Tag Archives: Taye Diggs

SHE ELF AND TOO MANY DWARVES

15 Dec

idina menzel pic

 1. The Hobbit 2/Warner                           Wknd/$  73.7            Total/$   73.7

 2. Frozen/Disney                                        Wknd/$  22.2            Total/$ 164.4

 3. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Xmas/LGF      Wknd/$  16.0            Total/$   16.0

 4. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                   Wknd/$  13.2            Total/$ 357.0

 5. Thor: The Dark World/BV                    Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$ 198.1

 6. Out of the Furnace/Relativity              Wknd/$    2.3            Total/$     9.5

 7. Delivery Man/BV                                    Wknd/$    1.9             Total/$   28.0

 8. Philomena/Weinstein                            Wknd/$    1.8            Total/$     8.3

 9. The Book Thief/Fox                                Wknd/$    1.7            Total/$   14.9

10. Homefront/ORF                                     Wknd/$    1.6            Total/$   18.4

 

HOBBIT 2: ELFIN BUGALOO

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens at number one and this is the second part of the Hobbit trilogy which wasn’t really a trilogy, but director Peter Jackson decided to make it into one because he felt the story needed “fleshing out” which somehow translated into making the first one a musical comedy about dwarves. Okay, maybe it was just one scene, but it seemed to go on forever and it’s sad that’s what I remember most about it. Seriously. I’ve forgotten most of the first film which is why this desperately needed a 30 second recap to remind us where we left off in because it feels like we walked into the middle of a movie. That said, it’s much better than the first thanks to the lack of dwarf musical numbers and honestly the presence of a butt-kicking female elf who didn’t exist in The Hobbit novel and the dragon himself.  Ironically, their standing out may be a result of Jackson actually neglecting the main character.  The movie may be called The Hobbit but the first act doesn’t even seem to be about Bilbo at all, but again the freaking dwarves. The middle is partially his and his battle with the seductive powers of the ring (reminding us again what a wuss Frodo was), while the final third he gives up once again to the dwarves, elves and now some humans. It’s telling the film finds a second wind only when Bilbo alone faces off against Smaug the dragon.  I look forward to the end of this trilogy when geeks take it upon themselves to edit out everything Peter Jackson added to “flesh out” the books and we see just how long it really should have been.

 

OF COURSE SHE’S SOARING; SHE JUST DROPPED 180 POUNDS

Frozen is down to number two and as the voice of the Snow Queen is Idina Menzel, best known as winning a Tony for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch in  Wicked and up until a few days ago, as the wife of Taye Diggs, but now they’re getting divorced.  Bad move on his part as “Let It Go” will undoubtedly be nominated for an Oscar and probably win, which means she’s going to be performing in front a global audience and thanking everyone but him. He won’t even get to escort her down the red carpet.  There’s a reason why Sandra Oh, kept her divorce from Alexander Payne under wraps until after the Awards.  She got to go to the Awards, share in the success and parties and then go her own way. Diggs is going to be babysitting their son while she ascends to another level and probably wind up with George Clooney. Need to work on that timing, brutha.

 

I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas opens at number three and just…no. Seriously, no. There’s just no excuse for this.

 

HE WAS PLAYED BY WHO? SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is down to number four, followed by Thor: The Dark World in at number five and this actually has elves in it as well, dark ones. The title refers to their home and their leader is played by Christopher Eccleston, best known as the Dr. Who that revitalized the series, then left immediately.  But that’s only if you’ve never had sex. If you’re a normal person you know him as the Duke of Norfolk who is the primary enemy of Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth.  He’s become a very good go-to bad guy, because he’s both unattractive and English. That’s a one-two combination that can’t be beat. Nothing says “pure evil” like an ugly Englishman.  Except maybe an attractive Englishman.

 

FRANK STALLONE KNOWS YOUR PAIN

Out of the Furnace is down to number seven and also in this as Christian Bale’s shorter, less attractive, less successful brother is Ben Affleck’s brother shorter, less attractive, less successful brother Casey Affleck.  Ouch. This was either the easiest role ever or a source of neverending torment for him during filming.

