Tag Archives: Michael Caine

FINDING MONEY

20 Jun

icy
1. Finding Dory/Disney                          Wknd/$ 136.2   Total/$ 136.2
2. Central Intelligence/WB                    Wknd/$ 34.5     Total/$ 34.5
3. The Conjuring 2/WB                          Wknd/$ 15.6      Total/$ 71.7
4. Now You See Me/LG                           Wknd/$ 9.7       Total/$ 41.4
5. Warcraft/Universal                             Wknd/$ 6.5       Total/$ 37.7
6. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                    Wknd/$ 5.2       Total/$ 146.1
7. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2      Wknd/$ 5.2        Total/$ 71.9
8. Me Before You/Warner                      Wknd/$ 4.2       Total/$ 46.1
9. Alice Through the Looking Glass     Wknd/$ 3.6       Total/$ 69.3
10. Captain America: Civil War/BV     Wknd/$ 2.3       Total/$ 401.2

FINDING INSPIRATION
To the surprise of absolutely no one Finding Dory opens at number one. Now, I’m against Pixar sequels on principle but Pixar gets a better response than most because a) they don’t always do them, b) when they do them it’s so far down the line it’s not an obvious money grab and c) they get it right as Toy Story has defied all odds and just gotten better every time. Even Monsters University was better than it had any right to be (no comment on Cars 2 because Cars sucked). So, Finding Dory comes more than a decade after Finding Nemo because they genuinely felt there was no story to tell until now which is stunning in the entertainment business. As if that had anything to do with it. Hell, the Disney board would have been satisfied if Nemo had just gotten lost again and they’d just repeated the first. Luckily for us the Pixar creative leads wanted more and more in this case was about Dory slowly remembering her own family and going off in search of them and while it’s definitely good, there’s no singular brilliant moment like the chant of a seagull being “Mine” or the wonderful irreverence of the sharks who no longer want to eat fellow fish. Despite their good intentions to tell an original story it does feel a bit too familiar, the brightest spark being provided by an octopus who doesn’t want to return to the ocean, but instead wants a nice tank in Cleveland where no one will bother him (voiced by Ed O’Neil). One of the keys to Finding Nemo’s creative success was the wonderful supporting cast, from the adult and child populace of Nemo’s home reef to the laid back turtles to denizens of the dentist office tank to half a dozen others in between. They just don’t match that here and while we see the kids of the reef and the turtles again, they don’t have the same spark. Nonetheless it’s still better than 90% of what else is out there as the sad trailers for Storks and Ice Age: This Goddamn Franchise Has Lasted Longer Than The Actual Ice Age proved. If Finding Nemo was an A+ (and it was) then this is a solid B+. Oh, and make sure you stay through the end credits. There’s always something there…as I found out this weekend with Brave.

WHAT? COULDN’T GET PERMISSION FOR MARIAH?
Central Intelligence opens at number two and it seems logical that two of the hardest working men in show business would finally end up in a movie together. Not since Michael Caine in the 80’s have actors seeming been so omnipresent onscreen. It’s also a great creative move on both their parts for Kevin Hart to actually play the straight man to Dwayne Johnson playing the funny guy. Kevin Hart is Dean Martin while Dwayne Johnson is Jerry Lewis (ask your parents what that means). While I bear it no ill will, I have zero interest in either of them as anything beyond being supporting characters to actual leads. They simply lack that for me. The trailer shows a film, while not aimed at the lowest common denominator of comedy, is severely broad reaching. Oh, look. When Dwayne Johnson was in high school he was fat and sang En Vogue in the shower ‘cause fat guys and guys who sing girl songs are funny. In terms of wit that’s a butter knife level of sharpness. Even on cable this is a hard pass.

AND JAWLINES. DON’T FORGET THE JAWLINES
The Conjuring is down to number three and I’m also glad to see Vera Farminga here on the money train. I’ve loved her as an actress since the short-lived Finding Evil TV show and she improves pretty much everything she’s in. In my movie fantasy she and Gillian Anderson play sisters onscreen as they are seemingly cut from the same cloth (coincidentally they were both on the small screen alongside famous serial killers). In my other fantasy I’ve been very bad and they’ve come to discipline me. Soooo many icy stern looks of disappointment and contempt. Delicious

YUAN BETTER RECOGNIZE
Now You See Me 2 is down to number four followed by the Warcraft at number five and you might be seeing film history being made as China saves an entire franchise single-handedly, which is funny given how movies like Iron Man 3 and Transformers: Whichever The Fuck It Was have bent over backwards trying to win them and been met with contempt. It hasn’t even broken $40M here, but has made ten times that in overseas. Depend on how much studios get (it ranges from 15-14%) this may actually get a sequel…which America will ignore again.

ALSO HE’S A SCUMBAG
Speaking of sequels America has ignored, X-Men: Apocalypse is down to number six and hasn’t even made it’s $178M budget domestically, but like Warcraft has pulled almost $400M from overseas markets, so rest assured there will be another and this time mercifully without Bryan Singer. While he started the franchise and did good things with it, using the metaphor for oppression appropriately, he seems to have forgotten that and they need a director who remembers the core of the X-Men is also appealing to that self-important teenager drama where you think you’re special the entire world is against you for no reason at all. Yes, that’s the dark truth about the real reason so many like it. Not because you’re a person of color or your religion or your sexuality suffering genuine oppression, but because you think you’re special and the world is actively trying to hold you down. You’re wrong.

JUST KIDDING. EVERY ROLE WILL SOMEHOW PUT HER IN A FETISH COSTUME.
I thought this would be the hat trick of franchises supported by overseas money, but it turns out they care even less than we do about Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles: Out of the Shadows, down to number seven. There probably won’t be a third, which must be bittersweet news to Megan Fox who has another child on the way, but at the same time doesn’t have to worry about a contrived reason to put her into a fetish costume in the near future.

