Tag Archives: The Hobbit

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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SHE ELF AND TOO MANY DWARVES

15 Dec

idina menzel pic

 1. The Hobbit 2/Warner                           Wknd/$  73.7            Total/$   73.7

 2. Frozen/Disney                                        Wknd/$  22.2            Total/$ 164.4

 3. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Xmas/LGF      Wknd/$  16.0            Total/$   16.0

 4. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                   Wknd/$  13.2            Total/$ 357.0

 5. Thor: The Dark World/BV                    Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$ 198.1

 6. Out of the Furnace/Relativity              Wknd/$    2.3            Total/$     9.5

 7. Delivery Man/BV                                    Wknd/$    1.9             Total/$   28.0

 8. Philomena/Weinstein                            Wknd/$    1.8            Total/$     8.3

 9. The Book Thief/Fox                                Wknd/$    1.7            Total/$   14.9

10. Homefront/ORF                                     Wknd/$    1.6            Total/$   18.4

 

HOBBIT 2: ELFIN BUGALOO

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens at number one and this is the second part of the Hobbit trilogy which wasn’t really a trilogy, but director Peter Jackson decided to make it into one because he felt the story needed “fleshing out” which somehow translated into making the first one a musical comedy about dwarves. Okay, maybe it was just one scene, but it seemed to go on forever and it’s sad that’s what I remember most about it. Seriously. I’ve forgotten most of the first film which is why this desperately needed a 30 second recap to remind us where we left off in because it feels like we walked into the middle of a movie. That said, it’s much better than the first thanks to the lack of dwarf musical numbers and honestly the presence of a butt-kicking female elf who didn’t exist in The Hobbit novel and the dragon himself.  Ironically, their standing out may be a result of Jackson actually neglecting the main character.  The movie may be called The Hobbit but the first act doesn’t even seem to be about Bilbo at all, but again the freaking dwarves. The middle is partially his and his battle with the seductive powers of the ring (reminding us again what a wuss Frodo was), while the final third he gives up once again to the dwarves, elves and now some humans. It’s telling the film finds a second wind only when Bilbo alone faces off against Smaug the dragon.  I look forward to the end of this trilogy when geeks take it upon themselves to edit out everything Peter Jackson added to “flesh out” the books and we see just how long it really should have been.

 

OF COURSE SHE’S SOARING; SHE JUST DROPPED 180 POUNDS

Frozen is down to number two and as the voice of the Snow Queen is Idina Menzel, best known as winning a Tony for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch in  Wicked and up until a few days ago, as the wife of Taye Diggs, but now they’re getting divorced.  Bad move on his part as “Let It Go” will undoubtedly be nominated for an Oscar and probably win, which means she’s going to be performing in front a global audience and thanking everyone but him. He won’t even get to escort her down the red carpet.  There’s a reason why Sandra Oh, kept her divorce from Alexander Payne under wraps until after the Awards.  She got to go to the Awards, share in the success and parties and then go her own way. Diggs is going to be babysitting their son while she ascends to another level and probably wind up with George Clooney. Need to work on that timing, brutha.

 

I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas opens at number three and just…no. Seriously, no. There’s just no excuse for this.

 

HE WAS PLAYED BY WHO? SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is down to number four, followed by Thor: The Dark World in at number five and this actually has elves in it as well, dark ones. The title refers to their home and their leader is played by Christopher Eccleston, best known as the Dr. Who that revitalized the series, then left immediately.  But that’s only if you’ve never had sex. If you’re a normal person you know him as the Duke of Norfolk who is the primary enemy of Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth.  He’s become a very good go-to bad guy, because he’s both unattractive and English. That’s a one-two combination that can’t be beat. Nothing says “pure evil” like an ugly Englishman.  Except maybe an attractive Englishman.

 

FRANK STALLONE KNOWS YOUR PAIN

Out of the Furnace is down to number seven and also in this as Christian Bale’s shorter, less attractive, less successful brother is Ben Affleck’s brother shorter, less attractive, less successful brother Casey Affleck.  Ouch. This was either the easiest role ever or a source of neverending torment for him during filming.

 

IF THE TRUTH IS YOUR ENEMY THEN YOU’RE NOT THE GOOD GUY

Delivery Man is down to number seven, followed by Philomena at number eight and this has caused some minor controversy as being “anti-Catholic” because it’s based on the true story of a woman who was forced to give up her child by the Catholic Church in England.  It was minor because the real “Philomena” spoke up to support and verify it and calling something that depicts the truth “anti” anything makes you look like a dick.

 

FREE FOOD AND LODGING TOO!

The Book Thief is down to number nine with Homefront closing out the top ten at number ten and also in this as the evil drug lord is…James Franco?  Clearly Franco has the indie work he believes in and cares for and the studio jobs he takes on a whim or as a joke.  Guess which one this one is? You know, with the script by Sylvester Stallone, starring Jason Staham and Winona Ryder?  Yeah, I started laughing just writing that.  Basically he got paid to go hang out in New Orleans for a few months and I doubt he ever pretended it was otherwise. 

