Tag Archives: Shane Black

TODAY’S TOPIC IS AGING OUT…AGAIN

6 Jun

neighbors

 

  1. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2    Wknd/$   35.4     Total/$   35.3
  2. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                  Wknd/$   22.3     Total/$ 116.5
  3. Me Before You/Warner                     Wknd/$   18.3     Total/$   18.3
  4. Alice Through the Looking Glass  Wknd/$   10.7     Total/$   50.8
  5. The Angry Birds Movie/Sony          Wknd/$     9.8      Total/$     9.8
  6. Captain America: Civil War/BV      Wknd/$     7.6      Total/$ 388.9
  7. Neighbors 2/Universal                      Wknd/$     4.7      Total/$   48.6
  8. Popstar/Universal                               Wknd/$     4.6     Total/$    4.6
  9. The Jungle Book/Disney                    Wknd/$     4.2     Total/$ 347.5
  10. The Nice Guys/WB                              Wknd/$     3.5      Total/$   29.1

 

MONEY BETTER SPENT ON PIZZA. GET IT!?!

Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens at number one and while this has gotten better reviews than its predecessor it’s still not going to get me in there. Life is short and the 93 minutes the first one took out of my life back in 1990 is still a personal regret to someone who has almost the second season of Jane the Virgin sitting unwatched on his DVR. But even then it was a stretch for me as I had “aged out” of the demographic for the TNMT. I never watched the cartoon and at best I liked the arcade game because at that time I was learning the bo staff at the time and one of them used it in the game. I am happy that Stephen Amell is getting his toe into the theatrical game though. Based on this disappointing 4th season, Arrow needs to think about its end game soon and he needs to be working on his next step.

 

X AIN’T GIVING IT TO YA

X-Men: Apocalypse is down to number two and speaking of disappointing superhero translations that I’d aged out of, the Apocalypse character and storyline happened after I’d left the X-Men comics as a kid because frankly it had gotten too damn depressing (Chris Claremont, the writer would later admit he was going through a bad patch so in turn inflicted it on the characters. Thanks, asshole.). This is especially disappointing given it’s Bryan Singer at the helm. He not only help set the standards of the modern day superhero film as something to be taken seriously, but directed the best X-Men film (X2) and undid the damage of X3 with X-Men: Days of Future Past (it literally wiped it out). So it’s surprising that this bland trainwreck came from him. The biggest problem is that it forgets what the X-Men are at their heart: a metaphor for discrimination. The X-Men are whatever minority or discriminated group you choose, but you will only find the barest remnants of that here. It’s a dull, thudding superhero film with lots of special effects and no heart or characters to care about. The very first X-Men movie still works because at its heart it’s about two diametrically opposed outsiders (Wolverine and Rogue) finding a home with others and each other. Nothing even approaching that exists here. It should have been Cyclops or Storm (who in this new history are being introduced to the X-Men for the first time) but the actors playing them are not stars and Jennifer Lawrence is, but they don’t know what to do with her character. Gone is the revolutionary who doesn’t think she should be obligated to look human and in her place is a superstar who doesn’t want to be painted blue every day supported by studio execs that don’t want their most famous star covered in blue. With Hugh Jackman leaving (speaking of aging out) she’s now the face of the franchise so simultaneously its biggest asset and its biggest problem. This makes four superhero films I’ve seen this year and still only one I really liked and it’s the character I know and care the least about: Deadpool.

 

YOU DON’T GET A MEDAL FOR LOVING SOMEONE LESS THAN PERFECT

Me Before You is that a subset of romantic drama the disabled/dying romantic drama wherein one partner is either disabled or dying and they other deals with or overcomes that in the name of love. Though when I think about it, it’s actually a subset of the oldest love story variation of all: the tragedy. Obviously there’s not going to be a cure for one and the person dies in the other. That’s the reason for “the drama.” Honestly, because I’m shallow it’s not one I care for. Give me warring families or disparate origins/classes, but someone permanently disabled or dying is just too depressing. I want a full-on happy goddamn ending, or at the very least one where both parties walk off their separate ways. And I mean “walk” literally. Yeah, I said it. What part of “shallow” didn’t you get? This is actually being trashed by some as some kind of “disabled romantic porn” because the person not disabled has to be so, so, so good to love that person who isn’t perfect. This was a criticism placed even on the novel. I would add to that the disabled person in question is, of course, rich so I’m gonna guess that when they die this person is rewarded for being able to love a disabled person with a ridiculous fortune. Yeah, there’s no reason to see this at all.

