Tag Archives: The Counselor

THE JERK DANCER FROM THE DANCE

3 Nov

George_Clooney-0508

 1. Ender’s Game/LGF                                    Wknd/$  28.0        Total/$  28.0

 2. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                        Wknd/$  20.5         Total/$  62.1

 3. Last Vegas/CBS                                          Wknd/$  16.5         Total/$  16.5

 4. Free Birds/Relativity                                 Wknd/$  16.2         Total/$  16.2

 5. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$  13.1          Total/$ 219.2

 6. Captain Phillips/Sony                               Wknd/$    8.5         Total/$  82.6

 7. 12 Years A Slave                                          Wknd/$    4.6       Total/$    8.8

 8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2     Wknd/$    4.2  Total/$106.2

 9. Carrie/SG                                                     Wknd/$    3.4        Total/$  32.0

10. The Counselor/Fox                                   Wknd/$    3.3        Total/$  13.4

 

HE’S A JERK AND HIS MOVIE LOOKS DULL

Ender’s Game opens at number one with a small amount of controversy. The author of the book it’s based upon, Orson Scott Card, is an anti-gay rights activist. He doesn’t just dislike homosexuals, he actively works to deny them rights. This separates him from your average jerk, because honestly if you wouldn’t go to see a film because a jerk was in it or wrote it or wrote the book it was based on you wouldn’t be able to see any movies, starting with George Clooney. Yeah, I know what you’re saying, “But he’s so perfect!”  Yeah, and he knows it. Self-satisfaction oozes from every pore of his body. Then there’s the little matter that, despite him having his choice of almost any woman in the world, he literally picks up 20-something cocktail waitresses.  That’s pretty jerky to me. And are we even going to pretend Madonna isn’t a total tool? Her marriage to Sean Penn probably didn’t last because they had daily jerk competitions.  But she’s a great pop star (I didn’t say musician) and he’s a great actor. The simple fact is you don’t have to be a nice person or even a decent human being to be good at your job. The question is can you separate the dancer from the dance as a consumer? In this case it’s actually the dancer once removed from the dance. The studio clearly doubts it as I’m sure they were doing damage control with all these little articles popping up last week pointing out that Card sees no profit from the film. He was paid once for the rights to this book and that was it. Clearly this was meant to make it okay for people who didn’t like his homophobia to see the film. There are only two problems with this: 1) if you see the film and like it you might buy the book so he makes money, and 2) if the film is successful the studio will buy the rights to those as well and he makes more money.  As for me, I learned long ago to separate the dancer from the dance (thanks for nothing, Woody Allen). I just didn’t like the way the film looked. “Kids in Space” is boring to begin with and the commercials and trailer basically show you him being special then winning. Where’s the hook?  That he’s going to win isn’t the question. That his journey to doing so looks fairly boring is. I mean, never thought Jaden Smith was going to die in After Earth, but I was fairly interested in him fighting for his life on a futuristic earth because he was shown to be a bit of screw up at first. And this was his test. Ender is special and gifted and then just proves it. Yawn.

 

NO MOVIE BUSINESS FOR OLD MEN

Bad Grandpa is down one notch to number two followed by Last Vegas opening at number three and let’s see what the jerk content is for this film.  Michael Douglas’ sex addiction is fairly well known not to mention the he openly casts younger women at his leading ladies and he blamed oral sex for his cancer.  Jerk.  Morgan Freeman was in a car accident, which revealed he was dating his step-granddaughter (top that, Woody Allen).  Creepy jerk.  However, none of these things had anything to do with me not seeing Last Vegas, which trotted out the trope of let’s laugh at those wacky old people.  “Old Hangover” was not on my list of plans this weekend and neither the trailer nor the commercial did anything to change that.  It doesn’t help that while we think of these actors as “older” we don’t think of them as “old men.”  It’s an irony that they look too good at their respective ages for this to really work.  What this needed was either more decrepit actors (like Cocoon) or younger straight men (and women) to not only offset their ages, but also play the straight man (and woman). Well that and actually be funny.

 

YES, I’D FRY UP BABE AND WILBUR IN A HEARTBEAT

Opening at number four, Free Birds kicks off the holiday movie season with the story of two turkeys that travel back in time to stop the turkey being the main dish of Thanksgiving. Yes, the plot of a children’s holiday film is to stop turkey genocide.  I’ll admit parts of the trailer did make me laugh, but the core of this film is very dark, because we know they have to fail and all the turkeys they meet in the past are going to die and be eaten.  It also gives personalities to the food we eat at the very time of year that we eat it!  Someone clearly didn’t think this through.  Needless to say I did and gave it a pass.   I’d say give me two turkeys on the run from being dinner and you might have had a film worth seeing, but honestly it’s problematic to ever connect funny cartoon animals with the actual place they occupy in our society as I’ll never choose them over a good meal.

