Tag Archives: Neighbors

YOU TAME A DRAGON WITH TATUM!

15 Jun

channing-tatum-august-2009-GQ-article-1-lowres

1. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                       Wknd/$ 60.0     Total/$ 60.0
2. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox               Wknd/$ 50.0      Total/$ 50.0
3. Maleficent/Disney                                           Wknd/$ 19.0       Total/$ 163.5
4. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                         Wknd/$ 16.1        Total/$ 56.6
5. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                           Wknd/$ 15.7        Total/$ 81.7
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox                 Wknd/$ 9.5          Total/$ 205.9
7. Godzilla/Warner                                              Wknd/$ 3.2          Total/$ 191.3
8. A Million Ways To Die in the West              Wknd/$ 3.2          Total/$ 39.0
9. Neighbors/Universal                                       Wknd/$ 2.5         Total/$ 143.1
10. Chef/ORF                                                         Wknd/$ 2.3         Total/$ 14.1

“LIVER & POTATOES, PLEASE” SAID NO ONE EVER.
22 Jump Street opens at number one and I’m serious: Jonah Hill is on my list of actors I will look at only if I have to, right next to Seth Rogen. It had better be some big-ticket item like an Oscar-bait Scorsese film or it’s simply not going to happen. Give this is clearly not from Marty, it’s safe to say I gave it a pass, though clearly one of the few. I like Channing Tatum…enough. He’s like a big potato; only as tasty as what you add to it and teaming him with Jonah Hill is like adding liver.

HOW TO TAME MULTI-DIMENSIONAL CHARACTERS
How To Train Your Dragon 2 opens at number two, which was a great surprise to everyone given it’s a big animated film. Me, I’m not so surprised give how the first was just good and not much else. It was the definition of perfunctory, utterly lacking in any ambition beyond simply telling a simple story. This is more of the same, if not beautifully so. Seeing the giant alpha dragons almost made me wish I’d seen it in IMAX. Almost. It’s just that gorgeous, as are most of the flight scenes. What’s steadily earthbound is a script where there are earth-shattering emotional events that are simply glossed over as if they were nothing. As the commercials and trailers show, Hiccup’s mother is still alive and is a dragonrider herself. Seems she’s been with them all this time, letting her loving husband and infant son think she was dead…and neither of them care. Seriously. Not even a single, “Why didn’t you come back to see me?” Nothing. No. Thing. A complete and utter abandonment by a wife and parent results in zero resentment from the characters. They’re just a happy family again. Bear in mind she’s the caretaker of FLYING DRAGONS. She could have gone home at any time. She just didn’t. Her excuse was that she believed dragons were not evil but no one there did, so why try? You know the way her son did in the first film and basically changed their culture in a week? Because he actually tried. Once again, you shouldn’t go into the deep water if you can’t swim and they can’t even float. This is what it has in common with the number three film, Maleficent. It also tries to go into the deep water by having the king and Maleficent be in a previous relationship, but also backs away from it, but at least they muddy the water a little (he can’t kill her because he loves her and she loves his daughter), in what is purely a soulless, naked, corporate money grab. There’s not so much as a dust cloud here. But it is purty.

ALWAYS A PLACE FOR OLD MEN
Edge of Tomorrow is down to number four here and also in this is Brendan Gleeson and if you’re paying attention, if Tom Cruise likes you, you’ll be back in one of his other films. Robert Duvall was in Days of Thunder and returned in Jack Reacher. Brendan Gleeson, who also improves anything he’s in, was in Mission Impossible II and returns here as the general who sends Tom Cruise to the front for being a coward, but you should really check him out in The Guard with Don Cheadle. He was cheated out of an Oscar nod for it. Then again, people would have to see it first…

AMERICA’S NEW SWEETHEART
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number four and your new Jennifer Lawrence is…Shailene Woodley. She’s got the critical acclaim and now a one-two punch of box office success with a franchise (Divergent) and now a romantic drama. It would have been two franchises, but her role as Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was cut. Right now there’s someone at Sony combing through her contract to see if she’s obligated to come back for fear of losing his job.