LESS IS MORE…IF YOU’RE AN IDIOT AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR PROPERTIES
Me Before You is down to number eight, followed by Alice Through the Looking Glass at number nine and Captain America: Civil War closes out the top ten at number ten and this is why the Warner Brother/DC Comics hierarchy was recently shaken up as two movies about fighting superheroes came out this summer (well, 3 if you count X-Men, but no one cares enough to do that) with had approximately the same budgets but the one what that the 3 most famous superheroes of all time in them did significantly worse than the film that had a bunch of heroes 90% of the population had never heard of ten years ago. And by “significantly” I mean almost $900M vs over $1B. While this may not seem like too much of a difference to you and I, remember that Batman’s last two solo films both made $1B but teaming him up with Superman and Wonder Woman somehow resulted in less!?! Not good when your very next film will add even more superheroes to the roster that you also hope to spin-off into individual films. Warner Brothers is being force to reconsider their dumb-ass strategy of if your competitor has cornered the market on chocolate and you reconfigure your chocolate machines to make vanilla, rather than simply understand there’s no such thing as too much good chocolate. Instead they’ve made mediocre (Man of Steel) and bad (Batman v Superman) vanilla and surprise! People preferred the better made chocolate. Damn it. Now I want some chocolate!

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REAL ARTISTS ARE APPARENTLY ALL PERVS

13 Jun

psylocke
1. The Conjuring 2/WB                        Wknd/$ 40.4   Total/$ 40.4
2. Warcraft/Universal                          Wknd/$ 24.4   Total/$ 24.4
3. Now You See Me 2/LG                    Wknd/$ 23.0    Total/$ 23.0
4. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2   Wknd/$ 14.8     Total/$ 61.0
5. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                 Wknd/$ 10.0    Total/$ 136.4
6. Me Before You/Warner                   Wknd/$ 9.2      Total/$ 36.8
8. Alice Through the Looking Glass  Wknd/$ 5.5       Total/$ 62.4
7. The Angry Birds Movie/Sony         Wknd/$ 6.7      Total/$ 98.2
9. Captain America: Civil War/BV     Wknd/$ 4.3     Total/$ 396.9
10. The Jungle Book/Disney               Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 352.6

SCREAM KING! EQUALITY AT LAST!
The Conjuring 2 opens at number one and after years of “scream queens” have we developed a “scream king?” Patrick Wilson, a respected character actor on stage, TV and film is the male lead in not just this successful franchise, but also the Insidious films. When you think about it, it’s a wonder it never occurred to horror filmmakers to go to stage actors for their talent. You’ll get better than your average pretty face (sorry, I do hold stage actors in higher regard ‘cause that shit is real) and because they come from the stage where they get little money and less fame they’d be cheap and eternally grateful, because basically film and TV work is to subsidize what they really love. This is the real reason Claire Danes does Homeland. This is why Billy Crudup has no problem showing up in Mission Impossible 3. This visibility and profitability will serve to finance a few off-Broadway plays once Wilson commits to them. Which is good. I like knowing that people who truly care about art succeed in the world occasionally.

IN RETROSPECT I COULD HAVE USED A LONG, DUMB FILM TODAY
Warcraft opens at number two which is a huge fucking failure for them. Not only did this $160M+ movie based on a ridiculously successful video game not open at number one in the summer, but also it lost to an R-rated film that cost ¼ its budget. Yes, it’s doing huge in China, but know that studios get less than 40% of overseas money. Domestic is where the real money is made and it will have to do ridiculously well overseas in order for this not to be written off as a failure. I thought about seeing it because…well, summer. Seeing dumb movies filled with fantasy creatures and special effects is what the summer is for, but sometimes even I have to draw the line and you’re talking to a man who went to see Battleship. Obviously, bad reviews don’t slow me down so what was it? The two-hour running time. I’ve got a new rule about movies I expect to be bad and it flatly states you don’t get 2+ hours (factoring in previews and commercials) of my life anymore unless I fully expect you to be at least entertaining. Needless to say this didn’t pass muster not even with Rathnar Lothbrok in the cast. Not that it should. I haven’t watched Vikings in over two years. I’m busy!

YOU KNOW, BECAUSE BATMAN V SUPERMAN SUCKED
Now You See Me 2 opens at number three and this is oddly a success because would have thought the first would have been a hit, much less enough of one to generate a sequel. It’s gotta feel good to Jesse Esienberg to have an actual success this year that could be a franchise.

SUCKS TO BE YOU!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is down to number four followed by X-Men: Apocalypse at number five and one good thing about this is it sets back the career of Olivia Munn. I don’t know what it is, but I do not like this woman. Something about her makes her someone you love to hate. I’m not so simplistic a geek for it simply to be the title of her autobiography “Wonder Woman Can Suck It” but it didn’t help. Even better is the fact she’s so full of herself she said she had the option for Monica Baccarin role in Deadpool, but turned it down because it was “just another girlfriend.” Granted, Baccarin basically has sex with Ryan Reynolds and then gets kidnapped, so she’s not too far off, but the character eventually becomes a superhero in her own right and thanks to the highest grossing R-rated film in history (not adjusted for inflation) that will probably happen. Whereas seeing Munn return as Psyclocke is highly unlikely. Not helping matters is the fact they not only translated her stupid T&A costume straight from the comics, but also made it even more degrading by adding a boob-window. You know how pathetic you have to be to make a female superhero costume even more exploitative!?! Just glad it happened to her and not an actress that I liked.

JUST ASK JASON MOMOA ABOUT CONAN
Me Before You is down to number six, but with a $36M return on a $20M budget don’t expect the disabled romance porn to go away anytime soon. The female lead is on Game of Thrones which I do watch, but she’s a lot better off that the other woman from Game of Thrones who was the female lead Terminator: Genysis and that dude who was the lead in Pompeii who knows nothing on and off-screen. The lesson here is stop trying to hit home runs at first bat. Be happy to get on base.

