Tag Archives: The Monuments Men

THIS! IS! CRAP!

9 Mar

300

 1. 300: Rise of an Empire/Warner            Wknd/$  45.1            Total/$  45.1

 2. Mr. Peabody & Sherman/Fox                Wknd/$  32.5            Total/$  32.5

 3. Non-Stop/Universal                                 Wknd/$  15.4            Total/$  52.1

 4. The LEGO Movie/WB                             Wknd/$   11.0            Total/$ 225.0

 5. Son of God/Fox                                         Wknd/$  10.0            Total/$  41.5

 6. The Monuments Men/Sony                    Wknd/$    3.1            Total/$   70.6

 7. 3 Days To Kill/Relativity                          Wknd/$    3.1            Total/$   25.6 6.

 8. Frozen/Disney                                           Wknd/$    3.0            Total/$ 393.1

 9. 12 Years A Slave/FoxSearchlight            Wknd/$    2.2            Total/$   53.1

10. Ride Along/Universal                               Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$  123.2

 

IF THIS WERE A ROCK STAR IT’D BE DAVID COVERDALE

300: Rise of an Empire opens at number one and before seeing this, 21st Century Movie Buddy and I had a few drinks.  Now, when I say “before” I mean I smuggled a 32 oz container of hard cider with a few shots of whiskey in it into the theater. That 32 ounces was not enough tells you all you need to know. 300 was not a good movie, but it was at least fun to watch and not boring. In addition to not being good, this is not fun to watch and is mostly boring; the trifecta of suck.  In a weird way this almost validates crap filmmakers like Michael Bay and Zack Synder much in the same way the $50M attempted makeover of Jessica Simpson into a dance pop princess validated Brittney Spears: it’s harder than it looks (it ended Tommy Mottola’s tenure at Sony). No, it’s not art but some kind of effective skill is clearly needed.  Needless to say director Noam Murro lacks these skills. Yes, he’s hobbled by Zack Synder still writing and producing, but his previous effort was a talking head movie with Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid called Smart People and that wasn’t much good either, so his skills are questionable in any arena.  In actual history while Leonidas and the 300 (not to mention twice the number of slaves and additional Greeks, so the number was closer to 5,000) were fighting on land, there was another war being waged at sea by Themistocles, which he won. While Athens itself actually burned, the people themselves had been evacuated, the culture survived and the Persians were finally stopped a year later in the battle that’s about to start at the end of 300. This was supposedly going to be that story…except it’s not.  It’s so desperate to tie itself to 300, it forgets to be its own film (they even open like the first with a narration telling you that the hero of the story is the person who partially caused the trouble and it is equally erroneous).  Basically every actor from 300 they could get to make an appearance is here. Xerxes, the queen, the guy who was sent back, the emissary who was thrown into the pit, even the hunchback.  Sadly, all played by the original actors whom you think would have moved on to better things and been able to say no. Even Lena Headey who has enjoyed a bump thanks to Game of Thrones is here (then again, she’s in the middle of a messy divorce and probably needed the cash).  Even the physiques of the male actors, for which the first film is most famous, is inferior. They couldn’t even get a trainer as good as the first. Now that’s just sad.

 

THIS TRICK NEVER WORKS

Mr. Peabody and Sherman opens at number two and while I hold a special place in my heart for these characters and was considering seeing it I ultimately gave it a pass because as part of the Jay Ward universe of Rocky & Bullwinkle and George of the Jungle the heart of the humor was the self-aware satire.  They mocked their cheap animation as world much as they were part of it.  This a $145M CGI feature. Not much to mock there.  Well, actually there’s a lot to mock about spending $145M on a near 50-year-old cartoon that wasn’t even title character (it was part of The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show), but the trailer shows they aren’t even trying. This kind of misses the point to me, but I will watch when it shows up on cable next year.

 

BABY, SHE’S A STAR

Non Stop is down to number three and shouldn’t they be broadcasting that it also stars Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o?  Strike the iron while it’s hot, kids. In fact, between Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore and Lupita, there’s a boatload of all kinds of nominations and awards…and more people will see this than any of those films that earned them.  Same for Liam Neeson’s other film on this top ten, The Lego Movie, now down to number four. Real talk.

