Tag Archives: Underworld

ANOTHER BLOODY SEQUEL

10 Jan

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1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story/Disney         Wknd/$ 22.0   Total/$ 477.3
2. Hidden Figures/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 21. 8   Total/$ 24.8
3. Sing/Universal                                                   Wknd/$ 19.6   Total/$ 213.4
4. Underworld: Blood Wars/SGem                    Wknd/$ 13.1    Total/$ 13.1
5. La La Land/LG                                                   Wknd/$ 10.0   Total/$ 51.7
6. Passengers/Sony                                                Wknd/$ 8.8     Total/$ 80.9
7. Why Him/Fox                                                     Wknd/$ 6.5     Total/$ 48.6
8. Moana/Disney                                                   Wknd/$ 6.4      Total/$ 225.4
9. Fences/Paramount                                            Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 40.7
10. Assassin’s Creed/Fox                                      Wknd/$ 3.8      Total/$ 49.5

THE SAD TRUTH IS NOSTALGIA PAYS…AND PAYS WELL
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story holds at number one and I’m sorry, but I cannot drink the Kool Aid on this one. It ain’t all that. It’s taking for granted your affection for this universe and so not bothering to build actual characters for you to know or care about. And on top of that throwing in useless fan shout-outs that briefly stop the momentum of a film desperately lacking it. As you know this is the story of how the plans to The Death Star came to be in the hands of Princess Leia. It’s through the use of a kinda of “Magnificent Seven in Space” which was honestly done better in Battle Beyond The Stars. What you don’t know is that it also feels the need to answer unasked questions like “Who was Red Five before Luke Skywalker?” And don’t get me started on the computer-reanimated corpse of Peter Cushing in the form of a total CGI Grand Moff Tarkin. Hella creepy and distracting. I’ve got no problem with the initial concept of the film, but it suffers from one of the same flaws as the horrible prequels: the need to set up everything that follows rather than simply tell its own story. How disappointing is it? Think of the two most inconsequential characters from Star Wars and know they show up here in a “funny” cameo.

FAILURE OF THE BLACK MAN PT 1
Hidden Figures is up to number two and this completes the hat trick of critically acclaimed film with Black actors as leads that I’ve failed to see while somehow finding time to see shit like Christmas Office Party. The other two are Moonlight and Loving. But I still say I’m going to see them. I am. Stop laughing.

PLUS I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANY SUCKY NEW SONGS
Sing is down to number three and on one hand this looks like a lot of fun. On the other it’s almost two fucking hours long and this is simply not a two-hour concept. The songs do not need to be played to completion to get the joke and I have the funny feeling that’s exactly the mistake they’ve made here. But I’m sure on cable it will be nothing but fun.

HOT CHICK + ACCENT + GUNS = MY MONEY
Underworld: Blood Wars opens at number four and yes, this I found time for. Sorry, but it’s been a 14-year commitment for me. Well, that and the neverending delight of Kate Beckinsale in skintight rubber. When we last left her the nocturnal family (vampire, half-vampire-half-werewolf and their daughter) had been reunited despite the lack of Scott Speedman. If you think CGI Tarkin was distracting at least he looked like Peter Cushing. The budget of Underworld simply couldn’t handle recreating Speedman and did some sad shit to a poor actor thinking maybe porn would have been less humiliating. Also, Kate Beckinsale’s character been in suspended animation for 15 years and in that time had not given birth to to the afforementioned daughter but humans had learned of both vampires and werewolves and were trying to wipe them all out. As it turned out werewolves were behind all that getting their revenge on almost being wiped out by vampires in the previous films. Well, all that’s gone. No, seriously. They don’t mention anything about the change in the status quo or how werewolves infiltrated the mainstream. All that remains is Kate Beckinsale’s half-vampire-quarter werewolf daughter and the fact the vampires are now on the ropes. But that’s not the problem. The problem is big, emotional moments in the film that tie characters back to the first Underworld and threaten to provide actual character development are rushed through. Imagine if Darth Vader had reveal himself to be Luke’s father and there wasn’t even a beat of drama then he followed it up with “And Leia is your sister.” And even that was followed up by something else as if they had to get it all in before the movie ended. This movie is only 91 minutes so easily could have spared the characters another eight or nine minutes so they could react to things and at least feign giving their characters depth. Being almost two hours long didn’t hurt the first film and why it still remains the best is due to the wide variety of individual characters who are in fact given those little “beats.” There’s the potential for that here as we are introduced at least five new characters who seem interesting, but again, none are really given the time to be fleshed out. We never even learn the bad guy’s plan, which is kind of important because he actually says he’s trying to end the war between vampires and werewolves. And he’s got a vampire lover trying to help him for the same reason. That’s kind of an important plot point given Kate Beckinsale repeatedly expresses how she’s tired of the killing. Finally, at $35M you don’t have the loot for elaborate CGI, so again look to the original and see how many of the werewolf effects were practical, not computer animated. Being the 4th best out of a five movie series is not exactly impressive (in order of best to worst they are Underworld, Underworld Rise of the Lycans, Underworld Evolution, Underworld Blood Wars and Underworld Awakening).

