Tag Archives: paul thomas anderson

THE MONEY MACHINE ROLLS ON

4 May

Tyrese-Gibson-Goes-Off-on-Fat-People-Look-at-What-You-Did-to-Yourself-2
1. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney Wknd/$ 187.7 Total/$ 187.7
2. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate Wknd/$ 6.3 Total/$ 23.4
3. Furious 7/Universal Wknd/$ 6.1 Total/$ 330.5
4. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Wknd/$ 5.6 Total/$ 44.0
5. Home/Fox Wknd/$ 3.3 Total/$ 158.1
6. Cinderella/Disney Wknd/$ 2.4 Total/$ 193.7
7. Ex Machina/A24 Wknd/$ 2.2 Total/$ 10.9
8. Unfriended/Universal Wknd/$ 1.9 Total/$ 25.2
9. The Longest Ride/Fox Wknd/$ 1.7 Total/$ 30.4
10. Woman in Gold/Weinstein Wknd/$ 3.5 Total/$ 21.6

WATCH ME GET MY GEEK ON!
Surprising absolutely no one, Avengers: Age of Ultron opens at number one and I found this to be superior to the original because it’s more of a movie unto itself and not so much concerned with setting up the next film. This is not to say it’s not setting up the next movie. Oh, no. They’re not afraid to let you know they’re saving shit for you to pay for later. But it’s less of an obvious placeholder. Scenes that showcase every character individually are less forced and even the sub-plots don’t drop like so many lead weights. And last but not least, there’s no 10-minute sequence where Captain America and Iron Man fix an engine. Seriously. I cannot believe they shot that. The movie opens in full swing with The Avengers going after Hydra, which if you remember where the bad guys in Captain America’s two movies because god forbid he fight a Nazi (yes, I will forever be annoyed by that). There they recover Loki’s scepter from the first film and from it Tony Stark creates an artificial intelligence known as Ultron, whom he intends to use to protect the world from the next invasion. Unfortunately Ultron more than has a mind of its own and thinks humanity is the problem and just plans to wipe us all out, Stark in particular. This sets up the basic plot of the film: superheroes vs. giant angry robot. With Ultron are two enhanced (because Fox owns the rights to the term mutant) people who also hate Tony Stark, Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch making more of a fair fight and actually kicking Avenger ass. Ultron is longtime Avengers villain in the comic whom I actually have never cared for, but James Spader via writer/director Whedon has been improved immensely. Before he was just a one note bad guy while they’ve given him a much-needed personality, which is basically what if your angry, sarcastic teenage son had the power to wipe out the world? He hates Tony Stark but has elements of Stark’s personality and hates being reminded of that. You need these moments of humanity given 90% of the film they’re swimming in a sea of CGI and it gets a little tiring. Seriously. It’s fun to watch, but when it’s over you really don’t need to see any more of it anytime soon (which why I had Daredevil to watch, but we’ll get to that). Ironically the Summer Movie Season has more or less begun, so I guess I’ll be seeing more of it next week. And the week after that. And the week after that.

GONNA FINALLY SEE THAT KESSEL RUN!
Age of Adaline actually moves up to number two, a result I gather of women (or men) who just drew a line in the sand and decided not to accompany their men (or women) into seeing Age of Ultron (which would explain why the sequel failed to be top its predecessor). Basically, if they were going to watch some wacky fantasy movie, it was going to be something they were actually interested in with more kissing and less CGI. Also in this is Harrison Ford and playing him younger, Anthony Ingruber who basically got the job doing Harrison Ford impressions on YouTube. You damn kids today. Once upon a time you had to sleep your way into movies. Granted, it helps that he looks like Ford, but can also do him perfectly. If I’m at Disney I’m hiring this kid and just creating a new revenue stream of Young Han Solo movies. Tell me more people wouldn’t see that than the main Star Wars films themselves!?! And now that Lucas is gone there’d be a whole lot of shootin’ first!