 

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL

Son of God is down to number five, followed by The Monuments Men at number six and Three Days to Kill at number seven and also in this is Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld who is learning as Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore have that nominations are nice, but they pay for jack shit.  Gotta do the popcorn movies too. Though hopefully better ones than this. Liam Neeson will always need someone to play his kids that are threatened so he can whoop some ass.

 

LEMONS FROM LEMONADE

Surprisingly Frozen got no Oscar bump from wining Best Animated Film. I’m sure the fact that the Academy utterly screwed up Idina Menzel’s performance didn’t help her.  Not only did they rush her, but also a verse was clearly cut.  The Roots did better with children’s instruments on The Tonight Show. Fortunately for her that was all overlooked thanks to John Travolta screwing up her name, which actually put her name on everyone’s lips the next day.

 

LIKE A WELL-MADE VEGETARIAN DISH; GOOD FOR YOU TO EAT, BUT YOU ‘D PREFER NOT TO MAKE A HABIT OF IT

12 Years a Slave did get a bounce for its Oscar wins back into the top ten at number nine. Now I said when it came out this was the type of film I’d probably see only if it got Oscars nominations and even then only on the day of.  That’s how I did Schindler’s List and this was the same. It’s good. It’s very good, but it’s difficult to watch for reasons you might expect. Accurate depictions of slave conditions will never be G-rated or for the weak of stomach and sadly, many of the things that transpire were taken directly from the book written by Solomon Northrup. I can’t really fault anyone for wanting to take a pass for that very reason, though like Schindler’s List when it’ s this good it’s something you need to do…and then you have a built-in excuse not to see any others.

 

MUCH LIKE THAT COFFEE, PEOPLE COMPLAIN, BUT THEY KEEP BUYING

Finally, Ride Along hangs on like a freaking barnacle. I blame the endless winter.  Cabin fever forces people to leave their homes, but the cold means they have to find another place to keep warm.  And it’s cheaper than Starbucks.

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ALL LIAM NEESON, ALL THE TIME

2 Mar

cv-liam-neeson-season

 

1. Non-Stop/Universal                               Wknd/$  30.0            Total/$  30.0

 2. Son of God/Fox                                      Wknd/$  26.5            Total/$  26.5

 3. The LEGO Movie/WB                           Wknd/$  21.0            Total/$  209.3

 4. The Monuments Men/Sony                 Wknd/$    5.0            Total/$   65.7

 5. 3 Days To Kill/Relativity                       Wknd/$    4.9            Total/$   20.7

 6. RoboCop/Sony                                        Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$   51.2

 7. Pompeii/TriStar                                      Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$   17.7

 8. Frozen/Disney                                         Wknd/$    3.6            Total/$ 388.7

 9. About Last Night/SG                              Wknd/$    7.4            Total/$   43.8

10. Ride Along/Universal                            Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$  123.2

 

NOW THIS IS HOW A LIAM NEESON MOVIE PERFORMS, COSTNER!

Really Jesus? Did you think you could stand up to the mature action whirlwind that is Liam Neeson?  Yes, once again Liam Neeson defies the odds and carries an action film to number one with no help from anyone (somewhere Sylvester Stallone shakes his head as he counts up how much money he had to divide amongst the 25 stars in The Expendables 3), while Son of God…if God Was A Surfer opens at number two.  I was there for Taken, but I’ve given the rest of Neeson’s “Old Guys Kick Ass Too” oeuvre a pass and this is no exception.  It didn’t help that it reminded me too much of Jodie Foster’s movie, Flightplan in that the very premise, while initially intriguing ultimately comes across as both dumb and unbelievable unless everyone had a brain tumor for breakfast. Coincidentally that’s the same reason I didn’t see Son of God.

 

ZEUS & CHRIST VS. TOYS

Liam Neeson’s power extends itself to The LEGO Movie down to number three. Seriously, it took Liam Neeson and Jesus to pry this movie from the top spot and Liam Neeson is actually in The LEGO Movie as “Good Cop/Bad Cop” which is a hysterical riff on every action movie you’ve ever seen.  Best gag: every time Bad Cop appears someone provides him a chair to kick, even when he’s on a spaceship.

