Tag Archives: The Equalizer

OPPRESSED BUT LOOKING DAMN GOOD

20 Oct

6.194416
1. Fury/Sony Wknd/$ 23.5 Total/$ 23.5
2. Gone Girl/Fox Wknd/$ 17.8 Total/$ 107.1
3. The Book of Life/Fox Wknd/$ 17.0 Total/$ 17.0
4. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney Wknd/$ 12. 0 Total/$ 36.9
5. The Best of Me/Relativity Wknd/$ 10.2 Total/$ 10.2
6. Dracula Untold/Universal Wknd/$ 9.9 Total/$ 40.7
7. The Judge/WB Wknd/$ 7.9 Total/$ 26.8
8. Annabelle/WB (NL) Wknd/$ 7.9 Total/$ 74.1
9. The Equalizer/Sony Wknd/$ 5.5 Total/$ 89.2
10. The Maze Runner/Fox Wknd/$ 4.5 Total/$ 90.8

HATERS GONNA HATE PT. 1
Fury holds the top spot and I was down to see this until I saw fucking Shia LeBeouf in the trailer. Seriously. I’m not the biggest war movie fan, but I do like Pitt and I like how for the epitome of a leading man he doesn’t like to play it safe (can you think of even one romantic comedy or science fiction action film he’s done?). And of course the classic premise of the outnumbered soldiers making a stand is classic for a reason (all that’s missing is a shirtless Pitt screaming “This. Is. Fury!”), but my interest took a complete nosedive the second LeBeouf’s name appeared onscreen. Much in the same way Inglorious Bastard goes unseen by me because torture porn director Eli Roth is part of the cast. Seriously, when I don’t like you, I really don’t like you. So when a half-dozen movies opened this weekend (the blessing and curse of living in NYC is everything opens here first), it quickly got pushed down the list in terms of importance and I don’t see it coming back up…unless you tell me I get to watch him die horribly.

HATERS GONNA HATE PT. 2
Gone Girl is down to number two and speaking of people I hate to see onscreen Tyler Perry is here in an acting role as Ben Affleck’s slick, successful, press-friendly lawyer. Except he’s not really acting. Director David Fincher explained Perry basically got the role years ago when they were scouting studios in Atlanta to make the incredibly underwhelming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. They were looking into Perry’s studio space and he made them wait until he came off the roof where he was flying his model plane. In case you didn’t know how rich Tyler Perry was, that’s how rich. He can ignore an A-list director of major Hollywood film to fly his toy plane. This is part of why I could stomach him in this movie. He was playing someone I was free to dislike. If LeBeouf was playing the bad guy in Fury, I might have seen it.

BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T WANT YOU TO THINK IT WAS A ZOMBIE OR BULLFIGHTING MOVIE
The Book of Life opens at number three and the irony of this film it that it’s about death (it was originally called El Matador then Day of the Dead). It involves “The Day of the Dead” the Mexican holiday that coincides with the Catholic All Soul’s and All Saint’s Day. Basically the belief that on Halloween the gates of heaven open at midnight and the spirits of dead children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours and on November 2nd, the spirits of adults can come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. The former makes me wonder why it took so long for it to be any part of a film aimed at kids. Hell, it should be the basis for the Casper cartoon outright. But good luck finding a plot synopsis for this. As near as I can figure from the trailer two matadors are in love with the same girl and two supernatural entities make a bet on which one will win her. When one thinks he’s going to lose he has the one matador bitten by a poisonous snake and killed. Once in the land of the dead the matador makes a deal with the same entity that killed him to see her again (I can only think his soul is forfeit or something) and he has to go on some quest and face epic challenges. Once again my prejudice toward an artist kept me from a film, but this time in error. I knew Guillemoro Del Toro was a producer on this, but I mistakenly thought he wrote it as well and his writing is for crap. Visually the man is an artist with almost no peer, but I wouldn’t let him write a grocery list. This is now on my list of things to see…above Fury.

LIFE AFTER THE X-MEN IS VERY HARD FOR SOME
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day is down to four, followed by The Best of Me opening at number five and there was no way in hell I was going to see an adaptation of one of Nicholas Sparks horrible someone-dies-in-the-third-act-because-real-love-is-always-tragic novels. Especially one so poorly cast we’re supposed to believe those two people become James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan. Maybe if they’d cast actual teenagers to play teenagers to play teenagers instead of two people pushing 30 to play the younger version of two people who are barely 40 (she’s only 38). Serious casting fail here.