BASICALLY HE’S RAINMAN IN THE MOVIE BIZ
The Angry Birds movie is down to number seven and this is another which needs overseas loot to save it. $98M off a $73M budget isn’t awful, but the $213M from overseas (which is at most $85M and probably less) will be needed to save this from being a disappointment. This is from David Maisel who is apparently as responsible for the Marvel Universe as anyone, but since he’s clearly not with them, they no longer like to talk about it. Apparently he not only came up with the sale to Disney, but the sequel strategy and its original plan to self-finance which meant no more licensing characters out to other companies like they’d done with Spider-Man, The X-Men, Blade, The Punisher and The Fantastic Four And to top it off it he also came up with the idea they could use The Hulk without paying Universal to get him back so long as he wasn’t the lead character. Given how fucking major all this is, you can see why they don’t like to talk about him. But of course he’s a nutcase. He apparently pocketed millions from the Disney sale, but still lives with his mom in a 2-bedroom apartment. So yeah, ladies beware, but if you need financial advice, he’s clearly your dude.

JUST ASK MARY LOUISE PARKER IF ONE CLAIRE DANES IS ENOUGH
Alice Through The Looking Glass is down to number eight and is there any more painful irony that the billion dollar grossing first film did jack shit for the career of Mia Wasikowska who is only the title character in both films!?! Needless to say this won’t be changing that a bit. Not helping is the fact she looks like Claire Danes in a world that thinks one Claire Danes is plenty.

GEEK ANGER LIVES FOREVER
Captain America: Civil War is down to number nine, followed by Jungle Book at number ten. As most people know, The Black Panther finally appeared in the Marvel movies and honestly is one of the best parts about this. It sure as shit isn’t Captain America acting like an asshole or the stupid contrivances created to make him and Iron Man fight. Yes, I’m still annoyed.

CAMERA, GUITAR, GUN = DICK
I finally watched the documentary on famed photographer, Bert Stern: The Original Mad Man, even though I’ve had it on my hard drive forever. Only taking the actual DVD out from the liberry finally got me to see it. It didn’t get great reviews but I thought it was a pretty decent summation of the man’s career and life. Directed by the woman who was thought to be his decades younger girlfriend (they first met when she was 13 and it’s as icky as it sounds) it turns out she was secretly his wife, but we’ll get to that. You know Bert Stern even if you don’t think you know him. The famous “Last Sitting” of Marilyn Monroe, her final photo session before she died which stupid starlets and half-assed photographers keep trying to emulate? He did that. The Lolita poster? He did that. He did those and a dozen more iconic shots of celebrities as well as from the history of advertising. It’s subtitled “The Original Mad Man” in a sorry and failed attempt to cash in on the show as Stern was a major player in advertising in the late 50’s and early 60’s, coming up with innovative ideas for campaigns and shooting them himself. Unlike most, he was so good at his job, he basically had a free hand to do what he wanted. Unfortunately, the documentary is short on exploration in areas that seem obvious. We’re told his father attempted suicide and his mother was beautiful but they’re literally never mentioned again after he turns 13. Given he’s famous for taking beautiful shots of women especially, you’d think his relationship with his mother would play into that and be discussed, but it is not. Even the court fight for shots of Marilyn Monroe he took that were stolen in the early 60’s and were rediscovered in the ‘00’s by people who claimed ownership is given the short shrift. What we do get is far too many of shots of the director/girlfriend/wife naked. Even worst is the realization that some of the nudes were taken recently and by a seemingly nude Stern (his reflection is seen in one of the shots). Ewww. Still, there are enough legitimate examinations of the man and his work to make me actually take an interest in his famous “Last Session” as I am not part of the cult that romanticizes Marilyn Monroe. She lived a sad life (sexually abused when young and had to trade on her sex appeal far too much to make it) and died a sad death (accidental drug overdose alone). Her life is cautionary tale, people. Stop romanticizing it. It also caused the “Well, duh” realization that the best photographers of women in fashion (Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, David Bailey, etc) were straight men, which is only unique because the industry is well regarded as being both gay and female driven. Stern flat out states that when he took a picture it was because in that way he could possess the woman in question. He laughs, but you know it’s true. He made me think that the others were probably no different as they all dated and occasionally married the women they shot (Avedon was famously with Dovema, Bailey with Jean Shrimpton and Penn married the impeccable Lisa Fonssagrives). Stern just admits it. It makes me wonder if you have to use your camera as your surrogate dick to truly take beautiful photos of people, as it’s pointed out in the documentary that knowing that Stern worshipped them may have actually served to bring out the best in the women he was shooting. It would similarly be the case with others. The safety of being adored and complimented by someone who would do no more than document said adoration would undoubtedly produce better results than say a worthless fucking creep rapist like Terry Richardson (who’s a shitty photographer on top of being a rapist). Then again, you have Herb Ritts, who was open gay and also took beautiful photographs of women. Must think on this… Not including in the film which came out before Stern’s death in 2013 is the fact the heretofore unknown wife became the sole beneficiary of Stern’s will and the children (two of whom are interviewed along with the ex-wife and a still living girlfriend) are currently suing her over it. Oh, and I bought the book of Stern’s last session with Monroe. Some of the details are seriously fascinating. I mean, if I drank champagne with a shot of vodka like she did, I’d probably be taking my clothes off at every opportunity too.