 

LESS IS MORE, CRASH DAVIS

The Monuments Men rises to number four because maybe people are realizing it’s not as bad as some say. I think expectations were deservedly high on this, but once you let those go it’s not the worst way you can spend two hours. Yes, I’m looking at you, 3 Days to Kill down to number five, because a silly action film that’s clearly on the lighter side should not be two freaking hours long. Let me put it this way: Liam Neeson, whom you’re clearly trying to be here? His action comeback film, Taken, was only 93 minutes.  Boom! In yo’ face!

 

YOU COULDN’T FIND A ROLE FOR ADAM WEST?

Robocop is down to number six and this actually has two generations of Batman films in it.  Michael Keaton, who sucked as Bruce Wayne (I’ll maintain to my grave that Batman is not a skinny, ugly, balding guy with no chin) and Gary Oldman, who was perfectly cast as Commissioner Gordon. Think they talked about it? No, me neither.

 

CASSIA’S MOM HAS GOT IT GOING ON…

Pompeii is down to number seven and also in this is Carrie-Anne Moss and how much do you think she misses the days of The Matrix?  Try doubling that and you might come close.  Her moment of heat was not well spent so here she is in the latest of a series of “hot mom” roles.

 

BECAUSE IT HASN’T MADE ENOUGH MONEY

Frozen is holding at number eight, but expect a bounce once it wins the Oscar for Best Song tonight.

 

HOW CAN WE MISS YOU IF YOU WON’T GO AWAY

About Last Night and Ride Along close out the top ten at nine and ten respectively, meaning we’re finally taking a break from Kevin Hart… until his next 12 movies over the next three months. I’m kidding. Well, I hope I am anyway.

I KNOW LIAM NEESON AND YOU, COSTNER ARE NO LIAM NEESON

23 Feb

600full-michael-ealy

 1. The LEGO Movie/WB                             Wknd/$  31.5            Total/$  183.2

 2. 3 Days To Kill/Relativity                        Wknd/$  12.3            Total/$   12.3

 3. Pompeii/TriStar                                       Wknd/$  10.0            Total/$   10.0

 4. RoboCop/Sony                                          Wknd/$    9.4            Total/$   43.6

 5. The Monuments Men/Sony                    Wknd/$    8.1            Total/$   58.1

 6. About Last Night/SG                                Wknd/$    7.4            Total/$   38.2

 7. Ride Along/Universal                               Wknd/$   4.7             Total/$  123.2

 8. Frozen/Disney                                            Wknd/$   4.4            Total/$ 384.1

 9. Endless Love/Universal                           Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$   20.1

10. Winter’s Tale/Warner                             Wknd/$    2.1            Total/$    11.2

 

MORE LIKE TWO HOURS OF YOUR LIFE MURDERED

The LEGO Movie holds on to number one for a deserved third straight week followed by 3 Days To Kill, opening at number two and I was actually prepared to see this for some silly action fun…until I found out the director was none other than the horrific McG.  Out of the unholy Trinity of bad, blockbuster directors who blew up in the late 90’s early ‘00’s of Brett Ratner, Michael Bay and McG, McG is by far the worst and that’s saying something.  He tanked the Terminator franchise much in the way Ratner was the first stumble in the X-Men franchise (until the Wolverine films showed it could get much, much worse…). Like the other two, he tried to show he could do a film about people and like the other two he failed miserably with We Are Marshall. He’s just a painfully untalented man, but sad proof that crap does float in that he’s still allowed to try and direct films.  There was hope that he’d been reduced to his talent level: directing for TV after the flop that was This Is War, which put a damper on the rising stars of Chris Pine and Tom Hardy (and killed any attempt by Reese Witherspoon to return to her early-century glory days), but no, he’s back and bringing Kevin Costner’s comeback attempts to a screeching halt in this clear attempt to try and horn in on Liam Neeson’s crown as the “mature” action star. Seriously, why do actors work with this guy?  Lucky for both of them it only cost $28M so a $12m opening isn’t the worst thing in the world, but next week the real Liam Neeson is back and guess which film is going to suffer most for it?

