Tag Archives: MLK

SAD, IRONIC OR BOTH?

20 Jan

chris-hemsworth-768
1. American Sniper/Warner                              Wknd/$ 89.5   Total/$ 92.9
2. The Wedding Ringer/SGems                       Wknd/$ 20.6   Total/$ 20.6
3. Paddington/Weinstein                                  Wknd/$ 19.0   Total/$ 19.0
4. Taken 3/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 63.4
5. Selma/Paramount                                           Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 26.4
6. The Imitation Game/Weinstein                   Wknd/$ 6.8    Total/$ 50.4
7. Into the Woods/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 6.8    Total/$ 114.5
8. The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies             Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 244.6
9. Unbroken/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 4.2     Total/$ 108.5
10. Blackhat/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 3.8

WHY CAN’T IT BE BOTH?
I don’t know if it’s sad or ironic or that on MLK Day weekend the number one film is about a sniper. A holiday for a champion of non-violence and opposer of the Vietnam War who was killed by a sniper’s bullet and America goes to see the movie about the most lethal sniper in US history. Goes to prove the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity as the veracity of the sniper’s claims are being questioned, especially when claimed he and a buddy killed over two dozen Americans during the flood of New Orleans and once punched out Jesse Ventura in a bar. There’s absolutely no proof of the first and Ventura just won almost $2M in a defamation suit against the late sniper’s estate (in more irony the sniper himself was killed by another vet at a shooting range). It’s nominated for a few Oscars so I guess I’ll have to see it, but given it’s Clint Eastwood directing I’m in no great rush. You know how far too many directors are all style and no substance? No one will ever accuse Eastwood of that. “Laconic” is the term most often used to describe his “style.” I prefer “dry as fucking toast.” Just as too much of a spice can kill a dish none at all can leave it equally unappetizing. I mean if you’re going to go that way why not simply make a documentary?

GET IT? HE’S LITTLE
The Wedding Ringer opens at number two and Kevin Hart isn’t just striking the iron while it’s hot, he beating down into pennies with this onslaught on the theaters of America. But can you blame him? Being the hot comedian of the moment has a shelf life of the average fruit fly. Remember Dane Cook’s moment? Granted Kevin Hart is actually funny, something that Cook was unburdened with, but these movies look as generic as anything he put out. And you know any moment now he’s probably going to make the mistake they all make and attempt to be the lead in a romantic comedy, not realizing no one wants to see him kiss anyone. I gave this a pass, as I will all his films, because like Jack Black and others before him, he’s a sidekick, not a lead. A little goes a long way. Yes, that’s a deliberate play on words.

OR THE CLASSIC “GO, DOG! GO!”
Paddington opens at number three and I never read the books so we’re done here. When they make a movie about Richard Scary’s work I’ll be front and center.

ALSO MOMMY DRINKS BECAUSE YOU CRY
Taken 3 is down to number four and what kind of life can his daughter have after this? Her best friend and her mother were both murdered because of a trip she took to Europe. If she just went to Cabo like everyone else none of this ever happens. Then again, Liam Neeson shut down a European sex slavery ring as a result saving untold numbers of girls so I guess there’s a greater good to look at.

THE ACADEMY DIDN’T SEE SO WHY SHOULD YOU, RIGHT?
Selma is down to number five and this actually lives up to the hype. Very few films do, but this is like Lincoln in how it shows a particular moment behind an historical event and gets “warts and all” with it being honest about the fact the goal was to beaten up in front of the cameras to show the honesty of racism. Also it means bringing up MLK’s infidelities and how J. Edgar Hoover tried to destroy him with them. While some have found fault with a less-than-favorable portrayal of LBJ, it’s par the course for historical drama. To cite Lincoln again, that film completely falsified his viewpoint on Black people. He didn’t believe in slavery, but he didn’t believe in an integrated society either. He was going ship every Black person back to Africa. I question both decisions in films that are seemingly afraid of showing that great men are still just flawed human beings. But honestly how the hell do you not go see a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. on his holiday weekend!?! He’s the reason you’ve got three days and you can’t spare two hours!?! Bet you saw freaking Lincoln on President’s Day weekend, ya sorry muthafuckas.

