Tag Archives: Thor: The Dark World

FAILING LIKE A BOSS

1 Dec

hemsworths 1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1   Wknd/$ 56.9   Total/$ 225.7
2. Penguins of Madagascar/Fox                Wknd/$ 25.8   Total/$ 36.0
3. Big Hero 6/Disney                                   Wknd/$ 18.8   Total/$ 167.2
4. Interstellar/Paramount                          Wknd/$ 15.8    Total/$ 147.1
5. Horrible Bosses 2/WB                             Wknd/$ 15.7    Total/$ 23.0
6. Dumb and Dumber To/Universal         Wknd/$ 8.3     Total/$ 72.2
7.The Theory of Everything/Focus            Wknd/$ 5.1      Total/$ 9.6
8. Gone Girl/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 2.5      Total/$ 160.8
9. Birdman/FoxS                                           Wknd/$ 1.9      Total/$ 17.2
10. St. Vincent/Weinstein                            Wknd/$ 1.8      Total/$ 36.6

OWEN AND LUKE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Pt 1 holds the stop spot and also in this is the other Hemsworth, Liam. So that’s two brothers with major franchises (there’s a third brother, but he ain’t pretty so I hope he has modest goals). The difference being this one is coming to an end and there’s no separate franchise for him for this character. He’s gonna have to go out and get a job. He was in the first Expendables movie, but was killed off almost immediately, but given how that crashed an burned by actually trying to go younger he may have dodged a bullet there, not to mention enjoying the sweet taste of schadenfreude. It’s never too early in you career to take a swig.

WHADDYA KNOW? THE THIRD TIME WAS THE CHARM.
Penguins of Madagascar opens at number two and I hated Madagascar. It was typical, uninspired DreamWorks product, which means all cute surface with celebrity voices and ultimately neither heart nor soul. The best parts of it were the Penguins, who were manic and inspired in a way no other part of the film was. While I refused to put myself through the sequel just to see them again I did wind up getting trapped on a bus where Madagascar 3 was playing…and I have to admit I found it delightfully silly and irreverent in away the previous film (and probably its sequel had lacked). Wondering why, I checked the credits and found a noticeable difference. Co-writer and co-director Tom McGrath was no longer writing and instead the duties had gone to none other than indie darling, Noah Baumbach. Also added as a director was Conrad Vernon. I think that makes it clear who was the problem because Eric Darnell, who has been co-director on every film is still here, neither he nor McGrath is credited as writer, which is the other clear problem. No, it doesn’t get nearly as weird as Madagascar 3 (I’m gonna say it once: cross-dressing tiny dogs with Cockney accents), and now they are burdened with teaching a lesson about love and family which normally fell to the other characters, but it is still as frantic and as irreverent in the way that made the Penguins the best part of every movie. Let me put it his way: Warner Herzog shows up as a voice here. You can’t get more irreverent than freaking Warner Herzog voicing a kids animated film. That they even reached out to him says it all. No, it’s not Pixar but not everything can be steak. Sometimes you just want a good burger and this is a good burger.

I’VE A YEN TO SEE HOW IT DOES? GET IT?
Big Hero 6 is down to number three and much in the way the Asian returns saved Pacific Rim, I’m dying to see how this does in China and Japan given its primary characters and overall subject matter. We may like robots here, but they love them over there. Not to mention Kung Fu Panda did well in China to the point they were complaining why the idea hadn’t come to them first. And the only place Kung Fu Panda 2 did better than the US was China. Not that it’s doing badly here. It’s actually doing better than Wreck-It Ralph did two years ago and has already made budget in the US.

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!
Speaking of international returns, Interstellar is up to almost $400M overseas. Now, this used to be impressive until I learned that studios never receive more than 40% of overseas profits and sometimes as low as 14% so what still matters most is its domestic take…where it has yet to make its $165M budget (not counting prints and advertising) and every week there’s a new article slamming it. The latest is when to take your bathroom breaks. Here’s my advice: don’t go at all and watch it at home where you can stop it anytime you like. But now that it’s been out a month I think we can talk about the third act where it gets really, really stupid, as opposed to the first two acts which were just stupid. Now, Nolan’s been open about how 2001: A Space Odyssey was the biggest influence on this and nowhere is it more obvious (aside from being overlong) than when a character freaks out and starts killing people. In 2001 it was the computer, HAL, who reacted to being given conflicting orders with homicide (or so it was explained in 2010, which I won’t apologize for enjoying). Here it’s secret guest star, Matt Damon as one of the earlier scientists, who reacts to being sent to a dead world by basically trying to kill everyone who rescues him. His plan to kill everyone then take the ship back home makes no sense but I’m going to let it go because he’s clearly been driven insane by his ordeal. Besides, the real point of it is to prove that “love” is what makes the universe work. All the B.S. about hard science being used is just that, because the planet where Anne Hathaway’s boyfriend has landed, the one Matthew McConughey chooses not go to is the inhabitable one. If they’d followed her heart rather than logic, then they could have avoided Good Will Hunting Humans. Man, I dislike this movie more every time I have to think about it.

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING
Speaking of wasting my time, Horrible Bosses 2 opens at number five and this is actually too good for it. Committing the age-old sequel sin of missing just what made the first film work (beyond it being shamelessly derivative of The Hangover characters by the same writers) which the Horrible Bosses of the title. Here the previously tormented characters are the bosses so the basic concept has been thrown out the window and all you have left is the riffing between Jason Bateman, Jason Sudekis and Charlie Day, which was fine as a part of the film, but here as the meat it gets really annoying really fast. It’s telling that the best parts about the film are the only two horrible bosses back for the sequel, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Anniston (obviously Colin Farrell couldn’t make it because Kevin Spacey killed him in the first one). Maybe if they’d been allowed to actually be under the thumb of Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine (who clearly relish being horrible as much as the previous bosses did) for awhile there might have been something, but as Kevin Spacey points out, by stupidly getting screwed over by Waltz, they are actually the horrible bosses now. And honestly why are they bosses? With Kevin Spacey and Colin Farrell gone, two of the three characters should now have good jobs. I guarantee you I just thought about this more than anyone involved in this film did.

THE OTHERS
Dumb and Dumber To is down to number six, followed by The Theory of Everything rising to number seven and Gone Girl Down to number eight.

