Tag Archives: Superman

4TH BEST BATMAN MOVIE EVER!

13 Feb

le-cercle-secret-the-secret-circle
1. The LEGO Batman Movie/WB      Wknd/$ 55.6    Total/$ 55.6
2. Fifty Shades Darker/Universal     Wknd/$ 46.8    Total/$ 46.8
3. John Wick: Chapter Two/LG        Wknd/$ 30.0    Total/$ 30.0
4. Split/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 9.3     Total/$ 112.3
5. Hidden Figures/Fox                        Wknd/$ 8.0      Total/$ 131.5
6. A Dog’s Purpose/Universal            Wknd/$ 7.4      Total/$ 42.6
7. Rings/Paramount                             Wknd/$ 5.8      Total/$ 21.5
8. La La Land/LG                                 Wknd/$ 5.0      Total/$ 126.0
9. Lion/Weinstein                                 Wknd/$ 4.1      Total/$ 30.4
10.The Space Between Us/STX          Wknd/$ 1.8      Total/$ 6.6

BETTER THAN SNYDER, BUT YOU KNEW THAT
The LEGO Batman Movie opens at number one and if you remember, Will Arnett as Batman in The Lego Movie basically stole the thing so it’s no surprise that they gave him his own movie. But what’s odd about it is it’s this silly animated toy movie that has one of the best examinations of his personality and the only movie to just flat out say that Alfred is his father and Dick Grayson was his son. Not “butler” and “ward” but “father” and “son.” Not that it stops it from being funny in a very chaotic Airplane and Naked Gun sort of way. Let me put it this way: included in the villains here are Agents from The Matrix, Raptors from Jurassic Park and Sauron from Lord of the Rings. Oh, and Voldemort from Harry Potter. I’m not kidding. And the bulk of the humor is based on another prominent aspect of Batman’s personality that the movies have ignored but is a major thing in the comics: Batman is an asshole. Not the vainglorious asshole Will Arnett is playing here, but sharing the same character trait that he always thinks he’s right so it’s okay for him to do what he wants to anyone at any time. In this case when The Joker makes him obsolete by surrendering and making all the other bad guys in Gotham City surrender too, Batman realizes that it has to be some part of a greater scheme so he steals Superman’s Phantom Zone projector (easy because the Justice League is busy with their anniversary party which they’ve having for 57 years and never once inviting him…because he’s an asshole) and puts him there to safe. Unfortunately, that was The Joker’s plan exactly, so when he breaks out and brings all the villains imprisoned within to destroy Gotham it’s essentially Batman’s fault. Oh, and Batman’s been put in jail himself by Barbara Gordon for breaking in and putting The Joker in The Phantom Zone. It’s fun for normal people, but if you’re a geek, five times a much due to all the little “in” jokes that are thrown in.

SEXY? EHH, NOT SO MUCH.
50 Shades Darker opens at number two and briefly some thought it would open at number one and it’s clear those people don’t have kids. Every kid’s movie is kids admission + adult’s admission, whereas this only had adult’s admission, mostly female. Okay, maybe two adults on a date, but that’s not going to make up the difference. I saw the first as basically a joke with a friend who had a free screening passes. It was not good, though Dakota Johnson was and gave the movie a performance it didn’t deserve. Jaime Dornan gave the role the contempt he clearly has for it (and himself for taking the easy money & fame role which only gave him the former). That said, I’ve no interest in these characters whatsoever and not even bringing in Kim Basinger—who made the movie this could only hope to be in its wildest dreams, 9 ½ Weeks—is going to persuade me to give it a look. But it does make me want to watch 9 ½ Weeks again, so thanks for that.

John Wick: Chapter Two is the flipside to 50 Shades darker. It got the male money, but made less because honestly it’s not exactly a date movie. Granted, some people may get hot watching two-hours of breaking bones and headshots, but I’m willing to wager it’s not quite as many as those watching people boning (fewer to the tune of $16M). And this film is committed to headshots. A friend joked it should be called “HeadShot: The Movie.” Well, this is no different. I mean there’s actually a character that commits suicide…and he still shoots this person in the head. Like the first, Chapter Two is a borderline comedy in this concept there’s this secret underground criminal society that’s actually built on honor and respect and cops mysteriously never show up no matter how much mayhem is unleashed. This time they kick it up a notch when John Wick’s actions in the first result in someone he owed a debt to calling to collect. When Wick refuses, the guy blows up Wick’s house and the underground criminal society tells him he’s got to honor the debt, period. It’s a snake eating its tail because he incurred the debt leaving the life in the first place. Also, had he not gone on a killing spree in the first (to avenge the death of the puppy his late wife left to him) the marker would not have been called in, but fulfilling his obligation on this marker serves to create a mess that guarantees a John Wick Chapter 3 aka Even More Head Shots. And I’ll be there, ‘cause this silly ass shit is fun.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS! READ ON AT YE PERIL!
Split is down to number four and this is considered part of M. Night Shymaylan’s comeback and it’s a comeback in the only way that matters: money. From a $9M budget it’s made over a $100M domestic alone making it the highest grossing horror movie in four years. His previous hit was The Visit, which made $65M domestic from a $5M budget. This gets him a little bit of his mojo back, but it’s still doubtful any studio’s going to drop $100M blockbuster in his lap again anytime soon and that’s probably for the best. Some people only shine with limitations. I’ll never know because honestly I was never a big fan. He just makes Twilight Zone or Outer Limits episodes as full-blown movies and makes up that time difference by dragging things out needlessly. There’s deliberately pacing and there’s just dragging shit out. He just drags shit out. Of course by now you may be aware this isn’t a mere stand-alone movie. It’s actually connected to Unbreakable. The character James McAvoy plays eventually metamorphoses into a super-strong bulletproof super-villain that Bruce Willis as his Unbreakable character reads about in the paper at the end setting up a new movie where they fight. According to Shyamalan, this character was actually supposed to be in Unbreakable, but he felt it was overstuffed. God forbid we use all that time where he dragged shit out to tell another story. I wasn’t the greatest fan of Unbreakable so connecting this to it doesn’t make me suddenly want to see it. I left horror behind long ago and this is still technically a horror movie about a loon kidnapping three terrified girls. He kills and eats two of them and I am not paying to see that shit. How does the third one survive? Well, she was sexually abused by her uncle and James McAvoy’s character who was also horrifically abused feels a kinship with her for it. No, she doesn’t even get to be the girl at the end of a horror movie that beats or outwits the villain.

A DISAPPOINTMENT TO MY PEOPLE
Hidden Figures is down to number five and I still have embarrassingly not seen it. I’ve no excuse. None.

