Tag Archives: Morgan Freeman

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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ZACK SNYDER V COMPETENT FILMMAKING

28 Mar

Morena-Baccarin-Photoshoot-by-Robert-Ascroft-2013-morena-baccarin-35411576-748-1000

1. Batman v Superman/WB                 Wknd/$170.1   Total/$ 170.1
2. Zootopia/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 23.1    Total/$ 240.5
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2/Uni  Wknd/$ 18.1    Total/$ 18.1
4. Miracles from Heaven/TriStar       Wknd/$ 9.5      Total/$ 34.1
5. Divergent: Allegiant/LG                    Wknd/$ 9.5     Total/$ 46.6
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount      Wknd/$ 6.0    Total/$ 56.0
7. Deadpool/Paramount                         Wknd/$ 5.0    Total/$ 349.5
8. London Has Fallen/Focus                 Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 55.6
9. Hello, My Name is Doris/RA             Wknd/$ 1.7    Total/$ 3.3
10. Eye in the Sky/BST                            Wknd/$ 1.0    Total/$ 1.7

GREED V CHARACTERS: DAWN OF A FRANCHISE
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opens at number one to no one’s surprise. Also not surprising? It’s goddamned awful that way that only a CGI heavy muddle by a hack director like Snyder can be. The movie exists for one reason only: to make Superman and Batman fight, so they wrote it ass backwards trying to come up with reasons to make this happen and they do a horrible job of it. The movie is strongly inspired by the best-selling Batman comics ever: The Dark Knight Returns, which is set in a future where Batman is little more than a psychotic thug and Superman is a government stooge and at its climax Batman beats a weakened Superman who is honestly trying not to hurt him. I have to give the book credit for brilliantly tapping into the not-so-secret longstanding resentment of many for Superman. Simply put, he’s the status quo, the establishment. He’s everything that makes your angry teen-self feel powerless. Your parents, your teachers, the cops…etc. While Batman is literally powerless (unless you count money which makes him the most powerful superhero). Having the “powerless” character defeat the all-powerful character resonated so strongly, the status quo of DC Comics was forever changed and Superman & Batman were no longer best friends, but antagonistic. Frenemies at best. Also, the book sold millions, which never happens, so DC followed the money, which means for the better part of the last 30 years aside from continually making them fight, Batman has also been a near psychotic. Most of these stories are godawful, but all of those stories are better than this one, which involves Lex Luthor (played as “autistic evil” by Jesse Eiesenberg) hating Superman for no real reason and wanting him both disgraced and dead. Meanwhile, Superman has been doing good deeds since accidentally bringing the Kryptonian Civil War to Earth and causing the deaths of thousands. But apparently he has never once spoken to the people he’s protecting as he continues to be a miserable bastard tormented by the fact that some people still don’t like him. If only he knew someone in the media that he could convey what he was all about. Oh, right HE’S A FUCKING REPORTER! HE COULD DO IT ANYTIME HE WANTS TO! Meanwhile, in Gotham city—which in this film is located across the bay from Metropolis basically making it the Oakland to Metropolis’ San Francisco—Batman has apparently been around for 20 years and in that time Wayne Manor has been destroyed, a Robin has been killed and Batman now has no problem literally branding people when he’s not flat out shooting them down with the machine guns in his Batmobile and Batplane. If the reasons why Luthor hates Superman make no sense, neither does the seeming obsession of Clark Kent with Batman. Thousands are dead, half the world hates him, the government is holding hearings about him, but he’s concerned about the civil liberties being trampled in Gotham City. At least Batman’s resentment of Superman is somewhat legit. Some of thousands of people are dead were employees of Wayne Enterprises and in one of the few effective sequences we see the final moments from Man of Steel from the perspective of Bruce Wayne on the ground. And while his resent of Superman is valid, his psychotic need to cut his head off (which he literally tries to do in the battle that takes far too long to happen) does not. Very little of this film does. And it commits the worst sin imaginable: it’s dull. But again, most of Snyder’s films are, though supposedly action films. Man of Steel was dull. Sucker Punch was dull. Because he thinks he’s a real filmmaker he tries to have scenes were people do things besides fight, only they make no sense. And with the exception of Wonder Woman’s five-minute appearance (which is as badass as it is great) even the fights are dull and if that’s the case, this film has no reason to exist whatsoever. But again, it’s not really a movie is it? It’s just a launching platform for other movies and while Marvel/Disney is equally guilty of sacrificing a film to set up for others (both Thors, half of Captain America and even part of Avengers Age of Ultron) at least they are still capable of making a half-decent movie around it. DC/WB clearly are not.

IT’S CALLED STICKING WITH A BIT
Zootopia is down to number two and outside of the race & gender allegory it’s creating, there are still honest and funny jokes in the film and none so much as the now famous sloth one. That sloths run the DMV is near brilliant in its obvious simplicity, but what makes the joke work it is that they stick with it. At no point do they create some excuse that can make the sloths go faster. No, the audience has to wait alongside the characters and it is hysterical. And while he’s great as the straight man usually, Jason Bateman has a smarm to him as well that works perfectly as the voice of the fox and he clearly enjoys playing the other side of the fence for once.

MY BIG FAT GREEK DESPERATION
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 opens at number three and clearly God hates everyone to have both this and Batman v Superman opening in the same week. No matter what movie you choose, it’s going to be crap made by the incompetent. The first Big Fat Greek Wedding was like Batman v Superman: godawful, stupid and incredibly successful (I’m stunned to realize it got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay when it was only one of those things). Based on what I’ve seen in the commercials and trailers, this is going to get at least two of those down solid. Nia Vardalos has been trying for years to follow that up with a failed TV series (My Big Fat Greek Life) a reteaming with John Corbett (I Hate Valentine’s Day) and revisiting the Greek thing (My Life in Ruins). I hate to knock anyone’s hustle, but girlfriend, it’s time to move the fuck on. I’m sorry Tom Hanks and his wife got all the money the first time around, but you had your moment, you took your shot and you failed. Accept you’re someone’s sidekick and Move. On.

SHE NEEDED SOME JESUS
Miracles from Heaven is down to number four and if you’re wondering why these Christian movies are getting more mainstream Hollywood people in them you need to look at who they’re getting. They’re not getting Ben Affleck who’s winning Oscars and starring in attempted billion dollar franchises. They’re getting his soon-t0-be ex-wife who does credit card commercials and needed the comfort of the lord something fierce this past year. She said she started taking the kids to church after making this movie but let’s not kid ourselves. We know what make you look for meaning in all this and it wasn’t some dumb Christian propaganda movie. It was your husband banging the honestly less-attractive nanny. And the whole world knowing it.

SAY IT WITH ME: THE WORLD IS MADE FOR PEOPLE WHO LACK SELF-AWARENESS
The Divergent Series: Allegiant is down to number five and I’m as surprised to see this still going on as you are because I confused it with The Hunger Games like everyone else. What’s funny is that star Shailene Woodley tries to act like we’re being strange to connect her to Jennifer Lawrence. Oh, and you’re not a tall, attractive 20-something blonde who has drawn raves in small indie films while headlining a Young Adult franchise based on a dystopian future where you’re the chosen on who leads a rebellion? No, honey. The difference is Jennifer Lawrence has four Oscar nominations and one win. You have a one Golden Globe nomination…that you didn’t win.

SERIOUSLY, I HATE YOU ALL
10 Cloverfield Lane is down to number six and this has been successful so I guess we’re going to get more of this Cloverfield shit. I hate you all for making it possible.

TALENT, SCHMALENT. SHE’S SO PURTY.
Deadpool is down to number seven and also in this is Morena Baccarin who is like Ryan Reynolds in that she’s a really pretty person that everyone seems to know whose success in Hollywood should be a foregone conclusion, but like him this is actually her biggest success happening a decade after you thought it would. That she should have been Maria Hill in The Avengers movies must be a little easier to bear now.