MY SHAME
Holding at number nine is Birdman and I’m now embarrassed not to have seen it when I’m clearly making time to see crap like Horrible Bosses 2…and Interstellar.

HELPING A BRUTHA OUT
Finally, St. Vincent is down to number ten and also in this is Terrence Howard and one of the producers of this is Don Cheadle. This may seem like nothing, but I’m smelling a little guilt from Cheadle over taking over the role of War Machine in Iron Man 2 which has not only lead to Iron Man 3, but he’s also going to be in Avengers: Age of Ultron and since Iron Man will be in the third Captain America film he might show up there too. All this could have and should have been Terrence Howard who is still the better Rhodey to me. Howard has said he’s not angry with Cheadle because Cheadle also got him into Crash. Hell, I’d say that means Cheadle owes him twice as much. I think Don agrees.

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THE SUPER HITS OF THE 70’S…IN SPACE!

4 Aug

cameron-diaz-posa-para-ensaio-fotografico-da-revista-esquire-de-agosto-de-2014-1404254395713_1280x898

1. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney                           Wknd/$ 94.0    Total/$ 94.0
2. Lucy/Universal                                                         Wknd/$ 18.3     Total/$ 79.6
3. Get on Up/Universal                                               Wknd/$ 14.0     Total/$ 14.0
4. Hercules/Paramount                                               Wknd/$ 10.7    Total/$ 52.3
5. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes/Fox                     Wknd/$ 8.7      Total/$ 189.3
6. Planes: Fire & Rescue/Disney                               Wknd/$ 6.4      Total/$ 47.6
7. The Purge: Anarchy/Universal                              Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 63.0
8. Sex Tape/Sony                                                          Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 33.9
9. And So It Goes/CE                                                   Wknd/$ 3.3      Total/$ 10.5
10. A Most Wanted Man/RA                                      Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 2.7

Source: Boxofficemojo.com

K-TEL PRESENTS…
Guardians of the Galaxy opens strong at number one continuing the Marvel track record of movies that are both successful and actually good. As someone who knows far too damn much about comics, I thought this was a big risk and probably failure for them to take such obscure characters and make a movie based on them especially when there’s absolutely no springboard from the rest of their movie stable characters. In the comics, Rocket Raccoon first appeared in an issue of The Incredible Hulk, but that’s the most unsuccessful solo movie character so far (though Thor clearly wants that title with its not-bad, but not great either movies) so it was hardly coming from him. Nope. They just went for it and whoever said “go for humor first and foremost” deserves a freaking raise. Sorry, but that person gets it like no one else. This is basically a comedy that just happens to also be a science fiction adventure and if you wonder why Disney just went along with it, know that opens with the orphaning of a child. They probably just greenlit the damn film on reflex because of that. That child is then abducted by group of space pirates, growing up to become the outlaw who’d like to be called Starlord, only the rest of the universe kinda sees him as a joke and little more than a thief. Because he tries to cut the space pirates out of the deal of what he’s stolen, they place a bounty on his head. This is why Rocket Raccoon and Groot, the sentient tree come after him. Gamora the assassin comes after him because she’s supposed to be getting the object for her father Thanos (who was the guy you saw at the end of The Avengers who backed Loki). They all get arrested and thrown into prison where they meet the fifth member of their group, Drax the Destroyer, who’s after the main bad guy, Ronan the Accuser, for murdering his family. Ronan wants the object because if he gives it to Thanos, Thanos will destroy a planet for him. Needless to say, he eventually realizes that if he has the object he doesn’t really need Thanos. Our wacky group of thieves at best and murderers at worst band together to stop him. Laughs ensue. Seriously. After the downer opening required of every hero (check your heroic fiction, not to mention your comic books), it’s non-stop humor from Starlord dancing to “Come And Get Your Love” by Redbone under the film’s title the doing an almost satirical take on Indiana Jones taking the idol in Raiders of The Lost Ark, to the last scene which also includes dancing and the music of Jackson Five. Unlike most films that shoehorn music in to sell albums, music is how Starlord (aka Peter Quill) hangs onto his memories of his mother. She made him mix tapes of her favorite music growing up and he was taken by the space pirates with his Walkman, which is why it remains a prize possession he risks his life to regain when they break out of prison. And now that I think about it, Captain America: The Winter Solider also effectively used music as prelude and a coda. Quite a step up from the first Spider-Man movie using freaking Nickelback.

BY THE WAY, THIS MOVIE BLOWS
Lucy is down to number two and also in this is Morgan Freeman…and that’s it for American actors, much less any you might know, but that’s par the course for Besson’s movies, which are made in Europe and Asia. I mean, who’d you know in The Transporter or Taken? Freeman plays the leading authority in the expansion of human brain function so Lucy makes a bee line for him after securing the rest of the drugs…and the sheer stupidity of going after those packages instead of going directly to the scientist who created it will never leave this film. Not to mention if he’s that good, he’s probably known if not infamous. Most of all it leaves an opening for a sequel no one needs, because if I hadn’t mentioned it, this movie sucks.

IT’S A LEFT HANDED COMPLIMENT FROM A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD
Get on Up, the movie biography of James Brown, opens at number three and Chadwick Boseman is in danger of falling into a gilded cage if this does okay in the end (opened well enough with $14M from a $30M budget) and becoming “THE black guy” you go to when casting a bio-pic whether or not he’s right for the role. Let me put it this way: I don’t know who should be playing Nina Simone, but I know damn well that Zoe Saldana whose skin has been darkened and is wearing a prostetheic nose is not her. You’ll know it’s a problem when he does the Michael Jackson story. I had a busy weekend, but I’m not sure this would have been on my list anyway. 1) I’m not big on bio pics and this looks as by-the-numbers as it gets and 2) I’m wary of any bio-pic that’s rated PG, especially someone like James Brown. Hell, my bio pic couldn’t be rated PG because I have a nearly pathological need to drop the “F-bomb” whenever possible. It’s part of who I am.

