Tag Archives: Sung Kang

IT’S FALLEN AND CAN’T GET UP

30 Jun

This_World

 1. Monsters University/Disney           Wknd/$  46.2            Total/$ 171.0

 2. The Heat/Fox                                     Wknd/$  40.0           Total/$  40.0

 3. World War Z/Paramount                Wknd/$  29.8            Total/$ 123.7

 4. White House Down/Sony                Wknd/$  25.7            Total/$  25.7

 5. Man of Steel/Warners                       Wknd/$  20.8           Total/$ 248.7

 6. This Is The End/Sony                       Wknd/$   8.7             Total/$  74.7

 7. Now You See Me/LGF                       Wknd/$   5.5             Total/$ 104.7

 8. Fast & Furious 6/Universal              Wknd/$   2.4            Total/$ 233.3

 9. Star Trek Into Darkness/Par            Wknd/$   3.0            Total/$ 216.6

10. The Internship/Fox                           Wknd?$   1.4             Total/$  41.7

 

IT’LL BE DIFFERENT EXCEPT WHEN IT’S THE SAME

Monsters University holds onto the number one slot and Pixar announced that their new strategy is one year an original film, then the following year a sequel to an original film and so on and so on.  So yeah, the golden age of Pixar pretty much ended how it started: with Toy Story. Number one kicked it off and number three was its beautiful closer. Since then it’s been lesser efforts (Brave) and sequels like Cars 2 and this one, which honestly I prefer to the original, but that’s only because Monsters, Inc. wasn’t one of their A-list films to begin with.  I won’t lie: I’m dying to see Finding Dorry, but I could have lived with just Finding Nemo, which is my absolute favorite Pixar film and proof that not including animated features in the Best Picture category at the Oscars is just Hollywood protecting its own ass, because Pixar would have owned it for years.  No one and I mean not even Pixar itself was hot on a Cars sequel, but the merchandising just made so much money they basically had to, which is sad and that was the beginning of the end. Again, I’ll see an Incredibles sequel, but Ratatouille 2: This Time It’s Roaches is going to have a hard time finding an audience.

 

GLORIA STEINEM WILL UNDERSTAND

The Heat opens strong at number two and while the feminist in me is delighted to see a female led film doing well in the summer where dudes are failing (yes, I’m still laughing at the failure of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) I personally gave it a pass, because I so hated the original, unfunny trailers even though the final batch of commercials contained some genuinely funny moments. Too little, too late.  Oh, and I don’t like Sandra Bullock to begin with so there was that hurdle to overcome and they didn’t get it done.

 

SORRY, GEORGE A. ROMERO, BUT THAT’S HOW I FEEL

World War Z is down to number three and one of my all time favorite science fiction films is The Andromeda Strain, which is basically about scientists trying to fight an alien invasion…of a virus.  Yep, no ships or monsters, just virus from space that wipes out a small town leaving only an infant and an old man alive and they race against the clock to find out how to beat it.  This is why I enjoyed World War Z because it is to zombie movies what that was to alien invasion movies.  I don’t want to call it a “thinking man’s” zombie movie, because it’s still plenty dumb (civilization is collapsing but somehow everyone still has power) but it’s not your typical game of “10 Little Indians” with zombies picking off a group of people one by one.  Ironically, I could still give a crap about The Walking Dead.

 

