Tag Archives: Michael Fassbender

ANOTHER BLOODY SEQUEL

10 Jan

kate-beckinsale-shape-magazine-2017-03-662x993
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story/Disney         Wknd/$ 22.0   Total/$ 477.3
2. Hidden Figures/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 21. 8   Total/$ 24.8
3. Sing/Universal                                                   Wknd/$ 19.6   Total/$ 213.4
4. Underworld: Blood Wars/SGem                    Wknd/$ 13.1    Total/$ 13.1
5. La La Land/LG                                                   Wknd/$ 10.0   Total/$ 51.7
6. Passengers/Sony                                                Wknd/$ 8.8     Total/$ 80.9
7. Why Him/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 6.5     Total/$ 48.6
8. Moana/Disney                                                   Wknd/$ 6.4      Total/$ 225.4
9. Fences/Paramount                                            Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 40.7
10. Assassin’s Creed/Fox                                      Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 49.5

THE SAD TRUTH IS NOSTALGIA PAYS…AND PAYS WELL
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story holds at number one and I’m sorry, but I cannot drink the Kool Aid on this one. It ain’t all that. It’s taking for granted your affection for this universe and so not bothering to build actual characters for you to know or care about. And on top of that throwing in useless fan shout-outs that briefly stop the momentum of a film desperately lacking it. As you know this is the story of how the plans to The Death Star came to be in the hands of Princess Leia. It’s through the use of a kinda of “Magnificent Seven in Space” which was honestly done better in Battle Beyond The Stars. What you don’t know is that it also feels the need to answer unasked questions like “Who was Red Five before Luke Skywalker?” And don’t get me started on the computer-reanimated corpse of Peter Cushing in the form of a total CGI Grand Moff Tarkin. Hella creepy and distracting. I’ve got no problem with the initial concept of the film, but it suffers from one of the same flaws as the horrible prequels: the need to set up everything that follows rather than simply tell its own story. How disappointing is it? Think of the two most inconsequential characters from Star Wars and know they show up here in a “funny” cameo.

FAILURE OF THE BLACK MAN PT 1
Hidden Figures is up to number two and this completes the hat trick of critically acclaimed film with Black actors as leads that I’ve failed to see while somehow finding time to see shit like Christmas Office Party. The other two are Moonlight and Loving. But I still say I’m going to see them. I am. Stop laughing.

PLUS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANY SUCKY NEW SONGS
Sing is down to number three and on one hand this looks like a lot of fun. On the other it’s almost two fucking hours long and this is simply not a two-hour concept. The songs do not need to be played to completion to get the joke and I have the funny feeling that’s exactly the mistake they’ve made here. But I’m sure on cable it will be nothing but fun.

HOT CHICK + ACCENT + GUNS = MY MONEY
Underworld: Blood Wars opens at number four and yes, this I found time for. Sorry, but it’s been a 14-year commitment for me. Well, that and the neverending delight of Kate Beckinsale in skintight rubber. When we last left her the nocturnal family (vampire, half-vampire-half-werewolf and their daughter) had been reunited despite the lack of Scott Speedman. If you think CGI Tarkin was distracting at least he looked like Peter Cushing. The budget of Underworld simply couldn’t handle recreating Speedman and did some sad shit to a poor actor thinking maybe porn would have been less humiliating. Also, Kate Beckinsale’s character been in suspended animation for 15 years and in that time had not given birth to to the afforementioned daughter but humans had learned of both vampires and werewolves and were trying to wipe them all out. As it turned out werewolves were behind all that getting their revenge on almost being wiped out by vampires in the previous films. Well, all that’s gone. No, seriously. They don’t mention anything about the change in the status quo or how werewolves infiltrated the mainstream. All that remains is Kate Beckinsale’s half-vampire-quarter werewolf daughter and the fact the vampires are now on the ropes. But that’s not the problem. The problem is big, emotional moments in the film that tie characters back to the first Underworld and threaten to provide actual character development are rushed through. Imagine if Darth Vader had reveal himself to be Luke’s father and there wasn’t even a beat of drama then he followed it up with “And Leia is your sister.” And even that was followed up by something else as if they had to get it all in before the movie ended. This movie is only 91 minutes so easily could have spared the characters another eight or nine minutes so they could react to things and at least feign giving their characters depth. Being almost two hours long didn’t hurt the first film and why it still remains the best is due to the wide variety of individual characters who are in fact given those little “beats.” There’s the potential for that here as we are introduced at least five new characters who seem interesting, but again, none are really given the time to be fleshed out. We never even learn the bad guy’s plan, which is kind of important because he actually says he’s trying to end the war between vampires and werewolves. And he’s got a vampire lover trying to help him for the same reason. That’s kind of an important plot point given Kate Beckinsale repeatedly expresses how she’s tired of the killing. Finally, at $35M you don’t have the loot for elaborate CGI, so again look to the original and see how many of the werewolf effects were practical, not computer animated. Being the 4th best out of a five movie series is not exactly impressive (in order of best to worst they are Underworld, Underworld Rise of the Lycans, Underworld Evolution, Underworld Blood Wars and Underworld Awakening).