CAN’T GET FROM UNDER THAT “BURDEN” CAN YOU?
LaLa Land is down to number five and I have zero desire to see this, but it’s an Awards favorite now so I guess I have to. Sorry, but they lost me at “White Guy Who Will Be The Savior of Jazz” character and nothing I’ve read about it is really changing my mind.

SUBMITTED FOR YOUR APPROVAL SOMETHING THAT’S BETTER IN SHORTER FORM
Passengers is down to number six and this is yet another Outer Limits/Twilight Zone episode that escaped into theaters. Chris Pratt is an engineer on a spaceship that puts passengers into suspended animation for its 120-year travel time. Unfortunately a meteor storm damages the ship and wakes him up and he cannot go back, so after a year of isolation he wakes up 20-something hottie, Jennifer Lawrence. I like Chris Pratt, but his acting skills aren’t really up to par showing a man who basically goes nuts from loneliness and dooms another person rather than be alone. Jennifer Lawrence can’t do anything with it either and she’s someone whose performance reflects the quality of her material. The biggest problem is the script won’t commit to its dark premise. They want Chris Pratt to stay a likable sane guy but a likable sane guy wouldn’t do what he does, so he has to either be an asshole or nuts and they won’t allow him either. And don’t get me started on the cop-out ending… The Twilight Zone wouldn’t have wussed out like that.

I MEAN…LOOK AT HIM!
Why Him is down to number seven and one of biggest problems in Hollywood is how long they try to hold onto a “younger” male actor. James Franco is not the young male lead any longer. He’s pushing 40 and this role is clearly supposed to be someone in their 20’s. Notice they didn’t cast his love interest older. Nope. She’s actually in her 20’s while he’s “playing” that role. And it looks like ass to boot.

GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!
Moana is down to number eight and Disney needs to stop pushing the ballad for Oscar consideration. The best song is “You’re Welcome.” Not to mention, if nominated it means we’ll see Dwayne Johnson singing it at the Oscars (with help from writer Lin Manuel Miranda). Now who doesn’t want that!?!

FAILURE OF THE BLACK MAN PT 2
Fences is down to nine and my Guilt Trilogy has become a Guilt Quadrilogy because I haven’t seen this fucking thing either. Sigh. I’m failing at being Black in 2017…clearly holding over from 2016.

SAVED FROM MYSELF
Finally, Assassins Creed closes out the top ten at number ten and if I had the time I so would have saw this. I’m sad.

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I, NOT A SEXY VAMPIRE

26 Jan

oldyounglion

 1. Ride Along/Universal                              Wknd/$  21.2            Total/$   75.4

 2. Lone Survivor/Universal                        Wknd/$  12.1            Total/$   93.6

 3. The Nut Job/ORF                                    Wknd/$  12.3            Total/$   40.3

 4. Frozen/Disney                                           Wknd/$   9.0           Total/$ 347.8

 5. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit/Par            Wknd/$   8.8           Total/$   30.2

 6. I, Frankenstein/LGF                                Wknd/$   8.3            Total/$     8.3

 7. American Hustle/Sony                            Wknd/$   7.1             Total/$  127.0

 8. August: Osage County/Weinstein         Wknd/$   5.0            Total/$    26.5

 9. The Wolf of Wall Street/Par                   Wknd/$   5.0            Total/$    98.0

10. Devil’s Due/Fox                                        Wknd/$   2.8           Total/$    12.9

 

D.W.A. (DADDIES WITH ATTITUDE).

