Tag Archives: Unbroken

SAD, IRONIC OR BOTH?

20 Jan

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1. American Sniper/Warner                              Wknd/$ 89.5   Total/$ 92.9
2. The Wedding Ringer/SGems                       Wknd/$ 20.6   Total/$ 20.6
3. Paddington/Weinstein                                  Wknd/$ 19.0   Total/$ 19.0
4. Taken 3/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 63.4
5. Selma/Paramount                                           Wknd/$ 8.8    Total/$ 26.4
6. The Imitation Game/Weinstein                   Wknd/$ 6.8    Total/$ 50.4
7. Into the Woods/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 6.8    Total/$ 114.5
8. The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies             Wknd/$ 4.9     Total/$ 244.6
9. Unbroken/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 4.2     Total/$ 108.5
10. Blackhat/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 3.8

WHY CAN’T IT BE BOTH?
I don’t know if it’s sad or ironic or that on MLK Day weekend the number one film is about a sniper. A holiday for a champion of non-violence and opposer of the Vietnam War who was killed by a sniper’s bullet and America goes to see the movie about the most lethal sniper in US history. Goes to prove the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad publicity as the veracity of the sniper’s claims are being questioned, especially when claimed he and a buddy killed over two dozen Americans during the flood of New Orleans and once punched out Jesse Ventura in a bar. There’s absolutely no proof of the first and Ventura just won almost $2M in a defamation suit against the late sniper’s estate (in more irony the sniper himself was killed by another vet at a shooting range). It’s nominated for a few Oscars so I guess I’ll have to see it, but given it’s Clint Eastwood directing I’m in no great rush. You know how far too many directors are all style and no substance? No one will ever accuse Eastwood of that. “Laconic” is the term most often used to describe his “style.” I prefer “dry as fucking toast.” Just as too much of a spice can kill a dish none at all can leave it equally unappetizing. I mean if you’re going to go that way why not simply make a documentary?

GET IT? HE’S LITTLE
The Wedding Ringer opens at number two and Kevin Hart isn’t just striking the iron while it’s hot, he beating down into pennies with this onslaught on the theaters of America. But can you blame him? Being the hot comedian of the moment has a shelf life of the average fruit fly. Remember Dane Cook’s moment? Granted Kevin Hart is actually funny, something that Cook was unburdened with, but these movies look as generic as anything he put out. And you know any moment now he’s probably going to make the mistake they all make and attempt to be the lead in a romantic comedy, not realizing no one wants to see him kiss anyone. I gave this a pass, as I will all his films, because like Jack Black and others before him, he’s a sidekick, not a lead. A little goes a long way. Yes, that’s a deliberate play on words.

OR THE CLASSIC “GO, DOG! GO!”
Paddington opens at number three and I never read the books so we’re done here. When they make a movie about Richard Scary’s work I’ll be front and center.

ALSO MOMMY DRINKS BECAUSE YOU CRY
Taken 3 is down to number four and what kind of life can his daughter have after this? Her best friend and her mother were both murdered because of a trip she took to Europe. If she just went to Cabo like everyone else none of this ever happens. Then again, Liam Neeson shut down a European sex slavery ring as a result saving untold numbers of girls so I guess there’s a greater good to look at.

THE ACADEMY DIDN’T SEE SO WHY SHOULD YOU, RIGHT?
Selma is down to number five and this actually lives up to the hype. Very few films do, but this is like Lincoln in how it shows a particular moment behind an historical event and gets “warts and all” with it being honest about the fact the goal was to beaten up in front of the cameras to show the honesty of racism. Also it means bringing up MLK’s infidelities and how J. Edgar Hoover tried to destroy him with them. While some have found fault with a less-than-favorable portrayal of LBJ, it’s par the course for historical drama. To cite Lincoln again, that film completely falsified his viewpoint on Black people. He didn’t believe in slavery, but he didn’t believe in an integrated society either. He was going ship every Black person back to Africa. I question both decisions in films that are seemingly afraid of showing that great men are still just flawed human beings. But honestly how the hell do you not go see a movie about Martin Luther King Jr. on his holiday weekend!?! He’s the reason you’ve got three days and you can’t spare two hours!?! Bet you saw freaking Lincoln on President’s Day weekend, ya sorry muthafuckas.