CAN’T GET FROM UNDER THAT “BURDEN” CAN YOU?
LaLa Land is down to number five and I have zero desire to see this, but it’s an Awards favorite now so I guess I have to. Sorry, but they lost me at “White Guy Who Will Be The Savior of Jazz” character and nothing I’ve read about it is really changing my mind.

SUBMITTED FOR YOUR APPROVAL SOMETHING THAT’S BETTER IN SHORTER FORM
Passengers is down to number six and this is yet another Outer Limits/Twilight Zone episode that escaped into theaters. Chris Pratt is an engineer on a spaceship that puts passengers into suspended animation for its 120-year travel time. Unfortunately a meteor storm damages the ship and wakes him up and he cannot go back, so after a year of isolation he wakes up 20-something hottie, Jennifer Lawrence. I like Chris Pratt, but his acting skills aren’t really up to par showing a man who basically goes nuts from loneliness and dooms another person rather than be alone. Jennifer Lawrence can’t do anything with it either and she’s someone whose performance reflects the quality of her material. The biggest problem is the script won’t commit to its dark premise. They want Chris Pratt to stay a likable sane guy but a likable sane guy wouldn’t do what he does, so he has to either be an asshole or nuts and they won’t allow him either. And don’t get me started on the cop-out ending… The Twilight Zone wouldn’t have wussed out like that.

I MEAN…LOOK AT HIM!
Why Him is down to number seven and one of biggest problems in Hollywood is how long they try to hold onto a “younger” male actor. James Franco is not the young male lead any longer. He’s pushing 40 and this role is clearly supposed to be someone in their 20’s. Notice they didn’t cast his love interest older. Nope. She’s actually in her 20’s while he’s “playing” that role. And it looks like ass to boot.

GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!
Moana is down to number eight and Disney needs to stop pushing the ballad for Oscar consideration. The best song is “You’re Welcome.” Not to mention, if nominated it means we’ll see Dwayne Johnson singing it at the Oscars (with help from writer Lin Manuel Miranda). Now who doesn’t want that!?!

FAILURE OF THE BLACK MAN PT 2
Fences is down to nine and my Guilt Trilogy has become a Guilt Quadrilogy because I haven’t seen this fucking thing either. Sigh. I’m failing at being Black in 2017…clearly holding over from 2016.

SAVED FROM MYSELF
Finally, Assassins Creed closes out the top ten at number ten and if I had the time I so would have saw this. I’m sad.

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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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TODAY’S TOPIC IS AGING OUT…AGAIN

6 Jun

neighbors

 

  1. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2    Wknd/$   35.4     Total/$   35.3
  2. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                  Wknd/$   22.3     Total/$ 116.5
  3. Me Before You/Warner                     Wknd/$   18.3     Total/$   18.3
  4. Alice Through the Looking Glass  Wknd/$   10.7     Total/$   50.8
  5. The Angry Birds Movie/Sony          Wknd/$     9.8      Total/$     9.8
  6. Captain America: Civil War/BV      Wknd/$     7.6      Total/$ 388.9
  7. Neighbors 2/Universal                      Wknd/$     4.7      Total/$   48.6
  8. Popstar/Universal                               Wknd/$     4.6     Total/$    4.6
  9. The Jungle Book/Disney                    Wknd/$     4.2     Total/$ 347.5
  10. The Nice Guys/WB                              Wknd/$     3.5      Total/$   29.1

 

MONEY BETTER SPENT ON PIZZA. GET IT!?!

Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens at number one and while this has gotten better reviews than its predecessor it’s still not going to get me in there. Life is short and the 93 minutes the first one took out of my life back in 1990 is still a personal regret to someone who has almost the second season of Jane the Virgin sitting unwatched on his DVR. But even then it was a stretch for me as I had “aged out” of the demographic for the TNMT. I never watched the cartoon and at best I liked the arcade game because at that time I was learning the bo staff at the time and one of them used it in the game. I am happy that Stephen Amell is getting his toe into the theatrical game though. Based on this disappointing 4th season, Arrow needs to think about its end game soon and he needs to be working on his next step.

 

X AIN’T GIVING IT TO YA

X-Men: Apocalypse is down to number two and speaking of disappointing superhero translations that I’d aged out of, the Apocalypse character and storyline happened after I’d left the X-Men comics as a kid because frankly it had gotten too damn depressing (Chris Claremont, the writer would later admit he was going through a bad patch so in turn inflicted it on the characters. Thanks, asshole.). This is especially disappointing given it’s Bryan Singer at the helm. He not only help set the standards of the modern day superhero film as something to be taken seriously, but directed the best X-Men film (X2) and undid the damage of X3 with X-Men: Days of Future Past (it literally wiped it out). So it’s surprising that this bland trainwreck came from him. The biggest problem is that it forgets what the X-Men are at their heart: a metaphor for discrimination. The X-Men are whatever minority or discriminated group you choose, but you will only find the barest remnants of that here. It’s a dull, thudding superhero film with lots of special effects and no heart or characters to care about. The very first X-Men movie still works because at its heart it’s about two diametrically opposed outsiders (Wolverine and Rogue) finding a home with others and each other. Nothing even approaching that exists here. It should have been Cyclops or Storm (who in this new history are being introduced to the X-Men for the first time) but the actors playing them are not stars and Jennifer Lawrence is, but they don’t know what to do with her character. Gone is the revolutionary who doesn’t think she should be obligated to look human and in her place is a superstar who doesn’t want to be painted blue every day supported by studio execs that don’t want their most famous star covered in blue. With Hugh Jackman leaving (speaking of aging out) she’s now the face of the franchise so simultaneously its biggest asset and its biggest problem. This makes four superhero films I’ve seen this year and still only one I really liked and it’s the character I know and care the least about: Deadpool.

 

YOU DON’T GET A MEDAL FOR LOVING SOMEONE LESS THAN PERFECT

Me Before You is that a subset of romantic drama the disabled/dying romantic drama wherein one partner is either disabled or dying and they other deals with or overcomes that in the name of love. Though when I think about it, it’s actually a subset of the oldest love story variation of all: the tragedy. Obviously there’s not going to be a cure for one and the person dies in the other. That’s the reason for “the drama.” Honestly, because I’m shallow it’s not one I care for. Give me warring families or disparate origins/classes, but someone permanently disabled or dying is just too depressing. I want a full-on happy goddamn ending, or at the very least one where both parties walk off their separate ways. And I mean “walk” literally. Yeah, I said it. What part of “shallow” didn’t you get? This is actually being trashed by some as some kind of “disabled romantic porn” because the person not disabled has to be so, so, so good to love that person who isn’t perfect. This was a criticism placed even on the novel. I would add to that the disabled person in question is, of course, rich so I’m gonna guess that when they die this person is rewarded for being able to love a disabled person with a ridiculous fortune. Yeah, there’s no reason to see this at all.