PRETTY WOMAN SUCKED THEN AND SUCKS NOW
Speaking of Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men Days of Future Past is down to number six and it’s no accident her role was bumped up or that she and Hugh Jackman are the most prominent on the poster. This actually gives her two franchises in addition to the prestige stuff she keeps getting Oscar nominations for. It’s good there’s a new Jennifer Lawrence as she’s moving on to be the new Julia Roberts, that all-encompassing movie star who can’t fail. Except she can actually act.

NOTHING MORE LEFT TO BE SAID
Godzilla is down number seven, A Million Ways to Die in The West is down to number eight and Neighbors is down to number nine.

IRON CHEF?
Chef finally drops a notch to ten and is probably coming to the end of its noble little run. You done good, Jon (he’s also behind the TV adaptation of About A Boy, which will be coming back). Hope you made a little loot and learned a lesson.

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INDEPENDENT GROUNDHOG DAY

8 Jun

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1. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                       Wknd/$ 48.2       Total/$ 48.2
2. Maleficent/Disney                                      Wknd/$ 33.5        Total/$ 127.4
3. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                    Wknd/$ 29.1        Total/$ 29.1
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox            Wknd/$ 14.7        Total/$ 189.1
5. A Million Ways To Die in the West         Wknd/$ 7.2          Total/$ 30.1
6. Godzilla/Warner                                         Wknd/$ 6.0         Total/$ 185.0
7. Neighbors/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 5.2          Total/$ 128.6
8. Blended/Warner                                         Wknd/$ 4.1          Total/$ 36.5
9. Chef/ORF                                                     Wknd/$ 2.0          Total/$ 6.9
10. Million Dollar Arm/Disney                     Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 31.3

IT’S FROM SHAKESPEARE? GET IT?
The Fault in Our Stars opens big at number one so if you were tired of movies being based on a Young Adult novel you might want to get over it, because this will just keep it going. Forget about the failures, because Hollywood sure has. It’s the only business where a 1-in10 success rate will still warrant ten more tries. To be fair, however when it succeeds it’s Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, but the failures are legion: Bridge to Terabithia, Eragon, The SpiderWick Chronicles, Ender’s Game, I Am Number Four, The Mortal Instruments, The Host, The Seeker, The Vampire’s Assistant…seriously, I could do this all day. I have read none of them and seen only two and that didn’t change with this weekend despite actual positive buzz. You know how I don’t do the scary? I also don’t do the tearjerker. If I want to cry I’ll watch pet rescue videos online. Not that I do so and weep like a child and you can’t prove otherwise.

SLEEPY DOODY. OH, SHUT UP. THEY CAN’T ALL BE WINNERS.
Maleficent is down to number two as the tween crowd left this behind to their younger sisters and brothers so they could see the number one flick. Another failure of this revisionist Sleeping Beauty is the changing of the curse. It’s a horrible compromise to make Maleficent palatable, because cursing a child to die is simply an unforgivable act and this isn’t Unforgiven 2. Instead she just curses her to sleep, but even that gets screwed up thanks to the other three fairies you know from the animated film being mangled from beginning to end. They’re just here for cheap comic relief and not much else. Not to mention since the third fairy was the one who changed the curse from death to sleep, she loses any purpose whatsoever. Then there’s the painful contrivance of the king sending the baby off to be raised in secret by the three fairies. This makes zero sense given the curse doesn’t kick in until her 16th birthday. If he sent her away on her 15th year, that I get. But the only purpose of this is for Maleficent to become her surrogate mother. Seriously, after the billion-dollar success of Alice In Wonderland with its equally horrible story, Disney knew it never again had to try in its live-action adaptations. Just stick big stars in the middle of a lot of CGI and sit back and count the money. And they’re right. You people simply don’t care. Neither do your damn kids.

