Tag Archives: Paula Patton

SOMEONE MADE A BETTER VERSION OF THIS ALREADY

31 Aug

Shannyn-Sossamon-1
1. Straight Outta Compton/Universal     Wknd/$ 13.2   Total/$ 134.1
2. War Room/TriStar                                 Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 11.0
3. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation     Wknd/$ 8.3     Total/$ 170.4
4. No Escape/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 8.3     Total/$ 10.4
5. Sinister 2/Focus                                      Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 18.5
6. The Man from UNCLE/Paramount    Wknd/$ 4.4      Total/$ 34.1
7. Hitman: Agent 47/Fox                           Wknd/$ 3.9      Total/$ 15.3
8. The Gift/STX                                            Wknd/$ 3.1     Total/$ 36.0
9. Jurassic World/Universal                     Wknd/$ 3.1      Total/$ 643.1
10. Ant-Man/Disney                                   Wknd/$ 3.1      Total/$ 169.2

HEY, I HEAR THIS RAP THING MAKES MONEY
Straight Outta Compton holds at number one and sound you just heard is the Tupac bio being greenlit because naked greed makes for short memories. Clearly that Biggie had a bio-pic that no one saw (which had Tupac in it) is being put down to bad marketing.

EVEN JESUS WAS OUT WATCHING NWA
War Room opens at number two and this is one of those Christian “niche” films that opens up from time-to-time. In fact it’s super-niche as its Black Christian. Sadly, I know exactly who the audience is for this. Relatively speaking it’s a success, but note that an R-rated film about a rap group from 30-years ago on its third weeks still made three times as much, so don’t break your arm having Jesus pat you on the back.

MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL CAREER MOVE
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is down to number three and Alec Baldwin is the latest in the series of “serious actors” cast as Tom Cruise’s superior to ground the series as something more than silly popcorn…which it totally is. It’s mutually beneficial. The series gets grounding and the “serious actor” gets exposure to an audience that wouldn’t have seen them otherwise and presumably a nice paycheck for a day’s work. This was pioneered in the superhero film (Marlon Brando and Gene Hackman in Superman; Jack Nicholson and Jack Palance in Batman). The first was obviously Jon Voight, followed by Anthony Hopkins, then Laurence Fishburne, then Tom Wilkinson. I expect the sixth film will go the James Bond route and hire a “serious” female actor. I’m thinking Meryl Streep. Mainly because she hasn’t done a superhero movie yet and she’s clearly in the “I’m Just Gonna Have Some Fucking Fun” stage of her career. Plus Cruise already worked with her once so he has an “in.”

HONESTLY WHO CARES ABOUT A SERIOUS OWEN WILSON?
No Escape opens at number four and honestly who thought this was a wide release film even at the end of the summer? And I can’t help but feeling I’ve seen the “Americans trapped in country of revolution” film before. Given that Pierce Brosnan is in this it feels like it should have been about him as a CIA agent there toppling a government when he feels an obligation to get a family out. That’s so much more interesting that this movie which seems to be about rightfully pissed off rebels trying to kill all the people they rightly feel are responsibility for their problems (Owen Wilson’s character brings his family there as part of a corporate job).

ANY RESEMBLANCE TO LISA BONET IS PURELY DELIGHTFUL
Sinister 2 is down to number four and in this is Shannyn Sossamon. Remember her from the turn of the century? She’s sooooo pretty. But hey, they’re a dime a dozen in Hollywood and her career is proof of it. Nonetheless, I’ve a special affection for her and am glad to see her still working, especially in a genre franchise, which puts an easy win on her resume. And I just learned she’s going to be on Sleepy Hollow this fall…, which means I have to give it another chance when I was read to write it off after the second season. Sigh.

EXCEPT FOR THAT
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is down to number five and Arnie Hammer simply cannot catch a break. He started so high up with great performance in The Social Network, but has had the worst luck in projects sense then, but it’s totally understandable. How do you say “No” to a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio directed by Clint Eastwood (J. Edgar)? How do you turn down a movie with Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)? How do you turn down a potential franchise with Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger)? And finally, how do you turn down a second potential franchise directed by Guy Ritchie? All his mistakes are understandable from a conventional career viewpoint. They all looked like smart choices. Unless you’re familiar with the hit-and-miss nature of Eastwood’s work, that almost every movie Julia Roberts has made sucks and that Johnny Depp is a soulless, pretentious whore.

IT’S A PREJUDICE!
Hitman: Agent 47 is down to number six and Zachary Quinto is in this, clearly realizing his options after playing Spock are more limited to genre films than he realized. Seriously, being openly gay is nothing compared to getting famous through science fiction. Just ask Mark Hamill. Oh, you say Harrison Ford? What the fuck do you call Indiana Jones? What Lies Beneath? Even Jack Ryan. He was just in big, successful genre films. His Working Girls and Fugitives are not what made him a superstar. His resume is more populated with Regarding Henry, The Mosquito Coast, Sabrina, Six Days Seven Nights, Random Hearts, Hollywood Homicide…etc.

THE END
The Gift is down to number eight, followed by Jurassic World returning for one last time at the end of summer and Ant-Man closing out the top ten at number ten.