Ride Along holds the number one spot which I’m thinking Ice Cube appreciates more than Kevin Hart given it’s been a long time since he made money at the movies playing anything more than a dad with a ruff exterior but with a heart of gold and it’s not like he’s selling albums…

 

SOMETIMES A CIGAR IS JUST A CIGAR AND A SINGLE QUEEN JUST HASN’T MET THE RIGHT GUY

Lone Survivor holds at number two followed by The Nut Job also holding at number three, but Frozen steps up to number four probably because kids who went to see The Nut Job last week told mom and dad they wanted to see Frozen again.  It’s also got a growing audience who see it as a metaphor for not just her emerging sexuality, but her homosexuality, because as you may notice, Elsa never winds up with a dude and one is never introduced for her. There are also some who read every tiny action as an example of feminism, from the accommodating male character to the fact that Elsa governs alone. Yes, art is subjective, but I think they’re looking for Atlantis in a puddle. In other words, it ain’t deep enough for all that.

 

THE MOVIE STAR CIRCLE OF LIFE

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit drops one notch to five and you know who comes across decently? Kevin Costner.  It seems he’s finally adjusted to this “lion in winter” stage of his career and it makes sense he should given his biggest break was in someone else’s.  He was the young star for Sean Connery in The Untouchables two decades ago.  Now, between this and Man of Steel, he’s the mature male lead for the rising leading man (or rather would be if this weren’t tanking).  Lending instant legitimacy to the new guy as well as providing something for the moms to look at when they take their teenagers to the movies.

 

ME, HAD A GOOD TIME

I, Frankenstein opens weakly at number six which is a great disappointment to me, because I enjoyed this silly, silly movie from the same people who brought you Underworld, which was also silly, silly fun combining classic monsters with CGI.  It’s more of the same: secret war to save all mankind that’s been going on for centuries and now there’s been discovered a man who will tip the balance for one side unless the other side finds out why that is.  This time however it’s the super-strong immortal creation of Frankenstein wanted by demons for their nefarious plan, while—and hang on now—it’s gargoyles representing the angels on Earth defending mankind. Yes, gargoyles.  No, I don’t know why that is other than they look awesome flying around and smashing demons that descend to hell in a red fireball when they go down, while gargoyles ascend to the heavens in a bolt of blue-white light.  Granted it’s not as fun as Underworld because, let’s face it, the sexy decadence of vampires is missing.  There’s a reason people never get tired of them and often want to be them. Reanimated patchwork , demons and gargoyles? Not so much.  Also missing are the solid characters that made Underworld feel so fleshed out.  Nearly every substantial speaking role was different from the next and you felt the weight of a story behind them even if were untold. Selene, Michael, Kraven, Viktor, Lucien.  Even the minor roles of the vampire gunsmith, the werewolf scientist and vampire scheming for advancement where are distinct and memorable.  Not so much here. Only two demons are different from the horde and mainly because one is played by the writer/producer Kevin Giroux.  The gargoyles are even worse. The queen wants to save the monster (who rejects the Frankenstein name) while her right hand wants to destroy him. That’s it. Black and white. There are two others that seem to have personalities but in their five minutes of screen time aren’t given a chance to distinguish themselves.  Even a potentially interesting aspect isn’t revealed until they “ascend” so there’s no exploration of it whatsoever. Still, it was more fun than freaking Shadow Recruit, which deserved its January graveyard release date aka fast track to April home video release date.  It’ll be sitting right next to I, Frankenstein I’m afraid.

 

MUCH IN THE SAME WAY JOHN WAYNE WAS AN ACTOR

American Hustle drops one to number seven followed by August: Osage County holding at number eight and The Wolf of Wall Street holding at number nine and while I find Jonah Hill personally repellant to the point where I avoid his films (along with his frequent co-star, Seth Rogen) as much as possible only making exceptions for major stuff like this, I cannot deny he’s very good here. He didn’t deserve a best supporting actor nod for Moneyball but he definitely earned it this time. Then again, he’s playing a complete jerk and based on his interviews (and one horrible story told to me by someone who dated him at a party that I will not repeat) there may not be a lot of acting is going on beyond the Noo Yawk accent.

 

AND THE TRILOGY CONCLUDES WITH PRESCHOOL IN HELL

Finally, Devil’s Due closes out the top ten at number ten and with a $19M return off a $7M budget you can be sure that there will be a Devil’s Due 2: Deadly Daycare!

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