Tag Archives: the avengers

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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REAL ARTISTS ARE APPARENTLY ALL PERVS

13 Jun

psylocke
1. The Conjuring 2/WB                        Wknd/$ 40.4   Total/$ 40.4
2. Warcraft/Universal                          Wknd/$ 24.4   Total/$ 24.4
3. Now You See Me 2/LG                    Wknd/$ 23.0    Total/$ 23.0
4. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2   Wknd/$ 14.8     Total/$ 61.0
5. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                 Wknd/$ 10.0    Total/$ 136.4
6. Me Before You/Warner                   Wknd/$ 9.2      Total/$ 36.8
8. Alice Through the Looking Glass  Wknd/$ 5.5       Total/$ 62.4
7. The Angry Birds Movie/Sony         Wknd/$ 6.7      Total/$ 98.2
9. Captain America: Civil War/BV     Wknd/$ 4.3     Total/$ 396.9
10. The Jungle Book/Disney               Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 352.6

SCREAM KING! EQUALITY AT LAST!
The Conjuring 2 opens at number one and after years of “scream queens” have we developed a “scream king?” Patrick Wilson, a respected character actor on stage, TV and film is the male lead in not just this successful franchise, but also the Insidious films. When you think about it, it’s a wonder it never occurred to horror filmmakers to go to stage actors for their talent. You’ll get better than your average pretty face (sorry, I do hold stage actors in higher regard ‘cause that shit is real) and because they come from the stage where they get little money and less fame they’d be cheap and eternally grateful, because basically film and TV work is to subsidize what they really love. This is the real reason Claire Danes does Homeland. This is why Billy Crudup has no problem showing up in Mission Impossible 3. This visibility and profitability will serve to finance a few off-Broadway plays once Wilson commits to them. Which is good. I like knowing that people who truly care about art succeed in the world occasionally.

IN RETROSPECT I COULD HAVE USED A LONG, DUMB FILM TODAY
Warcraft opens at number two which is a huge fucking failure for them. Not only did this $160M+ movie based on a ridiculously successful video game not open at number one in the summer, but also it lost to an R-rated film that cost ¼ its budget. Yes, it’s doing huge in China, but know that studios get less than 40% of overseas money. Domestic is where the real money is made and it will have to do ridiculously well overseas in order for this not to be written off as a failure. I thought about seeing it because…well, summer. Seeing dumb movies filled with fantasy creatures and special effects is what the summer is for, but sometimes even I have to draw the line and you’re talking to a man who went to see Battleship. Obviously, bad reviews don’t slow me down so what was it? The two-hour running time. I’ve got a new rule about movies I expect to be bad and it flatly states you don’t get 2+ hours (factoring in previews and commercials) of my life anymore unless I fully expect you to be at least entertaining. Needless to say this didn’t pass muster not even with Rathnar Lothbrok in the cast. Not that it should. I haven’t watched Vikings in over two years. I’m busy!

YOU KNOW, BECAUSE BATMAN V SUPERMAN SUCKED
Now You See Me 2 opens at number three and this is oddly a success because would have thought the first would have been a hit, much less enough of one to generate a sequel. It’s gotta feel good to Jesse Esienberg to have an actual success this year that could be a franchise.

SUCKS TO BE YOU!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is down to number four followed by X-Men: Apocalypse at number five and one good thing about this is it sets back the career of Olivia Munn. I don’t know what it is, but I do not like this woman. Something about her makes her someone you love to hate. I’m not so simplistic a geek for it simply to be the title of her autobiography “Wonder Woman Can Suck It” but it didn’t help. Even better is the fact she’s so full of herself she said she had the option for Monica Baccarin role in Deadpool, but turned it down because it was “just another girlfriend.” Granted, Baccarin basically has sex with Ryan Reynolds and then gets kidnapped, so she’s not too far off, but the character eventually becomes a superhero in her own right and thanks to the highest grossing R-rated film in history (not adjusted for inflation) that will probably happen. Whereas seeing Munn return as Psyclocke is highly unlikely. Not helping matters is the fact they not only translated her stupid T&A costume straight from the comics, but also made it even more degrading by adding a boob-window. You know how pathetic you have to be to make a female superhero costume even more exploitative!?! Just glad it happened to her and not an actress that I liked.