 

21 CHUMP STREET

Alice Through the Looking Glass is down to number four and this is seen as a flop simply because it opened at number two last week. I think that has more to do with the current tide of public opinion turning against Johnny Depp. Allow me to remind you I’ve been telling you for years he’s utterly full of shit. I didn’t need a domestic abuse charge like the rest of you fuckers. You should have hated him for doing the first one, much less a shitty sequel. But guess what? This has made $125m overseas and the fact that the first made a billion worldwide is the reason this exists to begin with so don’t be surprised if an overwhelming international success leads to a third chapter. I mean that fourth Pirates of the Caribbean wasn’t exactly huge domestically either, but was ridiculously huge overseas so they’re making a fifth. Which makes Amber Heard’s lawyers very, very happy. I have no sympathy for middle-aged men in the midst of a mid-life crisis who hook up with obvious golddiggers. Take everything, girl.

 

HELL, I’M PLAYING IT RIGHT NOW

The Angry Birds Movie is down to number five and I was oddly interested in this because I love the game and obviously any movie that has a character that hates everything and everyone appeals to me. But that doesn’t mean I’d spend a dime to see it. No, I’ll catch it on cable in a year or so. What’s surprising is the ridiculous amount of comedic talent on-hand. Jason Sudekis (who should never be a leading man, but a funny supporting actor, so please stop trying), Josh Gad, Bill Hader, Mya Rudolph, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Hannibal Buress and Keegan Michael Key. Hell, even Sean Penn is here and that simple fact may be the funniest thing about it as he has no sense of humor, which means he did his lines straight, probably making them funny as fuck. Yeah, I’m soooo watching this on cable on a Sunday afternoon.

 

AMERICA IS NEVER WRONG!

Captain America: Civil War is down to number six and I remain unchanged in disliking this. Captain America is wrong and unreasonable in this movie and Captain America should never be wrong or unreasonable.

 

PRETTY DIRTY

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is down to number seven and I have to say I totally respect how Zac Efron has decided to stop playing to his “look” of the clean cut pretty boy and go directly against and basically be the new king of R-rated slob comedies. Also joining him on his ascent to comedic royalty is Rose Byrne who is showing up in everything and stealing the show. I mean, or so I’ve heard. I hate Seth Rogen so much nothing anyone says can get me into a movie where he’s the star. Again, what part of “shallow” are you not getting? Which brings us back to the fact that pretty boy Efron is basically playing the roles that probably would go to Rogen.

 

SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AFTER 3 MINUTES

Popstar: Never Stop Stopping is the first Lonely Island movie and apparently the last as it opened at number eight. See, this is a great idea for a digital short on SNL or a supporting character in a movie, but it’s difficult to watch an entire movie about a complete asshole even when you’re supposed to be laughing at him. The guys in Spinal Tap weren’t brilliant, but they weren’t irredeemable assholes either.   I was tired of this whole concept before the trailer had finished.