 

MY SISTERS WOULD BE JUSTIFIABLY SUING ME

Gravity is down to number five and notice how I saw this despite thinking Clooney is a jerk. That’s how that works.  Also, Captain Phillips is down to number six and I, like most, think Tom Hanks is the nicest man in the world. Yet, I have not seen it. One has nothing to do with the other. But in a nice case of irony the real life crew thinks the real life Captain Phillips was a total jerk. So much so they’re suing him (if that’s a spoiler for you then you need to read more newspapers and see fewer movies). Yeah, it’s movie, guys. Not a documentary. And if we all sued jerks, we’d all in court on one side or the other.

 

BEST NAMED DIRECTOR IN THE WORLD

12 Years A Slave actually rises to number seven as its theater count increases and the Oscar race heats up.  I like every actor in it, yet I have not seen it. See? Dancer and Dance are separate. And yes, the director’s name is actually Steve McQueen.

 

BUT I’M GLAD THEY’RE ALL WORKING

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number eight and the voices for the film are Bill Hader, Ana Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews and Kristen Schaal.  All likable to me, yet I will never see this film. Dancer here, dance there.

 

BITE SIZED CANDY VS. CARRIE. ADVANTAGE BITE SIZED CANDY.

Carrie is down to number nine and you know people don’t want to see your horror film when you don’t make any money on Halloween.  This is the danger of remaking a film that’s too much at part of the culture. It’s impossible for Carrie to be scary because we know all that happens.  Even the shock ending of the first film is expected now.

 

BAD TASTE, WORST AFTERTASTE

Finally, The Counselor is down to number ten and as bad as I thought this film was a week ago, it’s even worse now. What makes it worse than say something like Transformers is that at least Transformers is trying to entertain you.  This is isn’t. This pretentious crap think it’s brilliant and is above such base concerns. This could have been some half decent film noir. People doing bad things that causes a bad result.  It even has the nerve to reference Body Heat! But rather than follow that excellent example, it wants you to take Cameron Diaz humping cars seriously.

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WHEN UGLY THINGS HAPPEN TO PRETTY PEOPLE

27 Oct

Picture 1500

 1. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                        Wknd/$  32.0            Total/$  32.0

 2. Gravity/Warners                                       Wknd/$  20.3            Total/$ 199.8

 3. Captain Phillips/Sony                               Wknd/$  11.8            Total/$  70.1

 4. The Counselor/Fox                                    Wknd/$    8.0            Total/$   8.0

 5. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2     Wknd/$    6.1            Total/$100.6

 6. Carrie/SG                                                     Wknd/$    5.9            Total/$  26.0

 7. Escape Plan/LG                                           Wknd/$    4.3           Total/$   17.4

 8. 12 Years A Slave                                           Wknd/$     2.2          Total/$    3.4

 9. Enough Said/FoxS                                       Wknd/$    1.6           Total/$  13.0

10. Prisoners/Warners                                    Wknd/$    1.1            Total/$  59.1

 

NOW I CAN’T GET WARRANT’S “CHERRY PIE” OUT OF MY HEAD

Bad Grandpa opens at number one or more correctly, Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa opens at number one. Yes, in some form or another they are still with us. But this really seems to be a combination between two MTV Shows,  Punk’d and Jackass and given I care little for a show that gets a kick out of messing with people in their day-to-day lives (Punk’d) and others that seem solely about how stupidly can young men hurt themselves (Jackass), I gave this a pass.  HOWEVER…I bust a gut laughing the way “grandpa” (Johnny Knoxville) “makes it rain” over the little boy after they enter him in a little girl’s beauty pageant and then have him do a striptease. That’s close to brilliant because it strips away to show what all beauty pageants are about (did you know they are the biggest source of scholarship money for women?) and how obscene it is that they do them for little girls. Like I said, I hate the whole idea of messing with people in lives for a joke, but this is one group that totally deserves it.

 

GEEK = SMART – SEXUAL ACTIVITY

Gravity finally submits to just that and sinks to number two and while I like Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, him getting his panties in a bunch over the scientific errors in this film was simply ridiculous.  As soon as you saw “George Clooney” and “Sandra Bullock” he should have known which way the wind was blowing. Clearly he forgot about the “fiction” in “science fiction.”  Bear in mind this is a man who openly prefers Star Trek to Star Wars because Star Trek has more of a seeming regard for science, when Star Wars openly embraced magic to a certain point (The Force). Sadly I cannot take credit for the best response to this: “This things didn’t bother me because I have kissed a girl.” Amen.

