Tag Archives: Tommy Lee Jones

MAKE ‘ER TALK, TUBO

22 Aug

the_monster_squad_l
1. Suicide Squad/WB                                     Wknd/$ 20.7     Total/$ 262.3
2. Sausage Party/Sony                                   Wknd/$ 15.3     Total/$ 65.3
3. War Dogs/WB                                             Wknd/$ 14.3     Total/$ 14.3
4. Kubo & The Two Strings/Focus               Wknd/$ 12.6     Total/$ 12.6
5. Ben Hur/Paramount                                  Wknd/$ 11.4      Total/$ 11.4
6. Pete’s Dragon/Disney                                Wknd/$ 11.3      Total/$ 42.9
7. Bad Moms/STX                                           Wknd/$ 8.1       Total/$ 85.5
8. Jason Bourne/Universal                            Wknd/$ 8.0      Total/$ 140.9
9. The Secret Life of Pets/Universal            Wknd/$ 5.8       Total/$ 346.7
10. Florence Foster Jenkins/Parmount      Wknd/$ 4.0       Total/$ 146.9

HE’S NOT EVEN MAKING SONGS FOR THEM ANYMORE AND NO ONE ASKS HIM TO
Suicide Squad holds at number one and much like Batman v. Superman: Something, Something Justice, being generally reviled by critics and audience alike has not affected its box office take all that much. It’s one of those movies where curiosity seems to drive audiences to see it because they cannot believe it’s as bad as people make it out to be and they think they’ll at least have some fun. Needless to say people are finding out the hard way that this isn’t the case but by then it’s too late. They’ve got your money and you’ve lost two hours of your life you’re not getting back. And it still may not be enough simply because Warner Brothers continues the mistake of high expectations leading to ridiculous promotional budgets. Rather than being cautious, they continue to think they’re going to make Marvel-level money by simply throwing anything up on the screen. They’re wrong and in an attempt to hedge their bet by having reshoots have doomed this barely breaking even when it might have actually turned a profit. Sadly, Will Smith will take breaking even as his days of being the King of Summer ended over a decade ago, his last summer hit being Hitch in ’05. Yeah, it’s been that long. Since then it’s been a slow decline in both big budget films and even smaller dramas, Oscar nominations not withstanding. He’s still huge overseas, where After Earth made 3x as much as it did domestically and where this is also doing better, but studios make their money at home and he ain’t doing that. The last successful summer film helmed by a Smith was The Karate Kid, starring Jaden. This is why Bad Boys 3 is coming soon to a theater near you. No, I’m not kidding. You know things are bad when you need Martin Lawrence.

JUST…NO
Sausage Party holds at number two and this has apparently taken a great deal of the audience from Suicide Squad. Why am I not surprised that anyone who’d like Suicide Squad would be into this? Me, I’m not even remotely curious. The only thing that repels me almost as much as seeing Seth Rogen onscreen is “something from the mind of Seth Rogen.”

CRY HAVOC AND LET LOOSE THE DOUCHEBAGS OF WAR!
Speaking of repellant people onscreen, War Dogs opens at number three and it’s almost brilliance to put Miles Tellar and Jonah Hill together thereby keeping the amount of douche confined to one movie. The greater irony being, while they are seemingly perfect for their based-on-a-true-story roles as two asshole, douchebag arms dealers, I can’t imagine sitting in a theater and looking at the two of them for two hours. Hell, I don’t think I could make twenty minutes!

KUBO & THE UNDEVELOPED SCREENPLAY
Kubo and The Two Strings opens at number four and I was sorely disappointed by this because the trailer looked so amazing and these guys always do good visual work, but seem to stumble when it comes to storytelling. Now, Paranorman wasn’t badly told it’s just what it wound up telling me I didn’t care for. There’s always been darkness in children’s films since Bambi, but they took it too a new level and this isn’t so different as the first time we meet Kubo we find out he’s wearing an eyepatch because his grandfather, the Moon God, took it out and wants the other. Yeah, really. Again, fairy tales have always been dark like that, so that’s not the problem here. The problem is we get no real sense of the world in which Kubo lives. His grandfather is a god and given how he feels about mortals it’s probable his daughters are full gods as well and not demi-gods, which mean that’s is what Kubo is: demi-god. This explains how his guitar has the power to create origami that moves. Only no one seems shocked or surprised by this. It’s not established if they see it merely as a trick or magic is just that common in the world. Like in all fairy tales he story begins when Kubo does what his mother tells him not to, which in this case it hide at night so The Moon God can’t find him. They are subsequently found out and his mother is apparently killed by her evil sisters, but not before spiriting Kubo on away and bringing his Monkey charm to life to guide him on his quest to find invincible armor to prepare for his eventual confrontation with his grandfather. And this is where it comes apart as the monkey tries to warn Kubo about how he uses his power but there is no learning curve and no guidance. He goes from animated origami to building an entire ship out of leaves. Even Luke had to drop the ship. Also there’s a “reveal” about the characters that join Kubo on his quest that comes far too soon (not to mention being fairly obvious) and honestly the story belongs more to one of them than Kubo and might have been better told from their point of view. Ultimately this is just very lovely to watch but not much else. And we’ll discuss a bunch of white dudes using Japanese culture to tell a story and having all of two Asians involved another time.

