Tag Archives: Shailene Woodley

ZACK SNYDER V COMPETENT FILMMAKING

28 Mar

Morena-Baccarin-Photoshoot-by-Robert-Ascroft-2013-morena-baccarin-35411576-748-1000

1. Batman v Superman/WB                 Wknd/$170.1   Total/$ 170.1
2. Zootopia/Disney                                 Wknd/$ 23.1    Total/$ 240.5
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2/Uni  Wknd/$ 18.1    Total/$ 18.1
4. Miracles from Heaven/TriStar       Wknd/$ 9.5      Total/$ 34.1
5. Divergent: Allegiant/LG                    Wknd/$ 9.5     Total/$ 46.6
6. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount      Wknd/$ 6.0    Total/$ 56.0
7. Deadpool/Paramount                         Wknd/$ 5.0    Total/$ 349.5
8. London Has Fallen/Focus                 Wknd/$ 2.9    Total/$ 55.6
9. Hello, My Name is Doris/RA             Wknd/$ 1.7    Total/$ 3.3
10. Eye in the Sky/BST                            Wknd/$ 1.0    Total/$ 1.7

GREED V CHARACTERS: DAWN OF A FRANCHISE
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opens at number one to no one’s surprise. Also not surprising? It’s goddamned awful that way that only a CGI heavy muddle by a hack director like Snyder can be. The movie exists for one reason only: to make Superman and Batman fight, so they wrote it ass backwards trying to come up with reasons to make this happen and they do a horrible job of it. The movie is strongly inspired by the best-selling Batman comics ever: The Dark Knight Returns, which is set in a future where Batman is little more than a psychotic thug and Superman is a government stooge and at its climax Batman beats a weakened Superman who is honestly trying not to hurt him. I have to give the book credit for brilliantly tapping into the not-so-secret longstanding resentment of many for Superman. Simply put, he’s the status quo, the establishment. He’s everything that makes your angry teen-self feel powerless. Your parents, your teachers, the cops…etc. While Batman is literally powerless (unless you count money which makes him the most powerful superhero). Having the “powerless” character defeat the all-powerful character resonated so strongly, the status quo of DC Comics was forever changed and Superman & Batman were no longer best friends, but antagonistic. Frenemies at best. Also, the book sold millions, which never happens, so DC followed the money, which means for the better part of the last 30 years aside from continually making them fight, Batman has also been a near psychotic. Most of these stories are godawful, but all of those stories are better than this one, which involves Lex Luthor (played as “autistic evil” by Jesse Eiesenberg) hating Superman for no real reason and wanting him both disgraced and dead. Meanwhile, Superman has been doing good deeds since accidentally bringing the Kryptonian Civil War to Earth and causing the deaths of thousands. But apparently he has never once spoken to the people he’s protecting as he continues to be a miserable bastard tormented by the fact that some people still don’t like him. If only he knew someone in the media that he could convey what he was all about. Oh, right HE’S A FUCKING REPORTER! HE COULD DO IT ANYTIME HE WANTS TO! Meanwhile, in Gotham city—which in this film is located across the bay from Metropolis basically making it the Oakland to Metropolis’ San Francisco—Batman has apparently been around for 20 years and in that time Wayne Manor has been destroyed, a Robin has been killed and Batman now has no problem literally branding people when he’s not flat out shooting them down with the machine guns in his Batmobile and Batplane. If the reasons why Luthor hates Superman make no sense, neither does the seeming obsession of Clark Kent with Batman. Thousands are dead, half the world hates him, the government is holding hearings about him, but he’s concerned about the civil liberties being trampled in Gotham City. At least Batman’s resentment of Superman is somewhat legit. Some of thousands of people are dead were employees of Wayne Enterprises and in one of the few effective sequences we see the final moments from Man of Steel from the perspective of Bruce Wayne on the ground. And while his resent of Superman is valid, his psychotic need to cut his head off (which he literally tries to do in the battle that takes far too long to happen) does not. Very little of this film does. And it commits the worst sin imaginable: it’s dull. But again, most of Snyder’s films are, though supposedly action films. Man of Steel was dull. Sucker Punch was dull. Because he thinks he’s a real filmmaker he tries to have scenes were people do things besides fight, only they make no sense. And with the exception of Wonder Woman’s five-minute appearance (which is as badass as it is great) even the fights are dull and if that’s the case, this film has no reason to exist whatsoever. But again, it’s not really a movie is it? It’s just a launching platform for other movies and while Marvel/Disney is equally guilty of sacrificing a film to set up for others (both Thors, half of Captain America and even part of Avengers Age of Ultron) at least they are still capable of making a half-decent movie around it. DC/WB clearly are not.