WHO’S THE BEST PILOT YOU EVER SEEN?
A Dog’s Purpose is down to number five and I’m actually glad Dennis Quaid has this little hit. He was always a guy who was supposed to be a big A-list star, but his big A-list films didn’t quite work out. It’s hit and miss with mostly miss. After The Right Stuff and The Big Easy it’s disappointment after disappointment even when the movies were good like Innerspace. Probably the biggest disappointment was Great Balls of Fire, the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic that co-starred Alec Baldwin who had a similar career. They were briefly “hot” then longtime “not” around the same time, but while Baldwin was reborn on TV, Quaid has stuck with feature films, apparently not realizing he’s one white-hot TV show away from reclaiming some of his promised glory. I mean, did we ever think Cuba Gooding Jr. would be in something worth discussing again until The People vs OJ? Take it, Hot Dog!

NO BLOOD FROM THIS STONE
Rings is down to number seven and this may be the end of this franchise unless they dial down the cost. Horror franchises now cost under $10M and this cost $25 and hasn’t even made that yet.

AT LEAST I’M NOT DISAPPOINTING MY PEOPLE
La La Land is down to number eight and also on my Oscar Must See list with Moonlight, Hidden Figures and the number nine film Lion. Remember: I’ve seen XXX: The Return of Xander Cage and Underworld: Blood Wars but not a single one of these.

BETTER TO RULE IN HELL
Closing out the top ten is The Space Between us and I feel sorry for Britt Robertson. She’s making all the right moves, doing all the “right” films but it’s not working out for her. I guess it’s because I was a fan of The Secret Circle, which was a CW show about gorgeous teen witches in a small town. Hey to a geek, superpowered teens are superpowered teens. Since then she’s been in A-list films (Tomorrowland, Mother’s Day, Mr. Church, Delivery Man with A-list stars (George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Anniston, Eddie Murphy, Vince Vaughn) and even did a damn Nicholas Spark novel adaptation with rising star Scott Eastwood, but it’s not working. This little science fiction teen romance is sadly another one for the failure pile. Maybe her TV adaptation of Girl Boss will work out for her. Just ask Alec Baldwin. Everyone wasn’t meant to be a movie star.

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FINDING MONEY

20 Jun

icy
1. Finding Dory/Disney                          Wknd/$ 136.2   Total/$ 136.2
2. Central Intelligence/WB                    Wknd/$ 34.5     Total/$ 34.5
3. The Conjuring 2/WB                          Wknd/$ 15.6      Total/$ 71.7
4. Now You See Me/LG                           Wknd/$ 9.7       Total/$ 41.4
5. Warcraft/Universal                             Wknd/$ 6.5       Total/$ 37.7
6. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                    Wknd/$ 5.2       Total/$ 146.1
7. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2      Wknd/$ 5.2        Total/$ 71.9
8. Me Before You/Warner                      Wknd/$ 4.2       Total/$ 46.1
9. Alice Through the Looking Glass     Wknd/$ 3.6       Total/$ 69.3
10. Captain America: Civil War/BV     Wknd/$ 2.3       Total/$ 401.2

FINDING INSPIRATION
To the surprise of absolutely no one Finding Dory opens at number one. Now, I’m against Pixar sequels on principle but Pixar gets a better response than most because a) they don’t always do them, b) when they do them it’s so far down the line it’s not an obvious money grab and c) they get it right as Toy Story has defied all odds and just gotten better every time. Even Monsters University was better than it had any right to be (no comment on Cars 2 because Cars sucked). So, Finding Dory comes more than a decade after Finding Nemo because they genuinely felt there was no story to tell until now which is stunning in the entertainment business. As if that had anything to do with it. Hell, the Disney board would have been satisfied if Nemo had just gotten lost again and they’d just repeated the first. Luckily for us the Pixar creative leads wanted more and more in this case was about Dory slowly remembering her own family and going off in search of them and while it’s definitely good, there’s no singular brilliant moment like the chant of a seagull being “Mine” or the wonderful irreverence of the sharks who no longer want to eat fellow fish. Despite their good intentions to tell an original story it does feel a bit too familiar, the brightest spark being provided by an octopus who doesn’t want to return to the ocean, but instead wants a nice tank in Cleveland where no one will bother him (voiced by Ed O’Neil). One of the keys to Finding Nemo’s creative success was the wonderful supporting cast, from the adult and child populace of Nemo’s home reef to the laid back turtles to denizens of the dentist office tank to half a dozen others in between. They just don’t match that here and while we see the kids of the reef and the turtles again, they don’t have the same spark. Nonetheless it’s still better than 90% of what else is out there as the sad trailers for Storks and Ice Age: This Goddamn Franchise Has Lasted Longer Than The Actual Ice Age proved. If Finding Nemo was an A+ (and it was) then this is a solid B+. Oh, and make sure you stay through the end credits. There’s always something there…as I found out this weekend with Brave.

WHAT? COULDN’T GET PERMISSION FOR MARIAH?
Central Intelligence opens at number two and it seems logical that two of the hardest working men in show business would finally end up in a movie together. Not since Michael Caine in the 80’s have actors seeming been so omnipresent onscreen. It’s also a great creative move on both their parts for Kevin Hart to actually play the straight man to Dwayne Johnson playing the funny guy. Kevin Hart is Dean Martin while Dwayne Johnson is Jerry Lewis (ask your parents what that means). While I bear it no ill will, I have zero interest in either of them as anything beyond being supporting characters to actual leads. They simply lack that for me. The trailer shows a film, while not aimed at the lowest common denominator of comedy, is severely broad reaching. Oh, look. When Dwayne Johnson was in high school he was fat and sang En Vogue in the shower ‘cause fat guys and guys who sing girl songs are funny. In terms of wit that’s a butter knife level of sharpness. Even on cable this is a hard pass.

AND JAWLINES. DON’T FORGET THE JAWLINES
The Conjuring is down to number three and I’m also glad to see Vera Farminga here on the money train. I’ve loved her as an actress since the short-lived Finding Evil TV show and she improves pretty much everything she’s in. In my movie fantasy she and Gillian Anderson play sisters onscreen as they are seemingly cut from the same cloth (coincidentally they were both on the small screen alongside famous serial killers). In my other fantasy I’ve been very bad and they’ve come to discipline me. Soooo many icy stern looks of disappointment and contempt. Delicious

YUAN BETTER RECOGNIZE
Now You See Me 2 is down to number four followed by the Warcraft at number five and you might be seeing film history being made as China saves an entire franchise single-handedly, which is funny given how movies like Iron Man 3 and Transformers: Whichever The Fuck It Was have bent over backwards trying to win them and been met with contempt. It hasn’t even broken $40M here, but has made ten times that in overseas. Depend on how much studios get (it ranges from 15-14%) this may actually get a sequel…which America will ignore again.