 

21 CHUMP STREET

Alice Through the Looking Glass is down to number four and this is seen as a flop simply because it opened at number two last week. I think that has more to do with the current tide of public opinion turning against Johnny Depp. Allow me to remind you I’ve been telling you for years he’s utterly full of shit. I didn’t need a domestic abuse charge like the rest of you fuckers. You should have hated him for doing the first one, much less a shitty sequel. But guess what? This has made $125m overseas and the fact that the first made a billion worldwide is the reason this exists to begin with so don’t be surprised if an overwhelming international success leads to a third chapter. I mean that fourth Pirates of the Caribbean wasn’t exactly huge domestically either, but was ridiculously huge overseas so they’re making a fifth. Which makes Amber Heard’s lawyers very, very happy. I have no sympathy for middle-aged men in the midst of a mid-life crisis who hook up with obvious golddiggers. Take everything, girl.

 

HELL, I’M PLAYING IT RIGHT NOW

The Angry Birds Movie is down to number five and I was oddly interested in this because I love the game and obviously any movie that has a character that hates everything and everyone appeals to me. But that doesn’t mean I’d spend a dime to see it. No, I’ll catch it on cable in a year or so. What’s surprising is the ridiculous amount of comedic talent on-hand. Jason Sudekis (who should never be a leading man, but a funny supporting actor, so please stop trying), Josh Gad, Bill Hader, Mya Rudolph, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Hannibal Buress and Keegan Michael Key. Hell, even Sean Penn is here and that simple fact may be the funniest thing about it as he has no sense of humor, which means he did his lines straight, probably making them funny as fuck. Yeah, I’m soooo watching this on cable on a Sunday afternoon.

 

AMERICA IS NEVER WRONG!

Captain America: Civil War is down to number six and I remain unchanged in disliking this. Captain America is wrong and unreasonable in this movie and Captain America should never be wrong or unreasonable.

 

PRETTY DIRTY

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is down to number seven and I have to say I totally respect how Zac Efron has decided to stop playing to his “look” of the clean cut pretty boy and go directly against and basically be the new king of R-rated slob comedies. Also joining him on his ascent to comedic royalty is Rose Byrne who is showing up in everything and stealing the show. I mean, or so I’ve heard. I hate Seth Rogen so much nothing anyone says can get me into a movie where he’s the star. Again, what part of “shallow” are you not getting? Which brings us back to the fact that pretty boy Efron is basically playing the roles that probably would go to Rogen.

 

SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AFTER 3 MINUTES

Popstar: Never Stop Stopping is the first Lonely Island movie and apparently the last as it opened at number eight. See, this is a great idea for a digital short on SNL or a supporting character in a movie, but it’s difficult to watch an entire movie about a complete asshole even when you’re supposed to be laughing at him. The guys in Spinal Tap weren’t brilliant, but they weren’t irredeemable assholes either.   I was tired of this whole concept before the trailer had finished.

 

A TALENTED GUY WHO’S AN ASSHOLE IS SADLY REDUNDANT

The Jungle Book is down to number nine with The Nice Guys closing out the top ten at number ten and this is the latest R-rated buddy movie from Shane Black. He’s like a less-depressing, funnier yet no less dismissive of women James Ellroy. Like Ellroy he tells dark stories about the seamier side of Los Angles that begin with a beautiful dead woman and the two guys determined to try and find some justice for her (this movie actually reunites Kim Basinger and Russell Crowe who were in the adaptation of Ellroy’s LA Confidential). Black is a good director and is on point with the foul-mouthed, funny dialogue, but his complete and utter hatred of women remains a problem. This is him at his least offensive (it’d be difficult to top the pure misogyny of The Last Boy Scout), but just so you know it’s him the only smart female is a child and it opens with a “joke” that involves a centerfold/porn star dying in the exact same pose as her centerfold. Get it!?! Why she’s naked in car crash is beyond me, but Black doesn’t care. He’s been opening with dead, naked women since Lethal Weapon (also a porn star) and he’s not stopping now. While this is a good movie I’m not sad it’s a bit of a flop because he’s got to be made stop that shit and so long as he doesn’t have a blockbuster hit that’s his and his alone (I could have directed Iron Man 3 and had a hit) he’ll always be under someone’s thumb which will ideally slow him down. Unfortunately, it’s Hollywood, so it’s not like that’s going to slow him down too much.

