Tag Archives: shia lebouf

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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ANOTHER SUMMER OF NOT READING BOOKS

4 Sep

1. The Possession/LGF                               Wknd/$   17.7            Total/$  17.7

2. Lawless/Weinstein                                 Wknd/$   10.0            Total/$  12.1

3. The Expendables 2/LGF                        Wknd/$     8.9            Total/$  66.3

4. The Bourne Legacy/Universal              Wknd/$     7.3            Total/$  96.3

5. ParaNorman/Focus                                 Wknd/$     6.6            Total/$  38.0

6. The Odd Life of Timothy Green            Wknd/$     6.2            Total/$  36.1

7. The Dark Knight Rises/Warners           Wknd/$     6.1            Total/$ 431.4

8. The Campaign/Warners                          Wknd/$     5.7            Total/$  73.2

9. 2016 Obama’s America                            Wknd/$     5.6            Total/$   18.7

10. Hope Springs/Sony                                 Wknd/$     4.7            Total/$   52.1

OY, VEY.

The Possession opens at number one and this is being called “The Jewish Exorcist” and it doesn’t matter what religion we’re exploiting: I don’t do the scary.  This is based on the true story of a box that made everyone who owned it sick.  Maybe it was just really fucking ugly. I’m a prime believer that ugly interior design can in fact make you sick.  I mean, that’s what feng shui is all about, right? No? Are you sure?

YEAH, I SAID IT

Lawless opens at number two and one of these things is not like the other: Gary Oldman, Thomas Hardy, Guy Pearce, Shia Lebouf.  Every day of Shia Lebouf’s career chips away at Steven Spielberg’s reputation because Spielberg is solely responsible for him having anything outside of a Disney show.  He’s Spielberg’s little representation of himself onscreen and you can tell by all the hot little shicksas he’s paired with onscreen with and he’ll be onscreen with giant alien robots before he’ll touch a Jewish girl.

NO ONE’S LOOKING FOR DANNY GLOVER EITHER, BUT FOR DIFFERENT REASONS

The Expendables 2 is down to number three and Jet Li is in this for all of five minutes making me wonder once again why Sho Kosugi didn’t get the call to step in for him instead of this Asian actress who is supposedly creating romantic tension with Stallone (they aren’t). Seriously, if you had to go there why not Lucy Liu or Michele Yeoh?  You know, someone people actually know with an action background?  But given they’re both over 40, that was probably unacceptable for the 68-year-old Stallone.  They’re already talking about number three and getting Wesley Snipes once he gets out of jail for tax evasion. But you know who they’re conspicuously not talking about getting?  Mel Gibson.  Seems there’s no great demand for a Lethal Weapon on the team.

PLOT HOLES YOU COULD PUSH A BILLION DOLLARS THROUGH

ParaNorman is down to number four followed by The Odd Life of Timothy Green at number five and The Dark Knight Rises at number six and the more I think about this movie the worse it gets in my memory, much like The Dark Knight.  Christopher Nolan and his brother are just shitty writers, period. But this has made another billion worldwide so they are now unstoppable in their crap.

DID HE POST HIS SECRET RE-ELECTION STRATEGY ON FACEBOOK TOO?

The Campaign is down to number seven followed ironically by 2016: Obama’s America which for many is also a political comedy, though supposedly a documentary about Obama’s secret agenda as revealed through his own autobiography. Yes, the basic premise of this movie is that the president wrote a book about his secret plans for America and if you can see the basic flaw in that logic you’re smarter than everyone who either helped make this or actually paid to see it.  But America, being founded on rebellion, has always maintained a strong number of conspiracy nuts, people just driven to be contrary to something for some reason.  From these idiots here to those who think The Illuminati run the world, to those who think The Masons control America, to those who felt not only were the moon landings faked but that Neil Armstrong was actually killed last week because he was going to reveal the truth. No, I’m not kidding.

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER

Finally, Hope Springs closes out the top ten at number ten and our summer movie season is officially over.

IT’S NOT ALL FUN AND GAMES, KIDS.