CHARIOTS OF FIRE! NO, THAT’S TAKEN.
Ben Hur opens at number five and who the hell thought this was a good idea!?! Yes, there’s a whole new Christian film market but they all cost about $25 to make so are guaranteed to make a profit. You don’t spend $100M and think you’re getting your money back from such a narrow audience. The broad majority of people do not want to be preached to and it’s no secret that Ben Hur is more a Christian story than the simple adventure story the way all the ads are desperately trying to convince you. Want to trick people into seeing this? How about not fucking calling it Ben-Hur!?! “Chariot Revenge” would have gotten more people into the theater than fucking “Ben Hur.” Or better yet, set it in space or in a post apocalyptic landscape. But doing the same old shit again…

THEY DO ALL LOOK ALIKE!
Pete’s Dragon is down to number six and like a bad joke I honestly I thought that it was Jessica Chastain in this rather than Bryce Dallas Howard. Not that it matters, but it’s still funny. I was down for seeing this until I realized I’d never had any fucking interest in the seeing the original. Granted, it was a musical, which was mercifully dropped from this remake, but there was a little too much “Disney” stench about it still, especially in the character who wanted to kill the dragon. As if in this day and age, keeping it alive wouldn’t be the option everyone would want either for money or science so it just rang painfully false.

MILF MONEY
Bad Moms is down to number seven and this is officially a success. $85M domestic alone from a $20M budget. It’s fucking amazing, because not only does it look like shit, every review says it’s shit, but there’s clearly an audience of moms who don’t give a fuck. I know. I know one of them who admitted even though it looked like shit, she was going to see it. I feel you, babe. I see so much shit regardless of what anyone thinks simply because it appeals to me on some level and clearly I’m not alone. Still, it’s amazing. And Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell are not complaining. Somebody’s gotta make money in their households. God knows Ashton Kutcher and Dax Shepard aren’t gonna do it.

LOOKS LIKE REBOOT TIME
Jason Bourne is down to number eight and this is looking to be the failure it deserves to be and somewhere Jeremy Renner and Joan Allen are drinking in the schadenfreude.

SHOULD’VE TAKEN THAT TWO & A HALF MEN GIG
The Secret Life of Pets is down to number nine and closing out the top ten is the attempted counter-programming of “adult” material in Florence Foster Jenkins. Every year they attempt this shit of trying to put out a movie that clearly has no appeal to anyone but adults in the summer and every year they fail. Even with just a $30M budget this is still a failure. Let. It. Fucking. Go. Nobody wants to be a grown up in the summer! And wasn’t Hugh Grant supposed to quit acting a few years back! Clearly it costs money to try and bang college students all the. Especially when you’re aging like the Englishman you are.

So, some TV…

I LIKE HAPPY COMICS AND I WON’T APOLOGIZE FOR THAT!
I finally finished off the Preacher series on AMC and it was very much what I expected from a series based on the works of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. What that means is it’s darkly funny, profane, sordid and graphically violent usually for the simple point of being profane, sordid and graphically violent. Let me put it there’s a character called “Assface” who is that way because he tried to kill himself by putting a shotgun in his mouth and upon failing was left with a face that basically looks like an asshole. All his dialogue is subtitled. Every character is has some dirty, mean, violent sordid side and Ennis & Dillon revel in it. It’s not to say the show is without interest—a small town preacher with a dark history searching for redemption finds himself imbued with a godlike power— but once the secrets were revealed, I was done. I really don’t want to spend any more time in this world. There’s a reason I read Superman and not these types of books. But if you like this sort of thing and the bulk of violent, graphic, borderline cruel shows that dominate cable basic and pay shows that you do (Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Lords of Anarchy, True Blood, American Horror Story, Real Housewives of What-The-Fuck-Ever) then you’d probably like this.

ONE OF THE FEW TIMES I DON’T MIND REVISITING THE 80’S
Stranger Things on Netflix is an homage to the science fiction, horror and adventure films of the 80’s that involved kids. In this series set in 1983 in a small Indiana town, four kids lose one of their number and in searching for him find a girl with special powers who has escaped from a mysterious nearby government facility…and a monster somehow connected to her. In this you’ll find deliberate homages to e.t.: The Extra Terrestial, Firestarter, Poltergeist, The Goonies, Stand By Me, War Games, Alien etc. Hell, even John Hughes films show up and two of the actors flat out looks like Mia Sara from Ferris Bueller’s Day and Molly Ringwald. They even add specks of dust and damage to the title sequence, which obviously wouldn’t exist in the current digital format. And did I mention that sequence has a total synth score? It’s very, very good, more than transcending the novelty of its non-stop 80’s homage. My only problem is they build a sequel into the end. Honestly in the early 80’s they didn’t do that. That didn’t come until later when Friday The 13th and Halloween took off. I personally would’ve been happy if they’d just made it like there wouldn’t be another. A lot of people keep mentioning the influence of Stephen King (who is flat out referenced in the movie) and Steven Spielberg here, but they weren’t the only people doing these types of movies and honestly they had nothing to do with the very best kids adventure/horror/sci-fi movie of the 80’s: MONSTER SQUAD!