ALSO HE’S A SCUMBAG
Speaking of sequels America has ignored, X-Men: Apocalypse is down to number six and hasn’t even made it’s $178M budget domestically, but like Warcraft has pulled almost $400M from overseas markets, so rest assured there will be another and this time mercifully without Bryan Singer. While he started the franchise and did good things with it, using the metaphor for oppression appropriately, he seems to have forgotten that and they need a director who remembers the core of the X-Men is also appealing to that self-important teenager drama where you think you’re special the entire world is against you for no reason at all. Yes, that’s the dark truth about the real reason so many like it. Not because you’re a person of color or your religion or your sexuality suffering genuine oppression, but because you think you’re special and the world is actively trying to hold you down. You’re wrong.

JUST KIDDING. EVERY ROLE WILL SOMEHOW PUT HER IN A FETISH COSTUME.
I thought this would be the hat trick of franchises supported by overseas money, but it turns out they care even less than we do about Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles: Out of the Shadows, down to number seven. There probably won’t be a third, which must be bittersweet news to Megan Fox who has another child on the way, but at the same time doesn’t have to worry about a contrived reason to put her into a fetish costume in the near future.

LESS IS MORE…IF YOU’RE AN IDIOT AND DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR PROPERTIES
Me Before You is down to number eight, followed by Alice Through the Looking Glass at number nine and Captain America: Civil War closes out the top ten at number ten and this is why the Warner Brother/DC Comics hierarchy was recently shaken up as two movies about fighting superheroes came out this summer (well, 3 if you count X-Men, but no one cares enough to do that) with had approximately the same budgets but the one what that the 3 most famous superheroes of all time in them did significantly worse than the film that had a bunch of heroes 90% of the population had never heard of ten years ago. And by “significantly” I mean almost $900M vs over $1B. While this may not seem like too much of a difference to you and I, remember that Batman’s last two solo films both made $1B but teaming him up with Superman and Wonder Woman somehow resulted in less!?! Not good when your very next film will add even more superheroes to the roster that you also hope to spin-off into individual films. Warner Brothers is being force to reconsider their dumb-ass strategy of if your competitor has cornered the market on chocolate and you reconfigure your chocolate machines to make vanilla, rather than simply understand there’s no such thing as too much good chocolate. Instead they’ve made mediocre (Man of Steel) and bad (Batman v Superman) vanilla and surprise! People preferred the better made chocolate. Damn it. Now I want some chocolate!

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CAPTAIN UNREASONABLE: CIVIL BORE

9 May

vs

1. Captain America: Civil War/BV Wknd/$ 181.8 Total/$ 181.8
2. The Jungle Book/Disney Wknd/$ 21.9 Total/$ 285.0
3. Mother’s Day/ORF Wknd/$ 9.0 Total/$ 20.7
4. The Huntsman: Winter’s War/Uni Wknd/$ 3.6 Total/$ 40.4
5. Keanu/WB Wknd/$ 3.1 Total/$ 15.1
6. Barbershop: The Next Cut/WB Wknd/$ 2.7 Total/$ 48.4
7. Zootopia/Disney Wknd/$ 2.7 Total/$ 327.6
8. The Boss/Universal Wknd/$ 1.8 Total/$ 59.1
9. Ratchet & Clank/Focus Wknd/$ 1.5 Total/$ 1.5
10. Batman v Superman/WB Wknd/$ 1.0 Total/$ 327.3

ALL THAT’S MISSING IS A “MARTHA” MOMENT
Captain America: Civil War opens at number one and I hate to say but this disappointed the shit out of me. Or rather, it was disappointing like I feared it would be. Civil War was a very bad comic book event from a few years ago that shameless exploited the cheapest money making convention of superhero comics: hero vs. hero. This started with the first kid who liked Superman arguing with his best friend who liked Batman, but didn’t become a part of comics until Marvel in the 60’s, which was all about heroes mistakenly fighting each other before teaming up. DC soon followed suit and eventually it became a self-referential joke in comics that every team-up was preceded by a fight. Then Marvel decided something that was once only part of a story should become the story itself and created Civil War, a story that basically required every hero to go utterly against 50 years of characterization so they could fight one another. But while comics’ fans complained bitterly they still bought the damn thing (like geeks always fucking do) so it paid off. So handsomely in fact that Marvel keeps doing it, much in the way Batman Vs. Superman paid off in the comics in the 80’s and they’ve been doing that ever since. And like Batman Vs. Superman it of course had to be incorporated into its cinematic universe. Now, initially the hope was that Civil War would be “in name only” like Age of Ultron, which was another horrible Marvel Comics event that became a completely different (yet mediocre) movie. This keeps the central point of conflict that superheroes need to register with the governments of the world or retire, but has the same basic flaw: one of our heroes has to act like a complete idiot to guarantee a fight. And in this case it’s actually the titular hero. Captain America must consistently choose the most antagonistic path possible to guarantee the one thing they’re selling: hero vs. hero fighting. The idea that The Avengers operate under some kind of global supervision isn’t unreasonable, yet our hero—and mine in particular—must act like the most unreasonable idiot in the world to make sure we get basically even single Marvel hero ever in a movie trying to punch the lights out of ever other Marvel hero in a movie, including its most profitable, Spider-Man. Spider-Man is to this movie what Wonder Woman was to Batman v Superman: a refreshing breath of air. Even Ant-Man comes off better. I’m having a bad superhero year. My three favorite superheroes are Superman, Captain America and Dick Grayson and so far this year I’ve seen movies where two of them have been made utterly disappointing to me. I’m oddly happy Dick Grayson may never see the light of day in a movie because at least then they can’t ruin him. The only difference between this and Batman v Superman is that I never expected that to be any good. I expected better from the Russo Brothers after The Winter Soldier and they let me down. While there are many enjoyable moments, they can’t overcome the basic flaw of the story, which is that heroes don’t fight each other and they never present a genuine reason why they would. At least not until the last five minutes and that reason is so awful you wish they didn’t because it honestly makes any team ups in the future impossible if you have any respect for character. But they clearly don’t so I guess I’ll see you at the next Avengers movie.