IT’S CALLED STICKING WITH A BIT
Zootopia is down to number two and outside of the race & gender allegory it’s creating, there are still honest and funny jokes in the film and none so much as the now famous sloth one. That sloths run the DMV is near brilliant in its obvious simplicity, but what makes the joke work it is that they stick with it. At no point do they create some excuse that can make the sloths go faster. No, the audience has to wait alongside the characters and it is hysterical. And while he’s great as the straight man usually, Jason Bateman has a smarm to him as well that works perfectly as the voice of the fox and he clearly enjoys playing the other side of the fence for once.

MY BIG FAT GREEK DESPERATION
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 opens at number three and clearly God hates everyone to have both this and Batman v Superman opening in the same week. No matter what movie you choose, it’s going to be crap made by the incompetent. The first Big Fat Greek Wedding was like Batman v Superman: godawful, stupid and incredibly successful (I’m stunned to realize it got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay when it was only one of those things). Based on what I’ve seen in the commercials and trailers, this is going to get at least two of those down solid. Nia Vardalos has been trying for years to follow that up with a failed TV series (My Big Fat Greek Life) a reteaming with John Corbett (I Hate Valentine’s Day) and revisiting the Greek thing (My Life in Ruins). I hate to knock anyone’s hustle, but girlfriend, it’s time to move the fuck on. I’m sorry Tom Hanks and his wife got all the money the first time around, but you had your moment, you took your shot and you failed. Accept you’re someone’s sidekick and Move. On.

SHE NEEDED SOME JESUS
Miracles from Heaven is down to number four and if you’re wondering why these Christian movies are getting more mainstream Hollywood people in them you need to look at who they’re getting. They’re not getting Ben Affleck who’s winning Oscars and starring in attempted billion dollar franchises. They’re getting his soon-t0-be ex-wife who does credit card commercials and needed the comfort of the lord something fierce this past year. She said she started taking the kids to church after making this movie but let’s not kid ourselves. We know what make you look for meaning in all this and it wasn’t some dumb Christian propaganda movie. It was your husband banging the honestly less-attractive nanny. And the whole world knowing it.

SAY IT WITH ME: THE WORLD IS MADE FOR PEOPLE WHO LACK SELF-AWARENESS
The Divergent Series: Allegiant is down to number five and I’m as surprised to see this still going on as you are because I confused it with The Hunger Games like everyone else. What’s funny is that star Shailene Woodley tries to act like we’re being strange to connect her to Jennifer Lawrence. Oh, and you’re not a tall, attractive 20-something blonde who has drawn raves in small indie films while headlining a Young Adult franchise based on a dystopian future where you’re the chosen on who leads a rebellion? No, honey. The difference is Jennifer Lawrence has four Oscar nominations and one win. You have a one Golden Globe nomination…that you didn’t win.

SERIOUSLY, I HATE YOU ALL
10 Cloverfield Lane is down to number six and this has been successful so I guess we’re going to get more of this Cloverfield shit. I hate you all for making it possible.

TALENT, SCHMALENT. SHE’S SO PURTY.
Deadpool is down to number seven and also in this is Morena Baccarin who is like Ryan Reynolds in that she’s a really pretty person that everyone seems to know whose success in Hollywood should be a foregone conclusion, but like him this is actually her biggest success happening a decade after you thought it would. That she should have been Maria Hill in The Avengers movies must be a little easier to bear now.

MADRID HAS FALLEN…OH, IT’S JUST SIESTA. NEVER MIND.
London Has Fallen is down to number eight and all you need to know about this movie is that at one point it turns into a video game. Seriously. It turns into a first person shooter as you are Gerard Butler and follow his POV into the action and like a video game, no bullets or shrapnel ever seem to hit him. Thankfully, it hasn’t even made budget yet so no other capitals will fall in the future. What? Were you really looking forward to Paris Has Fallen? Rome Has Fallen? Tokyo Has Fallen? Actually they could do it, just with different characters in each location. Come to think of it, this film would have been infinitely better with no connection with Olympus Has Fallen and just been about a James Bond-like agent dealing with similar circumstances in London. Butler almost does it as his Scottish accent becomes more and more apparent as the film drags on.

THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE PATRIARCHY IS REAL, YO
Hello My Name Is Doris actually rises to number nine and I’m happy for Sally Field getting this at this stage of the game. But we know that if the genders were reversed and it was a 60-something dude longing for a 30-something female he’d actually get to bang her and he’d rock her world. Or am I the only person who remembers how charming so many critics found Burt Lancaster lusting after Susan Sarandon in Atlantic City? Or most of Michael Douglas’ casting decisions, period?

I MEAN IT, FUCK THAT MOVIE
Finally, Eye In The Sky rises to number ten to remind you that every day we kill innocent people every time we try to kill a terrorist with a drone strike, which reminds me again of the end of London Has Fallen where such a strike is the cause of all the trouble and also the climax you’re supposed to cheer. Seriously, fuck that movie.

PA KENT: THE MOVIE
Midnight Special isn’t in the top ten but it’s basically Superman from the point of view of The Kents. It’s about 10-year-old boy in Texas who has special powers and his father trying to protect him from the government who wants him badly. Okay, it’s not as nice as The Kents in the comics as the father here (played by Michael Shannon who was ironically Zod in Man of Steel) actually is willing to shoot a state trooper simply because he’s in their way because his on is “More important.” In that way he’s closer the horrible Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel who is willing to let a bus filled with children die, but when it comes down to it, he can’t kill someone who might (and actually does) give them away. Also, the mother and father here (mom is Kirsten Dunst) were part of some kind of religious cult run by Sam Shepard that became centered around the boy when his powers began to manifest (Shepard actually took the boy to raise for two years as his own), so they’re a little darker than The Kents. What they do share is a clear an unconditional love for their “special” son with absolutely no fear of him and will do whatever they need to do in order to protect him, even though he clearly possesses amazing powers (at one point the boy downs a military satellite). And if you don’t think it’s not intentional, know that at one point the boy is reading a Superman comic. It could be a little tighter given it’s essentially a chase film (thy aren’t just running from the authorities but the armed cultists who what the boy back as they think Judgment Day is coming) in the era of drones and satellites and amber alerts where running unnoticed is seriously difficult but a satisfying little film nonetheless.

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ONE, TWO, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, THREE, SEVEN

20 Apr

kenneth-branagh-image
1. Furious 7/Universal                          Wknd/$ 29.1    Total/$ 294.4
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                      Wknd/$ 24.0   Total/$ 24.00
3. Unfriended/Universal                      Wknd/$ 16.0    Total/$ 16.0
4. Home/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 10.3    Total/$ 142.6
5. The Longest Ride/Fox                      Wknd/$ 6.9      Total/$ 23.5
6. Get Hard/WB                                     Wknd/$ 4.8      Total/$ 78.3
7. Monkey Kingdom/Disney                Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 4.7
9. The Divergent Series: Insurgent     Wknd/$ 4.2      Total/$ 120.6
8. Woman in Gold/Weinstein              Wknd/$ 4.6      Total/$ 15.9
10. Cinderella/Disney                            Wknd/$ 3.9      Total/$ 186.3

IT TEACHES THE KIDS MATH…KINDA. WELL, NOT REALLY.
Furious 7 holds at number one and why this is called Furious 7 while the previous entry was Fast & Furious 6, but the one before that was Fast Five while the one before that was Fast & Furious, which is not to be confused with the very first one, which was THE Fast and THE Furious? I have no freaking idea. The only other title to have “The” in it was the much maligned third entry: The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift and yes, they do make a return here for a brief scene in Tokyo because the films 4, 5, and 6 all take place before the events in number 3. So the order is The Fast and The Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast and Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and now Furious 7. Got it? Good. Needless to say the nine years between entries were not kind to, Lucas Black, the male lead of Tokyo Drift, while the other two leads, Lil’ Bow Wow (understandably going by his real name of Shad Moss these days) and that ethnically dubious girl who’s now more famous for being in a Bruno Mars video, were relatively unchanged. So it’s not only black that doesn’t crack but also brown (she’s Peruvian-Argentine).

FOR EVIL TO SUCCEED ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS FOR GOOD PEOPLE TO SEE BAD MOVIES
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 opens at number two and stop trying to tell me that God exists. What kind of god would let this happen. Twice. On the other hand, if the greatest trick The Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist, then he’s giving himself away by greenlighting films in Hollywood.