BET YOU’D LIKE TO REPEAT ‘96 RIGHT ABOUT NOW (JERRY MAGUIRE, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE)
Edge of Tomorrow opens at number three and almost $30M for an opening weekend would be impressive for anyone else, but since it’s Tom Cruise and this is his Big Summer Movie, it’s a disappointment. The other big action sci-fi movies have opened at number one in the $90M range and even Maleficent did about $70, so for Tom Cruise’s Big Summer Movie to open only at number three and only $30M…well let’s just say Jack Reacher 2 and Mission Impossible 5 are a go. Maybe even that horrible Top Gun sequel they keep threatening us with. Even Jerry Maguire 2 seems possible right about now. It’s mistake because this cross of Groundhog Day and Independence Day is one of the best things he’s done in years. The idea is simple: aliens have invaded and Tom Cruise acquires their power to turn back time and keeps reliving the day until he figures out how to defeat them with the help of Emily Blunt who once had the same ability. There’s a strain of decidedly black humor as Tom Cruise has to die a thousand deaths to possibly make it to a single brave one (he begins the movie as a very much non-Tom Cruise coward) with an impatient Emily Blunt who is more than willing to cap him over and over again to restart the process. Not to mention the later scenes where Tom Cruise has a moments reminiscent of Bill Murray the diner where he tries to convince Andie McDowell of his situation. Just because it’s in the middle of an alien invasion and meant to be deadly serious doesn’t make it any less amusing. It’s telling that the film doesn’t start to drag until its final act where it becomes an idiot plot and people need to act like idiots in order to insure a very clichéd series of events, because if they don’t the movie is basically over as the smart, intelligent response will guarantee success. Even though this was based on a Japanese manga with the much cooler title of All You Need Is Kill, it’s very much like an Outer Limits episode and honestly could have been told in 45 minutes—but only if everyone is smart, which cannot be tolerated in big summer movie.

JUST BE HAPPY YOU WERE IN THE BEST ONE
X-Men: Days of Future Past and you have to wonder how Rebecca Romijn and Allan Cummings feel given they had prominent roles in the best X-Men movie, X2, and are nowhere to be seen here. Now, the plot doesn’t allow for the adult Mystique to appear, but the lack of Alan Cummings who shone as Nightcrawler and was part of the original comics story is a missed opportunity to bring him back. Ironically Quicksilver is to this film what he was to X2: the character whose appearance and powers (super speedster in goggles) could easily be a disaster winding up to totally steal the film in a single scene (seriously, it is the best scene in the film). Unlike basically every mutant we’ve seen so far, Quicksilver is very pleased with himself and his powers, which he’s using to a sadly logical conclusion, which is to steal anything and everything he can. Joss Whedon just had his already ton of pressure increased for Avengers 2 as his version of Quicksilver appears there as well (in fact, you’ve already seen him in the post credits scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier alongside his sister, Wanda). In the comics, Quicksilver is the son of Magneto. There’s an in-joke about this in the film, so pay attention.

ETC..
A Million Ways to Die in the West is down to number five, followed by Godzilla at number six and Neighbors at number seven.

BET YOU’D LIKE TO REPEAT ’98 RIGHT ABOUT NOW (WEDDING SINGER, WATERBOY)
Blended is down to number eight and along with Tom Cruise someone else missing the 90’s right about now is Adam Sandler. Once his schtick was guaranteed gold, especially with Drew Barrymore beside him but now he needs half the cast to be former SNL performers just to keep his head above water (Grown Ups) as this is tanking and at best will probably only make a little above budget which is nothing. What makes this flop even better is that he openly admits it was just a way of getting a paid vacation to Africa with his family. Given that the utter laziness of his humor is why I despise him so much, it’s very sweet that it’s finally bitten him in the ass.

ART MAKING MONEY? ARE YOU SURE?
Chef holds at number nine as every week they add a few more theaters to it. I’m happy with this.