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WEAK MEN FEAR THE FINEST WINES

16 Nov

MBcaviar

1. Spectre/Sony                                     Wknd/$ 35.4     Total/$ 130.7
2. The Peanuts Movie/Fox                  Wknd/$ 24.2    Total/$ 82.5
3. Love the Coopers/CBS                    Wknd/$ 8.4       Total/$ 8.4
4. The Martian/Fox                              Wknd/$ 6.7       Total/$ 207.4
5. The 33/WB                                        Wknd/$ 5.8       Total/$ 5.8
6. Goosebumps/Sony                           Wknd/$ 4.7       Total/$ 73.5
7. Bridge of Spies/Disney                    Wknd/$ 4.3       Total/$ 61.7
8. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo/FIP          Wknd/$ 2.4       Total/$ 2.8
9. Hotel Transylvania 2/Sony            Wknd/$ 2.4        Total/$ 165.2
10. The Last Witch Hunter/LG          Wknd/$ 1.5        Total/$ 26.1

DRINK THE FINE WINE, MUTHAFUCKA! THE FINE WINE!
Spectre holds at number one and much has been made of Monica Bellucci appearing as a Bond girl actually Bond’s age. In fact, she’s actually older. This has only happened twice before. First, with Honor Blackman, who as Pussy Galore was also older than Sean Connery and Diana Rigg who was older than George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Know what else these two women have in common? Both were partners to John Steed on The Avengers TV show. Honor Blackman in fact was on the show before Diana Rigg. Sadly, both women played roles that were more integral to the plot than the one Monica Bellucci plays. Bond shows up, has sex with her and leaves. That’s it. It’s the 20-something blonde French girl who is the actual female lead here. Yet another of this film’s mistakes. It should have been reversed. When John McTiernan made The Thomas Crown Affair he fought to have an age appropriate female lead, insisting a middle-aged man (ironically, another Bond, Pierce Brosnan) wasn’t going to open up to a twenty-something. He was right.

BUT I GET IT. THOSE SONGS CAN BE ANNOYING.
The Peanuts Movie holds at number two and there are only two things I can think of that were missing from this movie (even the Kite Eating Tree shows up): Rerun, Linus & Lucy’s younger brother and the Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron songs by the Royal Guardsman. The latter stands out because a good portion of the movie is dedicated to Snoopy’s imaginary battles against The Red Baron.

LIKE REAL FAMILY YOU LOVE THEM WITHOUT SEEING THEM
Love the Coopers opens at number three and this is what you get opening a Christmas movie even before Thanksgiving. In fact, this is too good for it. And isn’t Diane Keaton getting tired of playing the matriarch to a family gathered for some occasion? But someone should have told her, if Olivia Wilde is in it, it’s gonna tank. Seriously, she’s basically the female Ryan Reynolds. Someone who seemingly has everything going for them, but couldn’t buy a hit. I gotta be honest: you’re both TV stars. You’re too generically attractive for the big screen, but would work on the small one. Go there and prosper.

THE ONLY TIME IT’S OKAY TO SAY THEY DO ALL LOOK ALIKE
The Martian is down to number four and also in this is Jessica Chastain, who also needed this to wash away her involvement with Interstellar. Not to mention a hit to balance out the flop that was Crimson Peak. No, that wasn’t her in Jurassic World, but you’re within your rights for thinking so. Even Bryce Dallas Howard has joined the joke of the two of them being mistaken for one another. Kate Mara is also in this, which I think violates the One Carrot Top Per Film Rule. Seriously. You will not see two redheads in a film unless they’re related somehow.

NOT TO MENTION THE TITLE SOUNDS LIKE A HORROR MOVIE
The 33 opens at number five and this is a-bit-too-late movie about those trapped Chilean miners from a few years ago. Honestly, this should have been a TV movie, because it’s something that’s interesting if done right, but not so much if people have to pay for it. Not to mention more people would have seen it.

VANITY THY NAME IS DUDE
Goosebumps is down to number six, followed by Bridge of Spies at number seven and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo at number eight. What is that you ask? Yet another Bollywood film crashing the top ten. Apparently this is based on The Prince & The Pauper. That’s all I know. Well, that and the fact film businesses all over the world are the same, as the female lead in this film is two decades younger than the male lead. Sigh.

THE KEY TO LONG-LASTING CAREER…AND MULTIPLE HOMES
Hotel Transylvania 2 is down to number nine and The Last Witch Hunter closes out the top ten at ten and with only $26M domestic and $84M worldwide, it’s safe to say that this $90M film is not giving birth to a franchise. Good. I want another Riddick movie anyway. Also in this is Michael Caine who is continuing his long-established policy of not choosing movies based on the quality, but on the paycheck and whether or not his character is alive at the end of the movie.

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THE FUN AND THE STUPID

6 Apr

Maggie-Smith
1. Furious 7/Universal                               Wknd/$ 143.6  Total/$ 143.6
2. Home/Fox                                             Wknd/$ 27.4    Total/$ 95.6
3. Get Hard/WB                                        Wknd/$ 12.9     Total/$ 57.0
4. Cinderella/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 10.3    Total/$ 167.3
5. The Divergent Series: Insurgent            Wknd/$ 10.0    Total/$ 103.4
6. It Follows/RTWC                                   Wknd/$ 2.5      Total/$ 8.5
7. Woman in Gold/Weinstein                     Wknd/$ 2.0      Total/$ 2.1
8. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox       Wknd/$ 1.7      Total/$ 122.3
9. Do You Believe/PFR                              Wknd/$ 1.5      Total/$ 9.8
10. The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel   Wknd/$ 1.0      Total/$ 30.1

WE HAD STUPID FUN, LITERALLY.
Furious 7 (don’t ask me why it’s not Fast 7) opens at number one and this is the most over-the-top and ridiculous entry yet, which is saying something given we’ve seen a giant safe dragged through the streets of Rio and a tank on the highways of Europe. Let me put it this way: it opens with Jason Staham basically destroying a hospital single handedly while demanding they take care of his brother, who was the bad guy in Fast 6. Yeah, they’re really gonna see to him care now. It’s stupid fun with equal emphasis on both “stupid” and “fun.” Once again a government agency feels the need to recruit a bunch of criminals to do a job for them. In return they’ll help them find Jason Staham who is after the team for crippling his brother. At least this time they have Kurt Russell explain that “officially” that his agency was forbidden to do it themselves, so they need to outsource the job. Hell, all that’s missing is a tape saying if they’re caught the secretary will disavow any knowledge of them then self-destructing. Of course the only way Vin Diesel & Company can do a job is through an utterly ridiculous and convoluted use of cars, as if no other devices or options exist. This time it’s dropping muscle cars out of a C-4 transport plane to intercept an armored transport bus on a mountain pass. Understand that actual covert operative, Jason Statham manages to get there too without doing that and no one seems to notice. Also ignored are the basic laws of physics, but that happened once the series stopped so much being about racing and became an urban-Ocean’s-11-by-way-of-James-Bond. Ludcaris was once just a guy who set up races, but became a hacker genius, while Paul Walker who was a cop then FBI agent is now basically Jason Bourne, a master of hand-to-hand combat skills going toe-to-toe with Tony Jaa. Yeah, that guy from Jackie Chan’s stunt team who became a martial arts star in his own right. Watching it makes you think of when Bruce Lee fought Robin on the old Batman TV show. Extensive suspension of disbelief is required. Also ignored is basic biology as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who falls out of building onto a car (with another person on top of him), heals himself and breaks out of his cast Hulk style to…no. Telling you would only ruin the ridiculous fun of it. Honestly it’s as much of a cartoon as anything you saw Bugs Bunny in, only here Bugs Bunny is played by Jason Statham and he wants you dead.