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ONE RING TO BORE THEM ALL

17 Dec

tom-jones_275w

1. The Hobbit/WB                                          Wknd/$  84.8           Total/$   84.8

 2. Rise of the Guardians/PDW                    Wknd/$    7.4            Total/$   71.4

 3. Lincoln/Touchstone                                  Wknd/$    7.2            Total/$  107.9

 4. Skyfall/Sony                                                Wknd/$    7.0            Total/$  272.4

 5. Life of Pi/Fox                                               Wknd/$    5.4           Total/$   69.6

 6. Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2                       Wknd/$    5.2           Total/$  276.9

 7. Wreck-It-Ralph/Disney                             Wknd/$    3.3           Total/$  168.8

 8. Playing For Keeps/FD                                Wknd/$    3.2           Total/$   10.8

 9. Red Dawn/FD                                              Wknd/$    2.4           Total/$   40.9

10. Silver Linings Playbook/Weinstein        Wknd/$    2.0           Total/$   17.0

 

HEY, KIDS. DO YOU LIKE WATCHING FANTASY CHARACTERS WALK? A LOT?

If Steven Spielberg and Ben Affleck were worried about Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth being their Oscar competition, they can stop. Hell, it might not even take all the technical awards in a year of Prometheus and The Avengers.  Sorry, but there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before and none of it is presented in a way that makes it more interesting than the last time we saw Gandalf, a hobbit and a band of warriors set off on a quest (complete with a quick stop by the elf hut). In fact the most interesting thing about this particular quest is its unseen subject: the gold loving dragon that drives the dwarves from their homeland.  Much has been made over Peter Jackson choosing to shoot at faster frame rate…much by very few as the average person could really care less and all it really accomplishes is to reveals the illusion to be an illusion.  When something isn’t real, the last thing you need to do is put a magnifying glass on it. At times the combination of the clarity and 3D (which I hate, but it was a free screening and beggars can’t be choosers) makes it look like one of those old Viewmaster slides.  Yeah, it’s clearly three dimensions, but not in a way you like. But these are just technicalities; the real disappointment is the story.  The Ring Trilogy made three films from three books. The Hobbit is three films from one book and it’s padded like an infant’s car seat.  It has not one but two preludes and takes almost an hour to get going, most of that is hanging out in the shire with the aged Bilbo we met in the first LOTR movie as he prepares for the party we saw and writes his memoirs to give to Frodo (who cameos of course). Then we meet the younger Bilbo and the 13 dwarves who he will accompany on their quest and we watch them eat and sing.  How can I be convinced of the urgency of their quest if the filmmakers aren’t?  When it finally kicks into gear with battles with giant trolls, pale goblins and the old standby murderous orcs, it’s entertaining enough but burdened by an overwhelming “sameness.”  Only Andy Serkin adds a new, more dangerous edge to a younger Gollum. It’s not a bad movie, but then again, it’s not a movie at all; only part of one.

 

NOT THAT OLIVIA MUNN CARES

The Rise of the Guardians holds at number two and also in this as the voice of Jack Frost is Chris Pine who supposed to be a hot, young star, but isn’t really because Captain Kirk is like James Bond. The character is the star, not the actor.  Not to mention his post Star Trek choices have all been bad. But if you think JJ Abrams is a good director, I guess it makes sense you think a movie with McG is a good idea.  Making a movie with Denzel Washington was a good move, but again, he got all the credit.  After all, no one thinks Safe House made money because of Ryan Reynolds.

 

BY THE WAY THE HURT LOCKER WAS A FLOP

Lincoln actually rises to number three due to the beginning of awards season and now everyone now has to see why something got nominated.  This is why the initial box office returns on “Oscar bait” tend not to matter. No one expects it to make money until the nominations and awards come in.  Though the people behind The Master may be waiting a good long time.  It’s not an exact science and all the awards in the world can’t help something people could give a shit about filled with unattractive actors.

 

FUCK YOU, PAY ME

Skyfall is down to number four and also in this is Albert Finney and again, it’s a mark of the new Bond that “real” actors agree to be in them now, even in smaller roles.  It’s notable because Finney was a star back when the Bond films first started in the early 60’s and has probably been looking down his nose at them for 50 years, though not without merit. Finney plays someone who knew Bond when he was a boy…in Scotland. Yeah, keep sucking up to Sean Connery, producers. What he wants is the money owe him, not your slurping.

 

PROBABLY AT GUNPOINT

Life of Pi holds at number five and someone is going to have to make me see this. It’s not happening any other way.

 

AND THEY HAVE THE NERVE TO CALL ACTORS WHORES

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 is down to number five and this final chapter was directed by Bill Condon, but it’s not the first time a “real” director has surprisingly signed up for a franchise.  Alfonso Curaon did one of the Harry Potter films, Michael Apted did Chronicles of Narnia, Paul Greengrass stepped into Jason Bourne and Sam Mendes just did James Bond.  Hey, house payments don’t make themselves.

 

DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH WAITING ON THAT PAC MAN MOVIE

Wreck It Ralph holds at number seven and if you think this is some kind of megahit, think again. It cost $164M to make and has only made $226M worldwide. That’s not even doubling its budget, so it hasn’t even broken even.  You’d think this is surprising given how the world loves video games but this is about arcade games, when most kids today have never even been to one. I doubt if they even got the Qbert joke.

 

I GOT MINE!  I’M OUT!

Playing for Keeps is down to number eight and this also has Catherine Zeta Jones and has she done much since winning her Oscar?  It’s like she got it and stopped caring.  Yeah, she had a baby, but since when has that stopped anyone?  She’s making one film a year if you’re lucky since Chicago. It’s been three films this year, but if this is her idea of a comeback, it’s not working (Playing the Favorite and Rock of Ages were the other two).

 

FOCK THAT BEN STILLER

Red Dawn holds onto number nine like a barnacle, followed up by Silver Linings Playbook re-entering at number ten.  This also benefitted from the Golden Globe nominations this week.  This is actually the second teaming of Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro (the first being Limitless) who has realized this young man earns him both money and respect, unlike Ben Stiller who just made him money.