BECAUSE EVERY SPORTS MOVIE MUST HAVE A HOT GIRL
Finally, Million Dollar Arm closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Lake Bell as basically, “the girl” for Jon Hamm. This was clearly just work for her (well, that and getting paid to make out with Jon Hamm), because she’s so much better than this, currently making the transition to writing and directing. Though how she never made it as the “the girl” in every movie with a body that rocking is beyond me (as Black Rob once said, “Body like ‘Whoa!'”). Clearly this was a route she could have easily gone, but refused…and we’re back to that thing about brains and self-awareness.

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SLEEPING ON THE SCREENPLAY

2 Jun

Carla Gallo as Lizzie on UNDECLARED on FOX.  ª©2001FOX BROADCASTING  CR:FOX

1. Maleficent/Disney                                         Wknd/$ 70.0      Total/$ 70.0
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox              Wknd/$ 32.6       Total/$ 162.1
3. A Million Ways To Die in the West           Wknd/$ 17.1        Total/$ 17.1
4.Godzilla/Warner                                            Wknd/$ 12.2       Total/$ 174.7
5. Blended/Warner                                           Wknd/$ 8.4         Total/$ 29.6
6. Neighbors/Universal                                   Wknd/$ 7.7          Total/$ 128.6
7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2/Sony             Wknd/$ 3.8         Total/$ 192.7
8. Million Dollar Arm/Disney                        Wknd/$ 3.8         Total/$ 28.1
9. Chef/ORF                                                       Wknd/$ 2.0         Total/$ 6.9
10. The Other Woman/Fox                             Wknd/$ 1.4          Total/$ 81.1

YOU WON’T NEED A SPELL TO SLEEP FOR THIS ONE
Maleficent opens at number one and it takes a special talent (or lack thereof) to waste Angelina Jolie, a classic Disney character and $180M. Not to mention the interesting twist on the story of Sleeping Beauty that the king and Maleficent were once in love, hence her hatred of the child that could have easily have been hers. The movie even makes Maleficent the surrogate mother of the child, but never, ever deals with that aspect of it. In fact, their love is lost as she becomes “the good guy” and he just becomes “the bad guy.” Disney is very, very bad with gray, and so rushes back to their comfort zone of “black and white” “good and evil” whenever they can even though they insist Maleficent is both things. No. No, she’s not. If she and the king had been allowed to be both, then this would have been a much better film. The premise of the film is that there are neighboring kingdoms of fairy-folk and people and the people hated the fairy folk because they were living a much more awesome life and don’t have a king. Seriously. That’s the only reason. When the first king attacks and fails he promises his kingdom to the person who brings him the head of Maleficent. The man who has loved Maleficent from childhood sees this as a chance to rise in power but cannot bring himself to kill her, so only takes her wings as proof of her “death.” What the film overlooks is apparently he never attacked the fairylands again. A better film would have gone into the gray are of it possibly being a worthy sacrifice for her or his guilt over the betrayal that robs her of flight, but this isn’t a better film. This is a Disney film of sad absolutes and winds up being utterly disappointing and a waste of two hours of your life. Oh, it’s only 90 minutes, but it feels like two freaking hours because it’s that boring, which is the only thing worse than bad.

STRAIGHT TO THE BANK IS ALL THAT MATTERS
X-Men: Days of Future Past is down to number two, but it’s already at $500M worldwide so no one cares. Also returning for this is Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde, and you know she never thought she’d have to honor that multi-film contract after X-Men: The Last Stand. But given her recent coming out (which was news to those of you who are utterly clueless) a success like this couldn’t have come at a better time.

AND LIKE THE SIMPSONS, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL
A Million Ways to Die in the West opens at number three and apparently those adolescent fans (in body as well as mind) who love Seth McFarlane don’t so much love the sight of him. A voice on Family Guy or Ted? Sure. In person? Not so much. I’ve never been a fan of Family Guy. It’s basically The Simpsons for really, really, really stupid people. Who love penis jokes. And while there are clearly more of them than we ever imagined, not enough to beat out geeks and actual children at the box office. Though it only cost $40M to make, it’s doubtful this is going to make 3x its budget with a new Big Summer Movie coming out every week. And that makes me happy, because I’m not a really, really, really stupid fan of penis jokes.

