Tag Archives: The Best Man Holiday

TOUGH GUYS DON’T DIRECT MUSICALS

22 Jun

Weaver_Sigourney_041

1. Think Like A Man Too/SGem                         Wknd/$ 30.0       Total/$ 30.0
2. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                        Wknd/$ 29.0       Total/$ 111.5
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox                 Wknd/$ 25.3        Total/$ 95.2
4. Jersey Boys/Warners                                        Wknd/$ 13.5         Total/$ 13.5
5. Maleficent/Disney                                              Wknd/$ 13.0       Total/$ 186.0
6. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                            Wknd/$ 10.3       Total/$ 74.5
7. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                              Wknd/$ 8.6         Total/$ 98.7
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox                    Wknd/$ 6.2          Total/$ 216.8
9. Chef/ORF                                                             Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 16.9
10. Godzilla/Warner                                               Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 194.9

THE BEST MAN 2.5
Think Like a Man Too opens at number one and I’ll say it again: when the primary depictions of yourself onscreen are as sidekicks, servants (or slaves) or how you heroically endured oppression, you tend grab any depiction of yourself as happy and whole and enjoying life with both hands, which why this sequel opens big. You could make Latino-American and Asian-American versions of this and also make money and I can’t believe no one has. In fact, given it’s basically about a best man it could be counted as an unofficial sequel or spin-off of The Best Man which first dared to show happy, successful, educated African Americans. I gave this a pass because a) a little Kevin Hart (who is working his 15 minutes) goes a loooooonnnng way and b) I will put no money the misogynist pocket of Steve Harvey, whose book the original drew upon as source material is basically saying the problem with men and women is women. This from a man divorced three times. I’m just sayin’, maybe the problem is you and your attitude, playa.

NO 23 JUMP STREET. NOT. EVER.
22 Jump Street is down to number two and apparently there’s a hysterical end credit sequence where they show the next 20 sequels to this, basically letting you know there will actually be no sequels to this. What there will be coming down the pike is a return to good-looking person/not-so good-looking person team up comedies. You’ve already seen it for women with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat and between this and Neighbors and the utter failure of Adam Sandler’s last film, consider the days of solo “ugly but funny” days over. How it differs from the past is that the less attractive person isn’t just here for fat loser jokes. Progress?

HOW TO COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY’VE HATCHED
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is down to number three and how cruel an irony is it that Jonah Hill is technically in this as one of the voices? He had a great weekend last week. Everyone else, not so much. Jay Baruchel (the voice of Hiccup) was a guest on Craig Ferguson’s show (he’s the voice of Gobber) and they talked about being in the third installment of this. Needless is to say, not so fast, fellas.

GO AHEAD. MAKE MY MUSICAL.
Jersey Boys opens at number four which isn’t as disappointing as it seems given it only cost $40M to make. Clint Eastwood is famously frugal a director. He’s also famously sparse and laconic which are not two things one associates with Broadway shows. Existentialist westerns? Sure. But a story filled with passion and music? Not so much. Yes, it borders of pigeonholing the man, but given his open love of popular music (take it out of his films and see what happens) and the fact this combines it with both Italian Americans and the mob, how the hell did Martin Scorsese not do this!?! He would have brought the style and passion this story needed. And while that’s a big problem with this movie, the other is the problem that afflicts most stage-to-screen adaptations and that’s an inability to depict it properly without it being just a filmed version of the play. The best way to deal with it is to set it in the same type of “non-reality” the show existed in. Chicago clearly takes place in no Chicago that ever existed and if they’d tried to ground it reality too much it would have faltered. This tries to take place in the real world, which granted, makes sense given it’s a true story, but when you do that you have to pay more attention to details. You have to fill out the world in which they exist. Not having it leads to the common problem of most movie bios: a lack of context because they don’t fill out the world in which these people exist. The only other musician ever mentioned is Frank Sinatra (who was the ironically enough the only other musician ever mentioned in the Ray Charles bio pic). Pretty sure they weren’t competing with him. In fact, there was an entire East coast vs. West Coast stunt set up with them and The Beach Boys. You wouldn’t know they or any other musical act from that time period existed by this film (Elvis? Beatles? Who are they?), not to mention the incredible social changes going on around them. Again, that’s fine for a stage show, but with film you have to flesh these things out. There’s also such a thing, ironically enough, as being too faithful to the stage production. Yeah, the lead actor can play a character 15 to 50, but on film a 30+ actor playing 15 is simply not going to fly. Just get a younger actor! I won’t even get into the makeup disaster that is the climax of their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Everyone a party to that should be embarrassed. The stage show probably did it better just painting their hair gray.