A MOVIE NO ONE OVER 60 WILL UNDERSTAND
Unfriended opens at number three and just as a broken clock is right twice a day, apparently a low-budget stepchild of found footage films (everything is seen from the screen of one computer) is both successful and critically praised. The fact that it may be scary is just more reason for me never to see it.

ANOTHER PRETTY BLONDE SUCCEEDS IN LA. NEWS AT ELEVEN.
Home is down to number four, followed by The Longest Ride at number five and this is a another rung up the ladder for Britt Robertson, who I know because I watched both Life Unexpected and The Secret Circle (where she wore her skirts so short they had to be digitally lengthened in post). Shut up! Shame is for lesser people! She and her team have been making good, solid choices. She was the lead on that show though it was cancelled, got steady exposure on Under The Dome, was in Jennifer Anniston’s Oscar-bait movie, Cake, wisely chose this piece of popular crap and it will culminate in Tomorrowland this summer, directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney. Remember the last young woman to co-star with Clooney? Shailene Woodley. Good, because I swear this girl’s been chomping at the bit for superstardom for as long as I’ve seen her. We were moments away from a sexually explicit film from her to get noticed. Whoops. She did that last year.

SO FATIGUED IT’S NOT FUNNY
Get Hard is down to number six and given it hasn’t even doubled its budget in the month it’s been out (compare to Furious 7 which hit a billion dollars last week) people may have had enough of both Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell’s manchild routine. I know I have and I’ve only seen one or two of them.

MONKEY FUNNY. ALWAYS AND FOREVER.
Monkey Kingdom opens at number seven and I swear I will watch the shit about of some monkeys in the jungle on The Discovery Channel, but don’t think I’m gonna get up and go pay for it. But great for all of you who did!

I’M TELLING MYSELF HE DOES THIS TO PAY FOR THEATER WORK
Woman in gold is down to number eight, followed by The Divergent Series: Insurgent at number nine with Cinderella closing out the top ten at number ten and while that seems as disappointing as Get Hard given it failed to double its budget domestically, globally it quadrupled it and while Disney isn’t getting all of that, it’s damn sure getting enough. Not to mention what this is going to pull on home video. Oh, and did we ever mention this was directed by Kenneth Branagh? He’s sadly become a director of very mediocre big budget studio films recently. There was nothing exceptional about this. The best thing about Thor was one man’s performance and there was no best thing about Jack Ryan. This is sad because Dead Again was huge dose of campy fun. Given the difference trajectory of their careers, I’m starting to wonder how much of that had to do with Emma Thompson. Especially now that I remember the awfulness that was his version of Frankenstein, which also had Helena Bonham Carter in it. Seems it’s easier to work with ex-girlfriends than ex-wives.

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EVERYBODY LOVES A CHICK FIGHT. EVERY. BODY.

13 Apr

chickfight
1. Furious 7/Universal Wknd/$ 60.6 Total/$ 252.5
2. Home/Fox Wknd/$ 19.0 Total/$ 129.6
3. The Longest Ride/Fox Wknd/$ 13.5 Total/$ 13.5
4. Get Hard/WB Wknd/$ 8.6 Total/$ 71.2
5. Cinderella/Disney Wknd/$ 7.2 Total/$ 180.8
6. The Divergent Series: Insurgent Wknd/$ 6.9 Total/$ 114.8
7. Woman in Gold/Weinstein Wknd/$ 5.9 Total/$ 9.3
8. It Follows/RTWC Wknd/$ 2.0 Total/$ 11.8
9. Danny Collins/BST Wknd/$ 1.6 Total/$ 2.5
10. While We’re Young/A24 Wknd/$ 1.4 Total/$ 1.4

CHICK FIGHT!
Furious 7 holds at number 1 and in addition to Tony Jaa the other martial artist in this is MMA Champion, Ronda Rousey. Like Jaa she has to pretend that her opponent wouldn’t be toast in 30 seconds. Just as Paul Walker’s character suddenly became a master of hand-to-hand combat, Michelle Rodriguez’s character also developed martial skills. Not only does she take on Rousey, but a team of female Arab bodyguards before that. And in the previous installment she took on Gina Carano. But like Carano and Tony Jaa and Bruce Lee before her Rousey clearly made it part of her deal that she wasn’t going to lose in a straight-on fight to some actor. Yes, Jaa loses, but not because Walker punches him out or anything. Similarly, Rousey’s fight with Rodriguez ends in a draw, which is good, because if my eyes had rolled back any further in my head I’d have seen my own brainstem. But don’t get me wrong. I am perverse enough to enjoy a good chick fight and I’m not alone considering this was twice as long as the Carano fight. Though the fact they were in evening gowns is clearly someone else’s fetish. Seriously, you just know that’s his kink because he views it as some kind of clever irony. It’s not.

