Tag Archives: Quija

STUPID MOVIEGOERS GET THE STUPID MOVIES THEY DESERVE

16 Nov

ryanpotter

1. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal     Wknd/$ 38.1    Total/$ 38.1
2. Big Hero 6/Disney                               Wknd/$ 36.0    Total/$ 111.7
3. Interstellar/Paramount                      Wknd/$ 29.2    Total/$ 97.8
4. Beyond the Lights/Relativity             Wknd/$ 6.5      Total/$ 6.5
5. Gone Girl/Fox                                       Wknd/$ 4.6      Total/$ 152.7
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                         Wknd/$ 4.0      Total/$ 33.3
7. Fury/Sony                                              Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 75.9
8. Nightcrawler/ORF                               Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 25.0
9. Quija/Universal                                    Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 48.1
10.Birdman/FoxS                                      Wknd/$ 2.4      Total/$ 11.6

YOU GET THE CINEMA YOU DESERVE, AMERICA
Dumb and Dumber To opens at number one and honestly who wanted this? Seriously? Who are you so I came come to your house and make sure you don’t procreate. The first one (which I admit to having seen though I’ve successfully blocked any of its details from my memory) wasn’t funny so I sincerely doubt a 20-years later sequel will somehow correct that. But how happy is Jim Carrey for this? His first hit in how many years? With him actually on the screen I mean and not just a voice. Well that would be Bruce Almighty in ’03. Since then it’s been Fun With Dick & Jane, The Number 23, Yes Man (which I actually enjoy watching at 3 am) I Love Your Phillip Morris and Mr. Poppers Penguins. And unlike Jeff Daniels he doesn’t really have a solid dramatic career to fall back on. Carrey suffers from the same affliction as Eddie Murphy in that he can only springboard from his material. If it’s good, he’ll take it to another level. If it’s shit then he’s just this guy acting painfully weird for no reason whatsoever.

NO EASY ANSWERS
Big Hero 6 is down to number two and is it good or bad that we’re making no notice of the fact that the lead in this is Asian? Granted, the fact that his aunt is Caucasian means he’s only half-Asian, but that’s like saying the president is only half-Black. That’s not how he’s seen or treated, so for all intents and purposes he’s Black and Hiro Hamada is Asian. Now, with all the attention given to Disney’s princesses rarely being other than White don’t they deserve a little credit where the credit is due? Disney even went the extra mile and had their voices also done by Asian Americans (Ryan Potter as Hiro and Daniel Henney as Tadashi and Jamie Chung as Go Go). Or does it not count because Hiro’s gift is being super-smart and building robots and we expect that from Asians? Discuss amongst yourselves.

DON’T HATE THE PLAYER HATE THE GAME
Interstellar is down to number three and word of mouth is going to kill this because the more I think about it the dumber it gets and it was pretty dumb to start with. That said, also in this is Anne Hathaway as the smart scientist daughter of smart scientist Michael Caine. Or should I say, Academy Award Winning Actress playing the daughter of an Academy Award Winning Actor? In fact there are no fewer than five Oscar-winners onscreen in this film…and not one of them recognized how dumb this script was, which proves they got their Oscars through dumb luck, not smart choices. At least Michael Caine is open about it. He’s flat out said that he’s made many of his choices based solely on the fact his character was alive at the end.

MOTHER, YOU HAD ME, BUT I NEVER HAD YOU
Beyond The Lights opens at number four and this is from the writer/director of love & basketball, Gina Prince-Bythewood and while I enjoyed that film, I felt it was derailed a little about a subplot involving the character fighting with her mother. Guess what’s a major plot point here as well? In this case it’s a domineering stage mom. While there are no new stories and it’s all in how you retell them I didn’t see anything about this that was all that new to motivate me into seeing it. I mean, another rich person being saved by the love of a working class person? Seriously? You gotta give me more.