ONE DAY YOU’RE ALL GONNA GET WHAT YOU DESERVE…OR NOT
Hercules is down to number four and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving hack director. Truly. Though Zack Synder and Michael Bay seem unstoppable, on the bright side Brett Ratner and McG seem to be falling away. Ratner’s last hit was the third Rush Hour movie back in ’07 and while X-Men 3 wasn’t a total disaster he is seen as wrecking the franchise and his movie was literally undone by X-Men: Days of Future Past. There may be justice in the universe after all.

MEH, MEH & MEH
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is down to number five, followed by Planes: Fire & Rescue at six and The Purge: Anarchy at number seven.

THE WORD FOR TODAY IS “BEGRUDGINGLY”
Sex Tape is down to number eight and while I’m not the biggest fan of either Cameron Diaz or Jason Segel, I will give credit where credit is due. I branded him an ugly schlub who didn’t deserve leading roles and both he and other ugly schlub Jonah Hill needed to stay with in the sidekick department. But now he’s slimmed down and gotten better looking with age. If he can stop trying to fucking write, he might actually make a decent comedic leading man…so long as the female lead isn’t too beautiful. Speaking of not being too beautiful, I have to give it up to Cameron Diaz for playing the game like the men. She’s playing a decade younger than her actual age while doing with a male lead who actually is that age. Just like all the men do…though they stretch it out to literally two decades.

IT’S JUST DECEMBER DECEMBER ROMANCES FOR YOU NOW, PAL
Speaking of men making movies with female leads decades younger, Michael Douglas is the male lead here and having to kiss Diane Keaton must have been quite a shock for him as he’s been the poster boy for inappropriate aged leading ladies for the last 20 years. It irony being, like many in Hollywood, he’s a hardcore liberal, but notice how that doesn’t apply to sexual politics, especially when it meant sharing the screen with someone with just as many wrinkles. And he can’t even blame the producer as he’s been one since One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s all him, baby.

ONE FOR THE ROAD
Finally, A Most Wanted Man holds onto the number ten spot and that’s nice for Philip Seymour Hoffman’s legacy.

 

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YOU STAY CLASSY, AMERICA

22 Dec

infinity-gauntlet-2of3

 1. The Hobbit 2/Warner                             Wknd/$   31.7            Total/$ 127.7

 2. Anchorman 2/Paramount                     Wknd/$  26.8            Total/$   40.0

 3. Frozen/Disney                                          Wknd/$  19.2            Total/$ 191.6

 4. American Hustle/Sony                           Wknd/$  19.1             Total/$   20.2

 5. Saving Mr. Banks/Disney                      Wknd/$   9.3              Total/$    9.3

 7. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Xmas/LGF       Wknd/$    8.5             Total/$   28.3

 6. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                    Wknd/$    8.8             Total/$ 371.7

 8. Walking With Dinosaurs/Fox               Wknd/$    7.3             Total/$     7.3

 9. Dhoom 3/Yash                                         Wknd/$    3.3              Total/$     3.3

10. Thor: The Dark World/BV                    Wknd/$    1.3              Total/$ 200.8

 

CUZ THEY’RE ENGLISHMEN/IDENTICAL ENGLISHMEN

The Hobbit: The Desolations of Smaug holds at number one and also in this is Luke Evans, aka That Guy You Keep Mistaking For Orlando Bloom. What makes even funnier is that Orlando Bloom also returns here as Legolas, archery elf supreme. And to top off the funny an arrow is very much a part of the character that Luke Evans plays.   He was also in the horrible Three Musketeers remake…with Orlando Bloom.  But did we ever see them together onscreen? Hmmmm…

 

ADS NAUSEAM

Anchorman 2 opens at number two and thank Zeus this damn thing finally came out because this advertising campaign has been going on all year at a relentless pace. I swear I saw Will Ferrell pop up in The Hobbit!  Seriously!  I didn’t see this because I didn’t see the first one, though I know everyone and his mother loves it.  Will Ferrell is another one of those funnymen where a little goes a long way and there’s a lot of him here. Too much for me.

 

XOXO

Frozen is down to number three and as the other main voice is Kristen Bell, aka Veronica Mars and this ironically proves that people love her so long as they don’t have to see, as her biggest successes since those days having been the voice of “Gossip Girl” (proving the writers were pulling it out of their asses by making it be Dan all along) and this.  Yeah, she’s on House of Lies, but how many of you have actually seen that?  Exactly. I actually watch it, but I fast forward through half of it, usually when she’s onscreen.

 

OUR LOVE/HATE AFFAIR WITH 70’S FASHION

Blatant Oscar-bait American Hustle finally enters the top ten at number four and it took the ad campaign long enough to actually tell people this has a plot.  It’s about Abscam, which was a famous scandal in its day, but didn’t have the weight of an Iran-Contra, which quickly wiped out of the American consciousness. Until now they’ve basically been selling “Come see all these heavyweight actors in 70’s period garb!”  What’s sad is how appealing that actually was and I include myself in this. I promise, Christian Bale, I will see this one, having blown off Out of the Furnace. Or was it Into the Furnace? I think that says it all.

 

WELL, DISNEY DOES LIKE TO MAKE FAIRY TALES

Saving Mr. Banks enters the top ten at number five and this is Tom Hanks’ second Oscar bait film this year and the second one undone by reality.  While Captain Phillips was undone by the actual crew coming out to say they hated him, this is undone by the fact that P.L Travers the author of Mary Poppins, hated Disney and it was mutual. He never actually met her so she wasn’t some repressed woman thawed out by Walt Disney’s charms.  She was a bisexual woman with a girlfriend and an adult son and she so hated this movie she put in her will that not only could Disney not do any sequels, but no American could ever adapt it again, period. I mean this movie is such a piece of Disney propaganda that they don’t even have Walt Disney smoking which is the one thing he did a actually do.

 

TYRANNOSAURUS SUX

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is down to number six, followed by Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas at number seven and Walking With Dinosaurs opening horribly at number eight. Do you know how badly you have to suck to make a dinosaur film that kids don’t want to see? To paraphrase Jurassic Park, “Fox found a way.”  The original was a very successful BBC series. This has been dumbed down into a comedic family film.  Apparently you can go broke trying to underestimate the taste of the American public.

 

WHAT PART OF “MELTING POT” DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?

Dhoom: 3 opens at number nine and honestly that these films aimed at a specific part of the American audience can still make a little money is what makes America great. There should be something for everyone at the movie theaters. No, I have no idea what this is about, but my point remains valid.