MODERATION WAS NEVER HIS STRONG SUIT
The Imitation Game is down to number six, followed by Into The Woods at number seven and also in this is Johnny Depp. And this isn’t as surprising as you might think when you remember that he was in the underrated Sweeny Todd. Also, Depp was in a band before his big TV break. Oh, and then there’s Cry Baby from John Waters so Depp is no stranger to the musical, which makes sense given they’re over-the-top which is where he likes it.

HONESTLY, HITCHCOCK COULDN’T MAKE TYPING ON A COMPUTER SUSPENSEFUL
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is down to number eight, followed by Unbroken at number nine and finally Blackhat opens at number ten which may be too good for it. Initially I was surprised to see a Michael Mann film opening in January, which is the dumping ground for the studios because he’s a major league director, but then again he cast Chris Hemsworth as a hacker which is your first clue things are not quite right. That actually surpasses previous ridiculous hacker castings such as Hugh Jackman, Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock. And what do three out of those four have in common? They get topless (Bullock’s the prude). In fact, Hemsworth surpasses the shirtless screentime of Jackman, Jolie and both Thor movies. The film stumbles right out of the gate as Mann, undaunted by previous failures to make the inner working of a computer seem interesting gives it his shot as we watch path of electronic impulses that make their way though a system and cause the failure of a nuclear power plant in China. It’s even more boring than I make it sound. Do you know what the difference between this and Selma? There is actual levity in Selma. Even when dealing with life and death issues and the future of a nation, humans still find humor to make it through. Not so with Michael Mann. I don’t think there’s been a deliberate attempt at a laugh since Pacino messing with Hank Azaria in Heat 20 years ago. This is no exception. This painful somberness forces you to take the film completely and utterly seriously, which I suspect is Man’s, but winds up as its undoing when ridiculous things happen, starting with the FBI, which put Hemsworth in prison for hacking not knowing his college roommate is the same guy who handles China’s cyberterroism problem who comes over to work on the case with them. They know everything about him, except that piece of information, which should have been glaring. Then there’s the SWAT team that doesn’t notice the claymore clearly on the walls of the tunnels they’re chasing the bad guys through. Finally, there’s the matter of the characters who might as well have countdown clocks over their heads like that horrible Nickleback video. You know they’re going to die and die they do, which is a problem when they’re all more interesting than the main character. While I like that Mann is unlike other directors and not wasting his time bitching the loss of film and just jumping right into digital, he loves to shoot at night which is not a friend to it. Either get more lights or let it go because pixelated and grainy are not a good film style. The final nail in the coffin has to be when Mann pays homage to himself by having Hemsworth all but quote a William Petersen line from the great Manhunter. It’s not good to remind us you were once better than this.

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NEW YEAR, SAME CRAP

4 Jan

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1. The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies         Wknd/$ 21.9    Total/$ 220.8
2. Into the Woods/Disney                             Wknd/$ 19.1    Total/$ 91.2
3. Unbroken/Universal                                  Wknd/$ 18.4   Total/$ 87.8
4. The Woman in Black 2/Relativity           Wknd/$ 15.1    Total/$ 15.1
5. Night at the Museum: Secret…                 Wknd/$ 14.5   Total/$ 89.7
6. Annie/Sony                                                  Wknd/$ 11.4    Total/$ 72.6
8. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt.1     Wknd/$ 7.7      Total/$ 323.9
7. The Imitation Game/Weinstein               Wknd/$ 8.1     Total/$ 30.8
9. The Gambler/Paramount                          Wknd/$ 6.3     Total/$ 27.6
10. Big Hero 6/Disney                                    Wknd/$ 4.8     Total/$ 211.3

LITTLE BIG MAN
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies holds at number one and I wonder about the future of the actors who play dwarves, because honestly that’s how I see them, even though I know the actual actor, Richard Armitage, who plays Thorin, the leader and king, is 6’2”. You think he shows up for auditions and people are like, “Oh. We thought you’d be…shorter. Sorry.” Notice how the only people in the Lord of the Rings trilogy who really got boosts in their careers played regular sized people. Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom even Ian McKellan. None of The Hobbits found a lot of leading man work, much less Brian Blessed as the dwarf (he’ll always be Voltran the Hawkman who stole the Flash Gordon movie). Martin Freeman’s lucky he already had an established career before he took on the role of Bilbo or he’d be lucky to have a TV show on basic cable talking to a man in a dog suit. Sorry, Elijah.

