Tag Archives: The Fast & The Furious

BETTER LUCK ON MR. TOAD’S WILD RIDE THE MOVIE

26 May

500_3_charlize_theron_w 1. Tomorrowland/Disney                          Wknd/$ 33.0   Total/$ 33.0
2. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                     Wknd/$ 30.8   Total/$ 109.6
3. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                    Wknd/$ 24.8   Total/$ 88.3
– Poltergeist/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 22.6   Total/$ 22.6
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney         Wknd/$ 21.7    Total/$ 404.9
5. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate           Wknd/$ 15.0   Total/$ 39.9
6. Hot Pursuit/WB                                     Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 29.1
7. Furious 7/Universal                               Wknd/$ 2.2     Total/$ 347.1
8. Far From the Madding Crowd/Fox    Wknd/$ 2.2      Total/$ 5.4
9. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                           Wknd/$ 1.9      Total/$ 65.7
10. Home/Fox                                              Wknd/$ 1.8     Total/$ 168.1

SOMEWHERE JOHNNY DEPP LAUGHS, “NOT SO EASY, IS IT?”
Tomorrowland opens at number one and between this and Mission Impossible 4, I’m glad Brad Bird is returning to animation with a sequel to The Incredibles, ‘cause live action is clearly not his thing. There are clearly too many compromises you have to make with people that you don’t have to with drawings. Though it’s where the writing is concerned that things go astray. Granted, the simple fact that Damon Lindelof is on as a co-writer here automatically means suckage, but you’d think as director Bird could overcome it. He cannot. This seems to be the logical (and by “logical” I mean only in the mind of someone shamelessly chasing money) extension of Pirates of the Caribbean. That is, Disney making even movies based on their theme park rides. The mistake is while Pirates of the Caribbean was/is a theme park, pirate movies are an old, established genre. You could have called it anything else and still had the same movie. This, however, had to be totally original and how exactly do you tell the story of a future that never came to pass? Well, judging by this, you don’t. Ironically we see more of “the future is now” in our first encounter with the protagonist, Casey (Britt Robertson), than for any other part of the movie when she sneaks onto the Cape Canaveral base using her iPhone to control a toy helicopter. You can use your iPhone to remote control a vast number of things and this has happened in the last decade. It’s amazing but it doesn’t seem to register. Anyway, her father is a NASA engineer and in some naïve way she’s hoping to stop the dismantling of the space program by stomping the dismantling of the launch platform. She’s not only clever, but an incurable optimist and these are the reasons she’s sought out by recruitment robot that looks like a 12-year-old girl. We see this robot earlier when the younger version of George Clooney’s character goes to the World’s Fair in Queens in the 60’s to submit his jet pack idea. The robot helps him sneak into Tomorrowland when House—I mean Nix as played by Hugh Laurie rejects him because his jet pack doesn’t quite work. In Tomorrowland one of the robots fixes it so it does and he’s allowed to stay. Later, however, when the robot drops Casey off at Clooney’s place—after avoiding other killer robots—we learned he was kicked out under pain of death if he ever talked about Tomorrowland. We also learn that Casey was selected because she might be able to fix what’s wrong with it, something Clooney helped to create. As they make the journey back, we learn that the origins of Tomorrowland started with Thomas Edison, Jules Verne and Nikola Tesla…and they apparently built a rocket in the Eiffel Tower which is just cool as fuck. Of course you might wonder how no one knew there was a rocket there, not even The Nazis when they took the place, but honestly it’s so nice I give it a pass. What I cannot give a pass to is basically the whole concept. A world established over hundred years ago in another dimension for the betterment of mankind…that apparently has never done anything for the betterment of mankind and then gave up in 1984. Yeah, that’s how subtle the film is at yelling at you for letting the planet go to hell. Bear in mind they built a freaking rocket in The Eiffiel Tower which was constructed in 1889, had jet packs and robots in the 60’s (not to mention some kind of fountain of youth shake) and never shared any of it, but it’s our fault. The movie never comes close to explaining why all they seemed to was plan for a better tomorrow but never actually did anything (actually that would have been a better reason for Clooney’s exile in that he realized they never would). Also, the girl robot has been recruiting dreamers, but while Casey makes the cut, Stephen Hawking and Steve Jobs never did (no, I don’t see them asking Bill Gates)? Another problem is that Casey is flat out annoying, something both Clooney and the robot mention and they’re not wrong. When Clooney tells her to just shut up and be amazed for once, he’s speaking for all of us. Speaking of Clooney the most mystifying flaw of the film beyond him vanishing off-screen for half-an-hour, is that they give him a 12-year-old girl robot as a love interest. Yes, she’s technically as old as he is, but when it comes down to it, what you see onscreen is George Clooney and a 12-year-old looking lovingly at one another (which sounds like some kind of bizarre comedy Woody Allen would write where the protagonist keeps insisting that it’s okay because she’s a 50-year-old robot while the world wants him dead). Yeah, I’m sure it was cute on the page that he’s harboring a love from childhood but fully realized it’s just creepy. That no one saw this as a problem in the initial planning stages shows you this was doomed from the beginning.

SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES
Pitch Perfect 2 is down to number two and returning with a promotion for this one is Elizabeth Banks who was actually one of the producers for the original as well as co-starring. Again, this remains a double-edged sword of success in Hollywood. A female driven film is one of the biggest films of the year so far, but it’s about something “silly.” As opposed to the gritty realism of The Avengers, no doubt. But this is the excuse that will be given for no increased presence of women behind the camera despite this being one of two biggest openings of the year being alongside 50 Shades of Grey. But all props to Elizabeth Banks who was the comedic woman of the moment after The 40-Year-Old Virgin back in…’08. Holy shit! Has it really been that long!?! Unfortunately most of her subsequent roles as the female lead tanked. She had the misfortune to be in both Meet Bill and Meet Dave neither of which anyone wanted to meet. She then fell prey to the attempts to make Ryan Reynolds, Sam Worthington and Chris Pine into stars, but luckily The Hunger Games appeared to give her a new lease on life. After that came Pitch Perfect and this year alone she’ll be in the Magic Mike sequel as well as the final Hunger Games movie. So basically the more female driven her work, the more she succeeds. Now there’s a lesson.

SHE USED TO BE MY GIRL
Speaking of female and driven, no matter what the title of the film Charlize Theron is the clear star of Mad Max: Fury Road, which is down to number three this week. But honestly when you think about it, Max is never really the driving force behind any of his movies beyond the first. He’s just trying to die with his pain in the wasteland when he’s caught up in someone else’s schemes to try and rebuild the world, which usually climaxes him driving a big rig that’s beset by the scavengers of the apocalypse. Seriously, that’s the plot of every movie and I don’t have a problem with that. Like Banks, the more Theron stays away from simply being “pretty girl lead” the better off she does. Her last big hits were the far from critically beloved Hancock, Snow White and the Huntsman and Prometheus but in none of them was she the leading man’s love interest. And she damn sure isn’t one here. Also it was her call to shave her head. Yeah, pretty people live for messing up that beauty thing whenever and wherever they can.

AND WHO WOULD HAVE A CLOWN DOLL ANYWAY!?!
Okay, apparently the remake of Poltergeist opened this weekend, but it actually doesn’t show up on some box office charts. Which would make sense as I’ve seen not one commercial, billboard or even print ad for it. It’s almost like it’s a literal ghost film. I saw the original back when I would do the scary, but honestly if I’d known this was coming out I might have given it a shot as it always felt more like science fiction (girl trapped in alternate dimension) than horror. Well, aside from that fucking clown. Whoever thought to include that (and the tree) tapped into the childhood fears of the collective planet.

TIME TO WORK FOR A LIVING
Avengers: Age of Ultron is down to number four—or five—and finally making an onscreen appearance is someone who’s been part of the Marvel movies all along: Paul Bettany, who’s been the voice of Jarvis. Something he admits to forgetting in interviews. Must be nice to make money that easily. Well, not anymore as he has to be painted and suited up to be the android known as The Vision. You say you want a brief comics history of the character? Well, don’t mind if I do. Shut up. You were too thinking it. The Vision is created by Ultron to help him destroy humanity, but turns on him, becoming an Avenger and ultimately marrying The Scarlet Witch. And they have two kids! Well, kinda. They’re made of magic and…okay even that’s too much for me. But Bettany does a good job with a limited role that only pops in the last half hour of the film. But he’s lost that easy Iron May paycheck.

SISTERS ARE DOING IT PT II
The Age of Adaline actually rises to number five (or six), followed by Hot Pursuit at number six (or seven), Furious Seven at number seven (or eight) and Far From The Maddening Crowd rising to number eight (or nine). Okay let’s tally it up. Britt Robertson is the protagonist of Tomorrowland, followed by the women of Pitch Perfect 2, Charlize Theron and all the women of Mad Max: Fury Road, Blake Lively in Age of Adaline, Reese Witherspoon & Sofia Vergar in Hot Pursuit and Carey Mulligan here in Far From The Maddening Crowd. That makes six out of the top ten (or eleven) films female driven. Sadly, that’s kind of impressive and won’t be lasting very long now that the summer movie season has formally begun. So enjoy your moment, ladies!

THE END
Paul Blart is either number nine or ten depending how you count it and Home is either number ten or finally removed from our sights.