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TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE MUNCHIES

24 Aug

eisencera
1. Straight Outta Compton/Universal            Wknd/$ 26.8   Total/$ 111.5
2. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation            Wknd/$ 11.7    Total/$ 157.8
3. Sinister 2/Focus                                             Wknd/$ 10.6   Total/$ 10.6
4. Hitman: Agent 47/Fox                                  Wknd/$ 8.2     Total/$ 26.6
5. The Man from UNCLE/Paramount            Wknd/$ 7.4     Total/$ 26.6
6. American Ultra/LGF                                     Wknd/$ 5.5     Total/$ 5.5
7. The Gift/STX                                                   Wknd/$ 4.3     Total/$ 31.1
8. Ant-Man/Disney                                             Wknd/$ 4.1     Total/$ 164.5
9. Minions/Universal                                        Wknd/$ 3.7      Total/$ 320.0
10. Fantastic Four/Fox                                      Wknd/$ 3.7      Total/$ 49.6

ALSO I’VE NEVER SEEN FRIDAY AND NEVER WILL
Straight Out of Compton holds at number one and now that I know that director F. Gary Gray was the cameraman who watched Dr. Dre beat Dee Barnes chances of me seeing this went from slim to nil. I’ve always said you should be careful in looking into the private life of anyone creative because you probably won’t like what you find. History is filled with examples of the most talented people you can imagine being utterly fucking despicable. From Wagner’s anti-Semitism to Lewis Carroll’s unnatural obsession with the girl who inspired Alice to John Lennon and Stevie Wonder slapping around their wives to Michael Jackson molesting young boys (shut up. you know he did it) to a fucking laundry list of crappy parenting, exceptional talent seems to go hand-in-hand with being a total asshole. But where do you separate the dancer from the dance? The journalist who exposed the more than two-dozen statutory charges against R. Kelly (not that I’d ever call that fucker exceptionally talented) that Kelly bought off put it best: R. Kelly is basically singing about what he does, while Michael Jackson never sung about molesting children. There’s also an element of culpability. John Lennon admitted to what he did as a bad husband and bad father and presumably strove to be better without any public pressure. Dr. Dre didn’t admit to jackshit until Apple clearly made him issue an apology last week due to their investment in his billion-dollar Beats (horribly ironic name it seems) sound system. And even then he doesn’t own it, instead citing being a drinker. Yeah, that’s right up there with blaming racist statements on drinking. Booze doesn’t make you anything; it only reveals what you are. It’s like money in that. The problem with N.W.A. is that they did talk about beating women, which is clearly what at least one of them was doing (ironically, not the actual drug dealing gang member). So, while I can still enjoy The Italian Job remake or “Keep Their Heads Ringing (which was written by Jay Z anyway), this shit will not take up one second of my life. Ever.

‘CAUSE THAT SCORSESE THING REALLY DIDN’T TAKE NOW DID IT?
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation holds at number two and Tom Cruise seems to have finally found the right writer/director for him in Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote not only wrote Valkyrie, Edge of Tomorrow and Jack Reacher but directed Jack Reacher as well. He also handled writer/director duties here. They may not be perfect movies, but they are satisfying for the most part and most of all they were all successes for Cruise and having someone who maintains A-list status for over 30 years looking to you is great trump card for a writer/director. He’ll be given a free pass to work between Cruise films and there’s no way he’s going to turn that down.

AT LEAST IN THE OLD DAYS THE MONSTER SEEMED TO DIE IN THE END
Sinister 2 opens at number three and given I didn’t see the first it was pretty much guaranteed I wouldn’t be seeing this. Say it with me, kids: I don’t do the scary. Plus a sequel means the bad guy clearly won in the first film and I hate that shit.

‘CAUSE THERE’S MORE BLOOD ON NETFLIX
Hitman: Agent 47 opens at number four, one of two “super-soldier” movies opening this weekend and while I did see the first one and was a little intrigued by a second once they showed there was going to be a badass woman, I ultimately decided to give it a pass. I’ll catch it on Netflix in a year because it does look like fun at the very least. Yes, that’s the new “I’ll catch it on cable.”

KEATON WAS NEVER BATMAN TO BEGIN WITH, THAT’S WHY!
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is down to number five and I’m sorry this isn’t doing better. First, because it’s a decent movie and second, because I always root for guys playing superheroes to have careers outside of it. I don’t blame Henry Cavill for the shitstorm he signed up for and want him to have a good career because one of the reasons it’s actually difficult to get good actors to be play superheroes is because some of them are such icons you really can’t escape it afterwards (to this day, Lynda Carter is Wonder Woman). Christian Bale doesn’t live in the shadow of Batman because he had career defining roles before an after it, not to mention an Oscar. Kilmer and Clooney never played the role more than once and like Bale had significant work outside of it. But Christopher Reeve never “escaped the cape” like George Reeves before him. And let’s not pretend Dean Cain and Tom Welling had a chance to begin with, shall we?

NOT SCOTT PILGRIM VS. ONLY THE CIA
Speaking of super soldiers and Superman, American Ultra opens at number six and this is basically what if Captain America or Jason Bourne were a stoner. Seriously. Jesse Eisenberg is playing Lex Luthor in the next horrible Superman movie, but here he’s a three-strike stoner who gets recruited by the government for experiments into making super-soldiers. For reasons that are explained later the program is shut down and he’s dropped into a one-horse town as a convenience store clerk with a post-hypnotic suggestion that causes him anxiety attacks whenever he tries to leave. He’s clearly self-medicating with weed but has a girlfriend who seems to have no problem with him. Problems occur when Topher Grace (whose ease at playing dicks seems to confirm rumors about him) decides that Eisenberg has tried to leave town one too man times and sends assassins in to take him out. Connie Britton was the head of the program that recruited Eisenberg and to save him, activates him, so much to his own surprise, he becomes a badass killer whenever he’s attacked…but reverts to his sad stoner self between attacks. Given how often he and Michael Cera are so often and justifiably compared this is very much his own Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, where Cera kicked ass left and right, while otherwise being a whiny dweeb. Unfortunately, it’s meeting with the same lack of success. It’s also not as good, being seemingly unwilling to really cut loose with its premise until the final showdown. They get the stoner part right, but take far too long with the killing machine aspect. It’s a one-joke premise that needed to move a little more quickly before wearing out its welcome.