NOT ALL GIANT MONSTERS ARE THE SAME. THEY’RE NOT! STOP LAUGHING!
Godzilla is down to number four and the director of this was the director of another monster film, called simply, Monsters. And while this worked out for the most part it just goes to show you the utterly simplistic thinking process of Hollywood. “Oh, he directed a low-key, moody film about giant monsters that nobody saw. Let’s give him $160M to make our big summer blockbuster about a monster that everyone wants to see.” It’s why Godzilla isn’t seen for the first 30 minutes and when he does it’s in quick glimpses…at night. Yeah, I’m still annoyed by that.

USUALLY IT’S VIRGIN/WHORE, BUT WE’RE JUMPING STRAIGHT TO WHORE HERE
Blended is down to number five, followed at number six by Neighbors and apparently Seth Rogen is giving work (he’s listed as a producer) to his fellow Apatow alum, Carla Gallo who also appears in this. I hope he treats her better than Apatow has done. Let me put it his way: since playing the female lead in Undeclared, her roles in Apatow films has been as “Toe Sucking Girl” (40 Year Old Virgin) “Gag Me Girl” (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and “Period Blood Girl” (Superbad). She was also the girl in Get Him To The Greek who used a dildo on Jonah Hill. I think that says it all.

‘CAUSE WHO UNDERSTANDS CHICKS? AMIRITE?
The Amazing Spider-Man is down to number seven followed by Million Dollar Arm at number eight and Chef holding on at number nine. As I said before, it’s good but not perfect and nowhere is that clearer than in the roles of the women. Scarlett Johansson is the fantasy hostess who supports and sleeps with Jon Favreau and is never seen again, while Sofia Vergara is the fantasy ex-wife who is nothing but supportive even while Favreau neglects their son time and time again. But that’s par the course with Favreau. If you remember Swingers, women weren’t fully formed there either. Come on, dude. You should be better at this by now.

BUT I STILL BLAME THE REST OF YOU MORE
Finally, The Other Woman closes out the top ten at number ten and at $172M worldwide from a $40M budget, Cameron Diaz is carving out a little niche for herself of successful, yet painfully mediocre comedies. What Happens in Vegas, Bad Teacher and now this. I don’t expect Sex Tape will be much better, but like most of these I will still be there hoping for the best. So, basically, even though I didn’t see The Other Woman, I’m part of the problem.

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SUCK IT, BRETT RATNER!

27 May

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1. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox                    Wknd/$ 91.4        Total/$ 91.4
2. Godzilla/Warner                                                Wknd/$ 31.1         Total/$ 148.5
3. Blended/Warner                                                Wknd/$ 14.2         Total/$ 14.2
4. Neighbors/Universal                                         Wknd/$ 13.9        Total/$ 113.6
5. The Amazing Spider-Man 2/Sony                  Wknd/$ 7.8          Total/$ 184.9
6. Million Dollar Arm/Disney                              Wknd/$ 7.0          Total/$ 20.5
7. The Other Woman/Fox                                     Wknd/$ 3.6          Total/$ 77.6
8. Rio 2/Fox                                                             Wknd/$ 2.5          Total/$ 121.5
9. Chef/ORF                                                             Wknd/$ 2.3          Total/$ 3.6
10. Heaven is for Real/TriStar                             Wknd/$ 2.1           Total/$ 85.2

Okay, let’s do this quickly. It’s a holiday…

SERIOUSLY, SUCK IT, BRETT RATNER
X-Men Days of Future Past opens at number one and this is based on the classic X-Men story of the same name where Kitty Pryde gets sent back through time from a horrible future to change things for the better and…wait a minute. It’s Wolverine here…and he’s got his metal claws back? How? And Professor X was a dead as he was at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand but he’s here? But you know what? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’ve got a very good X-Men movie to watch with a plethora of characters all nicely done with solid performances. Don’t bother yourself with trying to match each film to the last one (the filmmakers sure as hell didn’t), just enjoy the film laid out before you. And, yes this more than makes up for the mess that was X-Men: The Last Stand. Maybe the third Wolverine movie will make up for those two previous episodes of crap. Yeah, I don’t believe that either.