METHINKS DAD HAS SOMETHING TO ANSWER FOR
Dracula Untold is down to number six and the star of this is Luke Evans whom you’ve seen everywhere from The Hobbit to the horrible Clash of the Titans remake. How happy is he that he has The Hobbit to wash away all his other sins? Every time he makes something like this or The Immortals, a Hobbit movie comes out to prop him back up (though he did have Fast & The Furious Six last year). Kind of like how it was from the man from whom he was cloned, Orlando Bloom. Bloom always had either Lord of the Rings or Pirates of the Caribbean to fall back on. Now that they’re done, when did you Bloom last? Why, in The Hobbit films of course…with Luke Evans (they were also in the horrible steampunk Three Musketeers together). But there may be hope here as this has made almost $100M overseas. He could actually be the new Dracula after all.

VANITY THY NAME IS MAN
The Judge is down to number seven and also in this is the wonderful Vera Farmiga who balances off her indie work with mainstream stuff like this as apparently the new “Anne Archer” meaning the first choice of actors “of a certain age” who don’t want to be openly creepy with an actress half their age, but don’t want anyone actually their age either. She was Clooney’s love interest in Up In The Air and she’s the proverbial “girl back home who’s still in love with the hero” and only the twist of her being sexually as well as financially independent allows her to be a bit more than the cliché.

THE PINNCALE AND END OF YOUR CAREER
Annabelle is down to number eight, followed by The Equalizer at number nine and also in this is Melissa Leo. Sound familiar? That’s because she won the Oscar almost guaranteed to send you into obscurity: Best Supporting Actress. Just ask Juliette Binoche or Mercedes Ruehl. How many years was Marissa Tomei missing?

THE END
Finally, The Maze Runner closes out the top ten at number.

JUST A REMINDER: SCHOOL DAZE SUCKED THEN AND IT STILL SUCKS NOW

Not breaking the top ten because it only opened in 11 theaters this weekend (Birdman only opened in 4) is Dear White People, a film that started off as a trailer before it got funding which reminds me that maybe I should finish that trailer I started 20 years ago in hopes of accomplishing the same goal. Nah. It’s probably too late. In any case Dear White People is an examination of modern race relations through the prism of humor and the people who can only see things in absolute terms: college kids. While the protagonist is the subtly named Samantha White (was “Black” as a surname too obvious?) a media major who sees racism in the film Gremlins and hosts a radio program called “Dear White People” (“Dear White People: Stop dancing.”) while secretly nursing a love of Taylor Swift and sleeping with a white teaching assistant in her class, the other storyline which rivals hers is that of Lionel Higgins, who is a shy, gay, undeclared sophomore who doesn’t feel he has a place anywhere with any group, black or white, straight or gay and winds up finding both a potential for romance and a place in journalism when starts a story on Samantha. Points of view are also spread around to Troy Fairbanks, ostensibly the leader of the black community on campus, but is also a pawn in his father’s rivalry with the college president (his father is dean of students and they attended that same college together) to the point where he dates the president’s daughter because of his father, having broken up with Samantha the previous year. Meanwhile Colandrea who prefers to go by Coco to distance herself from her from her background is aggressively assimilating to the point of blue contacts and deliberately conflicting with Samantha to drive up hits on her YouTube channel and possibly score the lead in a reality show coming to the campus. The film details the events leading up to a fight on campus as the result of whites throwing a racially themed party, which begins with Samantha ousting Troy as head of the black house. It’s a very funny film that makes serious observations about race with the time honored tradition of humor, but it is by no means perfect as it fully acknowledges that Samantha has a white father and that Troy has a white mother, but we never delve into how that has served to shape who they are beyond the Dean of Students accusing Samantha of “overcompensating” for it. Pretty sure that’s an important issue. Nor are supporting characters allowed any type of shading beyond being “angry black guy” and “clueless white guy.” Not to mention Lionel’s very presence brings up the very real issue of homophobia within the black community, which he actually acknowledges, but is brushed aside by one person saying “We’re not homophobic.” Though I have to admit their concern with his unruly afro over his sexuality rings all too real, not to mention every black person’s fashion sense is on point. Just because you’re fighting the man doesn’t mean you’re not going to look good doing it. And then there’s the matter of the missing seniors, which is just my personal bone to pick. Like so many movies set in high school or college, the most important and popular people on the campus never seem to be seniors and if anyone is running student society it’s them. But overall the film hits more than it misses and reminds me how long it’s been since a movie like this existed as the primary provocateur, Spike Lee is now too old and too rich to burn like he used to and honestly, was never this funny and is too much a misogynist fuck to have a female lead like this anyway.