RIPLEY COULD HAVE SAVED THE DAY…AGAIN
Maleficent is down to number five, followed by Edge of Tomorrow at number six and obviously Emily Blunt is the female lead here and she’s in her 30’s while Cruise is in his 50’s, my usual pet peeve. The director, Doug Liman, overheard this criticism at a party and felt it was unjust because the film wasn’t about them as a couple. Well, dude, then you probably shouldn’t have had her seemingly falling for him towards the end, much less have her kiss him. And not that hindsight is 20/20, but how could casting Sigourney Weaver in her role as the badass alien fighter not have been a great idea? She would have brought in so many other people (i.e., women) who might not have otherwise seen a Tom Cruise vehicle. But 50-something Cruise isn’t kissing a 60-something Weaver onscreen so you can just forget that.

AS FATTY ARBUCKLE ROLLS OVER IN HIS GRAVE
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number seven, followed by X-Men: Days of Future Past at number eight and at almost $700M from a $200M budget, we can safely say that that this train is back on track…and that Fox will be coughing up an ungodly amount of money for Bryan Singer’s legal defense, because he is clearly the key.

SOMEWHERE MATTHEW BRODERICK LAUGHS
Chef actually rises to number nine and I couldn’t be happier, while Godzilla drops to number ten and I honestly couldn’t care less. It wasn’t bad, but as time passes, the more I think about how the director jerked us around not showing Godzilla for the longest time then having it happen at night, the more annoyed I become. He thought he was being clever, well given it’s barely going to break the 3x budget rule of profitability, he was a little too clever for his own good. Honestly, it’s only done a little better than the much-maligned version with Matthew Broderick. A good lesson in how perception is reality.

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DISNEY’S LITTLE MAN IN A BOAT

8 Dec

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 1. Frozen/Disney                                          Wknd/$  31.6            Total/$ 134.3

 2. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                    Wknd/$  27.0            Total/$ 336.7

 3. Out of the Furnace/Relativity               Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$     5.3

 4. Thor: The Dark World/BV                     Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$ 193.6

 5. Delivery Man/BV                                     Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$   24.8

 6. Homefront/ORF                                       Wknd/$    3.4            Total/$   15.3

 7. The Book Thief/Fox                                 Wknd/$    2.7             Total/$   12.1

 8. The Best Man Holiday/Universal         Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$  67.2

 9. Philomena/Weinstein                              Wknd/$    2.3           Total/$     8.3

10. Dallas Buyers Club/Focus                      Wknd/$    1.5           Total/$     1.5

 

IT’S LIKE THAT DREAM OF HOT DOG AND DONUTS YOU HAD WASN’T ABOUT FOOD

Frozen takes over the top spot and in thinking of it more and the big “Let It Go” song in the film—which will no doubted be nominated for an Oscar because I cannot honestly remember another son associated with a film this year—the more I feel this is a metaphor for a young girl’s developing sexuality.  Seriously.  She’s about 12 or 13 when the accident with her sister occurs, which is the appropriate age. And she has no problem controlling her powers (i.e. her sexuality) until her father freaks out about it, making her feel anxious and guilty and telling her she has to lock that thing up (he put special gloves on her aka, chastity belt). Later when it explodes at an inopportune as repressed sexuality tends to do, the reaction of an old man is “She’s evil!”  which is sadly not new when it comes to a woman’s sexuality.  Also when she just lets go and truly explores and revels in her power, her clothes become more revealing and there’s more wiggle to that hip.  And the big resolution? That her power can only be controlled with love, the ultimate device used to control a woman’s sexuality. Just forget you had complete control until your dad made you freak out about it thanks to an accident that was a result of your little sister’s recklessness, not yours.