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MAD MAX: I-95, EXIT 23

18 May

jordana_brewster-gq
1. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                      Wknd/$ 70.3    Total/$ 70.3
2. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                    Wknd/$ 44.4    Total/$ 44.4
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney         Wknd/$ 38.8    Total/$ 372.0
4. Hot Pursuit/WB                                     Wknd/$ 5.8       Total/$ 23.5
5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                           Wknd/$ 3.6       Total/$ 62.9
6. Furious 7/Universal                               Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 343.8
7. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate           Wknd/$ 3.2      Total/$ 37.5
9. Ex Machina/A24                                     Wknd/$ 2.1      Total/$ 19.6
8. Home/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 165.6
10.Far From the Madding Crowd/Fox    Wknd/$ 1.3      Total/$ 2.6

MAD MAX: ROUTE 12, EXIT 15!
Pitch Perfect 2 opens at number one with Mad Max: Fury Road opening at number two and this is bittersweet triumph for female-driven films. The sweet is obvious. The number one film in the country was written, directed, starring and co-produced by women and nothing about it suggests they gave flying fuck if anyone with a “Y” chromosome saw it They were rewarded for this with a $70M opening off estimated $30M budget. This means whomever approved the third film even before this was released looks like a genius. The bitter is the hit taken by any who hoped for more action movies driven by women as the wonderful hi-octane (literally) Mad Max: Fury Road is beaten out for the number one spot. It’s also female driven from its plotline to its actual hero, Charlize Theron. Yeah, it’s called Mad Max, but everything in it is about her and her plan to save five of her fellow models from The Humungous, er, I mean Immortan Joe, who uses them as his personal breeding stock. And if you think I’m kidding about the models part, the film is very self-aware about it. There’s not one, but two scenes where people stop and gape at them because they’re so different from everyone else. When Max first sees them, he stops dead in his tracks because the women are literally soaking wet in off-white gossamer fabric. It looks like he wandered onto the set of a music video (at any moment you expect the camera to pan over and show INXS singing). The other is such a great scene I’d rather not spoil it. Max is also a prisoner of Immortan Joe’s empire: providing healthy blood for the tumor-ridden mutant “half-life” boys. In fact, Max only gets free because of Theron’s efforts to free the girls and goes from reluctantly helping them to be willing to die for them. Yes, he does help to save the day in the end (his name is in the title after all), but it’s Theron’s show all the way, which is why her name comes up first in the opening credits and she’s the most prominent in the posters. She also has a great name: Imperator Furiosa. But you know someone somewhere is going to fault all these things as to why the latest sequel in an action franchise came in second to a movie about chicks singing. Which I’ll never see because I hated the first Pitch Perfect. I find Mad Max more grounded in reality than anyone anywhere liking Anna Kendrick singing “No Diggity.”

AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU ASKED ME? SHUT UP. YOU WERE THINKING IT.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is down to number three and if you thought it was getting beaten up before on account of how it treated The Black Widow, just wait now that they’ve got the giant hammer that is Mad Max: Fury Road. The other prominent female superhero in this film is The Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen. Yes, sister to the Olsen Twins, who’s been carving out a critically acclaimed acting career these last few years and now has stepped up her game to big, mainstream action movies. That’s gonna get a lot of indie films no one will ever see financed. In the comics she and her brother Pietro, aka, Quicksilver are the children of Magneto and were part of his original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants alongside Toad (who was in the first X-Men movie) and The Blob (seen in the first Wolverine movie). In the most recent X-Men film, Days of Future Past where Quicksilver also appears there’s a passing reference made to Magneto being his father and a cut scene where his sister (who would be The Scarlet Witch) is referenced.

MAYBE SHE CAN MEET UP WITH BRIDGET JONES!
Also female driven, but hardly a success story is Hot Pursuit, down to number four. Besides being directed by a woman and starring women, both Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vegara are onboard for this as producers, so they truly have to take some of heat for its failures as they were making some of the decisions. I’m thinking it’s to put on the pink one more time and bring back Elle Woods. Get it right this time and put her where she’s looked down upon and is the underdog, something a pretty blonde coming from money is not in Washington DC. Now, England on the other hand…

AND IT LOOKS LIKE BALLS TOO
Paul Blart holds at number five and women should be proud they had nothing to do with this. Writers, director and producers…all men. This is an all-ball production. Pure scrotum, if you will.

TOO PRETTY TO DRIVE FAST, MUCH LESS FURIOUS
Furious Seven is down to number six and while Jordana Brewster is back it’s in a role so slight it’s almost a cameo. She never got to develop into a butt-kicking action star like almost all the other women in the series. She went from love interest to wife and mother. It may have something to do with being the prettiest cast member (behind Paul Walker, of course). There’s a montage of all the stars from the beginning of the franchise until now and it’s amazing how she’s gone from looking like Demi Moore’s daughter to her sister. I’ll let you discuss why amongst yourselves.

CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. SERENA VAN DER WOODSEN!
The Age of Adeline is down to number seven and I’m still disappointed no one has combined the trailers and produced an “Avengers: Age of Adeline” mash up yet. Me? I’m busy.