 

WELCOME TO GEEK CLASS

Finally, Thor: The Dark World closes out the top ten at number ten and if you don’t understand the post credit teaser, here you go: that weirdo played by Benicio Del Toro was The Collector, one of the cosmic Elders of the Universe in Marvel comics. Every elder has an Infinity Gem, each with different powers. Now when all are combined they give the possessor infinite power and that guy you saw in the post credit sequence in The Avengers was Thanos, who does get them all and sets out to destroy the universe to please Death itself because he’s in love with her. It took all superheroes on Earth to stop him. Sif and Volstagg were giving him one of the gems for safekeeping because there was already one on Asgard.  This is clearly leading into The Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming from Marvel. What are the Guardians of the Galaxy? Sigh. Sit down, Timmy, and I’ll explain…

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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DISNEY’S LITTLE MAN IN A BOAT

8 Dec

wonderwomen

 1. Frozen/Disney                                          Wknd/$  31.6            Total/$ 134.3

 2. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                    Wknd/$  27.0            Total/$ 336.7

 3. Out of the Furnace/Relativity               Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$     5.3

 4. Thor: The Dark World/BV                     Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$ 193.6

 5. Delivery Man/BV                                     Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$   24.8

 6. Homefront/ORF                                       Wknd/$    3.4            Total/$   15.3

 7. The Book Thief/Fox                                 Wknd/$    2.7             Total/$   12.1

 8. The Best Man Holiday/Universal         Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$  67.2

 9. Philomena/Weinstein                              Wknd/$    2.3           Total/$     8.3

10. Dallas Buyers Club/Focus                      Wknd/$    1.5           Total/$     1.5

 

IT’S LIKE THAT DREAM OF HOT DOG AND DONUTS YOU HAD WASN’T ABOUT FOOD

Frozen takes over the top spot and in thinking of it more and the big “Let It Go” song in the film—which will no doubted be nominated for an Oscar because I cannot honestly remember another son associated with a film this year—the more I feel this is a metaphor for a young girl’s developing sexuality.  Seriously.  She’s about 12 or 13 when the accident with her sister occurs, which is the appropriate age. And she has no problem controlling her powers (i.e. her sexuality) until her father freaks out about it, making her feel anxious and guilty and telling her she has to lock that thing up (he put special gloves on her aka, chastity belt). Later when it explodes at an inopportune as repressed sexuality tends to do, the reaction of an old man is “She’s evil!”  which is sadly not new when it comes to a woman’s sexuality.  Also when she just lets go and truly explores and revels in her power, her clothes become more revealing and there’s more wiggle to that hip.  And the big resolution? That her power can only be controlled with love, the ultimate device used to control a woman’s sexuality. Just forget you had complete control until your dad made you freak out about it thanks to an accident that was a result of your little sister’s recklessness, not yours.

 

ONLY PERSON LUCKIER? HER HUSBAND.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire is down to number two and also in this is Elizabeth Banks who has a knack for picking the right franchises as she was the underused Betty Brant in the first Spider-Man trilogy (geeks like me know she was Peter Parker’s first love until her lowlife brother got himself killed and she blamed Spider-Man for it).  Now she’s got this.  Won’t be a bit surprised if she turns up in the new Star Wars films.

 

ONCE BITTEN TWICE SHY

Out of the Furnace opens at number three and not seeing this is a major fail on my part because there’s nothing unappealing about this film. Talented actors in a film that looks like a nice drama you sit down and sink yourself into. Of course the last time I thought was the film Prisoners and look how that turned out. Yeah, only $5M looks a little disappointing, but it only cost $22M to make and is Oscar bait for Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson (who seemingly get nominated every year for a film you’ve never heard of), though not as “prestige” as something Tom Hanks is in. That means it’s not really meant to make money until it gets nominated for something.

 

IT’S NO WONDER WHY YOU’RE NOT THE WOMAN

Thor: The Dark World is down to number four, followed by Delivery Man actually rising to number five and what do these two films have in common? WASPy brunettes who might have been Wonder Woman.  Jaimie Alexander is the Norse warrior goddess Sif (she wasn’t a warrior in the actual legends, not to mention famous for her blonde hair) in both Thor films and because studio execs and fans alike have no imagination, it was thought she’d be perfect for Wonder Woman. She was also vocal about wanting the role and said she’d been meeting with Warner Brothers, which may have been her undoing.  In Delivery Man is Colbie Smulders, who was the choice of none other than Joss Whedon to be Wonder Woman back when he was on the project. I don’t think Gal Gadot is perfect, but that she’s not whitest woman on earth (she’s Israeli) to play a GREEK is a step in the right direction.  People who complain about her being skinny are morons. Last I heard gaining weight was not something humans have a problem doing. The only question is will they put actual muscle on her and not be afraid of it being somehow “unfeminine.”

 

WINO IS FOREVER IT SEEMS

Homefront is down to number six and also in this is Winona Ryder. No, I’m serious!   But I’m as surprised as you are. No matter how many times she shows up in a film (she actually does one or two a year) it’s always a bit of a shock because I think she retired to run a goat farm somewhere. Or a small music label so she can pursue her favorite hobby: young musicians.

 

WELCOME TO THE CINEMATIC THUNDERDOME!

The Book Thief holds at number seven, followed by The Best Man Holiday at eight and I’m not going to say there’s a battle of “black Christmas films” (there is) but if there were (there is), then this won and I’m glad that a depiction of successful Black people defeated Black people singing about Jesus. Bring it, Madea!

 

YOU DO KNOW THEY DON’T HIRE REAL KINGS TO PLAY LEAR, RIGHT?