HOW NICE OF THE STUDIO TO ASSUME EVERYONE IS A RACIST
Godzilla is down to number two and basically Ken Wantanabe is to this what Raymond Burr was to the original: a token to make the people in another country watch it. Just as no Japanese person would have given a crap about Raymond Burr (he’s not even in the original version, only its American release), not too many Americans care about Ken Wantanabe, but in Japan he’s a star. Sadly, he’s no more vital to this than Raymond Burr was to the original. He just kind of stands around and looks grim. He doesn’t even get to be the hero scientist who helps save the day like Matthew Broderick in the previous Hollywood version. Hell, Bryan Cranston contributes more and he’s only in it for 15 minutes. Hopefully they’ll give him more to do in the already announced sequel.

A LEGACY OF ANNOYING
Blended opens to scathing reviews at number three and you don’t even have to see it to know they’re accurate. It’s Adam Sandler. He’s been stinking up the screen for 20 years now. Did you think he’d somehow get better with age? The irony is that Neighbors is at number four and we see the torch was basically passed from Sandler to Rogen in a film called Funny People. So basically, while I’m glad to see Sandler finally (hopefully) fading away, there’s still an ugly dude I find unfunny onscreen.

THE REAL CRIME IS HOW DULL HE IS
The Amazing Spider-Man is down to number four and did you realize Jamie Foxx is in this. Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx? You know why? Because his character is instantly and utterly forgettable. It’s basically a rehash of Jim Carey’s Riddler in Batman Forever and that’s not a good thing. Unfortunately, they’ve announced a spin off film of all Spidey’s villains, called the Sinister Six and he’s one of them.

THREE OTHER MOVIES I’LL NEVER SEE
Million Dollar Arm is down to number six, followed by The Other Woman at number seven and Rio at number eight.

COOKIN’ UP A STORM
Entering the top ten at number nine is Chef the latest from Jon Favreau since he left or was booted from the director’s chair of Iron Man, depending on which rumor you believe. It’s probably a combination of both. If this is his middle finger to them, then they’ve lost creatively if not financially (Iron Man 3 was the highest grossing Iron Man film). It’s not a new story, but there are no new stories. It’s all in how you tell the old ones. Writing, directing and starring, Favreau is a chef in a creative rut under owner Dustin Hoffman. He’s no longer happy doing what he loves and it’s taking its toll on him personally and professionally. He’s not only divorced but neglecting the son who adores him. Finally, a confrontation with an influential blogger pushes him over the edge and he leaves to restart with a food truck. What makes this more of an indie film than a mainstream film is the time it takes to get to Favreau’s breakdown and his eventual rise from the ashes. His should fall by minute 30, spend 31-60 fighting back and 61 – 90 is his triumphant return. Not so here in this near two hour film where the time is used to make all these events feel more organic. Not to say it’s perfect. His comeback is effortless, lacking any real struggle and filled with hipster cameos and Sofia Vergara is just too perfect a loving, supportive ex-wife and not much more. Her role could have used a few more layers. But it’s clearly a film about a man who loves food directed by a man who loves food and its preparation is so lovingly depicted I left starving. There is no greater praise for a movie about cooking. Normally, I’d rip on a film showing Favreau being married to and now banging Scarlett Johansson, but unlike the masturbatory fantasy of John Turturro who is a gigolo hired by Sofia Vergara and Sharon Stone for a threesome, you can believe this because Favreau shows his character being a great cook, first. His foreplay with Johansson is literally making a meal for her and you can understand why she or any other woman would bang him senseless. Hell, I’m ready to sleep with him after 2 hours of watching him cook.

SHUFFLE OFF THIS MORTAL COIL
Finally, Heaven is Real closes out the top ten at number ten.