CLEARLY MY TUTION WAS FOR THAT PRIME GREENWICH VILLAGE ADDRESS—AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT
Home is down to number eight, followed by Ex Machina at number nine and Far From The Maddening Crowd opening at number ten. This is based on the famous novel by Thomas Hardy and NYU should be ashamed of the fact that I graduated with a degree in English Literature and never read it. Ashamed I say! No, I won’t see it. That would be cheating.

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YOUR CAREER STRATEGY MAY NEED SOME RETHINKING

11 May

Schermafbeelding-2015-02-12-om-12.22.42

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney     Wknd/$ 77.2    Total/$ 312.6

2. Hot Pursuit/WB                                 Wknd/$ 13.3    Total/$ 13.3

3. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate      Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 31.5

4. Furious 7/Universal                          Wknd/$ 5.3      Total/$ 338.4

5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                       Wknd/$ 5.2      Total/$ 58.1

6. Ex Machina/A24                                Wknd/$ 3.5      Total/$ 15.7

7. Home/Fox                                            Wknd/$ 3.0     Total/$ 162.1

8. Woman in Gold/Weinstein               Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 27.0

9. Cinderella/Disney                               Wknd/$ 1.6     Total/$ 196.2

10. Unfriended/Universal                      Wknd/$ 1.4     Total/$ 30.9

GEEK HISTORY 101: WHAT IS AN ULTRON?

Avengers: Age of Ultron holds at number one and in the film Tony Stark creates Ultron, but in the comics it’s created by Henry Pym who was an original Avenger known as Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellowjacket. Henry Pym wasn’t in either Avengers movie, but will appear in Ant-Man later this year, but as neither Ant-Man nor Yellowjacket. Got it? Good. I never liked Ultron as a villain because ultimately it made every bad thing he did the fault of The Avengers (one of those things being actual fucking genocide). How can you be a hero when all you’re doing is cleaning up your own mess? They hint that there’s another cause, because Tony is messing with Loki’s Scepter, but to the world at large Tony Stark and The Avengers are responsible ultimately for every life lost and every bit of damage Ultron causes so how can they still be seen as heroes? That said, one good thing they do is give him an actual personality via James Spader. In the comics he’s just “I am evil and hate humans.” Here he’s a perversion of Tony Stark all the way down to the wiseass sarcasm. At one point he unknowingly quotes Tony and becomes enraged when it’s pointed out to him like an actual character with daddy issues would be. In the comics, Henry Pym uses his own brain patterns to create Ultron, but such a simple and effective device of having Ultron act like him. has never been utilized in the character’s near 50-year history to my knowledge. It’s just, “I hate you, father.” That’s it. One of the film’s flaws is that some of the more interesting aspects get shortchanged to accommodate everyone and that is clearly one of them. Whedon says the original cut was three hours long so maybe we’ll see that restored in the inevitable directors cut on DVD. In a better world that whole bullshit “Beauty & The Beast” storyline between Black Widow and The Hulk would have gotten cut in favor of…well anything else. Seriously, it sucks that bad.

LUCKILY THEY HAVE OSCAR NOMS AND COMMERICALS TO FALL BACK ON

Hot Pursuit opens at number two and while nothing was pushing AoU out of the top spot this is still a weak opening and throws a monkey wrench into the Reese Witherspoon comeback machine. Because I like both her and Sofia Vegara, I wanted this to do better, but at the same time, I was unwilling to put myself through it. Sorry, but it just looked like the most painfully forced of “wacky hijinks.” In the past Witherspoon has been somewhat vocal about how she’ll never be in an action film. She might want to rethink that strategy in a world where an action film grossed in a day than her film did all weekend. Especially given her ex-hubby is in talks to hop on the Marvel superhero gravy train.

BEHIND EVERY STRONG ACTRESS IS A TALL, REALLY PRETTY DUDE

Age of Adaline holds at number two and while not a success, it’s not a failure either having at least made its production budget. Too bad there’s a promotional budget that often costs as much as the film itself to consider. Also in this is Michael Huisman who is the latest addition to those guys you know because they always support a stronger, more famous leading actress. Twenty years ago, David Straitharn was guy you went to for Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver. Ten years ago, Mark Ruffalo was there for Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow and now Michael Huisaman is the guy here for Blake Lively, there for Connie Britton on Nashville, with Gisele in those Chanel commercials and also for Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Expect to see him kissing Jennifer Lawrence onscreen any day now.

GUESS NO ONE WANTED ESCAPE FROM CHICAGO…

Furious Seven is down to number four and also in this is Kurt Russell, apparently knowing the place of the aging action hero is playing the higher up the younger heroes have to deal with. I’ve no doubt part of his deal was that his character doesn’t die so he too can get on the F&F gravy train. Spoiler? Oh, fuck you. It’s been out for a month and a half.