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WHEN UGLY THINGS HAPPEN TO PRETTY PEOPLE

27 Oct

Picture 1500

 1. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                        Wknd/$  32.0            Total/$  32.0

 2. Gravity/Warners                                       Wknd/$  20.3            Total/$ 199.8

 3. Captain Phillips/Sony                               Wknd/$  11.8            Total/$  70.1

 4. The Counselor/Fox                                    Wknd/$    8.0            Total/$   8.0

 5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2     Wknd/$    6.1            Total/$100.6

 6. Carrie/SG                                                     Wknd/$    5.9            Total/$  26.0

 7. Escape Plan/LG                                           Wknd/$    4.3           Total/$   17.4

 8. 12 Years A Slave                                           Wknd/$     2.2          Total/$    3.4

 9. Enough Said/FoxS                                       Wknd/$    1.6           Total/$  13.0

10. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    1.1            Total/$  59.1

 

NOW I CAN’T GET WARRANT’S “CHERRY PIE” OUT OF MY HEAD

Bad Grandpa opens at number one or more correctly, Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa opens at number one. Yes, in some form or another they are still with us. But this really seems to be a combination between two MTV Shows,  Punk’d and Jackass and given I care little for a show that gets a kick out of messing with people in their day-to-day lives (Punk’d) and others that seem solely about how stupidly can young men hurt themselves (Jackass), I gave this a pass.  HOWEVER…I bust a gut laughing the way “grandpa” (Johnny Knoxville) “makes it rain” over the little boy after they enter him in a little girl’s beauty pageant and then have him do a striptease. That’s close to brilliant because it strips away to show what all beauty pageants are about (did you know they are the biggest source of scholarship money for women?) and how obscene it is that they do them for little girls. Like I said, I hate the whole idea of messing with people in lives for a joke, but this is one group that totally deserves it.

 

GEEK = SMART – SEXUAL ACTIVITY

Gravity finally submits to just that and sinks to number two and while I like Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, him getting his panties in a bunch over the scientific errors in this film was simply ridiculous.  As soon as you saw “George Clooney” and “Sandra Bullock” he should have known which way the wind was blowing. Clearly he forgot about the “fiction” in “science fiction.”  Bear in mind this is a man who openly prefers Star Trek to Star Wars because Star Trek has more of a seeming regard for science, when Star Wars openly embraced magic to a certain point (The Force). Sadly I cannot take credit for the best response to this: “This things didn’t bother me because I have kissed a girl.” Amen.

 

SO BAD IT’S…WELL, BAD

Captain Phillips is down to number three and rather than see this critically acclaimed piece of Oscar bait I instead found myself at the critically reviled, destined for many Rasberry Awards, The Counselor. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be that great. The words “directed by Ridley Scott” made that impossible and the bad reviews actually serve to make it more attractive to me. However I did expect some sleazy fun due to Javier Bardeem’s hair and Cameron Diaz’s expensive slutwear, but the only fun here is in how bad it is. I’m not familiar with Cormack McCarthy’s novels, but from No Country for Old Men and this I can only think he’s big on uber-depressing stories with anvil-dropping foreshadowing (two characters randomly describe two different types of horrific deaths and sure enough by the end two characters have died just that way) whose moral is “Don’t have anything to with drug-dealers.” He’s also not a screenwriter by any stretch of the imagination, because what works in prose fails miserably onscreen, though I’m not sure this would work on the printed page either.  It’s only appealing to actors who saw pages of you being able to flap their jaws uninterrupted for pages sounding deep.  Dame Judi Dench couldn’t make this crap fly so imagine lines like “I don’t believe truth has a temperature” coming from Cameron Diaz of all people.  For a bunch of people pontificating about the nature of mankind and the universe a lot they aren’t that smart.  I mean if you’re that thoughtful, shouldn’t it have occurred to you that trying to take advantage of inflated cocaine prices due to a drug was an incredibly stupid thing to do!?!  Only Brad Pitt seems to make it work because he’s always enjoyed playing sleazy more than playing it straight and brings a light hearted sense to the leaden existential discussions.  Needless to say, the deal goes bad, because when you have a limited imagination they have to bad. A more interesting movie would have followed the peril that follows when you get what you want and think you can just walk away. Not even the fact that the deal doesn’t so much go bad as it is sabotaged makes it more interesting, because there’s never even a reason why other than the sabouteur is a sociopath.  And did I mention Cameron Diaz has sex with a car? Finally, Showgirls has a rival to dumbest sex scene ever.