MADRID HAS FALLEN…OH, IT’S JUST SIESTA. NEVER MIND.
London Has Fallen is down to number eight and all you need to know about this movie is that at one point it turns into a video game. Seriously. It turns into a first person shooter as you are Gerard Butler and follow his POV into the action and like a video game, no bullets or shrapnel ever seem to hit him. Thankfully, it hasn’t even made budget yet so no other capitals will fall in the future. What? Were you really looking forward to Paris Has Fallen? Rome Has Fallen? Tokyo Has Fallen? Actually they could do it, just with different characters in each location. Come to think of it, this film would have been infinitely better with no connection with Olympus Has Fallen and just been about a James Bond-like agent dealing with similar circumstances in London. Butler almost does it as his Scottish accent becomes more and more apparent as the film drags on.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE PATRIARCHY IS REAL, YO
Hello My Name Is Doris actually rises to number nine and I’m happy for Sally Field getting this at this stage of the game. But we know that if the genders were reversed and it was a 60-something dude longing for a 30-something female he’d actually get to bang her and he’d rock her world. Or am I the only person who remembers how charming so many critics found Burt Lancaster lusting after Susan Sarandon in Atlantic City? Or most of Michael Douglas’ casting decisions, period?

I MEAN IT, FUCK THAT MOVIE
Finally, Eye In The Sky rises to number ten to remind you that every day we kill innocent people every time we try to kill a terrorist with a drone strike, which reminds me again of the end of London Has Fallen where such a strike is the cause of all the trouble and also the climax you’re supposed to cheer. Seriously, fuck that movie.

PA KENT: THE MOVIE
Midnight Special isn’t in the top ten but it’s basically Superman from the point of view of The Kents. It’s about 10-year-old boy in Texas who has special powers and his father trying to protect him from the government who wants him badly. Okay, it’s not as nice as The Kents in the comics as the father here (played by Michael Shannon who was ironically Zod in Man of Steel) actually is willing to shoot a state trooper simply because he’s in their way because his on is “More important.” In that way he’s closer the horrible Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel who is willing to let a bus filled with children die, but when it comes down to it, he can’t kill someone who might (and actually does) give them away. Also, the mother and father here (mom is Kirsten Dunst) were part of some kind of religious cult run by Sam Shepard that became centered around the boy when his powers began to manifest (Shepard actually took the boy to raise for two years as his own), so they’re a little darker than The Kents. What they do share is a clear an unconditional love for their “special” son with absolutely no fear of him and will do whatever they need to do in order to protect him, even though he clearly possesses amazing powers (at one point the boy downs a military satellite). And if you don’t think it’s not intentional, know that at one point the boy is reading a Superman comic. It could be a little tighter given it’s essentially a chase film (thy aren’t just running from the authorities but the armed cultists who what the boy back as they think Judgment Day is coming) in the era of drones and satellites and amber alerts where running unnoticed is seriously difficult but a satisfying little film nonetheless.

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YOU’LL NEVER SEE WILE E. COYOTE THE SAME

14 Mar

ryan-reynolds-gq-magazine-photoshoot-by-peggy-sirota_2 1. Zootopia/Disney Wknd/$ 50.0 Total/$ 142.6
2. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount Wknd/$ 25.2 Total/$ 25.2
3. Deadpool/Paramount Wknd/$ 10.8 Total/$ 328.1
4. London Has Fallen/Focus Wknd/$ 10.7 Total/$ 38.9
5. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot/Paramount Wknd/$ 4.6 Total/$ 14.6
6. The Perfect Match/Lions Gate Wknd/$ 4.2 Total/$ 4.2
7. The Young Messiah/Focus Wknd/$ 3.2 Total/$ 3.4
8. The Brothers Grimsby/Sony Wknd/$ 3.2 Total/$ 3.2
9. Gods of Egypt/Lions Gate Wknd/$ 2.5 Total/$ 27.3
10. Risen/Sony Wknd/$ 2.3 Total/$ 2.3

WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN CARTOON ANIMALS TALK
Zootopia holds at number one and the rumors you have heard are true: Disney’s animated wing has finally caught up to Pixar. Of course it’s under the control of Pixar that it’s happened, but nonetheless it has. Aside from being technically gorgeous, Zootopia not only comes up with good characters, but works on a level aside from funny talking animals because Zootopia is all about race and gender discrimination. Seriously. It’s about a bunny (Judy Hops) wants to be a cop all her life despite everyone telling her she can’t be and that there are no bunny cops because only predators can be cops and bunnies are prey. That predators are “masculine” and “prey” are feminine is pretty obvious. Especially when Judy actually does become a cop it is a clear mandate of a “diversity program” and she’s promptly assigned to be a meter maid. But it doesn’t stop there as the actual plot of the film is how some predators are de-evolving to walk on all fours and want to hunt fellow prey citizens. We learn then that predators are actually a “minority” in Zootopia and are seen as aggressive and dangerous. Get it? This is crystalized in the form of the fox, Nick Wilde, who first outwits Judy but is later outwitted and blackmailed by her into helping with the case. Like Judy, he wanted to break outside of society’s conventions about what a “minority” could be and like her was violently rebuffed as a child. Do I even have to point out that foxes are seen as deceitful and untrustworthy? This leads to a scene I thought I’d never see in an animated Disney movie where Nick confronts Judy about what she erroneously said about predators and she blurts out, “But you’re not like the others.” As someone who has actually had this said to his face (thank you, Georgia upbringing) it was beyond stunning. I’m actually surprised the same idiots who slowly realized the Ice Queen in Frozen was a lesbian haven’t attacked the lessons of this movie. And while I wish I could praise it for being yet another animated film that wasn’t a fucking musical, we do have a song by animal superstar, Gazelle (voiced by Shakira). But luckily it’s at the very end. And yes, the sloth joke still works.

JUST…NO
10 Cloverfield Lane opens at number two and since I hated the first Cloverfield, this was never going to get a moment of my time.

THIS IS WHY YOU’LL SEE WONDER WOMAN’S BOOBS ONE DAY
Deadpool is down to number three and finally Ryan Reynolds is successful just being Ryan Reynolds as he’s done in almost every role in his career from Van Wilder to this. In fact, this is just superpowered Van Wilder. Deadpool is a character that gained success after I’d walked away from X-Men books, but in my meager knowledge of the character I know exactly why he’s such a fan favorite: he’s a 14-year-old boy’s dream. He’s vulgar, indestructible, with a dark origin and hangs out with Wolverine. Also he breaks the fourth wall in the comics as he does in the movie (there’s even a joke about how Reynolds’ career has lasted only because of his good looks) and while the chorus chants how this is exactly the kind of shake up superhero needs, I have to point out its just being loyal to the source material. That’s why it succeeded. Yes, being an R-rated comedy helped distinguish it from the pack, but that’s what the books were (or so I’m told). All the most successful superhero movies are loyal to their source material in spirit. The failures are from assholes who are ashamed of comics and think those ties need to be abandoned for something more “realistic.” How’s that realism treating The Fantastic Four? Exactly. Of course Hollywood took only the worst lesson from this and now the next Wolverine movie will be R-rated. And while it does make sense that a guy whose primary power is slicing people up will get an R-rating, that’s not why they’re doing it. And there’s simply no reason ever for Superman to be in a movie with an R-rating but apparently that’s going to be a thing that happens too when Superman v. Batman is released on DVD. Please note that Marvel, the studio that gets it so right it sold you Ant Man, has flat out declared it won’t be making R-rated superhero movies.

INTELLIGENCE HAS FALLEN AND CAN’T GET UP
London Has Fallen is down to number four and how this got made is astonishing to be as the first one sucked and didn’t do that well. Granted it did better than White House Down, but at least there was fun to be had in White House Down. Olympus Has Fallen took itself seriously if you can believe that shit. But numbers don’t lie and relative to its cost, it was the better performer and clearly had a life on home video that garnered a sequel. Granted, this is more fun than the previous version and unlike that one is a serviceable action movie and by that I mean I wouldn’t turn the channel if it were on cable and I do that to Olympus Has Fallen (there’s not one second of that film I want to see again). But as dumb as OHF was, this is even dumber. The British Prime Minister has died so all the actual heads of government gather in London for the funeral where terrorists attack, killing the heads of Japan, Italy and France. Apparently none of the other heads of state who clearly would have been in attendance—especially the European Union—mattered enough to kill. Speaking of the European Union, serious shade is thrown at Italy and France in this. First off, the head of Italy is a middle-aged man showing his new wife around Westminster Abbey as a present for her 29th birthday. No, I’m not kidding. So you know what this movie thinks of Italians. Second, the French PM dies because he makes a conscious decision to arrive late. I’m not kidding. If he leaves on time, he lives, period. Better still we see later that the US is scrambling to get its nearest forces in from Italy because the terrorists shut London down by disguising themselves as police so there’s no way any force in London will be able to distinguish good guys from bad and will be slaughtered. No, this doesn’t stand up under any logical examination (like simply officially ordering all police off the street so anyone who remains is clearly a terrorist), but go with it. France is the closest of all, but not once do we hear of them making a move to avenge their fallen leader. Guess they were too busy smoking cigarettes and hating America. And you say you want some racism and xenophobia with your stupid action? Well, you got it as the terrorists are Arab Muslims, the head of which is avenging the death of his daughter whose wedding was hit by a drone strike ordered by the G8. Oh, did you think that includes Russia? Well, not in this movie as there is no Russian PM to be seen. The plot point about civilian loss is important because at the end when they get the bad guy—hardly a spoiler now—and after Gerard Butler gives a little speech about how “they” will never beat “us” as he beats on one of the terrorists, WE ARE SHOWN CIVILIANS BEING KILLED IN A DRONE STRIKE. I’m not kidding. God bless this stupid fucking movie and God Bless America!