PUTTING THAT EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS MONEY TO GOOD USE
The Gift is down to number seven and I had no idea Joel Edgerton both wrote and directed this. Also well played to choose the weirdo role over the protagonist. He’s become the odd genuinely talented Australian import, in a world where Jai Courtneys and Sam Worthingtons are given big budget films in which to be utterly bland. Not even bad, which would be fun at least, but boring which is the worst thing an artist can be.

MONEY, HONEY
Ant-Man is down to number eight and while this is far from a flop, it’s not the hard success some might have you think. $361M worldwide from a $130M budget may seem good, but you have to remember that studios get less than half of the overseas take, so at best they’re getting $80M from that $197M overseas take. Combine that with the $165 domestic take and you haven’t even doubled the budget, which is the basic minimum to cover production and advertising costs. Expect a sequel to be much heavier on super-hero guest stars to help out.

AN AMC SERIES JUST AIN’T PAYING FOR SHIT
Minions is down to number nine while Fantastic Four closes out the top ten on its third miserable week and I can’t stop laughing at it. Thankfully, no one will blame Kate Mara (who was apparently forced onto them by the studio), Michael B. Jordan (who was in Chronicle) or Jamie Bell (who should have played Don Blake in a proper adaptation of Thor) for this mess. Especially Jamie Bell. This was clearly to give him some kind of clout to make better indie films, like how Snowpiercer was probably only made because his co-star in that film, Chris Evans, agreed to be in it. There’s no other reason he’s here.

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BASED ON THE P.A.S.T.

17 Aug

mfu
1. Straight Outta Compton/Universal     Wknd/$ 56.1   Total/$ 56.0
2. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation     Wknd/$ 17.0   Total/$ 138.1
3. The Man from UNCLE/WB                  Wknd/$ 13.5    Total/$ 13.5
4. Fantastic Four/Fox                                 Wknd/$ 8.0     Total/$ 42.0
5. The Gift/STX                                            Wknd/$ 6.5     Total/$ 23.6
6. Ant-Man/Disney                                     Wknd/$ 5.5      Total/$ 157.6
7. Vacation/WB                                            Wknd/$ 5.3     Total/$ 46.9
8. Minions/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 5.2     Total/$ 313.0
9. Ricki & The Flash/TriStar                     Wknd/$ 4.6     Total/$ 14.7
10. Trainwreck/Universal                          Wknd/$ 3.8     Total/$ 97.1

FRESH OUTTA INTEREST
Straight Outta Compton opens at number one and I’m still staggered by the fact Ice Cube has a son old enough to play him in a movie about his life. Fuck. We’re both old. The only difference being I don’t keep my hair dyed jet black the way he does. You’re not a sports announcer, Cube. Let it go, brutha. I’ll probably watch it on cable in a year because N.W.A. and gangsta rap was never my thing and honestly could give a shit (and don’t let anyone fool you: it started on the east coast. It just blew up on the west coast). I couldn’t name another song beyond the one used for the title of this movie. It might as well be a New Kids on the Block movie as far as I’m concerned. I liked Biggie more and didn’t go to see his movie either.

MOVIE FROM N.O.S.T.A.L.G.I.A.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation is down to number two followed perfectly by Man From U.N.C.L.E. as both are adaptations of Cold War spy shows from the 60’s. Now I knew a little about the MI, but nothing about Man From U.N.C.L.E. Seriously. It never showed up on reruns as when I was kid so I have no idea if and when they’re being loyal to the spirit of the show…and it feels great. Seriously. Being pissed off about Star Trek, Superman, etc., uses up a lot of energy that could be better spent doing… Okay, fine. I wouldn’t be doing anything else, but the point is it’s a little exhausting. Here I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I’m just another mouth-breather in the theater looking for a good time. And I got one. It’s not an exceptional movie, but it is an entertaining one. Unlike Mission Impossible, which opted to go modern, Man From U.N.C.L.E. chooses to stay in the 60’s because director Guy Ritchie adores the look and style of the original Bond films and I ain’t mad at him (using period pop music, but staying away from any well-known hits is nice touch). The movie is as much style as substance and doesn’t pretend otherwise. There are a few too many Ritchie-isms (instant flashbacks to let you know how we got to where we are), but his style is a welcome break from the usual action film formula of quick cuts and explosions. Also, Ritchie is clearly more interested in the characters than the toys they play with and it shows with all the chemistry between Henry Cavill and Arnie Hammer. One that Hammer lacked in his last small-to-big-screen attempt, The Lone Ranger. And Cavill gets nothing but points for doing a straight up impression of original star Robert Vaughn the whole time.

IT’S NOT ENOUGH THAT I SUCCEED, BUT OTHERS MUST FAIL
The Fantastic Four is down to number four appropriately and every day there’s a new story about how Fox and/or director Trank screwed the pooch from the beginning…and the schadenfreude is delicious. Seriously. I love the fact that everyone who stupidly tried to take a concept as light-hearted as The Fantastic Four is getting burned by it (their name alone should have been a clue). Not helping matter is the fact that Matthew Teller is a bit of a dick and not able to hide it in interviews where he’s ostensibly promoting the film. He talks about how a car accident changed him (his scars are visible in the film) but clearly not enough. Apparently he and Trank nearly came to blows during production and I can’t help but smile as I write that. And it’s not just me. Trank got this film because of Chronicle, which was successful dark superhero film. But he didn’t write it. Max Landis did, but was apparently not invited to continue the collaboration on a $100M+ superhero movie because when this disaster landed, Landis released the first few pages of his Fantastic Four movie, which is a thousand times better. Basically letting the world know that Trank’s decision to leave him behind was a horrible mistake. Oh, the schadenfreude…it was already delicious, but not more so when seasoned by the hatred of others.

HERE TO BRING EVERYTHING DOWN
The Gift is down to number five and while this is getting stellar reviews for being a genuine suspense thriller without descending into bunny-boiling and black-and-white good and evil I still have no interest. See, while I don’t do the scary I still have a curiosity about them and read the movie spoilers. The end result seems fairly predictable to me and more-than-given-away by the trailer. This isn’t to say it’s bad as a result—after all there are no new ideas only levels of execution of the old ones—but not the mind twister one might think it is by the praise, much less what people are calling the “twist.”