 

A TALENTED GUY WHO’S AN ASSHOLE IS SADLY REDUNDANT

The Jungle Book is down to number nine with The Nice Guys closing out the top ten at number ten and this is the latest R-rated buddy movie from Shane Black. He’s like a less-depressing, funnier yet no less dismissive of women James Ellroy. Like Ellroy he tells dark stories about the seamier side of Los Angles that begin with a beautiful dead woman and the two guys determined to try and find some justice for her (this movie actually reunites Kim Basinger and Russell Crowe who were in the adaptation of Ellroy’s LA Confidential). Black is a good director and is on point with the foul-mouthed, funny dialogue, but his complete and utter hatred of women remains a problem. This is him at his least offensive (it’d be difficult to top the pure misogyny of The Last Boy Scout), but just so you know it’s him the only smart female is a child and it opens with a “joke” that involves a centerfold/porn star dying in the exact same pose as her centerfold. Get it!?! Why she’s naked in car crash is beyond me, but Black doesn’t care. He’s been opening with dead, naked women since Lethal Weapon (also a porn star) and he’s not stopping now. While this is a good movie I’m not sad it’s a bit of a flop because he’s got to be made stop that shit and so long as he doesn’t have a blockbuster hit that’s his and his alone (I could have directed Iron Man 3 and had a hit) he’ll always be under someone’s thumb which will ideally slow him down. Unfortunately, it’s Hollywood, so it’s not like that’s going to slow him down too much.

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WHERE EVERYONE HAS GONE BEFORE

19 May

303803-matt-bomer

 1. Star Trek Into Darkness/Par                   Wknd/$  70.6            Total/$   84.1

 2. Iron Man 3/Paramount                            Wknd/$  35.2            Total/$ 337.1

 3. The Great Gatsby/Warners                      Wknd/$  23.4            Total/$  90.2

 4. Pain and Gain/Paramount                       Wknd/$   3.1              Total/$  46.6

 5. The Croods/Fox                                          Wknd/$   2.8             Total/$ 176.8

 6. 42/ Warners                                                Wknd/$   2.7              Total/$  88.7

 7. Oblivion/Universal                                     Wknd/$   2.2              Total/$  85.5

 8. Mud/                                                             Wknd/$   2.2               Total/$  11.6

 9. Tyler Perry Presents Peeples/LGF         Wknd?$   2.2                Total/$    7.9

10. The Big Wedding/LGF                             Wknd/$   1.1                 Total/$  20.2

 

INTO DUMBNESS

In the interests of total transparency, I must admit I’m a Trekker from way back. The simple fact I used “Trekker” and not “Trekkie” should tell you that because for hardcore fans, “trekkie” was considered derogatory.  Seriously. People dressed up like Klingons while getting married took offense to that term.  Needless to say a reboot was automatic sacrilege to me and it didn’t help matters that it was being done by a JJ Abrams, who is basically Joss Whedon for stupid people. Seriously, if you think he’s smart, you’re as dumb as a bag of rocks and should let other people handle important decisions in your life like voting and taxes and which color socks to wear.  He freely admitted he didn’t “get” Star Trek and wanted to “broaden the audience” (because you know, after 50 years, 9 films and 5 television shows, it still hadn’t found one without him) which is double-speak for “dumb it down.” The mildly intellectual aspects of Star Trek (and they were mild, let’s not kid ourselves) are what distinguished it and he got rid of them, which is like saying you’re making a Sherlock Holmes film, but he won’t be smart.  Now the reason I’m stressing this is that the number one movie this week, Star Trek: Into Darkness, is one of the dumbest movies you will ever see, even for a summer movie.  We start off immediately with The Enterprise being underwater for no reason other than someone thought it would look cool rising from the waves. That it makes not one lick of sense hardly seems to matter.  This lets you know right then you should have checked your brain, not just the door, but not even bother taking it out of the house. Unlike the first film, this one does try to have an underlying theme besides “be more like Star Wars.”  They seem to finally address the fact that Kirk is in fact too irresponsible to be an actual captain, but it’s a feint because literally ten minutes after he loses his command, he’s back in the captain’s seat and this is done through the time-honored hack convention of making everyone else around him dumb so that he seems smart. He continually “fails upwards.”  While the original James T. Kirk succeeded from balls & bravado coupled with brains, this one is basically balls and not much else and literally has a character tell him, “You’re totally wrong, but I will still reward your failings.”  I can’t really discuss the plot without giving away the twists, but what’s the point in making a new Star Trek if you’re just going to continually recycle the old? For all its problems, the first Star Trek reboot movie had a new villain and dramatic changes to the status quo (Vulcan is gone, Spock’s mother is dead and he’s involved with Uhura), while this basically remakes an old Star Trek episode, part of one of the movies and takes various elements from the last film with the original cast, improving on nothing you’ve seen before while wasting a good cast with solid chemistry and humor that is actually on the level of the original Star Trek.