Philomena is down to number nine followed by Dallas Buyers Club reentering the top ten at number ten and apparently people need something to be upset over because it’s a problem for some that an actor (Jared Leto, who’s getting Oscar talk) played a transsexual rather than hiring a real transsexual actor. You wish I were joking. The cherry on top of this little piece of insanity? While this is based on a true story, that character IS FICTIONAL!  Zeus give me strength…

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YOU’RE AS COLD AS ICE

1 Dec

020_rene_russo_theredlist

 1. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                       Wknd/$  74.5            Total/$ 296.5

 2. Frozen/Disney                                            Wknd/$  66.7            Total/$   93.4

 3. Thor: The Dark World/BV                        Wknd/$  11.1             Total/$ 186.7

 4. The Best Man Holiday/Universal            Wknd/$    8.5            Total/$  63.4

 5. Homefront/ORF                                          Wknd/$    7.0            Total/$     7.0

 6. Delivery Man/BV                                         Wknd/$    6.9            Total/$   19.5

 7. The Book Thief/Fox                                    Wknd/$    4.9            Total/$     7.9

 8. Black Nativity/FoxS                                    Wknd/$    3.9            Total/$     5.0

 9. Philomena/Weinstein                                 Wknd/$    3.8            Total/$    4.8

10. Last Vegas/CBS                                           Wknd/$    2.8            Total/$  58.7

 

GIVEN NEW MEANING TO THE EXPRESSION “BASED UPON…”

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire holds at number one and opening at number two is Frozen, which continues Disney’s newer tradition of adapting classic fairy tales but making them into buddy-romantic-comedies with spunky girl leads and hunky dudes who accompany them on their journey only to fall for them.  First was Rapunzel, redone as Tangled and now we have The Snow Queen redone as Frozen. Looking for the story of a boy and a girl and slivers of a magical mirror?  Look elsewhere. This movie is about two sisters, the older one with magical snow powers, and as a child she accidentally injures her younger sister with them and is taught by her parents to hide them stay isolated. Her younger sister is made to forget about this as part of the healing by the rock trolls and doesn’t understand why her sister suddenly became so distant. Don’t remember any rock trolls from the original story? Get used to it.  When their parents die in a shipwreck (it’s Disney; you cannot have two loving, living parents) the older sister becomes queen and at her coronation ball, her powers are revealed and go out of control throwing the land into eternal winter and causing her to run away and create a palace for herself.  Her younger sister sets off with a handsome ice dealer (just roll with with it) and his reindeer to find her sister and save the land.  Not a bad story, but not “The Snow Queen” even in the slightest except for the fact there is a “snow queen” of some sort.  Certainly not a comic relief living snowman, who doesn’t show up until midway through the film, despite what the ads show you. You can see why they use him as selling point because the irreverent humor he brings is the high point of the movie.  Overall, it’s not a bad animated film, but the lack of shading of the characters (everyone is either good or bad, period) shows the difference between a regular Disney film and a Pixar film.

 

THIS WEEK’S LESSON IN FEMINISM

Thor: The Dark World is down to number three and speaking of queens, who wasn’t shocked when Renee Russo popped in the first as the Queen of Asgard?  She’s back here as the butt-kicking queen of Asgard who almost ends the movie before it starts when the main bad guy makes the mistake of taking her on in single combat and gets his ass handed to him.  This isn’t archetypal for Thor which oddly enough does well by women passing the Bechdel Test in both films. For those unfamiliar with it, the Bechdel Test is so named for a cartoonist Alison Bechdel who asked three questions to determine whether or not women have a meaningful presence in films: 1) are there two or more women in it that have names? 2) Do they talk to each other? 3) Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?  When you think about it you’ll be shocked at how few films pass this test (not that you can’t break it and still work, because Renee Russo is in The Thomas Crown Affair, never really speaks to another woman and is totally awesome). Thor however does, thanks to Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings who have names and talk about their actual work. Not boys, not shoes, not make-up. Their work. For a comic book fantasy film, it’s positively revolutionary.  Ironic enough, warrior goddess Sif never has a conversation that isn’t about Thor. Small steps, it seems.

 

THIS WEEK’S LESSON IN FEMINISM PT. 2

The Best Man Holiday, however would not past The Bechdel Test and doubles down against it by making Sanaa Lathan, who plays the wife of Taye Diggs dislike Nia Long, who was the girl he always liked in college but never got together with. Because god forbid two successful, intelligent women—who clearly share some mutual traits for him to love them both—get along.  It’s probably the weakest part of this otherwise enjoyable film.

 

IT’S CALLED “GETTING IN YOUR OWN WAY”

Homefront opens at number five and Jason Staham may want to rethink his opposition to working in films with special effects as he’s not getting any younger and his films are start to do worse and worse.  Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, etc. Name the A-list action star and I’ll name the big-budget special effects film. Jason Staham however is B-list in danger of sinking to C if he doesn’t wise up. Let me put it this way: this has got to be the first major release from him that I didn’t automatically see.  That they’re all the same isn’t an issue; all action films are dangerously similar.  That much I accept.  It’s that they’ve been too disappointing too many times. And I don’t know why the producers thought that “written by Sylvester Stallone” would be a selling point. If anything that guarantees even more plot holes and illogic than your average action film and honestly was the deciding factor for me.  Clearly more than a few people felt the same.

 

THIS TOO WILL PASS, YOUNG MAN

Delivery Man is down to number six giving Vince Vaughn two flops this year and you can’t prove I’m smiling.  Also in this is Chris Pratt whose star is actually rising in comedy (Park & Recreation) and drama (Zero Dark Thirty) and will be in the next big Marvel offshoot, Guardians of the Galaxy and his casting while clearly calculated to bring down the age curve is actually a mistake given the plot hinges on Vince Vaughn being in his 40’s. The best friend who fulfills the straight man role of the married family man is not going to be in his early 30’s. It needs to be someone of a similar age. I can only think his frequent partner, Jon Favreau saw the writing on the wall and turned this down.

 

NAZIS, HOLOCAUST, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED NOVEL = OSCAR BAIT

The Book Thief enters the top ten at number seven and I know nothing of the novel this is based upon, only that it stinks of Oscar bait but also wants to be a heartwarming family film and you can only serve one master.  Trying for both risks sucking on two fronts.

 

WHY WAIT UNTIL CHRISTMAS TO IGNORE SOMETHING?

Black Nativity opens at number eight and I’ve got “zero” interest in seeing this.  I cannot deal with the hamfisted religious thing, even at Christmas.  Not to mention is this a musical or what?  Jennifer Hudson is shown doing the only thing she should ever do onscreen and that’s sing (her Oscar win remains an embarrassment), but it’s when she’s just walking down the street.  No one else seems to do it and I think that confusion contributed to its low opening (other than having Jesus shoved in your face over Thanksgiving). The Book Thief is in fewer theaters, has been out longer and has even a smaller niche audience and still did better.  I’m a little sad because I like Kasi Lemmons and hoped that Eve’s Bayou would lead to bigger and better things for her as a director. You know her best as Jodie Foster’s roommate in Silence of the Lambs. Yeah, that’s her.