THE STANDARD BY WHICH ALL DICKS ARE JUDGED
Gone Girl is down to number five and there have been complaints that I buried the lead of this particular movie. Actually, just one complaint from my sister that I didn’t mention there’s a shot of Ben Affleck’s dick. Sigh. I’m sorry, people, but it’s just it’s so brief it barely merits a mention. I mean it’s not a Richard Gere in American Gigolo or even Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I guess what I’m saying is it’s not really full frontal male nudity to me if there are no balls present.

IRREPLACABLE? NOT SO MUCH.
St. Vincent is down to number six and also in this is Naomi Watts, aka, Blonde Clone of Nicole Kidman and this actually means she has two films in the top ten (Birdman being the other). In fact, she’s so much like Nicole Kidman that in my memory it was Nicole Kidman in The International, not her. And they both recently played dead blonde princesses to scathing reviews. Kidman as Princess Grace and Watts as Princess Diana. Though you probably thought it was Kidman both times.

THE OTHERS
Fury is down to number seven, Nightcrawler to number eight and Quija down to number nine.

IF ONLY IT WERE BIRDMAN HE HAD ACTUALLY PLAYED
Quija is down to number nine and entering the top ten at number ten is Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), which has gotten good reviews and is definitely on my radar. Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t hate Michael Keaton. I just hated him as Batman. How ironic that he’s getting the best press in years for playing an actor trapped by playing a superhero. More ironic that I really want to see it. And look at his supporting cast members. Edward Norton from The Incredible Hulk and Emma Stone from The Amazing Spider-Man. And the ironic cherry on top is that writer/director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hates superhero movies and think they’re a danger to filmmaking.

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SOUNDS LIKE THE TITLE OF A TOO MODEST PORN FILM

9 Nov

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1. Big Hero 6/Disney                                      Wknd/$ 56.2     Total/$ 56.2
2. Interstellar/Paramount                             Wknd/$ 50.0    Total/$ 52.2
3. Gone Girl/Fox                                             Wknd/$ 6.1         Total/$ 145.4
4. Quija/Universal                                          Wknd/$ 6.0        Total/$ 43.5
5. St. Vincent/Weinstein                               Wknd/$ 5.7         Total/$ 27.4
6. Nightcrawler/ORF                                      Wknd/$ 5.5        Total/$ 19.8
7. Fury/Sony                                                     Wknd/$ 5.5        Total/$ 69.3
8. John Wick/LG-S                                         Wknd/$ 4.0        Total/$ 34.7
9. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney        Wknd/$ 3.5        Total/$ 59.2
10. The Book of Life/Fox                               Wknd/$ 2.8        Total/$ 45.2

SOMEWHERE FOX LAWYERS READ THE FINE PRINT…
Big Hero 6 opens at number one and this is loosely based on a Marvel comic book (though this is not a Marvel Production, though they are owned by Disney), which I never read, believe it or not. One very ironic reason is that it was actually called “Sunfire & Big Hero Six” Sunfire being a Japanese mutant who often interacts with The X-Men. Also one of the members of Big Hero 6 was the Silver Samurai who often clashes with Wolverine. It’s ironic because these characters are among those Marvel can’t get back to the point they’re changing the comics as a result. Needless to say, he’s not here and there’s no counterpart for him, though there is for Silver Samurai. Big Hero Six was a Japanese superhero team and that’s also gone. Now the setting is a gorgeous futuristic city called San Fransokyo, clearly a mesh of San Francisco and Tokyo (with maybe some Hong Kong thrown in) where teen genius Hiro Hamada takes the robotic nurse created by his late brother to seek the man responsible for his brother’s death who has also stolen Hiro mirobot technology. His brother’s fellow students eventually join with Hiro to become Big Hero 6. The movie takes a bit to get started and honestly creates a world more interesting to me than the actual story. Not to mention they double up on the tragedy to the point where it becomes near impossible to believe that Hiro’s not going to be utterly damaged. Hiro and his brother are already orphans being raised by their aunt when Hiro sees his brother die in a fire. His desire to kill the man responsible rings true, but what doesn’t is pretty much any smile afterwards. Both the movie and the character would have been better served if his brother had more vanished than actually died to believe that hope could still exist for Hiro. I mean, even Batman only had to bury his parents. Fortunately, Hiro really isn’t the star of the film. It’s the gentle robot, Baymax, who looks like a giant marshmallow that and Disney clearly knew it given he’s got the poster to himself. You can almost believe that under his care Hiro could heal in a way that the film needs to accept his journey. Not helping matters is a fairly weak and underdeveloped villain and everyone knows your heroes are only as good as your bad guy is bad, but Baymax almost makes up for all of it.