WORSE YET, IT WASN’T EVEN PIXAR
Home is down to number two and also a voice in this is…Jennifer Lopez. Ouch. You know it must have been sobering to get the call for this and be told you were supporting Rhianna (especially since JLo has that little girl voice). Hell, 20 years ago she was the hot 20-something, barely-can-sing pop star best known for being hot. And it hurts me that I’m old enough to remember this. I’m sure Steve Martin felt the same crushing touch of time when he was called and told that Jim Parsons would be the funny lead. Especially when Steve Martin at his peak was like Eddie Murphy at his peak, something Parsons isn’t even remotely close to. Not to mention Martin was and is actually funny, something The Big Bang Theory has never been.

BRITTANY MORGAN FAIRCHILD (YOU HAVE TO BE OLD TO GET THAT JOKE)
Get Hard is down to number three and also in this is Allison Brie, whom I keep confusing with Brie Larson even though one is blonde and one is a brunette and I’ve only ever seen one thing from either of them. Allison Brie is on both Mad Men and the horribly overrated (but still better than The Big Bang Theory) Community while Brie Larson was Envy Adams in the horribly underrated Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and was briefly also on the horribly overrated (but still better than The Big Bang Theory) Community. The only other difference is Allison Brie will pose in her underwear for men’s magazines, though I’m sure that’s not the sole reason she has a more successful career. I mean, Brie Larson is blonde and we know that matters more than anything.

VERSION 1A
Cinderella is down to number four, followed by The Divergent Series: Insurgent at number fit and I forgot to mention the star, Shaliene Woodley (buds with Brie Larson by the way), who is most often compared to Jennifer Lawrence, which she doesn’t understand. Well, honey, unless you can name another young female star heading a Young Adult science fiction novel based movie franchise who also has indie movie and Oscar cred under her belt then you need to suck it up. It’s not simply that you both have a pixie haircut. She also takes Jennifer Lawrence’s honest talk in interviews to a new level. Actually she takes it to a flat out, weird-ass hippie level about eating, clay walking around barefoot and sunbathing your vagina. Honestly, I can get behind that last one because I often feel my balls could use a little sunlight. Lead us (and our junk) out of the darkness, sister! But you or your agent or your manager should seriously be pitching a fit about the shitty photos in your Elle magazine spread. I mean, they made me feel better about the shitty photos I take, they’re so bad.

LITERALLY AN ART FILM
It Follows is down to number six, followed by Woman in Gold opening at number seven and this looks like yet another Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that escaped to the big screen. It’s based on the true of a woman who sued the Austrian government to get back a Klimt portrait of her aunt that was stolen by the Nazis in WWII while they insisted it was part of their cultural heritage, given that Klimt was Austrian. Now, I loves me some Klimt, but this just looks too antiseptic and filled with forced cuteness between Helen Mirren and trying-hard-to-comeback Ryan Reynolds, who at least seems to have learned that no one wants to see just him and he needs an actor with some actual weight beside him. And what’s heavier than an Oscar-winning English actress?

THERE AIN’T NOTHING LIKE SOME DAMES
Kingsman: The Secret Service is down to number eight, followed by Do You Believe at number nine (which always makes me think of that Huey Lewis song) and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at number ten and apparently Maggie Smith and Judi Densch are friends and have been for sixty years and doesn’t that just make perfect sense? Wouldn’t it be great for Maggie Smith to show up in the next Bond film as M’s sister and ask him why the fuck he got her killed? No, I will never miss an opportunity to tell you how much Skyfall sucked.

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NO SINGING MICE! THANK GOD!

16 Mar

rodrigo2
1. Cinderella/Disney                                               Wknd/$ 70.1   Total/$ 70.1
2. Run All Night/WB                                              Wknd/$ 11.0   Total/$ 11.0
3. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox                 Wknd/$ 6.2    Total/$ 107.4
4. Focus/WB                                                             Wknd/$ 5.8    Total/$ 44.0
5. Chappie/Sony                                                      Wknd/$ 5.8    Total/$ 23.3
6. The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel               Wknd/$ 5.7    Total/$ 18.1
7. The SpongeBob Movie/Par                               Wknd/$ 4.1     Total/$ 154.7
8. McFarland, USA/Disney                                   Wknd/$ 3.7     Total/$ 35.0
9. American Sniper/WB                                         Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 341.5
10. The Duff/LionsGate                                          Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 30.3