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THAT SINGING CAREER?
Furious 7 is down to number three and trying to get on the comic book money train is Tyrese Gibson. Not that I blame him, but I do not want to see this fool as any character I actually care about. Not to mention at 5’11 he’s too short to play the character he wanted, who was Luke Cage (who will have a series on Netflix like Daredevil, but we’ll get to that). That role went to Mike Colter from The Good Wife, who is 6’3”. Damn right. Now Gibson wants to be Jon Stewart, one of the Green Lanterns. Given how Ryan Reynolds crashed and burned, DC will probably go that way. I mean given how bad all their other decisions have been, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gibson got the job. Needless to say, I don’t give a crap about Jon Stewart. I mean, I didn’t care when Common’s talentless ass was cast as him for the aborted Justice League movie, so why would I start now?

THEY’LL PAY FOR THIS NEGLECT IN THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is down to number four, followed by Home at number five and Cinderella oddly returning to the top ten at number six. I have no idea how or why. The number of screens actually dropped by almost a thousand and still it popped up. Again, I’m thinking somehow The Avengers had something to do with this. Short sighted fathers who dropped their daughters off here instead of taking them with their brothers to see The Avengers.

IT’S ALWAYS BETTER TO RULE IN HELL
Ex Machina is down to number seven, followed by Unfriended at number eight, The Longest Ride at number nine and The Woman in Gold at number ten and it’s gotta be humbling at home for Ryan Reynolds with Blake Lively’s movie getting more exposure than his. Especially when she’s the star of hers and he’s the co-star of Helen Mirren. Yeah, technically this did better, but is it better to the co-star in a success of the star of a disappointment?

YOU’D HAVE TO BE BLIND NOT TO LOVE THIS.
Since we’re discussing The Avengers and other comic book movies, it’s time I got to my long overdue discussion of Daredevil (told you we’d get to it). Simply put: it’s awesome. Seriously. Forget about that godawful movie with Ben Affleck that even he admits was crap. This. Is. Amazing. Netfilix and Marvel have pulled off something I quite frankly had my doubts about. I know it’s not saying much but this is best superhero TV show ever made. It is gritty and serious as a heart attack, but they make it work. It helps they have time. It’s not so much at TV show, but a 13-hour movie. Each episode builds on the previous episode to a great climax. Having been a fan of the comics this is based upon, my jaw dropped at some of the scenes. They’re making it clear that the comics are merely source material and they feel no obligation to follow them to the letter. Their changes are amazing and may have set the bar too high for them to follow, much less other shows that are coming set in this same world. One primary reason is the villain. It’s an old conceit that your movie can only be as good as its villain and Vincent D’Onofrio brings to life a great villain, The Kingpin. He’s not some two-dimensional bad guy, but a fully realized traumatized human being who has been consumed by his darkside, though he doesn’t admit it even to himself. The other saying is that a good villain is the hero of his own story and in this Wilson Fisk (never called The Kingpin, because what is this, a comic book?) firmly believes he’s saving the city. This city is the New York post-Avengers alien invasion. Hell’s Kitchen isn’t the new home of luxury high rises and nice restaurants that’s threatening to price me out of it, but the crime ridden HK of old thanks to the damage of the alien invasion The Avengers fought off. In a plotline all too real, criminals are making the most of all the new money coming in to redevelop the area. Having grown up there, Fisk thinks he’s saving his old neighborhood and the city with a small consortium of organized crime leaders, from Yakuza to Triads to Russian Mobs (clearly the Italians and Irish are old news). Unfortunately for him, Daredevil, aka, Matt Murdock also grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and is having none of it, going out every night dressed in black, using his hyper senses (developed when he was blinded by radioactive chemicals saving a man’s life) to find crime and beat the crap out of people committing it. They actually make you believe one unarmed guy can derail a business of armed gangsters. It’s fairly simple: you screw up their business enough and the partners start getting impatient and wind up finishing them off. They also do a great job of fleshing out the supporting characters. In the comics Vanessa, The Kingpin’s love interest, is a borderline idiot who has no idea he’s a gangster. Here she’s a woman knowing enough to bring a gun on her second date. She knows what he is and not only accepts it, but helps him somewhat. Karen Page is the secretary/love interest with little going on beyond that in the comics, but here she goes from being a damsel in distress to a pit bull determined to take The Kingpin down no matter what it takes. Daredevil himself had the sense of humor that comes and goes in the comics (depending on who’s writing) and takes a fairly realistic beating for someone fighting crime with no superpowers. When his ability to take a pounding without complaining is pointed out, he quips, “That’s the Catholicism in me.” Seriously, I cannot recommend this enough. It’s not perfect (Asians take it only the chin in all kinds of stereotypes and Daredevil functions a little too well despite vicious beatings). Let me put it this way: just make it to the hallway scene in episode two. That’s when I knew this was the real deal.