 

ONLY PERSON LUCKIER? HER HUSBAND.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire is down to number two and also in this is Elizabeth Banks who has a knack for picking the right franchises as she was the underused Betty Brant in the first Spider-Man trilogy (geeks like me know she was Peter Parker’s first love until her lowlife brother got himself killed and she blamed Spider-Man for it).  Now she’s got this.  Won’t be a bit surprised if she turns up in the new Star Wars films.

 

ONCE BITTEN TWICE SHY

Out of the Furnace opens at number three and not seeing this is a major fail on my part because there’s nothing unappealing about this film. Talented actors in a film that looks like a nice drama you sit down and sink yourself into. Of course the last time I thought was the film Prisoners and look how that turned out. Yeah, only $5M looks a little disappointing, but it only cost $22M to make and is Oscar bait for Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson (who seemingly get nominated every year for a film you’ve never heard of), though not as “prestige” as something Tom Hanks is in. That means it’s not really meant to make money until it gets nominated for something.

 

IT’S NO WONDER WHY YOU’RE NOT THE WOMAN

Thor: The Dark World is down to number four, followed by Delivery Man actually rising to number five and what do these two films have in common? WASPy brunettes who might have been Wonder Woman.  Jaimie Alexander is the Norse warrior goddess Sif (she wasn’t a warrior in the actual legends, not to mention famous for her blonde hair) in both Thor films and because studio execs and fans alike have no imagination, it was thought she’d be perfect for Wonder Woman. She was also vocal about wanting the role and said she’d been meeting with Warner Brothers, which may have been her undoing.  In Delivery Man is Colbie Smulders, who was the choice of none other than Joss Whedon to be Wonder Woman back when he was on the project. I don’t think Gal Gadot is perfect, but that she’s not whitest woman on earth (she’s Israeli) to play a GREEK is a step in the right direction.  People who complain about her being skinny are morons. Last I heard gaining weight was not something humans have a problem doing. The only question is will they put actual muscle on her and not be afraid of it being somehow “unfeminine.”

 

WINO IS FOREVER IT SEEMS

Homefront is down to number six and also in this is Winona Ryder. No, I’m serious!   But I’m as surprised as you are. No matter how many times she shows up in a film (she actually does one or two a year) it’s always a bit of a shock because I think she retired to run a goat farm somewhere. Or a small music label so she can pursue her favorite hobby: young musicians.

 

WELCOME TO THE CINEMATIC THUNDERDOME!

The Book Thief holds at number seven, followed by The Best Man Holiday at eight and I’m not going to say there’s a battle of “black Christmas films” (there is) but if there were (there is), then this won and I’m glad that a depiction of successful Black people defeated Black people singing about Jesus. Bring it, Madea!

 

YOU DO KNOW THEY DON’T HIRE REAL KINGS TO PLAY LEAR, RIGHT?

Philomena is down to number nine followed by Dallas Buyers Club reentering the top ten at number ten and apparently people need something to be upset over because it’s a problem for some that an actor (Jared Leto, who’s getting Oscar talk) played a transsexual rather than hiring a real transsexual actor. You wish I were joking. The cherry on top of this little piece of insanity? While this is based on a true story, that character IS FICTIONAL!  Zeus give me strength…

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YOU’RE AS COLD AS ICE

1 Dec

020_rene_russo_theredlist

 1. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                       Wknd/$  74.5            Total/$ 296.5

 2. Frozen/Disney                                            Wknd/$  66.7            Total/$   93.4

 3. Thor: The Dark World/BV                        Wknd/$  11.1             Total/$ 186.7

 4. The Best Man Holiday/Universal            Wknd/$    8.5            Total/$  63.4

 5. Homefront/ORF                                          Wknd/$    7.0            Total/$     7.0

 6. Delivery Man/BV                                         Wknd/$    6.9            Total/$   19.5

 7. The Book Thief/Fox                                    Wknd/$    4.9            Total/$     7.9

 8. Black Nativity/FoxS                                    Wknd/$    3.9            Total/$     5.0

 9. Philomena/Weinstein                                 Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$    4.8

10. Last Vegas/CBS                                           Wknd/$    2.8            Total/$  58.7

 