MONEY VS. DEPTH: WE KNOW WHO WINS
Cinderella opens at number one and two things got me in to see this and once again risk being the Solo Adult Male at a Kid’s Movie, which I’m sure is one day going to get me arrested: 1) Cate Blanchett, 2) Not A Musical. And believe me it’s the latter that carries the most weight. Remember my rule: if Gene Kelly isn’t dancing I don’t care. This isn’t so much a reinterpretation of the story, but another instance of Disney’s latest cash cow: live action versions of their animated features (Fantasia is going to be interesting). And clearly it a paid off, as evidenced by my ass in a seat and I hated the animated version. If you were hoping for maybe just a little more depth, you know, something for the adults like the great joke about “bears in San Francisco” in the trailer for Inside Out before the movie, dream on. Oh, they toy with it. They hint at actually making Cate Blanchett a three dimensional character whose evil is a result of the pain from losing the husband she loved and not truly being loved by a second husband who also dies, but they don’t follow through and just basically have her blurt out that that she’s mean to Ella (called Cider-ella due to the cinders on her face from being reduced to servant) because she’s so good. Seriously, that’s what she said. It would have made more sense if she blamed that obscenely tiny waist Cinderella has on display at the ball. Look, I know you want to try and recreate the movie, but you can’t force a human to have those proportions. Yes, she’s wearing a corset, but she also had to go on liquid diet to get into it. What. The. Fuck!?! Does Disney really think they would have lost a dollar because a real life human didn’t have the physical dimensions of a fucking cartoon!?! One thing they do get right is that Cinderella isn’t a servant for years. Seriously, I love the revisionist version with Drew Barrymore, but to think that being pretty much a slave for 20 years wouldn’t break or embitter you really is a fairy tale. Her first act as queen would have been to have her stepmother and mean sister beheaded and made the semi-nice one watch as a warning.

IT ALWAYS LEADS BACK TO CONNERY. ALWAYS.
Run All Night opens at number two and by Neeson’s own admission we’re reaching the end of this second act of his career as an action star. Probably because he’s doing it wrong. Yeah, being Dad The Action Hero worked briefly, but eventually you have to balance out that age curve by pairing him with a younger man to do all the heavy lifting. Or in the case of Neeson, the running, which he hates to do and directors have to work around it. In other words, do the Connery. Sean Connery is textbook on how to be an aging action hero, something it would do Schwarzenegger well to follow. In this one Neeson’s fighting Irish mob boss, Ed Harris in NYC, which almost makes this like a sequel to State of Grace where he was also an Irish mob boss in NYC. I like to think he survived being killed by Sean Penn…only to be killed here by Neeson (no, I didn’t see it, but do you really think he lives?). Penn also survived and went on to join the CIA, which is where we’ll see him next week in The Gunman. And if you think he’s not doing action movies because of Neeson, think again. They all owe him a check for opening this up for them.

IN HIS SIXTH DECADE OF EXPLOSIONS
Speaking of aging action heroes, Kingsman: The Secret Service rises back up to number three and as the head of The Kingsmen is Michael Caine, who did some badass movies back in his day as well, like Get Carter. It’s also a bit of a in-joke that he would play the head of a covert agency given he also played a secret agent back in the sixties. The Austin Powers character is based on him and why he also plays the father. Caine also did a turn as an elderly badass a few years back in Harry Brown, where he’s an ex-soldier who’s pushed too far. Yes, they make those films in England too. Death Wish fantasies are not just for Americans. They’re for any society with an underclass who occasionally needs to be taught a lesson.

CINEMATIC COITUS INTERRUPTUS
Down to number four is Focus and also in this is Rodrigo Santuro. Best known, unfortunately for being the Persian leader, Xerxes in 300 and its horrible sequel, but people of taste will know him as the hot guy Laura Linney doesn’t get to bone in Love Actually. Seriously, that was just mean.

SOAKING UP THAT CASH
Chappie is down to number five, followed by The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at number six and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water at number seven and from a $74M budget, this has made $270M worldwide and somewhere the creator of Ren & Stimpy weeks because his little cartoon never graduated from the love of hip kids to an actually license to print money like this one did.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GEEK CRED
McFarland, USA is down to number eight, with American Sniper returning at number nine and finally The DUFF closing out the Top Ten at number ten, and starring in this Mae Whitman who is none other than the President’s daughter in Independence Day. Think she’s coming back for the sequel? And she’s got even more geek cred as the voice of a child Lois Lane on Superman The Animated Series, Batgirl on Batman: The Brave & The Bold and Wonder Girl on Young Justice. Geek cred is there for Robbie Amell, the cousin to none other than Stephen Amell, also known as Green Arrow on Arrow. He recently appeared on The Flash to become the superhero known as Firestorm himself. No geek cred for the pre-naturally pretty Bella Thorne, but given she’s a pretty redhead and they’re rebooting Spider-Man again as a teenager, it should be happening any minute now. I feel I’ll go to jail just for writing about her given she’s only 17 (was it even legal for the 26-year-old Amell to kiss her?). Her porn star name doesn’t help matters in the slightest. Her siblings are equally named Remy Thorne, Kalli Thorne and Dani Thorne because apparently Mary, Susan or Katherine just wouldn’t do. Do I even have to tell you they’re from Florida? Irony alert: in this film she plays the “mean girl” of the high school and like Lindsay Lohan she’s a henna-headed product of the Disney machine. Hopefully being from Florida won’t doom her the way that being from Long Island doomed Lohan.

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STUPID MOVIEGOERS GET THE STUPID MOVIES THEY DESERVE

16 Nov

ryanpotter

1. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal     Wknd/$ 38.1    Total/$ 38.1
2. Big Hero 6/Disney                               Wknd/$ 36.0    Total/$ 111.7
3. Interstellar/Paramount                      Wknd/$ 29.2    Total/$ 97.8
4. Beyond the Lights/Relativity             Wknd/$ 6.5      Total/$ 6.5
5. Gone Girl/Fox                                       Wknd/$ 4.6      Total/$ 152.7
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                         Wknd/$ 4.0      Total/$ 33.3
7. Fury/Sony                                              Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 75.9
8. Nightcrawler/ORF                               Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 25.0
9. Quija/Universal                                    Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 48.1
10.Birdman/FoxS                                      Wknd/$ 2.4      Total/$ 11.6

YOU GET THE CINEMA YOU DESERVE, AMERICA
Dumb and Dumber To opens at number one and honestly who wanted this? Seriously? Who are you so I came come to your house and make sure you don’t procreate. The first one (which I admit to having seen though I’ve successfully blocked any of its details from my memory) wasn’t funny so I sincerely doubt a 20-years later sequel will somehow correct that. But how happy is Jim Carrey for this? His first hit in how many years? With him actually on the screen I mean and not just a voice. Well that would be Bruce Almighty in ’03. Since then it’s been Fun With Dick & Jane, The Number 23, Yes Man (which I actually enjoy watching at 3 am) I Love Your Phillip Morris and Mr. Poppers Penguins. And unlike Jeff Daniels he doesn’t really have a solid dramatic career to fall back on. Carrey suffers from the same affliction as Eddie Murphy in that he can only springboard from his material. If it’s good, he’ll take it to another level. If it’s shit then he’s just this guy acting painfully weird for no reason whatsoever.