HE HAS HIS OWN SUPER POWER: PANTY DROPPING
Home holds at number two, followed by The Longest Ride opening at number one and the most notable thing about this is that the male lead is Scott Eastwood. Yes, it’s his son, if you couldn’t tell simply by looking at him. Now I will give him credit for at least attempting a career without using his famous name (he used his mother’s surname), but he quickly realized that it’s stupid not to use every advantage you have. Especially when you actually like your dad unlike say, Angelina Jolie Voight. But let’s face it, if a name really did anything for you, Tyrone Power Jr. would have been a giant star, as would Jennifer Grant (yes, Cary Grant’s daughter). And do we have to once again bring up the sad story of the other son of Kirk Douglas who was an actor? Not everyone can be Jeff and Beau Bridges either. Needless to say the simple fact it’s based on a Nicholas Sparks novel guarantees this a place on the crap list, but I’ll never know because I will never, ever see it. In fact, I’m still angry I was tricked into seeing The Notebook (and by “tricked” I mean a really pretty girl I knew named Jennifer wanted to see it). But being in one has never hurt a career if you’re young (Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Miley Cyrus, Amand Seyfried), so it’s a smart move on his part. Another smart move is getting into a comic book movie. Learning that he’s going to play Steve Trevor actually made me interested in a Wonder Woman movie for the first time.

IT’S AN ABOMINATION
Get Hard is down to number four, followed by Cinderella at number five and yes, they are making live action versions of everything now, including Winnie The Pooh and Dumbo. Now, Pinocchio I get, because that has been made into live action features before, but Winnie The Pooh and Dumbo? Why!?! Simply because CGI means you can doesn’t mean you should. May god have mercy on their money grubbing souls…which they clearly gave up long ago.

NOW BEST KNOWN AS A NAME IN AN EMINEM SONG…
The Divergent Series: Insurgent is down to number six and let’s rundown the adult cast in this thing: Oscar winner Kate Winslet, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, two time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Maggie Q, Tony Goldwyn, Daniel Dae Kim and Mekhi Phifer. Remember when he played the male lead to Beyonce in MTV’s version of Carmen? Me neither. Though judging by his size on House of Lies last season, brutha hasn’t missed many meals.

IT’S THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
The Woman in Gold holds at number seven and also in this is…Katie Holmes? Well, it makes sense given this is little more than a TV movie that escaped into theaters, though the smart move would have been to be an adult in one of the YA novel film adaptations. I also recommend taking that “hot mom” role on a TV show. After all, it’s where you began. Dawson and Pacey have already accepted their small screen fates. Time to join them, Joey.

HOLDING MY WUSSY GROUND
It Follows is down to number eight and yes, I still refuse to see this.

IMAGINE IF THE LETTER HAD BEEN “YOU SUCK. QUIT NOW.”
Entering the top ten at number nine is Danny Collins, which is based on the true story of a folk singer to whom John Lennon once wrote a letter of encouragement, but since no one really gives a crap about a folk singer, the movie makes it a rock singer and if you’re having trouble seeing Al Pacino as an aging rock singer, come sit right next to me. Yes, he was the same age as John Lennon, but still it doesn’t seem to fit. That said, the movie follows this fictional character who like the real life folk singer never received the letter until 40 years later and it makes him reevaluate his life. Honestly, though I still don’t give a crap about folk singing, I’m more interested in how the real life guy handled it, not this clichéd story of about a man trying to re-connect with the son he’s basically ignored for almost 40 years. Not helping is that his growth is also indicated by him dumping his 20-something girlfriend and becoming more interested in the older manager of the hotel where he’s staying, played by Annette Benning. Pacino is 74. Benning is 56. That’s not age appropriate. Not even close. God forbid you give an actress his age a job. Last I heard Julie Christie is still working. How about giving her some fucking work?