GIVEN NEW MEANING TO THE EXPRESSION “BASED UPON…”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire holds at number one and opening at number two is Frozen, which continues Disney’s newer tradition of adapting classic fairy tales but making them into buddy-romantic-comedies with spunky girl leads and hunky dudes who accompany them on their journey only to fall for them.  First was Rapunzel, redone as Tangled and now we have The Snow Queen redone as Frozen. Looking for the story of a boy and a girl and slivers of a magical mirror?  Look elsewhere. This movie is about two sisters, the older one with magical snow powers, and as a child she accidentally injures her younger sister with them and is taught by her parents to hide them stay isolated. Her younger sister is made to forget about this as part of the healing by the rock trolls and doesn’t understand why her sister suddenly became so distant. Don’t remember any rock trolls from the original story? Get used to it.  When their parents die in a shipwreck (it’s Disney; you cannot have two loving, living parents) the older sister becomes queen and at her coronation ball, her powers are revealed and go out of control throwing the land into eternal winter and causing her to run away and create a palace for herself.  Her younger sister sets off with a handsome ice dealer (just roll with with it) and his reindeer to find her sister and save the land.  Not a bad story, but not “The Snow Queen” even in the slightest except for the fact there is a “snow queen” of some sort.  Certainly not a comic relief living snowman, who doesn’t show up until midway through the film, despite what the ads show you. You can see why they use him as selling point because the irreverent humor he brings is the high point of the movie.  Overall, it’s not a bad animated film, but the lack of shading of the characters (everyone is either good or bad, period) shows the difference between a regular Disney film and a Pixar film.

 

THIS WEEK’S LESSON IN FEMINISM

Thor: The Dark World is down to number three and speaking of queens, who wasn’t shocked when Renee Russo popped in the first as the Queen of Asgard?  She’s back here as the butt-kicking queen of Asgard who almost ends the movie before it starts when the main bad guy makes the mistake of taking her on in single combat and gets his ass handed to him.  This isn’t archetypal for Thor which oddly enough does well by women passing the Bechdel Test in both films. For those unfamiliar with it, the Bechdel Test is so named for a cartoonist Alison Bechdel who asked three questions to determine whether or not women have a meaningful presence in films: 1) are there two or more women in it that have names? 2) Do they talk to each other? 3) Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?  When you think about it you’ll be shocked at how few films pass this test (not that you can’t break it and still work, because Renee Russo is in The Thomas Crown Affair, never really speaks to another woman and is totally awesome). Thor however does, thanks to Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings who have names and talk about their actual work. Not boys, not shoes, not make-up. Their work. For a comic book fantasy film, it’s positively revolutionary.  Ironic enough, warrior goddess Sif never has a conversation that isn’t about Thor. Small steps, it seems.

 

THIS WEEK’S LESSON IN FEMINISM PT. 2

The Best Man Holiday, however would not past The Bechdel Test and doubles down against it by making Sanaa Lathan, who plays the wife of Taye Diggs dislike Nia Long, who was the girl he always liked in college but never got together with. Because god forbid two successful, intelligent women—who clearly share some mutual traits for him to love them both—get along.  It’s probably the weakest part of this otherwise enjoyable film.

 

IT’S CALLED “GETTING IN YOUR OWN WAY”

Homefront opens at number five and Jason Staham may want to rethink his opposition to working in films with special effects as he’s not getting any younger and his films are start to do worse and worse.  Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, etc. Name the A-list action star and I’ll name the big-budget special effects film. Jason Staham however is B-list in danger of sinking to C if he doesn’t wise up. Let me put it this way: this has got to be the first major release from him that I didn’t automatically see.  That they’re all the same isn’t an issue; all action films are dangerously similar.  That much I accept.  It’s that they’ve been too disappointing too many times. And I don’t know why the producers thought that “written by Sylvester Stallone” would be a selling point. If anything that guarantees even more plot holes and illogic than your average action film and honestly was the deciding factor for me.  Clearly more than a few people felt the same.