THE POINT IS THERE IS NO POINT TO BE MADE
Into the Woods rises to number two and in this are Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep, reuniting after both being nominated for Oscars for The Devil Wears Prada. Meanwhile, their other co-star, Anne Hathaway, who wasn’t nominated actually won an Oscar for a musical. I don’t really have a point. I just thought that was interesting and a tad ironic. And this is doing relatively well. Are we really seeing a comeback of the musical? God, I hope not.

IT CAN BE A SOAPY BATH TOO. I’M NOT INFLEXIABLE
Unbroken is down to number three and this was directed by none other than Angelina Jolie and it remains odd that anyone anywhere would give her money to direct a film that she’s not even in (this is her second). Usually, it’s a Stallone kinda thing where he can direct all he wants so long as he’s also in front of the camera shooting people. Or Eddie Murphy, so long as he’s being funny in front of the cameras. You’d think to give Jolie a film there’d be an insistence she at least play the girl back home waiting on him to return…who takes long, soapy showers. Well, that’s what I’d have demanded anyway.

IT’S COLD & DARK IN THE THEATERS RIGHT NOW
The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death opens at number four and here’s your first clue it’s January, one of the traditional dumping ground of films. August is the other time period. This is where you drop films that you feel can’t handle any real competition. And it didn’t. It’s literally the only wide release this week…and still couldn’t break the top three. But if it cost as little as the first, then it may not matter. That was only $15M with Daniel Radcliff as the star. This has no one so may have been even less, which meaning it’s already made budget.

BETTER OR WORSE THAN BEING LIZ HURLEY?
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is down to number five, followed by Annie at number six and The Imitation Game picking up steam to rise to number seven and also in this is Keira Knightley who may have mixed feelings about this being a success. Obviously it’s good to be in a well-reviewed successful movie, but once again it’s a period piece for her. She’s become the new Helena Bonham Carter…which means she’d better get used to it.

THERE ARE NO SMALL JOBS, ONLY SMALL ACTORS
The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 1 is down to number eight, followed by The Gambler at number nine and also in this is Jessica Lange who’s having a bit of a resurgence in her career thanks to being the only reoccurring cast member on American Horror story, playing different yet similar characters. So maybe that FX show may work for Elijah Wood after all. Oh, wait. It was already cancelled. Whoops.

THEY’VE A YEN FOR SUCCESS. GET IT?
Finally, Big Hero 6 returns to the top ten at number ten and this is finally going to see a general Asian release which it kinda needs given that it has yet to make 3x its budget, our usual rule of thumb for a successful film. Though recent information has suggested that really needs to happen domestically because the bulk of international grosses stay international and the Hollywood take can be as little as 14%. But given this is Disney, they’re probably going to make their real money off the merchandising so it matters little. Thanks for nothing, Cars.

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WE GOT COAL IN THE THEATERS THIS YEAR

29 Dec

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1. The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies          Wknd/$ 41.4   Total/$ 168.5
2. Unbroken/Universal                                 Wknd/$ 31.7   Total/$ 47.3
3. Into the Woods/Disney                            Wknd/$ 31.0   Total/$ 46.1
4. Night at the Museum: Secret…               Wknd/$ 20.6   Total/$ 55.3
5. Annie/Sony                                              Wknd/$ 16.6   Total/$ 45.8
6. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1    Wknd/$ 10.8   Total/$ 306.7
7. The Gambler/Paramount                         Wknd/$ 9.3     Total/$ 14.3
8. The Imitation Game/Weinstein                Wknd/$ 7.9     Total/$ 14.6
9. Exodus: Gods and Kings/Fox                 Wknd/$ 6.8     Total/$ 52.5
10. Wild/FoxSearchlight                              Wknd/$ 5.4     Total/$ 16.4