 

IT’S CALLED CAREER TRAJECTORY AND YOU DON’T HAVE IT

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number five, followed by Carrie at number six and does anyone remember that John Travolta was in the original? I hope that little anecdote isn’t giving these cast members false hope because Travolta had already been on Broadway in Grease by that point. The guy playing his role was in Chronicle and The Host. Yeah. Not the same.

 

MAYBE A TEENAGER AS WELL TO BRING DOWN THAT AGE CURVE

Escape Plan is down to number seven and if there’s one big problem with this movie it’s that 60-something Stallone still thinks he should be playing the lead.  The way you sell this movie is that a younger actor plays the lead and Stallone and Schwarzenegger are the two old guys he meets in the prison to help him break out.  Have they learned nothing from Sean Connery’s example of always working with younger actors (Mark Harmon, Kevin Costner, Nicholas Cage, Wesley Snipes, Lawrence Fisburne, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta Jones, Michele Pfeiffer) to help carry his films? Every moviegoer between the ages of 16-30 was in Bad Grandpa this weekend because there was no one in this film for them to see. Hell, I’m over 30 and I still didn’t want to see anyone in it.

 

OSCAR POOL REQUIRED VIEWING

12 Years A Slave is finally enters the top ten at number eight as if to wash away the fact that both Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt were in The Counselor as well. “Pay no attention that thing with sex with cars! Only look at this Oscar bait!”  I know I need to see it, but like Holocaust movies, slave dramas are put off for me until it finally gets Oscar nominations and then I have no choice.  Seriously, I saw Schindler’s List and In The Name of The Father the day before the Oscars.  This year it looks like a Saturday afternoon of Captain Phillips and 12 Years A Slave in February.

 

WELL, SHE DID GET VIGGO MORTENSEN

Enough Said is down to number nine followed by Prisoners closing out the top ten at ten and while this kinda kicked off the Fall Serious Movie Season people soon realized the emperor had no clothes and ultimately this only made $59M domestically off a $46M budget, barely taking in another $60M overseas.  Again, not a failure, but no great shakes either.  Did I mention Maria Bello was also in this?  Well, she is as Hugh Jackman’s wife.  How sad is it that being Hugh Jackman’s wife was the disappointment, but playing Kevin James’ wife in Grown Ups is probably going to buy her a house?  It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood.

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR CONTINUES

Oh, it’s not over yet. New shows are still debuting. The Witches of East End is the answer to the question, “Wouldn’t Charmed be better if all four witches had been on it together?” I’m sure someone asked it. Apparently based on a book somewhere it’s a silly, silly show…and I watched three episodes in one sitting. I wish I were kidding. What’s worse is that it was just one person who got me to do it: Madchen Amick. I’ve had a mad crush on her since Twin Peaks and since she’s determined to stay beautiful until she dies it’s not going anywhere.  She’s not alone in this big 90’s nostalgia-casting as playing her sister is none other than Julia Ormand (whose accent drops so much they just should make her character English) and Virginia Madsen has a semi-reoccurring character. Even Mrs. Channing Tatum who is ostensibly the show’s actual lead looks like she was made from the DNA of Yasmeen Bleeth from Baywatch.  And because it’s on Lifetime, it’s also got your standard supporting cast of tall, good looking but bland chiseled jawed meat puppet men. Don’t think I’m not ashamed. I don’t watch Walking Dead or True Blood or Game of Thrones, but I can’t seem to miss this cerebral junk food. And there’s not even nudity (but a little cursing because it’s on Lifetime).