Tag Archives: steven soderbergh

JUST DON’T SAY SHE’S “HUGELY” FUNNY

10 Feb

famke

1. Identity Thief/Universal                         Wknd/$  36.6              Total/$  36.6

 2. Warm Bodies/Summit                            Wknd/$  11.5               Total/$  36.7

 3. Side Effects/ORF                                      Wknd/$  10.0             Total/4  10.0

 4. Silver Linings Playbook/Wein               Wknd/$   6.9              Total/$  90.0

 5. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters           Wknd/$   5.8              Total/$  43.8

 6. Mama/Universal                                      Wknd/$   4.3              Total/$  64.0

 7. Zero Dark Thirty/Sony                            Wknd/$   4.0              Total/$  83.6

 8. Argo/Warners                                           Wknd/$   2.5              Total/$ 123.7

 9. Django Unchained/Weinstein               Wknd/$   2.3              Total/$ 154.5

10. Bullet To The Head/Warners               Wknd/$   1.9               Total/$    8.2

 

SUCK IT YOU, UNFUNNY PIXIE STICKS

Identity Thief opens at number one and it’s official: Melissa McCarthy is a comedy A-lister.  “But what about Bridesmaids?” you ask. Yeah, yeah, yeah. She got an Oscar nod for Bridesmaids.  So what?  That $2.25 will get you on the train.  Opening at number one however, will make sure your next check is eight-figures, easy.  “But what about Jason Bateman?” you ask and let me tell you, you’re getting annoying with these questions and it’s only the first movie.  Jason Bateman is a solid supporting player.  He’s the go-to straight man—which is incredibly important in comedy—but he alone is not a guarantee.  Notice how Jason Bateman and Jennifer Anniston tanked in The Switch last year.  That’s because Anniston is faux-A-list.  She’s famous like she’s A-list but nothing she’s done backs it up. And everyone she flops with does better elsewhere.  She flopped with Gerald Butler in The Bounty Hunter, but he made an equally bad movie with Katherine Heigl that made money.  She flopped with Paul Rudd in Wanderlust, but then he makes the unpleasant This Is 40 with Leslie Mann whom no one confuses with an A-lister and it at least doubles its budget. And who was the best part of This Is 40? Melissa McCarthy. A-list star…who’s trying to figure out how to get the hell out of her TV contract as we speak.

 

ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID…

Warm Bodies drops to number two and the female lead in this is Teresa Palmer who seems to finally have a hit (it’s already made budget in just two weeks) after a few years of tanking in projects that looked like sure things.  First there’s Take Me Home Tonight, where she’s “the girl” for Topher Grace, which is so bad it sits on the shelf for a year to be released to expected disappointment.  Then there’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice where she’s “the girl” for Jay Baruchel who was supposed to be the cute, geeky heartthrob, but is more geeky than he is cute and now people have stopped trying to make that happen (he’s the “fetch” of young actors).  Then she was the best part of I Am Number Four as the badass Number Six.  Mainly because she didn’t have to be “the girl.”  But that would-be franchise couldn’t get out of the gate, though was hardly the failure some made it out to be. We’ll know if this takes her to the next level if her next leading man is 10+ years her senior.  That’s how you really know, when every aging leading man wants suck on your youth to help him seem, like a friggin’ vampire.

 

WARNING: HIS STYLE CAN LEAD TO BOREDOM AND INCONSISTENCY

Side Effects opens at number three and for someone who has been talking about leaving films for years, Steven Soderbergh seemingly has a new one out every other day.  This is his fourth film in two years.  Clearly you’re still interested, Stevie, so what’s your problem? Oh, I don’t care. I’ve liked Soderbergh since sex, lies & videotape, a film that still holds up 20 years later but he’s very hit or miss with me.  His style is indefinable and sometimes borders on being so low-key it’s boring (he directed the action film Haywire about a secret agent struggling with betrayal pretty much the same way he directed the drama Magic Mike, about a stripper struggling to move up in the world) and it often depends solely upon the subject matter to carry it.  This subject matter didn’t pique my interest at all other than the fact Soderbergh directed it and sadly that isn’t enough any longer. He wasn’t helped by trailers that changed from making Jude Law seem like the sinister doctor to Rooney Mara as the lead, to making him seem like a the fall guy of the sinister pharmaceutical companies, with her as his supporting character.  I would have been more inclined to the latter as Rooney Mara is more than a little off-putting, but too little too late. I’ll throw this on the pile of Soderbergh films I keep telling myself I’m going to sit down and watch one day, going back to King of the Hill.  But that’s not my fault. It hasn’t been available on any kind of home video for almost 20 years and only now has shown up on Netflix. But I’d love to see Kafka again, as I’m one of the two people in the world who liked it.