 

THIS TOO WILL PASS, YOUNG MAN

Delivery Man is down to number six giving Vince Vaughn two flops this year and you can’t prove I’m smiling.  Also in this is Chris Pratt whose star is actually rising in comedy (Park & Recreation) and drama (Zero Dark Thirty) and will be in the next big Marvel offshoot, Guardians of the Galaxy and his casting while clearly calculated to bring down the age curve is actually a mistake given the plot hinges on Vince Vaughn being in his 40’s. The best friend who fulfills the straight man role of the married family man is not going to be in his early 30’s. It needs to be someone of a similar age. I can only think his frequent partner, Jon Favreau saw the writing on the wall and turned this down.

 

NAZIS, HOLOCAUST, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED NOVEL = OSCAR BAIT

The Book Thief enters the top ten at number seven and I know nothing of the novel this is based upon, only that it stinks of Oscar bait but also wants to be a heartwarming family film and you can only serve one master.  Trying for both risks sucking on two fronts.

 

WHY WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS TO IGNORE SOMETHING?

Black Nativity opens at number eight and I’ve got “zero” interest in seeing this.  I cannot deal with the hamfisted religious thing, even at Christmas.  Not to mention is this a musical or what?  Jennifer Hudson is shown doing the only thing she should ever do onscreen and that’s sing (her Oscar win remains an embarrassment), but it’s when she’s just walking down the street.  No one else seems to do it and I think that confusion contributed to its low opening (other than having Jesus shoved in your face over Thanksgiving). The Book Thief is in fewer theaters, has been out longer and has even a smaller niche audience and still did better.  I’m a little sad because I like Kasi Lemmons and hoped that Eve’s Bayou would lead to bigger and better things for her as a director. You know her best as Jodie Foster’s roommate in Silence of the Lambs. Yeah, that’s her.

 

QUEEN OF THE GRAY DOLLAR

Opening very well even though it’s at number nine is Philomena.  To even break the top ten with less than a thousand theaters is impressive, but Dame Judi Densch has proven she’s queen of the older audience, having scored a hit with Best Exotic Marigold Hotel two years ago. This is a comedy drama about a writer following a woman as she seeks to find the child she was forced to give up for adoption decades earlier and unlike the book thief it seems to mix the sad and the sweet in the right amounts for Oscar audiences.

 

I’M GONNA HAVE TO TRADEMARK “GRAY DOLLAR” IT SEEMS

Speaking of the “older audience” Last Vegas has rolled the dice for the last time in the top ten but $72M worldwide from a $28M budget isn’t bad at all.  Given that the rest of its target audience will probably devour it on home video (pay-per-view, DVD, etc) it’ll probably deliver nice profit when all is said and done. Ironically, this probably sprung up from the success of Red, whose sequel bombed, so while Last Vegas 2 (Next To Last Vegas?) is unwise another excuse to put a bunch of older actors together will probably pay off.  I’d bring up having some women in it as well, but clearly Judi Densch doesn’t need your punk ass.

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I STILL DON’T CARE

24 Nov

nia-long-naked-peta

1. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                   Wknd/$ 161.1            Total/$ 161.1

 2. Thor: The Dark World/BV                  Wknd/$  14.1            Total/$ 167.8

 3. The Best Man Holiday/Universal      Wknd/$  12.5            Total/$  50.4

 4. Delivery Man/BV                                   Wknd/$    8.2            Total/$     8.2

 5. Free Birds/Relativity                             Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$  48.6

 6. Last Vegas/CBS                                       Wknd/$    4.4            Total/$  53.9

 7. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                      Wknd/$    3.5            Total/$  95.5

 8. Gravity/Warners                                     Wknd/$    3.3            Total/$ 245.5

 9. 12 Years A Slave                                       Wknd/$    2.8            Total/$   29.4

10. Dallas Buyers Club/Focus                    Wknd/$    2.8            Total/$    6.5

 

THE RUNNING GIRL

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens at number one breaking a record and like Twilight before it and Harry Potter before that this is something that has gone right past me. Know why? BECAUSE I’M AN ADULT AND I DON’T READ CHILDREN’S BOOKS  THAT’S WHY! Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Just don’t ask me what adult books I’m reading. And honestly, I just have a problem where children are forced to fight children to the death.  Somewhere down the line I’ve just gotten squeamish about certain things and watching children die onscreen is one of them. Yes, I know. This time around it’s full-grown adults fighting (which is one of the oldest tropes in and out of science fiction), but I still can’t get with it.  The taint remains.