HAPPY’S REVENGE
Speaking of Marvel movies, the man who helped launch them was Jon Favreau, who, no matter what he says, departed under contentious circumstances, one of which was thinking he was going to direct the Avengers movie and that he had Tomorrowland. Neither happened, but the disappointing Cowboys & Aliens did. But then he had the awesome Chef (which was very clearly a commentary on that time), which was nothing short of an artistic comeback. That has resulted in the incredible success of Jungle Book, which on paper looks like a guaranteed failure. Artistically and financially it’s been anything but and not only is it great for Favreau, but he did it for Disney which owns Marvel, so the thought of him returning to the fold isn’t as unlikely as it was just a few months ago. The movie? Hell, I have no interest in the original animated version and even less in this, no matter what anyone says. But I’m happy for him.

NO YOU DON’T GET A PASS ‘CAUSE EVERYONE LOVES THEIR MOM.
Mother’s Day is down to number three even on Mother’s Day, which tells you how awful this latest entry in Gary Marshall’s series of “bad movies based on holidays” really is. And it’s almost two fucking hours on top of it! I realize Julia Roberts basically has to do this given she owes him her entire career and Kate Hudson is looking for an easy comeback to being a box office commodity and Jennifer Anniston is just lucky to have a career after “friends” to begin with. (same for fucking Jason Sudekis after SNL). But this is awful and they all need to understand it’s better to rule in the hell of a really good cable TV show than serve in the heaven of big studio releases. I’m talking to you most of all, Jennifer Anniston. The seemingly permanent erect nipples you sported in the 90’s won’t carry you forever. Or will they? The young men who were your fans in then are probably making the casting decisions now and hoping in vain for that one movie where you’ll finally drop your top.

‘CAUSE HONESTLY, HER’S IS BIGGER
The Huntsman: Winter’s War is down to number four and is yet another blow to the idea of Chris Hemsworth as a leading man even though he’s doing exactly what he should be doing and supporting strong female actors. What it is however is another reason to respect Kristen Stewart, as she’s the only thing missing from the marginal success of the first. Has it occurred to you fuckers that she’s the reason why this prequel didn’t work? Not to mention outside of Twilight she’s had at least one financial success with Snow White & The Huntsman and critical success with Still Alice and Clouds of Sil Maria. Robert Patterson has neither so how about you all get up off her dick!?!

BETRAYER OF MY PEOPLE
Keanu is down to number five and I was briefly interested in this when I found out that Keanu Reeves was doing the voice of the kitty. He initially refused—or at least his management did—but when his sister saw the trailer and told him about it, he called them to be a part of it. But I never really watched Key & Peele either, so not seeing it is par the course for me. Sorry, fellas. Yeah, it only cost $15M, but it’s only made that made much, which means it hasn’t even paid for marketing yet. Maybe it’ll be a home viewing success, because that’s the only place I plan on seeing it.

I WANT THE NEXT ONE TO BE BARBER SHOP: GOOD HAIR
Barbershop: The Next Cut is down to number six and between this, NWA and Ride Along, Ice Cube has reemerged as box office force to be reckoned with mainly because he’s not pretending to be catering to White people at all. He’s making Black movies for Black people and not giving a fuck and it’s working for him. I didn’t see the first barbershop because while I understand its place in the community, I’ve been shaving my own head since the 90’s so it’s not really a part of my existence any longer. Plus, I can’t take anything seriously that takes Common seriously as an actor. He. Just. Sucks. Why are we pretending he doesn’t?

DO NOT AS WE DO, LADIES. BUT AS WE SAY.
Zootopia is down to number six follow by The Boss at number eight and honestly I feel the best jokes were in the trailer so why bother? But I’m happy for Melissa McCarthy. Fuck the haters, baby.

THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE SUCCESSES
Ratchet & Clank is down to number nine and it’s yet another movie based on a video game. Apparently this will never die no matter how many of these movies fail. All it takes is one success to make people forget the other nine failures.

ZACK SNYDER SUCKS. THERE’S JUST NO OTHER WAY I CAN PUT IT.
Finally, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice closes out the top ten at number ten and honestly, $326M domestic from a $250M budget isn’t that great even though it has made $865M worldwide. Twice your budget is break even and no matter that they tell you about international gross, the studio gets 40% or less that than so domestic is what matters most and this has made less than Deadpool. Let me say it again, a PG-13 movie with the three most famous superheroes of all time has has made less than an R-rated movie about a character 99% of the general populace has never heard off. Why? Gee, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because Superman is a miserable narcissist who, while being a party to thousands of deaths, doesn’t speak to people yet still wonders why some hate him. Maybe it’s because Batman’s a raving psychotic who quotes Dick fucking Cheney in his justification as to why he has to cut Superman’s head off. Maybe it’s a story that makes no fucking sense and seems to take place completely in the dark even in the day. Maybe it’s because the director’s idea of fun is to have Jimmy Olsen shot in the head in the first five minutes (no, I’m not kidding). Maybe it’s because the only bright spot of the movie, Wonder Woman, is only in it for ten minutes. Maybe it’s because no matter what sells in the comics NORMAL PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO SEE HEROES FIGHT EACH OTHER! Actually it’s a perfect fucking storm of failure and why every day you hear about a director leaving (the director of The Flash bailed, but it’s not like he was some great talent either) and learn that Ben Affleck is taking more control over the Justice League movie.