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AND THE AWARD GOES TO…PUSSY GALORE!

14 Oct

Rosamund-Pike
1. Gone Girl/Fox                                            Wknd/$ 26.4    Total/$ 77.9
2. Dracula Untold/Universal                     Wknd/$ 23.5    Total/$ 23.5
3. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney     Wknd/$ 18. 4   Total/$ 18.4
4. Annabelle/WB (NL)                                Wknd/$ 15.9     Total/$ 61.6
5. The Judge/WB                                           Wknd/$ 13.1     Total/$ 13.1
6. The Equalizer/Sony                                  Wknd/$ 9.7      Total/$ 79.9
7. Addicted/Lion’s Gate                                Wknd/$ 7.5      Total/$ 7.5
8. The Maze Runner/Fox                            Wknd/$ 7.5      Total/$ 83.8
9. The Boxtrolls/Focus                                 Wknd/$ 6.6      Total/$ 41.0
10. Left Behind/Free                                     Wknd/$ 2.8      Total/$ 10.8

HERE NOW GIRL
Gone Girl holds the top spot and starring as the girl in question is Rosamund Pike, one of those actresses you’ve seen everywhere who has now broken through to the top. How do you know when a female star is rising? Well, first of all they pair her with older men. She’s in her 30’s but was in Jack Reacher with the 50-something Tom Cruise, is now here with the 40-something Ben Affleck and has been in two films with the 40-something Simon Pegg. And it goes without saying she was in her 20’s was in Die Another Day with Pierce Brosnan because that’s how old most Bond girls are. One the exceptions to that rule was Halle Berry and that’s why I really hope Pike wins Best Actress. That she’s going to be nominated for everything under the sun goes without saying. She’ll deserve each and every one because she kills this role, but I need her to win because that will mean Die Another Day will include not just one, but three Oscar Winning Actresses (Dame Judi Densch), two of them fighting to death with swords.

YOUR PUN ABOUT DRACULA SUCKING HERE:
Dracula Untold opens at number two and this is Universal’s second attempt to restart its classic horror franchises in as many years and may just be its second failure (The Wolfman tanked) because while vampire heroes have been the rage for awhile now, no one wants it from the King of Vampires. Oh, he can have a tragic past that turned him evil (as Coppola’s Dracula proved), but it only needs to be backstory. The whole damn film can’t be about just that. Guess what this whole damn film is about? It has gotten abysmal reviews and while that matters little to a genre film like this they did keep people on the fence about it away. People like me. And it shows. While a near $24M opening for a $70M film isn’t bad, remember freaking Annabelle made over $30M last week. The King of Vampires, the most famous vampire in history, made less than a doll. In a sequel. Not good.

I’M SURE THIS NEVER COMES UP AT HOME
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day opens at number three and clearly Steve Carrell clearly needed an easy payday and Jennifer Garner needed…anything. As we’ve discussed many times, kids’ films and horror films are the best thing for an actor whose career needs a bump either to rise or to slow down a fall. It’s got a built in audience. Carrell hasn’t been going hungry between Anchorman and Despicable Me sequels, but Jennifer Garner is clearly trying to get back into the stable of Hollywood female leads instead of just being Ben Affleck’s wife who strangely is never in any of his highly praised and even Oscar-winning films. I’m just sayin’…

GUILTY OF EXCESSIVE CLICHES AND SCENERY CHEWING
Annabelle is down to number four, followed by The Judge opening at number five and this is as slick and by-the-numbers as a mainstream Hollywood production gets. It is as glossy and cliché-ridden piece of entertainment as you might expect, set apart only by the language, which is how it acquired its “R” rating. But this is not to say it is without merit, as it’s always fun to see seasoned actors do what they do well. Robert Downey Jr is playing that same character he always plays, which is to say, Robert Downey Jr. (in a metatexual moment one character actually addresses what she calls his “verbal diarrhea”) and Robert Duvall is playing an ornery old coot, which also what he always plays these days. But if you don’t enjoy them playing off each other you’re in for a whole lotta clichés. Slick, hot shot, cold-blooded lawyer denying his small town past? Check. Estranged father and son? Check. Ironically in the same profession? Check. Slowly revealed incident from the past that helped drive them apart? Check. Old girlfriend still in town, still hot and still hot for him? Check. In fact the only new thing is a odd, out-of-place pseudo-incestuous subplot, which actually is part of yet another cliché I won’t reveal here. If you’re going, you’re going for the performances, not the story itself.