 

A DIRECTOR BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD SUCK JUST AS MUCH

Speaking of bad films from untalented directors, Pompeii opens poorly at number three and this is from none other than Paul W.S. Anderson. The “W.S” to let you know he’s not the Paul Anderson making actual films like Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood. No, this is the guy keeping his own wife’s career in the Farm Leagues thanks to the Resident Evil franchise. What’s sad is that there’s an actual historical precedent for this story in that the remains of a rich woman and man were found in the arena at Pompeii suggesting maybe they’d snuck there for a rendezvous because no one else was around. Oh, you didn’t know? Anyone and everyone who could get out of Pompeii had gotten the hell out. Its eruption wasn’t some surprise that caught a city off guard, so let’s kill that myth once and for all.  Think this film reflects that given how Anderson has been bragging about his research? Me neither.  Needless to say he’s already working on the next Resident Evil film…

 

MAYBE EMINEM DOES SAVE DETROIT AFTER ALL

Robocop is down to number four and one major problem with this film is that he really doesn’t need to be Robocop to get the bad guy. In the original Alex Murphy was one of many cops set up to be injured in order to become the subject of the procedure.  Here, it’s just a coincidence that he’s almost killed when they’re looking for a subject.  Also when he tracks down his “killer” there’s nothing special about how he does it. He tracks one phone to another phone, finds him and kills him. That’s it.  No special cyborg abilities needed which makes you wonder why they couldn’t catch this guy to begin with. Yes, there are corrupt cops protecting the bad guy, but since Murphy and his partner aren’t telling people what they’re doing anyway, there’s no way they could have been stopped.  He doesn’t get blown up, he never becomes Robocop.  Not to mention why does Detroit in this future need a Robocop to begin with given it doesn’t have any of the urban decay we saw in the original…or now.?  Seriously, this Detroit is better than the current Detroit.  In a better film that would be the satirical point, but here it’s just another sign of ineptitude.

 

PRETTY…BORING

The Monuments Men is down to number five followed by About Last Night at number six and also in this are Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant and it’s okay if you missed them because as it turns out the screenwriter was actually told to bump the supporting characters over the leads, which actually wound up making them the leads and the former leads are now just straight men despite being much more attractive. This makes sense if, like me, you remember just how utterly boring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore were, despite being pretty and naked.  And if their names sound familiar it’s because they were briefly “Hot Young Things.”  Michael Ealy was Halle Berry’s co-star in the Oprah Produced (key words) TV adaptation of “Their Eyes Were Watching God” which meant everyone knew his name for 5 minutes.  Joy Bryant is a former model (which meant Ealy was probably standing on a box for most of his scenes with her).  She was hot briefly in the early part of this century thanks to her first big role being in Denzel Washington’s directorial debut, Antwone Fisher.  Well that and dating 50 Cent during the making of Get Rich or Die Trying.

 

BWC –BRUTHAS WITH CASH

Ride Along, Kevin Hart’s other film in the top ten is down to number seven and this has made $123M off a $25M budget so I’m guessing they’re backing up a truck of money to Kevin Hart’s house for a sequel. In the meantime it’s Ice Cube’s turn to now ignore Chris Tucker calling doing about another Friday movie. He’s got a new cash cow to do the heavy lifting.

 

AS A CANADIAN HE’S TOO NICE TO TURN CRAP DOWN

Frozen holds at number eight, followed by Endless Love at number nine and it hurts me that Bruce Greenwood is in this.  He deserves so much better.

 

ONE OF THESE HEARTTHROBS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER

Finally Winter’s Tale closes out the top ten at number ten and the other guy who can’t buy a hit in this movie? None other than Russell Crowe. Remember when he was mentioned in the same breath as George Clooney on Sex & The City?  Betcha he does.  Clooney was in Gravity last year. Know that Crowe was in? Man of Steel. That says it all.  You know what Crowe was doing while Clooney was getting an Oscar for producing Argo?  Getting mocked for his singing in Les Miserables.

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ASSAULT OF THE 80’S REMAKES!