JUST ASK JASON MOMOA ABOUT CONAN
Me Before You is down to number six, but with a $36M return on a $20M budget don’t expect the disabled romance porn to go away anytime soon. The female lead is on Game of Thrones which I do watch, but she’s a lot better off that the other woman from Game of Thrones who was the female lead Terminator: Genysis and that dude who was the lead in Pompeii who knows nothing on and off-screen. The lesson here is stop trying to hit home runs at first bat. Be happy to get on base.

BASICALLY HE’S RAINMAN IN THE MOVIE BIZ
The Angry Birds movie is down to number seven and this is another which needs overseas loot to save it. $98M off a $73M budget isn’t awful, but the $213M from overseas (which is at most $85M and probably less) will be needed to save this from being a disappointment. This is from David Maisel who is apparently as responsible for the Marvel Universe as anyone, but since he’s clearly not with them, they no longer like to talk about it. Apparently he not only came up with the sale to Disney, but the sequel strategy and its original plan to self-finance which meant no more licensing characters out to other companies like they’d done with Spider-Man, The X-Men, Blade, The Punisher and The Fantastic Four And to top it off it he also came up with the idea they could use The Hulk without paying Universal to get him back so long as he wasn’t the lead character. Given how fucking major all this is, you can see why they don’t like to talk about him. But of course he’s a nutcase. He apparently pocketed millions from the Disney sale, but still lives with his mom in a 2-bedroom apartment. So yeah, ladies beware, but if you need financial advice, he’s clearly your dude.

JUST ASK MARY LOUISE PARKER IF ONE CLAIRE DANES IS ENOUGH
Alice Through The Looking Glass is down to number eight and is there any more painful irony that the billion dollar grossing first film did jack shit for the career of Mia Wasikowska who is only the title character in both films!?! Needless to say this won’t be changing that a bit. Not helping is the fact she looks like Claire Danes in a world that thinks one Claire Danes is plenty.

GEEK ANGER LIVES FOREVER
Captain America: Civil War is down to number nine, followed by Jungle Book at number ten. As most people know, The Black Panther finally appeared in the Marvel movies and honestly is one of the best parts about this. It sure as shit isn’t Captain America acting like an asshole or the stupid contrivances created to make him and Iron Man fight. Yes, I’m still annoyed.

CAMERA, GUITAR, GUN = DICK
I finally watched the documentary on famed photographer, Bert Stern: The Original Mad Man, even though I’ve had it on my hard drive forever. Only taking the actual DVD out from the liberry finally got me to see it. It didn’t get great reviews but I thought it was a pretty decent summation of the man’s career and life. Directed by the woman who was thought to be his decades younger girlfriend (they first met when she was 13 and it’s as icky as it sounds) it turns out she was secretly his wife, but we’ll get to that. You know Bert Stern even if you don’t think you know him. The famous “Last Sitting” of Marilyn Monroe, her final photo session before she died which stupid starlets and half-assed photographers keep trying to emulate? He did that. The Lolita poster? He did that. He did those and a dozen more iconic shots of celebrities as well as from the history of advertising. It’s subtitled “The Original Mad Man” in a sorry and failed attempt to cash in on the show as Stern was a major player in advertising in the late 50’s and early 60’s, coming up with innovative ideas for campaigns and shooting them himself. Unlike most, he was so good at his job, he basically had a free hand to do what he wanted. Unfortunately, the documentary is short on exploration in areas that seem obvious. We’re told his father attempted suicide and his mother was beautiful but they’re literally never mentioned again after he turns 13. Given he’s famous for taking beautiful shots of women especially, you’d think his relationship with his mother would play into that and be discussed, but it is not. Even the court fight for shots of Marilyn Monroe he took that were stolen in the early 60’s and were rediscovered in the ‘00’s by people who claimed ownership is given the short shrift. What we do get is far too many of shots of the director/girlfriend/wife naked. Even worst is the realization that some of the nudes were taken recently and by a seemingly nude Stern (his reflection is seen in one of the shots). Ewww. Still, there are enough legitimate examinations of the man and his work to make me actually take an interest in his famous “Last Session” as I am not part of the cult that romanticizes Marilyn Monroe. She lived a sad life (sexually abused when young and had to trade on her sex appeal far too much to make it) and died a sad death (accidental drug overdose alone). Her life is cautionary tale, people. Stop romanticizing it. It also caused the “Well, duh” realization that the best photographers of women in fashion (Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, David Bailey, etc) were straight men, which is only unique because the industry is well regarded as being both gay and female driven. Stern flat out states that when he took a picture it was because in that way he could possess the woman in question. He laughs, but you know it’s true. He made me think that the others were probably no different as they all dated and occasionally married the women they shot (Avedon was famously with Dovema, Bailey with Jean Shrimpton and Penn married the impeccable Lisa Fonssagrives). Stern just admits it. It makes me wonder if you have to use your camera as your surrogate dick to truly take beautiful photos of people, as it’s pointed out in the documentary that knowing that Stern worshipped them may have actually served to bring out the best in the women he was shooting. It would similarly be the case with others. The safety of being adored and complimented by someone who would do no more than document said adoration would undoubtedly produce better results than say a worthless fucking creep rapist like Terry Richardson (who’s a shitty photographer on top of being a rapist). Then again, you have Herb Ritts, who was open gay and also took beautiful photographs of women. Must think on this… Not including in the film which came out before Stern’s death in 2013 is the fact the heretofore unknown wife became the sole beneficiary of Stern’s will and the children (two of whom are interviewed along with the ex-wife and a still living girlfriend) are currently suing her over it. Oh, and I bought the book of Stern’s last session with Monroe. Some of the details are seriously fascinating. I mean, if I drank champagne with a shot of vodka like she did, I’d probably be taking my clothes off at every opportunity too.