LOST IN SPACE
Interstellar opens at number two and honestly, my hopes were not high for this when I saw the writing credits belonging to the two Nolan Brothers. With the exception of the ninety minute Memento, every film they’ve ever made could have and probably should have been cut by twenty minutes and sadly this is no exception. While I do prefer a shorter film, I’m not an enemy to a long one.. I’ve got no problem settling in and letting big film envelope me like a warm blanket so long as it uses its time to do just that and totally immerse me in the world it creates, but that doesn’t happen here. We get hints at a dystopic future where all wars are over as mankind is engaged in a struggle to survive on a fatally damaged Earth as one by one every major crop is dying off and dust storms are starting in on the humans. Farming is encouraged as an occupation and children are taught that we never went to the moon as space travel is considered a waste of resources. The latter apparently happened in McConughey’s lifetime as he was a pilot with NASA. Not sure how that’s even possible, but okay. Also, NASA is now an organization that’s been operating in secret for over a decade exploring space to find mankind a new home thanks to a wormhole that has appeared next to Saturn, openly acknowledged to be the work of an intelligent race. So, if they can create a wormhole, why the hell put it next to Saturn, which takes two years to get to? No one ever asks. Once through the wormhole they are to determine which if any the only three worlds that actually had mission survivors (out of 12 manned missions) can become a new home for mankind. Meanwhile, back on Earth, thanks to the relativity of time near a black hole, McConughey’s daughter has become a scientist in her own right, helping with Plan B, which is to build a space station to relocate humanity. Of course things go wrong on both ends to build drama and tension, but as always Nolan stretches the tension to the point where it simply snaps and you don’t much care how it resolves itself, so long as it ends. Remember seeming endless shots of people falling backwards and a falling van in Inception? Well take that and make it even longer. Not to mention if you’ve watched enough science fiction you know immediately the secret behind the first “mystery” introduced in the film and once the film finally reveals it, not only is there no new spin put on it, but it also goes on far too long. Even the much vaunted visuals failed to impress and I went out of my way to see it in 70mm…and something happened to the film in the last 10 minutes. So much for that format making a comeback.

A TORCH VERY HAPPILY PASSED
Gone Girl actually rises to number three and this is what we call “having legs” as we not only enter its sixth week, but a jump back up. Why? Well, let’s face it: it’s an adult movie about adults, while Big Hero 6 is aimed squarely at kids and there are adults who flatly regard all science fiction as silly and won’t watch. This is where they were while kids were in Big Hero 6 and teenagers were in Interstellar. And did we discuss that also in this was the “Blurred Lines” girl, Emily Ratajkowski? She’s the new Megan Fox. That is, someone whose natural features are so exaggerated she looks like the drawing of a girl come to life. And while these people look great “playing their roles” (usually in print) they look almost freakish playing “normal” as she does in the film. There’s a similar problem with one of the male leads on Jane the Virgin. He’s clearly good looking, but looks oddly freakish as well walking around and talking.

ONE DAY YOU COULD BE A FULL OF SHIT SUPERSTAR
Quija is down to number four and this cast is filled with unknowns so there’s not much to talk about, but remember the original Nightmare on Elm Street also had a cast filled with unknowns, one of whom was Johnny Depp, so hang in there kids! Paying your dues in crappy, low budget horror films is a time-honored tradition. Shhh! I’m trying to give these kids hope!

ACTORS PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE ARE IN THIS?
St. Vincent is down to number five, followed by Nightcrawler at number six and did you know that Rene Russo was in this or that her character is helping the career of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character? Of course not. Seriously, the ad campaign for this needs a do-over.