I’M HERE FOR YOU, BABY…ONCE I WAKE UP
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is down to number five and I will see this. I loves me some Tina Fey and will do my best to support her. Unfortunately Daylight Savings Time and some mild food poisoning screwed up my weekend and daddy needed sleep.

THERE MUST BE BETTER LOOKING BRUTHAS OUT THERE
The Perfect Match opens at number six, followed by Young Messiah at number seven and this makes sense because both are aimed at niche audience. The former is Black people and the latter is Jesus freaks. And that’s not a bad thing. Every film can’t be all things to all people and they shouldn’t always have to try. Work for your audience and fuck everyone else. The Perfect Match is yet another variation on the lothario who meets his match theme and Young Messiah is Adventures of Young Jesus. While I do maintain a soft spot in my heart for romantic comedies the formula has grown tiresome for me as I’ve gotten older. It needs to be changed up a little. And while I don’t know who the fuck Terrence Jenkins is I do know that he’s not good looking enough to pulling women like Cassie (yes, I know she was dating P. Diddy, but he’s rich and gave her a music career she didn’t deserve). I need my romantic leading men to be good looking, especially if they’re playing ladykillers. And Judeo-Christian mythology has never held my interest so Young Messiah was never happening. Yeah, I said it!

SERIOUSLY, THAT SHIT HURTS
The Brothers Grimsby open at number eight and Mark Strong inches just a tad closer to actually being the good guy lead in an action movie. That’s all I can say about this as I find Sacha Baron Cohen as funny as an ingrown hair on my nutsack.

UP NEXT: GODS OF JAPAN STARRING JENNIFER LAWRENCE AND BRADLEY COOPER
Gods of Egypt is down to number nine and when was this ever a good idea!?! Did someone stupidly see Thor and think you could plug in any mythological gods and make a dollar? Or were they just a decade late for the whole Mummy franchise? And then the casting… It’s the Gods of Egypt, not Switzerland. Who the fuck makes a movie about Egyptian gods and casts White people? Yes, Idris Elba was Heimdall in Thor. But he was one, not the star and the majority and most powerful gods were all White. Here only one of the Egyptian gods is Black and none are Arabic and is not the star (and if you need more proof this was probably based on Thor, know that they also have a single Asian in the mix). And the logic is as racist as the casting. You won’t invest $140M in a minority led cast, but you would in Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau? Are you fucking kidding me!?! They wouldn’t cough up that money for him for the goddamn Olympus is Fallen sequel. And if you didn’t that was sad enough, director Alex Proyas (who has made 1 ½ good movies between The Crow and Dark City) blamed the critics for the hate this film received. Not that it had a bunch of brown people worshiping white people or anything. It was the critics.

YOU KNOW, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE STILL HOLDS UP
Finally, it’s a good time to be a Jesus-loving movie goer because you have not just Young Messiah, but Rising, which tells the tale of the resurrection of Jesus from the point of view of Roman Soldier sent out to investigate. Of course he’s changed by the experience. If they had any real balls they’d show him catching up to Jesus now living in France with Mary Magdeline under a different name with their kids. I see the name of Joseph Fiennes in this and I wonder how much he misses the 90’s when he had that white-hot moment of fame. And his hairline.

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LET’S PICK ON JAKE GYLLENHAAL DAY!

27 Jul

jake 1. Ant-Man/Disney                     Wknd/$ 24.8   Total/$ 106.1
2. Pixels/Sony                              Wknd/$ 24.0   Total/$ 24.0
3. Minions/Universal                  Wknd/$ 22.1   Total/$ 261.6
4. Trainwreck/Universal            Wknd/$ 17.3    Total/$ 61.5
5. Southpaw/Weinstein              Wknd/$ 16.5    Total/$ 16.5
6. Paper Towns/Fox                    Wknd/$ 12.5    Total/$ 12.5
7. Inside Out/Disney                   Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 320.3
8. Jurassic World/Universal      Wknd/$ 6.9     Total/$ 623.8
9. Mr. Holmes/RAtt                     Wknd/$ 2.4     Total/$ 85.7
10. Terminator: Genisys/Par      Wknd/$ 5.4     Total/$ 80.6

SEAN CONNERY IS ALWAYS RIGHT
Ant-Man holds at number one and also in this, obviously, is none other than Hollywood Royalty and multiple Oscar winner, Michael Douglas, who finally realized his leading man days were over and wisely hopped onto the Marvel money train. I know it seems obvious and easy, but judging by the Jason Stathams of the world who laugh at it and the Wesley Snipes who are trying to get into it despite having inadvertently launched it with Blade (they are 48 and 52, respectively) it’s not. In fact, Douglas was still trying to play the dude who could get women 18 to 80 up until ’09, in Solitary Man, where he played a guy who bangs his younger girlfriend’s daughter while escorting her to her freshman year of college. But even then he’d at least begun sowing the seeds of this because in the same year he played almost a parody of that role in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, as the player uncle who taught Matthew McConughey’s character all he knew. This what I call “The Sean Connery Rule” wherein once you reach a certain age you have to bring in a hotter, younger actor to carry the weight. And even Connery didn’t always get it right. Lawrence Fishburne in Just Cause and Christian Slater in In the Name of the Rose didn’t do much for him. Neither did Mark Harmon in The Presidio. But those were wiped clean by Nicholas Cage in The Rock, Kevin Costner in The Untouchables, Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October, Wesley Snipes in Rising Sun and even Lorraine Bracco in Medicine Man. So the commercial success of Ant-Man and the critical success of Behind the Candelabra more than wipes the slate clean of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Shia Lebouf. Not to mention the character he plays is part of the foundation of the Marvel Universe. In the comics he’s one of the founding members of The Avengers, playing the role of not just Ant-Man but reversing the effect and becoming, Giant Man/Goliath and also Yellowjacket (who here is the villain). He’s also the actual creator of Ultron. Yes, the antagonist of the recent Avengers sequel. There’s an opening scene here that makes him part of the SHIELD braintrust alongside Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, so he’s also tied to both Iron Man and Captain America now. Pretty sure Douglas isn’t going to hesitate signing any multi-picture deals.

THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES AND SHITS HIMSELF
Pixels opens at number two to some of the most scathing reviews you’ll ever see and given this is Adam Sandler, that’s saying something. Like how much Skyfall sucks and like Bill Cosby being a piece of shit, this is something that I felt was obvious long ago but only now are others seemingly waking up to it. Adam Sandler has been a lazy-ass comedian from day one and the more money he makes the lazier he gets. Low-hanging fruit from day one, never trying harder. Only now when it has reached a toxic level do people finally seem to recognize this. This is based on a short film where video games come to life and attack NYC, pixelating everything they touch eventually taking the entire planet. The creator of that got a cool million, which is why the only thing he can say is “They could have done it better,” and even that may cost him. Honestly, this was done to perfection in an 8 minute sequence on Futurama years ago. That’s all anyone ever need see. Certainly not Adam Sandler’s, old, unfunny, rich, bored ass.

LET ME KNOW WHEN THEY MAKE A MOVIE ABOUT OLD SINGLE GEEKS
Minions is down to number three, followed by Trainwreck at number four and I don’t care how many of my friends love it I’m not seeing this. Yes, it does say something that they are single women in NYC, but that two-hour running time remains bullshit.

