Tag Archives: Think Like A Man Too

NO, NOT A REMAKE OF THE DEBBIE REYNOLDS MOVIE

6 Jul

tammy-bachel_ger_58_a 1. Transformers 4/Paramount                    Wknd/$ 36.4      Total/$ 174.7
2. Tammy/Warner                                         Wknd/$ 21.2      Total/$ 32.9
3. Deliver Us From Evil/SGem                    Wknd/$ 9.5       Total/$ 15.0
4. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                Wknd/$ 9.4       Total/$ 158.9
5. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox         Wknd/$ 8.8       Total/$ 140.0
6. Earth to Echo/Relativity                          Wknd/$ 8.3       Total/$ 13.5
7. Maleficent/Disney                                     Wknd/$ 6.1        Total/$ 213.9
8. Jersey Boys/Warner                                 Wknd/$ 5.2        Total/$ 36.7
9. Think Like A Man Too/SGem                 Wknd/$ 4.9        Total/$ 57.2
10. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                Wknd/$ 3.6         Total/$ 90.9

LIKE A TECHNICALLY PROFICIENT GUITAR PLAYER WITH NO SENSE OF MELODY
Transformers: Age of Extinction holds at number one and if you want to know why Michael Bay sucks but lack the film literacy than “It makes my head hurt” then watch the analysis of Tony Zhou wherein he breaks down the method to the madness. Simply put: Bay tries to pack as much into every scene as he possible can. Now on one level that makes sense when you’re dealing with giant robots fighting, but the problem is he’ll do it with two people talking and a scene with two people talking only needs to be about that conversation. Even when it’s just two robots talking it still needs only to be about that conversation, but with Bay it’s them the sky, the building and whatever the hell else he can cram into it with a camera that’s always in motion. But the analysis is only about the narrative of the film itself, not exploring why the screenplays are equally horrible. Nor does it delve into Bay’s need to have women appear in white or beautiful women in tight skirts, high heels and lots of cleavage in the background (cough “casting couch” cough). That’s fine if the character is visiting a modeling agency, not the Defense Department, but like all of his shots Bay likes to put things were they don’t belong.

A PROUD HOLLYWOOD STEREOTYPE, ER, TRADITION
Tammy opens at number two and like many a performer who has shone as sidekick or supporting character, Melissa McCarthy is not my idea of a lead because a little of her goes a long way. Not to mention the whole “dumb, fat slob” genre of comedy has always left me cold. I didn’t care for it with John Candy or Chris Farley or Jack Black and I don’t care for it here. It’s not helping that the advertising is leaving out that her character is in fact reacting to the failure of her marriage which suggests there’s a little more going on. Nonetheless, I wish her as much success as every fat bastard we’ve ever had to endure onscreen (it cost $20M and made $32M its first five days). I’m just not gonna help with it.

SCHIZOPHRENIA? NO WAY. IT’S SATAN!
Deliver Us From Evil opens at number three and this is yet another “inspired by a true story” movie complete with the actual police officer involved turning up in the ads for it, which only makes me think the requirements to join NYPD aren’t as strenuous as they might be. Then again, you don’t want to be the only police department to ask, “Do you believe in ghosts and demons” on the application. While this does fall technically under the “I Don’t Do Scary” rule it doesn’t look the slightest bit scary to me because it just seems so. stupid. Honestly, I’d respect it more if they hadn’t insisted it was based on real events, which means “serious psychological issues misinterpreted by religious nutjobs.”

THEME SONG: “TURN ON YOUR CELL PHONE LIGHT”
22 Jump Street is down to number four, followed by How To Train Your Dragon 2 at number five and Earth To Echo opening at number six and is Spielberg getting a check for this? It’s so clearly e.t.: The Extra Terrestrial for the camera phone generation it’s not even funny. You know how whenever Paul Rudd appears on a Conan O’Brien he keeps tricking Conan by showing footage from the painfully obvious e.t. rip-off Mac and Me? Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if next time he uses this.

SADLY THIS DIDN’T STAY IN VEGAS
Maleficent is down to number seven followed by Jersey Boys at number eight and Think Like A Man Too at number nine and also in this ensemble cast are Wendy Williams, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Ronald DeVoe (from New Edition and BBD), Ndaamukong Suh, Cheryl Hines, Carl Weathers and Kelsey Grammer? There are Love Boat episodes with a less diverse collection of people. What the hell? You think it was anyone who just happened to be in Vegas when they filmed this? “Hey do a scene and we’ll give you a few grand in chips.”