 

QUEEN OF THE GRAY DOLLAR

Opening very well even though it’s at number nine is Philomena.  To even break the top ten with less than a thousand theaters is impressive, but Dame Judi Densch has proven she’s queen of the older audience, having scored a hit with Best Exotic Marigold Hotel two years ago. This is a comedy drama about a writer following a woman as she seeks to find the child she was forced to give up for adoption decades earlier and unlike the book thief it seems to mix the sad and the sweet in the right amounts for Oscar audiences.

 

I’M GONNA HAVE TO TRADEMARK “GRAY DOLLAR” IT SEEMS

Speaking of the “older audience” Last Vegas has rolled the dice for the last time in the top ten but $72M worldwide from a $28M budget isn’t bad at all.  Given that the rest of its target audience will probably devour it on home video (pay-per-view, DVD, etc) it’ll probably deliver nice profit when all is said and done. Ironically, this probably sprung up from the success of Red, whose sequel bombed, so while Last Vegas 2 (Next To Last Vegas?) is unwise another excuse to put a bunch of older actors together will probably pay off.  I’d bring up having some women in it as well, but clearly Judi Densch doesn’t need your punk ass.

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I STILL DON’T CARE

24 Nov

nia-long-naked-peta

1. The Hunger Games 2/LGF                   Wknd/$ 161.1            Total/$ 161.1

 2. Thor: The Dark World/BV                  Wknd/$  14.1            Total/$ 167.8

 3. The Best Man Holiday/Universal      Wknd/$  12.5            Total/$  50.4

 4. Delivery Man/BV                                   Wknd/$    8.2            Total/$     8.2

 5. Free Birds/Relativity                             Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$  48.6

 6. Last Vegas/CBS                                       Wknd/$    4.4            Total/$  53.9

 7. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                      Wknd/$    3.5            Total/$  95.5

 8. Gravity/Warners                                     Wknd/$    3.3            Total/$ 245.5

 9. 12 Years A Slave                                       Wknd/$    2.8            Total/$   29.4

10. Dallas Buyers Club/Focus                    Wknd/$    2.8            Total/$    6.5

 

THE RUNNING GIRL

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens at number one breaking a record and like Twilight before it and Harry Potter before that this is something that has gone right past me. Know why? BECAUSE I’M AN ADULT AND I DON’T READ CHILDREN’S BOOKS  THAT’S WHY! Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Just don’t ask me what adult books I’m reading. And honestly, I just have a problem where children are forced to fight children to the death.  Somewhere down the line I’ve just gotten squeamish about certain things and watching children die onscreen is one of them. Yes, I know. This time around it’s full-grown adults fighting (which is one of the oldest tropes in and out of science fiction), but I still can’t get with it.  The taint remains.

 

TWO SMART GIRLS

Thor: The Dark World drops to number two and if you’re saving that episode of Agents of SHIELD to watch until you see this, don’t bother. It has almost nothing to do with the movie.  Seriously.  It’s just a carrot to draw you into that incredibly lackluster series.  Speaking of lackluster series, how happy is Kat Dennings for these movies?  Every two years she’s gets to be in a blockbuster film and this time around actually joins Tom Hiddleston in “Steal The Movie” club which should bump her up in a way Two Broke Girls never could. As Hiddleston stole Thor from Thor, Darcy steals the movie from Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, Thor’s mortal love interest. She’s clearly the more interesting of the two and between her and overlooking Sif, Thor’s taste in women is seriously in question.

 

ANOTHER BRIDESMAID

The Best Man Holiday is down to number three and with the entire original cast returning also in this is Nia Long who, quite honestly, was Kerry Washington before Kerry Washington as the potential heir to Halle Berry’s throne (as we know, Hollywood and only have one A-list minority lead at a time).  The difference being Kerry Washington had the A-list films (Ray, Django Unchained) and now hit TV series (Scandal), whereas Nia Long peaked in Big Momma’s House and Third Watch.  Ouch.

 

MONEY NO MORE

The Delivery Man opens at number four (the lower budget makes this not as bad as you think) and this is a remake of a French film that just came out last year and even I was shocked at how quickly Hollywood remade it.  It’s a cute enough premise, but they should have found a different leading man, because Vince Vaughn and his motormouth routine gets old fast.  In fact it’s been old for a long time now and this is coming from someone who was a huge fan after Swingers and followed his indie career in things like Clay Pigeons, Return to Paradise and yes, even the shot-for-shot remake of Psycho so my bitterness is earned, baby.  Someone a little more charming and little less annoying would have served this film well.  And better looking. Seriously. It matters.

 

THE TURKEY YOU’RE HAPPY TO KILL

Speaking of annoying onscreen motormouths, Owen Wilson is one of the voices in Free Birds, down to number five and the only thing worse than Owen Wilson is just his voice, I don’t care what cute animal you put up there onscreen.

 

BAD GRANDMA?

Last Vegas is down to number six, followed by Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa at number seven and given how well this has done prepare yourself for an onslaught of low budget prankster films. Okay, maybe not an onslaught, but there will definitely be more of them coming.

 

TRAUMATIC ISN’T THE WORD FOR IT

Gravity is down to number eight, followed by 12 Years a Slave down to number nine and some people have issues with seeing their favorite stars as evil slave owners. I don’t want to hear it. Roots had everyone in Hollywood owning slaves and you don’t know from difficult until you’ve seen Mr. Brady own slaves or Sandy Duncan toss around the “n-word.”

 

THE MANY FACES OF MATTHEW

Finally entering the top ten at ten is more Oscar bait in the form of Dallas Buyer’s Club, continuing the Matthew McConaughey renaissance.  Apparently somewhere down the line he tired of merely being a parody of himself and decided to be a more serious version of himself, because lets face it: he’s always playing Matthew McConaughey. He’s not Daniel Day Lewis and can disappear into any role.  He can only be a more somber McConaughey (like in the surprise hit, Mud), a more straight-laced McConaughey (The Lincoln Lawyer and Bernie) a more psychotic McConaughey (Killer Joe) or a more sleazy McConaughey (Magic Mike, which I honestly thought he deserved a Best Supporting nomination for). But it’s always McConaughey.