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TODAY’S TOPIC IS AGING OUT…AGAIN

6 Jun

neighbors

 

  1. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles 2    Wknd/$   35.4     Total/$   35.3
  2. X-Men: Apocalypse/Fox                  Wknd/$   22.3     Total/$ 116.5
  3. Me Before You/Warner                     Wknd/$   18.3     Total/$   18.3
  4. Alice Through the Looking Glass  Wknd/$   10.7     Total/$   50.8
  5. The Angry Birds Movie/Sony          Wknd/$     9.8      Total/$     9.8
  6. Captain America: Civil War/BV      Wknd/$     7.6      Total/$ 388.9
  7. Neighbors 2/Universal                      Wknd/$     4.7      Total/$   48.6
  8. Popstar/Universal                               Wknd/$     4.6     Total/$    4.6
  9. The Jungle Book/Disney                    Wknd/$     4.2     Total/$ 347.5
  10. The Nice Guys/WB                              Wknd/$     3.5      Total/$   29.1

 

MONEY BETTER SPENT ON PIZZA. GET IT!?!

Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens at number one and while this has gotten better reviews than its predecessor it’s still not going to get me in there. Life is short and the 93 minutes the first one took out of my life back in 1990 is still a personal regret to someone who has almost the second season of Jane the Virgin sitting unwatched on his DVR. But even then it was a stretch for me as I had “aged out” of the demographic for the TNMT. I never watched the cartoon and at best I liked the arcade game because at that time I was learning the bo staff at the time and one of them used it in the game. I am happy that Stephen Amell is getting his toe into the theatrical game though. Based on this disappointing 4th season, Arrow needs to think about its end game soon and he needs to be working on his next step.

 