OR IS IT ROCKY 6 THIS IS REMAKING?
SouthPaw opens at number four and I loves me some Rachel McAdams, but I’m not going to watch a movie where she dies in the first 15 minutes so I can watch Jake Gyllenhaal struggle with it. It looks like cliché central in this thing and honestly, if I want to watch a white fantasy about boxing, I’ll watch Rocky. I mean, there’s a wizened, older black man there to guide him. What’s sad about this is that if Rachel McAdams had lived I’d probably have seen this remake of Rocky III to watch her do her Talia Shire impression. Jake Gyllenhaal is about to run out of both youth and chances soon. He simply has the worst taste in big mainstream films. Prince of Persia, Love & Other Drugs, Prisoners…all mainstream studio films and all crap. His indie work, however, End of Watch and Nightcrawler seems to be stellar (I burned out on indie long ago so I can only relay what I’ve heard), so it seems like he’s taking the big paychecks to pay for those. Well, those movies have to succeed, chief, and this seems like yet another disappointment headed your way. Time to get on that Marvel gravy train if you want to continue with your small work. But if you’re gonna do it, do it. Don’t pretend you want a big A-list movie with integrity then do Prisoners or Love & Other Drugs. Be honest and just do Transformers 5. No one will blame you.

NOT THAT I’M BITTER AND FILLED WITH SELF-LOATHING OR ANYTHING
Paper Towns opens at number six and it’s finally happened: I’m just too old for another brainy-geek-teen-in-love-with-exceptionally-pretty-girl story. Yes, this one is a tad different because the basic story is that she’s not some happy cheerleader, but a tad troubled and when she vanishes he goes looking for her. But still, he’s only looking for her because she’s pretty. That she’s portrayed by model-of-the-moment Carla Delevingne does not help. The only thing that could put me off more would be one of the Jenner sisters. Shame too, because you know they thought getting her would bring people in.

MAYBE IT’S A PLOT BY SPIELBERG TO MAKE SURE HIS IS ALWAYS THE BEST ONE
Inside Out is down to number seven followed by Jurassic World at number eight and this has made over a billion worldwide. Over $600M in the US and $900M overseas. This is great for Chris Pratt and Spielberg and Universal, but sad for anyone who wants good movies because this was an entertaining piece of crap. The kind of crap Jake Gyllenhaal needs to be a part of. Every legitimate piece of criticism now falls on deaf ears so you can expect the next one, already scheduled for 2018, to suck equally.

THIS IS HOW WE DO IT
Mr. Holmes actually rises to number nine and this is how you do it, Jake. Not one, but two big franchises (Lord of the Rings and X-Men) which allows Ian McKellan to get funding for movies like these, which turn around and are unexpectedly more successful than anticipated. Probably a few award noms for McKellan coming down the pike as well. And apparently this is a universe where Sherlock Holmes is world famous and appears in movies. Yes, they include the Basil Rathbone series in the film. That alone makes it a guarantee that I will see it…eventually.

CONAN MAY BE YOUR LAST CHANCE
Finally, Terminator Genisys closes out the top ten at number ten and Arnold’s comeback has proven to be anything but. And this was the go-t0-no-way-it-could-fail-endorsed-by-James-Cameron-vehicle. Why did the equally bad Jurassic World succeed while this failed? Well, for one it has a simpler concept: monsters on the loose. Terminator movies have a simple one as well but they forgot it. It’s supposed to be unstoppable killing machine after someone, but they tried to get cute by merging John Connor with the machine and he’s honestly not trying to kill them. There’s another Terminator in the movie that is initially chasing them, but honestly I can’t tell you what happens to him. There’s even a third one and I can’t tell you what happens to her either (she’s played by Sandrine Holt…and not that I think about it, both the forgotten Terminators are Asian). It’s that bad. And Arnold once touched on the appeal of The Terminator himself: the machine does whatever it wants anywhere it wants. That never occurs here. He’s trying to blend in, so if you’re looking for him to kick the shit out of people much less a bunch of cops like he did in the three successful films look elsewhere. So clearly there’s an anti-establishment aspect to the character that they’ve overlooked…in addition to logic and proper casting.

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SO WONDERFULLY ADEQUATE!

20 Jul

Flash-Gordon-flash-gordon-poster 1. Ant-Man/Disney                    Wknd/$ 58.0    Total/$ 58.0
2. Minions/Universal                Wknd/$ 50.2    Total/$ 216.7
3. Trainwreck/Universal           Wknd/$ 30.2    Total/$ 30.2
5. Jurassic World/Universal    Wknd/$ 11.4     Total/$ 611.2
4. Inside Out/Disney                  Wknd/$ 11.7    Total/$ 306.4
6. Terminator: Genisys/Par      Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 80.6
8. The Gallows/WB                     Wknd/$ 4.0     Total/$ 18.0
7. Magic Mike XXL/WB             Wknd/$ 4.5      Total/$ 58.6
9. Ted 2/Universal                      Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 77.5
10. Mr. Holmes/RAtt                  Wknd/$ 2.5     Total/$ 2.5

DECENT THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES
Ant-Man opens at number one and Marvel clearly has formula to make a superhero hit movie. The problem is the formula is getting a little stale and it’s not simply because it’s a matter of having seen it all before so much as their need now to control everything. The original writer/director of this was Edgar Wright and he started even before Iron Man was made, but in taking so long, an industry crept up around him and he was asked to conform to it and could not or would not. Can’t say as I fault him much. Having to use chunks of my movies to promote other movies would have annoyed me too. Both of the Thor movies sit at the bottom of my list of the Marvel work, because basically they seem to exist only to set up a later Marvel movie and are not films unto themselves (Iron Man 2 is the very bottom because it does that and it sucks). Captain America and Avengers Age of Ultron also suffer from this. But what’s oddly ironic is that, while clearly part of the Marvel movie universe, Ant-Man isn’t sacrificed for it, so Wright may have walked for no reason in the end beyond less creative control, which is still an issue because this needed a little more creativity. Don’t get me wrong: it’s still a fun movie. Entertaining from start to finish. It’s just lacking that extra element to make it above merely competent. In a weird way, it’s almost a superhero remake of The Mark of Zorro with Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderas with its wise mentor, estranged fiery daughter, and ex-con hero seeking redemption. Michael Douglas as we learn throughout the course of the film was the original Ant-Man, out being a superhero for SHIELD back in the day (where we see Iron Man’s dad and Captain America’s girlfriend, Peggy Carter) when personal tragedy forced him to quit and take his super-shrinking technology with him. Now his former assistant has figured it out on his own and wants to sell tiny superpowered soldiers to the world and is willing to kill anyone who stands in his way. To stop him, Douglas tricks the fresh-out-of-prison cat burglar Paul Rudd into stealing the Ant-Man suit to test him, much to the annoyance of Douglas’ estranged daughter, Evangeline Lilly, who is pretending to be loyal to the former assistant, but wants to put it on herself and do the job. Aside from the by-the-numbers filmmaking a big problem her is the villain. Your hero can only be as good as he is and Corey Stoll lacks the weight of a Jeff Bridges (Iron Man) or a Hugo Weaving (Captain America) or even the voice of James Spader (Avengers: Age of Ultron). There’s supposed to be a type of father-son dynamic between Stoll and Douglas, but we only know because they tell us. They don’t give it any real depth. Similarly the estrangement between Douglas and his daughter is saucer deep and the revelation of the reasons behind it handled about as well as an episode of Gray’s Anatomy. There’s no reason he’s only telling her now with Paul Rudd around how her mother died a superhero in her own right and not previously in the 25 years beforehand. Especially when it relates to why they have to stop the bad guy. He could still refuse to let her wear the suit, which would more than justify the animosity. They were simply lazy about it. And that’s basically what this film is: fun but lazy in its execution. Rudd is the most charismatic lead they’ve had since Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man and if they’d risen to meet him they would have had the best Marvel film since Iron Man, which I still regard as the best.

NOW YOU’RE LUCKY JUST TO HAVE HIM
Minions is down to number two and lending her voice to this is Sandra Bullock and like most A-listers who do animated films this is just for the fun of it. She doesn’t need it and can show it to her kid. As a matter of fact, most of the “name” voices are clearly just here for the fun of it, not needing any kind of cheap career boost. Okay, maybe when they were making it two years ago Michael Keaton might have needed it, but now he’s another legitimate star alongside Allison Janney, Steve Carell and Jon Hamm.