BECAUSE FEM-BOTS UNLEASHED WAS TOO OBVIOUS A TITLE

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is down to number five, followed by Ex Machina actually rising to number six, so I guess I’m the only person who has no tolerance for cautionary tales with sexy robots.

HEY, HER MONEY IS JUST AS GREEN

Home is down to number seven followed by Woman in Gold rising to number eight and I can’t imagine why. I mean who wants to see a movie about an strong, older female lead who is supported by a handsome younger man when there’s hockey and basketball playoffs on TV and a movie where some woman is cursed to look like 28-year-old Blake Lively for eternity in the theater? Oh. Your mom. And clearly you took her to see this on mother’s day.

THE END…AGAIN

Cinderella is down to number nine and Unfriended closes out the top ten at number ten.

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I’M A VICTIM OF MY CULTURE

27 Apr

blake-lively-gossip-03
1. Furious 7/Universal                        Wknd/$ 19.3    Total/$ 320.5
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                    Wknd/$ 15.5    Total/$ 44.0
3. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate   Wknd/$ 13.4    Total/$ 13.4
4. Home/Fox                                        Wknd/$ 8.3      Total/$ 153.8
5. Unfriended/Universal                    Wknd/$ 6.2      Total/$ 25.2
6. Ex Machina/A24                             Wknd/$ 5.4      Total/$ 6.9
7. The Longest Ride/Fox                    Wknd/$ 4.4      Total/$ 30.4
8. Get Hard/WB                                   Wknd/$ 3.9      Total/$ 84.1
9. Monkey Kingdom/Disney             Wknd/$ 3.6       Total/$ 10.3
10. Woman in Gold/Weinstein         Wknd/$ 3.5       Total/$ 21.6

THE DUMB AND THE ARROGANT
Furious 7 holds onto the top spot for one last week ‘cause we know that once the Avengers sequel comes out that’ll be all she wrote. Returning for this is Ludacris and somewhere Ja Rule weeps because he was in the original The Fast and The Furious and was asked back for 2 Fast 2 Furious but as director John Singleton tells it, Ja thought he was too good for it. Tell me, when was the last time you thought of Ja Rule? Exactly. Not to mention Luda’s role has gone from being a garage owner who manages illegal races to computer tech genius in Fast Five to buff computer tech genius in Fast & Furious 6 to buff computer tech genius who also learned some hand-to-hand combat here in Furious 7. Which is smart on his part, because his future is clearly onscreen It’s a rule: all rappers must segue into acting or die, because it’s seriously a young man’s (or woman’s) game. Not too many at the top of hip-hop in their 30’s. Jay-Z being the exception that proves the rule and event here Beyoncé had a little to do with it.

SOME DESERVE TO BE HERE
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 holds at number two. I’d rundown his co-stars if I weren’t sure they’d like to forget what they were forced to do for rent money and I don’t want to embarrass them further. Except Neal McDonough, who doesn’t do love scenes because he’s married. What an idiot. I have to think that he got on the nerves of the writers on Justified where he played a psychotic killer, which is apparently okay. Fake love scene bad. Fake murder good. As the season ran down his looks were openly mocked by characters on the show. I like to believe that it was because they’d all come to hate him.

IT’S A WEAKNESS AND I FULLY ADMIT IT
Age of Adaline opens at number three and as much as I rag on Hollywood’s (and America’s) preoccupation with skinny blondes, I likes me some Blake Lively. I suffered through at least four years of Gossip Girl just to watch her (yes, I know it ran for six). Yeah, she’s kinda become a wannabe Gwyneth Paltrow, but that’s fine, ‘cause I likes me some Gwyneth too. And the reason I like Blake is because of her fairly obvious flaws, namely that clear nose job and that overbite (Gwynneth aint’ perfect neither). I like perfection in my stars as much as anyone and am openly opposed to looking at ugly dude leads, but occasionally a flaw here or that makes someone a little more compelling. I know it makes me sound crazy, but if I were sane wouldn’t be writing this to begin with. That said, I’m not totally averse to seeing her in a movie. My only rule with stars I like that I’m not going to watch them die and in the case of women be raped. It’s my “Taye Diggs Rule.” I don’t see anything were I know he’s going to die. (or if it just sucks to begin with like that TV show last year). But I do have an overall rule for seeing mediocre movies in the theater: nothing more than 90 minutes and when I saw this was nearly 2 hours I had to give it a pass. Sorry, but an immortal finding love (which undoubtedly will lead to her being mortal again, who are we kidding?) isn’t a two hour movie. Hell, it’s not even a book that should take two hours to read. It’s yet another Outer Limits episode needless stretched out. Guilty pleasures should be brief. Like the 45 minutes (0r less when I fast-forwarded) of Gossip Girl I used to enjoy every week. What do you mean she didn’t end up with Dan? Dan was Gossip Girl? That makes no sense at all! So glad I skipped those last two years.