NO EASY ANSWERS
Big Hero 6 is down to number two and is it good or bad that we’re making no notice of the fact that the lead in this is Asian? Granted, the fact that his aunt is Caucasian means he’s only half-Asian, but that’s like saying the president is only half-Black. That’s not how he’s seen or treated, so for all intents and purposes he’s Black and Hiro Hamada is Asian. Now, with all the attention given to Disney’s princesses rarely being other than White don’t they deserve a little credit where the credit is due? Disney even went the extra mile and had their voices also done by Asian Americans (Ryan Potter as Hiro and Daniel Henney as Tadashi and Jamie Chung as Go Go). Or does it not count because Hiro’s gift is being super-smart and building robots and we expect that from Asians? Discuss amongst yourselves.

DON’T HATE THE PLAYER HATE THE GAME
Interstellar is down to number three and word of mouth is going to kill this because the more I think about it the dumber it gets and it was pretty dumb to start with. That said, also in this is Anne Hathaway as the smart scientist daughter of smart scientist Michael Caine. Or should I say, Academy Award Winning Actress playing the daughter of an Academy Award Winning Actor? In fact there are no fewer than five Oscar-winners onscreen in this film…and not one of them recognized how dumb this script was, which proves they got their Oscars through dumb luck, not smart choices. At least Michael Caine is open about it. He’s flat out said that he’s made many of his choices based solely on the fact his character was alive at the end.

MOTHER, YOU HAD ME, BUT I NEVER HAD YOU
Beyond The Lights opens at number four and this is from the writer/director of love & basketball, Gina Prince-Bythewood and while I enjoyed that film, I felt it was derailed a little about a subplot involving the character fighting with her mother. Guess what’s a major plot point here as well? In this case it’s a domineering stage mom. While there are no new stories and it’s all in how you retell them I didn’t see anything about this that was all that new to motivate me into seeing it. I mean, another rich person being saved by the love of a working class person? Seriously? You gotta give me more.

THE STANDARD BY WHICH ALL DICKS ARE JUDGED
Gone Girl is down to number five and there have been complaints that I buried the lead of this particular movie. Actually, just one complaint from my sister that I didn’t mention there’s a shot of Ben Affleck’s dick. Sigh. I’m sorry, people, but it’s just it’s so brief it barely merits a mention. I mean it’s not a Richard Gere in American Gigolo or even Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I guess what I’m saying is it’s not really full frontal male nudity to me if there are no balls present.

IRREPLACABLE? NOT SO MUCH.
St. Vincent is down to number six and also in this is Naomi Watts, aka, Blonde Clone of Nicole Kidman and this actually means she has two films in the top ten (Birdman being the other). In fact, she’s so much like Nicole Kidman that in my memory it was Nicole Kidman in The International, not her. And they both recently played dead blonde princesses to scathing reviews. Kidman as Princess Grace and Watts as Princess Diana. Though you probably thought it was Kidman both times.

THE OTHERS
Fury is down to number seven, Nightcrawler to number eight and Quija down to number nine.

IF ONLY IT WERE BIRDMAN HE HAD ACTUALLY PLAYED
Quija is down to number nine and entering the top ten at number ten is Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which has gotten good reviews and is definitely on my radar. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t hate Michael Keaton. I just hated him as Batman. How ironic that he’s getting the best press in years for playing an actor trapped by playing a superhero. More ironic that I really want to see it. And look at his supporting cast members. Edward Norton from The Incredible Hulk and Emma Stone from The Amazing Spider-Man. And the ironic cherry on top is that writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hates superhero movies and think they’re a danger to filmmaking.

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SOUNDS LIKE THE TITLE OF A TOO MODEST PORN FILM

9 Nov

sunfire___big_hero_6_1

1. Big Hero 6/Disney                                      Wknd/$ 56.2     Total/$ 56.2
2. Interstellar/Paramount                             Wknd/$ 50.0    Total/$ 52.2
3. Gone Girl/Fox                                             Wknd/$ 6.1         Total/$ 145.4
4. Quija/Universal                                          Wknd/$ 6.0        Total/$ 43.5
5. St. Vincent/Weinstein                               Wknd/$ 5.7         Total/$ 27.4
6. Nightcrawler/ORF                                      Wknd/$ 5.5        Total/$ 19.8
7. Fury/Sony                                                     Wknd/$ 5.5        Total/$ 69.3
8. John Wick/LG-S                                         Wknd/$ 4.0        Total/$ 34.7
9. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney        Wknd/$ 3.5        Total/$ 59.2
10. The Book of Life/Fox                               Wknd/$ 2.8        Total/$ 45.2