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YOUR JOKE ABOUT CAREER SUICIDE HERE

8 Aug

15846
1. Suicide Squad/WB                                 Wknd/$ 135.1    Total/$ 135.1
2. Jason Bourne/Universal                       Wknd/$ 22.7     Total/$ 103.4
3. Bad Moms/STX                                      Wknd/$ 14.2      Total/$ 51.1
4. The Secret Life of Pets/Universal       Wknd/$ 11.6       Total/$ 319.6
5. Star Trek Beyond/Paramount             Wknd/$ 10.2      Total/$ 127.9
6. Nine Lives/EC                                         Wknd/$ 6.5       Total/$ 6.5
7. Lights Out/New Line                             Wknd/$ 6.0       Total/$ 54.7
8. Nerve/LGF                                               Wknd/$ 4.9       Total/$ 26.9
9. Ghostbusters/Sony                                Wknd/$ 4.8        Total/$ 116.7
10. Ice Age: Collision Course/Fox           Wknd/$ 4.3        Total/$ 53.5

SUPER DIRTY
Suicide Squad opens at number one and the DC Comics Universe has become to Warner Brothers what the Transformers Universe is for Universal: a critically and consumer reviled cash cow. The difference being there’s not another series of critically and consumer praised giant robot movies out there to compare it to. DC/WB unfortunately has Marvel/Disney to be compared to and they cannot stand being the ugly sister/brother everyone hooks up with on the downlow but disparages in public. Rumor has it the reason this film is such a disjointed mess is because Warner Brothers panicked over the reaction to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and ordered reshoots to make the actual movie look more like the brilliant trailer that came out earlier in the year. Even if that’s the case the real problem with this movie is nonetheless the basic story itself. Trying to make it funnier just made a bad problem worse (or made it less awful). The Suicide Squad is basically The Dirty Dozen of superhero comics. A bunch of supervillains are used by the US Government to run “suicide missions” in exchange for time off their sentences, which are pretty lengthy if you’re a supervillain as you’re usually trying to take over the world. If they try to run away on a mission a small explosive in their skull detonates. It’s been a popular comic and the characters have shown up on Smallville and recently Arrow so it was only a matter of time before they got a film and the success of Guardians of the Galaxy (similarly about a band of outlaws doing good) basically cemented it. Even the trailer that changed the course of the film was clearly based on the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. The film follows the basic concept of the comic, but stumbles almost immediately as Viola Davis (as Amanda Waller, the ruthless head of the agency you can see tell off Obama in this month’s issue of The Suicide Squad) explains her plan to other government officials in a scene that goes on far too long and most crucially stumbles by introducing The Flash. The problem with that is, if The Flash exists and is saving people, exactly why isn’t he there fighting something that’s destroying a city!?! Also, Batman is shown having caught most of the Suicide Squad, but no one mentions the idea of possibly recruiting him. Obviously he wouldn’t do it but it seems stupid it never occurs to anyone. And it just piles on from there. The group is assembled to deal with extra-normal problems, but in fact one of their team members causes the very problem itself, which undercuts the very concept. It’s like if creating The Dirty Dozen caused the Nazi party to gain power. Also, one of the team members is Harley Quinn, girlfriend of The Joker, which results in The Joker showing up in the film trying to get her back. At worst this slows the film down and at best makes you wish he were the main bad guy. As it is he contributes nothing to the film. Let me put it this way: if his entire role were cut the film wouldn’t change in the slightest. That’s the definition of extraneous. The character development is also fumbled. You expect the loose collection of psychopaths to bond and become an actual team that cares for one another, but it only happens here because the film says it happens. There’s no instance that occurs where a bond is actually formed due to self-sacrifice or defense of another. The only thing that even approaches it the relationship between Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn and that’s probably because they’ve worked together before and honestly as the biggest names on this got preferential treatment by the script. I’d say this means Zack Snyder didn’t make the worst comic book based movie of the year, but he directed The Flash scene. So when is Warner Brother going to get a clue what the problems are with their films? Hint: they rhyme with “sad biting” and “Jack Rider.”

OLD AGE AND DECEIT APPARENTLY DOESN’T BEAT YOUTH AND EXUBERANCE
Jason Bourne is down to number two and if you’re a well-regarded character actor—especially if you’re an older one—then your presence in a Jason Bourne movie means you’re evil. The Bourne Identity? Chris Cooper. The Bourne Supremacy? Brian Cox (who was actually a good guy in the first). The Bourne Ultimatum? A twofer of David Strathairn and Scott Glenn (Bonus: Ed Norton plays this role in The Bourne Legacy.) So, when you see Tommy Lee Jones’s name in the credits you know what’s going to happen in this one. And it’s always the same motivation: kill Bourne to keep a lid on everything, even though every attempt just makes discovery more likely and actually brings him to your door when he actually had no interest in you to begin with. The only actor not to suffer this fate is Joan Allen, who oddly is not in this one, but she wasn’t evil either.

I SEE MEGAN FOX IN THE MILA KUNIS ROLE
Bad Moms holds at number three and prepare yourself: this might get a sequel. Maybe not a theatrical one, but one of those direct-to-home sequels like Legally Blonde 3 or Kindergarten Cop 2 starring Dolph Lundgren. You only wish I were joking about their existence. It had a $20M budget and has made $50M so far. Not gangbusters, but not the miserable fate it so clearly deserved.

AN EVEN MORE SECRET LIFE
Down to number five this is week is The Secret Life of Pets (which should actually be “The Secret Lives of Pets” as the noun is plural) which will undoubtedly get a sequel and apparently they’re insisting that there will be another entry into the Star Trek reboot which is down to number five. This is highly unlikely given it cost $185M and has only made $127M domestically and another $67M overseas. That doesn’t scream “sequel” to anyone not looking to save face over wrecking a multi-billion dollar franchise…again. The irony being it’s the best of the three…which is only to say it doesn’t suck. They still haven’t quite grasped that whole “work on more than on level” concept.

GET THEM BAT-DOLLARS, GIRL!
Nine Lives opens at number six and you gotta pity Jennifer Garner. First, publicly humiliated by husband Ben Affleck for banging the nanny and now her career has reached that stage where she’s propping up older actors at least a decade her senior. First she was 60-something Kevin Costner’s love interest in Draft Day and now she’s 60-something Kevin Spacey’s wife in this (for the record Garner is 44). For him this is just a lark to get an easy check with two days in the front of the camera, tops. The rest was all voice work. But Jennifer Garner had to show up every day and react to either a cat or tennis ball standing in for a CGI cat. Oh, I hope she has a good lawyer so she can choose to work and choose better shit than this.