 

ONE DAY, I PROMISE

Yes, Silver Linings Playbook is down to number four. No, I still haven’t seen it. Shut up. I have a life…and have rediscovered video games on my computer.

 

ONLY PRETTY PEOPLE CAN HAVE UGLY DOGS

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is down to number five and also in this as the big, bad witch is Famke Janssen (former model) who I will give credit to because when Goldeneye  made her briefly hot, she went and did indie films with her heat and rarely did big budget crap like I Spy. In act it was when her heat had run out that X-Men came and gave some of it back. And guess what she did?  More indie films.  This too is probably to pay for more of them.  Well that and the little rat dog she has that I constantly see her walking in the West Village.

 

HE IS “THE MAN” YOU WANT TO STICK IT TO

Mama is down to number six and at $77M worldwide from a $15M budget you can expect some weird kind of sequel.  Grandmama?  It’s followed by Zero Dark Thirty at number seven giving us back-to-back Jessica Chastain.  It’s followed by Argo at number eight, returning to the top ten on its run to winning the Oscar for Best Picture giving us back-to-back…Kyle Chandler?  I know some wonder why he was never a bigger star but I think he’s as big as he’s capable of being. He’s kinda dull, which is why he’s perfect for the authority figures he plays, be it high school football coaches or in the case of these two films, government officials.  Basically, he was born to wear a suit and tie on film and argue with the younger, more attractive actual lead.  He’ll be playing the president within five years, mark my words.

 

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

Django Unchained is down to number nine and believe it or not but this may wind up being Tarantino’s highest grossing film, already at the $310M mark worldwide.  Only Inglorious Basterds is higher at $316 and the two Kill Bill films combined made $300M.  The downside being people will continue to cast Jamie Foxx in movies as the lead, which seemed to be just about over. “But what about his Oscar for Ray?” you ask and I was hoping you’d stopped doing that. What of it?  Hilary Swank has two. What was the last Hilary Swank movie you saw? What was the last one you can even remember?  Exactly.

 

BUT CAN HIS CAR MAKE THE KESSEL RUN IN LESS THAN 12 PAR-SECS?

Finally, Bullet To The Head closes out the top ten at number ten and hopefully this won’t put too much of a damper on the career of Sung Kang who plays Han in the Fast & The Furious movies.  In fact, in every movie Justin Lin directs, he plays a character named Han, who actually called Han Seoul-Oh in Fast Five.  Get it? Han Solo?  Yeah.  But a friend of mine who is Korean described him as an “Asian Andrew McCarthy” which has got to be on the list of things he never wanted to hear.

 

I’M NOT SORRY. I’M A BITCH

Starting this week was The Face, an idea so great I can’t believe it took this long.   Basically it’s giving Naomi Campbell her own modeling show where she can just be an unrepentant bitch every week.  Yeah, there are two other models, but that’s what they’re really selling.  It’s what Naomi Campbell is only too happy to sell and we’re buying it hand over fist. The only way it could be bitchier would be to have Claudia Schiffer as one of the other judges.  I’m not a watcher of America’s Next Top Model so I don’t know how it all goes down, but during the opening selection episode it was actually a bit painful watching these girls—and they are just girls—getting rejected (“I’m sorry. You’re not The Face.”).  But if you want to do anything in the world, much less modeling, then rejection is just part of it.  Nonetheless, I was relieved when they didn’t put us through every single one and just had some happen off-screen.  Of course this cost us Naomi’s “Bitch, please” reaction anytime a contestant didn’t choose to be on her team in the event of two judges wanting her for their team. And I think it actually mattered more when the girl in question was black, which is ironic given how she treated Tyra Banks initially.  I suppose it’s never too late to be a sista.  This is going to be the show to get me through till spring, especially now that Don’t Trust The Bitch in Apt. 23 is gone and Happy Endings is hanging on by a thread.

