Tag Archives: Philomena

SHE ELF AND TOO MANY DWARVES

15 Dec

idina menzel pic

 1. The Hobbit 2/Warner                           Wknd/$  73.7            Total/$   73.7

 2. Frozen/Disney                                        Wknd/$  22.2            Total/$ 164.4

 3. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Xmas/LGF      Wknd/$  16.0            Total/$   16.0

 4. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                   Wknd/$  13.2            Total/$ 357.0

 5. Thor: The Dark World/BV                    Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$ 198.1

 6. Out of the Furnace/Relativity              Wknd/$    2.3            Total/$     9.5

 7. Delivery Man/BV                                    Wknd/$    1.9             Total/$   28.0

 8. Philomena/Weinstein                            Wknd/$    1.8            Total/$     8.3

 9. The Book Thief/Fox                                Wknd/$    1.7            Total/$   14.9

10. Homefront/ORF                                     Wknd/$    1.6            Total/$   18.4

 

HOBBIT 2: ELFIN BUGALOO

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens at number one and this is the second part of the Hobbit trilogy which wasn’t really a trilogy, but director Peter Jackson decided to make it into one because he felt the story needed “fleshing out” which somehow translated into making the first one a musical comedy about dwarves. Okay, maybe it was just one scene, but it seemed to go on forever and it’s sad that’s what I remember most about it. Seriously. I’ve forgotten most of the first film which is why this desperately needed a 30 second recap to remind us where we left off in because it feels like we walked into the middle of a movie. That said, it’s much better than the first thanks to the lack of dwarf musical numbers and honestly the presence of a butt-kicking female elf who didn’t exist in The Hobbit novel and the dragon himself.  Ironically, their standing out may be a result of Jackson actually neglecting the main character.  The movie may be called The Hobbit but the first act doesn’t even seem to be about Bilbo at all, but again the freaking dwarves. The middle is partially his and his battle with the seductive powers of the ring (reminding us again what a wuss Frodo was), while the final third he gives up once again to the dwarves, elves and now some humans. It’s telling the film finds a second wind only when Bilbo alone faces off against Smaug the dragon.  I look forward to the end of this trilogy when geeks take it upon themselves to edit out everything Peter Jackson added to “flesh out” the books and we see just how long it really should have been.

 

OF COURSE SHE’S SOARING; SHE JUST DROPPED 180 POUNDS

Frozen is down to number two and as the voice of the Snow Queen is Idina Menzel, best known as winning a Tony for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch in  Wicked and up until a few days ago, as the wife of Taye Diggs, but now they’re getting divorced.  Bad move on his part as “Let It Go” will undoubtedly be nominated for an Oscar and probably win, which means she’s going to be performing in front a global audience and thanking everyone but him. He won’t even get to escort her down the red carpet.  There’s a reason why Sandra Oh, kept her divorce from Alexander Payne under wraps until after the Awards.  She got to go to the Awards, share in the success and parties and then go her own way. Diggs is going to be babysitting their son while she ascends to another level and probably wind up with George Clooney. Need to work on that timing, brutha.

 

I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas opens at number three and just…no. Seriously, no. There’s just no excuse for this.

 

HE WAS PLAYED BY WHO? SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is down to number four, followed by Thor: The Dark World in at number five and this actually has elves in it as well, dark ones. The title refers to their home and their leader is played by Christopher Eccleston, best known as the Dr. Who that revitalized the series, then left immediately.  But that’s only if you’ve never had sex. If you’re a normal person you know him as the Duke of Norfolk who is the primary enemy of Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth.  He’s become a very good go-to bad guy, because he’s both unattractive and English. That’s a one-two combination that can’t be beat. Nothing says “pure evil” like an ugly Englishman.  Except maybe an attractive Englishman.

 

FRANK STALLONE KNOWS YOUR PAIN

Out of the Furnace is down to number seven and also in this as Christian Bale’s shorter, less attractive, less successful brother is Ben Affleck’s brother shorter, less attractive, less successful brother Casey Affleck.  Ouch. This was either the easiest role ever or a source of neverending torment for him during filming.

 

IF THE TRUTH IS YOUR ENEMY THEN YOU’RE NOT THE GOOD GUY

Delivery Man is down to number seven, followed by Philomena at number eight and this has caused some minor controversy as being “anti-Catholic” because it’s based on the true story of a woman who was forced to give up her child by the Catholic Church in England.  It was minor because the real “Philomena” spoke up to support and verify it and calling something that depicts the truth “anti” anything makes you look like a dick.

 

FREE FOOD AND LODGING TOO!