IT’S CALLED MORAL SUPPORT
Lights out is down to number seven and Nerve is oddly hanging around at number eight. It’s made $26M on a $20M budget, which isn’t great, but not quite the disaster I thought it was. I’m pulling for you, Emma. Even if I won’t spend a dime to support you.

I HATE GIVING LADIES BAD NEWS
You know what else isn’t getting a sequel? Ghostbusters. Sorry, but it ain’t. It’s done about as well as Star Trek Beyond but had ten times the hype. Yeah, a lot of it was bitching by ugly, pencil-dicked virgins, but it nonetheless kept this movie alive in the public knowledge and still it didn’t do better. Fingers crossed for a second life for tween girl slumber parties.

OUR LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE IS FINALLY OVER
Finally Ice Age: Collision Course closes out the top ten at number ten and this will hopefully end this goddamn series once and for all. $105M budget and a $54M return. Bwahahahahaha! Get the fuck outta here!

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THE BOURNE REDUNDANCY

1 Aug

jason-bourne-matt-damon
1. Jason Bourne/Universal                       Wknd/$ 60.0    Total/$ 60.0
2. Star Trek Beyond/Paramount             Wknd/$ 24.0    Total/$ 105.7
3. Bad Moms/STX                                      Wknd/$ 23.4    Total/$ 23.4
4. The Secret Life of Pets/Universal       Wknd/$ 18.2    Total/$ 296.2
5. Lights Out/New Line                             Wknd/$ 10.8    Total/$ 42.9
6. Ice Age: Collision Course/Fox             Wknd/$ 10.5     Total/$ 42.1
7. Ghostbusters/Sony                                Wknd/$ 9.8      Total/$ 106.2

8. Nerve/LGF                                              Wknd/$ 9.0      Total/$ 15.1
9. Finding Dory/Disney                            Wknd/$ 4.2       Total/$ 469.0
10. The Legend of Tarzan/WB                 Wknd/$ 2.4       Total/$ 121.9

NOT FUNNY BECAUSE IT’S TRUE
Jason Bourne opens at number one and Matt Damon once joked that the next sequel would be called “The Bourne Redundancy” because there was only so much of a story to tell. Well, the joke has become reality because there really is nothing left to tell. Every single Bourne film has been about him trying to find out about his past and honestly that pretty much ended in the second one when he learned his real name. The third one was already running on fumes, but at least it left him home in the US, which felt like an even more definitive ending. Even the poster was about him “coming home.” Apparently not to stay, given we open with him participating in illegal bare-knuckle boxing matches in Greece, where apparently no one records them with cell phones ever. Julia Stiles, who only now, 14 years later looks old enough to be working at the CIA, draws him back in because she’s learned even more secrets about his past. This time we learn his father was a) a CIA analyst (yes like Jack Ryan), b) may have created the Super Soldier Program—er, sorry—I mean the Treadstone Program that made him into an undefeatable assassin and c) wanted to tell him something right before he was killed by terrorists. Now, she’s also been living off the grid (working with hackers to expose government secrets) since we last saw her almost ten years ago, which means she’s also got some CIA skills, right? Then why is it when she need needs to disappear into a crowd she doesn’t cover that fucking head of blonde hair!?! Seriously. It sticks out so much it’s like her fucking head was on fire. It’s literally part of the way they track her down! The very first thing that Bourne does to Franke Potente in the first Bourne film is change her fucking hair! Here, Julia Stiles doesn’t have the common sense to put a fucking hat on. That’s basically when I checked out of this. It’s little more than a paycheck for Damon and Greengrass and it feels that way. There’s a “modern” plot about the threat of government surveillance using social media, which means it’s actually about ten years old. Speaking of old, Matt Damon is just that now and part of the appeal of Bourne was that he was young. The group of 20-something girls I saw in the audience at The Bourne Identity was pretty much proof of that. Now he’s a 40-something man and looks every year of it. I’m not saying he didn’t get in shape for this, but I know from experience what 40-something man sucking in his gut looks like and the one scene (and I mean one) where his shirt is off, he’s sucking in his gut. Flashbacks to the slim jawline don’t help. And you know all those badass hand-t0-hand fight scenes from the original trilogy? Well, there’s exactly one in this one and it comes at the very end after a dull car chase through Las Vegas. That’s especially disappointing given the car chase in The Bourne Supremacy is literally one of the best ever put on film. Honestly, The Bourne Legacy was better than this movie and it was as dumb as shit.

SOME…DRAMATIC…PAUSES…COULD…ONLY…HELP
Star Trek Beyond is down to number two and speaking of The Bourne Supremacy the bad guy Bourne faces off with in that is none other than Karl Urban, who plays Dr. McCoy in this reboot. He does a good job in his Deforest Kelly impression even if he does lean into it a little hard at times. I guess he has to, given how charisma free Chris Pine is. Granted, no one wants a bad Shatner impression (or do we?) and Serious Kirk is better than Dumbass Frat Boy Who Fails Upward Kirk, but there was at least some energy in Dumbass Frat Boy Who Fails Upward Kirk. Slightly Depressed Because of Work Kirk whose birthday corresponds to the day his father died is dull and I can’t really blame Pine too much because they don’t give him much to work with. And if you think the basic bad guy plot from Wrath of Khan is borrowed, remember it also started with a Slightly Depressed Kirk drinking with Dr. McCoy discussing his birthday. The difference being Kirk here is thinking of leaving space for a desk job while that Kirk was depressed from having a desk job. The movie is supposed to do the same. Show how a crisis jars him out of his depression with a renewed purpose but that’s sacrificed for generic action. There’s no real character progression from A to B. Again the lackluster bad guy is a failure because he should be Kirk’s opposite number, showing him why Kirk is still needed in space and why it matters and none of that really happens. And goddamnit, where are the English literature references!?! Star Trek is rather infamous for using them, but in three films I cannot recall a single one. One of the few times my degree means something and it’s gone…