 

LET THEM READ GOOP

Iron Man 3 finally drops to number two and while she is justifiably mocked for her view of the world which rivals Marie Antoinette’s for sheer obliviousness, I loves me some Gwyneth Paltrow and always have.  Thank goodness Shane Black’s misogyny was reigned in and we get to see her kick a little ass without his original idea that she get publicly humiliated in a sex tape with one of the bad guys. No, I’m not kidding. Remember this is Shane Black, the reason The Last Boy Scout opens with a woman’s head being held underwater by a man who says he won’t let up until she performs oral sex on him. The reason in the same film Halle Berry is not just crushed between two cars but finished off with machine gun fire.  The reason Kiss Kiss Bang Bang stops cold so Robert Downey Jr can deliver a monologue for what’s wrong with women in LA.  You don’t want to be a woman at the table with him, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee.  Or in their movies if you can help it.

 

WAITING FOR AN ALL ASIAN VERSION CALLED “GI”

The Great Gatsby is down to number three and whenever I remember there was a modern day, all-black version of this called “G” I simply cannot stop laughing.  Though it turns out to be tad prescient given its Gatsby was a hip-hop millionaire (in the mode of Sean “Puffy” Combs) and this new one has hip-hop millionaire Jay-Z coordinating the soundtrack. It’s gonna need all the help he can provide given it needs to make $300M to make a profit and the summer onslaught begins en masse next week.

 

GOOD GIRLS GO TO HEAVEN; BAD GIRLS GO EVERYWHERE ELSE

Pain & Gain is down to number four and one good thing about the success of this movie is that it continues Rebel Wilson’s rise to success which started with her small role in Bridesmaids, which also kicked off Kristen Wiig’s movie career and rocketed Melissa McCarthy to the comedy A-list. Paul Feig must be drowning in fruit baskets of gratitude.

 

A CLUE AS TO HOW EXPENSIVE BABYSITTERS REALLY ARE

The Croods actually rises to number five and I’d ask why but I look at this top ten and realize parents have no place to dump their smaller children off for two hours yet.  They’re dying for the summer movies to start just like the rest of us.

 

NOTHING SAYS “EVIL” LIKE A BAD REGIONAL ACCENT

42 is down to number six, followed by Oblivion at number seven and the most annoying thing about this movie had to be Melissa Leo’s godawful southern accent. That alone should have let Tom Cruise’s character know something was up.  Though I guess if she’d gone with “Bawston” accent from The Fighter, there’d have been no doubt.

 

ONE STEP FORWARD TWO STEPS BACK

Mud surprisingly hangs around at number eight, followed by Tyler Perry Presents Peeples at number nine, and while I’m delighted any time something with Tyler Perry’s name on it fails, I feel badly for the talent in this movie because there’s so much of it.  Craig Robinson and Kerry Russell at least have other things to fall back on, but poor David Allen Grier needed a win.  Not to mention a minority female directors.  Hollywood is looking for reason to turn them back and this just gave them another.

 

THE END

Finally, the big wedding closes out the top ten at number ten.

