Tag Archives: The Judge

FOR EVERY MICHAEL DOUGLAS THERE’S AN ERIC DOUGLAS

3 Nov

ap
1. Nightcrawler/ORF                                             Wknd/$ 10.9   Total/$ 10.9
2. Quija/Universal                                                  Wknd/$ 10.9  Total/$ 35.0
3. Fury/Sony                                                            Wknd/$ 9.1     Total/$ 60.4
4. Gone Girl/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 136.6
5. The Book of Life/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 8.3    Total/$ 40.5
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                                       Wknd/$ 7.8    Total/$ 19.5
7. John Wick/LG-S                                                 Wknd/$ 8.1     Total/$ 27.6
8. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney               Wknd/$ 6.5     Total/$ 53.6
9. The Judge/WB                                                    Wknd/$ 4.4     Total/$ 39.6
10. Dracula Untold/Universal                              Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 52.9

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE X-MAN EITHER
Nightcrawler opens at number one, no doubt as a result of some slightly intoxicated Halloween moviegoers who kept wondering when the monster was going to show up. Not that kind of Nightcrawler, kids. While I’m not entirely put off by the premise of a bottom-feeding video journalist who trolls the LA night for crime stories and gets caught up in one, two things put me off: 1) I could care less about Jake Gyllenhaal. Seriously, a different leading man and maybe I make the time. And 2) I seriously could care less about LA. Once again, you set this in San Francisco a real city, one worth seeing at night and again, maybe I make the time. Yes, I know. I’m as fickle as hell.

SHAME ON YOU, REDUX!
Quija is down to number two and once again, America, you should be ashamed. And I’ll shame you again when the sequel comes out as this only cost $5M to make and has now made almost $35M.

MAKE MY DAY…BY MAKING MY SON A STAR
Fury holds at number three and also in this is Scott Eastwood. Yes, son of Clint. May his career turn out a little better than that of his sister, Allison Eastwood, who peaked with a horrible southern accent in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, also directed by dad. He did her no favors with that one. Scott also started working for dad, but under the name of Scott Reeves. Yeah, kid. It may seem honorable, but life is hard enough. If you’re letting your dad give you a job you might as well use name. Otherwise you’re just half-assing it. Take Martha Plimpton for example. She’s a fucking Carradine, but you don’t see her using that name.

YEAH THAT TITLE WAS ALL-TOO-ACCURATE FOR SOME
Gone Girl is down to number four and also in this and unrecognizable as an adult is Patrick Fugit, the kid journalist from “almost famous.” While his starring role clearly didn’t lead to bigger and better things, he’s one of the few from that cast in a movie of this caliber. In fact, let’s play a little “Where Are They Now?” Kate Hudson clearly went on to waste her moment at the “Hot Young Thing” on increasingly vapid romantic comedies and was last seen playing Zach Braff’s wife in another of his vanity projects that his dumb fans actually paid for (while he works on Broadway). Frances McDormand is awesome and is probably awesome on her new HBO series that I will never see. Jason Lee of course had My Name is Earl and is clearly looking for a new series as it didn’t have the syndication success like the godawful crapfests of How I Met Your Mother or Big Bang Theory. Zooey Deschanel obviously has New Girl though never became a big screen star because that eccentric cutesy thing is annoying. Anna Paquin had the two-fer of The X-Men and True Blood, while Fairuza Balk needs to get the band back together and make that Craft sequel if she wants people to care about her again. Billy Crudup has stayed on the big screen in A-list movies though in supporting roles, while doing stage work, indie films and leaving his wife for Clair Danes (who’s now married to someone else). And we know what happened to poor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hey, did you remember that Jimmy Fallon was in it too?

ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN SCARLETT JOHANNSON
The Book of Life is down to number five, followed by John Wick at number six and also in this is Adrienne Palicki as a hit woman with no code of honor who comes after John Wick on a place where even the criminals don’t shed blood. She’s also currently on Agents of SHIELD as Mockingbird, whom geeks like me know eventually marries Hawkeye (they were clearly Marvel’s answer to Green Arrow and Black Canary). And before this she was in the never-aired Wonder Woman pilot and the G.I. Joe sequel. She was also briefly teased as being Supergirl on Smallville, but turned out to be a human who just thought she was Superman’s cousin. With this resume, she looks to be on the fast track to being an action hero in her own right which I’d welcome as she’s 5’11.” Action heroes should be bigger than life.

YES, HE’S ONE OF THOSE GETTYS
St. Vincent is down to number seven followed by Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day and The Judge at number nine, and also in this is Balthazar Getty. Remember him? Exactly.

THE REST OF THE WORLD SUCKS JUST AS MUCH
Finally, Dracula Untold holds onto the ten slot for one more week, but now that Halloween is over that reprieve is pretty much over. But this thing made $136M overseas so remember that when people tell you Americans have no taste.

THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR PART 2

Madame Secretary
You know how you wanted a combination of The Good Wife and Scandal? No? Well, someone clearly thought you did. As a rule, I avoid any show where a rule-breaker gets a position that no rule breaker could ever get. You don’t rise to the top of any established position “playing by your own rules.” At best that means you undo your tie after 5:00, so as much as I like Tea Leoni (third redhead of a certain age to get her own show after The Mysteries of Laura and Bad Judge) I was somewhat skeptical of this, but I gave it a shot and the commercials made it seem much worse than it is. It’s not a bad show, but it’s still The Good Wife mixed in with a little Scandal and I haven’t watched The Good Wife in three years and I can’t bear Scandal, though to its credit Scandal realizes you can’t really take stories about conspiracies in Washington DC seriously. Madame Secretary lost any chance of me returning when we find out at the end of the first episode the previous secretary of state was not only murdered, but his entire flight brought down just to kill him…which was a point of discussion on Arrow last week. Yeah. This is what they want me to take seriously.

Marry Me
This is from the creators of Happy Endings and starring one of its actors. So, how much like it is this show? About the same. And oddly that’s why I can’t watch it. It reminds me too much of the show that I lost. It’s like trying to date your dead girlfriend’s sister. Let me put it this way: remember Derrick, the flamboyantly gay guy Max introduced Penny to? He appears on this show. Yeah.

Jane The Virgin
In the tradition of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Cougar Town a great show has been cursed with a horrible title. Let me put it this way: even though it got great reviews I still was not going to watch this until my baby sister insisted. It’s basically a spoof of a soap opera, complete with an omniscient narrator, constant flashbacks and onscreen texts telling you what people are thinking. Jane is traumatized by her grandmother (and her mother giving birth to Jane at 16) into hanging onto her virginity, hence the surprise when what should have been a simple pap smear result in her being artificially inseminated by a doctor who was distracted by the fact that her wife had cheated on her. The intended recipient of the sperm was in fact the doctor’s sister-in-law as her husband (the doctor’s brother) was now sterile due to cancer treatments. The same cancer treatments that reformed him from a bad boy into the responsible manager of a hotel…where Jane works. Oh, and five years ago she and the hotel manager kissed. And the wife was only trying to get pregnant to keep her marriage going until the terms of her pre-nup were satisfied. Did I mention the owner of the hotel is the father of the doctor and hotel manager and that his wife is the doctor’s former lover? It’s so much fun and only been on a month so catching up is easy. Do it!

Constantine
Yes, this is the same character from the movie with Keanu Reeves, which was basically Constantine in name only, with little resemblance to the character, starting with him being a barely moral Englishman constantly in a dirty raincoat who battles demons by being nearly as mean as them himself, willing to do whatever it takes to win, even sacrificing the innocent. It was a serviceable enough pilot though I admit if he weren’t a comic book character I was familiar with I probably wouldn’t be watching. I don’t watch Supernatural or Grimm because they just insulted my intelligence off the bat (every demon lives in freaking Portland!?!). This was better than that, but still not really drawing me in with the “monster of the week” format. It needs to have something more, which will hopefully be tied to the greater DC Comics Universe. I don’t mean a crossover with Arrow, but there are a lot of supernatural characters and if they’re going to show up (we’ve already seen the helmet of Dr. Fate) I’ll hang around.

The Flash
Needless to say I love it. It already started off better than Arrow because it had the advantage of being spun off of that show and learning from its mistakes. It successfully translates the comic to the screen in a way that attracts new viewers but satisfies geeks like me. THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE FUCKING GORILLA GRODD ON THE SHOW! GORRILA GRODD!

Mulaney
My god. One of the worst shows you will ever see. Imagine a 10-year-old boy watching Seinfeld then growing up to being a comedian himself then trying to recreate it. Well drop that in shit and you’ll have this show.

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JUST TED’S BLOODY ADVENTURE

27 Oct

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1. Quija/Universal                                        Wknd/$ 20.0    Total/$ 20.0
2. John Wick/LG-S                                      Wknd/$ 14.1     Total/$ 14.1
3. Fury/Sony                                                  Wknd/$ 13.0    Total/$ 46.1
4. Gone Girl/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 11.1     Total/$ 124.1
5. The Book of Life/Fox                               Wknd/$ 9.8     Total/$ 29.9
6. St. Vincent/Weinstein                             Wknd/$ 8.1      Total/$ 9.2
7. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney     Wknd/$ 7. 0     Total/$ 45.5
8. The Best of Me/Relativity                      Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 17.7
9. The Judge/WB                                         Wknd/$ 4.3      Total/$ 34.4
10. Dracula Untold/Universal                   Wknd/$ 9.9      Total/$ 40.7

I CAN’T SEE A TOMORROW ANY LONGER
Quija opens at number one and we should all be ashamed of this. A movie based unapologetically on a board game? With Michael Bay as a producer? For a moment I thought there was hope when we banded together as a people and rejected Battleship, but now…I just don’t know.