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DREDD HARDER

23 Sep

1. End of Watch/ORF                                    Wknd/$  13.0            Total/$  13.0

 2. House at the End of the Street                Wknd/$  13.0            Total/$  13.0

 3. Trouble with the Curve/Warners           Wknd/$  12.7             Total/$  12.7

 4. Finding Nemo 3D/Disney                        Wknd/$     9.4            Total/$  30.0

 5. Resident Evil Retribution/SG                  Wknd/$     6.7            Total/$  33.5

 6. Dredd/LGF                                                  Wknd/$     6.3            Total/$    6.3

 7. The Master/Weinstein                              Wknd/$     5.0            Total/$    6.1

 8. The Possession/LGF                                 Wknd/$     2.6            Total/$  45.7

 9. Lawless/Weinstein                                    Wknd/$     2.3            Total/$  34.5

10. ParaNorman/Focus                                  Wknd/$     2.3            Total/$  52.6

 

HE LOVES LA

End of Watch and House at the End of the Street both grossed $13M this weekend but End of Watch gets the nod for number one because it opened in fewer theaters and still grossed as much as H.A.T.E.S.—hey, that’s not my idea. That’s what the marketing, aka MWTTC (Morons Who Think They’re Clever) calls House At The End of the Street because only someone with a degree in Marketing thinks that’s how acronyms work.  End of Watch was written and directed by David Ayers who apparently wants to be to LA cops what John Ford was to westerns and what Martin Scorsese is to gangsters as this is the sixth film he’s written about the subject (Fast & The Furious, Training Day, Dark Blue, S.W.A.T, Harsh Times) and the third he’s directed (Harsh Times, Street Kings). Hey, you should do what you know as apparently that’s where he used to run around when he was a teenager.  But he’s originally from the Midwest, which is why the cops are clearly his “cowboys” and everyone else is an “indian” and like American Indians why they’re doing what they’re doing doesn’t matter, only the “cowboys.”  But I’ve enjoyed what he’s done for the most part. SWAT is a guilty pleasure I watch whenever it’s on cable; Street Kings (based on a novel of LA noir king himself, James Ellroy) wasn’t bad and Training Day was actually good except for a ham-fisted ending (so people could see evil was punished!).  The only problem I have with his work is the same problem I have with this: casting. Tell me the problem with this sentence: “Ethan Hawke is a tough LA Cop.”  And this one: “Kurt Russell is a tough LA cop.” Here’s another: “KEANU REEVES is a tough LA cop.”  Here’s a twofer: “Colin Farrell is an ex-NAVY SEAL now a tough LA cop.”  And now we have Jake Gyllenhaal is a tough LA cop (also an ex-marine so I guess you can watch this back-to-back with Jarhead). Now, I know compromises have to be made in casting to get a film made. Studios aren’t coughing up millions to have a nobody in the lead no matter how talented, but there’s compromise and there’s give me a fucking break. Shaving his head and hitting the gym doesn’t make Jake Gyllenhaal look tough. It makes him look like an insecure guy who wants to seem tough.  It doesn’t help that the trailer shows them next to guys who are actually big and tough which only makes them seem like kids dressed up for Halloween.