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FOOD PORN IS THE BEST PORN BECAUSE YOU CAN ACTUALLY GET FOOD

12 May

sofia-vergara-in-jeans

1. Neighbors/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 51.1        Total/$ 51.1
2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2/Sony          Wknd/$ 37.2        Total/$ 148.0
3. The Other Woman/Fox                             Wknd/$ 9.3         Total/$ 61.7
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier    Wknd/$ 5.6          Total/$ 245.0
4. Heaven is for Real/TriStar                       Wknd/$ 7.0          Total/$ 75.2
6. Rio 2/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 5.1          Total/$ 113.2
7. Moms’ Night Out/TriS                              Wknd/$ 4.2          Total/$ 4.2
8. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return            Wknd/$ 3.7         Total/$ 3.7
9. Divergent/LGF                                            Wknd/$ 1.7          Total/$ 145.0
10. Brick Mansions/Relativity                      Wknd/$ 1.5         Total/$ 18.3

YOU CAN’T KILL EVIL…ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S UGLY
Neighbors opens big at number one and it’s like some nightmare I’m having as this returns Seth Rogen to the forefront as a comic leading man after wonderfully stumbling with The Guilt Trip and The Green Hornet. My only hope is that this confirms he’s better being partnered with someone else…someone actually attractive and he cannot ever, ever, ever be the male lead who gets the hot girl. No offense, Rose Byrne but Zac Efron is prettier than you and we all know it. You’re actually somewhat attainable for someone like Seth Rogen.

LAMENTATIONS OF AN AGING GEEK
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is down to number two and while I maintain that what makes this movie enjoyable is the characters, let’s not pretend the storyline itself is nothing short of a cosmic mess, but this is what I like to call “Harrison Ford Syndrome.” This is when you so enjoy what’s happening onscreen you don’t stop to think about it. Like Indiana Jones on the sub in Raiders of the Lost Ark, or every single freaking moment of The Fugitive. Because if you do, you realize that it makes little to no sense. You know, like Spider-Man’s plan is basically to kill Electro. No, I’m not kidding. Even though he knows that Electro is a poor schlub that’s been turned into a monster and initially tries to help him, from that point on his big plan is to just blow him up, even though he defeats him with a water hose (which straight from Electro’s first appearance in the comics). There’s never any “I don’t want to hurt you.” Nope. It’s just “let’s blow him up real good!” This a failure of both character and plot, because if there’s one person less likely to kill than even Superman, it’s Peter Parker. But you saw what they did to Superman in Man of Steel. Guess it’s par the course now for you damn kids today.

MRS. SUCCESSFUL PRODUCER/DIRECTOR
The Other Woman is down to number three and are we even pretending that Leslie Mann’s career is based on anything less than being Judd Apatow’s wife? I like her, but let’s not kid ourselves. She’s who you go to in order to make a connection with him or because Sarah Jessica Parker didn’t return your phone calls because she looked at this script and saw for the mildly misogynist treacle it was…or was too expensive. It’s 50/50 with her.

DOUBLE EDGE SWORD
Heaven is Real is down to number four and given Rake was just cancelled is Greg Kinnear happy to have this feather in his cap or is it a mixed blessing given it’s not a “real” movie and would have succeeded with basically anyone in it? I wonder how much work he’s losing to Patrick Wilson who plays similar roles, but is a much better actor?

THEY TRULY LOVE AMERICA
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is down to number five and also in this is Emily VanCamp, best known to most of you and the most ineffective pursuer of Revenge ever. It’s been how many years and she still hasn’t taken that family down!?! Here she’s known as Agent 13, which was also the title Captain America’s girlfriend, Peggy Carter. In the comics it’s no coincidence because she’s, Sharon, the younger sister of Peggy Cater. That was when he reawakened in the early 60’s. As time passed Sharon had to eventually become Peggy’s grandniece, because a woman who was fighting WWII couldn’t have a 29-year-old sister. It hasn’t been made clear if they’re going that route with her here, even though 90-something Peggy Carter does appear. I was impressed that they went hardcore and gave her Alzheimer’s, not making their reunion too touchy feely.

