Tag Archives: turbo


28 Jul


 1. The Wolverine/Fox                                Wknd/$  55.0            Total/$  55.0

 2. The Conjuring/WB                                Wknd/$  22.1            Total/$  83.9

 3. Despicable Me 2/Universal                   Wknd/$  16.0            Total/$ 306.4

 4. Turbo/Fox                                               Wknd/$  13.3            Total/$  55.8

 5. Grown Ups 2/Sony                                 Wknd/$  11.5             Total/$ 101.7

 6. Red 2/LG                                                 Wknd/$    9.4            Total/$  35.1

 7. Pacific Rim/Warners                              Wknd/$    7.5            Total/$  84.0

 9. R.I.P.D./Universal                                  Wknd/$    5.9            Total/$  24.4

 8. The Heat/Fox                                          Wknd/$    6.9            Total/$ 141.2

10. Fruitvale Station/Weinstein                 Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$    6.3



Opening at number one, yet still a disappointment is The Wolverine, as if somehow shortening the name was going to make it better. Yes, it’s better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but that’s like saying it’s better when your dog leaves solid poop on your carpet rather than runny poop. It’s still poop on your carpet and this is still a bad movie in the theater. Wolverine first became a runaway success in the 80’s with the success of a four issue comic book mini-series wherein he leaves the X-Men for awhile to go to Japan to help the woman he loves who just happens to be a Yakuza (Japanese mob) princess and gets caught up in a mob war.  It was so successful not only did he get his own solo book and become one of Marvel Comics’ biggest stars, but also they never stopped writing “Wolverine in Japan” stories trying to recapture it.  At the heart of the original story was that spiritually Wolverine was very “Japanese” (a character flat out says it on page 8) in that he had the soul of a samurai warrior and found a certain amount of peace there where he didn’t elsewhere.  He spoke fluent Japanese and was immersed in its culture and customs. Well, none of that is here. It begins with Wolverine mentally tortured by having had to kill Jean Grey in the last X-Men and that you’d even acknowledge that piece of crap is your first mistake. But it does add to the basic premise that he’s tired of living and burying people that he loves—except that it’s well documented that he can’t remember his past so how does he know? Well suddenly he can remember that he was in World War II and saved the life of a Japanese solider at Nagasaki. This soldier went on to create the equivalent to Sony and is now dying of cancer (rather than say the fact he’s in his freaking 90’s). He offers to make Wolverine mortal to repay him.  So you can imagine what happens next, right? Wolverine mulls it over, accepts, and lives a life of peace for a little while before realizing that to save the lives of the people he loves he has to take back his curse. Nope. He turns him down and that’s the end of that interesting premise. Seriously. After that it’s just dumb things that never stop happening climaxing in the appearance of giant robot, which is always, always stupid. Let me put it this way: when the most sympathetic character is a guy trying to murder his own daughter, your story has gone horrible wrong.  I personally knew it was over when the first five minutes felt compelled to show a CGI bear urinating.  No, I’m not kidding.  It immediately shows you the maturity level of the storytelling and all the rest is just academic.



The Conjuring is down to number two and from a $20M budget has made $96M worldwide. Everybody’s getting cheese on their whoppers!  Also in this is Patrick Wilson who is starting to make a career out of these low-risk, high return horror films as he was also in last year’s Insidious, which has a sequel coming later this year.  Given he comes from Broadway he brings a nice gravity to whatever he does, serving to legitimize it despite the many obstacles of bad writing and poor direction. He proved that by being the highlight of The A-Team movie a few years ago as the obnoxious CIA Agent that sets the plot in motion.  It helped that he seemed to realize it was a comedy and played it just that way.



Despicable Me 2 is down to number three followed by Turbo at number four and the irony of this one-two punch of success and failure from Dreamworks is staggering.  Well, not for you or me, but for Netflix, which is locked into a deal with Dreamworks to make a Turbo cartoon.  Oops.  Note that there’s no Despicable Me cartoon. Or even one about The Minions which is actually the only thing worth watching in a Despicable Me movie.  Someone’s lawyers are going to be burning the midnight oil (of billable hours) looking for a way out of this.  Heh-heh-heh.



Grown Ups 2 is down to number five followed by Red 2 at number six and part of the reason I was looking forward to this was that a) Brian Cox who was the best part of the first was returning and b) Anthony Hopkins was in it. For those of you who don’t know, Brian Cox first brought Hannibal Lecter to life onscreen in Manhunter, which was based on the novel Red Dragon. After the success of Silence of the Lambs where Hopkins won an Oscar for his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter he went on to do it twice more in Hannibal and yes, Red Dragon. Both Hannibal Lecters in one movie. Awesome.  Or not. They don’t even exchange words in this film. Now I wasn’t looking for some horrible joke about eating liver with fava beans and Chianti, but what’s the point in having great actors together in a movie if you’re not going to put them together? It would be like if Robert DeNiro was in that dumb heist movie with Marlon Brando and they never met.  I haven’t been this disappointed since Renton (Ewan McGregor) and Spud (Ewen Bremer) were in Jack The Giant Killer and didn’t share a scene.