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, BLAME COMPUTERS
Finally Edge of Tomorrow closes out the top ten at number ten and while people are looking for some reason to blame this disappointing return of a mostly positively reviewed movie on Cruise fatigue (no one really turned out for Oblivion last year either) I’m gonna put it down to the exo-skeleton armor they wear. Don’t ask me why, but even I, a science fiction and comic book loving geek who sees it all the time in print was oddly put off by it. It’s just unappealing visually. Equally unappealing were the CGI aliens. Honestly if there’s any fatigue at play here, it’s excessive CGI monster fatigue. They all look the same, like a swirling mass of pixels. Not so much threatening as boring.

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MICHAEL BAY IS THE DEVIL AND YOU KNOW IT!

30 Jun

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1. Transformers 4/Paramount                  Wknd/$100.0       Total/$ 100.0
2. 22 Jump Street/Sony                             Wknd/$ 15.4         Total/$ 139.8
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox      Wknd/$ 13.1          Total/$ 121.8
4. Think Like A Man Too/SGem              Wknd/$ 10.0         Total/$ 48.2
5. Maleficent/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 8.2           Total/$ 201.9
6. Jersey Boys/Warner                               Wknd/$ 7.6           Total/$ 7.6
7. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                Wknd/$ 5.2            Total/$ 84.2
8. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                  Wknd/$ 4.8           Total/$ 109.5
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox        Wknd/$ 3.3            Total/$ 223.4
10. Chef/ORF                                               Wknd/$ 1.7            Total/$ 19.4

WIPING OUT TASTE IN A GENERATION
Transformers: Age of Extinction opens unsurprisingly at number one and in the interest of full admission I did see all three previous Transformers film, finding the first actually entertaining. It was your archetypical boy discovers he’s the “the special one” and becomes a hero. Hell, that’s the basic premise of everything from King Arthur to Star Wars, but in this case everyone including the hero is utterly obnoxious and the stupidity nearly chokes the film to death. Let me put it this way: at one point the robots are all encouraging the protagonist to run. Again: ROBOTS WHO TURN INTO VEHICLES ARE TELLING HIM TO RUN. Just let that sink in a moment. The second film had none of the minimal charm of the first, but dialed the obnoxious stupidity up to 11 and the third doubled even that to the point where my movie buddy became visibly upset with me for having made her seen it (I had to see the final Harry Potter film as a result). With that in mind I gave this one a pass, my already dim outlook made fatally dark by news that it decided to go darker. Again: A FILM ABOUT GIANT ROBOTS RIDING GIANT ROBOT DINOSAURS WANTED TO GO DARK. I think that says it all.

I HAVE WATCHED TV FOR A LONG, LONG TIME
Holding at number two is 22 Jump Street and because I actually watched the original show, I know why Channing Tatum’s character is called Jenko. He was the captain who recruited Johnny Depp to the “jump street” program and was played by Frederic Forrest. And for a show that was about pretty, 20-something cops going undercover in high schools that only worked because all those students were also played by 20-something actors, it could get a little intense. Perhaps the best example of this was the episode “Orpheus 3.3” where Johnny Depp’s girlfriend is killed in a hold-up in front of him and he just basically has a nervous breakdown, not helped by the fact that he gets the security footage and watches her murder over and over again trying to figure out what he could have done in the 3.3 seconds (hence the title) it took her to be killed. They were also shockingly ahead of the curve in an episode based clearly on the Tawana Brawley case where Booker (aka, Richard Grieco) speaks opening about appreciating Male White Privilege a term that only came into existence a few years ago. Hmm, I’m now wondering why, given Depp’s superstardom and the success of these movies, it’s not in syndication.

GOOD THING SHE STILL LOOKS 25
How To Train Your Dragon 2 holds at number three, followed by Think Like A Man Too and also in this is Gabrielle Union and you have to wonder how she feels being part of an ensemble dominated by Kevin Hart when she was briefly an leading woman? It’s gotta sting just a little. And watching her Bring It On co-star Kirsten Dunst wind up in a much the same boat isn’t much consolation.

A FAMILY AFFAIR
Maleficent holds at number five and the only other person you might know in this is Elle Fanning, who plays Sleeping Beauty. Obviously she’s the younger sister of Dakota who clearly decided a semi-normal high school experience was more important than making movies, thus opening the door up for her sister.

MAYBE THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THIS MOVIE
Jersey Boys is down to number six apparently Joe Pesci was instrumental in the creation of The Four Seasons by introducing them to their fourth member who was also their songwriter. Pesci’s friend in the group was Joey DeVitto. Pesci played a different Joey DeVitto who didn’t have quite as nice a life in GoodFellas. Joey DeVitto wound up working for Joe Pesci in the end. And that’s your ironic trivia of the day!

WE COULD ALL USE A LITTLE MORE PAXTON
Edge of Tomorrow is down to number seven and also in this is Bill Paxton who has not come full circle, playing the “go get ‘em” sergeant in big science fiction movies rather than smart-ass private like he did in Aliens. And one of the flaws in this film is when Tom Cruise decides to take the fight to the aliens, he somehow fails to recruit the gung-ho sergeant. It not only makes no sense, but also denies us a little more Paxton. His presence might have made a few of those clichés go down a little easier.