SOMEWHERE WHITNEY CUMMINGS IS WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED?
Trainwreck opens at number three and if you’ve doubted this is the “Summer of Women” at the movies, this should shut that door soundly. Not only does it put Amy Schumer firmly in the top echelon of comedy stars (she also wrote it), but it exceeded expectations. And don’t think there weren’t many hoping she’d fail as she has reached a saturation point. I can take or leave Amy Schumer. I think her stand up is good, marred only by her ventures into race (her bullshit non-apology “I’m a comedian so it’s okay” doesn’t help) and the show borders on brilliance at times, so I might have seen this…until I saw the 2-hour running time. What. The. Fuck? This is not a 2-hour concept. Party girl meets boy, party girl loses boy and party girl gets boy back is a 90-minute concept at best and a cast filled with pretty much everyone with a day off still doesn’t give me faith that they fill it the way they managed to do with 40-Year-Old Virgin. Unfortunately Judd Apatow is the director and he’s got a problem cutting himself. All his movies are too long but he’s now too powerful for anyone to make him do it. I suspect some needless maudlin melodrama that has no place in a movie about a guy with a giant dick.

NO CRAP MOVIE BUT WHAT YOU MAKE
Inside Out is down to number four, followed by Jurassic World at number five and Terminator Genisys at number six and rounding out the bad performances in this is Jason Clarke giving the worst John Connor portrayal ever. Granted the crappy script gave him nothing to work with, but if you’d been burdened from birth with the knowledge you’d save all humanity, you might at least show a little wear and tear on your soul. As the trailers give away, John Connor is possessed by Skynet, making him into a “terminator” in his own right. Yeah, it’s as dumb as it sounds and you just know they thought they were being clever, but if Skynet could do this, why wasn’t it doing it all along to all the humans? Why build detectable machines, when you can possess undetectable humans? Also the script ignores that John Connor doesn’t want to kill his parents, but wants them to join him, which means he’s in there somewhere and isn’t just a machine. A better movie would have explored the idea that Skynet may have him, but he also has Skynet. But this is not a better movie.

THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR SELF HATRED
Magic Mike XXL is down to number seven and adding the aforementioned minority quotient to the movie are Jada Pinkett, Donald Glover, Michael Strahan and Stephen “Twitch” Boss who, like Channing Tatum has a “Step Up” movie or two under his belt. Jada Pinkett plays the ex-girlfriend and ex-boss of Channing Tatum who runs her own strip club, though it’s more of a house women come to. Boss, Strahan and Donald Glover all work there. Granted Strahan has the body, but seriously? We couldn’t find anyone better looking? I know for a fact Shemar Moore ain’t that busy and Will Smith could a have used a hit, so maybe Jada should have brought him along. And I’m sorry but, Donald Glover? He looks like Stripper Smurf next to all the others and no woman is paying for that. You pay for the fantasy you can’t have, not the geek you can have anytime he comes up from IT to fix your computer. No, I’m not projecting my own self-loathing! Why do you ask!?!

THE DEFINITION OF TRIVIA(L)
The Gallows is down to number eight and also in this is the daughter of Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford….Yeah, I still don’t care.

FLASH! NO-OOOOOO!
Ted 2 is down to number nine and once again Sam Jones returns because of Seth McFarland’s love of the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. Okay, now we have to put an end once and for all that this was a good movie that was simply misunderstood for being campy when Star Wars and Star Trek were being serious. It’s. Just. Bad. Even as a camp film it fails. Just because you’re campy doesn’t mean you still don’t have a responsibility to tell the story as if it were straight. It was directed by Lorenzo Semple Jr who to no surprise directed the 1966 Batman TV show. Like many directors, the limitations of television worked for him in a way the freedom of film did not. Not to mention he had Dino DeLaurentis to deal with and it’s typical of Europeans to insist that fantastic concepts cannot be taken seriously (the producers of Superman tried to make that campy all the way down to having Superman grab Telly Savalas because he mistakes him for Lex Luthor). So that’s two strikes with the third being a flat out untalented lead actor in Sam Jones. The best things about it were Max Van Sydow as Ming, Ornella Muti as Princess Aura and of course that amazing Queen soundtrack. Otherwise it’s crap and we need to stop seeing it through the easily impressed eyes of an 8-year-old who knows no better. There’s a six minute edited version of the movie on YouTube whose brevity not improves the movie immeasurably, it also shows how much it sucks by how much can be cut without being missed.

ELEMENTARY MY DEAR…UH, WHAT WAS YOUR NAME AGAIN?
Mr. Holmes closes out the top ten and yes, this is about Sherlock Holmes in the twilight of his years, Watson long dead, trying to solve a case as his mental facilities deteriorate. Ian McKellan plays Holmes and while I’d love to see it, honestly I’m two seasons behind on both Sherlock Holmes series (Elementary and Sherlock) that I was watching, so this will have to get in line.

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FOOL ME THRICE AND I’LL COME TO YOUR HOUSE

13 Jul

emilia-clarke-gq-apr-pr-photo-shoot-843592646 1. Minions/Universal                    Wknd/$ 115.2   Total/$ 115.2
2. Jurassic World/Universal       Wknd/$ 18.1     Total/$ 590.6
3. Inside Out/Disney                     Wknd/$ 17.1     Total/$ 283.6
4. Terminator: Genisys/Par        Wknd/$ 13.7     Total/$ 68.7
5. The Gallows/WB                       Wknd/$ 10.0    Total/$ 10.0
6. Magic Mike XXL/WB               Wknd/$ 9.6      Total/$ 48.4
7. Ted 2/Universal                         Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 71.6
8. Self/Less/Focus                         Wknd/$ 5.3      Total/$ 5.4
9. Baahuball: The Beginning       Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 3.6
10. Max/WB                                    Wknd/$ 3.4      Total/$ 33.7

FOR I AM A CABLE WHORE
The Minons take the number one spot, which should come as no surprise to anyone as they were the only things about the Despicable Me movies worth watching. Ironically, I opted not to see this because I’d been tricked into seeing those mediocre films because of The Minions and am still a little pissed. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Well, then this should be perfect for you, right? You know, like The Penguins of Madagascar, which you did see?” WRONG! Too little, too late! And The Penguins always had a dark, funny edge that The Minions never did. Not to mention Madagascar 3 is great, so my experience with Madagascar was 50% (I have not, nor will I ever see the number two). My experience with The Minions, however, has been 100% movies I regret wasting my time on. It wasn’t going to happen again…at least until it’s on cable in a year. I’ll watch damn near anything on cable…except Madagascar 2.

THE DINOSAURS REPRESENT THE PENIS…
Jurassic World is down to number two and in an otherwise enjoyable, bad movie there’s a particularly brutal an innocuous female character which means the actress either turned down the producer or the director for a date or one of them was dumped just before the film was made. Seriously, you can’t pretend people don’t die for reasons in a monster movie. It’s usually always for a point. Either a pretense at randomness to prove that no one is safe, even the innocent—which is bullshit because there always are safe and the “innocent” who dies was only there for that reason—or heroic sacrifice or most often as punishment. In Jurassic Park the lawyer, Newman and even the big game hunter are punished for cowardice, avarice and arrogance, respectively (Samuel J. Jackson’s character doesn’t count because his death was offscreen). Similarly in The Lost World the poor driver dies horribly in the while saving them in a very faux “random” way to make you think no one is safe when you know there’s no fucking way in the world Jeff Goldblum or his daughter are going to die. After that it’s straight up punishment left and right for avarice and arrogance. Here, the CEO dies for his arrogance and the bad guy for his avarice, while you know the children won’t be touched and Chris Pratt and Byrce Dallas Howard have to survive to kiss at the end. You could say the her assistant died to show that no one was safe, but unlike the driver in Lost World, she wasn’t onscreen enough to become attached to even though it’s hinted she’s the only friend Bryce Dallas Howard had (not that she shows the slightest concern for her missing assistant). Nor is she doing a good deed for a touch of ironic cruelty. The longest, ugliest death in the Jurassic Park franchise for no real reason…unless you go back to last week’s theory that this movie is self-satirical and the scene was mocking the whole “no one is safe” conceit. Nah, some dickweed just didn’t get any and vented it onscreen.

LIKE A MAN!
Inside Out is down to number three and I’m just counting the days until I can buy this fucker and cry freely in my own home.