Pacific Rim is down to number seven and also in this is Idris Elba the man who should be pushing Denzel Washington into retirement (remember: Hollywood can only handle one minority lead at a time), but he keeps making less-than-wise screen choices like this one…and whatever the hell that movie was he did with Beyonce where he shaved.  Not that it isn’t enjoyable, but he’s not really the star of it, good or bad and to be a star you need starring roles.  Yeah, Luther is in its third season on the BBC and he’s the star of that, but being the star of a BBC series isn’t even like being a big fish in small pond. It’s like being a special fish in a specialty aquarium store, while guys like Denzel Washington are blue whales.



The Heat is down to number eight and Sandra Bullock says she can’t imagine making a sequel to this…even though she made two awful Miss Congeniality movies.  Clearly the check Paramount sent to her home wasn’t big enough.  But you know what? I’m down with her thinly veiled suggestion that it’s going to take a buttload of money for a sequel.  It the mint has to work overtime to provide Disney with enough money pay Robert Downey Jr. to come back as Iron Man, she deserves her payday too.



R.I.P.D. is down to number nine and yes, I’m still laughing at yet another Ryan Reynolds flop.  He couldn’t be having more career disappointment if he’d been on the cover of Vanity Fair as the next big thing. What’s funny is that when he was on the cover it was with Jake Gyllenhaal, another “It Boy” whose career hasn’t quite taken off either. Next to them is James Franco who has big mainstream hits he could clearly give a crap about and smaller hits he loves. Wait. Am I laughing again?



Finally, entering the top ten is Fruitvale Station and there’s been buzz about this since it was on the film festival circuit and apparently it lives up to the hype.  It’s gonna take some effort for me to see because a) it’s summer and I like to keep it light and b) I’m really not looking forward to being reminded that the difference between life and death for can be whether or not someone is afraid of me.  Whoa. That’s kind of a bummer note to end on. Okay, let’s lighten it up. The star of this is Michael B. Jordan who clearly had to be forced by SAG to use his middle initial because like poor Vanessa L. Williams who had her SAG card first!  He’s been mentioned as being Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot and that has geeks in a tizzy, not that they’re racist or anything.  They’re just concerned about accuracy…in the character of a flying man on fire. Note how they didn’t care when Jessica Alba was squeezing her Latina curves into a tight blue outfit. So I guess it’s just their genitals which are color blind.  Figures, only having one eye and all.  Yeah, I went there.


21 Jul


1. The Conjuring/WB                             Wknd/$  41.5            Total/$  41.5

 2. Despicable Me 2/Universal             Wknd/$  25.1            Total/$ 276.2

 3. Turbo/Fox                                           Wknd/$  21.5            Total/$  31.2

 4. Grown Ups 2/Sony                            Wknd/$  20.0            Total/$  79.5

 5. Red 2/LG                                             Wknd/$  18.5            Total/$  18.5

 6. Pacific Rim/Warners                         Wknd/$  16.0            Total/$  68.2

 7. R.I.P.D./Universal                              Wknd/$  12.8            Total/$  12.8

 8. The Heat/Fox                                      Wknd/$    9.3            Total/$ 129.3

 9. World War Z/Paramount                  Wknd/$    5.2            Total/$ 186.9

10. Monsters University/Disney           Wknd/$    5.0            Total/$ 249.0



The Conjuring opens gangbusters at number one and as everyone knows: I don’t do the scary.  Especially if it looks even remotely effective and this looked somewhat effective.  No matter how many times I saw it, when those hands popped up out of nowhere to clap behind Lili Taylor? Messed. Me. Up.  But clearly I’m the only one who didn’t turn out to see it and right now they’re trying to figure out how to make a sequel to something that was a true story.  But they made a million Amityville Horror movies so I’m sure they’ll find a way.



Despicable Me 2 holds at number two just to spite me I’m sure.  It’s followed by Turbo, opening at number three and nothing says your animated film sucks more than one that’s been out for three weeks still beating you at the box office. This movie has two problems that doomed it from the start: 1) Ryan Reynolds is your star voice.  2) its premise makes no sense and they actually acknowledge it in the commercials. A snail can’t race in the Indy 500.  I know it seems contrary to argue about what makes sense in a kid’s movie about talking snails that move at 200 mph, but even in the realm of talking animal children’s films, there are still rules.  The best comparison is Ratatouille.  It was also about a creature that longed for something in the human world that was its polar opposite.  The difference being people don’t just suddenly accept a rat as a chef.  Here people suddenly decided that a snail could be part of a car races when we’re shown earlier that they exist in different worlds as opposed to a world like Shrek or Warner Brother cartoons where animals walk, talk and behave like humans. If a child can comprehend a car race then he or she understands that only cars are in it. Not trains, not plains and not snails. This sounds like the concept of two stoned filmmakers that got out of control.  Incompetent and lazy stoned filmmakers at that if they didn’t put the effort in to find a way to make it work.  The snail could simply have been the pet of a driver who drew inspiration from its ability to suddenly move fast and he kept it in the cab with him.  But no, they wanted a snail to race in the Indy 500 and didn’t care whether or not it made sense. Despicable Me 2 thanks them. And it thanks Ryan Reynolds.