X AIN’T GIVING IT TO YA

X-Men: Apocalypse is down to number two and speaking of disappointing superhero translations that I’d aged out of, the Apocalypse character and storyline happened after I’d left the X-Men comics as a kid because frankly it had gotten too damn depressing (Chris Claremont, the writer would later admit he was going through a bad patch so in turn inflicted it on the characters. Thanks, asshole.). This is especially disappointing given it’s Bryan Singer at the helm. He not only help set the standards of the modern day superhero film as something to be taken seriously, but directed the best X-Men film (X2) and undid the damage of X3 with X-Men: Days of Future Past (it literally wiped it out). So it’s surprising that this bland trainwreck came from him. The biggest problem is that it forgets what the X-Men are at their heart: a metaphor for discrimination. The X-Men are whatever minority or discriminated group you choose, but you will only find the barest remnants of that here. It’s a dull, thudding superhero film with lots of special effects and no heart or characters to care about. The very first X-Men movie still works because at its heart it’s about two diametrically opposed outsiders (Wolverine and Rogue) finding a home with others and each other. Nothing even approaching that exists here. It should have been Cyclops or Storm (who in this new history are being introduced to the X-Men for the first time) but the actors playing them are not stars and Jennifer Lawrence is, but they don’t know what to do with her character. Gone is the revolutionary who doesn’t think she should be obligated to look human and in her place is a superstar who doesn’t want to be painted blue every day supported by studio execs that don’t want their most famous star covered in blue. With Hugh Jackman leaving (speaking of aging out) she’s now the face of the franchise so simultaneously its biggest asset and its biggest problem. This makes four superhero films I’ve seen this year and still only one I really liked and it’s the character I know and care the least about: Deadpool.

 

YOU DON’T GET A MEDAL FOR LOVING SOMEONE LESS THAN PERFECT

Me Before You is that a subset of romantic drama the disabled/dying romantic drama wherein one partner is either disabled or dying and they other deals with or overcomes that in the name of love. Though when I think about it, it’s actually a subset of the oldest love story variation of all: the tragedy. Obviously there’s not going to be a cure for one and the person dies in the other. That’s the reason for “the drama.” Honestly, because I’m shallow it’s not one I care for. Give me warring families or disparate origins/classes, but someone permanently disabled or dying is just too depressing. I want a full-on happy goddamn ending, or at the very least one where both parties walk off their separate ways. And I mean “walk” literally. Yeah, I said it. What part of “shallow” didn’t you get? This is actually being trashed by some as some kind of “disabled romantic porn” because the person not disabled has to be so, so, so good to love that person who isn’t perfect. This was a criticism placed even on the novel. I would add to that the disabled person in question is, of course, rich so I’m gonna guess that when they die this person is rewarded for being able to love a disabled person with a ridiculous fortune. Yeah, there’s no reason to see this at all.

 

21 CHUMP STREET

Alice Through the Looking Glass is down to number four and this is seen as a flop simply because it opened at number two last week. I think that has more to do with the current tide of public opinion turning against Johnny Depp. Allow me to remind you I’ve been telling you for years he’s utterly full of shit. I didn’t need a domestic abuse charge like the rest of you fuckers. You should have hated him for doing the first one, much less a shitty sequel. But guess what? This has made $125m overseas and the fact that the first made a billion worldwide is the reason this exists to begin with so don’t be surprised if an overwhelming international success leads to a third chapter. I mean that fourth Pirates of the Caribbean wasn’t exactly huge domestically either, but was ridiculously huge overseas so they’re making a fifth. Which makes Amber Heard’s lawyers very, very happy. I have no sympathy for middle-aged men in the midst of a mid-life crisis who hook up with obvious golddiggers. Take everything, girl.

 

HELL, I’M PLAYING IT RIGHT NOW

The Angry Birds Movie is down to number five and I was oddly interested in this because I love the game and obviously any movie that has a character that hates everything and everyone appeals to me. But that doesn’t mean I’d spend a dime to see it. No, I’ll catch it on cable in a year or so. What’s surprising is the ridiculous amount of comedic talent on-hand. Jason Sudekis (who should never be a leading man, but a funny supporting actor, so please stop trying), Josh Gad, Bill Hader, Mya Rudolph, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Hannibal Buress and Keegan Michael Key. Hell, even Sean Penn is here and that simple fact may be the funniest thing about it as he has no sense of humor, which means he did his lines straight, probably making them funny as fuck. Yeah, I’m soooo watching this on cable on a Sunday afternoon.

 

AMERICA IS NEVER WRONG!

Captain America: Civil War is down to number six and I remain unchanged in disliking this. Captain America is wrong and unreasonable in this movie and Captain America should never be wrong or unreasonable.

 

PRETTY DIRTY

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising is down to number seven and I have to say I totally respect how Zac Efron has decided to stop playing to his “look” of the clean cut pretty boy and go directly against and basically be the new king of R-rated slob comedies. Also joining him on his ascent to comedic royalty is Rose Byrne who is showing up in everything and stealing the show. I mean, or so I’ve heard. I hate Seth Rogen so much nothing anyone says can get me into a movie where he’s the star. Again, what part of “shallow” are you not getting? Which brings us back to the fact that pretty boy Efron is basically playing the roles that probably would go to Rogen.