MICHAEL BAY HASN’T WON YET!
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number eight, followed by X-Men Days of Future Past at number nine and Chef holding on at number ten. Seriously, every time I see that while big summer movies like Godzilla come and go it makes me smile.

MUSIC MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER
Speaking of Chef, what do it, Snowpiercer and Begin Again have in common? All have good critical reviews and all have actors who have been suckling from the Marvel teat for the last few years. Actors have been saying forever how they only do big studio films so they can be free to do smaller, more personal films and it’s bullshit for the most part, but Mark Ruffalo, Jon Favreau and Chris Evans are actually walking the walk. It’s not too much of a surprise for Ruffalo and Favreau who both made their bones in indie land, but now that he’s free to do so, Evans seems hellbent on making his home there. But now we’re talking about Ruffalo, who like most, talked shit about mainstream films then started showing up in shit like 13 Going on 30, Rumor Has It, View From The Top and Just Like Heaven, basically being the go-to “Young Leading Man” for young actresses Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Anniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. Somewhere along the way he had a life-threatening medical condition and while that may have sent him looking for money I prefer to think it made him realize that he needed more, which meant a return to indie, which he how he turned up in the career revitalizing The Kids Are All Right which then led him to his payday-for-life turn in The Avengers. I also like to think that got Begin Again made because the money they needed for some of their music licensing, much less shooting in the streets of New York, was not cheap and you’d need veterans of billion dollar films in the lead and so they have them in Keira Knightley and now Mark Ruffalo. Begin Again is the story of a music producer/label head at a very low point in his life who rediscovers himself producing the album of a young songwriter recovering from heartbreak after her musician boyfriend dumps her on his rise to the top. You know it’s an indie film when you time jump not just once, but twice, as we get the opening where Mark Ruffalo meets Keira Knightley at an open mike night first flashing back from his point of view, then from hers. There’s also the indie trademark of your protagonist being very nearly unlikably flawed (as opposed to “charming flawed” like most mainstream films) for most of the film, while giving some redeeming qualities to your antagonists, like Ruffalo’s more business-oriented partner, Mos Def and Keira Knightley’s slightly douchey boyfriend, Adam Levine (whose actual acting was probably the non-douchey aspects). Like Favreau in Chef, Ruffalo is a bad parent to a teenage daughter who is looking for male attention in the most traditional way possible: dressing slutty. The difference, which makes Chef superior is that Favreau doesn’t really learn until the last minute, making the same mistake in the last ten minutes that he did in the first ten. Ruffalo’s character in comparison is essentially healed by Knightley’s music and returns to being an attentive, loving dad (even quitting drinking). It helps that his daughter (played by Hailee Steinfeld) turns out to be a decent guitar player and all wounds are healed when they play together at one point. But honestly, I don’t mind a total happy ending because I still enjoyed the journey. And fuck it, it’s summer. Save that bleak-ass indie shit for the fall and winter.

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TOUGH GUYS DON’T DIRECT MUSICALS

22 Jun

Weaver_Sigourney_041

1. Think Like A Man Too/SGem                         Wknd/$ 30.0       Total/$ 30.0
2. 22 Jump Street/Sony                                        Wknd/$ 29.0       Total/$ 111.5
3. How To Train Your Dragon 2/Fox                 Wknd/$ 25.3        Total/$ 95.2
4. Jersey Boys/Warners                                        Wknd/$ 13.5         Total/$ 13.5
5. Maleficent/Disney                                              Wknd/$ 13.0       Total/$ 186.0
6. Edge of Tomorrow/Warners                            Wknd/$ 10.3       Total/$ 74.5
7. The Fault In Our Stars/Fox                              Wknd/$ 8.6         Total/$ 98.7
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox                    Wknd/$ 6.2          Total/$ 216.8
9. Chef/ORF                                                             Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 16.9
10. Godzilla/Warner                                               Wknd/$ 1.8          Total/$ 194.9

THE BEST MAN 2.5
Think Like a Man Too opens at number one and I’ll say it again: when the primary depictions of yourself onscreen are as sidekicks, servants (or slaves) or how you heroically endured oppression, you tend grab any depiction of yourself as happy and whole and enjoying life with both hands, which why this sequel opens big. You could make Latino-American and Asian-American versions of this and also make money and I can’t believe no one has. In fact, given it’s basically about a best man it could be counted as an unofficial sequel or spin-off of The Best Man which first dared to show happy, successful, educated African Americans. I gave this a pass because a) a little Kevin Hart (who is working his 15 minutes) goes a loooooonnnng way and b) I will put no money the misogynist pocket of Steve Harvey, whose book the original drew upon as source material is basically saying the problem with men and women is women. This from a man divorced three times. I’m just sayin’, maybe the problem is you and your attitude, playa.