SOMEWHERE FOX LAWYERS READ THE FINE PRINT…
Big Hero 6 opens at number one and this is loosely based on a Marvel comic book (though this is not a Marvel Production, though they are owned by Disney), which I never read, believe it or not. One very ironic reason is that it was actually called “Sunfire & Big Hero Six” Sunfire being a Japanese mutant who often interacts with The X-Men. Also one of the members of Big Hero 6 was the Silver Samurai who often clashes with Wolverine. It’s ironic because these characters are among those Marvel can’t get back to the point they’re changing the comics as a result. Needless to say, he’s not here and there’s no counterpart for him, though there is for Silver Samurai. Big Hero Six was a Japanese superhero team and that’s also gone. Now the setting is a gorgeous futuristic city called San Fransokyo, clearly a mesh of San Francisco and Tokyo (with maybe some Hong Kong thrown in) where teen genius Hiro Hamada takes the robotic nurse created by his late brother to seek the man responsible for his brother’s death who has also stolen Hiro mirobot technology. His brother’s fellow students eventually join with Hiro to become Big Hero 6. The movie takes a bit to get started and honestly creates a world more interesting to me than the actual story. Not to mention they double up on the tragedy to the point where it becomes near impossible to believe that Hiro’s not going to be utterly damaged. Hiro and his brother are already orphans being raised by their aunt when Hiro sees his brother die in a fire. His desire to kill the man responsible rings true, but what doesn’t is pretty much any smile afterwards. Both the movie and the character would have been better served if his brother had more vanished than actually died to believe that hope could still exist for Hiro. I mean, even Batman only had to bury his parents. Fortunately, Hiro really isn’t the star of the film. It’s the gentle robot, Baymax, who looks like a giant marshmallow that and Disney clearly knew it given he’s got the poster to himself. You can almost believe that under his care Hiro could heal in a way that the film needs to accept his journey. Not helping matters is a fairly weak and underdeveloped villain and everyone knows your heroes are only as good as your bad guy is bad, but Baymax almost makes up for all of it.

LOST IN SPACE
Interstellar opens at number two and honestly, my hopes were not high for this when I saw the writing credits belonging to the two Nolan Brothers. With the exception of the ninety minute Memento, every film they’ve ever made could have and probably should have been cut by twenty minutes and sadly this is no exception. While I do prefer a shorter film, I’m not an enemy to a long one.. I’ve got no problem settling in and letting big film envelope me like a warm blanket so long as it uses its time to do just that and totally immerse me in the world it creates, but that doesn’t happen here. We get hints at a dystopic future where all wars are over as mankind is engaged in a struggle to survive on a fatally damaged Earth as one by one every major crop is dying off and dust storms are starting in on the humans. Farming is encouraged as an occupation and children are taught that we never went to the moon as space travel is considered a waste of resources. The latter apparently happened in McConughey’s lifetime as he was a pilot with NASA. Not sure how that’s even possible, but okay. Also, NASA is now an organization that’s been operating in secret for over a decade exploring space to find mankind a new home thanks to a wormhole that has appeared next to Saturn, openly acknowledged to be the work of an intelligent race. So, if they can create a wormhole, why the hell put it next to Saturn, which takes two years to get to? No one ever asks. Once through the wormhole they are to determine which if any the only three worlds that actually had mission survivors (out of 12 manned missions) can become a new home for mankind. Meanwhile, back on Earth, thanks to the relativity of time near a black hole, McConughey’s daughter has become a scientist in her own right, helping with Plan B, which is to build a space station to relocate humanity. Of course things go wrong on both ends to build drama and tension, but as always Nolan stretches the tension to the point where it simply snaps and you don’t much care how it resolves itself, so long as it ends. Remember seeming endless shots of people falling backwards and a falling van in Inception? Well take that and make it even longer. Not to mention if you’ve watched enough science fiction you know immediately the secret behind the first “mystery” introduced in the film and once the film finally reveals it, not only is there no new spin put on it, but it also goes on far too long. Even the much vaunted visuals failed to impress and I went out of my way to see it in 70mm…and something happened to the film in the last 10 minutes. So much for that format making a comeback.

A TORCH VERY HAPPILY PASSED
Gone Girl actually rises to number three and this is what we call “having legs” as we not only enter its sixth week, but a jump back up. Why? Well, let’s face it: it’s an adult movie about adults, while Big Hero 6 is aimed squarely at kids and there are adults who flatly regard all science fiction as silly and won’t watch. This is where they were while kids were in Big Hero 6 and teenagers were in Interstellar. And did we discuss that also in this was the “Blurred Lines” girl, Emily Ratajkowski? She’s the new Megan Fox. That is, someone whose natural features are so exaggerated she looks like the drawing of a girl come to life. And while these people look great “playing their roles” (usually in print) they look almost freakish playing “normal” as she does in the film. There’s a similar problem with one of the male leads on Jane the Virgin. He’s clearly good looking, but looks oddly freakish as well walking around and talking.

ONE DAY YOU COULD BE A FULL OF SHIT SUPERSTAR
Quija is down to number four and this cast is filled with unknowns so there’s not much to talk about, but remember the original Nightmare on Elm Street also had a cast filled with unknowns, one of whom was Johnny Depp, so hang in there kids! Paying your dues in crappy, low budget horror films is a time-honored tradition. Shhh! I’m trying to give these kids hope!

ACTORS PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE ARE IN THIS?
St. Vincent is down to number five, followed by Nightcrawler at number six and did you know that Rene Russo was in this or that her character is helping the career of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character? Of course not. Seriously, the ad campaign for this needs a do-over.

AND YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THE TRAIL OF MEDIOCRE TO AWFUL WORK
Fury is down to number seven and this comes from David Ayer the writer and director of wannabe gritty LA crime dramas like End of Watch and Harsh times and the writer of Training Day, Dark Blue, SWAT and Fast & The Furious. He also wrote and directed the god-awful Sabotage, which did just that to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback attempt. This resume makes me more than glad I gave this a pass.

THE A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY SQUAD
John Wick is down to number eight and as I mentioned what helps this film are the many character actors in small supporting roles such as Lance Reddick, Ian McShane (who improves anything), John Leguizamo (who can ruin anything if you let him, but they don’t let him) Dean Winters and Willem Dafoe as a hitman buddy and David Patrick Kelly as the undertaker of the underworld who seems to enjoy his work a bit too much. You know him from his immortal line from The Warriors, “War-ri-ors, come out to pla-ay…” Yeah, that guy.

GEEKS, ALWAYS LIKING WEIRD STUFF
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is down to number nine and The Book of Life closes out the top ten at number ten. After this week it it will undoubtedly go on to a live a cult classic by geeks who insist it was great and the rest of us simply didn’t give it a chance. They’ll be half right.

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