OLD PEOPLE NEED MORE SLEEP
Speaking of age appropriate casting, Ben Stiller is forced to submit to it in While We’re Young, entering the top ten at number ten, since age is kinda the focus of the movie. It’s about two 40-somethings played by Stiller and Naomi Watts (two movies in the top ten this week) who reevaluate their lives after striking up a friendship with two 20-somethings, played by Amana Seyfried and the actor, Adam Driver, who plays Hanna’s creepy boyfriend, Adam, on Girls. This is from writer/director, Noah Baumbach (whom I’ve loved since Kicking & Screaming) who’s banging a 20-something in real life while getting divorced from Jennifer Jason Leigh so like most of his work it’s drawn from his real life. I’m not going to say what’s keeping me from seeing this is because it strikes a little too close to home (not the banging a 20-something part), because it’s not. I’m just lazy. That’s the real reason.

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THE FUN AND THE STUPID

6 Apr

Maggie-Smith
1. Furious 7/Universal                               Wknd/$ 143.6  Total/$ 143.6
2. Home/Fox                                             Wknd/$ 27.4    Total/$ 95.6
3. Get Hard/WB                                        Wknd/$ 12.9     Total/$ 57.0
4. Cinderella/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 10.3    Total/$ 167.3
5. The Divergent Series: Insurgent            Wknd/$ 10.0    Total/$ 103.4
6. It Follows/RTWC                                   Wknd/$ 2.5      Total/$ 8.5
7. Woman in Gold/Weinstein                     Wknd/$ 2.0      Total/$ 2.1
8. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox       Wknd/$ 1.7      Total/$ 122.3
9. Do You Believe/PFR                              Wknd/$ 1.5      Total/$ 9.8
10. The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel   Wknd/$ 1.0      Total/$ 30.1

WE HAD STUPID FUN, LITERALLY.
Furious 7 (don’t ask me why it’s not Fast 7) opens at number one and this is the most over-the-top and ridiculous entry yet, which is saying something given we’ve seen a giant safe dragged through the streets of Rio and a tank on the highways of Europe. Let me put it this way: it opens with Jason Staham basically destroying a hospital single handedly while demanding they take care of his brother, who was the bad guy in Fast 6. Yeah, they’re really gonna see to him care now. It’s stupid fun with equal emphasis on both “stupid” and “fun.” Once again a government agency feels the need to recruit a bunch of criminals to do a job for them. In return they’ll help them find Jason Staham who is after the team for crippling his brother. At least this time they have Kurt Russell explain that “officially” that his agency was forbidden to do it themselves, so they need to outsource the job. Hell, all that’s missing is a tape saying if they’re caught the secretary will disavow any knowledge of them then self-destructing. Of course the only way Vin Diesel & Company can do a job is through an utterly ridiculous and convoluted use of cars, as if no other devices or options exist. This time it’s dropping muscle cars out of a C-4 transport plane to intercept an armored transport bus on a mountain pass. Understand that actual covert operative, Jason Statham manages to get there too without doing that and no one seems to notice. Also ignored are the basic laws of physics, but that happened once the series stopped so much being about racing and became an urban-Ocean’s-11-by-way-of-James-Bond. Ludcaris was once just a guy who set up races, but became a hacker genius, while Paul Walker who was a cop then FBI agent is now basically Jason Bourne, a master of hand-to-hand combat skills going toe-to-toe with Tony Jaa. Yeah, that guy from Jackie Chan’s stunt team who became a martial arts star in his own right. Watching it makes you think of when Bruce Lee fought Robin on the old Batman TV show. Extensive suspension of disbelief is required. Also ignored is basic biology as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who falls out of building onto a car (with another person on top of him), heals himself and breaks out of his cast Hulk style to…no. Telling you would only ruin the ridiculous fun of it. Honestly it’s as much of a cartoon as anything you saw Bugs Bunny in, only here Bugs Bunny is played by Jason Statham and he wants you dead.

WORSE YET, IT WASN’T EVEN PIXAR
Home is down to number two and also a voice in this is…Jennifer Lopez. Ouch. You know it must have been sobering to get the call for this and be told you were supporting Rhianna (especially since JLo has that little girl voice). Hell, 20 years ago she was the hot 20-something, barely-can-sing pop star best known for being hot. And it hurts me that I’m old enough to remember this. I’m sure Steve Martin felt the same crushing touch of time when he was called and told that Jim Parsons would be the funny lead. Especially when Steve Martin at his peak was like Eddie Murphy at his peak, something Parsons isn’t even remotely close to. Not to mention Martin was and is actually funny, something The Big Bang Theory has never been.