AND YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THE TRAIL OF MEDIOCRE TO AWFUL WORK
Fury is down to number seven and this comes from David Ayer the writer and director of wannabe gritty LA crime dramas like End of Watch and Harsh times and the writer of Training Day, Dark Blue, SWAT and Fast & The Furious. He also wrote and directed the god-awful Sabotage, which did just that to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback attempt. This resume makes me more than glad I gave this a pass.

THE A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY SQUAD
John Wick is down to number eight and as I mentioned what helps this film are the many character actors in small supporting roles such as Lance Reddick, Ian McShane (who improves anything), John Leguizamo (who can ruin anything if you let him, but they don’t let him) Dean Winters and Willem Dafoe as a hitman buddy and David Patrick Kelly as the undertaker of the underworld who seems to enjoy his work a bit too much. You know him from his immortal line from The Warriors, “War-ri-ors, come out to pla-ay…” Yeah, that guy.

GEEKS, ALWAYS LIKING WEIRD STUFF
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is down to number nine and The Book of Life closes out the top ten at number ten. After this week it it will undoubtedly go on to a live a cult classic by geeks who insist it was great and the rest of us simply didn’t give it a chance. They’ll be half right.

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FOR EVERY MICHAEL DOUGLAS THERE’S AN ERIC DOUGLAS

3 Nov

ap
1. Nightcrawler/ORF                                             Wknd/$ 10.9   Total/$ 10.9
2. Quija/Universal                                                  Wknd/$ 10.9  Total/$ 35.0
3. Fury/Sony                                                            Wknd/$ 9.1     Total/$ 60.4
4. Gone Girl/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 136.6
5. The Book of Life/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 8.3    Total/$ 40.5
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                                       Wknd/$ 7.8    Total/$ 19.5
7. John Wick/LG-S                                                 Wknd/$ 8.1     Total/$ 27.6
8. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney               Wknd/$ 6.5     Total/$ 53.6
9. The Judge/WB                                                    Wknd/$ 4.4     Total/$ 39.6
10. Dracula Untold/Universal                              Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 52.9

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE X-MAN EITHER
Nightcrawler opens at number one, no doubt as a result of some slightly intoxicated Halloween moviegoers who kept wondering when the monster was going to show up. Not that kind of Nightcrawler, kids. While I’m not entirely put off by the premise of a bottom-feeding video journalist who trolls the LA night for crime stories and gets caught up in one, two things put me off: 1) I could care less about Jake Gyllenhaal. Seriously, a different leading man and maybe I make the time. And 2) I seriously could care less about LA. Once again, you set this in San Francisco a real city, one worth seeing at night and again, maybe I make the time. Yes, I know. I’m as fickle as hell.

SHAME ON YOU, REDUX!
Quija is down to number two and once again, America, you should be ashamed. And I’ll shame you again when the sequel comes out as this only cost $5M to make and has now made almost $35M.

MAKE MY DAY…BY MAKING MY SON A STAR
Fury holds at number three and also in this is Scott Eastwood. Yes, son of Clint. May his career turn out a little better than that of his sister, Allison Eastwood, who peaked with a horrible southern accent in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, also directed by dad. He did her no favors with that one. Scott also started working for dad, but under the name of Scott Reeves. Yeah, kid. It may seem honorable, but life is hard enough. If you’re letting your dad give you a job you might as well use name. Otherwise you’re just half-assing it. Take Martha Plimpton for example. She’s a fucking Carradine, but you don’t see her using that name.

YEAH THAT TITLE WAS ALL-TOO-ACCURATE FOR SOME
Gone Girl is down to number four and also in this and unrecognizable as an adult is Patrick Fugit, the kid journalist from “almost famous.” While his starring role clearly didn’t lead to bigger and better things, he’s one of the few from that cast in a movie of this caliber. In fact, let’s play a little “Where Are They Now?” Kate Hudson clearly went on to waste her moment at the “Hot Young Thing” on increasingly vapid romantic comedies and was last seen playing Zach Braff’s wife in another of his vanity projects that his dumb fans actually paid for (while he works on Broadway). Frances McDormand is awesome and is probably awesome on her new HBO series that I will never see. Jason Lee of course had My Name is Earl and is clearly looking for a new series as it didn’t have the syndication success like the godawful crapfests of How I Met Your Mother or Big Bang Theory. Zooey Deschanel obviously has New Girl though never became a big screen star because that eccentric cutesy thing is annoying. Anna Paquin had the two-fer of The X-Men and True Blood, while Fairuza Balk needs to get the band back together and make that Craft sequel if she wants people to care about her again. Billy Crudup has stayed on the big screen in A-list movies though in supporting roles, while doing stage work, indie films and leaving his wife for Clair Danes (who’s now married to someone else). And we know what happened to poor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hey, did you remember that Jimmy Fallon was in it too?

ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN SCARLETT JOHANNSON
The Book of Life is down to number five, followed by John Wick at number six and also in this is Adrienne Palicki as a hit woman with no code of honor who comes after John Wick on a place where even the criminals don’t shed blood. She’s also currently on Agents of SHIELD as Mockingbird, whom geeks like me know eventually marries Hawkeye (they were clearly Marvel’s answer to Green Arrow and Black Canary). And before this she was in the never-aired Wonder Woman pilot and the G.I. Joe sequel. She was also briefly teased as being Supergirl on Smallville, but turned out to be a human who just thought she was Superman’s cousin. With this resume, she looks to be on the fast track to being an action hero in her own right which I’d welcome as she’s 5’11.” Action heroes should be bigger than life.

YES, HE’S ONE OF THOSE GETTYS
St. Vincent is down to number seven followed by Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day and The Judge at number nine, and also in this is Balthazar Getty. Remember him? Exactly.

THE REST OF THE WORLD SUCKS JUST AS MUCH
Finally, Dracula Untold holds onto the ten slot for one more week, but now that Halloween is over that reprieve is pretty much over. But this thing made $136M overseas so remember that when people tell you Americans have no taste.

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR PART 2

Madame Secretary
You know how you wanted a combination of The Good Wife and Scandal? No? Well, someone clearly thought you did. As a rule, I avoid any show where a rule-breaker gets a position that no rule breaker could ever get. You don’t rise to the top of any established position “playing by your own rules.” At best that means you undo your tie after 5:00, so as much as I like Tea Leoni (third redhead of a certain age to get her own show after The Mysteries of Laura and Bad Judge) I was somewhat skeptical of this, but I gave it a shot and the commercials made it seem much worse than it is. It’s not a bad show, but it’s still The Good Wife mixed in with a little Scandal and I haven’t watched The Good Wife in three years and I can’t bear Scandal, though to its credit Scandal realizes you can’t really take stories about conspiracies in Washington DC seriously. Madame Secretary lost any chance of me returning when we find out at the end of the first episode the previous secretary of state was not only murdered, but his entire flight brought down just to kill him…which was a point of discussion on Arrow last week. Yeah. This is what they want me to take seriously.

Marry Me
This is from the creators of Happy Endings and starring one of its actors. So, how much like it is this show? About the same. And oddly that’s why I can’t watch it. It reminds me too much of the show that I lost. It’s like trying to date your dead girlfriend’s sister. Let me put it this way: remember Derrick, the flamboyantly gay guy Max introduced Penny to? He appears on this show. Yeah.

Jane The Virgin
In the tradition of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Cougar Town a great show has been cursed with a horrible title. Let me put it this way: even though it got great reviews I still was not going to watch this until my baby sister insisted. It’s basically a spoof of a soap opera, complete with an omniscient narrator, constant flashbacks and onscreen texts telling you what people are thinking. Jane is traumatized by her grandmother (and her mother giving birth to Jane at 16) into hanging onto her virginity, hence the surprise when what should have been a simple pap smear result in her being artificially inseminated by a doctor who was distracted by the fact that her wife had cheated on her. The intended recipient of the sperm was in fact the doctor’s sister-in-law as her husband (the doctor’s brother) was now sterile due to cancer treatments. The same cancer treatments that reformed him from a bad boy into the responsible manager of a hotel…where Jane works. Oh, and five years ago she and the hotel manager kissed. And the wife was only trying to get pregnant to keep her marriage going until the terms of her pre-nup were satisfied. Did I mention the owner of the hotel is the father of the doctor and hotel manager and that his wife is the doctor’s former lover? It’s so much fun and only been on a month so catching up is easy. Do it!