DENNIS HOPPER IS DEAD AND CHRISTOPHER WALKEN’S GETTING OLD
The Equalizer is down to number six and also in this is “That Guy You’ve Seen A Hundred Times Before” Marton Csokas. He was in Lord of the Rings, Amazing Spider-Man 2, Alice in Wonderland, The Bourne Supremacy, etc. You know him when you see him ‘cause he’s usually the bad guy (Lord of the Rings as the exception the proves the rule) and this is no exception.

BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL. SO IS BROWN. AND STILL ANOTHER SHADE OF BROWN.
Addicted opens at number one and this is one of those “targeted” films for audiences who feel neglected by Hollywood. Usually minorities (though Christian-themed films have made a splash recently) eager to see all facets of their existence portrayed and not just stereotypes which is why Latino Americans have put Spanish-speaking films in the top ten, along with Bollywood films and of course African Americans. No one is a sidekick, no one is a criminal and no one has an accent. Addicted portrays nothing but seriously upper middle class Africans Americans. If you’re looking for baggy pants and grills, look elsewhere. This is every upper middle class story of adultery you’ve ever seen. Fatal Attraction, Unfaithful, etc, only everyone is brown and impossibly beautiful. In fact, its overdone perfection is what turned me off of it. There’s no atmosphere, no style to it all. It’s just overly lit and pretty. It looks like a moving catalogue. As photographer Norman Jean Roy said, “When you make something perfect you kill the art.”

DON’T LAUGH IF YOU WANT TO GET PAID
The Maze Runner is down to number eight, followed by The BoxTrolls at number nine and hanging around at number ten is Left Behind and I think I’ve figured out why Nicholas Cage is perfect for all these movies: no matter how outlandish the premise he can keep a straight face.

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DUMB ENOUGH FOR SUMMER

28 Sep

taraji
1. The Equalizer/Sony                               Wknd/$ 35.0    Total/$ 35.0
2. The Maze Runner/Fox                         Wknd/$ 17.5     Total/$ 58.0
3. The Boxtrolls/Focus                             Wknd/$ 17.3     Total/$ 17.3
4. This is Where I Leave You/WB          Wknd/$ 7.0      Total/$ 22.6
5. Dolphin Tale 2/WB                               Wknd/$ 4.8      Total/$ 33.7
6. No Good Deed/SGems                         Wknd/$ 4.6      Total/$ 46.6
7. A Walk Among The Tombstones/U   Wknd/$ 4.2      Total/$ 20.9
8. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney        Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 319.2
9. Let’s Be Cops/Fox                                  Wknd/$ 1.5      Total/$ 79.6
10. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles/Par  Wknd/$ 1.5      Total/$ 187.2

FRANKEN-ACTION!
The Equalizer opens at number one and this isn’t just another “ex-government agent bringing vigilante justice movie” it’s also a Frankenstein’s monster of other Denzel Washington movies. Ex-government assassin/agent with some lingering guilt of what he’s done who decimates organized crime? Man on Fire. He’s also a working class joe? John Q. There’s a young Russian hooker to save? He Got Game. Because there are no black women in the cast he’s sexless? Almost all of them. Based on the TV show from the 80’s that I never watched, Denzel is yet another government killing machine trying to live a normal life and is almost doing so, but then some Russian mobsters (Russians having taken the place of the Italians as the boogey men of crime) hurt a girl he’s become friends with and they awaken the sleeping dragon who burns their house down. Literally. Now, you don’t expect too much reality in an action film, but you’re not really helping people when you blow up an oil tanker on the docks! It would have felt like a nuke dropped on the city and the damage would have been enormous, most likely destroying legitimate businesses and we’re not getting into the environmental damage! Oh, and it’s set in Boston. Pretty sure a giant explosion would cause all sorts of panic amongst the populace, not to mention the very people Denzel Washington used to work for. It gets so over-the-top towards the end (learn how your local Home Depot can be turned into a killing field with ordinary house and gardening appliances) you wonder how something this dumb escaped a summer release date. But it is fun and honestly you need this as all the humorless, solemn would-be-oscar bait falling around our ears right now.