YOU NEED TO LAUGH A LITTLE AS BODIES HIT THE FLOOR
John Wick opens at number two and if the plot of this seems familiar it’s because it’s pretty much the same plot as The Equalizer which came out a month ago: a retired assassin goes on a killing spree when the Russian mob crosses him. Both end with showdowns in the rain (though an artificial in the case of The Equalizer) and both star an aging leading man, in this case Keanu Reeves now in his 50’s. Yeah, you a old muthafucka. The difference being this is much better, starting with the utter lack of pretense of saving someone or righting some wrong. Nope. John Wick is out for revenge, pure and simple and will kill anyone who gets in his way. It just so happens everyone he kills is a bad guy. If a cop had killed the puppy left to him by his late wife the way the son of the Russian Mob boss does you get the feeling he’d have wiped out the New York Police Department with the same lack of hesitation. Not that NYPD is anywhere to be seen as every action scene leaves more bodies on the ground than the last act of Hamlet (one cop is seen in New Jersey and knows better than to get involved…which is authentic Jersey). No, this is one of those films with a romantic fantasy depiction of organized crime, where they have their own hotels and clubs and everyone knows and respects everyone and there’s discipline and honor. Hell, there even seems to be a dress code. Pretty sure the inability to exist in a world of rules is what makes people into criminals, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s fantasy and it’s fun and the latter is what helps to elevate it over The Equalizer. There’s a dry sense of humor about all the carnage and nowhere more than in the primary antagonist. The first rule of action films is that your hero is only as good as your villain and there’s a good one here in the Russian Mob Boss. Now, in every action movie someone delivers the perfunctory expository monologue about how dangerous and deadly the hero is. Richard Crenna’s speech about Rambo in First Blood is the benchmark of this. Here the mob boss gives it to his son and when his son says he can handle Wick, there’s almost a metatextual response of frustration from the mob boss who says “Did he not hear what I just said!?!” At that moment he became the audience who has seen dozens of henchmen ignore these speeches and wanted to yell at the screen the exact same thing. And it’s not just him. This humor comes from a variety of characters throughout the film, all nicely portrayed by character actors who lend the film texture generic actioners often lack. It’s also good to have them when your leading man is Keanu Reeves, whom I like, but is far from the most magnetic personality to hit the screen. In that respect, The Equalizer does come out on top.

FACTS IS FACTS
Fury is down to number three and my friends confirmed what I suspected: any movie with Shia Lebouf in it blows. No exceptions.

YOU KNOW WHO DID ASCEND? MIRA SORVINO. EXACTLY.
Gone Girl is down to number four and also in this is Kim Dickens who seemed positioned to be the next indie film “It Girl” as I seemed to see her in every other art film at the end of the 20th century and one of Showtime’s first attempts at a series (with none other than indie king Eric Stoltz and Justine Bateman’s huge nipples). Alas, she never ascended, but I’m still glad to see her around, especially in a major, A-list film like this providing solid support as the detective investigating the disappearance of Rosamund Pike.

SOMETHING’S GONNA STICK
The Book of Life is down to number five and providing the voice to one of the characters is none other than Channing Tatum, clearly the hardest working man in show business. I have to respect someone who doesn’t just strike the iron while it’s hot, but wisely. He’s made a wide variety of choices from silly comedy (21 Jump Street) to action (White House Down) to romantic drama (The Vow) big budget sci-fi (Jupiter Ascending which was supposed to come out over the summer) to Oscar-bait drama (Foxcatcher opening this fall) to this, which isn’t some Dreamworks or Pixar guaranteed moneymaker, but a little off the beaten path. It suggests he’s actually looking for things that are interesting.

BUT HE WON’T DO A GHOSTBUSTERS SEQUEL
St. Vincent enters the top ten and this may be the third of an unofficial trilogy of Bill Murray that started with Meatballs and continued in Rushmore of the jaded older man who bonds with a boy. This might explain my lack of desire to see it. I’ve seen it done before and so well I don’t see how this could be better.

WRITING FULLY REALIZED CHARACTERS IZ HARD
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is down to number seven, followed by The Best of Me at number eight and The Judge at number nine and also in this is…Leighton Meester!?! Blair Waldorf? Yeah, I don’t get it either. She’s Vera Farmiga’s daughter that Robert Downey Jr. makes out with not knowing who she is. This is an example the some of the weaker writing in the film. They want this little surprise twist without thinking of what it takes to exist, which is sadly common in any movie or TV show about a guy who leaves home and is gone for years. Now it would be one thing if Vera Farmiga had also left town, but as it stands we’re supposed to believe that for twenty years he hasn’t heard a single thing about his high school love from anyone in his family who all still live in the same town. We’re also told his mother was close to her, but somehow never mentioned that his ex had a child twenty years ago. And even though he loved his mother, apparently he also has never been home once in twenty years to visit her. We know he has never taken his daughter to his home, but apparently no one travelled to see her either. There’s a repeated line from Very Famiga about him going to a Metallica concert and never being seen again that’s never elaborated upon. Probably because they never thought beyond that line.

LEARNING FROM THE MISTAKES OF LEONARD NIMOY
Finally, Dracula Untold closes out the top ten at number ten and also in this is Dominic Cooper, better known to you as Iron Man’s dad, Howard Stark. And how happy is he that Agent Carter got her own series that he can appear on and continue to draw from the Mighty Marvel Money Machine? Very happy indeed.

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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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