 

IF THE TRUTH IS YOUR ENEMY THEN YOU’RE NOT THE GOOD GUY

Delivery Man is down to number seven, followed by Philomena at number eight and this has caused some minor controversy as being “anti-Catholic” because it’s based on the true story of a woman who was forced to give up her child by the Catholic Church in England.  It was minor because the real “Philomena” spoke up to support and verify it and calling something that depicts the truth “anti” anything makes you look like a dick.

 

FREE FOOD AND LODGING TOO!

The Book Thief is down to number nine with Homefront closing out the top ten at number ten and also in this as the evil drug lord is…James Franco?  Clearly Franco has the indie work he believes in and cares for and the studio jobs he takes on a whim or as a joke.  Guess which one this one is? You know, with the script by Sylvester Stallone, starring Jason Staham and Winona Ryder?  Yeah, I started laughing just writing that.  Basically he got paid to go hang out in New Orleans for a few months and I doubt he ever pretended it was otherwise. 

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THE BETTER MAN

17 Nov

600full-victoria-smurfit

 1. Thor: The Dark World/BV                        Wknd/$  86.1            Total/$  86.1

 2. The Best Man Holiday/Universal            Wknd/$  30.6            Total/$  30.6

 3. Last Vegas/CBS                                           Wknd/$    8.9            Total/$  47.0

 4. Free Birds/Relativity                                  Wknd/$    8.3            Total/$  42.2

 5. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                          Wknd/$    7.7             Total/$  78.7

 6. Gravity/Warners                                         Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$ 240.6

 7. Ender’s Game/LGF                                     Wknd/$    6.2            Total/$  53.8

 8. 12 Years A Slave                                           Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$   24.9

 9. Captain Phillips/Sony                                 Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$  97.6

10. About Time/Universal                              Wknd/$    3.5            Total/$   11.6

 

HOW THE (IRON) MAN TAKES YOUR MONEY

Thor: The Dark World holds at number one and there’s an odd absence of SHIELD in this movie given how they were set up as the “connective tissue” between all the films, starting with Iron Man.  Originally I thought it was simply a plothole, but once I learned there was going to be a tie-in episode with the lackluster Agents of SHIELD show I realized it was probably a deliberate act, much in the way comic books will have “off-camera” developments that you’ll have to buy to get the complete story. Want to know how Cap is now fighting alongside Iron Man in New York when we last saw Cap was in Washington DC? Well, pick up the latest issue of Captain America to get the whole story.  And when they’re really, really having you grabbing your ankles financially, half the story will be in Captain America, half will be in Iron Man and the main story will be in The Avengers.  But hey, when you’re not spending money on dating, nice clothes and gym memberships, it doesn’t matter.

 

CAN YOU STAND THE RAIN…OF MONEY

The Best Man Holiday opens at number two and if you’re surprised this did so well (made almost double its budget on the first weekend) you either don’t remember the first Best Man opened at number one or you have movies where the lead actor looks like you and isn’t a slave for 12 years or a butler for 40.  Yeah, I said it!  Real talk!  Not every one has gods or astronauts.  And don’t think this movie isn’t aware of it. The opening credits are a mixture of scenes from the first film and a “where-are-they-now” montage of success. Every single one of them is madly successful and you never realize how much you miss something until it’s pointed out to you.  But all that glitters is not gold as our first scene is learning that Taye Diggs has lost his teaching position at NYU and his agent is telling him his latest book blows. Not to mention hospital bills have been piling up as he and his now-wife (remember he proposed at the end of the first film) are expecting a baby in less than a month.  Harold Perrineau, who played the somewhat meek character who dumped his domineering girlfriend for a well-read stripper, is facing the downside of that decision as her past is catching up them (they’re married with kids) and their progressive school which needs money from conservative donors.  There’s also something up with football star Morris Chestnut and his wife whose relationship with Taye Diggs was the heart of the story of the first film (I’m not going to spoil it, but it’s pretty obvious).  Terrence Howard is also back as the trouble-stirring “Q” who has lost some of the angry darkness from the first film, but his hysterical bluntness is the source of much of the film’s humor. They all gather for holidays at the mansion of Morris Chestnut and the laugher and tears ensue.  Writer/director Malcolm Lee (yes, cousin of Spike) doesn’t break any new ground but he knows how to use the old stories well enough that he doesn’t have to. They’re tropes and clichés for a reason.  Because when done right they never stop working and they’re working here.  Taye Diggs, Harold Perrineau and Morris Chestnut are all keeping secrets. Think they’re going to come out at the worst possible time to maximum drama? Of course they are! That’s what you’re paying for! If they acted like intelligent, rational people, this movie would be very boring and about 30 minutes. One thing I will give him credit for is sticking to the “R” rating. This movie could very easily be PG-13 (which you’d think would be required for a holiday film), but would have felt a little less honest.