BRITTANY MORGAN FAIRCHILD (YOU HAVE TO BE OLD TO GET THAT JOKE)
Get Hard is down to number three and also in this is Allison Brie, whom I keep confusing with Brie Larson even though one is blonde and one is a brunette and I’ve only ever seen one thing from either of them. Allison Brie is on both Mad Men and the horribly overrated (but still better than The Big Bang Theory) Community while Brie Larson was Envy Adams in the horribly underrated Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and was briefly also on the horribly overrated (but still better than The Big Bang Theory) Community. The only other difference is Allison Brie will pose in her underwear for men’s magazines, though I’m sure that’s not the sole reason she has a more successful career. I mean, Brie Larson is blonde and we know that matters more than anything.

VERSION 1A
Cinderella is down to number four, followed by The Divergent Series: Insurgent at number fit and I forgot to mention the star, Shaliene Woodley (buds with Brie Larson by the way), who is most often compared to Jennifer Lawrence, which she doesn’t understand. Well, honey, unless you can name another young female star heading a Young Adult science fiction novel based movie franchise who also has indie movie and Oscar cred under her belt then you need to suck it up. It’s not simply that you both have a pixie haircut. She also takes Jennifer Lawrence’s honest talk in interviews to a new level. Actually she takes it to a flat out, weird-ass hippie level about eating, clay walking around barefoot and sunbathing your vagina. Honestly, I can get behind that last one because I often feel my balls could use a little sunlight. Lead us (and our junk) out of the darkness, sister! But you or your agent or your manager should seriously be pitching a fit about the shitty photos in your Elle magazine spread. I mean, they made me feel better about the shitty photos I take, they’re so bad.

LITERALLY AN ART FILM
It Follows is down to number six, followed by Woman in Gold opening at number seven and this looks like yet another Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that escaped to the big screen. It’s based on the true of a woman who sued the Austrian government to get back a Klimt portrait of her aunt that was stolen by the Nazis in WWII while they insisted it was part of their cultural heritage, given that Klimt was Austrian. Now, I loves me some Klimt, but this just looks too antiseptic and filled with forced cuteness between Helen Mirren and trying-hard-to-comeback Ryan Reynolds, who at least seems to have learned that no one wants to see just him and he needs an actor with some actual weight beside him. And what’s heavier than an Oscar-winning English actress?

THERE AIN’T NOTHING LIKE SOME DAMES
Kingsman: The Secret Service is down to number eight, followed by Do You Believe at number nine (which always makes me think of that Huey Lewis song) and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at number ten and apparently Maggie Smith and Judi Densch are friends and have been for sixty years and doesn’t that just make perfect sense? Wouldn’t it be great for Maggie Smith to show up in the next Bond film as M’s sister and ask him why the fuck he got her killed? No, I will never miss an opportunity to tell you how much Skyfall sucked.

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NOT JUST BLAND. DREAMWORKS BLAND.

29 Mar

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1. Home/Fox                                                           Wknd/$ 54.0 Total/$ 54.0
2. Get Hard/WB                                                     Wknd/$ 34.6 Total/$ 34.6
3. The Divergent Series: Insurgent                    Wknd/$ 22.1 Total/$ 86.4
4. Cinderella/Disney                                             Wknd/$ 17.5 Total/$ 150.0
5. It Follows/RTWC                                              Wknd/$ 4.0 Total/$ 4.8
6. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox               Wknd/$ 3.1 Total/$ 119.4
7. Run All Night/WB                                             Wknd/$ 2.2 Total/$ 23.8
8. The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel             Wknd/$ 2.2 Total/$ 28.1
9. Do You Believe/PFR                                         Wknd/$ 2.2 Total/$ 7.1
10. The Gunman/ORF                                           Wknd/$ 2.0 Total/$ 8.8

THOUGH MADAGASCAR 3 IS TRULY AWESOME
Home opens at number one and the ad campaign for this was so utterly bland you knew it was a Dreamworks film. When every joke beats you over the head and the stars behind the voices are shoved down your throat, you know it’s definitely not Pixar. Seriously, who the fuck are you people who make a decision on whether or not to see an animated movie based on who does the voices!?! “Oh, I wasn’t going to see that until I heard that Brad Pitt was doing the voice.” What does it fucking matter!?! And seriously who the fuck sees Jim Parsons and wants to see anything!?! Oh, you tasteless fucking Big Bang Theory fans. You probably thought this was brilliant. Me, I couldn’t be bothered. The majority of DreamWorks animated films are barely adequate at best and boring and generic to the point of being offensive at worst. And no, Rhianna doing a voice is not going to change my mind.