I GUESS NEXT TIME IT’LL BE THREE TEENAGE GIRLS
Bad Moms opens at number three and this is from the writers of The Hangover and you can tell. Once again we’ve got three people: The Pretty One, The Crazy One and The Straightlaced One. They used it for Horrible Bosses and the director of The Hangover used it also Project X (though he went old school and had classic movie trinity of Nice Wasp, Obnoxious Ethnic and Fat One). Hey, if it ain’t broke and still makes some cheddar, don’t fix it, amirite? Except it is broken. Horrible Bosses had talented casts in both films, which help to carry it for the first and allowed the second to be at least not awful (it’s the best I can give it). This on the other hand looks bad in that “pathetically desperate for laughs” way. It has an awful trailer where they try sooooo hard to be raunchy funny and fail sooooo miserably. Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis are learning the hard way that life outside the Judd Apatow umbrella isn’t as easy as you might think. Granted, I’m sure they were both tired of pretending to be attracted to Jason Segel and supporting some dude (especially when that dude is Jason Segel), but they just don’t have the comic chops to elevate bad material. I despise Seth Rogen, but as bad as the trailer for The Sitter looked, some of it still made me laugh. Kunis peaked at Jackie on That 70’s Show (along with her husband, Ashton Kutcher) and that was the benefit of good writing and honestly, playing a shallow character. Ask Tom Cruise how beneficial it is for limited actors to play characters who are supposed to be shallow.

NOT EVERYONE BECAME BILL MURRAY YOU KNOW
The Secret Life of Pets is down to number four and lets see who signed up for an easy paycheck and/or to be in a film their kids could see. Louis CK (for the kids), Eric Stonestreet (paycheck), Kevin Hart (both), Jenny Slate (paycheck), Lake Bell (both), Albert Brooks (both, but grandkids), Dana Carvey (sooo needed this paycheck), Hannibal Buress (paycheck) and Bobby Moynihan (paycheck). Wait. Larraine Newman!?! WTF!?! I’d be less surprised to see Charles Rocket and he’s dead.

GLAD TO SEE A PRETTY BLONDE GIRL FINALLY MAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD
Lights Out is down to number five and at over 9x its budget in two weeks, it’s safe to say this is a serious hit. I’m glad for one reason only: Teresa Palmer finally has a hit. She’s an Australian actress who’s been hopping around for a few years in mediocre genre flicks supporting some dude who has none of her natural charisma. She was “the girl” in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice for Jay Baruchel whom thankfully they’ve stopped trying to make a lead. She was “the girl” in Take Me Home Tonight for Topher Grace whom thankfully they’ve stopped trying to make a lead. She was “the girl” in Warm Bodies for Nicholas Hoult whom they haven’t stopped trying to make a lead just yet. And while she wasn’t “the girl” in I Am Number Four—that was poor Diana Argon—for walking mannequin, Alex Pettyfer whom they’ve thankfully stopped trying to make a lead, but she was the only girl that mattered as the badass Number Six who shows up to kick ass and take names. Helping immensely was the fact she got to use her Australian accent and not be another generic American blonde.

NOT ONE GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL IS TOLD THEY DON’T HAVE A DICK
Ice Age: Collision Course is down to number six, followed by Ghostbusters at number seven and yeah, this ain’t gettin’ a sequel unless it does massively well on the home video (DVD, on-demand, etc) and one thing it does really gets wrong is that the first was very much a New York comedy. It had plenty of local color. Things happened there that couldn’t happen anywhere else. Every single person on a civil service level was cranky and cynical just like real life. And it looked a little dirty. None of that exists here. They might as well have set it in Boston where they filmed most of it, location mattered so little and it should have mattered.

ALREADY BETTER THAN HER AUNT
Nerve opens at number eight and do you think they cast Emma Roberts because Dave Franco (yes, James’ younger brother) is so short or they cast Dave Franco because Emma Roberts is so short? And this is a bad sign for both their careers, especially hers. A slick, youth-oriented film based on a Young Adult novel with two young stars that can’t even break the top five? In the middle of summer!?! Ouch. I like Emma Roberts because I like that she’s over trying to be nice, pretty blonde female lead (she was the star of the last Nancy Drew movie). She’s been the icy, blonde bitch since becoming legal and does it well. Lets you know she learned from dad, Eric Roberts, that the most interesting roles are always a bit darker. And while she should change it up a bit, I hope the lessons of Teresa Palmer are not lost on her. Yes, be the lead in a low-budget genre flick. Get that instant boost. Oh, and don’t support lame-ass dudes.

THE SUMMER WHERE YOU ACTUALLY LOOKED FORWARD TO WATCHING THE OLYMPICS
Finding Dory is down to number nine followed by The Legend of Tarzan at number ten and how lame has this summer been for movies? I don’t think I’ve seen this few in a forever and even the ones I’ve seen haven’t been good or bad enough to be that memorable. When the numbers come out in September I’m not going to be even remotely surprised to read this was a low-grossing summer. See, when people go to see a movie that’s good they’re more apt to try again the next week and the week after that. If they see two bad or disappointing movies in a row, they might not go again in a month even if something that was previously interesting to them was being released. Especially in summer, when it’s actually nice to be outside actually doing something. So yeah, a shocking as it sounds, good movies are good for business.