 

TWO SMART GIRLS

Thor: The Dark World drops to number two and if you’re saving that episode of Agents of SHIELD to watch until you see this, don’t bother. It has almost nothing to do with the movie.  Seriously.  It’s just a carrot to draw you into that incredibly lackluster series.  Speaking of lackluster series, how happy is Kat Dennings for these movies?  Every two years she’s gets to be in a blockbuster film and this time around actually joins Tom Hiddleston in “Steal The Movie” club which should bump her up in a way Two Broke Girls never could. As Hiddleston stole Thor from Thor, Darcy steals the movie from Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, Thor’s mortal love interest. She’s clearly the more interesting of the two and between her and overlooking Sif, Thor’s taste in women is seriously in question.

 

ANOTHER BRIDESMAID

The Best Man Holiday is down to number three and with the entire original cast returning also in this is Nia Long who, quite honestly, was Kerry Washington before Kerry Washington as the potential heir to Halle Berry’s throne (as we know, Hollywood and only have one A-list minority lead at a time).  The difference being Kerry Washington had the A-list films (Ray, Django Unchained) and now hit TV series (Scandal), whereas Nia Long peaked in Big Momma’s House and Third Watch.  Ouch.

 

MONEY NO MORE

The Delivery Man opens at number four (the lower budget makes this not as bad as you think) and this is a remake of a French film that just came out last year and even I was shocked at how quickly Hollywood remade it.  It’s a cute enough premise, but they should have found a different leading man, because Vince Vaughn and his motormouth routine gets old fast.  In fact it’s been old for a long time now and this is coming from someone who was a huge fan after Swingers and followed his indie career in things like Clay Pigeons, Return to Paradise and yes, even the shot-for-shot remake of Psycho so my bitterness is earned, baby.  Someone a little more charming and little less annoying would have served this film well.  And better looking. Seriously. It matters.

 

THE TURKEY YOU’RE HAPPY TO KILL

Speaking of annoying onscreen motormouths, Owen Wilson is one of the voices in Free Birds, down to number five and the only thing worse than Owen Wilson is just his voice, I don’t care what cute animal you put up there onscreen.

 

BAD GRANDMA?

Last Vegas is down to number six, followed by Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa at number seven and given how well this has done prepare yourself for an onslaught of low budget prankster films. Okay, maybe not an onslaught, but there will definitely be more of them coming.

 

TRAUMATIC ISN’T THE WORD FOR IT

Gravity is down to number eight, followed by 12 Years a Slave down to number nine and some people have issues with seeing their favorite stars as evil slave owners. I don’t want to hear it. Roots had everyone in Hollywood owning slaves and you don’t know from difficult until you’ve seen Mr. Brady own slaves or Sandy Duncan toss around the “n-word.”

 

THE MANY FACES OF MATTHEW

Finally entering the top ten at ten is more Oscar bait in the form of Dallas Buyer’s Club, continuing the Matthew McConaughey renaissance.  Apparently somewhere down the line he tired of merely being a parody of himself and decided to be a more serious version of himself, because lets face it: he’s always playing Matthew McConaughey. He’s not Daniel Day Lewis and can disappear into any role.  He can only be a more somber McConaughey (like in the surprise hit, Mud), a more straight-laced McConaughey (The Lincoln Lawyer and Bernie) a more psychotic McConaughey (Killer Joe) or a more sleazy McConaughey (Magic Mike, which I honestly thought he deserved a Best Supporting nomination for). But it’s always McConaughey.

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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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