GONNA PUT SOMETHING IN MY BUTT
HBO was supposed to give me a free weekend a few weeks ago, but because Time Warner is a bag of dicks (and tiny ones at that), they didn’t pass it on to us. Fortunately, HBO seriously wants my money, which is why it was offering one free month of HBO Now. Now the catch is, unlike HBO Go, you can only watch Now on a device, so I had to watch Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures on my iPad. The first legit use I’ve had for it. The title comes from Senator Jesse Helms’ speech about defunding the NEA over their exhibit of Mapplethorpe’s work, which he found obscene and pornographic. Well, it kinda is, but the difference is Mapplethorpe wasn’t trying to titillate or arouse, which is the goal of porn. Also he was looking to push buttons, to make you acknowledge a world that existed. Watching the doc made me realize my first interest in photography wasn’t a few years ago, but back in high school when I first saw his pictures of Lisa Lyon and actually bought the book. It also reminded me of a photographer I met back in college who’d was not a fan of Mapplethorpe’s work. He was Black and Mapplethorpe had a well-known fetish for Black men to the point he slept with them exclusively. They’d met in a gay bar and Mapplethorpe actually dropped the “Do you know who I am?” line and my friend replied that he knew in a way that showed he was not thrilled at being fetishized and Mapplethorpe moved on. But it wouldn’t have worked. As the documentary showed like most fetishizers he only cared for his stereotypical fantasy of Black men as somewhat thuggish (makes one wonder if he ever crossed paths with Madonna who indulging a similar fetish at the same time in NYC) and not a reality of intelligent, college-educated like my friend or even his most photographed model, Ken Moody, who was not his lover. The documentary oddly contains no interview with Patti Smith who was his lover and best friend for a very formative period in his life (his most famous work may actually be her album cover). The creators insist it wasn’t needed because her book, Just Kids, more than covers that period, but that’s just bullshit. No way you don’t have her input on a comprehensive doc the way this is. Clearly she disagreed with them on something crucial. In her absence the primary source is Mapplethorpe’s kid brother, Edward, who initially idolized him and later became his assistant and photographer in his own right. Mapplethorpe is yet another photographer who wasn’t formally trained (his father was ironically a hobbyist photographer) and also yet another artist who wanted fame and fortune from day one and made no bones about it (yet another comparison with Madonna). His first patron was his rich lover whom he fully admits he would not have been with without the money. He promoted his shows like a professional ad campaign and towards the end when he was dying of AIDs his concerns were increasing his fame and whether or not he’d die with more money than Andy Warhol. Even his foundation was more about accumulating both after his death. He certainly didn’t leave his work for his family. Edward Mapplethorpe also became a photographer and Robert made him change his name so as not to “cash in” on Robert’s growing fame. And even though Edward took care of Robert in his last days, there was never any moment where Robert expressed gratitude or love and Edward is still openly pained about it. It’s the kind of honesty that makes this documentary so good. Shame about Patti, though.

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IT’D BE A WONDER, WONDER WOMAN

11 Apr

wwomen
1. The Boss/Universal Wknd/$ 23.5 Total/$ 23.5
2. Batman v Superman/WB Wknd/$ 23.4 Total/$ 296.7
3. Zootopia/Disney Wknd/$ 14.0 Total/$ 296.0
4. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2/Uni Wknd/$ 6.4 Total/$ 46.8
5. Hardcore Henry/STX Wknd/$ 5.1 Total/$ 5.1
6. Miracles from Heaven/TriStar Wknd/$ 4.8 Total/$ 53.9
7. God’s Not Dead 2/PFR Wknd/$ 4.3 Total/$ 14.1
8. Divergent: Allegiant/LG Wknd/$ 3.6 Total/$ 61.8
9. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount Wknd/$ 3.0 Total/$ 68.0
10. Eye in the Sky/BST Wknd/$ 2.8 Total/$ 10.4

IT’S A THIN LINE BETWEEN LOVING ONE THING AND HATING SOMETHING ELSE
The Boss opens at number one and more power to Melissa McCarthy and her husband for riding this train until the wheels come off. While I personally feel all jokes I needed to see about this were in the “R” rated trailer, I’m glad others felt different, because I like to see women succeed and I especially like when women succeed doing the same shit men do: crude anti-hero comedies. Basically she’s getting that Adam Sandler dollar and I’d much rather she have it than him (though I’m not giving her mine either). At least her trailers make me laugh. He can’t even do that. Next I want her to take the next step and have a Hemsworth brother hot for her, the same way we’ve had to buy Sandler as some kind of pussy magnet. God, I hate him…

IT’D BE A WONDER
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is down to number two and as you may have heard (probably from me) Wonder Woman is the best thing about this. I will give credit to Snyder for this: he has her show up, say very little and be badass (even her music is great). The time-honored prescription to making a pretty actor with discernible personality or skills become successful. Action movies are the perfect vehicle for people like Gal Gadot. It’s no surprise her big break was in The Fast & The Furious franchise. If the director of Wonder Woman can follow this example and ignore literally everything else Snyder does it might not be half bad. Gal Gadot is the former Miss Israel, which takes on a new level when you realize Lynda Carter the Wonder Woman most people know was Miss World USA.

YOU ONLY THINK IT’S NEW BECAUSE YOU’RE YOUNG…AND STUPID
Zootopia is down to number three, followed by My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 at number four and Hardcore Henry opening at number five and while some make think this is an interesting idea to shoot a film strictly from the first person, it’s actually already been done. The Lady in The Lake was a shot purely in the first person in 1947 and honestly isn’t every “found footage” film just that? And this particular case isn’t so much emulating that experiment as much as it is just continuing to the sad evolution of action films into video games. London Has Fallen basically turns into that one point and the comparison I most heard from gamers is how much Batman’s big scene in Batman v Superman was like a video game. This is not a good thing people, from defeating the purpose of cinematic storytelling to the fact that all this would mean to me is two hours puking from motion sickness.

WHAT WOULD JESUS WATCH? THE BOSS, PROBABLY.
Christian propaganda takes the number six and seven spots with Miracles From Heaven followed by God’s Not Dead 2 and given this probably cost nothing even with its low return of $14M you can rest assure God will continue to not be dead and inspire his people to fight the imaginary tyranny of atheists in God’s Not Dead 3.

STUPID PEOPLE CANNOT LEARN BY DEFINITION
The Divergent Series: Allegiant is down to number six they’re probably regretting splitting this into two parts already, given that every entry of this series is lower than the previous one and this one may not even break $100M. Considering given it cost $110M to make that’s not good. I’d say this should be a lesson to others as the last chapter of The Hunger Games (also stupidly split in two) also came in below expectations, but I think we know they won’t and nonetheless expect to reap the same rewards as Harry Potter and Twilight.

THE END
10 Cloverfield Lane is down to number nine and Eye in the Sky closes out the top ten at number ten.

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WEEK #2 AND IT’S STILL SUCKING

4 Apr

g-ua
1. Batman v Superman/WB Wknd/$ 52.4 Total/$ 261.5
2. Zootopia/Disney Wknd/$ 20.0 Total/$ 275.9
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2/Uni Wknd/$ 11.1 Total/$ 36.5
4. God’s Not Dead 2/PFR Wknd/$ 8.1 Total/$ 8.1
5. Miracles from Heaven/TriStar Wknd/$ 7.6 Total/$ 46.8
6. Divergent: Allegiant/LG Wknd/$ 5.7 Total/$ 56.3
7. 10 Cloverfield Lane/Paramount Wknd/$ 4.8 Total/$ 63.6
8. Meet the Blacks/Free Wknd/$ 4.1 Total/$ 4.1
9. Eye in the Sky/BST Wknd/$ 4.1 Total/$ 6.1
10. Deadpool/Paramount Wknd/$ 3.5 Total/$ 355.1