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THE BETTER MAN

17 Nov

600full-victoria-smurfit

 1. Thor: The Dark World/BV                        Wknd/$  86.1            Total/$  86.1

 2. The Best Man Holiday/Universal            Wknd/$  30.6            Total/$  30.6

 3. Last Vegas/CBS                                           Wknd/$    8.9            Total/$  47.0

 4. Free Birds/Relativity                                  Wknd/$    8.3            Total/$  42.2

 5. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                          Wknd/$    7.7             Total/$  78.7

 6. Gravity/Warners                                         Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$ 240.6

 7. Ender’s Game/LGF                                     Wknd/$    6.2            Total/$  53.8

 8. 12 Years A Slave                                           Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$   24.9

 9. Captain Phillips/Sony                                 Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$  97.6

10. About Time/Universal                              Wknd/$    3.5            Total/$   11.6

 

HOW THE (IRON) MAN TAKES YOUR MONEY

Thor: The Dark World holds at number one and there’s an odd absence of SHIELD in this movie given how they were set up as the “connective tissue” between all the films, starting with Iron Man.  Originally I thought it was simply a plothole, but once I learned there was going to be a tie-in episode with the lackluster Agents of SHIELD show I realized it was probably a deliberate act, much in the way comic books will have “off-camera” developments that you’ll have to buy to get the complete story. Want to know how Cap is now fighting alongside Iron Man in New York when we last saw Cap was in Washington DC? Well, pick up the latest issue of Captain America to get the whole story.  And when they’re really, really having you grabbing your ankles financially, half the story will be in Captain America, half will be in Iron Man and the main story will be in The Avengers.  But hey, when you’re not spending money on dating, nice clothes and gym memberships, it doesn’t matter.

 

CAN YOU STAND THE RAIN…OF MONEY

The Best Man Holiday opens at number two and if you’re surprised this did so well (made almost double its budget on the first weekend) you either don’t remember the first Best Man opened at number one or you have movies where the lead actor looks like you and isn’t a slave for 12 years or a butler for 40.  Yeah, I said it!  Real talk!  Not every one has gods or astronauts.  And don’t think this movie isn’t aware of it. The opening credits are a mixture of scenes from the first film and a “where-are-they-now” montage of success. Every single one of them is madly successful and you never realize how much you miss something until it’s pointed out to you.  But all that glitters is not gold as our first scene is learning that Taye Diggs has lost his teaching position at NYU and his agent is telling him his latest book blows. Not to mention hospital bills have been piling up as he and his now-wife (remember he proposed at the end of the first film) are expecting a baby in less than a month.  Harold Perrineau, who played the somewhat meek character who dumped his domineering girlfriend for a well-read stripper, is facing the downside of that decision as her past is catching up them (they’re married with kids) and their progressive school which needs money from conservative donors.  There’s also something up with football star Morris Chestnut and his wife whose relationship with Taye Diggs was the heart of the story of the first film (I’m not going to spoil it, but it’s pretty obvious).  Terrence Howard is also back as the trouble-stirring “Q” who has lost some of the angry darkness from the first film, but his hysterical bluntness is the source of much of the film’s humor. They all gather for holidays at the mansion of Morris Chestnut and the laugher and tears ensue.  Writer/director Malcolm Lee (yes, cousin of Spike) doesn’t break any new ground but he knows how to use the old stories well enough that he doesn’t have to. They’re tropes and clichés for a reason.  Because when done right they never stop working and they’re working here.  Taye Diggs, Harold Perrineau and Morris Chestnut are all keeping secrets. Think they’re going to come out at the worst possible time to maximum drama? Of course they are! That’s what you’re paying for! If they acted like intelligent, rational people, this movie would be very boring and about 30 minutes. One thing I will give him credit for is sticking to the “R” rating. This movie could very easily be PG-13 (which you’d think would be required for a holiday film), but would have felt a little less honest.

 

HELEN MIRREN NEVER STOPS BEING HOT. I’M JUST SAYIN’…

Last Vegas actually rises to number three and speaking of seeing yourself onscreen, think maybe this is the reason this AARP film has staying power?  A movie your mom and dad might want to see because they see themselves onscreen as leads, rather than as parents and grandparents of the main characters?  Of course if that’s the reason maybe they should have worked a little harder to cast women the same age as the men.  Real talk all day!

 

HE’S FOUND HIS LEVEL AND HE’S LIVING IT

Free Birds is down to number four, followed by Bad Grandpa at number five and who is more grateful for this than Johnny Knoxville who plays the “bad grandpa?”  His attempt at actually leading comedic man status pretty much died with the anemic Dukes of Hazzard film.  I loved the Dukes of Hazzard, but couldn’t stomach more than a few moments of that horrible movie. His second banana roles didn’t work out either as The Last Stand and Walking Tall showed. But he rules in hell, as he’s also a writer and producer here, so I think his days of trying to make it in heaven are done.

 

YOU CAN’T BUY YOUR CHILD BRIDE WIFE A PORSCHE ON ACCLAIM

Gravity holds at number six, followed by Ender’s Game at seven and also in this is Sir Ben Kingsley who could care less as he’s now part of the Marvel money machine, thanks to his appearance in Iron Man 3 as the not-quite-what-he-seems Mandarin.  He’s confirmed he’ll be returning though not in what role. Not that it matters or if he even cares.  I can promise you his manager and accountant do not.

 

YES, I’M A BAD MOVIE-GOING BOYFRIEND

12 Years a Slave is down to number eight, followed by Captain Phillips at number nine and About Time at number ten and it hurts me to see Rachel McAdams have yet another disappointment, even though I know I’m partially responsible, not having seen a single one of her last four films. But given that her formula seems to be to do projects she likes (aka artsy indie films) than go do a horrible yet insanely profitable Nicholas Sparks movie, she seems to have a formula that works for her. Unfortunately it doesn’t work for me, as I’ve no interest in the little films she chooses (Brian DePalma remaking a French film sounds like a recipe for disappointment) and sure as hell won’t see anything based on a Nicholas Sparks scribbling. Luckily for me she’s going to be in an upcoming Cameron Crowe film. Now that’s what daddy likes.