MODERATION WAS NEVER HIS STRONG SUIT
The Imitation Game is down to number six, followed by Into The Woods at number seven and also in this is Johnny Depp. And this isn’t as surprising as you might think when you remember that he was in the underrated Sweeny Todd. Also, Depp was in a band before his big TV break. Oh, and then there’s Cry Baby from John Waters so Depp is no stranger to the musical, which makes sense given they’re over-the-top which is where he likes it.

HONESTLY, HITCHCOCK COULDN’T MAKE TYPING ON A COMPUTER SUSPENSEFUL
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is down to number eight, followed by Unbroken at number nine and finally Blackhat opens at number ten which may be too good for it. Initially I was surprised to see a Michael Mann film opening in January, which is the dumping ground for the studios because he’s a major league director, but then again he cast Chris Hemsworth as a hacker which is your first clue things are not quite right. That actually surpasses previous ridiculous hacker castings such as Hugh Jackman, Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock. And what do three out of those four have in common? They get topless (Bullock’s the prude). In fact, Hemsworth surpasses the shirtless screentime of Jackman, Jolie and both Thor movies. The film stumbles right out of the gate as Mann, undaunted by previous failures to make the inner working of a computer seem interesting gives it his shot as we watch path of electronic impulses that make their way though a system and cause the failure of a nuclear power plant in China. It’s even more boring than I make it sound. Do you know what the difference between this and Selma? There is actual levity in Selma. Even when dealing with life and death issues and the future of a nation, humans still find humor to make it through. Not so with Michael Mann. I don’t think there’s been a deliberate attempt at a laugh since Pacino messing with Hank Azaria in Heat 20 years ago. This is no exception. This painful somberness forces you to take the film completely and utterly seriously, which I suspect is Man’s, but winds up as its undoing when ridiculous things happen, starting with the FBI, which put Hemsworth in prison for hacking not knowing his college roommate is the same guy who handles China’s cyberterroism problem who comes over to work on the case with them. They know everything about him, except that piece of information, which should have been glaring. Then there’s the SWAT team that doesn’t notice the claymore clearly on the walls of the tunnels they’re chasing the bad guys through. Finally, there’s the matter of the characters who might as well have countdown clocks over their heads like that horrible Nickleback video. You know they’re going to die and die they do, which is a problem when they’re all more interesting than the main character. While I like that Mann is unlike other directors and not wasting his time bitching the loss of film and just jumping right into digital, he loves to shoot at night which is not a friend to it. Either get more lights or let it go because pixelated and grainy are not a good film style. The final nail in the coffin has to be when Mann pays homage to himself by having Hemsworth all but quote a William Petersen line from the great Manhunter. It’s not good to remind us you were once better than this.

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NEXT TIME YOU’LL BE TAKEN STRAIGHT TO STREAMING AND DVD

11 Jan

gander
1. Taken 3/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 40.4   Total/$ 40.4
2. Selma/Paramount                                     Wknd/$ 11.2    Total/$ 13.5
3. Into the Woods/Disney                            Wknd/$ 9.8     Total/$ 102.3
4. The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies        Wknd/$ 9.4     Total/$ 236.5
5. Unbroken/Universal                                 Wknd/$ 8.4     Total/$ 101.6
6. The Imitation Game/Weinstein             Wknd/$ 7.6      Total/$ 40.8
7. Night at the Museum: Secret…                Wknd/$ 6.7     Total/$ 99.5
8. Annie/Sony                                                 Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 79.4
9. The Woman in Black 2/Relativity          Wknd/$ 4.8     Total/$ 22.3
10. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1  Wknd/$ 3.8     Total/$ 329.5