Constantine
Yes, this is the same character from the movie with Keanu Reeves, which was basically Constantine in name only, with little resemblance to the character, starting with him being a barely moral Englishman constantly in a dirty raincoat who battles demons by being nearly as mean as them himself, willing to do whatever it takes to win, even sacrificing the innocent. It was a serviceable enough pilot though I admit if he weren’t a comic book character I was familiar with I probably wouldn’t be watching. I don’t watch Supernatural or Grimm because they just insulted my intelligence off the bat (every demon lives in freaking Portland!?!). This was better than that, but still not really drawing me in with the “monster of the week” format. It needs to have something more, which will hopefully be tied to the greater DC Comics Universe. I don’t mean a crossover with Arrow, but there are a lot of supernatural characters and if they’re going to show up (we’ve already seen the helmet of Dr. Fate) I’ll hang around.

The Flash
Needless to say I love it. It already started off better than Arrow because it had the advantage of being spun off of that show and learning from its mistakes. It successfully translates the comic to the screen in a way that attracts new viewers but satisfies geeks like me. THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE FUCKING GORILLA GRODD ON THE SHOW! GORRILA GRODD!

Mulaney
My god. One of the worst shows you will ever see. Imagine a 10-year-old boy watching Seinfeld then growing up to being a comedian himself then trying to recreate it. Well drop that in shit and you’ll have this show.

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JUST TED’S BLOODY ADVENTURE

27 Oct

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1. Quija/Universal                                        Wknd/$ 20.0    Total/$ 20.0
2. John Wick/LG-S                                      Wknd/$ 14.1     Total/$ 14.1
3. Fury/Sony                                                  Wknd/$ 13.0    Total/$ 46.1
4. Gone Girl/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 11.1     Total/$ 124.1
5. The Book of Life/Fox                               Wknd/$ 9.8     Total/$ 29.9
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                             Wknd/$ 8.1      Total/$ 9.2
7. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney     Wknd/$ 7. 0     Total/$ 45.5
8. The Best of Me/Relativity                      Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 17.7
9. The Judge/WB                                         Wknd/$ 4.3      Total/$ 34.4
10. Dracula Untold/Universal                   Wknd/$ 9.9      Total/$ 40.7

I CAN’T SEE A TOMORROW ANY LONGER
Quija opens at number one and we should all be ashamed of this. A movie based unapologetically on a board game? With Michael Bay as a producer? For a moment I thought there was hope when we banded together as a people and rejected Battleship, but now…I just don’t know.

YOU NEED TO LAUGH A LITTLE AS BODIES HIT THE FLOOR
John Wick opens at number two and if the plot of this seems familiar it’s because it’s pretty much the same plot as The Equalizer which came out a month ago: a retired assassin goes on a killing spree when the Russian mob crosses him. Both end with showdowns in the rain (though an artificial in the case of The Equalizer) and both star an aging leading man, in this case Keanu Reeves now in his 50’s. Yeah, you a old muthafucka. The difference being this is much better, starting with the utter lack of pretense of saving someone or righting some wrong. Nope. John Wick is out for revenge, pure and simple and will kill anyone who gets in his way. It just so happens everyone he kills is a bad guy. If a cop had killed the puppy left to him by his late wife the way the son of the Russian Mob boss does you get the feeling he’d have wiped out the New York Police Department with the same lack of hesitation. Not that NYPD is anywhere to be seen as every action scene leaves more bodies on the ground than the last act of Hamlet (one cop is seen in New Jersey and knows better than to get involved…which is authentic Jersey). No, this is one of those films with a romantic fantasy depiction of organized crime, where they have their own hotels and clubs and everyone knows and respects everyone and there’s discipline and honor. Hell, there even seems to be a dress code. Pretty sure the inability to exist in a world of rules is what makes people into criminals, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s fantasy and it’s fun and the latter is what helps to elevate it over The Equalizer. There’s a dry sense of humor about all the carnage and nowhere more than in the primary antagonist. The first rule of action films is that your hero is only as good as your villain and there’s a good one here in the Russian Mob Boss. Now, in every action movie someone delivers the perfunctory expository monologue about how dangerous and deadly the hero is. Richard Crenna’s speech about Rambo in First Blood is the benchmark of this. Here the mob boss gives it to his son and when his son says he can handle Wick, there’s almost a metatextual response of frustration from the mob boss who says “Did he not hear what I just said!?!” At that moment he became the audience who has seen dozens of henchmen ignore these speeches and wanted to yell at the screen the exact same thing. And it’s not just him. This humor comes from a variety of characters throughout the film, all nicely portrayed by character actors who lend the film texture generic actioners often lack. It’s also good to have them when your leading man is Keanu Reeves, whom I like, but is far from the most magnetic personality to hit the screen. In that respect, The Equalizer does come out on top.