NOT OVER YET

So I finally watched the new Dracula—or as I call it “Short Sexy Dracula”—and to say they take liberties with the story is to say they even made it. Every version of Dracula takes liberties, but that Dracula and Van Helsing are allies against a secret order is very new.  Unfortunately it’s not all that interesting.  Nor is Dracula’s cover as an American industrialist.  And just because Renfield is black and no longer a weird toady servant doesn’t instantly make him more intriguing either. Not to mention I’m just not buying a short Dracula, I don’t care how sexy he is.  Stature matters when you’re supposed to be intimidating.  Sorry, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.  When the most interesting character wasn’t even part of the original story (Jonathan Harker, Mina and Lucy are all here), you’ve got a problem.  I’d much rather see the cleavage-heavy, knife-wielding, vampire-hunting blonde (played by Victoria Smurfit and yes, that’s her real name) who loves having sex with Dracula (pretty sure Bram Stoker’s novel never had Dracula finger-fuck someone in an opera box) even when she knows he’s her enemy than anyone.  She alone possesses the one factor this show is otherwise lacking: fun.

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BRINGING THE THUNDER

10 Nov

thor345

 1. Thor: The Dark World/BV                     Wknd/$  86.1            Total/$  86.1

 2. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                      Wknd/$  11.3             Total/$  78.7

 3. Free Birds/Relativity                               Wknd/$  11.2              Total/$  30.2

 4. Last Vegas/CBS                                         Wknd/$  11.1              Total/$  33.5

 5. Ender’s Game/LGF                                    Wknd/$  10.3            Total/$  44.0

 6. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$    8.4            Total/$ 231.1

 7. 12 Years A Slave                                         Wknd/$    6.6            Total/$   17.3

 8. Captain Phillips/Sony                                Wknd/$    5.8            Total/$  91.0

 9. About Time/Universal                              Wknd/$    5.2            Total/$    6.7

10. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2      Wknd/$    2.8           Total/$110.0

 

THOR? I CAN BARELY WALK!

Thor: The Dark World opens at number one and while heads and shoulders better than the first film this franchise still has story problems. Setting up the plot seems to take up the bulk of the film and then the execution takes no time at all. Shouldn’t that be reversed? Basically, The Dark Elves (from the Dark World of the title) want to return the universe to darkness (duh) and can only do so during the once every 5 thousand years “convergence” of the Nine Realms (Earth is one, Asgard is another). For this they need “The Ether” which of course Jane Foster happened to find and is now infected with, which makes Thor bring her to Asgard with The Dark Elves right behind her. It takes so long to get to this point, even when the story has started it still feels like they’re still setting up.  No real tension is ever developed regarding stopping the Dark Elves or saving Jane even though everyone is racing the clock.  The Dark Elves only have limited time to complete their plan, but you’d never know it by how they move. Odin’s insistence on just fighting them and sacrificing his people doesn’t make any sense without him adding that they only have to hold The Dark Elves until The Convergence passes. Even the fact that “The Ether” is killing Jane like a slow poison generates no suspense. It would have added a great deal of drama to learn that letting her die would destroy “The Ether” and remove the threat forcing Thor to choose between billions of lives and his heart. It would also provide Jane with a moment of self-sacrificing heroism to prove herself to Odin, who clearly distains.  Even needing to trust Loki who is clearly untrustworthy adds no dramatic weight to the story. Thank goodness the film is stronger on its characters, with almost everyone getting defining moment and that moment usually lends itself to humor. Don’t let the sub-head fool you; like Iron Man 3 there’s no shortage of laughs throughout the film even when the fate of the universe is at hand.

 

SADLY, IT DOES CRACK EVENTUALLY

Bad Grandpa holds at number two followed by Free Birds at number three and Last Vegas at number four and also in this is Mary Steenburgen and like always in Hollywood she’s still six years younger than the youngest male lead who is Kevin Kline. But he’s getting his own ego bruising, being asked to play contemporaries with Morgan Freeman who has a full decade on Kline.  And honestly, while he looks good for his age, Freeman is clearly the oldest by a long shot.

 

CLEARLY LEARNING NOTHING FROM SEAN CONNERY ON HOW TO AGE IN MOVIES

Speaking of ego bruising, is anyone’s taking a bruising like Harrison Ford’s as Ender’s Game drops massively to number five?  Once upon a time Han Jones or Indiana Solo was gold, even making crap like Six Days, Seven Nights successful. Now, he can’t buy a hit as his last film before this, Paranoia (with the other Hemsworth. Liam) didn’t even open in the top ten. 42 was a modest success, but Cowboys & Aliens (with James Bond to help), Morning Glory, Extraordinary Measures and Firewall all tanked (Crossing Over was released in maybe one theater).  His last real hit? Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. No wonder he’s rumored to making his participation in the next Star Wars sequel conditional on another Indiana Jones film. Yes, he still doesn’t think he’s too old. Dude, you should have replaced Kevin Kline in Last Vegas you’re so old.

 

I GUESS HE’S GOT THE RIGHT STUFF. GET IT?

Gravity is down to number six and making his second appearance as the voice of mission control (and third as part of NASA) is none other than Ed Harris.  It’s a mixed blessing that the biggest thing he’s been in recently never shows his face.  Yeah, Pain & Gain made money but I’m sure he’s not proud of working with Michael Bay.

 

MALE OR FEMALE, REDHEADS ARE EVIL

12 Years a Slave holds at number seven, followed by Captain Phillips at number eight and about time at number nine and this the latest from Richard Curtis, the writer of Love Actually and Four Weddings & A Funeral (we’re trying to pretend Notting Hill never happened) and screenwriter of Bridget Jones’s Diary (we’re trying to pretend Edge of Reason never happened). Combine him with Rachel McAdams (whom I love), Bill Nighy (whom I love) and a science fiction element and you’d think I’d be in there, but no. The leading man leaves me cold. Never underestimate the contribution to Hugh Grant to appeal of his films. Give me  a young Hugh Grant rather than some near albino and I might have found the time (no pun intended).

 

THE END…FINALLY

Finally, after two months, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 says goodbye to the top ten.