THE SECRET IS NOT TO DO IT IN CRAYON. USE A PENCIL.
The Maze Runner is down to number two and this is yet another Young Adult novel which has produced box office gold. A sequel has already been green lit. I know very little about the plot other than a group of boys are trapped a environment by a giant maze, but presumably your hero makes it through the maze otherwise you’ve got a very unsatisfying movie, so what’s the second film going to be? Another maze? Is really adaptation of a novel or one of those Big Book of Mazes your parents give you on a long trip to keep you quiet, so they’re just moving onto the next maze? The Maze Runner 2: This Time It’s A Square One.

I AM THE ENEMY OF ALL SUBSTANCE
The Box Trolls opens at number one and I not proud of myself but I disliked the animation style of this too much to even give it a try. It bothers me because actual stop-motion animation is rare these days and it should be supported, but I just can’t with this. It’s just too damn ugly! It’s about kindly trolls who raise a boy. Um, okay. Whatever.

DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOBS, KIDS
Speaking of Oscar bait, we’ve had our first failure with This Is Where I Leave You which clearly wanted to me some Robert Altman-mish combination of comedy and drama about a family coming together after the death of the patriarch. Unfortunately it more resembles a TV movie that escaped into theaters, thanks in no small part to the fact that all its stars are best known from the small screen. Tina Fey (30 Rock, SNL), Jason Batman (Arrested Development), Adam Driver (girls), Rose Byrne (Damages) Connie Britton (Nashville) and Timothy Olyphant (Justified). The only real movie star is Jane Fonda. The other aspect that makes it feel like a TV movie is how utterly antiseptic it looks and feels. Aside from looking like no dirt has touched anything anywhere, the drama is saucer deep. We’re told that Jason Bateman’s problem is that he wanted a perfect life with nothing complicated or messy, but he never demonstrates those type of negative character aspects at any time. We only know because other characters tell us. He’s just playing the usual Jason Bateman straight man role, where he comments dryly on the behavior of others. We’re never given any indication that he might not be anything other than the wronged husband great until his wife reveals her affair with his boss might have had a little to do with the fact he withdrew after her miscarriage. Likewise, the affair is used only for comic relief. When your spouse sleeps with your boss, the goal is clearly to hurt you. Otherwise it would have been a stranger. The film never for once examines this and gives only lip service to the other attempts a drama. I know it comes from a much-loved book, but I can only think they took all the best jokes from it and left the depth behind. It wouldn’t be the first to do this, nor will it be the last.

AIN’T NO MONEY LIKE REGULAR MONEY
Dolphin Tale 2 holds at number five, followed by No Good Deed down to number six and also starring in this is Taraji P. Henson who’s having a pretty good year between this and Think Like A Man Too. Almost makes up from having been killed off on Person of Interest. Almost, because nothing beats a regular TV paycheck during the fall with movies in the summer, which is clearly what she was doing.

DON’T MESS WITH SUCCESS, LIAM
A Walk Among The Tombstones opens at number seven letting Liam Neeson know that if he’s going to be investigating a kidnapping, it had better be of his own family by European gangsters whom he will then all kill. What’s funny is he almost turned this down because he didn’t want to another kidnapping movie…even though he’s currently making Taken 3. Who’s left to be taken!?! Mom? A cousin? A maiden aunt? This however isn’t an action film but a mystery suspense crime drama as he’s an ex-cop now a private detective hired to investigate the apparently kidnapping and murder of the wife of a gangster. I’m a sucker for private eye movies, but this opened on a busy weekend and I had to watch Denzel do what he normally does.

GOING ON RIGHT NOW IN THIS GALAXY RIGHT HERE…
Guardians of the Galaxy is still around and the only funny thing about Chris Pratt’s hosting of Saturday Night Live were the spoofs of it. Especially “Marvel’s Star Wars” which, ironically is what this already has already become.

THE BABARINO EFFECT
Let’s Be Cops is down to number nine having made $80M off a $17M budget. Holy shit. Right now they’re both checking the fine print of their New Girl contracts to see how to get the hell out or at the very least a serious pay raise.

NOT EVERYONE LIKED HAVING THEIR CHILDHOOD TRASHED
Finally Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles closes out the top ten at number ten and don’t believe the hype about its success. Yeah, it’s made $187M domestically (the numbers that really matter) but it cost $125M to make, so profitability is still in the distance.

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