 

SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AFTER 3 MINUTES

Popstar: Never Stop Stopping is the first Lonely Island movie and apparently the last as it opened at number eight. See, this is a great idea for a digital short on SNL or a supporting character in a movie, but it’s difficult to watch an entire movie about a complete asshole even when you’re supposed to be laughing at him. The guys in Spinal Tap weren’t brilliant, but they weren’t irredeemable assholes either.   I was tired of this whole concept before the trailer had finished.

 

A TALENTED GUY WHO’S AN ASSHOLE IS SADLY REDUNDANT

The Jungle Book is down to number nine with The Nice Guys closing out the top ten at number ten and this is the latest R-rated buddy movie from Shane Black. He’s like a less-depressing, funnier yet no less dismissive of women James Ellroy. Like Ellroy he tells dark stories about the seamier side of Los Angles that begin with a beautiful dead woman and the two guys determined to try and find some justice for her (this movie actually reunites Kim Basinger and Russell Crowe who were in the adaptation of Ellroy’s LA Confidential). Black is a good director and is on point with the foul-mouthed, funny dialogue, but his complete and utter hatred of women remains a problem. This is him at his least offensive (it’d be difficult to top the pure misogyny of The Last Boy Scout), but just so you know it’s him the only smart female is a child and it opens with a “joke” that involves a centerfold/porn star dying in the exact same pose as her centerfold. Get it!?! Why she’s naked in car crash is beyond me, but Black doesn’t care. He’s been opening with dead, naked women since Lethal Weapon (also a porn star) and he’s not stopping now. While this is a good movie I’m not sad it’s a bit of a flop because he’s got to be made stop that shit and so long as he doesn’t have a blockbuster hit that’s his and his alone (I could have directed Iron Man 3 and had a hit) he’ll always be under someone’s thumb which will ideally slow him down. Unfortunately, it’s Hollywood, so it’s not like that’s going to slow him down too much.

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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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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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THE LACKLUSTER WEEKEND BEFORE THE 4TH

29 Jun

time 1. Jurassic World/Universal                  Wknd/$ 54.2  Total/$ 500.1
2. Inside Out/Disney                               Wknd/$ 52.1  Total/$ 184.9
3. Ted 2/Universal                                   Wknd/$ 33.0  Total/$ 33.0
4. Max/WB                                                Wknd/$ 12.2   Total/$ 12.2
5. Spy/Fox                                                  Wknd/$ 7.8    Total/$ 88.4
6. San Andreas/WB                                 Wknd/$ 5.3     Total/$ 141.9
7. Dope/ORF                                             Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 11.8
8. Insidious 3/Focus                                Wknd/$ 2.0    Total/$ 49.8
9. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                  Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 147.1
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney     Wknd/$ 1.6     Total/$ 452.4

AND SHE’S CHERYL ON ARCHER, WHICH IS EVERYTHING
Jurassic World holds the number one spot and for the second time this summer Judy Greer appears in a major release, but unlike Tomorrowland a) we actually see and hear her and b) this is a massive hit. Come to think of it, it actually works in her favor. She’s clearly part of a hit, while nowhere to be seen (literally) in a flop. And her show, Married, is coming back this summer and the guy who plays her husband has an Oscar for screenwriting. No, Judy’s not doing so bad after all.

THERE’S THEATER DUST FOR ALMOST EVERY PIXAR FILM
Inside Out holds at number two and because the movie is such a critical and financial success, the otherwise wonderful short before it is being overlooked. It’s called Lava and like the best Pixar work it comes from the emotions and experiences of the writer/director. In this case he was in Hawaii where he learned that a volcano in the ocean would eventually join with the other islands and upon learning they had names, he wondered if they knew they would one day be together. The result is a musical short about a volcano alone in the ocean singing a song of love, not knowing that under the wave another volcano hears him and hopes to join him. This is when theater dust got into my eyes. You shut up! There is such a thing as theater dust!