 

RIGHT NEAR THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE

House at The End of The Street (which actually is HATEOTS because you don’t get to pick and choose which “the” you use) opens at number two and we all know my rule: I don’t do the scary.  No matter how lame or stupid, I simply do not pay to be scared in a world where Mother Nature and my fellow humans and the occasional squirrel are willing to do it for free. Seriously. Have you ever run across one of those city squirrels that not only doesn’t run from you but stares at you with those cold, black eyes? Nuh-uh. Not paying for the privilege.  Nor am I paying to be reminded how damn old I am with the new Hot Young Thing, Jennifer Lawrence, playing Elizabeth Shue’s daughter.  She’s the daughter of the babysitter from Adventures in Babysitting!  And this just helps to secure her place as a new star.  She already had straight-up acting and indie film cred with an Oscar nomination for Winter’s Bone.  Then she got mainstream blockbuster cred with X-Men: First Class and of course Hunger Games.  Now here’s a genre film to show her solid earning capability in just about anything.  Soon she too will inappropriately cast as something because it was the only way the film could be made.  See pretty much anything the cast members of Twilight or Harry Potter have made as examples of this.  Robert Pattinson is not an 19th century gigolo.

 

THE TROUBLE WITH SPORTS MOVIES

Trouble With The Curve opens at number three, proving that Clint Eastwood’s giant publicity stunt to promote it at the Republican convention didn’t work out as well as he planned. Oh, come on.  Don’t tell me you didn’t find it somewhat coincidental that he did just before he had a film coming out? You probably also think it’s a coincidence that the Twilight kids had a scandal just as he had an art film coming out that no one would even remotely have heard of otherwise. And look, they just “coincidentally” got back together in time to push the last Twilight film. Come on, people. Get with the program! There are no coincidences!  That said, this looks like another one of those films that escaped from either Hallmark or Lifetime to the big screen and gobbled up an A-list along the way, so utterly clichéd it is with daddy issues and baseball as a metaphor for life.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Look for it to run back-to-back with Field of Dreams on cable in the near future.  My problem is that it’s come out too late in the year.  This probably would have had me and a few other people were it not in competition with football season and the race to the playoffs of actual baseball (not that I’m watching baseball any place than in a movie).

 

UGLY USE OF PRETTY PEOPLE

Finding Nemo 3D is down to number four followed by Resident Evil Retribution at number five and do you know how bad a movie has to be to make seeing beautiful people fighting and blowing shit up seem unappealing?  Mila Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Boris Jodjoe and Oded Fehr wouldn’t look out of place in a fashion ad and honestly that’s all I want from my stupid action film casting.  Hire real actors to play the bad guys.  But Paul W.S. Anderson is so inept not even the idea of seeing Michelle Rodriguez playing not one but two roles (one good, one evil) is appealing to me and I loves me some Michelle Rodriquez.  Still waiting on her to get her own action movie and stop dying in everyone else’s (Fast & The Furious, Resident Evil, Avatar).

 

DREDD HARDER

Dredd 3D—seriously, that’s what it’s called letting you know what they consider important—opens at number six and this is the second attempt to create a Judge Dredd franchise, the first being the Sylvester Stallone misfire, Judge Dredd where they violated the single basic rule of the character: Dredd never takes his helmet off.  Ever.  It’s the equivalent of making a Superman movie and not having him fly.  Ever.  But of course that concept wasn’t flying in Hollywood where you have to see your star.  Why the hell else do you think Spider-man’s mask keeps getting torn off in the final act of his movies, even though you see Peter Parker constantly?  Hollywood morons are convinced you’re going to have a problem not seeing a face you just saw five seconds ago.  Now as bad a misfire as that was, one thing they did get right was a sense of humor because is Judge Dredd is a SATIRICAL CHARACTER!  Aside from being about a completely fascist society where your hero kills supporters of democracy, in the comics there are actual violent wars between Burger King and McDonalds and even the Jolly Green Giant shows up to face off against Dredd.  So guess what this film leaves out?  It’s fine as a straight-ahead action movie and yes, Judge Dredd is never seen without his helmet, but that’s all it is.  It’s actually as generic an action film as you can get.  Tough veteran cop (every cop movie) gets rookie partner who happens to be idealistic (every other movie) and is female (every third cop movie) who faces a trial by fire (every other cop movie) when they walk into a remake of Die Hard. Seriously.  They’re trapped in a building and besieged by gangs of…well, gangs.  Not to mention Karl Urban is doing an impression of Clint Eastwood the whole time.  There’s nothing really to set it apart which is sad because god knows it’s still better than any of the Resident Evil movies.