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NOTHING IS MORE TERRIFYING THAN AN OLD MAN IN A DIAPER SCREAMING

15 Sep

Michelle Pfeiffer 001(3)

1. Insidious 2/FD                                           Wknd/$  41.1            Total/$  41.1

 2. The Family/Relativity                             Wknd/$  14.5            Total/$  14.5

 3. Riddick/Universal                                    Wknd/$    7.0            Total/$  31.3

 4. Lee Daniel’s The Butler/Weinstein      Wknd/$    5.6            Total/$100.0

 6. Instructions Not Included/LGF            Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$  26.6

 5. We’re The Millers/Warners                    Wknd/$    5.4            Total/$ 131.6

 7. Planes/Disney                                            Wknd/$    3.1            Total/$  83.0

 8. One Direction This Is Us/Sony              Wknd/$    2.4            Total/$  26.9

 9. Elysium/TriStar                                        Wknd/$    2.1             Total/$  88.4

10. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters            Wknd/$    1.8            Total/$  62.0

 

WHY BUY THE COW WHEN GET YOU CAN GET TERRIFIED FOR FREE?

Insidious 2 opens at number one and I think we all know by now I don’t like the scary so I didn’t see this as I didn’t see the first one.  Hell, that commercial with the old man in a diaper screaming “He’s got your baby! He’s got your baby!” messed me up.  I wasn’t about to pay for ninety minutes of it, but clearly I was alone in this.

 

HE’S GONNA OFFER A JOKE YOU CAN’T REFUSE TO LAUGH AT

The Family opens at number two and people love Robert DeNiro as a gangster; even moreseo when he’s playing it for laughs.  This looks like it should have been the sequel to Analyze This instead of Analyze That. I wouldn’t know, because like most of the world, I declined to see it, but I think we can all agree Tommy Lee Jones deadpanning instead of a Billy Crystal hamming automatically makes it a better movie.  I won’t even get into Michelle Pfeiffer over Lisa Kudrow because that would just be mean.

 

NOT THAT ONE SHOULD EXPECT POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IN A RIDDICK MOVIE

Riddick is down to number three and also in this is Katee Sackhoff best known as Starbuck from the Battlestar Galactica reboot and again, I fully admit her partial nude scene is what pushed me over the edge from ambivalence to finally seeing this movie, but all the Riddick movies have had actresses good at playing tough which is part of the appeal. Claudia Black (best known from Farscape) was in Pitch Black (which I won’t see because I know she dies in it) and Chronicles of Riddick had both Alexa Davalos and Christina Cox (sadly not known for anything) and the latter was the tough mercenary who is genuinely drawn to Riddick. I preferred the to Katee Sackhoff being lesbian who somehow “turns” by the final reel because you know, Riddick is just that badass. Are you freaking kidding me!?!  This isn’t the 60’s where Pussy Galore’s lesbian tendencies are no match Sean Connery at the peak of his Bond powers. Now it’s just a tad offensive to joke all a lesbian needs is the right man to set her “straight.”  It’s a taint on an otherwise dumb good time. It would have been better if it was just something she said to keep from being hit on all the time as the only woman onboard.

 

THE ENGLISH WERE BIGOTS TOO, RIGHT?

Lee Daniels’ The Butler is down to number four and this has crossed the $100M mark making it a ridiculous hit and you just know somehow, somewhere, someone is trying to figure out how to make a sequel. The Butler 2: Now He Works For The Queen of England.

 

CALL IT THE DEBBIE REYNOLDS EFFECT

We’re The Millers is still hanging around at number five and for the first time Jennifer Anniston’s success has little to do with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Of course if not for them she’d be already back on TV with a sitcom probably coming on right after Cougar Town, but we’ll let her have this one.

 

MISC.

Instructions Not Included is down to number six, followed by Planes at number seven and One Direction: This Is Us at number eight.

 

MAYBE IT’S FITTING NOT TO TURN A PROFIT WHEN SO MANY ARE HUNGRY

Elysium is down to number nine and at 232M worldwide has at least broken even, so it’s not loss, but still a disappointment for this ham-fisted parable about the haves and have-nots.

 

AT THE END IT’LL BE COCKROACHES AND THIS MOVIE

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters hangs around at number ten and we need an exterminator to get rid of this.

REDHEADS ARE TROUBLE. ESPECIALLY WHEN ARMED.

24 Jun

1. Brave/Disney                                                Wknd/$   66.7            Total/$   66.7

 2. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                      Wknd/$   20.2            Total/$ 157.6

 3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter         Wknd/$   16.5            Total/$   16.5

 4. Prometheus/Fox                                           Wknd/$   10.0            Total/$ 108.5

 5. Snow White & The Huntsman/U              Wknd/$     8.0            Total/$ 137.1

 6. Rock of Ages/Warners                                 Wknd/$     8.0            Total/$  28.8

 7. That’s My Boy/Sony                                     Wknd/$     7.9            Total/$  28.2

 9. MIB 3/Sony                                                   Wknd/$     5.6            Total/$ 163.3

 8. The Avengers/Disney                                  Wknd/$     7.0            Total/$ 598.3

10. Seeking A Friend…/Focus                         Wknd/$     3.8            Total/$    3.8

 

HOW ABOUT SOME COWARDICE AND AVARICE?