AND THAT’S ALL I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT
Ted 2 opens at number three and not being a fan of The Family Guy or Seth McFarlane at all, I didn’t see the first and obviously didn’t see this one. And yes, I do look down on you if you do like The Family Guy and did see both this and the first one. Can you blame me? Hard to believe it’s the biggest grossing R-rated film of all time. Why not just slap Mel Brooks across the face?

GOD BLESS SGT. WOOF WOOF AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Max opens at number four and apparently if you’re down about the ruling on gay marriage you can go see a heartwarming movie about a boy and the military dog that belonged to his brother who was killed in combat. I had to check to make sure this didn’t come from one of those Christian studios. Hell, it’s not even Disney. Clearly someone looked at the summer release schedule and saw a spot for an old-fashioned right wing family film where the heroes are male and military. Oo-rah!

THE MORE YOU KNOW (COMIC BOOK GEEK EDITION)
Spy is down to number five, followed by San Andreas at number six and here in a small role as a member of Dwayne Johnson’s rescue team is Colton Haynes and if you watch Arrow, you know that’s Roy Harper aka Arsenal. And he needed this given he was just written off the show. Now is the time when I drop some geek knowledge. In the comics Green Arrow was such a clone of Batman he not only had a mansion with a cave underneath it, but a ward who was his sidekick and also in yellow and red. He was called Speedy, which on the show is the nickname of Green Arrow’s sister (a character that doesn’t exist in the comics). In the 70’s to try and seem up to date, they made Speedy a junkie (which is why the girl Speedy on the show also briefly has a drug problem) and as comics tried to become more and more relevant strongly suggested he prostituted himself for drugs, which sadly makes perfect sense, especially when Green Arrow’s reaction to finding out his surrogate son was hooked on drugs was to throw him out into the streets (Batman of course threw this in his face when Arrow brought up the second Robin being killed). The final stage to make him seem tougher was to have him abandon being called Speedy and take up the name Arsenal, a man who used all kinds of weapons. There was a brief moment where he was Red Arrow, but it didn’t stick. Now, aren’t you glad you asked?

HEY, DON’T TELL ME I DON’T KNOW SELF-HATRED WHEN I SEE IT. I’M HATING MYSELF EVEN FOR WRITING THIS!
Dope is down to number seven and also in this is Zoe Kravitz, aka Little Lisa Bonet clone (who actually has two films in the top ten given she’s in Mad Max: Fury Road). Seriously. That’s all I saw while watching this movie. Kinda like when you watch Kate Hudson. You don’t see her, only her mother. Unfortunately she is emblematic of a problem not just with this film but in far too many films that come from a black creative team: all the principal women all being light skinned. The girl he has a crush on (Zoe Kravitz), the girl he lusts for (model Chanel Iman) and even the lesbian best friend are all of a lighter hue. This is all the more glaring in light of the dark skin of the male lead. To make matters worse the closest thing to a genuine villain the film has is not just a light skinned black man, but Harvard educated no less! You’d think you were watching a Tyler Perry film. Except this is actually good (you know it’s not Spike Lee, because all the women aren’t evil bitches out to bring our hero down). It’s still a good movie and all the actors are good in their roles, but you can no more ignore the greater social implications of this than you can ignore how Ben Stiller would apparently rather die than kiss a woman onscreen who looks as Jewish as he does. Like Woody Allen before him, it’s shicksa heaven up there. Unless of course the woman in question is the butt of jokes. Then she’s as Jewish as can be. Sadly, projecting self-hatred onto women is yet another thing Black and Jews have in common.

R YOU READY FOR CONSEQUENCES FROM VIOLENCE (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)
Insidious Chapter 3 is down to number eight, followed by Mad Max: Fury Road at number nine and it still hasn’t made budget in the US which is not good. Granted, it’ll probably cross it over the long holiday weekend, but at this rate it’s not going to be into the black until well into home video (DVD, pay-per-view), ‘cause god knows there are no corporate tie-ins to help offset the costs. Even the $200M+ it’s made worldwide is a bit disappointing. Let me put it this way: Jurassic World has already made $1B worldwide with literally half of it coming being domestic. This will hurt future action films in two ways: 1) being about badass women and 2) having an unapologetic R rating. Dinosaurs eat people left and right in Jurassic World, but like previous editions it’s relatively bloodless making it good old-fashioned family fun. There’s almost no blood when a pregnant woman gets run over here and her stomach cut open to get the deformed child from her barely breathing body, but clearly that’s clearly too much for anyone under the age of 17 unaccompanied by a parent.

NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE END
Speaking of underperforming, The Avengers: Age of Ultron—down to number ten this wee—has been getting similarly flack for not doing as well as the first. Well, duh. That’s the first rule of sequels: they usually cost more and make less. You’d think knowing this they’d try to cut back a little, but no, like all sequels this is bigger and more elaborate than the first. But now there’s the added element of building an entire universe, so this is packed to the gills because god forbid you just tell this story now and not set up the next four or five movies. That’s my only real complaint, but it’s been my complaint for almost every movie after Iron Man. Only Captain America II, Iron Man III and Guardians of the Galaxy seemed to be interested in telling their stories first and foremost. Well, not my only complaint. That goddamn love story between The Hulk and The Black Widow remains a stinker and I think that should shoulder the blame.

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DOOOO, OOOH YOU? FEEL LIKE I DO?

22 Jun

alexandra-daddario-photoshoot-by-elisabeth-caren-2014-_3 1. Jurassic World/Universal                Wknd/$102.0    Total/$ 398.2
2. Inside Out/Disney                             Wknd/$ 91.1      Total/$ 91.1
3. Spy/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 10.5     Total/$ 74.4
4. San Andreas/WB                               Wknd/$ 8.2        Total/$ 132.2
5. Dope/ORF                                           Wknd/$ 6.0       Total/$ 6.0
6. Insidious 3/Focus                              Wknd/$ 4.1        Total/$ 45.4
7. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                 Wknd/$ 3.3        Total/$ 177.5
8. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                Wknd/$ 2.8       Total/$ 143.6
9. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney     Wknd/$ 2.7        Total/$ 451.0
10. Tomorrowland/Disney                   Wknd/$ 2.0       Total/$ 87.7

RIGHT BEHIND THE AMERICA VERSION OF GODZILLA AT 11:00
Jurassic World holds the number one spot and is like The Lost World in that you enjoy it the first time you see it, but the more you think about it the worse it gets. Bear in mind we were laughing and eye-rolling at it while we were watching, but the more you think about it the more this becomes one of the great-bad summer flicks that you will always be happy to see turning up on cable at 1:00 am. Also in this is Vince D’Onofrio who was just killing it as The Kingpin in the Daredevil series on Netflix. Here he’s the less complex but probably more fun bad guy who dies because he couldn’t resist gloating about his supposed victory in his questionable southern accent. I like to think the latter is most responsible. To give you a better sense of his character know that if they’d made this movie 30 years ago, Brian Dennehey would have played him. Yeah, now you get it.

NO, IT’S NOT HERMAN’S HEAD THE MOVIE
Inside Out opens at number two, but don’t let that fool you. This is the biggest original film (as opposed to sequels) opening in history, beating Avatar. It’s also for my money Pixar’s first adult film. Oh, it seems like it’s for kids with the animation and funny characters, but the themes about the workings of the mind and how sadness is as important an emotion as happiness is nothing any 6-year-old is going to understand. I mean the joke about how a hairy guy in San Francisco is a “bear” in the trailer should have told you that. Needless to say, only the adults were laughing when a character remarks how all the bad thoughts are were regulated to the subconscious (that there was a giant clown there was perfect). The plot is the thoughts and emotions of an 11-year-old girl upon her move from Minnesota to San Francisco and when it’s all said and done it’s about how her being angry, scared upset and depressed about it is actually okay. Various emotions are represented in her mind be separate figures. Joy was first and was followed by Sadness. Later followed Anger, Fear and Disgust. There is no greater genius in the world than casting Lewis Black as Anger. None. Okay, maybe Alec Baldwin, but that’s it. The other great moment of genius is that we don’t just stay in her mind, but go occasionally into the minds of her parents to see the same figures there as well. How you know it’s still kind of a kid’s film is that mom & dad don’t have a few more emotions as well. It’s a return to greatness for Pixar after some unnecessary sequels (Cars 2, Monster University) and one disappointing original (Brave). What makes them so successful is that their best work is rooted in an emotional component, be it the fascination of a director’s child with an aquarium (Finding Nemo) or the changes going on in a daughter (this one). That’s why as entertaining as films like Kung Fu Panda may be, they will never hold a candle to films like these.