 

HEY, IT AIN’T RADIO

The Master enters the top ten at number seven and this is NOT about creator of Scientology as writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson will tell you. It’s just a lot like him and his life.  That way you don’t get sued and have Tom Cruise and John Travolta throwing eggs at your house.  Paul Thomas Anderson—the actually talented “Paul Anderson” in Hollywood and in this top ten—tends to make films that you either appreciate for their brilliance or spend your time checking your watch for when you’ll leave this pretentious misery. Though everyone seems to have enjoyed Boogie Nights, some would sooner die than sit through Punch Drunk Love, Magnolia and even There Will Be Blood again.  I tend to lean more towards the pretentious misery side, which is why I haven’t seen this yet.  Also, I really don’t like Joaquin Phoenix.  No reason.  I mean no valid reason.  Finding someone fugly is simply not a valid reason to dislike them as an actor, right?  I mean, he’s not playing a model or superhero or lead in a romantic comedy where you’d want someone exceptionally attractive.  Okay, I find him utterly lacking in any type of charm as well.  I mean, Mark Walberg’s ugly too but he has charm and sex appeal.  Joaquin Phoenix is just a boring ugly guy and that’s a hard road to haul for me.  Especially for two hours and seventeen minutes.

 

HOW TO PAY YOUR MORTGAGE HOLLYWOOD STYLE

The Possession is down to number eight and as we’ve discussed before how genre films are an easy way to bolster one’s resume because they have a built in audience.  Like family films this is where you find the up and coming (like Jennifer Lawrence earlier) and those who are older and need a bump, which is why Jeffery Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick here.  Jeffery Dean Morgan leapt up from obscurity thanks to the Denny Duquette storyline back when Grey’s Anatomy was the hottest show on TV.  One day no one knows who he is, the next day he’s starring in movies like The Losers and The Watchmen (both based on comic books, but only the former is any good because Zack Snyder couldn’t direct traffic on a one way street).  Unfortunately, they didn’t succeed which is why he’s now on a pay cable series and here.  Likewise, after years on a successful TV show Kyra Sedgwick is dipping her toe in the cinematic waters again and what better way than in a genre film where she doesn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting?  And it was good for them both as this has made $45M off a $15M budget, meaning it’s an uncontested hit and whoever survived to the end might have a sequel to look forward to.

 

SPEAKING OF UGLY ACTORS I HATE

Lawless is down to number nine bringing us one step closer to a world without Shia Lebouf as some kind of star. I mean Steven Spielberg’s will can only extend so far, right?  Years ago when indie movies where the thing there was something called Project Greenlight where you entered a contest and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck picked your script to produce and they filmed making of it.  The first one was a movie where Shia Lebouf was cast as the lead and even then he was an obnoxious little shit.  And he was more than enabled by his delusional agent, who while bargaining insisted they’d need Shia Lebouf free for Oscar season.  For what film you ask?  Holes.  No, I’m not kidding.  On the show you could see Amy Smart could barely stand him and on this Mia Wasikowska has openly said she wanted to leave because of him.  So when you see him acting like a jerk in movies, he’s not acting.

 

THE END TO A BAD DECISION

Finally ParaNorman closes out the top ten at number ten and I still insist it was stupid to release this so far in advance of Halloween.