THE OTHERS
Ant Man is down to number six, followed by Vacation at number seven and minions at number eight.

TAKE OFF THE ROSE COLORED GLASSES, PEOPLE
Ricki and the Flash is down to number eight and I was going to ask what the hell happened to Jonathan Demme but then I look over his history and realize it’s always been hit and miss. And for every Something Wild, Married to The Mob, Silence of the Lambs and Rachel Getting Married, there’s a Manchurian Candidate, Beloved, the hideous mediocre and overpraised Philadelphia and the inexplicable decision to cast Mark Wahlberg in a role once played by Cary Grant in The Truth About Charlie. This is less an unusual failure and more standard operating procedure. The only good thing to come out of this mess is me realizing that they finally put Married to the Mob out on blu-ray last fall. About goddamn time…and keep giving it shitty cover art. Sigh.

SOMEWHERE JUDY GREER WONDERS WHAT THE FUCK!?!
Finally, Trainwreck closes out the top ten at number ten having made almost $100M domestically (it’ll easily reach that goal by this time next week). And this from a $35M budget. Amy Schumer is officially a comedy star and she did it as the lead without first playing the sidekick (which this character usually is), which is doubly impressive. Yes, she’s still an attractive blonde white woman, but she’s not typically so, so it’s still an accomplishment. Needless to say, the clock on her Comedy Central show has probably already started ticking. Hell, Key & Peele have already announced they’re done and without the benefit of a hit movie, so expect hers to come soon. The downside is this secures Judd Apatow’s power in all things comedy related, especially female-oriented. I guess it’s better than nothing or Adam Sandler, but still…

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IT’S STUMBLING TIME!

10 Aug

Rebecca-Ferguson1
1. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation     Wknd/$ 29.4    Total/$ 108.7
2. Fantastic Four/Fox                                 Wknd/$ 26.2   Total/$ 26.2
3. The Gift/STX                                            Wknd/$ 12.0    Total/$ 12.0
4. Vacation/WB                                            Wknd/$ 9.1      Total/$ 37.3
5. Ant-Man/Disney                                     Wknd/$ 7.8       Total/$ 147.4
6. Minions/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 302.4
7. Ricki & The Flash/TriStar                      Wknd/$ 7.0      Total/$ 7.0
9. Pixels/Sony                                               Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 57.6
8. Trainwreck/Universal                            Wknd/$ 6.3      Total/$ 91.1
10. Southpaw/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 4.8      Total/$ 40.7

THE BEGINNING OF A BEAUTIFUL ACTION CAREER
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation holds the number one spot and as the woman who finally gets to be as badass as Tom Cruise is Rebecca Ferguson. It’s okay if you’ve never heard of her. Her two biggest claims to fame before this were The White Queen mini-series and last summer’s flop, Hercules. What’s funny, sad and little bit weird is that she looks a lot like Michelle Monaghan, who played Cruise’s fiancée in Mission Impossible III. I suppose it would have been a bit much to ask that she’d become a super-agent riding bikes and kicking ass alongside him, but it was 9 years ago. A decade’s enough time to develop some secret agent skills, right? But I guess Cruise was adamant that his leading lady always be under 35 and Monaghan has aged out. Ferguson’s character is named Ilsa in this and yes, they do go to Casablanca (Ferguson was even born in Stockholm like Ingrid Bergman). When Cruise arrives she even asks him, “What brings you to Casablanca?” And he doesn’t reply “The waters.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?! IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GO THERE WHY DID YOU CALL HER ILSA AND GO TO CASABLANCA!?! Some may respect the movie for not going for the easy reference. I am not one of those people. You go all the way or you don’t go at all!

THE FANTASTIC FOURTH FAILURE
The Fantastic Four reboot opens poorly at number two and let me say right out that this is not a bad movie, certainly nowhere near the level warranting the drubbing it’s getting on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s not a Transformers or Adam Sandler movie, which open insults your intelligence with the laziness of the filmmakers. It’s just not a good movie and is so clearly misguided and a waste of time, money and energy it just makes you angry. But this was a disaster from the word “go.” Even before Josh Trank had been brought on Fox made it clear they wanted to go “dark” with this because The Dark Knight made a billion dollars and for some reason they thought that was the key. Never mind that the bright and shiny Marvel movies were making money hand-over-fist, they wanted billions with a “B”, not millions with an “M.” Trank was the second mistake because he too couldn’t see how utterly ridiculous it was to try and go dark with characters named Mr. Fantastic and The Human Torch. He’d done well with Chronicle which was a similar story about people encountering something other-worldly and developing superpowers and it was on the darker side so he must have seemed like a perfect fit to them. The final mistake was basing this adaptation the 21st Century revision of the Fantastic Four known as Ultimate Fantastic Four. Marvel Comics did it with all their characters with mixed levels of success. Elements of the Ultimate universe have been used in other Marvel-based films (Nick Fury looking like Samuel L. Jackson, Captain America having super strength) but for the most part they remained loyal to the 60’s originals. Clearly that’s another lesson Fox chose to ignore, but honestly this was more an effort merely to hold onto the licensing than make a good movie. It’s the reason Sony made the two disappointing Amazing Spider-Man movies and Man of Steel was made (both also stupidly chose to go darker with lighter characters). They had a deadline to get something, anything out there and all paid a price creatively for it. This is why Fox had no problem slicing the budget later resulting in the loss of all the action films this film desperately needed, as now it’s just a boring pilot about four already sad people (Mr. Fantastic can’t related to his parents, The Thing’s household is abusive from parent to siblings, The Invisible Woman’s behavior borders on autism and The Human Torch has daddy issues) who get transformed and become even sadder superheroes. It’s dull, boring, sad and absolutely nothing anyone anywhere wants from a superhero movie (even the odious Man of Steel had action). But hey, Fox gets to keep the property for a third try, which ironically is exactly why Canon films made the first FF movie back in 1994. Let me put it this way: this is the only Marvel film of the last decade to have no Stan Lee cameo.