DOLLA DOLLA BILLS, Y’ALL
Home holds at number four, followed by Unfriended at number five. Not that anyone cares. This turned a profit the first week, so all the rest is just gravy.

SERIOUSLY. JUST RELAUNCH THE OUTER LIMITS
Ex Machina opens wide and enters the top ten at six and I was going to say this was yet another version of the science fiction trope of man creating artificial life and living (or not) to regret it, but then I realized that was Frankenstein. They’re all Frankenstein. Only now the life forms are made up of plastic and steel. Being a science fiction geek I’ve no problem with it and have seen it a couple hundred times, but even though this was given all kinds of positive reviews I gave it a pass because of one aspect: the trope of the fuckable robot. Sorry, but that just immediately makes my eyes roll back into my head. It goes from being a cautionary tale to just making a big version of that sock you keep in your bottom drawer you think your mom doesn’t know about. It’s different when it’s the scientist’s dead loved one. This wants me to take the story of a sex-bot seriously and I just can’t. This isn’t even The Outer Limits; it’s that cable reboot that had T&A. Which means it’s even less deserving of full length movie.

ROYALTY, BITCHES
The Longest Ride is down to number seven and there always seems a perquisite “older person” in these Nicholas Sparks movies to be either be the voice of reason or the voice of warning and in this case it’s Alan Alda, who will always be Hawkeye Pierce to me because I’m old. But even more interesting than that is the fact that the younger version of his character is played by Jack Huston (son of Anjelica, grandson of John, great-grandson of Walter) and his love interest is played by Oona Chaplin (daughter of Geraldine, granddaughter of Charles, great granddaughter of Eugene O’Neil). Seriously, their bios alone are probably more interesting than this movie.

THE END
Get Hard is down to number eight, followed by Monkey Kingdom at number nine and Woman in Gold at number ten.

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ONE, TWO, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, THREE, SEVEN

20 Apr

kenneth-branagh-image
1. Furious 7/Universal                          Wknd/$ 29.1    Total/$ 294.4
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                      Wknd/$ 24.0   Total/$ 24.00
3. Unfriended/Universal                      Wknd/$ 16.0    Total/$ 16.0
4. Home/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 10.3    Total/$ 142.6
5. The Longest Ride/Fox                      Wknd/$ 6.9      Total/$ 23.5
6. Get Hard/WB                                     Wknd/$ 4.8      Total/$ 78.3
7. Monkey Kingdom/Disney                Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 4.7
9. The Divergent Series: Insurgent     Wknd/$ 4.2      Total/$ 120.6
8. Woman in Gold/Weinstein              Wknd/$ 4.6      Total/$ 15.9
10. Cinderella/Disney                            Wknd/$ 3.9      Total/$ 186.3

IT TEACHES THE KIDS MATH…KINDA. WELL, NOT REALLY.
Furious 7 holds at number one and why this is called Furious 7 while the previous entry was Fast & Furious 6, but the one before that was Fast Five while the one before that was Fast & Furious, which is not to be confused with the very first one, which was THE Fast and THE Furious? I have no freaking idea. The only other title to have “The” in it was the much maligned third entry: The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift and yes, they do make a return here for a brief scene in Tokyo because the films 4, 5, and 6 all take place before the events in number 3. So the order is The Fast and The Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast and Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and now Furious 7. Got it? Good. Needless to say the nine years between entries were not kind to, Lucas Black, the male lead of Tokyo Drift, while the other two leads, Lil’ Bow Wow (understandably going by his real name of Shad Moss these days) and that ethnically dubious girl who’s now more famous for being in a Bruno Mars video, were relatively unchanged. So it’s not only black that doesn’t crack but also brown (she’s Peruvian-Argentine).

FOR EVIL TO SUCCEED ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS FOR GOOD PEOPLE TO SEE BAD MOVIES
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 opens at number two and stop trying to tell me that God exists. What kind of god would let this happen. Twice. On the other hand, if the greatest trick The Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist, then he’s giving himself away by greenlighting films in Hollywood.

A MOVIE NO ONE OVER 60 WILL UNDERSTAND
Unfriended opens at number three and just as a broken clock is right twice a day, apparently a low-budget stepchild of found footage films (everything is seen from the screen of one computer) is both successful and critically praised. The fact that it may be scary is just more reason for me never to see it.

ANOTHER PRETTY BLONDE SUCCEEDS IN LA. NEWS AT ELEVEN.
Home is down to number four, followed by The Longest Ride at number five and this is a another rung up the ladder for Britt Robertson, who I know because I watched both Life Unexpected and The Secret Circle (where she wore her skirts so short they had to be digitally lengthened in post). Shut up! Shame is for lesser people! She and her team have been making good, solid choices. She was the lead on that show though it was cancelled, got steady exposure on Under The Dome, was in Jennifer Anniston’s Oscar-bait movie, Cake, wisely chose this piece of popular crap and it will culminate in Tomorrowland this summer, directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney. Remember the last young woman to co-star with Clooney? Shailene Woodley. Good, because I swear this girl’s been chomping at the bit for superstardom for as long as I’ve seen her. We were moments away from a sexually explicit film from her to get noticed. Whoops. She did that last year.