THE ANTI-TRANSPORTER: GOING NOWHERE IS WHAT HE DOES BEST
Spy is down to number three and also in this is Jason “Don’t Bother Trying To Ruin My Career I’ll Do It Myself” Statham who needed this like he needed air. As you may know, Statham refuses to do movies that involve greens-creen, basically insuring he never will achieve the Action Hero A-list because you don’t get there without a big-budget science fiction movie. This is why I knew any rumors of him joining the Marvel Cinematic universe were just that. He’s too stupid to have said yes if asked. Much like Dwayne Johnson—whom he joined in the Fast & The Furious franchise—his fate is to support others because he cannot get out of his own way.

HERE’S WHERE I TALK ABOUT BOOBS
Speaking of Dwayne Johnson, San Andreas is down to number four and as his daughter in his is Alexandra Daddario who achieved a level of instant fame for showing her large, real breasts in the first installment of True Detective. The key word there is “real” because like a Rolex, no matter how nice a fake one may be, it will never carry the same weight as a real one. It’s actually perfect she’s his daughter because their physicality is very much a part of their success. I wonder if they bonded over how their wardrobes inevitably consisted of tight tank tops. And it makes sense she’d have a nice rack given Carla Gugino plays her mom and she’s got a nice rack too. Apparently, she played Matt Bomer’s girlfriend on White Collar as well and is probably appreciative of finally being “the pretty one” on-set for once, even if she has to take her shirt off to do it.

SADLY NO GREAT “WHAT THE FUCK” SPEECH
Dope opens at number five and this is basically Risky Business remade for the 21st Century, but that’s not a bad thing as it’s been remade well. Very well in fact, if not as stylistic. We have our senior trying to get into an Ivy league college (then Princeton, now Harvard), he’s distracted by lust (both are virgins), said lust leads to dealings with a criminal and a debt to be paid (there a pimp, here a drug dealer), at least two sidekicks (there boring, here more interesting), a college interview in the middle of the criminal activity (there a visit in the middle of a hooker party, here he’s actually part of it) and in the end there’s a monologue about their success (there internal, here his entrance essay) and a possible relationship with the girl they were chasing to being with (there a hooker, here a girl with college aspirations). One advantage is that Tom Cruise’s character actually lost his virginity, whereas, alas, here our hero gets vomited upon by a half-naked model (Chanel Iman), but his potential future love interest is a bit more stable (again, she’s a hooker). Like Risky Business it shows that film school training can work if you have a good script to work with. Techniques and style with no substance are what you get with Ridley Scott and his bastard stepchildren of everyone from Michael Bay to the hit-or-miss David Fincher. Not ot mention, writer/director Rick Famuyiwa manages to seamlessly integrate the vicious everyday violence of life in a gang-riddled neighborhood alongside a coming of age teen comedy. Imagine if Guido The Killer Pimp of Risky Business had actually behaved in the manner of a pimp onscreen, perpetrating the violence he only threatened.

BUT YOU CAN TELL BRETT RATNER TO GO FUCK HIMSELF
Insidious: Chapter 3 is down to number six, followed by Pitch Perfect 2 at number seven and Mad Max: Fury Road at number eight. The villain in this movie is Immortan Joe, played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, which is notable because he played the villain, Toecutter, who created Max in the first film by murdering Max’s wife and child. This is why it’s very important to be nice to your director, boys and girls. Just ask Jennifer Lopez who is basically the only cast member from Out of Sight never to work with Steven Soderbergh again and the one who needs him the most.

TRUTH: THE STIFFEST DRINK OF ALL
Avengers: Age of Ultron is down to number nine, followed by Tomorrowland at number ten and there’s this odd cult of apologists cropping up for this movie, saying the reason it was rejected was because it’s optimistic. Newsflash: looking backwards is not optimism. We call that nostalgia. It’s just not a good movie. Get over it.

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