 

AND AT 9:00 “SINGING TALENT SHOW”

The most wonderful time of the year continues as the new fall season rolls out. I try to give most everything at least one shot and this week that brings us to Mob Doctor, which if nothing else wins for “title most stating the obvious.”  Next week I look forward to “Tough Honest Cop” followed by “A Group of Funny White People In An Urban Setting.”   This show stars Jordan Spiro, last seen in the underrated My Boys and by most casting directors as that girl you call when Kate Hudson in unavailable (though Kate Hudson herself is to be found on freaking Glee).  She plays the title character as a young medical resident in debt to a local mob boss over her brother’s dealings with him.  This is based on an Italian TV show and I hope they do it a bit better because this suffers from the malady that plagues most shows, which is what I call “dwarfism.”  All other characters have to be made smaller to make your lead seem greater.  No one else can care more about the shot 11-year-old boy that she does.  No one else can care about the working class girl who winds up pregnant than she does. No one.  This is what made that horrible show Fairly Legal so unbearable.  They toy with her breaking the rules, but it’s always for the right reasons. When the shot 11-year-old boy dies, she extorts the chief of surgery to get the surgeon who blew it disciplined.  To protect the teen girl she pushes her boyfriend to lie to the father about the pregnancy to get permission for surgery, which is illegal.  She clearly has no problem breaking rules or laws or flat out manipulating people but she’s still supposed to be the pure hero of our story of a good person in a bad situation.  Even when they hamfistedly have someone point out to her “You like being in power,” it’s toward a situation where it doesn’t apply as opposed to the obvious situation where it does.  This is the difference between cable shows like Mad Men and mainstream shows. There, the characters own their darkness.  On cable she’d probably be in this situation because of her own doing (borrowed money from the mob for med school) and clearly shown not to be so much a victim of the mob as more like them than she cared to admit.  You can only consistently do so many bad things and still be a “good” person.  Now, shows can grow enormously from their pilots (see the Seinfeld pilot for an example of this), but I don’t have much faith in this to consistently present her as any more than a good person in a bad situation rather than a person trying to rise above the darkness that is clearly very much part of her so I won’t be back.

 

FALL IN TO ALL NEW BAD TV

17 Sep

1. Resident Evil Retribution/SG                  Wknd/$   21.1            Total/$  21.1

 2. Finding Nemo 3D/Disney                       Wknd/$   17.5            Total/$  17.5

 3. The Possession/LGF                                 Wknd/$     5.8            Total/$  41.2

 4. Lawless/Weinstein                                    Wknd/$     4.2            Total/$  30.1

 5. ParaNorman/Focus                                   Wknd/$     3.4            Total/$  49.3

 6. The Expendables 2/LGF                           Wknd/$     3.0            Total/$  66.3

 7. The Words/CBS                                          Wknd/$     2.9            Total/$   9.2

 8. The Bourne Legacy/Universal                 Wknd/$     2.9            Total/$ 107.8

9. The Odd Life of Timothy Green                Wknd/$     2.5            Total/$  46.3

10. The Campaign/Warners                           Wknd/$     2.4            Total/$  82.9

 

I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE

Resident Evil: Retribution (aka, Resident Evil Far Too Many) opens at number one and is it better to rule in hell or serve in heaven, because with her own action franchise where she’s the hero and not “the girl” is definitely ruling for Milla Jovovich, but it’s a shitty, shitty franchise so she’s in hell.  And it’s a hell run by none other than her husband, director Paul W. S. Anderson. The “WS” due the unlikely occurrence that someone might confuse him with the other Paul Anderson. Paul Thomas Anderson, director of Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, etc.  You think that’s the Paul Anderson Milla was looking to sleep with when she hooked up with this hack?  You think when she runs into Maya Rudolph—who actually is married to the Paul Thomas Anderson—at parties, Maya has to stifle a laugh?  Like his more talented namesake, this Anderson is a double threat, as he also writes his movies, but unlike the other Paul Anderson “threat” isn’t merely a figure of speech. He truly is a threat to screenplay writing, lowering the bar with every film. So how does this series continue?  Well, it had a production budget of $65M and has already made $71M worldwide.  Remember this the next time some pretentious pseudo intellect is going on at a party about how Hollywood is stupid and foreign films are better.  It’s foreign audiences keeping our dumbest film franchises going (they also refuse to see films starring black people other than Will Smith).  I saw the first two of these and that was two more than I needed to ever see, least of all #5…where zombies ride motorcycles. You wish I were joking.