SHIT FLOATS: PART 2039840201
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice holds the top spot and forget what you’ve heard about a 68% drop and cries of failure. Huge drops after huge openings are actually very normal. The first Avengers movie suffered at 50% drop and the second a nearly 60% drop. Even the well-reviewed The Dark Knight, the first superhero movie to make a billion, suffered a more than 50% drop its second week and I’m pretty sure none of them were failures. If everyone sees it the first weekend, then logically there are fewer people to see it the next weekend. That’s just a fact of the business. It’s only a problem if you were looking to repeat business to turn a profit. This is now the superhero equivalent of a The Transformers. The fact that they are awful will have no impact on their success. The only issue is the cost of the budget. It’s supposedly $250M, but is rumored to go as high as $410M with all the promotion, which makes sense as it’s everywhere. I wiped my ass once and it somehow came out in the shape of that fucking combined Superman and Batman symbol. And it was more entertaining to see than this. Now, the rule of thumb is at least 3x budget to turn a profit (though some would say it’s actually 4x or 5x) and if that’s the case it’s gonna need at least $1.23B—with a B—to be successful. It’s not improbable but let’s hope for the sake of future movies it does not because there will be no reason to change. For the rumored Batman movie starring, written and presumably directed by Ben Affleck, however, there is every reason to change. He’s been a critical darling too long to go back to being the butt of jokes and he’s not a good enough actor to hide it. Expect to see little resemblance to this flaming bag of donkey poo in anything he does. And I have to admit he’s not the disaster we all anticipated. The problem was going with an older Batman overall, not so much Ben Affleck himself (though he doesn’t convey the intensity that their rumored first choice, James Brolin, would have). And I love Jeremy Irons period, so casting him as Alfred gets nothing but a gold star from me. They both just need to be in a movie far, far away from Zack Snyder, who blew even the action sequences here. Maybe I’m spoiled now by Daredevil, but the fight scenes with Batman were clumsy with too many stuntmen obviously waiting around for their turn to die like a bad 70’s kung fu movie.

ZOOTOPIA 2: SELMA
Zootopia holds at number two and while I hope they don’t make a sequel, I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t be there opening weekend to see it. The only problem would be making the allegories of race and gender work the second time around. Also they have to resist the celebrities who’d love to be in it rather than simply hire the best actors for the job the way they seem to have done this time around. I love Idris Elba and Jason Bateman, but when they’re your biggest stars it’s clear you weren’t looking for that to sell your film, which is a good thing. Also on-hand are Ginnifer Goodwin, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, Tommy Chong, JK Simmons, Octavia Spencer and Shakira. I see two Oscar winners but not one person whose name suggests fame over substance and again, that’s a good thing.

I’M AN ATHEIST AND I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 holds at number three and between this and Batman v Superman that the fourth film is entitled God’s Not Dead 2 comes off as a complete lie. How could he be alive and let all that other crap thrive? Is it perhaps part of his ongoing jealousy of Superman? This along with the fourth film, Miracles from Heaven (as opposed to what?), is part of the new wave of Christian themed films, which are making a nice profit and honestly I have no problem with them because it means its audience can shut the fuck up about other films and just watch their own. What’s wrong with them is that they are seemingly obsessed with atheists and view them as some kind of powerful majority in America who is out to get them. Uh, no. There’s more reality in Lord of the Rings than there is in that scenario. Sauramon has more power over America than atheists do.

A SCREAMING FAT DUDE IMPROVES EVERY MOVIE
The Divergent Series: Allegiant is down to number six, followed by 10 Cloverfield Lane at number seven and also in this is John Goodman and while I’ll never see this I’m glad he’s got a hit under his belt where you actually see him (his voice was in Transformers: Age of Extinction and of course Monsters University), though his presence in Hail Caesar might have made it a bit more interesting. Of course he was in Inside Llewyn Davis the Coen Brothers movie I didn’t see, but I don’t apologize for that because they are famously hit and miss and honestly I had no interest in a movie about a folk music failure. Mostly because of the folk music.

JUST BECAUSE HE’S BLACK DOESN’T MEAN I HAVE TO SUPPORT HIM
Meet the Blacks opens at number eight and all I know about this is Mike Epps is in it so will never watch it not even under threat of torture. I hate that muthafucka on sight and cannot imagine how he landed the starring role in a Richard Pryor bio. I can only think it’s being made directly for BET because what person would ever make him the star of drama they’d like taken seriously and expect people to pay to see? If it ever really gets made (they’ve been trying to do this since Pryor was alive and Damon Wayans was cast) I’ll add it to the list of Lee Daniels films I’ll never see in this lifetime. No, TV does not count, though I’m like 8 episodes behind on Empire too.

ONLY THE MOVIE COLLATERAL DAMAGE WAS FUNNY, THOUGH NOT INTENTIONALLY
Eye in the Sky rises to number nine and this is actually the second movie about drone usage and the human cost in the last year. I’m gonna guess neither of them are comedies.

MAN OF STEEL, WOMAN OF TITANIUM
Deadpool closes out the top ten at number ten and this has made over half-a-billion worldwide and $355M in the US alone. It’s so successful the Suicide Squad movie is being sent back for reshoots to add comedy to it. Forget that its success is because it’s loyal to its source material. Oh, no. All Hollywood took away from this was “R-rating” and “comedy.” Suddenly all my optimism for the Suicide Squad movie (thanks to that awesome trailer) has evaporated. Also in this movie is Gina Carano who is making some pretty good decisions with her career. First, hopping onboard The Fast & The Furious franchise, then doing a film with Steven Soderbergh (though a complete drag, as the auteur is so above an action film he refused to anything that would make it even remotely fun to watch), doing small films you’ve never heard of even though they had Bruce Willis (Extraction) and Robert DeNiro (Heist) and finally hopping onboard the superhero franchise in one of its most successful entries ever. I supposed you could add boning Superman to that list as she was with Henry Cavill exactly when both their films were out in 2013, but I doubt that was planned. Though I’d respect the shit out of her if it were. Fucking someone hot which also serves to promote you is a win/win. The opposite is like Lara Flynn Boyle was a) boning David Spade which did nothing for her and she was fucking David Spade and b) when she dumped him for bone Jack Nicholson which made her more famous than she’d ever been before…but she had to fuck Jack Nicholson. To fully illuminate the horror this I’ve uncharacteristically added additional pictures. Ironically, Spade would be with her at her peak, while Nicholson had her when she was as skinny as she was old and fat.