I SINCERELY DOUBT IT TAKES LONGER TO BEAT UP PEOPLE IN LA
Taken 3 opens at number one while Selma moves into the top ten at number two and what’s the difference between it and the second sequel to an utterly ridiculous action film? 19 minutes. What. The. Hell!?! There’s not much good I can say about the first Taken movie other than it gave Liam Neeson a new career and it was short. 93 minutes was all it needed to tell its severely right wing fantasy (American dad is the savior while mom is wrong, daughter is wrong, foreigners are bad, the French are untrustworthy allies, the party girl dies a heroin addicted prostitute and the virginity of the good girl saves her because it makes her valuable to the dirty Arabs trying to buy her). This somehow needs nearly the same amount of time another film needs to deliver a complex, detailed accounting of one of the most turbulent times in this nation’s history. This is not to say a good, dumb action film cannot be long. Die Hard is over two hours, but given how the first one was so ridiculous I passed on the second (which was actually 92 minutes, because they didn’t need to explain the plot), I sincerely doubt this is similar. I did mean to see it but either I was more tired than I thought or my subconscious simply refused to let me awaken to go through this again. This is supposedly the last one but don’t kid yourself. They are not going let go of this cash cow. Neeson just won’t be in it. And it’ll probably show up on Netflix. Let me put it this way. They fourth Scorpion King movie has just arrived on DVD. Fourth. There were only three Mummy movies, which is where the character originated.

CLEARLY SOMEONE REALIZES STAR TREK CAN’T BE DEPENDED UPON
Down to number three is Into the Woods and once again I have to give Chris Pine his props for choosing roles that take him outside of the typical leading man fare. Though he’s playing the leading man archetype of Prince Charming it’s still a musical, which is as anti-action film as you can get. Not to mention it’s a supporting role. This is how you manage a career, people. Especially when you’re never going to be mistaken for Daniel Day Lewis.

BECAUSE THE BRITS ARE EVIL TO BEGIN WITH, THAT’S WHY
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is down to number four, followed by Unbroken at number five and The Imitation Game rising to number six and also in this are Charles Dance and Mark Strong which would be so awesome if this were a Bond film and they were facing off against Daniel Craig. If you don’t recognize the names, trust me, you know their faces. If you’ve been watching action films for the last 20 years you’ve seen them on a regular basis tormenting basically every leading action hero from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Russell Crowe. Strong is actually in that Jaguar commercial about being a villain. He’s neither Gandhi nor Loki. Yeah, that guy.

UNFORTUNATELY NOT EVERYONE CAN END IT WITH MOVIE LIKE NETWORK
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is down to number seven and it’s not just Robin Williams for whom this is a posthumous release, but Mickey Rooney as well. If you remember he was one of the night watchmen along with Dick Van Dyke. If you’re surprised he lasted that long, know that no one was more surprised than Mickey.

PEOPLE DON’T APPRECIATE A MOVIE CALLED SEX TAPE WITH NO NUDITY. JUST SAYIN’.
Annie is down to number eight and also in this is Cameron Diaz who had a bad 2014 thanks to Sex Tape and the abomination that was The Other Woman. She needed a good film like this to round it all out, even if it’s not breaking box office records. Needless to say, Bad Teacher 2 is coming, as it was her last real hit.

NOT BAD. FOR A GIRL.
Woman in Black: Angel of Death is down to number nine with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 finally closing out the top ten at number ten after being here for two months. Let’s take a look at the numbers: $125M budget, $701 worldwide with $330 of that being domestic, which is the money that really matters. Divergent comes from the same studio so you’re probably not surprised when I tell you that the final book of that series has also been divided into two films. Thanks for nothing, Harry Potter. You realize if they did Star Wars now Return of the Jedi would probably be two movies? It’s only got about 30 minutes of watchable material as it is. Hey, there are no sacred cows here!

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