 

SO BAD IT’S…WELL, BAD

Captain Phillips is down to number three and rather than see this critically acclaimed piece of Oscar bait I instead found myself at the critically reviled, destined for many Rasberry Awards, The Counselor. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be that great. The words “directed by Ridley Scott” made that impossible and the bad reviews actually serve to make it more attractive to me. However I did expect some sleazy fun due to Javier Bardeem’s hair and Cameron Diaz’s expensive slutwear, but the only fun here is in how bad it is. I’m not familiar with Cormack McCarthy’s novels, but from No Country for Old Men and this I can only think he’s big on uber-depressing stories with anvil-dropping foreshadowing (two characters randomly describe two different types of horrific deaths and sure enough by the end two characters have died just that way) whose moral is “Don’t have anything to with drug-dealers.” He’s also not a screenwriter by any stretch of the imagination, because what works in prose fails miserably onscreen, though I’m not sure this would work on the printed page either.  It’s only appealing to actors who saw pages of you being able to flap their jaws uninterrupted for pages sounding deep.  Dame Judi Dench couldn’t make this crap fly so imagine lines like “I don’t believe truth has a temperature” coming from Cameron Diaz of all people.  For a bunch of people pontificating about the nature of mankind and the universe a lot they aren’t that smart.  I mean if you’re that thoughtful, shouldn’t it have occurred to you that trying to take advantage of inflated cocaine prices due to a drug was an incredibly stupid thing to do!?!  Only Brad Pitt seems to make it work because he’s always enjoyed playing sleazy more than playing it straight and brings a light hearted sense to the leaden existential discussions.  Needless to say, the deal goes bad, because when you have a limited imagination they have to bad. A more interesting movie would have followed the peril that follows when you get what you want and think you can just walk away. Not even the fact that the deal doesn’t so much go bad as it is sabotaged makes it more interesting, because there’s never even a reason why other than the sabouteur is a sociopath.  And did I mention Cameron Diaz has sex with a car? Finally, Showgirls has a rival to dumbest sex scene ever.

 

IT’S CALLED CAREER TRAJECTORY AND YOU DON’T HAVE IT

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number five, followed by Carrie at number six and does anyone remember that John Travolta was in the original? I hope that little anecdote isn’t giving these cast members false hope because Travolta had already been on Broadway in Grease by that point. The guy playing his role was in Chronicle and The Host. Yeah. Not the same.

 

MAYBE A TEENAGER AS WELL TO BRING DOWN THAT AGE CURVE

Escape Plan is down to number seven and if there’s one big problem with this movie it’s that 60-something Stallone still thinks he should be playing the lead.  The way you sell this movie is that a younger actor plays the lead and Stallone and Schwarzenegger are the two old guys he meets in the prison to help him break out.  Have they learned nothing from Sean Connery’s example of always working with younger actors (Mark Harmon, Kevin Costner, Nicholas Cage, Wesley Snipes, Lawrence Fisburne, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta Jones, Michele Pfeiffer) to help carry his films? Every moviegoer between the ages of 16-30 was in Bad Grandpa this weekend because there was no one in this film for them to see. Hell, I’m over 30 and I still didn’t want to see anyone in it.

 

OSCAR POOL REQUIRED VIEWING

12 Years A Slave is finally enters the top ten at number eight as if to wash away the fact that both Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt were in The Counselor as well. “Pay no attention that thing with sex with cars! Only look at this Oscar bait!”  I know I need to see it, but like Holocaust movies, slave dramas are put off for me until it finally gets Oscar nominations and then I have no choice.  Seriously, I saw Schindler’s List and In The Name of The Father the day before the Oscars.  This year it looks like a Saturday afternoon of Captain Phillips and 12 Years A Slave in February.

 

WELL, SHE DID GET VIGGO MORTENSEN

Enough Said is down to number nine followed by Prisoners closing out the top ten at ten and while this kinda kicked off the Fall Serious Movie Season people soon realized the emperor had no clothes and ultimately this only made $59M domestically off a $46M budget, barely taking in another $60M overseas.  Again, not a failure, but no great shakes either.  Did I mention Maria Bello was also in this?  Well, she is as Hugh Jackman’s wife.  How sad is it that being Hugh Jackman’s wife was the disappointment, but playing Kevin James’ wife in Grown Ups is probably going to buy her a house?  It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood.

 

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR CONTINUES

Oh, it’s not over yet. New shows are still debuting. The Witches of East End is the answer to the question, “Wouldn’t Charmed be better if all four witches had been on it together?” I’m sure someone asked it. Apparently based on a book somewhere it’s a silly, silly show…and I watched three episodes in one sitting. I wish I were kidding. What’s worse is that it was just one person who got me to do it: Madchen Amick. I’ve had a mad crush on her since Twin Peaks and since she’s determined to stay beautiful until she dies it’s not going anywhere.  She’s not alone in this big 90’s nostalgia-casting as playing her sister is none other than Julia Ormand (whose accent drops so much they just should make her character English) and Virginia Madsen has a semi-reoccurring character. Even Mrs. Channing Tatum who is ostensibly the show’s actual lead looks like she was made from the DNA of Yasmeen Bleeth from Baywatch.  And because it’s on Lifetime, it’s also got your standard supporting cast of tall, good looking but bland chiseled jawed meat puppet men. Don’t think I’m not ashamed. I don’t watch Walking Dead or True Blood or Game of Thrones, but I can’t seem to miss this cerebral junk food. And there’s not even nudity (but a little cursing because it’s on Lifetime).