 

SCATTER MY MINE AT OLD NAVY

Never going to break the top ten is Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorfs, a documentary about the eponymous department store on 5th Avenue in New York.  I saw it continuing my run on documentaries about fashion which have been good for the most part and I think I’ve found the clue that let’s you know whether or not that’s the case: Anna Wintour.  Any fashion doc worth its weight has to have an appearance by the grand doyenne of fashion and this one does not, despite a half-dozen other fashion luminaries from Armani to Lagerfeld to De la Renta to Marc Jacobs to Michael Kors to Tory Burch to…you get the idea. Her absence is conspicuous.  Oh, there’s footage of her, of course, but no interview and methinks it has to with a small rivalry between her and the head buyer for Bergdorf Goodman, Linda Fargo, who unlike Wintour can make a designer’s career in a real world fashion.  Wintour can choose to promote or not promote a designer, but Fargo gives them an actual venue to sell their wares and it’s questionable which truly matters more.  The film is oddly divided between a history of the store, which is genuinely interesting; an observation of a young designer trying to get into the store (Tommy Hilfiger’s daughter and it’s really hard to root for her given the “in” she clearly had) which is also interesting and the creation of the famous store windows…which is not that interesting and when all is said and done, I’d say that at least half of this 90 minute film is devoted to that.  That’s about 30 minutes too long.  That time would have been better spent with a more in-depth history of the store (the stories of Liz Taylor and John Lennon are great) or more in-depth account of the journey of a designer to the store’s hallowed halls.  Instead it wraps that story up far too quickly (Hilfiger’s daughter doesn’t make the cut and it’s really hard to feel sad for her given how much of her career was probably handed to her) and hops around from talking head to talking head gushing about the store, while any deep topic like the importance of wealth to the store or the effect the faltering economy had on it are brought in and out in less than five minutes (that the son of the founder used his position to bang the models who worked there is rushed by as quickly as possible).  The only jolt of life comes from one of the no-holds barred personal shoppers, who when asked what she’d be doing if not that job replies, “Drinking.” More of her, less literal window decoration.

 

RED TRUNKS CAN’T SAVE EVERYTHING

The new Superman is coming and with questionable timing DC’s direct-to-video line releases an animated film about the “old Superman” as in the one who wore bright blue tights and little red trunks and didn’t mope about the world.  Superman: Unbound is based on a storyline from the comic a few years ago that rebooted the character of Brainiac, saying that the one Superman had been fighting for years was only a probe who thought he was Brainiac because the real one never left his ship.  It also alluded (badly) to the idea that Brainiac had been responsible for the destruction of Krypton when it attacked it and stole the city of Kandor, which he shrunk and put into a bottle.  Well, they say bad books make the best movies, so maybe they could turn this lackluster storyline into something interesting the way they did with the flat-out-bad Superman/Batman: Apocalypse which is actually the story of Supergirl, but marketing dictates you can’t tell anyone that. No, I’m not kidding. Supergirl and Wonder Woman are in it and you won’t see them anywhere on the box.  She’s in this too, but again, no box cover, which is sad because her character’s journey is one of the better things about it.  One thing about animation with superheroes is that you get to see them use their powers fully without the restrictions of special effects of budgets. The problem is, once you’ve seen Superman cut loose without his powers it makes no sense when he stops. Brainiac is shown to be as strong as Superman, but clearly cannot fly and has no super-speed or heat vision and given we’ve spent 10 minutes watching Superman use them against his robot army, why is he stopping now?  Because then he crushes Brainiac in seconds and your story is done. That contrivance aside, the best things about the story are the subplots involving the female characters. Clark and Lois and dating but he doesn’t want anyone in the office to know and we find out it took him a year to tell his parents. He wants to create this odd bubble where nothing goes wrong because he controls it all. Also, Supergirl saw Brainiac’s attack on Krypton and was traumatized by how helpless it made her feel. Now that she’s got godlike power on earth she likes smack around anyone she considers a bully, which rubs Superman the wrong way.  Despite her newfound power she’s still so scared (she’s only 17) when she finds out Brainiac is coming to earth she’s prepared to run and let him destroy the planet.  I could have watched more of her and less of Superman smacking Brainiac around a swamp, which somehow messes him up because he gets dirty.  Yes, the weakness of the supervillain is OCD. Like I said, it wasn’t a good story to begin with. Matt Bomer is the voice of Superman which is great because height aside, he looks exactly how you’d expect Superman to look. Stana Katic from Castle is the voice of Lois Lane and Supergirl is Molly Quinn, also from Castle (she plays his daughter).