 

HELEN MIRREN NEVER STOPS BEING HOT. I’M JUST SAYIN’…

Last Vegas actually rises to number three and speaking of seeing yourself onscreen, think maybe this is the reason this AARP film has staying power?  A movie your mom and dad might want to see because they see themselves onscreen as leads, rather than as parents and grandparents of the main characters?  Of course if that’s the reason maybe they should have worked a little harder to cast women the same age as the men.  Real talk all day!

 

HE’S FOUND HIS LEVEL AND HE’S LIVING IT

Free Birds is down to number four, followed by Bad Grandpa at number five and who is more grateful for this than Johnny Knoxville who plays the “bad grandpa?”  His attempt at actually leading comedic man status pretty much died with the anemic Dukes of Hazzard film.  I loved the Dukes of Hazzard, but couldn’t stomach more than a few moments of that horrible movie. His second banana roles didn’t work out either as The Last Stand and Walking Tall showed. But he rules in hell, as he’s also a writer and producer here, so I think his days of trying to make it in heaven are done.

 

YOU CAN’T BUY YOUR CHILD BRIDE WIFE A PORSCHE ON ACCLAIM

Gravity holds at number six, followed by Ender’s Game at seven and also in this is Sir Ben Kingsley who could care less as he’s now part of the Marvel money machine, thanks to his appearance in Iron Man 3 as the not-quite-what-he-seems Mandarin.  He’s confirmed he’ll be returning though not in what role. Not that it matters or if he even cares.  I can promise you his manager and accountant do not.

 

YES, I’M A BAD MOVIE-GOING BOYFRIEND

12 Years a Slave is down to number eight, followed by Captain Phillips at number nine and About Time at number ten and it hurts me to see Rachel McAdams have yet another disappointment, even though I know I’m partially responsible, not having seen a single one of her last four films. But given that her formula seems to be to do projects she likes (aka artsy indie films) than go do a horrible yet insanely profitable Nicholas Sparks movie, she seems to have a formula that works for her. Unfortunately it doesn’t work for me, as I’ve no interest in the little films she chooses (Brian DePalma remaking a French film sounds like a recipe for disappointment) and sure as hell won’t see anything based on a Nicholas Sparks scribbling. Luckily for me she’s going to be in an upcoming Cameron Crowe film. Now that’s what daddy likes.

NOT OVER YET

So I finally watched the new Dracula—or as I call it “Short Sexy Dracula”—and to say they take liberties with the story is to say they even made it. Every version of Dracula takes liberties, but that Dracula and Van Helsing are allies against a secret order is very new.  Unfortunately it’s not all that interesting.  Nor is Dracula’s cover as an American industrialist.  And just because Renfield is black and no longer a weird toady servant doesn’t instantly make him more intriguing either. Not to mention I’m just not buying a short Dracula, I don’t care how sexy he is.  Stature matters when you’re supposed to be intimidating.  Sorry, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.  When the most interesting character wasn’t even part of the original story (Jonathan Harker, Mina and Lucy are all here), you’ve got a problem.  I’d much rather see the cleavage-heavy, knife-wielding, vampire-hunting blonde (played by Victoria Smurfit and yes, that’s her real name) who loves having sex with Dracula (pretty sure Bram Stoker’s novel never had Dracula finger-fuck someone in an opera box) even when she knows he’s her enemy than anyone.  She alone possesses the one factor this show is otherwise lacking: fun.