The Book Thief is down to number nine with Homefront closing out the top ten at number ten and also in this as the evil drug lord is…James Franco?  Clearly Franco has the indie work he believes in and cares for and the studio jobs he takes on a whim or as a joke.  Guess which one this one is? You know, with the script by Sylvester Stallone, starring Jason Staham and Winona Ryder?  Yeah, I started laughing just writing that.  Basically he got paid to go hang out in New Orleans for a few months and I doubt he ever pretended it was otherwise. 

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DISNEY’S LITTLE MAN IN A BOAT

8 Dec

wonderwomen

 1. Frozen/Disney                                          Wknd/$  31.6            Total/$ 134.3

 2. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                    Wknd/$  27.0            Total/$ 336.7

 3. Out of the Furnace/Relativity               Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$     5.3

 4. Thor: The Dark World/BV                     Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$ 193.6

 5. Delivery Man/BV                                     Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$   24.8

 6. Homefront/ORF                                       Wknd/$    3.4            Total/$   15.3

 7. The Book Thief/Fox                                 Wknd/$    2.7             Total/$   12.1

 8. The Best Man Holiday/Universal         Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$  67.2

 9. Philomena/Weinstein                              Wknd/$    2.3           Total/$     8.3

10. Dallas Buyers Club/Focus                      Wknd/$    1.5           Total/$     1.5

 

IT’S LIKE THAT DREAM OF HOT DOG AND DONUTS YOU HAD WASN’T ABOUT FOOD

Frozen takes over the top spot and in thinking of it more and the big “Let It Go” song in the film—which will no doubted be nominated for an Oscar because I cannot honestly remember another son associated with a film this year—the more I feel this is a metaphor for a young girl’s developing sexuality.  Seriously.  She’s about 12 or 13 when the accident with her sister occurs, which is the appropriate age. And she has no problem controlling her powers (i.e. her sexuality) until her father freaks out about it, making her feel anxious and guilty and telling her she has to lock that thing up (he put special gloves on her aka, chastity belt). Later when it explodes at an inopportune as repressed sexuality tends to do, the reaction of an old man is “She’s evil!”  which is sadly not new when it comes to a woman’s sexuality.  Also when she just lets go and truly explores and revels in her power, her clothes become more revealing and there’s more wiggle to that hip.  And the big resolution? That her power can only be controlled with love, the ultimate device used to control a woman’s sexuality. Just forget you had complete control until your dad made you freak out about it thanks to an accident that was a result of your little sister’s recklessness, not yours.

 

ONLY PERSON LUCKIER? HER HUSBAND.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire is down to number two and also in this is Elizabeth Banks who has a knack for picking the right franchises as she was the underused Betty Brant in the first Spider-Man trilogy (geeks like me know she was Peter Parker’s first love until her lowlife brother got himself killed and she blamed Spider-Man for it).  Now she’s got this.  Won’t be a bit surprised if she turns up in the new Star Wars films.

 

ONCE BITTEN TWICE SHY

Out of the Furnace opens at number three and not seeing this is a major fail on my part because there’s nothing unappealing about this film. Talented actors in a film that looks like a nice drama you sit down and sink yourself into. Of course the last time I thought was the film Prisoners and look how that turned out. Yeah, only $5M looks a little disappointing, but it only cost $22M to make and is Oscar bait for Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson (who seemingly get nominated every year for a film you’ve never heard of), though not as “prestige” as something Tom Hanks is in. That means it’s not really meant to make money until it gets nominated for something.

 

IT’S NO WONDER WHY YOU’RE NOT THE WOMAN

Thor: The Dark World is down to number four, followed by Delivery Man actually rising to number five and what do these two films have in common? WASPy brunettes who might have been Wonder Woman.  Jaimie Alexander is the Norse warrior goddess Sif (she wasn’t a warrior in the actual legends, not to mention famous for her blonde hair) in both Thor films and because studio execs and fans alike have no imagination, it was thought she’d be perfect for Wonder Woman. She was also vocal about wanting the role and said she’d been meeting with Warner Brothers, which may have been her undoing.  In Delivery Man is Colbie Smulders, who was the choice of none other than Joss Whedon to be Wonder Woman back when he was on the project. I don’t think Gal Gadot is perfect, but that she’s not whitest woman on earth (she’s Israeli) to play a GREEK is a step in the right direction.  People who complain about her being skinny are morons. Last I heard gaining weight was not something humans have a problem doing. The only question is will they put actual muscle on her and not be afraid of it being somehow “unfeminine.”