Grown Ups 2 is down to number four followed by RED 2 opening poorly at number five and the first one was a classic example of a movie that was “meh” in the theater but totally enjoyable on cable at 1:00 am.  This one…not so much. Clearly they understood that the real appeal of RED was the chemistry of the ensemble cast and how they relished in playing a bunch of killers. Helen Mirren and John Malkovich especially.  Add in some Ernest Borgnine gravitas, Richard Dreyfus ham, wicked wit from Morgan Freeman and Brian Cox and a dose of fresh blood from Karl Urban and you had some late night cable fun. Willis is back but now he wants to enjoy retirement as opposed to the guy forced into it.  This is putting him slightly at odds with Mary Louise Parker, back as his bright-eyed girlfriend who prefers the excitement of bullets to brunch and John Malkovich who is more than happy to try and bring her into their world.  Unfortunately both he and Mirren have lost a little of the energy of the first film because they clearly put no effort into writing their characters and just have them do the same thing over again (actually Malkovich does less). So basically it’s a typical sequel.  They even xerox the plot. Once again, they’re marked for death because of a mission they barely remember, but without the basic logic of a politician trying to clean up his dirty past.  In fact if you think about it, it makes no sense whatsoever that they’d be trying to kill them this time. If anything they’re needed alive to clean it up.  We’re also missing the fun of them going memory lane and “getting the band back together.”  A different mission means different actors and they waste this opportunity.  Catherine Zeta-Jones pops up as a former KGB agent and lover of Bruce Willis, but is wasted on jokes about Mary Louise Parker being jealous.  Even the action scenes are dull and overlong. The fun in the first film was that it was unexpected these retirees could still kick ass. Now they mow through legions of people like Bond in his prime.  It’s just boring.  By the time they go to Moscow then back to London with some plot involving Anthony Hopkins I began checking my watch to see when it would end. At least this means there won’t be a third.



Pacific Rim is down to number six and I feel badly for this silly ass movie, which is all kinds of fun and not insultingly stupid like a Transformers film which make zillions more.  But like I said, American audiences aren’t buying you building giant robots to fight giant monsters.  We like to fight our giant monsters with guts and tanks and brains and planes. Transformers gets a pass from us because those robots came from space and also turn into things we do like in America: cars.  It’s doing better overseas, but it may not be enough. Then again, it hasn’t opened yet in the home of the giant robot: Japan.  But I doubt if they’re going to come up with the $300M extra this needs to make to be profitable theatrically. I say “theatrically” because home video is another animal that has saved many a film, especially those of Guillermo Del Toro.



It’s a perfect storm of failure in R.I.P.D., opening at number seven because not only does it star Ryan Reynolds, who flopped earlier with Turbo, but Mary Louise Parker who flopped earlier with Red 2.  Funnier still this director is the guy who directed the first Red movie.  Thinking he’s regretting not taking the sequel now?  Clearly not having learned anything from Joe Piscopo’s Dead Heat, they decided to make Men In Black but with dead people and with no young minority star presence to make you feel old and unhip. It’s even based on a comic book that you’ve never heard of like Men In Black.  But again, we know it’s Ryan Reynolds keeping people out of the theaters. Let’s not pretend it isn’t. He’d boring, he’s bland and his very presence is a clear sign of a mediocre if not downright awful film.  Jeff Bridges doesn’t care. He’ll do dumb big budget films for money, then go make something like Crazy Heart or True Grit, to which this almost seems like an unofficial sequel given his character.  Now that’s something I’d have paid to see.  The main reason Men In Black worked (better writing and directing aside) is because of the central joke that the reason NYC seems full of weirdoes is that they were all from space.  What’s the central joke here?  Exactly.



The Heat is down to number eight and at $129M from a $43M budget this is an unqualified hit and again, so much for The Proposal being a hit because of anything having to do with Ryan Reynolds. But if you think this means more films with female leads keep dreaming. All this is domestic. It’s made nothing overseas and that’s what studios look to these days.  Basically this might as well star black people as far as Hollywood is concerned because a lack of foreign box office also their excuse for no minority casting.  Not that that they’re racist or sexist. Oh, no. Clearly there are something’s that only foreign money can buy that are beyond the reach of US dollars. Certain cheeses I understand…



World War Z is down to number nine and the author of the book finally saw the movie and admitted he liked it, but mainly because it has so little to do with his book it didn’t ruin it. It’s a win-win for him. He got a check and his work remains untouched.



Finally Monsters University closes out the top ten at number ten and believe it or not by virtue of this Charlie Day has two films in the top ten thanks to Pacific Rim. Ironically they both star monsters.