hey, it’s Ancient Greece, right? Do it like that.”) was the way to go, while the general public clearly disagreed. Next up: The Rock himself as Hercules this summer. I’d better see me some monsters.

 

ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER

American Hustle holds at number five followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at number six, while August: Osage County rises to number seven, starring Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper and a host of good actors…along with Julia Roberts. Oh, get over it. She sucks and you know it. I don’t know why they’re advertising this as some great team up between her and Meryl Streep. Streep is proof that Roberts is a movie star, not an actress.  If anything, making a movie with Streep should have been something Roberts avoided at all costs.  It’s like Janet Jackson wanting to record with Aretha Franklin.

 

CHARLES SCHULTZ MOONLIGHTED AS AN ASSASSIN

Speaking of Meryl Streep, she made a little news this week dissing Walt Disney in favor of PL Travers, while introducing Emma Thompson who portrays the latter in Saving Mr. Banks, down to number seven this week. If she read my weekly rants like she’s supposed to she’d know they were both jerks and deserved one another.  Just because someone is talented and can entertain children doesn’t meant they’re a nice person. If anything it strongly indicates a dislike of other adults.  I’m sure if you dig deep enough you’ll find even Dr. Seuss probably killed a man in a bar over a bet…then finished his drink…and kicked a kitten.

 

BYE-BYE-BYE

Paranormal Activity is down to number nine and my joke about it dropping off the face to the earth in one week was not a dare, but clearly you people took it as one.

 

PRAYING FOR DEATH

Finally and thankfully, Anchorman 2 closes out the top ten this week at number ten. Now maybe all those damn commercials will finally stop.

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