To no one’s surprise, Brave opens at number one and unfortunately this is not one of Pixar’s better works.  They’re never bad (no, not even Cars), but when you do something as transcendent as the first 20 minutes of Up or Wall*E the standards are much higher for you than anyone else.  And while this is better than pretty much every thing Dreamworks or Blue Sky (those horrible Ice Age movies) has ever done, by Disney standards, it’s lacking. To me, the real problem is no villain. You need some great threat to fight. It doesn’t have to be evil, as Finding Nemo proved, but some significant opposition.  What’s the issue here? Rebellious princess Merida accidentally turns her mother into a bear.  No, seriously. Not even a monster, a bear.  And she’s not even a dangerous bear, as she maintains her faculties for the most part, even continuing to wear her crown. Is the witch who provides the spell secretly evil and trying to take the kingdom like countless Disney movies?  No, she’s just wacky. Is there someone lurking who will benefit from this, like Scar in The Lion King?  Nope. Nothing will really change in the land.  Can the spell only be broken by some dangerous quest our archer princess has to embark upon, like Marlin crossing the ocean in Finding Nemo?  Nope. There’s simply no actual malice t0 be found or great task to accomplish and this results in a serious lack of drama or tension. It only kicks into gear when the king, who hates bears after losing his leg to one, starts unknowingly hunting the transformed queen as the deadline for her transformation to become permanent approaches. As always, it’s utterly gorgeous and I’m sure the hair on Merida alone took up most the computer space on the Pixar hard drives, but everyone makes pretty movies so that means nothing. Let me put it this way: when the movie is stolen by literally three little bears who are onscreen maybe five minutes, you’ve got a serious problem.

 

NEXT: THOMAS JEFFERSON, WEREWOLF SLAYER!

Speaking of lackluster animated movies, Madagascar 3 is down to number two, followed by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opening at number three and this is so wonderfully and gloriously ridiculous it may well be the most fun I’ve had at the movies all year.  How can you not love a movie wherein Harriet Tubman and Mary Todd Lincoln use the Underground Railroad to deliver silver bullets to the Union Soldiers at Gettysburg because Jefferson Davis has made a pact with the vampires to fight for the Confederacy.  No I’m not kidding. It’s that awesome! And it’s almost immediate as the film opens with 8-year-old Abe going to the aid of a boy who being taken away as a slave even though he’s free and the whip comes directly at the camera!  Sensitivity to African-Americans be damned! We gotta justify our inflated 3D ticket prices!  Needless to say this boy grows up to be Lincoln’s right hand as he enters politics and even onto the White House. You say there’s nothing in the history books about Abe’s black best bud?  Whitewashing, I say! Just as they hid his kung-fu axe skills.  What makes this great is that everyone plays it straight no matter how insane it gets.  No winking at the camera here as Lincoln explains the only way to stop the vampires….is to end slavery.  Again, I’m not kidding.   With no respect for history, physics, logic, the continuing sensitivity to slavery by African-Americans or a president regarded as one of our greatest this movies takes us back to a time when such crass filmmaking was commonplace: the 70’s. Whenever someone brings up that bullshit about it being Hollywood’s last creative time period, give them one word: Mandingo. Speaking of which, only thing missing from this movie is some gratuitous interracial sex with Lincoln and some slave love interest…at an orgy.  Not to mention with Mary Todd…with his hat still on. If they’d made this in the 70’s we would have gotten both.

 

NEITHER QUANTITY NOR QUALITY

Prometheus is down to number four followed by Snow White & The Huntsman at number five and having two big budget films in the top ten kinda makes this The Summer of Charlize Theron (formerly known as The Summer of Channing Tatum until GI Joe 2 was moved to next spring).  She was actually supposed to be the idiot scientist played by Noomi Rapace but was waiting on the new Road Warrior movie to begin shooting so she opted for the smaller role insisting “…it’s better to have a smaller role in a great film, rather than star in a crap one.”  Well, she failed in that endeavor as she’s starring and supporting in crap films, so it’s actually The Critically Crappy Summer of Charlize Theron, because believe it or not both films are somewhat if not extraordinarily successful.  If it seems like she’s suddenly everywhere when she was nowhere before, it’s not your imagination.  Unlike say, Nicholas Cage (who’s probably in both these movies if you look hard enough), Theron only makes on average one or two movies a year.  You’d think this would mean better films, but you’d be wrong.

 

YOU REMIND ME…HOW MUSICAL ARTISTS ALMOST ALWAYS MAKE BAD MOVIES

Rock of Ages is down to number six and honestly what the hell has happened to Mary J. Blige!?!  Why is she here!?!  When has she ever, ever been associated with rock?  Shouldn’t she have been in the upcoming (and probably disappointing) remake of Sparkle.  It’s like they wanted Tina Turner but couldn’t afford her…or she saw the stage show and said “Fuck no.”  Not to mention this is one big joke and Mary has never had the greatest sense of humor about herself or anything else.  It’s called “No More Drama” not “No More Comedy.”

 

WHY? BECAUSE HE CAN.

That’s My Boy is down to number seven and the failures of the Gossip Girl cast continue as this also stars Leighton Meester as the fiancée of Andy Samberg.  Yeah, that’s how you know it’s both a comedy and an Adam Sandler movie because goofy-looking muthafuckas get girls like her.