WILL I SEE YOU TONIGHT ON A DOWNTOWN TRAIN

16 Jul

 

1. Ice Age 4/Fox                                                Wknd/$   46.0            Total/$   46.0

 2. Amazing Spider-Man/Sony                       Wknd/$   35.0            Total/$ 200.0

 3. Ted/Universal                                              Wknd/$   22.1            Total/$ 159.0

 4. Brave/Disney                                                Wknd/$   10.7            Total/$ 195.6

 6. Savages/Universal                                       Wknd/$     8.7            Total/$   31.5

 5. Magic Mike/Warner                                    Wknd/$     9.0            Total/$   91.9

 7. Madea’s Witness Protection/LGF             Wknd/$     5.6            Total/$   55.6

8. Katy Perry: Part of Me/Paramount           Wknd/$     3.7            Total/$   18.6

9. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                          Wknd/$     3.7            Total/$   32.4

10. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                     Wknd/$     3.5            Total/$ 203.7

 

IT COULD BE WORSE. IT COULD HAVE tCHRIS BROWN.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift opens at number 1 and I stopped after the first sucky one and if you want a clue to how much these movies suck just note how hard they have to push their stars.  Does Pixar push their stars?  No.  It’s about the characters.  Ice Age pushes so hard because god knows you could give a shit about the characters.  Drake and Rhianna? Are you fucking kidding me?

 

HE SHOULDN’T BE IN THE AVENGERS ANYWAY

Amazing Spider-Man is down to number two and one of the reasons this reboot came so quickly is a) IT’S ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS IN FUCKING HOLLYWOOD, YOU MORONS! And b) Sony had to get another Spider-Man movie out or the rights went back to Marvel, which is bad if you wanted to see him meet Captain America or Iron Man, but good if you wanted movies that stood alone and weren’t little more than prequels to another Avengers movie. Yes, I’m still bitter about that. It’s not like I get a cut of the $600M to ease my pain at getting half-assed movies designed solely to set up another.

 

COALS TO THE NEWCASTLE OF MY HATE FOR YOU

Ted is down to number three and also in this is Mila Kunis as Mark Walberg’s girlfriend and as you know the age disparity thing is a pet peeve of mine. Walberg gets to play 35 when he’s clearly in his 40’s, while they hire an actress who’s actually 30 to play 30.  Men get to play younger while women do not or actually play older.  I can’t blame Marky Mark because his last two female lead were Kate Beckinsale and Amy Adams who are his age, so it falls on Seth McFarlane who I don’t like any way and this just gives me another valid reason.

 

NOTICE HOW NO ONE THINKS CARS MEANT CARS DON’T SELL

Brave is down to number four and it’s not looking good as with a $185 budget, it has yet to double it worldwide, making it a rare disappointment for Pixar but yet another one for a female lead for Disney, the last being The Princess & The Frog.  Now, neither one of these films is that impressive, but that’s not what assholes in suits will see. They’ll see “Chicks don’t sell” and cite that crappy movies with dudes make money all the time.  Sadly they are right. Women simply don’t have the margin for failure that men do, plain and simple. With that in mind you’d think they’d have given this script another pass because the stakes are higher.  How can the same people who made Up look at this and think it was okay?

 

DIRECTED BY PROFESSOR HENRY HIGGINS

Magic Mike is holds at number five and the mystery as to why Alex Pettyfer was not part of the media onslaught has been revealed: Channing Tatum hates him.  See?  People skills matter.  Playing the female lead is Cody Horn, who is awful and most are seeing it as nepotism because her dad used to run Warner Brothers.  Personally I’m seeing a trend with Soderbergh going back to his first film, sex, lies & videotape. Andie McDowell couldn’t act either but he made it seem like she could and since then he’s kinda prided himself on casting lots of no-talent females and watched while people gushed over their performances with him while tanking everywhere else. Hell, he got Julia Roberts an Oscar and she can’t act worth shit.  Of course it’s doesn’t always work as Sasha Gray, Gina Carano and now Cody Horn have proven.