IT ALSO MAKES HER RELATIONSHIP WITH KYLE REESE LOOK CREEPY
Terminator: Genisys is down to four and while Jurassic World is fun bad, this is just bad-bad. Even Terminator: Salvation had one action sequence worth watching. This doesn’t even have that. I don’t watch Game of Thrones, so Emilia Clarke is more or less new to me and to my eye I’m watching the teen adventures of Sara Connor. I know she’s an adult, but she looks 15 and I can’t believe no one thought this might not be a problem. Not to mention after being attacked by a Terminator and being informed there was a holocaust coming, Sarah Connor turned herself into a lean, mean fighting machine by the time Terminator 2 rolled around. Here, Sarah’s known since she was a child what was coming and doesn’t look like she could manage push up. There’s not even a cheap thrill watching a beautiful woman with a big gun because you’re just wondering how she could even pick it up.

DAD COULDN’T TEACH HIM CHEMISTRY, BUT AT LEAST HE’S ALIVE
The Gallows opens at number five and given how often found footage horror films basically turn a profit in the their opening weekend it’s no surprise they keep trying, but hopefully this will fail miserably by their blatant attempt to start a franchise. Jason, Freddy and Michael were not planned horror franchises. You can’t “make” that happen, but greed isn’t listening so here you have them trying to create a franchise around “Charlie” a ghost who hangs people at the high school. Yeah, see things that are really scary can’t be avoided simply by home schooling.

IF I WERE A STRIPPER MY STAGE NAME WOULD BE WILLIAM E. GOAT
Magic Mike XXL is surprisingly down to number six which makes me think it’s suffering from whatever made Mad Max: Thunder Road underperform. And by that I mean out-of-shape dudes with small dicks. I mean granted, it only cost $15M to make and has already tripled that, but first made almost that much its opening weekend and made over $100M domestically which is the money that matters. What really makes this surprising is that they’ve clearly gone out of their way to open up the audience. And by that I mean, black people. Seriously, the movie basically stops to show you that there are also bruthas stripping for sistas. In an odd way it’s brutally honestly about the segregation that exists in certain areas, specifically sexuality. A bunch blonde sorority girls probably don’t want to see Julian St. Jox swinging his dick onstage (are you old enough to get that Eddie Murphy joke) or the management assumes they don’t. Either way everyone knows there are black strip clubs and white strip clubs and while there may be a sista or two in a white club, the male equivalent rarely happens. At best, like the first movie showed, you’ll get a Latin lover. I’m not even sure where Asian women go, but if there’s a third (an international competition, Magic Mike: World Cup and I’ve copywritten that idea) maybe we’ll get guy whose stage name is…Long Dong. You know you want it!

NEW AGENT…OR MANAGER…OR BOTH
Speaking of underperforming sequels, Ted 2 is down to number seven and all these superhero franchises running around and this is where Morgan Freeman is picking up easy paychecks!?! Bear in mind (no pun intended) he turned down the brilliant joke in This Is The End where when all the characters die and go to heaven, he’s God and has been all along. Wouldn’t do that, but did this. And of the two big budget science fiction movies Tom Cruise made in two years (Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow), he was in the bad one (Oblivion).

EVEN THAT TV SHOW WITH THE PIZZA PLACE WAS AWFUL
Self/Less opens at number eight and when are people going to realize that Ryan Reynolds cannot carry a movie? It’s funny to think he and Bradley Cooper were not only up for the same roles at one point but were going to make a movie together. Now he’s the anti-Bradley Cooper. No Oscar nomination and no hits. What’s funny—and by that I mean sad—is that he’s talking about how he’s not going to do another superhero movie after Deadpool. Like a) he’s done a single good one and b) that’s gonna be some kind of massive hit that he’s even going to have a choice. Bear in mind this was done at the same time Hugh Jackman was announcing he’s done playing Wolverine after the next film. You know, another success story with Oscar nominations. Time to face it dude: you peaked cinematically at Van Wilder.

DESI MYSTERY
Baahubali: The Beginning opens at number nine with an almost 3-hour running time. What is it about? Who knows? It’s so under the radar IMDB only has nine films on it’s Top Ten Weekend Box Office as a result. Judging by the name one can take an educated guess that another one of those Indian films that pops up from time to time. I care only a little more than IMDB, but not enough to even look it up.

BECAUSE I CAN RELATE EVERYTHING TO A COMIC BOOK
Finally, Max closes out the top ten at number ten and this is from writer/director Boaz Yakin whose resume as a writer includes movies like Prince of Persia, Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, The Punisher and the surprise hit Now You See Me (the one about the magicians who steal money). As a director it’s stuff like Remember The Titans, Uptown Girls and Safe with Jason Statham (which I actually think was one of Statham’s better films). As you can see it’s basically a mid-level director. It’s a far cry from 20 years ago when indie was hot and he debuted with Fresh. But it makes me happy that he never got to do the Batman Beyond movie, which would have been based on the animated series. It’s set in a future where Bruce Wayne is too old, so recruits a kid to take over for him. Where’s Dick Grayson? Well, he left to find his own way and give Bruce boned Barbara Gordon after that you can be sure he wasn’t coming back. Barbara later went on to become a cop and is now commissioner and doesn’t like a new Batman, because apparently she doesn’t understand irony. Yeah, it’s best this guy not be trying to translate that to the big screen.

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CHICKS DIG BAD BOYS…WHEN THEY’RE ALREADY HOT

14 Sep

idris elba shirtless 2

1. No Good Deed/SGems                                  Wknd/$ 24.5     Total/$ 24.5
2. Dolphin Tale 2/WB                                       Wknd/$ 16.6     Total/$ 16.6
3. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney                Wknd/$ 8.0       Total/$ 305.9
4. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles/Par           Wknd/$ 4.8       Total/$ 181.0
5. Let’s Be Cops/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 4.3        Total/$ 73.0
6. The Drop/FoxSearchlight                           Wknd/$ 4.2        Total/$ 4.2
7. If I Stay/WB                                                    Wknd/$ 4.1        Total/$ 44.9
8. The November Man/Relativity                  Wknd/$ 2.8        Total/$ 22.5
9. The Giver/Weinstein                                    Wknd/$ 2.6        Total/$ 41.3
10. The Hundred-Foot Journey/Disney       Wknd/$ 2.5        Total/$ 49.4

YOUR MOM LIKES HIM TOO
No Good Deed opens at number one starring your wife’s/girlfriend’s fantasy boyfriend, Idris Elba. Oh, he is. Don’t kid yourself. I don’t care what she’s telling you, he is. And apparently when he’s good, he’s good; but when he’s bad he’s better as this almost doubles its budget the opening weekend. And don’t be surprised to find it in her Netflix cue or on her DVD shelf in about 6-12 months. For Elba, whose fame has been bubbling under A-list for a few years now, this is a wise move, being willing to be play the bad guy, albeit not in a stereotypical manner. Range and courage will take you far. Of course being hot helps. A less attractive actor might not have had the same level of success. Your girlfriend/wife is shallow.

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO SAD
Dolphin Tale 2 opens at number two because apparently somebody somewhere saw the first Dolphin Tale. Only now am I realizing both these films feature the re-teaming of Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, who were both white hot after Kiss The Girls to the point where they a) both were given suspense thriller movies (she got Double Jeopardy and he got Along Came A Spider, another Alex Cross adaptation) and b) reteamed to hopefully repeat the success (High Crimes, which didn’t). It’s sad they’re doing this type of family film treacle because they actually had wonderful chemistry. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s only here as a favor to her, because he’s got plenty of hits in a starring role, while she’s now playing the mom to the star. Hell, she’s the mom to the protagonist here too. I still love you, Ashley Judd! Even if rumors have it that male actors have turned down parts once they’ve learned you were cast…

I AM PAID
Guardians of the Galaxy is down to number three and also in this is Vin Diesel as the voice of the biggest breakout character of the movie, the sentient tree, Groot. Everyone loves Groot. The only thing they love more than Groot is Dancing Baby Groot. It’s the easiest and hardest job. After all it’s only three words “I Am Groot” but the intonation has to be different each and every time. It’s also the more perilous gig, because it’s just a voice (neither he nor Bradley Cooper were ever on set). He can’t bargain for more money, because honestly, anyone can do this. But for now this makes him the rare actor with not one, not two, but three franchises to his name: Guardians of the Galaxy, Fast & The Furious and Riddick. And while I loved this movie, I love Chronicles of Riddick just as much if not more.

HEY, AT LEAST IT’S NOT STEVIE-O OR BAM
Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles is down to number four and speaking of an easy paycheck by just being a voice, Johnny Knoxville is actually one of the turtles, giving him two franchises as well. He’s got the Jackass series, which includes Bad Grandpa and now this. If I told you ten years ago Johnny Knoxville would still be around and making money, you’d have called me crazy, but now you see it’s the universe that’s crazy.