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DEFYING GRAVITY

6 Oct

tayediggs

 

1. Gravity/Warners                                         Wknd/$  55.6            Total/$  21.5

 2. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2    Wknd/$  21.5            Total/$  60.6

 3. Runner Runner/Fox                                 Wknd/$    7.6            Total/$   7.6

 4. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    5.7            Total/$  47.9

 5. Rush/Universal                                          Wknd/$    4.4            Total/$  18.1

 6. Don Jon/Relativity                                    Wknd/$    4.2            Total/$   16.1

 7. Baggage Claim/Fox                                    Wknd/$    4.1            Total/$   15.2

 8. Insidious 2/FD                                           Wknd/$    3.9            Total/$  74.8

 9. Pulling Strings/LGF                                  Wknd/$    2.5            Total/$    2.5

10. Enough Said/Fox                                       Wknd/$    2.2           Total/$    5.4

 

WASTING NO TIME TO GET TO OSCAR

Gravity opens deservedly at number one and its 90-minute runtime should be a lesson to the studios in this time of year of bloated, overlong Oscar bait: less is more. It’s basically Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as two astronauts struggling to survive in orbit in the wake of a space shuttle disaster (caused inadvertently by the Russians and given it destroys the space shuttle, the International Space Station and a Chinese space station, if they make it may just be to die in World War III).  Though it’s technically five hours, it’s essentially told in “real time” so we’re a party their decreasing air supply increasing the tension factor, not to mention the shrapnel that destroyed their mission continues to circle the earth, returning like an angry metal swarm intent on their destruction. I liked this movie so much I forgot I was even watching Sandra Bullock, whom I normally avoid like the plague.  She’s like a more talented, less-annoying Julia Roberts (seriously, if this had been Roberts I might not have seen it). This makes 2013 a great year for her between the success of The Heat and now this surefire Awards bait.  I almost feel bad for her given she can’t eat between now and the Oscars for all the gowns she’s going to have to fit into for the various award ceremonies she’ll have to attend.

 

SHUT UP AND SING.  AND DANCE. AND MAYBE SOME TV COMEDY.

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number two, followed by Runner, Runner opening at number four and someone needs to tell Justin Timberlake to just let this acting thing go. It is to him what music was to Eddie Murphy, one success (The Social Network for JT and “Party All The Time” with Eddie) leading to a lifetime of delusion and apparently outweighing all the many, many failures.  And when I say “lifetime of delusion” I mean Eddie made an album with Snoop Dogg just last year just as we have Runner Runner here now.  You’d think having a successful album and tour would help this movie out, but you’d be wrong, because no one is buying Justin Timberlake as being young enough to be in college, even grad school.  You’d think winning Oscars would help this movie out but you’d be wrong, because no one—and I mean no one—is buying Ben Affleck as some kind of ruthless mob boss.  You think they’re regretting some Batman casting over a Warner Brothers right now? Oh, I think so.

 

JUST NOTHING WITH A GREENSCREEN, KID

Prisoners is down to number four and its box office is begin to peter out as word of mouth gets around about how it only looks like a prestige film (big stars, very serious, overlong), but is really just a cable suspense thriller all dressed up.  I hope Jake Gyllenhaal made some quick deals for the hot second it looked like a hit before everyone realized the truth.

 

TO SEDUCE THE AVENGERS!

Rush is down to number five and also in this is Natalie Dormer whose own heat has been rising over the past few years and is about to hit a boil. She was Anne Boleyn on The Tudors a few years back, over the last year joined the cast of Game of Thrones and provided a nice twice on the Sherlock Holmes mythos as she was both Irene Adler and Moriarty on Elementary.  Not to mention she’s going to be in The Hunger Games. Hold on tight to your manager and or agent, girl. They are doing you right.  Trivia: here she appears as a nurse who hooks up with Chris Hemsworth who played Thor.  In Captain America she was a Lt. who grabs a kiss with Captain America.  All she needs now is an appearance in a Hulk and Iron Man movie to make out with Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. No, I’m not counting Hawkeye or The Black Widow.  Because I don’t want to, that’s why.