I MAINTAIN I WAS A LOVABLE GEEK
The Gift opens at number three and it’s good to see the Fatal Attraction formula of “relationship crosses over to crazy” is still around. In this case it’s that weird kid from high school who thinks now as adults you can finally be friends. Personally, I can’t relate as I didn’t keep up with the actual friends I did have and blew off basically everyone who tried to reconnect. Apparently Jason does the latter a little too late and pays the price. And apparently he did something to the guy in high school that somewhat warrants this. Makes sense as the persona Bateman has in movies, while generally sympathetic, could easily be that smug prick we all knew…or were. You can prove nothing.

CHEVY CHASE: BRINGING DOWN THOSE AROUND HIM SINCE THE 80’S
Vacation is down to number four and I’m happy to see Christina Applegate working but she needs to choose better than this (I still rue the day I sat through The Sweetest Thing). Her short-living series Samantha Who would have made a great movie. The story of an evil bitch who develops amnesia and a personality reversal after being deliberately run over by one of the many people she wronged on a daily basis is still a very funny idea. And it’s not just her who’s wasted. You’ve seen Charlie Day, Ron Livingston, Norman Reedus and Keegan-Michael Key (of Key and Peele), Nick Kroll and Michael Pena in better things. In fact, Pena is in Ant-Man (following at number five) and is nothing but funny (despite the racism) so he at least has something to counteract this on his resume. See, unlike The Fantastic Four reboot, Ant-Man accepted that a guy who shrinks and then controls ants is a little silly, but nonetheless doesn’t hold the idea in such contempt all sense of fun has to be abandoned.

THIS IS WHY SHE CHOSE JESSIE OVER YOU
Minions is down to number six, followed by Ricki and the Flash opening at number seven and while I love Meryl Streep, love Rick Springfield, love director Jonathan Demme and have a passing affection for screenwriter Diablo Cody, this left me cold. The trailer looks like one of the old Touchstone trailers from the 80’s which you know would have just enough risqué behavior and language to get a PG13, but never crossing the line on any level to make you uncomfortable. So while this is ostensibly about a woman who abandoned her family to chase a dream and never looked back, you just know she’s never going to be depicted too harshly, nor will there be anything short of a happy ending. In short, it’s yet another Lifetime Movie that escaped into the theaters. Rick Springfield continues his inability to launch a proper acting career, even with Meryl Streep by his side (he turned down The Right Stuff while accepting Hard to Hold even though he knew it sucked). Even hopping onboard the True Detective didn’t work as the second season has been widely panned. Oh, Ricky…

SORRY, JUST CAN’T BE HAPPY FOR ANY BRUTHA DOIN’ ANYTHING
Trainwreck is down to number eight, followed by Pixels at number nine with Southpaw closing out the top ten at number ten and this was directed by Antoine Fuqua, who despite his repeated attempts is just not a gritty director. You get the feeling he wants to evoke some 70’s Sidney Lumet era filmmaking but he’s simply too slick and his films reflect it. He got lucky with Training Day, but is better at delivering glossy, slightly inept action films like The Equalizer, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen and my personal favorite The Replacement Killers. You know, shit that’s fun to watch at 1:00 am on cable. His attempts to be “real” result flops like Tears of the Sun, Brooklyn’s Finest and now this. I don’t think I need to tell you he comes from music videos.

 

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THE FRANCHISE REFUSES TO SELF-DESTRUCT

2 Aug

600full-michelle-monaghan 1. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation    Wknd/$ 56.0    Total/$ 56.0
2. Vacation/WB                                          Wknd/$ 14.9    Total/$ 21.2
3. Ant-Man/Disney                                    Wknd/$ 12.6    Total/$ 132.1
4. Minions/Universal                                Wknd/$ 12.2    Total/$ 287.4
5. Pixels/Sony                                             Wknd/$ 10.4    Total/$ 45.6
6. Trainwreck/Universal                           Wknd/$ 9.7      Total/$ 79.7
7. Southpaw/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 7.5       Total/$ 31.6
8. Paper Towns/Fox                                  Wknd/$ 4.6       Total/$ 23.8
9. Inside Out/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 4.5       Total/$ 329.6
10. Jurassic World/Universal                  Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 631.5