IT’D BE TASTELESS TO SAY HE WENT OUT WITH A BANG, RIGHT?
Let’s Be Cops is down to number five followed by The Drop opening at number six and this James Gandolphini’s final film and it’s both fitting and sad that it’s a gangster flick. Fitting because it was Tony Soprano that made him a star and sad because he’d begun transcending it, especially with the wonderful Enough Said. It’s gotten good reviews and it’s on my radar to see, but we know my likelihood when I don’t catch something on opening weekend. And the new fall TV season is coming too? Hoo, boy.

IT’S WHY I SAW THAT MOVIE WITH DENZEL WASHINGTON
If I Stay is down to number seven, followed by The November Man at number eight and part of the lack of interest in this is the lack of a strong antagonist. It’s yet another one of these generic, Australian pretty boys of whom they seem to have a neverending supply. Imagine how much more interesting this would have been with Pierce Brosnan against a younger actor you actually knew? Even Stallone knew that it was good to have then rising star, Antonio Banderas facing off against in him in Assassins (not that it was a great success either). You would have had my money yesterday if you gave me the possibility of seeing Pierce Brosnan kicking the ass of Ryan Reynolds.

MARKETING FAIL
The Giver is down to number nine and also in this…Taylor Swift!?! Clearly there’s something in her contract prohibiting them from pushing this point because when your film is disappointing, you might want to mention it’s got one of the biggest pop stars on the planet in it.

THE END
Finally, The Hundred Foot Journey closes out the top ten at number ten, a modest success with $61M worldwide from a $22M budget. Emphasis on “modest.”

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THE SUPER HITS OF THE 70’S…IN SPACE!

4 Aug

cameron-diaz-posa-para-ensaio-fotografico-da-revista-esquire-de-agosto-de-2014-1404254395713_1280x898

1. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney                           Wknd/$ 94.0    Total/$ 94.0
2. Lucy/Universal                                                         Wknd/$ 18.3     Total/$ 79.6
3. Get on Up/Universal                                               Wknd/$ 14.0     Total/$ 14.0
4. Hercules/Paramount                                               Wknd/$ 10.7    Total/$ 52.3
5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes/Fox                     Wknd/$ 8.7      Total/$ 189.3
6. Planes: Fire & Rescue/Disney                               Wknd/$ 6.4      Total/$ 47.6
7. The Purge: Anarchy/Universal                              Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 63.0
8. Sex Tape/Sony                                                          Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 33.9
9. And So It Goes/CE                                                   Wknd/$ 3.3      Total/$ 10.5
10. A Most Wanted Man/RA                                      Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 2.7

Source: Boxofficemojo.com

K-TEL PRESENTS…
Guardians of the Galaxy opens strong at number one continuing the Marvel track record of movies that are both successful and actually good. As someone who knows far too damn much about comics, I thought this was a big risk and probably failure for them to take such obscure characters and make a movie based on them especially when there’s absolutely no springboard from the rest of their movie stable characters. In the comics, Rocket Raccoon first appeared in an issue of The Incredible Hulk, but that’s the most unsuccessful solo movie character so far (though Thor clearly wants that title with its not-bad, but not great either movies) so it was hardly coming from him. Nope. They just went for it and whoever said “go for humor first and foremost” deserves a freaking raise. Sorry, but that person gets it like no one else. This is basically a comedy that just happens to also be a science fiction adventure and if you wonder why Disney just went along with it, know that opens with the orphaning of a child. They probably just greenlit the damn film on reflex because of that. That child is then abducted by group of space pirates, growing up to become the outlaw who’d like to be called Starlord, only the rest of the universe kinda sees him as a joke and little more than a thief. Because he tries to cut the space pirates out of the deal of what he’s stolen, they place a bounty on his head. This is why Rocket Raccoon and Groot, the sentient tree come after him. Gamora the assassin comes after him because she’s supposed to be getting the object for her father Thanos (who was the guy you saw at the end of The Avengers who backed Loki). They all get arrested and thrown into prison where they meet the fifth member of their group, Drax the Destroyer, who’s after the main bad guy, Ronan the Accuser, for murdering his family. Ronan wants the object because if he gives it to Thanos, Thanos will destroy a planet for him. Needless to say, he eventually realizes that if he has the object he doesn’t really need Thanos. Our wacky group of thieves at best and murderers at worst band together to stop him. Laughs ensue. Seriously. After the downer opening required of every hero (check your heroic fiction, not to mention your comic books), it’s non-stop humor from Starlord dancing to “Come And Get Your Love” by Redbone under the film’s title the doing an almost satirical take on Indiana Jones taking the idol in Raiders of The Lost Ark, to the last scene which also includes dancing and the music of Jackson Five. Unlike most films that shoehorn music in to sell albums, music is how Starlord (aka Peter Quill) hangs onto his memories of his mother. She made him mix tapes of her favorite music growing up and he was taken by the space pirates with his Walkman, which is why it remains a prize possession he risks his life to regain when they break out of prison. And now that I think about it, Captain America: The Winter Solider also effectively used music as prelude and a coda. Quite a step up from the first Spider-Man movie using freaking Nickelback.

BY THE WAY, THIS MOVIE BLOWS
Lucy is down to number two and also in this is Morgan Freeman…and that’s it for American actors, much less any you might know, but that’s par the course for Besson’s movies, which are made in Europe and Asia. I mean, who’d you know in The Transporter or Taken? Freeman plays the leading authority in the expansion of human brain function so Lucy makes a bee line for him after securing the rest of the drugs…and the sheer stupidity of going after those packages instead of going directly to the scientist who created it will never leave this film. Not to mention if he’s that good, he’s probably known if not infamous. Most of all it leaves an opening for a sequel no one needs, because if I hadn’t mentioned it, this movie sucks.

IT’S A LEFT HANDED COMPLIMENT FROM A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD
Get on Up, the movie biography of James Brown, opens at number three and Chadwick Boseman is in danger of falling into a gilded cage if this does okay in the end (opened well enough with $14M from a $30M budget) and becoming “THE black guy” you go to when casting a bio-pic whether or not he’s right for the role. Let me put it this way: I don’t know who should be playing Nina Simone, but I know damn well that Zoe Saldana whose skin has been darkened and is wearing a prostetheic nose is not her. You’ll know it’s a problem when he does the Michael Jackson story. I had a busy weekend, but I’m not sure this would have been on my list anyway. 1) I’m not big on bio pics and this looks as by-the-numbers as it gets and 2) I’m wary of any bio-pic that’s rated PG, especially someone like James Brown. Hell, my bio pic couldn’t be rated PG because I have a nearly pathological need to drop the “F-bomb” whenever possible. It’s part of who I am.

ONE DAY YOU’RE ALL GONNA GET WHAT YOU DESERVE…OR NOT
Hercules is down to number four and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving hack director. Truly. Though Zack Synder and Michael Bay seem unstoppable, on the bright side Brett Ratner and McG seem to be falling away. Ratner’s last hit was the third Rush Hour movie back in ’07 and while X-Men 3 wasn’t a total disaster he is seen as wrecking the franchise and his movie was literally undone by X-Men: Days of Future Past. There may be justice in the universe after all.

MEH, MEH & MEH
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is down to number five, followed by Planes: Fire & Rescue at six and The Purge: Anarchy at number seven.

THE WORD FOR TODAY IS “BEGRUDGINGLY”
Sex Tape is down to number eight and while I’m not the biggest fan of either Cameron Diaz or Jason Segel, I will give credit where credit is due. I branded him an ugly schlub who didn’t deserve leading roles and both he and other ugly schlub Jonah Hill needed to stay with in the sidekick department. But now he’s slimmed down and gotten better looking with age. If he can stop trying to fucking write, he might actually make a decent comedic leading man…so long as the female lead isn’t too beautiful. Speaking of not being too beautiful, I have to give it up to Cameron Diaz for playing the game like the men. She’s playing a decade younger than her actual age while doing with a male lead who actually is that age. Just like all the men do…though they stretch it out to literally two decades.

IT’S JUST DECEMBER DECEMBER ROMANCES FOR YOU NOW, PAL
Speaking of men making movies with female leads decades younger, Michael Douglas is the male lead here and having to kiss Diane Keaton must have been quite a shock for him as he’s been the poster boy for inappropriate aged leading ladies for the last 20 years. It irony being, like many in Hollywood, he’s a hardcore liberal, but notice how that doesn’t apply to sexual politics, especially when it meant sharing the screen with someone with just as many wrinkles. And he can’t even blame the producer as he’s been one since One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s all him, baby.