 

FINDING NEW MONEY IN OLD PLACES

Finding Nemo 3D opens at number two and this has become Hollywood’s latest cash cow; taking successful movies and re-releasing them in 3D as a precursor to a 3D DVD release.  So it’s actually triple dipping and proof that the weak-minded and their money are soon parted.  Seriously, Find Nemo may actually be my favorite Pixar movie and even be their best, which is seriously saying something, but there was no way I was going to pay just to see this in 3D.  In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit I’m one of those people who gets a headache after watching something in 3D, but I do lots of crap that makes me feel bad afterwards (like the giant bowl of Fruit Loops I just had at 7:00 pm), but those things are always worth it (like the second bowl I’ll probably have at midnight).  I’ve yet to see a movie that I found was worth it, much less one that wasn’t even shot for 3D and is a naked money-grabbing ploy. 

 

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID

The Possession is down to number three, followed by Lawless at number four, ParaNorman at number five and The Expendables 2 at number six, and with a $100M budget this has made $238M worldwide, so number three is as inevitable as the aging process that made its existence possible to begin with.  What’s sad is that Jason Statham should be in the prime of his own solo action career but his refusal to work in anything with a lot of special effects has kept his career grounded at a solid “B.”  The only time he’s in A-list films is as a co-star and yes, this is A-list and he’s far from the most interesting member of the cast or biggest star.

 

PLEASE SIR OR MADAM WOULD YOU WATCH ME READ MY BOOK?

The Words is down to number seven and I have a weakness for movies and TV shows about writers since I once fantasized about being one, but this lost me the moment I learned what the real plot was. You think it’s about Bradley Cooper as a struggling writer to steals another man’s work.  But that’s actually the book that Dennis Quaid has written and is reading to the audience. Yes, it’s one of those “story within a story” movies and honestly learning that Cooper’s “not real” killed my interest because in your fantasy you want to be a young (relatively speaking) good-looking writer, not 50-something Dennis Quaid. Not to say that it can’t work. The French Lieutenant’s Woman is a movie about the making of The French Lieutenant’s Woman novel into a movie and the actors playing the leads have their own affair while the movie switches back and forth between the two stories.  Ironically, Jeremy Irons was in that one too but clearly lightning wasn’t striking twice.

 

THE BOURNE IDIOCY

The Bourne Legacy is down to number eight and this is one of those movies where the more you think about it the dumber it gets.  It’s also one of those movies where the writer moves to the director’s chair and shows he really can’t focus on two things at the same time and needed someone to challenge his script.  Without it you get scenes like a character being diagnosed as a potential suicide by the very assassins sent there to kill her and make it seem like a suicide. If someone is coming to kill you and make it look like suicide chances are slim they’re going to pretend to be doctors talk to you about suicide first.

 

THE ODD ACTING CAREER OF COMMON

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is down to number nine and also in this is Common and honestly, who the fuck keeps giving him acting jobs!?!  Even for a rapper he’s bad.

 

LET’S TALK BUCKS

Finally, The Campaign closes out the top ten at ten.  This has made $85M dollars, which would be a tad more impressive if we knew how much it cost.  You think something with no special effects or exotic settings would be cheap, but Will Ferrell and Zack Galifinakis are now the top of the comedy food chain and their presence alone could cost upwards to $20-30M.  Then you have to pay for everything else, so this could easily have cost $50-60M film, so rather than success with $85M you’re worried just about breaking even.