There was no top ten last week because a) I was on vacation and b) I walked out of Premium Rush, making it the second film in my life I’ve ever walked out on, the first being It’s A Guy Thing with Jason Lee and Julia Stiles.  That was a free screening, so I don’t count it so much, but his I actually paid to see and I still don’t know why I was there.  Brick was great, but it wasn’t so great I need to see every piece of crap Joseph Gordon-Leavitt puts out, least of all a movie about bike messengers. You know what’s interesting about bike messengers? Nothing. Not a fucking thing.  Kevin Bacon proved that 20 years ago with Quicksilver.  So why I thought this would be different I’ll never know.  Fortunately for us, our tickets were never torn so we can go back to that theater (where we go almost every week) and exchange them for another movie.

THEY SHOULD JUST CALL THIS SHOW “ART BITCHES”

I don’t pretend to be one of those people who are too good for reality TV. I’m not. I just don’t indulge in the “class porn” shows like Teen Mom or Jersey Shore or the various shows about “Wives” where we see people with and without money, but usually with no education basically showing they have dignity or self-respect.  It’s for one purpose and one purpose only: to laugh at them and feel better about yourself either that you were never dumb enough to get knocked up as a teenager or that you’d never start a bar fight in a $5000 Armani dress.  And on some of these shows you can find someone who’s done both.  What I did start watching was Gallery Girls, thanks to my Geek Girl Movie Buddy.  She hated the people in it so much it made her want to destroy NYC.  That of course meant I had to watch it and her hatred was totally justified. The girls on this show whose lives revolve around the New York art scene are some of the most horrible people you will ever see.  You think the worst person you’ve seen is the girl whose father is a collector so she leverages that to not only get an internship at a gallery but to make sure that she doesn’t have to work hard. Then you meet the girl whose grandfather made money with DuPont back in the day so as she openly tells you, she doesn’t have to worry about money. I know we’re all stupid when we’re young, but there’s no excuse for this bitch.  She and her friends open a gallery/store and while the girl who stupidly borrowed money from her parents to do this (they were equally stupid to loan it to her) frets about the business for good reason, DuPont Bitch (sorry, there’s just no other name for her) laughs at her, comes into work for only two hours then leaves with her hipster boyfriend and openly talks about what she’ll do next if this doesn’t work out because you see SHE’S FUCKING RICH.  She is as obnoxious and entitled as it gets.  That she and Obnoxious Intern don’t get along when they meet is the finest irony because they’re exactly the same.  Yes, Obnoxious Intern had a drug problem and daddy seems to be withholding love because of it, but you almost understand him.  Who could fucking love her!?!  Another girl is the Model Waitress. She claims to be a model and we do see her modeling but honestly she’s a waitress who occasionally models for white guys who clearly like Asians who’ll take their clothes off for “art photos.”  Real models don’t have to fucking wait tables.  But as self-centered as she is, Model Waitress is at least taking care of herself. Her parents don’t support her because they’re doctors and when she decided she wanted to be a photographer they washed their hands financially of her. A lot of her confidence comes across as a façade she puts on to hide her insecurities and fears.  She seems like someone who is going to look back in a few years and ask, “What the fuck was I thinking?”  Likewise the middle-class girl from Long Island who was blessed with height and cheekbones (she looks like Ali Larter) which were clearly her passport into being a “gopher” for the super-rich (we see her bring bagels to a private jet waiting at Teterboro Airport) as well as the internship for an art advisor. Even her career path makes sense. She wants to purchase art for hotels, basically combining her two current jobs.  She openly admits that she might not be able to afford her Meatpacking district apartment for long and that working a real job plus an unpaid internship is killing her. It’s why you like her better than the other intern who is Upper East Side born.  You want to feel some pity for her as she’s not very pretty and clearly loses out to the less knowledgeable Long Island girl on that basis alone, but you know what? Long Island Girl is open about her ignorance of art and doesn’t front.  Upper East Side Girl is obnoxious and anyone who likes going to an Upper East Side Bar with a bunch of dudes who look like they wear Axe deserves what she gets.  Needless to say, I’m going to watch and hate on this every fucking week.