ONE FOR THE ROAD
Finally, A Most Wanted Man holds onto the number ten spot and that’s nice for Philip Seymour Hoffman’s legacy.

 

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AIN’T NOTHING LIKE THE REAL THING

7 Apr

leebyunghun-20101008

 1. Evil Dead/Tristar                                    Wknd/$ 26.0           Total/$  26.0

 2. The Croods/Fox                                      Wknd/$ 21.1            Total/$ 125.8

 3. G.I. Joe: Retaliation/Paramount         Wknd/$ 21.1            Total/$  86.7

 4. Jurassic Park 3D/Universal                  Wknd/$ 18.2           Total/$  18.2

 5. Olympus Has Fallen/FD                        Wknd/$ 10.0           Total/$   71.1

 6. Tyler Perry’s Temptation/LGF             Wknd/$ 10.0           Total/$  38.4

 7. Oz The Great & Powerful/ Disney        Wknd/$   8.2           Total/$ 212.8

 8. The Host/ORF                                         Wknd/$   5.2            Total/$   19.7

 9. The Call/TriStar                                       Wknd/$   3.5           Total/$   45.5           

10. Admission/Focus                                    Wknd/$   2.1            Total/$   15.4

 

YES, THE TREE IS STILL IN THE MOVIE

Evil Dead opens at number one and as we all know I don’t do the scary, not even when it’s the deliberately “campy scary” of the Evil Dead series, which came to a wonderful climax in Army of Darkness aka Medieval Dead aka Evil Dead 3 (which I actually did see).  It doesn’t help matters that the creators behind this remake have gone all torture porn gory on it, so rather than scare you and make you laugh they’ve just gone bloody.  Yeah, you can keep it.  But this is a smart move by the little redheaded girl from Suburgatory (Jane Levy, and it’s a good show you’re not watching) to transition into films.  Like children’s films there’s a built-in audience for horror so chances of success are high and when it fails no one blames you.  It’s a win-win scenario and she won.  Unlike her appearance in Fun Size earlier this year, which was a loss, but Victoria Justice took the rap for that since she was the draw. Even tweens saw the ridiculousness of two girls so pretty somehow not being in the popular circle or being invited to hot parties.  It required more suspension of disbelief than a book of evil.

 

THE BRUCE LEE RULE: IT AIN’T KUNG FU IF EVERYBODY’S GOT THEIR SHIRTS ON

The Croods Hold onto number two, narrowly beating out G.I. Joe: Retaliation and by the way, that line was cut from the movie and only shows up in the commercials.  Not in the commercials but the highlight of the film for me is none other than The Rza, appearing as a ninja master in the most enjoyable part of the film which is the ninja war storyline.  It was almost 1987 all over again!  As the ninja GI Joe, Snake Eyes, is Ray Park, who shot to immediate fame as Darth Maul in the first Star Wars prequel and later turned up as Toad in the first X-Men movie.  But more interesting than him is pretty boy Byung-hun Lee as his lifelong ninja rival, Storm Shadow.  Lee has basically been “the girl” in both movies in that they both find some ridiculous reason for him to take his shirt off.  They like it so much he survived his apparent death in the first film to come back and disrobe here.  Even Channing Tatum doesn’t even have to do this.  Lee’s going to reunite with Bruce Will in Red 2 later this year, so we’ll see if they pull off the hat trick.

 

COULDN’T WAIT ONE MORE YEAR FOR THE 20TH ANNIVERSARY?

Jurassic Park returns in 3D format at number four and given this is running every other weekend on cable I can’t see why anyone would bother. Then again I can’t stand 3D so it’s not for me anyway. I’ve no doubt it’s still fun to watch because it’s still fun to watch every other weekend on cable.  Oh, the kid who plays Timmy?  He’s all grown up, playing a soldier in G.I. Joe Retaliation.  Yes, you’re old.

 

IT’S ALL POLITICS

Olympus Has Fallen is down to number five and also in this are Angela Bassett and Morgan Freeman as the Secret Service Director and the Speaker of the House, respectively speaking and in movie world, it’s demotions for both.  First of all, Glenn Close got to at least be Vice-President in the last time a Die Hard type of storyline was applied to the president in Air Force One.  And Bassett herself was White House Chief of Staff in Contact.  Though important, Secret Service Director (the first female director was actually appointed only a week ago, by the way) is still a massive step down.  Not to mention Morgan Freeman has been both The President and God and now he’s just Speaker of the House?  Please.  At least let him be the trigger happy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that Robert Forester gets to play.  But if Martin Sheen has taught us anything, it’s that you can always come back.  He started off playing JFK, later showed up as Chief of Staff in The American President but returned to Commander in Chief on The West Wing, because if there’s anyone you can buy as the First Female President, much less the first Black Female President, it’s Angela Bassett.

 

SPOILER WARNING: IT SUCKS!

Down to number six is Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor and it’s time so for spoilers to let you know how horrible Perry can get with the hardline Christian dogma that runs through all his films.   The female protagonist winds up with HIV. Yes, the price of infidelity is an incurable disease and that’s only probably only because someone told him that contracting it is no longer the death sentence it once was.  Clearly that whole “love and forgiveness” message from Jesus was lost on Mr. Perry. What makes this particularly offensive is that Black women make up 2/3 of all new HIV transmissions among women.  Clearly they are all cheating whores who aren’t there for their men and need to find themselves some Jesus.  Did I mention the first time she actually gets raped?  Or that she not only goes on to have a relationship but he beats her and gets her addicted to cocaine?  None of which would have happened if she’d just resisted temptation. Or should I say “Tyler Perry’s Temptation.” Hey, isn’t pride a sin too? Or in this case “Tyler Perry’s Sin.”

 

ETC

Oz The Great and Powerful is down to number seven, followed by The Host at number eight and The Call at number nine.

 

SINS AGAINST COMEDY

Finally closing out the top ten at number ten is Admission and I do think there’s something amazingly appropriate in comedy legend Lily Tomlin playing Tina Fey’s mom.  Not enough to make me see it, but it is nice. Oh, and Michael Sheen who played Wesley Snipes on 30 Rock is also here as Fey’s cheating boyfriend. My god, how much talent did this film freaking waste?

 

CEREAL KILLER

I can’t stress enough how much I love that new TV shows never stop coming.  When I was kid we had to wait once a year. You people are freaking spoiled. This week Hannibal—which I thought was coming next fall—debuted and this should be of great concern to The Following given it was a thinly veiled rip-off of the entire relationship between Hannibal Lecter and the man who caught him, Will Graham as best shown in Manhunter (we’re going to pretend Red Dragon just never happened, like most of Brett Ratner’s career).  Charming, college professor contacted by FBI agent while researching killings turns out to be the serial killer.  They even had James Purefoy give Kevin Bacon near fatal wounds during his apprehension, just as Lecter gave to Will Graham.  Needless to say, it’s infinitely better. Better writing, better cast, better direction, better everything.  Maybe a bit too stylized which is easy for a pilot, but more difficult to maintain on a weekly basis since it has to fit the murders. One significant change is that Will Graham isn’t an FBI Agent due to the fact he’s suffering from Asperger’s/is autistic and is just a consultant (but he still gets a gun like Kevin Bacon it seems).  Again, this seems a pile on of “hey, let’s make him more interesting with a trendy disorder.”  Add to this he suffer from nightmares that make him sweat through sheets and collects stray dogs and you wonder what eccentricy they actually left behind. I’m waiting on him being a virgin to come up.  Of course the first time we meet Hannibal he’s eating. Right after we’re told the killer in question is eating the liver of the girls no less.  And because you can’t have a show named after him without him doing what he does best, he kills one poor girl and eats her lungs.  It’s actually short of gore, but infinitely more disturbing than the bloodletting on The Following.  The problem with this show is that how long can Will see Lecter every week and not see he’s a serial killer? We know the endgame and will only wait so long and can only endure so many “close calls”—not to mention the inevitable deaths of people who stumble onto the truth—before we get there. Yeah, I know they stretched out Clark Kent becoming Superman to ten years on Smallville, but you don’t want to have that be your example. Then there’s elephant in the room: an appearance by Clarice Starling? I honestly think the nothing lets you know how good a show is than feeling it should have a definitive beginning, middle and end and not go on forever.