YOUR PUN ABOUT THE TITLE HERE: ______
Get Hard opens at number two and the irony of Kevin Hart and Will Farrell working together isn’t lost on me given how I feel about them. They’re great in small doses. They both need a straight man so the two of them as leads is twice the film I never need to see in my lifetime. Hopefully this movie finally put Kevin Hart into a position financially where he doesn’t have a film coming out every other fucking week.

HE LOOKS LIKE A HUMAN HOUND DOG.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent is down to number three and basically every hot young star who wasn’t in The Hunger Games wound up here. I had no idea Miles Teller was in this and if you’ve read any of his interviews he kinda wishes he wasn’t. He’s hot from his indie film work of The Spectacular Now and Whiplash so he’s starting to look down his nose and big paycheck roles like this. Dude, you were in the fucking Footloose remake, not to mention Project X the teen Hangover movie which was actually from the director of The Hangover and 21 & Over which was from the writers of The Hangover. How these are better than an adaptation of a Young Adult novel is beyond me. Oh, and he’s in the Fantastic Four reboot. Yeah, you’re going for the blue chip roles, buddy. But my favorite thing about him is how In Style interviewed him and pointed out immediately that he wasn’t traditionally good looking and he clearly got a little pissed given he’s normally cast in the sidekick role to some guy who actually is traditionally good looking like lack Zac Efron in That Awkward Moment (another movie he seems to have forgotten he made to pay the bills). He’s also not the love interest dude here, which is ironic because the star, Shailene Woodley, was his love interest in The Spectacular Now. That’s gotta sting. Sorry, but it amuses me when dudes occasionally go through what women go through all the time.

SHE STARVED FOR MERCHANT IVORY. THAT WAS ENOUGH.
Cinderella is down to number four and also in this is Helena Bonham Carter and apparently she got used to that Disney money while she was with Tim Burton making crap like Alice in Wonderland. Though, honestly, their Sweeny Todd wasn’t bad.

NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.
It Follows enters the top ten at number five and I will never see this. Unlike 99% of what’s sold as scary, this looks as scary as hell. It’s also the effective metaphor for price paid for sex that other films only pretend to be. Basically, there’s a “thing” after you and the only way to get it off is to pass it to someone else through sex. However, if it catches that person and kills them, then it comes back to you. Also, no one else can see it but you and it can transform into anyone to get next to you. Fuck. Me. The trailer alone messed me up. Movies like this are why I don’t do the scary.

GETTIN’ BY ON HIS LOOKS
Kingsman: The Secret Service is down to number six, followed by Run All Night at number seven and also in this is Common and will someone please explain to me how he keeps getting work? He’s not a good actor and his rap career hasn’t been relevant for about a decade, so how is this happening? Basically he’s getting by on his looks. There’s just no other explanation. Producers think they’re getting a built-in audience (young people, black people) by casting someone from hip-hop, which isn’t exactly rich in attractiveness. Most of them look like Jay-Z or Lil’ Wayne, so the bar is pretty low. You can imagine how good Common appears in that line-up. Ironically, he’s the physical opposite of Miles Teller, but like him is successful for the reason women are every day. Oh, are you going to argue the reason you even know Olivia Wilde’s name with me now?

HE DOES HAVE MULTIPLE OSCARS AFTER ALL
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is down to number eight, followed by Do You Believe at number nine and The Gunman closes out the top ten at number ten and in this are Ray Winstone, Javier Bardeem and Idris Elba, who clearly only did this because Penn was in it, because Elba barely is. Javier’s scenes take place only in Spain where he lives so for him it as an easy paycheck and he got to stay home with Penelope and the kids. Ray Winstone’s are primarily England it was also an easy gig. Oh, and the female lead. Italian actress, Jasmine Trinca, is twenty years younger than Sean Penn who also co-wrote and co-produced, so clearly it was no accident.

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YOU TAME A DRAGON WITH TATUM!

15 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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INDEPENDENT GROUNDHOG DAY

8 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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