 

LET’S FORGET HE’S MOCKING THE WORKING CLASS TOO

Speaking of The Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson is the female love interest in Don Jon (down to number six) and not unexpectedly some Italian American groups have been complaining about yet another “guido” depiction in this film. I’m sympathetic because one thing that dampened my interest was a shot of Tony Danza and Joseph Gordon-Leavitt at dinner in white tank-top t-shirts, commonly known as “beaters” distastefully so because of the stereotypical image of an Italian guy beating his wife. It’d be one thing if Joseph Gordon-Leavitt was Italian American from Jersey and playfully mocking a life he knew, but he was raised Jewish in California so he’s just a cultural tourist.  Though this throws a new light on the other complaint of Johansson as stereotypical Jewish girl (not by any Jewish groups because apparently they had better things to do with their time). Unfortunately the problem with their complaint is that The Jersey Shore was real and he need only point to it as his defense—and clearly the source of his information.

 

THE RULES OF MANCRUSHERY

Baggage Claim is down to number seven and if Taye Diggs had been the love interest you know I’d probably have seen it twice by now, such is my mancrush. But alas, he’s a silly suitor with a toy dog, so it can wait until cable.  Him not getting the girl is right behind him dying on my list of things I don’t want to see. You shut up! I don’t have a problem! You’ve got a problem!

 

ALSO ONE OF HANNAH’S SISTERS

Insidious Chapter 2 is down to number eight and also in this is none other than Barbara Hershey, who was a “hot girl” from the early 70’s (when in fully hippie mode she went by Barbara Seagull) to the early 80’s.  Scorsese himself loved her.  Directing her first as the title character of Boxcar Bertha and later choosing her to play Mary Magdalene in The Last Temptation of Christ. But out of a near 50-year career she’s probably best known as the unnamed woman who shoots Robert Redford in The Natural. Even over Beaches. Yes, she was character not played by Bette Midler who was the “wind” Midler sings of in “Wind Beneath My Wings” a song that mercifully didn’t seem to make it into the 21st century.

 

MAS EXITO PARA SEGUIR

Remember that Mexican film that was an unexpected success because it was aimed squarely at an audience otherwise ignored? Well, it was just the beginning because here’s the next one. Opening at number nine is Pulling Strings, a romantic comedy about an American blonde in Mexico who needs the help of the mariachi singer she denied a visa too when she loses her boss’ suitcase after a drunken night out.  Again, it looks like a Lifetime movie that escaped to the big screen, but being as much in English as it is in Spanish, it reflects its underappreciated audience and they have rewarded it with success.

 

MY FAILINGS ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

Enough Said, one of the last films of James Gandolfini, expands its distribution and enters the top ten at number ten and I’ve got no reason not to have seen this as Nicole Holofcener is one of my favorite writer/directors. I’ve been with her since Walking & Talking in 1996, her first collaboration with Catherine Keener who appears in all her films and this is no exception. So that’s two strikes against me as I’m a Catherine Keener fan too. Sigh.  I blame society for my failure.

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR PT 3

The fall season continues to rollout and this week it was Ironside, a revamp of the old Raymond Burr series and as bad as it looked in commericals, it’s actually even worse as the producers are soooo determined to show he’s a tough, sexy cop what they’ve made is a completely ridiculous asshole who should be in jail. I don’t think we go more than five minutes before his scolding captain tells him “Suspects have rights.”  You know, because he’s a tough cop who plays by his own rules, but he gets results! It’s a bad TV cop cliché factory complete with his team of pretty detectives, none of whom dress like detectives.  Of course one comes from an upper class family, another comes from a mob family etc, etc, blah, blah, blah.  It’s so bad they don’t even use the best part of the original: the theme music by Quincy Jones, best known now as the revenge music in Kill Bill…We Are Men is another awful, awful show but you know that when you saw Jerry O’Connell’s name. It’s about four divorced men in a singles complex. Yeah. It clearly thinks it’s 1977.  And I love you, Tony Shaloub, but any show that has you successfully picking up hot, 26-year-old Asian girls had better have robots and dragons because it’s clearly science fiction/fantasy…I couldn’t bear more than two seconds of Super Fun Night because a) what kind of stupid show has Rebel Wilson without her accent and b) it’s basically about her being fat and getting her clothes ripped off.  No thanks…I unexpected enjoyed MasterChef (which I recapped) and was looking forward to MasterChef Jr, but it’s heartbreaking to watch children get eliminated.  When the first thing one boy did was to go and hug his mother I stopped the show and took it off my DVR scheduling. Just can’t do it.  I’ll be crying every week.