YEP, IT’S DOWN AGAIN

White House Down opens at a disappointing number three and I honestly don’t understand why. It’s no worse than your average Hollywood action film and certainly better than anything Michael Bay does, not to mention the latest Die Hard movie.  Of course we have to compare this to Olympus Has Fallen, the first “Die Hard In The White House” movie released earlier this year.  It’s better in some ways and worse in others.  Better because the villain is not some evil minority from a nation we could defeat in our sleep and that we’re mercifully spared having to watch the hero’s backstory. Worse in that even without having to watch the hero’s backstory it’s still over two hours long and Roland Emmerich is a shitty director, while Antoine Fuqua knows how to make an action flick.  This follows the Die Hard formula more closely in that Channing Tatum has a woman in his life that he needs to please then save. In this case it’s his 11-year-old daughter, who just so happens to be a political—and specifically Executive Office and very specifically this president—junkie.  The president is played by Jamie Foxx who is still…Jamie Foxx and while you could buy Aaron Eckhart being the president, Jamie Foxx is something else again. Also the president’s son plot line in Olympus Has Fallen was so useless you wonder why it was even there. Here Channing Tatum’s daughter is a vital part of the story for better or worse.  It’s a matter of personal taste whether or not the relatively bloodless carnage of White House Down is better than the full on R-rated violence of Olympus Has Fallen.  I’m good either way, but I’m pretty sure when this kind of thing happens there’s a lot more cursing.  There are also fewer wasted actors here. While you know Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, etc all could and should be doing better things than Olympus Has Fallen, but with the exception of Maggie Gyllenhaal you know pretty much everyone else here is right where they belong.  The stories are basically the same: bad guys take the White House with some help from within (apparently no one retires gracefully from the Secret Service) with stupefying ease, the president get lectured how he’s actually betrayed the nation and the ex-solider now a cop in DC is the rogue element who steps in to save the day.  Channing Tatum is much more appealing as the younger man trying to save his daughter than Gerard Butler was as the older man looking for redemption.  Also, it’s a buddy film so he doesn’t have to carry the full weight on his shoulders. It works for me because a little Jamie Foxx goes a long way. Plus, as president he has to play the straight man so he’s less Jamie Foxx than usual (in case you haven’t guessed I’m not a fan).  Both films are ridiculous and require massive suspensions of disbelief (one wants you to believe you could take the White House without an army while the other wants you to believe that one was imported from Korea without being noticed), but White House Down, coming from the man who brought you Independence Day of course has to kick it up to 11 with a high speed chase. On the White House Lawn.  In circles around the fountain.  Yeah. That pretty much sums this movie up.

 

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME…

Man of Steel, which is down to number five this week is like World War Z in that the only thing this it has in common with the source material is the name.  The difference being if they’d called World War Z something else it would still be a decent movie, but even if you’d called Man of Steel  “Ultraman” or “Stupendousman” it would still be a bad movie. It’s not just a failure to understand the source material, it’s just a flat out bad execution. The film is overlong, joyless and ends in an orgy of CGI for the sake of it and not much else.  Yes, I’m going to rip on it until it goes away because so long as this damn movie is in the top ten I’m unable to wear any of my 20 Superman T-shirts because if I do I’ll have to talk about it to strangers every time I go out! Seriously, you’d think I was the first person they’d ever seen in a Superman t-shirt.

 

YOU TOO, CHELSEA HANDLER!

This Is The End is down to number six and looking at this and seeing all the cast members is like a party of all the coolest kids in high school, so if you’re not in it, then you’re nobody.  In this case the high school is the world of comedy, so take a hint, Whitney Cummings.

 

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Now You See Me is down to number seven with Fast & The Furious 6 still here at number eight and with us for the last time is Sung Kang, as Han Seoul-Oh. Seriously, that’s his name.  If you stick around after the credits the final scene is his demise in Tokyo Drift setting up the next film with a surprise guest star who is no stranger to movies about cars. Yes, that means. Fast & The Furious 4, 5 and 6 ALL took place before number three.  And now Vin Diesel’s appearance at the end of Tokyo Drift now will formally tie into 7.  The only question is will the stars of Tokyo Drift now finally be able to tap into some of this F&F sequel money?  Apparently Lil Bow Wow needs a check from what I hear?

 

SPACE ADVENTURE II: THE RETRIBUTION OF BAHN

Star Trek Into Darkness is down to number nine so let’s go through the numbers. It had a $190M budget and the basic rule of thumb is that due to marketing costs you need to make twice your budget to break even and 3x your budget to turn a profit theatrically.  It’s hit $438M worldwide so breaking even is assured, but it’s not even going to come close to the $570M needed to turn a profit theatrically.  That will probably come from Pay-per-view and DVD sales.  The only upside here is JJ Abrams is now gone to screw up Star Wars so maybe the next Star Trek movie might actually be a Star Trek. As it stands if you called these movies “Space Adventure” they wouldn’t be awful, but they are failures as Star Trek films.

 

THE SCHADENFREUDE

Finally, The Internship closes out the top ten at number ten and yes, I’m still laughing at its abject failure.

Advertisements

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.