FACTS IS FACTS
Fury is down to number three and my friends confirmed what I suspected: any movie with Shia Lebouf in it blows. No exceptions.

YOU KNOW WHO DID ASCEND? MIRA SORVINO. EXACTLY.
Gone Girl is down to number four and also in this is Kim Dickens who seemed positioned to be the next indie film “It Girl” as I seemed to see her in every other art film at the end of the 20th century and one of Showtime’s first attempts at a series (with none other than indie king Eric Stoltz and Justine Bateman’s huge nipples). Alas, she never ascended, but I’m still glad to see her around, especially in a major, A-list film like this providing solid support as the detective investigating the disappearance of Rosamund Pike.

SOMETHING’S GONNA STICK
The Book of Life is down to number five and providing the voice to one of the characters is none other than Channing Tatum, clearly the hardest working man in show business. I have to respect someone who doesn’t just strike the iron while it’s hot, but wisely. He’s made a wide variety of choices from silly comedy (21 Jump Street) to action (White House Down) to romantic drama (The Vow) big budget sci-fi (Jupiter Ascending which was supposed to come out over the summer) to Oscar-bait drama (Foxcatcher opening this fall) to this, which isn’t some Dreamworks or Pixar guaranteed moneymaker, but a little off the beaten path. It suggests he’s actually looking for things that are interesting.

BUT HE WON’T DO A GHOSTBUSTERS SEQUEL
St. Vincent enters the top ten and this may be the third of an unofficial trilogy of Bill Murray that started with Meatballs and continued in Rushmore of the jaded older man who bonds with a boy. This might explain my lack of desire to see it. I’ve seen it done before and so well I don’t see how this could be better.

WRITING FULLY REALIZED CHARACTERS IZ HARD
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is down to number seven, followed by The Best of Me at number eight and The Judge at number nine and also in this is…Leighton Meester!?! Blair Waldorf? Yeah, I don’t get it either. She’s Vera Farmiga’s daughter that Robert Downey Jr. makes out with not knowing who she is. This is an example the some of the weaker writing in the film. They want this little surprise twist without thinking of what it takes to exist, which is sadly common in any movie or TV show about a guy who leaves home and is gone for years. Now it would be one thing if Vera Farmiga had also left town, but as it stands we’re supposed to believe that for twenty years he hasn’t heard a single thing about his high school love from anyone in his family who all still live in the same town. We’re also told his mother was close to her, but somehow never mentioned that his ex had a child twenty years ago. And even though he loved his mother, apparently he also has never been home once in twenty years to visit her. We know he has never taken his daughter to his home, but apparently no one travelled to see her either. There’s a repeated line from Very Famiga about him going to a Metallica concert and never being seen again that’s never elaborated upon. Probably because they never thought beyond that line.

LEARNING FROM THE MISTAKES OF LEONARD NIMOY
Finally, Dracula Untold closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Dominic Cooper, better known to you as Iron Man’s dad, Howard Stark. And how happy is he that Agent Carter got her own series that he can appear on and continue to draw from the Mighty Marvel Money Machine? Very happy indeed.

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