 

WINO IS FOREVER IT SEEMS

Homefront is down to number six and also in this is Winona Ryder. No, I’m serious!   But I’m as surprised as you are. No matter how many times she shows up in a film (she actually does one or two a year) it’s always a bit of a shock because I think she retired to run a goat farm somewhere. Or a small music label so she can pursue her favorite hobby: young musicians.

 

WELCOME TO THE CINEMATIC THUNDERDOME!

The Book Thief holds at number seven, followed by The Best Man Holiday at eight and I’m not going to say there’s a battle of “black Christmas films” (there is) but if there were (there is), then this won and I’m glad that a depiction of successful Black people defeated Black people singing about Jesus. Bring it, Madea!

 

YOU DO KNOW THEY DON’T HIRE REAL KINGS TO PLAY LEAR, RIGHT?

Philomena is down to number nine followed by Dallas Buyers Club reentering the top ten at number ten and apparently people need something to be upset over because it’s a problem for some that an actor (Jared Leto, who’s getting Oscar talk) played a transsexual rather than hiring a real transsexual actor. You wish I were joking. The cherry on top of this little piece of insanity? While this is based on a true story, that character IS FICTIONAL!  Zeus give me strength…

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YOU’RE AS COLD AS ICE

1 Dec

020_rene_russo_theredlist

 1. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                       Wknd/$  74.5            Total/$ 296.5

 2. Frozen/Disney                                            Wknd/$  66.7            Total/$   93.4

 3. Thor: The Dark World/BV                        Wknd/$  11.1             Total/$ 186.7

 4. The Best Man Holiday/Universal            Wknd/$    8.5            Total/$  63.4

 5. Homefront/ORF                                          Wknd/$    7.0            Total/$     7.0

 6. Delivery Man/BV                                         Wknd/$    6.9            Total/$   19.5

 7. The Book Thief/Fox                                    Wknd/$    4.9            Total/$     7.9

 8. Black Nativity/FoxS                                    Wknd/$    3.9            Total/$     5.0

 9. Philomena/Weinstein                                 Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$    4.8

10. Last Vegas/CBS                                           Wknd/$    2.8            Total/$  58.7

 

GIVEN NEW MEANING TO THE EXPRESSION “BASED UPON…”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire holds at number one and opening at number two is Frozen, which continues Disney’s newer tradition of adapting classic fairy tales but making them into buddy-romantic-comedies with spunky girl leads and hunky dudes who accompany them on their journey only to fall for them.  First was Rapunzel, redone as Tangled and now we have The Snow Queen redone as Frozen. Looking for the story of a boy and a girl and slivers of a magical mirror?  Look elsewhere. This movie is about two sisters, the older one with magical snow powers, and as a child she accidentally injures her younger sister with them and is taught by her parents to hide them stay isolated. Her younger sister is made to forget about this as part of the healing by the rock trolls and doesn’t understand why her sister suddenly became so distant. Don’t remember any rock trolls from the original story? Get used to it.  When their parents die in a shipwreck (it’s Disney; you cannot have two loving, living parents) the older sister becomes queen and at her coronation ball, her powers are revealed and go out of control throwing the land into eternal winter and causing her to run away and create a palace for herself.  Her younger sister sets off with a handsome ice dealer (just roll with with it) and his reindeer to find her sister and save the land.  Not a bad story, but not “The Snow Queen” even in the slightest except for the fact there is a “snow queen” of some sort.  Certainly not a comic relief living snowman, who doesn’t show up until midway through the film, despite what the ads show you. You can see why they use him as selling point because the irreverent humor he brings is the high point of the movie.  Overall, it’s not a bad animated film, but the lack of shading of the characters (everyone is either good or bad, period) shows the difference between a regular Disney film and a Pixar film.

 

THIS WEEK’S LESSON IN FEMINISM

Thor: The Dark World is down to number three and speaking of queens, who wasn’t shocked when Renee Russo popped in the first as the Queen of Asgard?  She’s back here as the butt-kicking queen of Asgard who almost ends the movie before it starts when the main bad guy makes the mistake of taking her on in single combat and gets his ass handed to him.  This isn’t archetypal for Thor which oddly enough does well by women passing the Bechdel Test in both films. For those unfamiliar with it, the Bechdel Test is so named for a cartoonist Alison Bechdel who asked three questions to determine whether or not women have a meaningful presence in films: 1) are there two or more women in it that have names? 2) Do they talk to each other? 3) Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?  When you think about it you’ll be shocked at how few films pass this test (not that you can’t break it and still work, because Renee Russo is in The Thomas Crown Affair, never really speaks to another woman and is totally awesome). Thor however does, thanks to Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings who have names and talk about their actual work. Not boys, not shoes, not make-up. Their work. For a comic book fantasy film, it’s positively revolutionary.  Ironic enough, warrior goddess Sif never has a conversation that isn’t about Thor. Small steps, it seems.