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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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LIKE, LATTER DAY ROGER MOORE BAD

9 Nov

Heineken-James-Bond-2-GQ-21Aug15-pr_b_720x1080

1. Spectre/Sony                                          Wknd/$ 73.0   Total/$ 73.0
2. The Peanuts Movie/Fox                       Wknd/$ 45.0   Total/$ 45.0
3. The Martian/Fox                                   Wknd/$ 9.3      Total/$ 197.1
4. Goosebumps/Sony                                Wknd/$ 7.0     Total/$ 66.4
5. Bridge of Spies/Disney                         Wknd/$ 6.1      Total/$ 55.0
6. Hotel Transylvania 2/Sony                  Wknd/$ 3.6     Total/$ 161.3
7. Burnt/Weinstein                                    Wknd/$ 3.0     Total/$ 10.2
8. The Last Witch Hunter/LG                  Wknd/$ 2.7     Total/$ 23.6
9. The Intern/WB                                        Wknd/$ 1.8    Total/$ 71.4
10. Paranormal Activity/Paramount       Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 16.3

STUPID. VERY STUPID.
Spectre opens at number one and it’s no secret how much I hated Skyfall. I hated Skyfall so, I went back to look at Quantum of Solace to give it another chance and realized it wasn’t so bad (it’s a good Bond movie until they bring back Matthias from Casino Royale). Bond and stupid stories go together like peanut butter and jelly, but Bond, stupid stories and a painful amount of ennui got together like peanut better, jelly and sardines. Spectre is not as bad as Skyfall though it possibly may even more stupid ironically because it’s trying to patch up some of Skyfall’s stupidity (though not why Bond took M out to the middle of nowhere which got her killed and how he still has a job afterwards). Also it’s needlessly fucking long. Where other Bond movies wisely ended with the destruction of the villain’s base, the apparent death of the villain and the saving of the girl, this goes on for another half hour. Hell, for all I know it kept going on after I left. Also in its attempt to patch up a little of Skyfall stupidity it makes the whole of the Daniel Craig run dumber because it tries to tie them all together. Now, SPECTRE was a Bond nemesis back in the day and yes, they were behind the events of Thunderball, From Russia with Love, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service but now imagine if suddenly they claimed they were behind Dr. No and Goldfinger when they clearly were not (ironically they weren’t in the book of From Russia with Love, but were in the book Dr. No). It would make no sense just as all this now makes no sense. Now suddenly this reboot has become a quad-logy, all being forced into being one giant story when they clearly were not meant to be one. Which is stupid. Even when Bond was fighting SPECTRE (it means Special Executive for Counter Intelligence Terrorism Revenge and Extortion) in every film they didn’t act like every film was a sequel to the previous one. Bond did other things totally unrelated to pursuing the organization, which makes me realize that Daniel Craig is the most worst Bond ever. No, not as actor. He’s great in fact. No, as a secret agent. The Craig Bond is the only Bond who isn’t shown regularly as being a competent agent completing missions without massive exposure (he apparently missed the “secret” class in secret agent school) civilian damage like a superhero or Godzilla movie. In the pre-title sequence every Bond is shown completing a mission more or less cleanly, then starting the main story. Craig only does that his first film. Since then, because they have tried to make this one long damn story, he’s never really shown operating with any kind proficiency, again begging the question: how does this muthafucka keep his job?

ALL THAT’S MISSING IS THE SNOOPY VS. RED BARON SONG
The Peanuts Movie opens ironically at number two and I say ironically because both Peanuts and James Bond were products of the 50’s and achieved nuclear mass of popularity in the 60’s. Also, both films throw out calls to their popular past in both films. There are references to actual strip, the famous Christmas special and the Halloween Special. In addition we have Snoopy fighting The Red Baron, being a novelist and the basic plot revolves around Charlie Brown trying to impress The Little Redheaded Girl. It also goes out of its way to remain in a type of bubble were time hasn’t passed, because Snoopy doesn’t use a computer to write his novel, but a typewriter and I have to wonder if the main audience even knows what those are (they must of realized it because they actually have Snoopy figuring out how it works). But here are no flatscreen TV’s, video games, cell phones or even cordless landlines in this world. The only nod to modernity is that Charlie Brown doesn’t wear short pants. He’s also given more dignity than before. Charles Schultz was adamant about the fact that Charlie Brown always had to lose. Even when he won, he had to lose (in one series of strips Charlie Brown wears a paper sack to hide a baseball stitching rash and becomes a star of summer camp as “Mr. Sack” which he loses immediately after losing the sack). It honestly bordered on sadism towards the end and thankfully his children, who are both producers and writers here are much easier on the character. Charlie Brown is allowed moments of quiet triumph even when he fails and given a solid victory in the end. They also balance out Charlie Brown’s disappointments with Snoopy’s literal flights of fancy. In fact there may be a little too much of Snoopy as the supporting cast gets a short shrift as a result. Linus seems to come in and out as Charlie Brown’s best friend and you’d never know he and Lucy are related. Still, it’s nice to have a new Peanuts cartoon and they can’t get enough points for keeping the computer animation faithful to Schultz’s style.

I FEEL YOU…NOW SHUT UP ABOUT IT
The Martian is down to number three and also in this is Donald Glover who’s playing basically the character he played on Community who comes up with a plan to help save Matt Damon…which seems pretty obvious and it’s kind of a wonder absolutely no one else thought of it, as the astrophysics he suggests are quite common. It was the only moment I didn’t feel like a mouth breathing moron. His presence is notable to me because I’ve been listening to his music as Childish Gambino lately. Like my buddy, I was put off by both his name and another actor doing music, but it’s not bad. I can live without his rapping but I won’t pretend it’s a relief to hear someone rap about something other than “money, clothes an’ hoes.” This doesn’t make it good though. I mean, I can actually relate to him talking about growing up assimilated in freaking Georgia, but still it annoys me and comes off as whining. When will these kids learn you can “diss the haters” without acknowledging that their criticisms have affected you, which is all they wanted. However, his R&B game is strong. Seriously. “Sober” is my jam. He should stick to song and singing, because that’s where he clicks. Even the raps in the songs are better (mainly because he’s not whining). Even his covers are good, as he kills Tamia’s “So Into You.”

UNLESS SOMEONE KICKS THE WOLFMAN IN THE NARDS, I DON’T CARE
Goosebumps is down to number four and I’m actually impressed someone was smart enough to release a movies geared to kids at Halloween, as it is the second most profitable holiday. I was too old for the books by the time they came out, but I wouldn’t mind watching this on cable next year. It’ll never be Monster Squad, but then again, nothing ever will.

EVENTUALLY
Bridge of Spies is down to number five and this is pure Oscar bait, so I will see it…eventually. I’m in no hurry and it’s not going anywhere until awards season is well underway.