SO FATIGUED IT’S NOT FUNNY
Get Hard is down to number six and given it hasn’t even doubled its budget in the month it’s been out (compare to Furious 7 which hit a billion dollars last week) people may have had enough of both Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell’s manchild routine. I know I have and I’ve only seen one or two of them.

MONKEY FUNNY. ALWAYS AND FOREVER.
Monkey Kingdom opens at number seven and I swear I will watch the shit about of some monkeys in the jungle on The Discovery Channel, but don’t think I’m gonna get up and go pay for it. But great for all of you who did!

I’M TELLING MYSELF HE DOES THIS TO PAY FOR THEATER WORK
Woman in gold is down to number eight, followed by The Divergent Series: Insurgent at number nine with Cinderella closing out the top ten at number ten and while that seems as disappointing as Get Hard given it failed to double its budget domestically, globally it quadrupled it and while Disney isn’t getting all of that, it’s damn sure getting enough. Not to mention what this is going to pull on home video. Oh, and did we ever mention this was directed by Kenneth Branagh? He’s sadly become a director of very mediocre big budget studio films recently. There was nothing exceptional about this. The best thing about Thor was one man’s performance and there was no best thing about Jack Ryan. This is sad because Dead Again was huge dose of campy fun. Given the difference trajectory of their careers, I’m starting to wonder how much of that had to do with Emma Thompson. Especially now that I remember the awfulness that was his version of Frankenstein, which also had Helena Bonham Carter in it. Seems it’s easier to work with ex-girlfriends than ex-wives.

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 1. Mr. Peabody & Sherman/Fox                 Wknd/$  21.2            Total/$  63.2

 2. 300: Rise of an Empire/Warner            Wknd/$  19.1            Total/$  78.3

 3. Need for Speed/Touchstone                   Wknd/$  17.8            Total/$  17.8

 4. Non-Stop/Universal                                 Wknd/$  10.6            Total/$  68.8

 5. Single Mom’s Club/LGF                          Wknd/$    8.3            Total/$    8.3

 6. The LEGO Movie/WB                              Wknd/$    7.7            Total/$ 236.9

 7. Son of God/Fox                                          Wknd/$    5.4            Total/$   50.9

 8. The Grand Budapest Hotel/Fox            Wknd/$    3.6            Total/$     3.6

 9. Frozen/Disney                                           Wknd/$    2.1            Total/$ 396.4

10. Veronica Mars/Warner                           Wknd/$    2.0            Total/$     2.0

 

MAYBE IT’S IRONIC VIEWING GIVEN THE CURRENT STATE OF GREECE?

Mr. Peabody & Sherman rises to number one because apparently the movies are still cheaper than babysitters, while 300: Rise of an Empire drops to number two because, well it blows. But you might want to prepare yourself for a third installment because this has done gangbusters overseas. Apparently half-naked men fighting for the glory of Greece has an international audience (I doubt Greece itself has enough money to have bought all those tickets). I expect it’ll be about that final battle on Platea that was beginning at the end of 300, which in fact was the final defeat of the Persian Empire in Greece.  This will allow for Sullivan Stapleton to actually return as the lead for the sequel…not that anyone would care or notice, he’s so boring (he’s more interesting as an American on Strike Force).  Apparently Scottish Greeks are much more charismatic than Australian Greeks.  You know, the more of them that we see the more apparent is it becomes that personality isn’t a given amongst actors from “down under.”  Mel Gibson, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe are clearly the exceptions while blander than bland actors like Stapelton, Sam Worthington, Alex O’Laughlin, Matt Passmore and Ryan Kwanten and Jai Courtney are the rule.

 