 

THIS WEEK’S LESSON IN FEMINISM PT. 2

The Best Man Holiday, however would not past The Bechdel Test and doubles down against it by making Sanaa Lathan, who plays the wife of Taye Diggs dislike Nia Long, who was the girl he always liked in college but never got together with. Because god forbid two successful, intelligent women—who clearly share some mutual traits for him to love them both—get along.  It’s probably the weakest part of this otherwise enjoyable film.

 

IT’S CALLED “GETTING IN YOUR OWN WAY”

Homefront opens at number five and Jason Staham may want to rethink his opposition to working in films with special effects as he’s not getting any younger and his films are start to do worse and worse.  Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, etc. Name the A-list action star and I’ll name the big-budget special effects film. Jason Staham however is B-list in danger of sinking to C if he doesn’t wise up. Let me put it this way: this has got to be the first major release from him that I didn’t automatically see.  That they’re all the same isn’t an issue; all action films are dangerously similar.  That much I accept.  It’s that they’ve been too disappointing too many times. And I don’t know why the producers thought that “written by Sylvester Stallone” would be a selling point. If anything that guarantees even more plot holes and illogic than your average action film and honestly was the deciding factor for me.  Clearly more than a few people felt the same.

 

THIS TOO WILL PASS, YOUNG MAN

Delivery Man is down to number six giving Vince Vaughn two flops this year and you can’t prove I’m smiling.  Also in this is Chris Pratt whose star is actually rising in comedy (Park & Recreation) and drama (Zero Dark Thirty) and will be in the next big Marvel offshoot, Guardians of the Galaxy and his casting while clearly calculated to bring down the age curve is actually a mistake given the plot hinges on Vince Vaughn being in his 40’s. The best friend who fulfills the straight man role of the married family man is not going to be in his early 30’s. It needs to be someone of a similar age. I can only think his frequent partner, Jon Favreau saw the writing on the wall and turned this down.

 

NAZIS, HOLOCAUST, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED NOVEL = OSCAR BAIT

The Book Thief enters the top ten at number seven and I know nothing of the novel this is based upon, only that it stinks of Oscar bait but also wants to be a heartwarming family film and you can only serve one master.  Trying for both risks sucking on two fronts.

 

WHY WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS TO IGNORE SOMETHING?

Black Nativity opens at number eight and I’ve got “zero” interest in seeing this.  I cannot deal with the hamfisted religious thing, even at Christmas.  Not to mention is this a musical or what?  Jennifer Hudson is shown doing the only thing she should ever do onscreen and that’s sing (her Oscar win remains an embarrassment), but it’s when she’s just walking down the street.  No one else seems to do it and I think that confusion contributed to its low opening (other than having Jesus shoved in your face over Thanksgiving). The Book Thief is in fewer theaters, has been out longer and has even a smaller niche audience and still did better.  I’m a little sad because I like Kasi Lemmons and hoped that Eve’s Bayou would lead to bigger and better things for her as a director. You know her best as Jodie Foster’s roommate in Silence of the Lambs. Yeah, that’s her.

 

QUEEN OF THE GRAY DOLLAR

Opening very well even though it’s at number nine is Philomena.  To even break the top ten with less than a thousand theaters is impressive, but Dame Judi Densch has proven she’s queen of the older audience, having scored a hit with Best Exotic Marigold Hotel two years ago. This is a comedy drama about a writer following a woman as she seeks to find the child she was forced to give up for adoption decades earlier and unlike the book thief it seems to mix the sad and the sweet in the right amounts for Oscar audiences.

 

I’M GONNA HAVE TO TRADEMARK “GRAY DOLLAR” IT SEEMS

Speaking of the “older audience” Last Vegas has rolled the dice for the last time in the top ten but $72M worldwide from a $28M budget isn’t bad at all.  Given that the rest of its target audience will probably devour it on home video (pay-per-view, DVD, etc) it’ll probably deliver nice profit when all is said and done. Ironically, this probably sprung up from the success of Red, whose sequel bombed, so while Last Vegas 2 (Next To Last Vegas?) is unwise another excuse to put a bunch of older actors together will probably pay off.  I’d bring up having some women in it as well, but clearly Judi Densch doesn’t need your punk ass.

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