JESUS DOESN’T LIKE FUN OR SO THEY’D HAVE YOU BELIEVE
Rio 2 is down to number six, followed by Mom’s Night Out opening at number seven and how is Leslie Mann not in this? Probably because she doesn’t have to, as this is yet another Christian themed film. How’s that make it any less generic than any Hollywood film with a similar plot? No one has sex or gets high or wants to have sex or get high. And if there’s a divorced woman she’s probably unhappy and a whore.

IT’S ONLY CRAP AND THAT’S ALL
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return opens at number eight and there simply aren’t enough WTF’s for this. This isn’t just an attempt to milk a dead cow, but to milk a dead horse. Even if it were alive you’d still be an idiot. This is based on an Oz sequel written by one Frank L. Baum’s grandkids. He qualifications other than being one of Frank L. Baum’s grandkids? Probably failing at everything else in life, as I’m pretty sure talent isn’t genetic or Mariel Hemmingway’s hiding her talents. He was milking the dead horse and now this film wants to join him and has all the results of what happens when you try to milk a dead horse. Can you imagine how bad a film has to be for the combination of OZ and animation to flop? Personally, I like to think “songs by Bryan Adams” is what did it in, because I still believe in justice.

FOR YOU BEAN COUNTERS
Divergent is down to number nine and this is only $3M away from being profitable by our 3x budget rule of them.

THE END
Finally Brick Mansions closes out the top ten at number ten.

MAKING MORE MUNCHIES THAN WEED
Not entering the Top Ten is Chef, the latest from Jon Favreau since he left or was booted from the director’s chair of Iron Man, depending on which rumor you believe. It’s probably a combination of both. He demanded more money for Iron Man 2, so when it under-performed and he was denied The Avengers he probably threatened to walk and they said “See ya!” If this is his middle finger to them, then they’ve lost creatively if not financially (Iron Man 3 was the highest grossing Iron Man film). It’s not a new story, but there are no new stories. It’s all in how you tell the old ones. Writing, directing and starring, Favreau is a chef in a creative rut under owner Dustin Hoffman. He’s no longer happy doing what he loves and it’s taking its toll on him personally and professionally. He’s not only divorced but neglecting the son who adores him. Finally, a confrontation with an influential blogger pushes him over the edge and he leaves to restart with a food truck. What makes this more of an indie film than a mainstream film is the time it takes to get to Favreau’s breakdown and his eventual rise from the ashes. His should fall by minute 30, spend 31-60 fighting back and 61 – 90 is his triumphant return. Not so here in this near two hour film where the time is used to make all these events feel more organic. Also, uncomfortable moments aren’t skipped over or blown out of proportion so mouth-breathers can get it. His blow up on critic Oliver Platt is as uncomfortable to watch as such an actual breakdown would be. Also, his neglect of his son’s needs isn’t sugar coated. He makes mistakes all the way up to the end only realizing it thanks to his son’s non-stop efforts to get his father’s love. It’s not perfect. His comeback is effortless, lacking any real struggle and filled with hipster cameos and Sofia Vergara is just too perfect a loving, supportive ex-wife and not much more. Her role could have used a few more layers. Is she really not just a little bit angry at how he treats their son in his clear depression? And characters that were very important to the beginning just kinda vanish, which some would say is more like real life, yes, but in real life people who are important to you, just don’t disappear because that actor or actress clearly didn’t have more time to shoot. But it’s clearly a film about a man who loves food directed by a man who loves food and its preparation is so lovingly depicted I left starving. There is no greater praise for a movie about cooking. Normally, I’d rip on a film showing Favreau being married to and now banging Scarlett Johansson, but unlike the masturbatory fantasy of John Turturro who is a gigolo hired by Sofia Vergara and Sharon Stone for a threesome, you can believe this because Favreau shows his character being a great cook, first. His foreplay with Johansson is literally making a meal for her and you can understand why she or any other woman would bang him senseless. Hell, I’m ready to fuck him after 2 hours of watching him cook.

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