NO 23 JUMP STREET. NOT. EVER.
22 Jump Street is down to number two and apparently there’s a hysterical end credit sequence where they show the next 20 sequels to this, basically letting you know there will actually be no sequels to this. What there will be coming down the pike is a return to good-looking person/not-so good-looking person team up comedies. You’ve already seen it for women with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat and between this and Neighbors and the utter failure of Adam Sandler’s last film, consider the days of solo “ugly but funny” days over. How it differs from the past is that the less attractive person isn’t just here for fat loser jokes. Progress?

HOW TO COUNT YOUR CHICKENS BEFORE THEY’VE HATCHED
How To Train Your Dragon 2 is down to number three and how cruel an irony is it that Jonah Hill is technically in this as one of the voices? He had a great weekend last week. Everyone else, not so much. Jay Baruchel (the voice of Hiccup) was a guest on Craig Ferguson’s show (he’s the voice of Gobber) and they talked about being in the third installment of this. Needless is to say, not so fast, fellas.

GO AHEAD. MAKE MY MUSICAL.
Jersey Boys opens at number four which isn’t as disappointing as it seems given it only cost $40M to make. Clint Eastwood is famously frugal a director. He’s also famously sparse and laconic which are not two things one associates with Broadway shows. Existentialist westerns? Sure. But a story filled with passion and music? Not so much. Yes, it borders of pigeonholing the man, but given his open love of popular music (take it out of his films and see what happens) and the fact this combines it with both Italian Americans and the mob, how the hell did Martin Scorsese not do this!?! He would have brought the style and passion this story needed. And while that’s a big problem with this movie, the other is the problem that afflicts most stage-to-screen adaptations and that’s an inability to depict it properly without it being just a filmed version of the play. The best way to deal with it is to set it in the same type of “non-reality” the show existed in. Chicago clearly takes place in no Chicago that ever existed and if they’d tried to ground it reality too much it would have faltered. This tries to take place in the real world, which granted, makes sense given it’s a true story, but when you do that you have to pay more attention to details. You have to fill out the world in which they exist. Not having it leads to the common problem of most movie bios: a lack of context because they don’t fill out the world in which these people exist. The only other musician ever mentioned is Frank Sinatra (who was the ironically enough the only other musician ever mentioned in the Ray Charles bio pic). Pretty sure they weren’t competing with him. In fact, there was an entire East coast vs. West Coast stunt set up with them and The Beach Boys. You wouldn’t know they or any other musical act from that time period existed by this film (Elvis? Beatles? Who are they?), not to mention the incredible social changes going on around them. Again, that’s fine for a stage show, but with film you have to flesh these things out. There’s also such a thing, ironically enough, as being too faithful to the stage production. Yeah, the lead actor can play a character 15 to 50, but on film a 30+ actor playing 15 is simply not going to fly. Just get a younger actor! I won’t even get into the makeup disaster that is the climax of their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Everyone a party to that should be embarrassed. The stage show probably did it better just painting their hair gray.

RIPLEY COULD HAVE SAVED THE DAY…AGAIN
Maleficent is down to number five, followed by Edge of Tomorrow at number six and obviously Emily Blunt is the female lead here and she’s in her 30’s while Cruise is in his 50’s, my usual pet peeve. The director, Doug Liman, overheard this criticism at a party and felt it was unjust because the film wasn’t about them as a couple. Well, dude, then you probably shouldn’t have had her seemingly falling for him towards the end, much less have her kiss him. And not that hindsight is 20/20, but how could casting Sigourney Weaver in her role as the badass alien fighter not have been a great idea? She would have brought in so many other people (i.e., women) who might not have otherwise seen a Tom Cruise vehicle. But 50-something Cruise isn’t kissing a 60-something Weaver onscreen so you can just forget that.

AS FATTY ARBUCKLE ROLLS OVER IN HIS GRAVE
The Fault in Our Stars is down to number seven, followed by X-Men: Days of Future Past at number eight and at almost $700M from a $200M budget, we can safely say that that this train is back on track…and that Fox will be coughing up an ungodly amount of money for Bryan Singer’s legal defense, because he is clearly the key.

SOMEWHERE MATTHEW BRODERICK LAUGHS
Chef actually rises to number nine and I couldn’t be happier, while Godzilla drops to number ten and I honestly couldn’t care less. It wasn’t bad, but as time passes, the more I think about how the director jerked us around not showing Godzilla for the longest time then having it happen at night, the more annoyed I become. He thought he was being clever, well given it’s barely going to break the 3x budget rule of profitability, he was a little too clever for his own good. Honestly, it’s only done a little better than the much-maligned version with Matthew Broderick. A good lesson in how perception is reality.

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