I FEEL THE NEED, THE NEED FOR A BETTER SCRIPT

Need For Speed opens at number three and the most remarkable thing about this movie is how long it too to get made in that it’s a very popular video game franchise and it’s clearly trying to cash in the Fast & The Furious Franchise with its eclectic group of multi-cultural street racers. Someone trying to make a buck on either is long overdue, much less someone trying to do both at the same time.    Now would think with all the time it had to try to this it’d be better. You’d be wrong.  The great thing about the Need For Speed games is that it decided anyone who’d attempt a street race would be set upon by cops, so you’re not just racing your opponent , but also trying to outrun the law, which is awesome fun.  This should be easiest thing to depict on film given the chase scene is a Hollywood staple, right? Wrong. And it doesn’t help that one of the first scenes in the film is set at a drive-in where they’re watching the first great car chase scene in Bullitt. Way to set the bar, morons.  Enjoy it because you won’t see another car chase for awhile and none in the Need For Speed mode until the very end and when you do the fun of out running cops in an exotic sports car is lost in the collateral damage caused. In a video game you’re not hurting anyone. You simply outrun the police. Onscreen we’re watching cops in wrecks so violent there was undoubtedly a loss of life. How am I supposed to root for the guy in a race that probably killed a cop because that cop was trying to avoid hitting that busload of children?  That the film is too long which gives you time to think on these things doesn’t help.  Rather than simply jump in to the main story which is Aaron Paul’s racing to get revenge and justice on Dominic Cooper for wrecking and killing Paul’s friend (and the younger brother of Cooper’s girlfriend) in a race, we have to see that race…and the situation which led up to it…and a dull race before that…and this is still after an expository opening scene with Michael Keaton as someone kind of internet radio host. He could have easy have summed everything up for us allowing us to start with the better part of the film which is Paul getting out of jail then trying to get cross country in less than two days to be in a race to defeat Dominic Cooper. That the movie is all kinds of dumb goes without saying.  The “big secret race” is anything but and Michael Keaton (who is also its organizer) is broadcasting it online in detail for the world to see!  Pretty sure the first rule of Secret Race Club is not to tell the world about Secret Race Club. He’s also supposed to be a mystery, yet he shows his face in his broadcasts!  Now, I know it’s dark and cynical of me to say that the Fast & Furious franchise is ripe for a competitor with the loss of Paul Walker, but it’s true.  Fortunately for them this isn’t it.

 

I AM JACK’S ANGRY TASTE

Non Stop is down to number four, followed by Tyler Perry’s Single Mom’s Club opening at number five and I’d say that this opening low was a sign that maybe Tyler Perry’s annoying run was finally showing signs of fatigue, but it probably only cost about $2 to make, so it will probably be profitable in the long run.  In an odd way this may not even count as most of his films are aimed squarely at a Black audience (like a sniper’s rifle in my opinion, hating him the way I do) while this is clearly trying to bring a wider (aka “White”) audience.  The lesson that might be sadly taken away from this I don’t even want to think about, because it’s the excuse that Hollywood uses every day to justify a lack of diversity. Why am I even thinking this much about a freaking Tyler Perry movie!?! Next!

 

YET ANOTHER THING THAT IS AWESOME

The LEGO Movie is down to number six. Hold on. Let me think of how great, original and funny this was to wipe all thoughts of Tyler Perry from my mind. Ahhhhhhh. Now it’s been out for over a month and a half now so it’s hardly a spoiler to talk about how Star Wars pops up onscreen with Han, Lando and C3Po showing up in the Millennium Falcon. It’s a great scene and Billy Dee Williams and Anthony actually do the voices of Lando and C3PO. You know Harrison Ford was too much of a grumpy old man to do Han.

 

PTTD: POST TRAUMATIC TWEE DISORDER

Son of God is down to number seven, followed by The Grand Budapest Hotel entering the top ten at number eight and one of the great things about living in a city like New York is that I can literally see films that aren’t open anywhere else in the country.  And I used to do just that. I would have been on The Grand Budapest Hotel like a dog on a bone back in my indie film watching days.  Now I just tell myself I’ll eventually get to it…which I don’t. Then I tell myself I’ll just watch it on Netflix…but I don’t do that either. Sigh. What’s wrong with me? I find time for crap like 300: Rise of an Empire and Need For Speed, but not this. I blame my times as a indie film reviewer. It killed my ability to tolerate the self-indulgence that’s so much at part of indie filmmaking. Sometimes you wish some guy in a suit would walk in and tell them “No. This is just too pretentious. Stop it!”

 

IT’S LIKE BUYING BIRTH CONTROL

Frozen is down to number nine and should be gone as the DVD is coming out, much to the chagrin of parents everywhere who have to buy and now watch it every. single. day.

 

MORONS ARE LOOSE

Veronica Mars opens at number ten and the very existence of this movie makes me so angry can barely see. In case you didn’t know, this was crowd sourced. In other words FANS FUCKING PAID FOR IT THEMSELVES SO WARNER BROTHERS COULD MAKE IT THEN CHARGE THEM ADMISSION!  Aside from setting the horrific precedent of consumers paying multi-billion dollar corporations, it has to be biggest example of the truism “a fool and his money are soon parted” ever. Jack trading the cow for magic beans shows more common sense. What’s worse is you know these same idiots are going to buy it when it comes out on DVD so they’re paying 3 times!  Sigh. But you know what? I should be grateful because as  geek myself this crap makes me now look normal. Hell, it makes all fans look normal. You people getting married in Klingon and Elvish? You’re no longer the bottom of the fan barrel.  A new low has been achieved.