FIFTH VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST!
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation opens at number one and this may be the most solid entry in the franchise, even though it’s the fourth time in five movies Ethan Hunt is wanted by his own government. Seriously. In the first, he’s framed by his own boss for betraying and killing his whole team. In the third he’s framed by someone who’s kind of his boss for freeing an international arms dealer that he just caught. In the fourth, he’s framed for blowing up the Kremlin by a Russian general who thinks we need to just have a nuclear and get it over with and humanity will be the better for it. Here he’s not framed but considered a bit crazy because he believes in a super-secret terrorist organization called “The Syndicate” and is being hunted by the CIA which has also shut down the IMF (Impossible Missions Force) and absorbed its people and operations. What’s funny is the way the CIA shuts them down is by pointing out all the crazy shit they’ve done from breaking into Langley in the first film and almost getting San Francisco nuked in the most recent film. So basically CIA Director Alec Baldwin is completely right in saying it’s an agency of chaos. Every film backs it up. Three out of the five films involve either current or ex members of the IMF being behind all the trouble. It reminds me of the scenes from Under Siege where they also question the logic behind employing crazy people and the CIA responds that sane people can’t do the jobs they need to be done. This would apply to Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt who apparently can’t do anything the safe way. It’s actually joked about by the bad guy in MI2 and is briefly alluded to by a young agent at the beginning of this. But if he did things the smart and rational way, what fun would it be to watch? Yeah, he could have taken the two seconds it would taken to put on a motorcycle helmet from the downed bad guy whose bike he takes, but then wouldn’t get what is clearly Tom Cruise barreling down the highway at ridiculous speeds and crazy leaning angles. He’s basically embarrassing the shit out of every other action star working with their sane use of CGI and stunt doubles. But more than that, this is perhaps the best story since the first and I guess after having recycled it so many times the were bound to get it right simply by the law of averages. It’s not saddled with a love story like MI2 (which was basically a remake of Notorious but with guns and motorcycles), the underwhelming action scenes of MI3 (really, a fight with a drone?) or the dampening revelation in MI4 that the bad buy was a good decade senior to Cruise but had not only outfought but outrun him and almost does him in at the end (it was as bad as that wussy French dude giving Bond trouble at the climax of Quantum of Silence). It helps that they finally give him a badass female counterpart who does everything he does without mussing her hair (speaking of Bond, she’s British Secret Service). They give her the all-out action scenes that both Maggie Q and Paula Patton were denied, which is insult to injury given neither one of them was brought back (supposedly they were busy, but who are we kidding?), but all the guys but John Rhys Myers (who should have inherited the franchise had he not self-destructed) and the helicopter pilot from MI2 (whom no one remembers any) were.

IT’S NOTHING I’VE EVER WANTED (GO-GO’S REFERENCE)
Vacation opens at number two and I’ve never seen a single one of these movies and I wasn’t about to start now. I know the first has somehow gained a place of being a near semi-classic 80’s comedy, directed by Harold Ramis and written by John Hughes at near the peak of their powers, but I’m just not feeling it. Maybe it’s just Chevy Chase, but…no, it’s just Chevy Chase. I love Caddyshack and Foul Play, but his very presence is basically a giant warning sign of a bad movie. And guess what? He makes an appearance in this, given this is supposed to be the adult son from the first movie trying to recreate the trip with his own kids (Anthony Michael Hall, you dodged a bullet). I’ve no choice but to stick to my strategy as it has served me well (I ignored it to Hot Tub Time Machine and paid the price). And why would anyone want to recreate that trip anyway? It was a disaster and they should have nothing but horrible, if not traumatic memories of it.

WONDER WOMAN AND BLACK PANTHER MOVIES CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH
Ant Man is down to number three and while it’s nothing but fun there’s a slight bitter taste for me because no one in the production seemed to notice that every single person of color from The Falcon, to Ant-Man’s crew (Michael Pena and TI—yes, TI), to the cop his ex-wife is dating (Bobby Cannavale) is the butt of a joke. Yes, there are jokes about everyone (it’s an action comedy) but everyone else has something else going on. Michael Douglas’ character was a superhero and still is a super-genius and sets everything in motion. Awkward expository dialogue tells us that Paul Rudd’s character went to prison because he attacked a corporation that hurt people, has a Master’s Degree in Engineering and also becomes a super-hero. Even the villain is a genius in his own right, but the Black and Latino characters are all just there to make you laugh. Now, I’m not saying that this was planned, I’m just saying that when it was all said and done no one noticed this. That’s a sad lack of racial sensitivity. It’s the equivalent of movies where all the guys are dreamers and the women are just wet blankets. Not that they get much of a break here either. There’s only one actually involved and while it’s explained that Michael Douglas won’t give his daughter (played by Evangeline Lilly) the suit even though she’s more than capable than Paul Rudd and is already on the inside, because he doesn’t want to lose her the way he lost her mother (she joined Michael Douglas on his adventures), the movie doesn’t give her the motivation to just take the damn thing and do it. If they’re estranged, why is she being the obedient daughter now? The irony being, in the comic this is all based, that’s exactly how the character Paul Rudd is playing gets the suit! He’s not lured; he just takes it to try and save his daughter! We won’t even get in her “You know I’m a no nonsense woman” stupid haircut, because I’ve got friend going off on that somewhere else on the internet.

BUT IT SHOULD STICK TO ADAM SANDLER LIKE FUCKING GLUE
Minions is down to number four, followed Pixels at number five and also in this wreck is Michelle Monaghan (aka Lara Flynn Boyle 2.0), who was “The Young Hot Thing” a few years back, killing it in smaller movies like Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang with a pre-Iron Man Robert Downy Jr, before being bumped up to sharing the screen with Jake Gyllenhaal in one of his few leading man hits, The Source Code. After that she hit solid gold A-list as Tom Cruise’s kidnapped bride-to-be in Mission Impossible 3. But after that…things just seemed to slip away. The smaller films were mediocre and even movie a post-Iron Man Robert Downey Jr and post-Captain America Chris Evans went nowhere. Luckily she was in the highly acclaimed first season of True Detective. Well, lucky until this came out. Hopefully so few people will it see the stench won’t stay with her. You know, like how Zoe Kravitz was in After Earth with Will & Jaden Smith. If anyone had known she might not have had the summer she’s had with Mad Max: Fury Road and Dope.

THEY SHOULD BE FINED IT’S SUCH A WASTE
Trainwreck at number six and while I love Bill Hader and am glad he’s getting some movie success with this it’s still not enough to get me into this, mainly because why the fuck do you hire someone with Bill Hader’s talents and just make him the straight man!?! Anyone good looking meat puppet could have done this and honestly every dude playing a superhero would give a left nut to be in a hit where they aren’t in a costume. Getting Bill Hader to just play a nice, normal guy is like buying a Porsche and never taking it out of first gear. You gotta a redline or don’t bother!