18 Feb

jennifer_connelly_05

 1. The LEGO Movie/WB                             Wknd/$  50.0            Total/$  130.3

 2. About Last Night/SG                               Wknd/$  25.7            Total/$   25.7

 3. RoboCop/Sony                                          Wknd/$  21.7            Total/$   26.4

 4. The Monuments Men/Sony                   Wknd/$  15.5            Total/$   44.2

 5. Endless Love/Universal                          Wknd/$  13.2            Total/$   13.2

 6. Ride Along/Universal                              Wknd/$   8.7             Total/$  116.1

 7. Winter’s Tale/Warner                              Wknd/$   7.3             Total/$     7.3

 8. Frozen/Disney                                           Wknd/$   6.2             Total/$ 376.4

 9. Lone Survivor/Universal                         Wknd/$   4.1              Total/$  118.4 

10. That Awkward Moment                          Wknd/$   3.4              Total/$   21.5

 

2ND BEST BATMAN SONG EVER

The LEGO Movie holds deservedly at number one and one particular instance of its brilliance is its skewering of Batman, though it’s sad to say, their version could be dropped into any Christopher Nolan Batman without a single change made to it so often those films crossed over to self-parody. I love my comic book superheroes, but too many geeks take it too seriously, which is why this Batman is awesome. Especially his theme song, which sums up the “modern” Batman perfectly: “DARKNESS…NO PARENTS…CONTINUED DARKNESS…MORE DARKNESS, GET IT?…THE OPPOSITE OF LIGHT…” Simply. Awesome.

 

THOUGH KEVIN HART IS  A DRAMATIC IMPROVEMENT OVER JIM BELUSHI

About Last Night begins the “Assault of the 80’s Remakes” with this remake of the 80’s film, because it sure as hell isn’t an adaptation of the of the original David Mamet play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago.”  They tried to take a Mamet play and make it into a romantic comedy-drama. Yeah, that pretty much ended up how you’d expect.  This looks like it abandoned the drama completely which is a wise idea but I was too traumatized by that horrible original film to even think of giving this a shot. Not to mention enough already with Kevin Hart. I understand you have to make that money while you can because you’ll be Tommy Davidson before you know it, but there’s such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  You can actually cause your own demise with over-saturation. Especially when you’re just playing the same character over and over again, which is yourself.

 

MECHANIZED POLICE MAN ISN’T AS CATCHY

Robocop is our second entry in the “Assault of the 80’s Remakes” and this joins the recent Superman and Star Trek reboots under “Most Clueless Remakes Ever.”  The original was a bloody, satirical, action adventure film.  This is a PG13 drama with a little action and zero satire.  I realized that they’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t try to do an original film, but if you’re going to go this far off the reservation then don’t call it Superman, don’t call it Star Trek and don’t call it Robocop.  But they realize that no one wants to see their version of a superhero, their version of a space opera and their version of a cyborg police officer so they slap a name you know on it, sprinkle it liberally with cultural touchstones and boom! Instant hit, right?  Wrong. This will join Total Recall as another failure to understand what made Paul Verhoven’s films successful.  A $100M budget with a $22M opening weekend is not good. What’s sadder is that this isn’t a bad film. It’s just not a very good one and definitely not a Robocop film. It’s a drama about man struggling with his humanity after being made into 90% machine.  This would be a pretty decent pilot for a TV series but for a major motion picture it’s a dud and for a movie called “Robocop” it’s a complete and utter failure.

 

THE PRICE OF HUBRIS

The Monument Men is down to number four and being a fan of schadenfreude I know it when I see it and I see it here with people cackling at George Clooney’s writing/directing/starring flop.  It’s not a bad movie but he’s been too handsome and too successful for too long so at the first sign of weakness the vultures come out.  Not that it’s entirely undeserved. I’ve no doubt this was his attempt to have his own Argo and “beat” Ben Affleck, who is a great director and has an Oscar for screenwriting but has a miserable failure as a leading man, while Clooney has been a very successful leading man and received minor acclaim for directing and writing (remember Good Night And Good Luck, Leather Heads, The Ides of March? I didn’t think so).  Bear in mind Clooney was a producer of Argo and actually got an Oscar for it!  But clearly it wasn’t enough and as they say, pride goeth before the fall.