 

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR (FOR REALS)

In case you missed it, I love TV and the new Fall season is my favorite time of the year even though we now have spring and summer seasons. Back in the before time the TV Fall Preview Issue was one of the biggest magazines of the year.  It actually started this year during The Olympics with NBC giving sneak previews of its shows “Go Now” and “Animal Hospital” making twice in his career that Matthew Perry has been shown up by a monkey. 

 

Go Now stars Perry as a sportsradio host forced by Harold of Harold & Kumar to go to therapy over the death of his [Perry] wife in a car accident.  It’s one of those shows that clearly thinks it’s being “sophisticated” to have such a dark center, but ultimately lacks the talent you’d need to pull this off,  so it just comes off as a cheap device. The supposed humor comes from the decades old device of “wacky people in therapy” but you know inevitably they will also have their moment of “faux” drama. This basically hinges on how much you like Perry and I don’t like him that much. 

 

Animal Hospital, better known as “That Monkey Doctor Show NBC Cut Off Part of the Olympic Closing Ceremonies To Air” has no airs of pretension.  It’s just as silly as hell and wallows in it from start to finish and because of that it works.  The only drawback is an Asian character that is weak-willed and simpering and apparently has a dominating wife, so you’re getting two stereotypes for the price of one. Other than that the ancient adage remains true: monkey funny.  Seriously, that monkey cracks my shit up.

 

Revolution is also up for previews online or on-demand and as a geek I’m a sucker for science fiction, but this is beyond stupid.  I mean it makes shows on the SyFy Channel look good.  Okay, so just by watching we’ve agreed to the premise that something has happed to knock out electricity all over the globe.  Fine.  But why exactly isn’t steam power being used to do anything?  Did it knock out all scientific knowledge too?  Mankind built many a civilization pre-electricity.  And we’re supposed to accept that with as many fucking guns as there are in America, in 15 years we’ll be back to battling with swords, arrows and flintlocks?  I won’t even get into everyone being dressed like they just came fresh out of H&M without a single nick or tear in their stylish clothing.  I like the actor Billy Burke and pretty much put myself through this to watch a nice action sequence where he essentially wipes out a platoon of men by himself.  God knows the lead is unbearable.  There’s stupid and then there’s a straight up dumbass.  In the first ten minutes she almost gets her younger brother killed by going exploring and when chastised for it by her father we learn her mother also died in the dangerous post apocalyptic wilderness, but clearly this didn’t make the needed impression on her because later even after she’s almost raped she still acts bratty when told to be careful. Let’s get this straight: mom killed, brother almost killed, father killed and she’s almost raped, but don’t you dare tell her to be careful. Oh, and her stupidity is why Billy Burke (who is her uncle) has to fight a platoon of men  This is our hero?

 

The New Normal continues Ryan Murphy delusion that he’s clever and boundary breaking, but by now I think everyone knows the emperor has no clothes. Yes, I know everyone loves Glee and it taught some valuable lessons on tolerance, but did we miss that to do it he used the most stereotypically flaming gay character ever to do it and none of it was exactly subtle.  It got to the point where it was like being yelled at to be a better person for an hour while showtunes played in the background.  And he may be a victim of his own success, because it’s not exactly odd for two gay men—much less affluent ones—in LA to have a child.  At least Glee was squarely in the America Midwest.  And again one of the male gay characters is just stereotypically gay and I won’t even get into NeNe Leakes continuing to mine America’s love of an outlandish ghetto princesses (I don’t which is worse; that she doesn’t know the role she’s playing or she does).  What I don’t understand is why 50-something Ellen Barkin is playing the grandmother to a 20-something girl?  Why isn’t she just her mother?  Sadly, I love Ellen Barkin so much I may just try to continue watching this for a few weeks.

 

I usually try to give everything a shot, but some things are simply too stupid, like Guys With Kids. Seriously?  We’re in the twenty-first-fucking-century and a man taking care of a baby is still considered unique enough to build a show around?  Seriously?  If two gay men with a child isn’t odd, what the fuck do you think this is?  Not to mention Anthony Anderson is in it and he’ll always be the “black Tom Arnold” to me and a sure sign of crap.  I will never watch this.