 

THE LEGGY BLONDE BEGETTING THE LEGGY BLONDE

Savages is down to number six and don’t tell me you’ve got a movie that’s over two hours and don’t have time to include the scenes with Uma Thurman as Blake Lively’s mom.  Now, that I might have paid to see.

 

SOME OTHER MOVIES…

Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection is down to number seven followed by Katy Perry: Part of Me actually holding at number eight with Moonrise Kingdom likewise holding at number nine.

 

THE END. THANK GOD.

Finally, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted closes out the top ten as there’s a newer mediocre animal film here now to take its place.

 

YES, THERE IS TIME FOR LOVE, DR. JONES

Now, not all science fiction is robots and space ships. Some of the best science fiction is about smaller yet still fantastic things that help speak to the human condition. Timer is an example of one of these. It’s about a world where a “timer” can be implanted into you arm and it will tell you how long you have until you meet the person you’re supposed to be with—but only if that person also has a timer. If it doesn’t, your timer remains blank.  Oona, played by Emma Caulfield who was Anya on Buffy, has a blank timer and tends to push every guy she dates without a timer into getting one, obviously with no success. On the other hand her sister has a timer that tells her she’s got 12 years until she meets her guy, so she’s just partying until that time comes.  They’re two sides of the same misery. Adding insult to injury, their 14-year-old little brother gets his timer and it tells him he’s going to meet the love of his in 24 hours.  This pushes Oona into the arms of a cute 20-something drummer/grocery clerk who’d asked her out even though his timer gives him just four months. Going against all her instincts, she decides to just enjoy being with him. In the meantime her party girl sister meets a widower with no timer at all and starts to fall for him.  You can see the twist that’s coming from a mile away, but it’s a nice little film that surprisingly doesn’t wuss on its ending which is optimistic but realistic. No great shakes but nice to see something beyond lasers and monsters in science fiction.

 

HE DIDN’T JUST LOOK GOOD, HE LOOKED GREAT

I’m also continuing with my fashion documentaries and just finished Vidal Sassoon: The Movie, which was wonderful, because the man lived an amazing life.  He grew up Jewish in the Depression in England, got an apprenticeship for free because he was polite, fought fascists in the streets in London after WWII which lead him to Israel to fight for the motherland. Came home to be a hairdresser and the rest is history.  He was as much part of the 60’s Swinging London as The Rolling Stones.  Grace Coddingtion the artistic director of Vogue was one of the models who made his work famous and vice versa.  One of his best friends was the woman credited with formally creating the mini-skirt.  An avid follower of physical fitness he was doing Pilates in the 70’s where he also had a talk show with his second wife.  He was 80 when the documentary it was made and looked 60, swimming and doing yoga like a man half his age.  It seems impossible that he’d be dead within a year, but sadly cancer doesn’t care.  Still wonderful he got to see this before he passed.

 

DON’T SLEEP IN THE SUBWAY, DARLING

So this week’s cultural trip was to the NY Transit Museum in Brooklyn and when you really understand the effort took to create the subway system as well as keep it running, you realize it’s a wonder it works at all.  Seriously.  It’s a staggering example of human achievement but all we can do is bitch about it because we’ve never known anything else.  I went because of a series of 18 watercolors about all the bridges around New York and while they were wonderful what was an unexpected pleasure was learning about the history of the city’s lifeline and I only scratched the surface.  I’ll have to look for that documentary about its creation on Netflix (‘cause I damn sure ain’t readin’ no books).  Speaking of the surface, it seems obvious now but I walked around for a few minutes before realizing the damn thing is entirely underground.  Of course it is! Duh.  And it’s huge. Just when you think you’ve seen it all there are another set of doors leading to another huge room filled with displays and dioramas and even full sized buses.  And under that is a station with subway cars from every era of the system’s 100 year history, complete with the ads from that time.  And it’s only $7.  Which I just happened to find on the ground that day so it was meant to be.