 

BOY’S CLUB

The Avengers is down to number eight, followed by MIB 3 at number nine and while this has made $163M domestically, it’s made more than twice that overseas meaning Hollywood probably won’t stop beating this dead horse yet.  Though how they’ll convincingly make a 4th one is beyond me as Tommy Lee Jones looks like he’s 80 in this.  It’s clearly no accident the plot keeps him off-screen in favor of Josh Brolin.  Granted, he never looked young even when he was, but all the jokes Will Smith makes about his age in this movie have a disturbing ring of truth.  Logically, his character should have assumed the job that Rip Torn had and Will Smith mentoring a new partner but that makes entirely too much sense, which is why Linda Fiorentino had to be let go.  No, I’m not letting that go. She was a great part of the first film and I’m still waiting for them to notice that.

 

MISSING 2005 ARE WE?

Finally, Seeking A Friend At The End of the World opens at number ten and since we’re talking about an average looking guy being paired with a hot girl, look no further than this and honestly that alone was enough to put me off this. Granted, they’re supposed to be friends but even as a platonic pairing it’s not something I or anyone else would like to see for that matter. And how many times is Steve Carrell going to play this role?  Didn’t he just do it last year in Crazy Stupid Love?  Does that make this Crazy Stupid Love At The End of the World?  And Keira Knightely is starting to miss Pirates of the Caribbean more than Orlando Bloom and that’s saying something.

 

THE LOVESEAT IS A LITTLE OLE PLACE WHERE WE CAN SIT TOGETHER

So, I’ve done an adult thing. I bought a couch.  I kinda had one before because my futon bed of over 15 years could be converted into one.  Then the women around me let it be known that they’d never have sex in such a thing and that it was somewhat immature (my thanks goes out to all those women who were clearly sluts because they actually did have sex with me in it).  I replaced it with a real bed, but this meant in the event I should ever have any kind of company, there was no longer any place to sit but the bed, and while that was the ultimate destination it’s somewhat tacky to start there.  So at the end of last year I began to slowly try and clear my space of clutter to allow for a small couch, probably a loveseat.  I got rid of all my CD towers and subsequently the jewel cases and put my CD’s into books.  You know, like someone of my friends have wisely been doing since Day 1.  Next came the search for a couch to fit the space and the budget.  Leather was not happening, nor was used.  Unless it’s a friend, that’s like getting a used mattress. You don’t know what the fuck was happening on it and I mean “fuck” literally.  Granted, your friends probably fuck on theirs too, but you’re already exposed to their germs.  Finally the answer to home needs came as they always do: from IKEA.  $150 would not only get me a small couch that fits the space, but it actually becomes a bed, so the next time someone visits I won’t have to awkwardly share my bed (seriously, dude, I love you, man, but we will never do that again).  Of course delivery was $100 (plus the tip for the movers) and IKEA wouldn’t have to me for two weeks.  Maybe. I looked for “Man With Van” like we used to in the old days, but they weren’t much better and then someone suggested U-Haul, which I totally forgot about in the city.  Sure enough there’s one a block away from me, so one fine Saturday afternoon, I got myself a pick up truck and headed off to Red Hook. To save money I went with three hours rather than the recommended four, which I thought I was clever until it took me an hour just to get out of the fucking city.  Seriously, what is wrong with you people who drive here?  It’s insane!  It took me no time to pick up my current Movie Buddy/Full Time Geek Girl from her place in Brooklyn to help me with it and even less time to get it from IKEA.  Getting back into the city and back up to my place was over a fucking hour. I can ride to IKEA on my bike in 45 minutes!!!  As it turns out the couch was not that heavy or large and I theoretically could have done it alone, but it was still nice to have help. I rewarded her with booze and empanadas, ‘cause I’m classy.  I put it together in less than half an hour and promptly took a nap on it to break it in.  It works.

 

PICTURES OF LILLY

So long as I’m improving my life, I signed up to take formal classes to learn how to use my camera.  Every time I think I’ve gotten better, I wind up with a bunch of incredibly shitty photos that say otherwise. You people only see the 3 or 4 good ones; not the 196 bad ones I deleted.  So, like everything I do, there was literally months of internet research to find one that fit my budget and needs. Mostly my budget because I need everything.  Real courses at places like School of Visual Arts were out of the question.  I don’t a $1,000 worth of interest in this.  Also, seminars and the like simply weren’t enough and they begin to add up.  Internet and home courses depended on my personal ability to motivate myself, so that was clearly out of the question, leaving the half-dozen or so various schools here in Manhattan (I also don’t care enough about this to go to Brooklyn either).  I narrowed it down to two and while one was reviewed better on Yelp!, it was a) more expensive, b) I missed the window to start and c) on the east side in midtown.  PhotoManhattan was left and it was a) cheaper (even moreso if you paid in advance), b) starting the next week and c) on 14th & 6th.  I’d sooner ride further downtown than closer to anything on the east side.  Real talk!  One of the complaints about the place was the cramped space so imagine how nice it was to hear the guy tell us when I walked in that this was their new space with a big open window. Score!  It’s a class of 15 people ranging from those with $1000 cameras who know nothing about them to a producer of films who just is tired of being the only guy on set who can’t take nice pictures to people like me who know a little something, but only a little.  It’s only 3 guys and I’m not sure what that says about photography, but my primary goal is to be ready the next time some guy stops me and asks if I want to go to Staten Island and take pictures of girls in a hotel room.  You’d think it’d be mostly guys for that reason alone.  The teacher is an attractive young woman from South Africa who has the patience of a saint, because two hours in that room of people flashing at me would have resulted in murder.  She laughed it off saying that she doesn’t even notice any longer—right after she calmly explained how they could take shots without blinding her.  It’s an 8-week course of the basics and the fact that I learned what the fuck white balance was the first night means I’m already happy.  In 7 more weeks I’ll be ready to start my career in softcore porn.  Oh, come on. We all knew I was headed there eventually. The miracle is I’ve resisted this long.