I WOULDN’T SEE IT IF THAT’S ALL IT COST TO GET IN
Southpaw is down to number seven and your first clue this was going to be a mistake was the casting of 50 Cent who has never once made a successful film. Not. Once. Even though he’s made movies with everyone from Robert DeNiro to Bruce Willis. You’ve never heard of them because they went straight to home viewing. Even the movie where he plays himself in a story of his own life tanked. No wonder he’s filing for bankruptcy. Not really. He’s doing that to keep from getting sued of everything he owns because he’s a stupid, vindictive prick and finally going to pay for it.

ALSO: VOICE IN ANIMATED FILM
Paper Towns is down to number eight and starring here as the dream girl is current model-of-the-moment, Cara Delevingne and I hope this is a wonderfully sobering moment for the world at large, because the reason she can play a teenager is because like most models, she’s just a fucking kid. Yes, she’s 23, but in real world terms that would mean she graduated college just last year and high school just 5 years ago. How long have you seen her in stiletto heels and lingerie making come hither stares? Probably longer than that and it’s fucked up. Sorry, I’m still a little bitter over a story about 14-year-old model where the photo showed her in a translucent top. Yeah, she’s six-feet-tall, but that’s still a fucking 14-year-old and I should never ever have seen her nipples. Nor should the rest of the world. Okay, end of rant. I’ll say this for Carla Delevingne, her management is making sure to get her in on every hot movie trend to launch her acting career. This is an adaptation of a Young Adult novel and next year she’ll be in comic book movie: The Suicide Squad. All that’s missing is a “found footage” horror movie.

EXTINCT
Inside Out is down to number nine followed by Jurassic World closing out the top ten at number ten. Thank god. I was totally out of things to say about it.

ALSO VISIT

THE ORIGINAL ANGRYGEEK.COM

FORMER BOY WONDER PHOTOGRAPHY

RUSH TO JUDGEMENT

29 Sep

nfury4

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2      Wknd/$  35.0      Total/$  35.0

 2. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$  11.3       Total/$  39.0

 3. Rush/Universal                                           Wknd/$  10.0     Total/$  10.6

 4. Baggage Claim/Fox                                    Wknd/$   9.3       Total/$    9.3

 5. Don Jon/Relativity                                     Wknd/$   9.0       Total/$    9.0

 6. Insidious 2/FD                                            Wknd/$    6.7       Total/$  69.5

 7. The Family/Relativity                                Wknd/$    3.7       Total/$  31.7

 8. Instructions Not Included/LGF               Wknd/$    3.4      Total/$  38.6

 5. Battle of the Year/SG                                  Wknd/$    5.0      Total/$    5.0

 9. We’re The Millers/Warners                       Wknd/$    2.9      Total/$ 142.4

10. Lee Daniel’s The Butler/Weinstein         Wknd/$    4.3      Total/$ 106.5

 

ALSO THE LEEK AS THE CHRIST FIGURE BOTHERS ME

Cloudy With Meatballs 2 opens big at number one and since I never saw the first I feel I would miss out on some of the subtleties of the sequel so I gave it pass.

 

MORE LIKE PRISONERS OF THE BOX OFFICE

Prisoners is down to number two and it’s a toss up to who is happier about its success: Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard or Jake Gyllenhaal, because they all needed it. Seriously needed it.  Hugh Jackman because he doesn’t have a success outside of singing a beloved musical or having claws (and honestly it should be “having claws in an ensemble cast” because both Wolverine solo movies have been less-than-impressive). Terrence Howard, who is honestly the reason the Marvel Comics Movie Machine exists as it started with Iron Man and Iron Man only happened because his signing up to play Rhodey off his Oscar heat is what caused everyone else to sign on.  For his trouble he was told to take less money or take a hike. He took a hike and you know he has to question it every day. But he’s in The Butler, which is a huge hit. But I’m thinking Jake is the most grateful because his only hit outside of Brokeback Mountain was The Source Code after a double dose of leading man failure in Prince of Persia and Love & Other Drugs.  So Jake is the happiest because Hugh Jackman has something else at least and Terrence Howard is just one film away from a hat trick this year (Best Man Holiday).

 

OPIE DOES FORMULA ONE RACERS IN TYPICAL OPIE FASHION

Rush opens at number two and speaking of subtly, if it and complexity are colors in filmmaking then Ron Howard has never had more than a 8 piece box of Crayolas. Not 12, not 16 and definitely not the childhood prize of 64 (remember how happy you were to get that bad boy?).  He comes from mainstream television and the sad simplicity of that is driven home with every film he makes. More and more it’s clear that A Beautiful Mind was the exception and not the rule. Rush has the advantage of being a true story that people know little about (a professional competition between the freewheeling posh Englishman, James Hunt and the tightly wound Austrian Niki Lauda in Formula 1 Racing) and could care less, so you have actual tension at your disposal. It’s also set in the freewheeling (no pun intended) 70’s but to Howard who actually lived through those times it means little more than window dressing.  Long hair, bad fashion (at least on the men; women’s 70’s fashions were awesome) and some classic rock.  In a good period piece the period should be another character. Here it’s so poorly realized one woman wears the same hairstyle for six years no matter what the setting. I shit you not. When they meet, when they marry and even when she’s in the hospital by his bedside when he’s near death. It. Does. Not. Change.  Now, I do realize that still living people or their surviving relatives from whom you need rights aren’t really excited to let you portray them “warts & all” (though Niki Lauder apparently had no problem being depicted in a fairly unsympathetic fashion and I’ve no doubt being Austrian had something to do with that) but that’s no excuse for storytelling so simplistic you sometimes think the actors are reading the descriptions for their characters rather than actually speaking to one another. I feel half the dialogue between Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl is them describing one another to one another.  How do we know Chris Hemsworth’s marriage to Olivia Wilde is going to end? When they describe each other’s flaws to each other. Oh, and Hemsworth drinks about seventeen drinks in rapid succession and smokes a joint. You know, so you understand when she mentions his drinking and drug use.  Supposedly there’s some infidelity, but you’d never know because despite the numerous women we see him with, none are when he’s supposed to be married to her.  Now, you might be forgive a film about racecar drivers being short on character so long as the racing scenes are exciting but it’s fairly routine there as well. The best scene actually occurs when Hemsworth is in fact “visualizing” racing on the track at Monte Carlo, not say actually racing the dangerous rainy track in Japan at the climax of the film, which should be fraught with suspense after watching Lauda’s accident in a similarly rainy race earlier. Speed Racer had more dramatic tension and you knew he was going to win.