 

YES, I DO MIND

Endless Love rounds out our “Assault of 80’s Remakes” opening at number five and may be the least of them all and that’s sad because the original was no great shakes but at least that had Franco Zeffirelli who knew a little something about star-crossed lovers (he directed the most acclaimed movie version of Romeo & Juliet) and people knew who Brooke Shields was.  Alex Pettyfer was one of the stars of Magic Mike but people wouldn’t know him if they saw him in the street.  But the biggest crime has to be the loss of the most successful part of the original movie: the theme song by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross!  Then again who would do it? Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez? I think not.

 

FACE IT.

Ride Along is down to number six giving Kevin Hart two films in the top ten.  Two very successful films in the top ten.  Sigh.

 

NOBODY LIKES YOU. SERIOUSLY.

Winter’s Tale opens at number seven and I thought Colin Farrell was making a nice little comeback playing supporting roles.  He should have stuck to that plan because clearly no one wants to see him in a leading role.  No one.  Not to mention my own personal pet peeve of when producers keep casting guys who were once the “Hot New Thing” in young roles after they’ve clearly aged out of them. Ewan McGregor is no longer in his 20’s but you wouldn’t know it from the roles he’s still being cast in or the age of his leading ladies.  Neither is Colin Farrell, but again you wouldn’t know it by the 13 years his junior leading lady.  You know who’s closer to his age? The gorgeous Jennifer Connelly who is also his co-star but god forbid she be cast younger than her actual age or his love interest.  This is based on a book that people love given the way they’re ripping the film version apart.  I never read the book, but I know this looked awful and that was enough for me. Being directed by the man who wrote Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Lost In Space, I Robot and I Am Legend was merely the cherry on top.

 

EVERYONE’S COMING OUT SONG FROM THIS POINT ON

Frozen is down to number eight and can a day go by without yet another person doing a cover of “Let It Go?” I guess not.

 

MATH IS ACTUALLY THEIR FRIEND

Lone Survivor is down to number nine followed by That Awkward Moment closing out the top ten at number ten and while some may laugh and call this a failure, the laugh’s on them.  It only cost $8M and has made $22M domestically. That’s not a failure, kids.  Robocop and Endless Love wish they were that successful.

 

 

 

THAT MEGA BLOCKS MOVIE IS STRAIGHT TO VIDEO

9 Feb

watersbros

 1. The LEGO Movie/WB                         Wknd/$  69.1            Total/$   69.1

 2. The Monuments Men/Sony               Wknd/$  22.7            Total/$   22.7

 3. Ride Along/Universal                          Wknd/$   9.4             Total/$  105.2

 4. Frozen/Disney                                       Wknd/$   6.9             Total/$ 368.7

 5. That Awkward Moment                       Wknd/$   5.5             Total/$   16.8

 6. Lone Survivor/Universal                     Wknd/$   5.3             Total/$  112.6

 7. Vampire Academy/Weinstein             Wknd/$   4.1             Total/$     4.1

 8. The Nut Job/ORF                                  Wknd/$   3.8            Total/$   55.1

 9. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit/Par         Wknd/$   3.6            Total/$   44.5

10. Labor Day/Paramount                         Wknd/$   3.2            Total/$   10.2

 

STILL WAITING ON THAT PLAY DOH MOVIE

Opening at number one is The LEGO Movie and I’m pretty sure this is the greatest movie ever made. Okay, maybe not “ever” but certainly in my lifetime. Okay, maybe not my lifetime, but definitely this year…so far.  What could a have been a two hour commercial for Lego toys (and I’m not saying it still isn’t) is a near brilliant satire of everything from action movies to other children’s films which are essentially toy commercials to the adults who still buy toys with a fanatical devotion. Wait. What are you looking at me for!?!  The LEGO Movie joins Toy Story in that rarified air of being more than just the wet dream of the marketing department but an actual film in its own right. The main target of its satire is the heroic concept of the average man being “the chosen one” on when everyone around him devotedly helping him is clearly more qualified for the job ,starting with the acolyte who finds “the chosen one.”  In The Matrix it was Morpheus. In Star Wars it was Obi Wan Kenobi. Here it’s the woman known as “Wild Style” who must continually face the question as to whether or not she’s a DJ.  The hero is Emmett who is such a blank slate he spends most of the movie having everyone from Wild Style to Batman (who practically steals the movie) telling him he’s the dumbest man alive.  Try and watch Trinity and Neo now. The jokes come fast and furious, not slowing down for adults, much less the kids who were presumably its main audience but it’s obvious from the beginning with jokes about $32 coffee and conformity that a great deal of this is aimed at their parents who are undoubtedly grateful having sat through a million family films a year without a brain in any of their CGI heads.