I’LL TAKE “QUESTIONS NO ONE EVER ASKED” FOR A $100, ALEX
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies holds at number one and it’s bad enough that they stretched this out to three movies but they include a scene to set up the first Lord of the Rings movie, because it was killing you not knowing how Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen met. It’s so painfully contrived I’m surprised that Liv Tyler’s character doesn’t get mentioned as well.

WHILE I COMPLAIN HOW THE CABLE GOING OUT AGAIN IS KILLING ME
Unbroken opens at number two and this is the true story of a man who not only survived inhuman hardships (WWII, being shot down, Japanese prison camp), but also excelled in his personal life (Olympian). It’s supposed to be inspirational, but honestly it just kind of reminds you of what a loser you are. Yeah, you!

TO BE FAIR I DIDN’T SEE THE NON-SINGING LITTLE RIDING HOOD EITHER
Into the Wood opens at number three and I thought and considered seeing this given the obvious fantasy element (after all I did see that lame Jack & The Beanstalk movie last year), but I simply could not get over the musical part. Sorry, but if Gene Kelly isn’t dancing, I’m not down. I hate it even in animated movies. Somewhere down the line, for people to stop and start singing just began to rub me the wrong way. Bear in mind if I could sing my way though life I most certainly would. “Stop, wait a minute Mr. Postman/Did my package come from eBay/I was hoping to get it today…” I just don’t want to watch other people do it. Especially in that “musical theater” style.

THE SKILLS THAT PAY THE BILLS
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb is down to number four and honestly I can’t blame Ben Stiller for doing either these or those horrible Meet the Parents movies when films like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty just die on the vine. You tried, the public said no so you give them the crap they deserve and make sure your kids go to a nice college. I ain’t mad atcha.

ALSO KENNY ROGERS ISN’T IN IT
Speaking of musicals I will never see, Annie is down to number five, followed by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 at six and The Gambler opening up at number seven and this briefly interested me, but I have a problem with movies whose plotlines are based solely on the protagonist stops making mistakes. If he stops being stupid, you have no movie. Needless to say, a movie about a man with a gambling addiction simply isn’t going to work for me. Yeah, I know it’s a compulsion he can’t help and I’m being uncharitable, but it’s not like he’s struggling with cancer or even a drug addiction where the body physically suffers. He’s just getting off on the rush. Not to mention any movie where Mark Wahlberg is playing a good-looking professor is straining my suspension of disbelief, starting with that good-looking part. Call him sexy, call him charismatic, but do not pretend he’s good looking, ‘cause he ain’t. He ain’t by his own admission, which, ironically, is one of the reasons I do like him. But in other movies.

ALTERNATE TITLE: UNGRATEFUL
The Imitation Game enters the top ten at number eight and this is based on the true story of the man who helped break he Nazi spy code and was later destroyed by a seriously ungrateful British government for being gay. Yep, nothing like that uplifting Oscar bait. Remember the Oscar requirements: mentally or physically disabled, addicted to something, gay or die. It helps in you can combine them and do it with an accent. This has at least three of those for star Benedict Cumberbatch.

TRIVA: IN THE 50’S THE EGYTIAN ARMY WAS USED IN THE FILM
Down to number nine, Exodus: Gods & Kings is getting hated all over the globe it seems. The Egyptian government just banned it for sucking. Okay, that’s not entirely true because then Transformers wouldn’t play there. It was banned for taking too many liberties with The Bible, aka “Enough with the lily white historical stories. No one in this damn thing looks like us and it takes place here!” On one hand I’d delighted to Ridley Scott fail, but on the other this will just push him back to trying to make more Alien movies for money.

CUTE BLONDE GOES FOR A WALK. PEOPLE PAY TO SEE IT.
Finally, Wild holds at number ten.

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