 

BETTER TO RULE IN HELL

Baggage Claim opens at number four, followed by Don Jon at number five and honestly I’m down for them both, but didn’t find the time for either and I think I reflect most of America in this.  Fortunately for both films neither had a budget over $9M so they’re already on the road to success despite opening low. This is good news for Paula Patton who’s been struggling for years to be the new Halle Berry and Joseph Gordon-Levitt who both wrote and directed his film, making him the latest triple threat.

 

THE BLONDE LEADING THE BLONDE

Insidious 2 is adown to number six, followed by The Family at number seven and also in this is Diana Argon and I do like her casting as the daughter of Michelle Pfeiffer. And I hope she’s learning from this, as even though Pfieffer is in her 50’s, her leading man is in his 70’s.  These are the realities of show business, baby girl.  It’s not a hit at$32M worldwide from a $30M budget, but it’s not a flop either and you can have worst things on your resume than a movie with Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfieffer that was produced in part by Martin Scorsese. And to be honest, writer/director Luc Besson is not too shabby either when you’re talking international success.  Just ask Liam Neeson Jason Statham both Taken and Transporter franchises come from his company.

 

FORTUNATELY, HOLLYWOOD ALWAYS HAS WORK FOR BLONDES

Instructions Not Included is followed by We’re The Millers which now that I think about is the second comedy in the top ten about a “criminal family” which happens to have a young, pretty blonde daughter played by an actress usually cast in a slightly bitchy role. Seriously. You could swap the actresses out and I doubt either movie would change.

 

DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOUR EGO IN THE ASS

Closing out the top ten at number ten is Lee Daniel’s The Butler.  A word to the wise dude: Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese don’t make their names part of the official title. Only people like Tyler Perry do. It signifies more ego than talent.

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR PT 2

The new fall season continues to roll out and I realize I forgot a few last week so I’ll throw them in with this week’s crop…Brooklyn 99 is funnier than it has any right to be. I wasn’t expecting much beyond Andy Samberg mugging for 20 minutes a week and it’s so much more than that. He’s smarter than most former SNL members and signed up not so much to be the star but the center of a very funny ensemble cast with Andre Braugher pretty much spoofing his entire cop career as the stoic captain who just happens to be gay. And more than that , they get the lighting of New York better than any supposedly seriously cop show set here…Welcome To The Family is funny only as long as it’s about the dads and stays away from the kids. Unfortunately, the only reason situation of this comedy is about them being connected by their kids…Mom is ironically challenging Dads for the most unpleasant half hour you can spend watching TV, but due to its lack of nasty racism comes in second. But it’s a close second…Trophy Wife suffers from the same malady as Welcome To The Family: the situation of the comedy is the least amusing thing about it, in this case poor Malin Ackerman who can’t seem to catch a break on the big or small screen (she’s like a less-annoying Kate Hudson who does nudity).  Everything and everyone is funny in this show but her. You could take her out and just make this about a guy dealing with his two “wacky” ex-wives and their kids and it would be the same, though slightly better show. And you wouldn’t be faced with the ridiculous prospect of her marrying Bradley Whitford. Were there no attractive older actors available? Every time they kiss it’s so much “Ewwwww”…The Blacklist is the new The Following, as it’s basically yet another series seeming inspired by Hannibal Lecter. In this case it’s not so much brilliant serial killer but the relationship of the sophisticated criminal leading the attractive, young, female FBI agent.  It’s also The Following in that it’s painfully stupid. When super-criminal James Spader turns himself in and will only speak with one FBI Agent, they send a helicopter and an army of FBI agents just to pick her up. Later, when he escapes and is the key to a chemical bomb and a kidnapped admiral’s daughter only one agent is chasing him.  Did they use of that helicopter’s fuel budget?  Similarly, when he warns them about the admiral’s daughter kidnapping he tells them THERE WILL BE A DISTRACTION. Guess what they ignore? Dumb, dumb, dumb. The big action scene on the bridge is somewhat reminiscent of the bridge scene in Mission Impossible 3 which isn’t that strange when you realize that this episode was directed by Joe Carnahan who was originally supposed to direct MI3 before ultimately walking away…I shouldn’t laugh like I do at Back In The Game, because it will only encourage them to keep doing it, but James Caan as the crusty ex-baseball player whose former collegiate athlete daughter moves back in with him and winds up coaching the her son’s team of losers works better than it should…the promos for The Michael J. Fox Show were HORRIBLE so expectations were low for a show seemingly based on “Look, we’re not afraid to laugh at Parkinson’s!” but fortunately it’s so much more than that, while they do lean on that crutch a bit. Hopefully less so as the series goes on….finally, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D premiered and it was pretty much as underwhelming as I expected.  As a geek I’ve read about SHIELD all my life as a constant in the world of Marvel Comics, but that’s why it works; as kind of a sauce for the food of the heroes (there also another version where they’re like a James Bond organization led by Nick Fury that fights evil, but clearly they’re not going that way, though the opening action scene acknowledges it). SHIELD adventures without the superheroes are like sauce with no pasta or a show about the roadies for the Rolling Stones where the Rolling Stones never appear. You don’t even hear the songs.  Given the literal hundreds of Marvel Comics superheroes you think they could spare a C-list one for this show if for no other reason than an nice set up for their own film. Needless to say, I’m going to keep watching it anyway. What part of “geek” did you not understand?