 

OCEAN’S 14…MINUS 7

Opening at number two is The Monuments Men, which is based on a the true story of a group of soldiers in WWII assigned to protect the art treasures that Hitler not only looted from Europe but wanted destroyed if he lost.  Talk about the ultimate sore loser. It’s one thing to take your toys and go home, but to take someone else’s? This one of those well-intentioned films that gets an “A” for effort, but not for what it actually manages to accomplish.  A story like this, which is so easily “good vs. evil” would seem to be an easy home run, but maybe it’s too easy, so easy Clooney thought he could do it all (he writes and directs along with being the star).  Ben Affleck accomplished something similar but his virtue is that even as an Oscar winning screenwriter, never thought he could write it himself (if I didn’t know better, I’d say Clooney was competing just a little bit).  A little modesty might have done Clooney some good and ceded the writing to one person and the direction to another as the story just seems to wander from Point A to Point B with little suspense or momentum, which is odd given it’s about the fall of the Nazi empire and the race to save irreplaceable treasures.  Only when a competing faction of Soviet soldiers who plan on keeping the works for themselves do we even get a hint of tension, but it’s not enough. The movie is placed fully on the backs of its amenable stars and luckily for Clooney you’d be hard pressed to find a more likable group of actors than Matt Damon, Billy Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin and Clooney himself. Watching them be charming and save western culture actually was enough for me but I understand if some need a bit more dramatic heft. I’ve no doubt the History Channel is preparing a special that will be twice as interesting in half the time. If you’ve seen the special about the 300 Spartans you know what I’m talking about.

 

YOUR MOST ROMANTIC MOMENTS ARE USUALLY SPENT NAKED ANYWAY

Ride Along is down to number three, followed by Frozen at number four (a victim of a children’s film actually worth seeing) and That Awkward Moment down to number five and I didn’t realize this was Rated R which is odd for romantic comedies, but something I actually support. I’m still not going to see this, but I support the idea that not every romcom needs to be rated PG. Four Weddings & A Funeral remains one of my favorites and opens with a nonstop you use of f**k and one of the funniest scenes has Hugh Grant trapped by newlyweds who can’t stop boning.

 

AS OF THIS MOMENTS JOKES ABOUT BAD VAMPIRE MOVIES SUCKING ARE FORBIDDEN

Lone Survivor is down to number six followed by Vampire Academy opening at number seven and this was an unfortunately full weekend so I didn’t get to see the film that was actually at the top of my list, having been written and directed by the brothers who brought the world Heathers and its nicer sister, Mean Girls. You’d think with that pedigree and vampires on top of it all this would have been given a larger push, but it was clear from the beginning that they didn’t know what to do with this latest attempt to turn a supernatural young adult book series into a movie franchise. The original trailer was straight up comedy while all the new ones have been seriously action oriented, which was clearly a mistake given the talent behind it and now the box office return.  Personally, I was much more interested in a teen vampire comedy than I was a another serious teen vampire film, but Twilight was more successful than Buffy no matter what your geek friend tells you.

 

NOT FAR FROM THE TREE

The Nut Job is down to number eight the deserved victim of the success of The LEGO Movie, followed by Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit at number nine and last and least Labor Day closing out the top ten at number ten. This was directed and co-written by Jason Reitman the son of Ivan Reitman, who brought the world Stripes, Ghostbusters and Meatballs (aka the Bill Murray Trilogy). Jason is no slouch himself having directed Up in the Air and Juno so he’s allowed the occasional miss (and boy did he ever).  But then again, so did dad who has actually made more sow’s ears than silk purses. My Super Ex-Girlfriend anyone? Father’s Day? Evolution? Legal Eagles?

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