IT’S CALLED “WHORING ONE’S SELF OUT”
Hotel Transylvania 2 is down to number six and this was a much needed win for Adam Sandler who’s taken a long overdue beating this year for being the shitty, unfunny comedian he’s always been. What’s truly shocking is that both these movies come from the man behind Samurai Jack, a truly inspired bit of animation. I guess he’s got bills to pay, ‘cause you can’t buy a house for your family on geek praise. Thankfully, he says he’s done with these characters, which, if he actually owns them means something. If not, they’ll be a million more with a different director.

LOOKS BETTER THAN IT TASTES
Burnt is down to number seven and you know you’re dealing with an unimaginative film when the great French father figure chef is named “Jean Luc.” Hell, it’s a miracle it’s not “Jean Pierre.” Thankfully, I didn’t expect much from Burnt so I was able to enjoy it. I wanted pretty people, in a pretty location and pretty shots of food and got all three. Bradley Cooper is the chef making a comeback after burning out on drugs and Sienna Miller is the upcoming sous chef he gets fired to make her work with him. Check. It’s in London and not the London of Guy Ritchie films. Check. Lots and lots of pretty food shots. All that’s missing are shots of more people in ecstasy as they eat it. That’s an essential part of any kind of porn. But take out the great location cursing and you have something that’s little more than a TV movie level of filmmaking. Hint: if part of your character’s motivation involves him having to atone to a dying old man YOU HAVE TO SHOW THAT DYING OLD MAN AT SOME POINT. I’m not kidding. Cooper gets an old friend to make him head chef to a) make it up to the old friend and b) help the old friend impress his father before his father dies and we never ever see the father, much less his response to Cooper’s return or the new restaurant. There’s also a cute kid, a rival chef who was once a friend, a threat from gangsters from the past and of course the great French father figure chef has a beautiful daughter he was once involved with. So many clichés and not a single one made much more than that. Cooper’s original bad boy chef run on the TV show Kitchen Confidential (based very loosely on Anthony Bourdain’s book) was better.

BETTER GET TO WORK ON FAST & THE FURIOUS 8
The Last Witch Hunter is down to number eight and this is Vin Diesel’s attempt to make a third franchise and if he had concentrated on simply making a solid movie than a franchise he might have succeeded. He plays a man made immortal as seeming punishment by The Witch Queen he kills after she murders most of his village with a plague including his wife and daughter. It backfired because he’s now spent 800 years hunting witches as an agent of The Church. Now there’s a treaty between them and the witches. Don’t use magic on humans and every thing is good. But of course now someone has decided to bring back the Witch Queen and Diesel has to stop them. The most interesting aspect of this movie is the idea that witches live in their own underground community among us with bars, clubs and yes, online groups where they talk about how much they hate Vin Diesel. That lets you know how much the main plot fails as “the heavy” the person trying to bring back The Witch Queen, is given no real personality or motivation beyond “just ‘cause.” If they’d made him a character and possibly shown this underground community divided about her return you might have had a better movie. Same for Diesel’s character who’s longing for his lost wife and child comes and goes when needed. There should be more melancholy from given he’s been cursed with immortality, not blessed. Even Highlander got this right.

ALSO DENIRO’S “COMEDY PHASE” WILL CONTINUE
The Intern is down to number eight and this did over $100M overseas. What. The. Fuck? I like Anne Hathaway, but seriously? So yeah, off a $35M budget, $180M total worldwide and even though the studio will get less than half that, combined with the domestic take it will insure that Nancy Meyers will continue to get money to make her pretty, lily white movies. Perfect for you people who haven’t over losing Nora Ephron.

I’M GOING TO SPOIL IT BECAUSE I DON’T CARE
Finally, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension closes out the top ten at number ten and not even Halloween could breathe life into this franchise which single-handedly resuscitated the low-budget “found footage” genre. This is lowest grossing entry of the franchise, which seems to crank out a movie every three six months. It’s also supposed to be the last, which blows because apparently the demon that’s been terrorizing multiple families, killing them and taking their kids. He wins. Seriously. That’s the end. He kills everyone and takes the child. What the fuck!?! This isn’t the 70’s! Why would you end on such a shitty note!?!

THE END OF THE FALL
Final show watched for the fall season…

Rosewood: while I’m glad Morris Chestnut got his own show after all these years and am impressed by a show that’s not only got two minority leads (Black male, Latina female), but also an interracial lesbian couple supporting, it just didn’t grab me and honestly I found it annoying. Yes, it’s a pilot where they do every freaking thing over-the-top for stupid network executives who think it’s other people who are dumb, but him constantly being the “smartest guy in the room” wasn’t so much charming as annoying. That he’s trying to grab every moment of life because he has a heart defect that should have killed him already simply wasn’t enough. But I hope enough people watch to keep it on the air. It’s just that I won’t watch it.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Lost me the moment she started to sing. Sorry. But I am impressed that the ex-boyfriend from summer camp she wants is an Asian male and he’s just another bro. Progress, people.

Supergirl: Okay, this was the big one. CBS deliberately leaked the pilot last year due to the bad buzz that was being generated over its horrible trailer/commercial where it seemed like the SNL skit about a Black Widow movie where it had to be a romantic comedy rather than an action movie because it was about a woman. Honestly, once you get past that part, it becomes a decent TV show. The first episode was still very painfully “a pilot” meaning, again, everything is dumbed down and over the stop because stupid network executives think it’s “other” people who are dumb and not them, but it’s from the people who brought you Arrow and The Flash and they take a little while to find their feet. And yes, while there will still be moments of painful stupidity, the human element it brings (not to mention the geek elements) will hopefully make up for it. I mean, it’s utterly stupid that she doesn’t have any contact with Superman. Until she showed up, he thought he was alone, but doesn’t spend much time with the only other survivor of Krypton who is a freaking blood relative!?! And just a child who’s lost everything!?! Not to mention apparently a Kryptonian prison crashed on earth just after Supergirl releasing all of them on Earth. Pretty sure that would be priority number one for him. The cherry on top is Supergirl’s aunt (twin sister to her mother of course) was in the prison and now wants to take over Earth. So again: other Kyrptonians, some actually related to him and a threat to the world and he’s not around!?! Not even to train her (in the comics he trained her secretly for a year)? They’re seriously pushing suspension of disbelief. This is a movie about superpowered flying aliens in primary colors and they’re pushing suspension of disbelief. That said, I love, love, fucking love it’s true to what Superman is supposed to be: bright and shiny. Supergirl loves having superpowers and loves helping people. There’s no moping or whining. I’m in it for the long haul. Hell, I watched all ten years of Smallville. I can handle this.

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