SHE’S A WONDER, THIS WONDER WOMAN

Last year DC Comics relaunched all its lines except for the ones that were making lots and lots of money.  This means Superman was started over from scratch while all the Batman stories remain intact—except for the ones that don’t.  They’ll tell you which ones when they feel like it. Now DC Comics does this every couple of years but this was unique in that they were clearly ready to attract a new audience even at the expense of the older one—which is why they did the unthinkable and changed Superman’s costume. Gone are the red briefs and gold belt (which were actually a perfect balance of color to the blue tights) as well as his marriage to Lois and place as Earth’s greatest hero.  In their place are battle armor (if you’re asking why does invulnerable Superman need armor that question makes you smarter than anyone at DC Comics) with a collar because the idiot running DC thinks it looks “royal”; Superman being distrusted by the government and making out with Wonder Woman in his spare time. For me this meant the end of a lot of comics buying. I was falling off anyway because I simply don’t like a lot of what’s coming out, but my Superman wears little red briefs and is married to Lois Lane. I’ve no use for this new shit.  But just as a broken clock is right twice a day, they managed to come out with something worth reading and it was ironically Wonder Woman whose new book surely makes her worthy of more than simply being “Superman’s girlfriend.”  I passed on it not only for the reasons given but also because they backtracked on finally puttying some clothes on her last year.  Also from what I could see it was yet another freaking story about her and the Greek gods, which is like every Superman story being somehow about Krypton.  It was boring before and I didn’t see it getting any better this time. Oh, how wrong I was.  This is seriously good stuff. So good I give the best comic book writing compliment possible: it’s like something Neil Gaiman might have come up with. Seriously. First of all, it’s not a superhero book. Wonder Woman isn’t fighting supervillains to save the world. Zeus is missing, his throne is up for grabs and it spilling out onto the earth.  She’s trying to protect innocent people caught up in it, one in particular. Before, Wonder Woman was created from clay by her mother and given life by the gods. It was always a problematic origin, because it meant at her core she wasn’t human but a super-golem. A writer named William Messner-Loebs teased us briefly with the great idea that Wonder Woman was actually the result of her mother, Hippolyta’s relationship with Hercules, but since they had Hercules rape and imprison the Amazons after seducing her, which was a little distasteful so they didn’t follow through with it.  For this reboot the clay story is revealed to be just that; a story. She’s revealed to be the daughter of Zeus, making her ironically a demi-god just like Hercules (a greater irony is that previous the second Wonder Girl was a daughter of Zeus, but she was eliminated in the reboot clearly so her origin could be given to Wonder Woman). This also means that in dealing with the Olympic pantheon, she’s no longer fighting gods she worships, but her family.  And what a family it is. The interpretations of the gods here are nothing short of brilliant. They range from the beautiful to the grotesque to the beautifully grotesque.  Zeus and Hera are traditionally human-looking, while Hermes is like 9-foot bird-man, Hephaestus a creature with molten lava hands; Apollo the sun god is ironically as dark as night, but glows from within.  Demeter is a plant woman while Poseidon isn’t human at all, but appropriately a giant, tentacled sea-creature.  Most disturbing of all is Hades who looks like a small boy with a crown of candles melting on his head and what he does with his father Cronus in the underworld is so disturbing I began to question reading it so close to bedtime (we also see Persephone and it’s not good).  The first story arc was about Wonder Woman trying to protect an unborn child of Zeus from Hera’s wrath (in keeping with myth, when Hera learns Wonder Woman is a child of Zeus she punishes Hippolyta by turning her to stone and all the Amazons to snakes).  I can’t even imagine where it goes from here but while I’m enjoying the lack of superheroics, I know they have to show up and I’m afraid it can’t compare to what has come before.  Also even while I love it, it cannot go on forever, because like before, every story being about the gods can get dull.  But I do recommend buying the first 12 issues (the first six have already been collected). And for old school comics fans, the last page has a special treat.