Tag Archives: Vin Diesel

WEAK MEN FEAR THE FINEST WINES

16 Nov

MBcaviar

1. Spectre/Sony                                     Wknd/$ 35.4     Total/$ 130.7
2. The Peanuts Movie/Fox                  Wknd/$ 24.2    Total/$ 82.5
3. Love the Coopers/CBS                    Wknd/$ 8.4       Total/$ 8.4
4. The Martian/Fox                              Wknd/$ 6.7       Total/$ 207.4
5. The 33/WB                                        Wknd/$ 5.8       Total/$ 5.8
6. Goosebumps/Sony                           Wknd/$ 4.7       Total/$ 73.5
7. Bridge of Spies/Disney                    Wknd/$ 4.3       Total/$ 61.7
8. Prem Ratan Dhan Payo/FIP          Wknd/$ 2.4       Total/$ 2.8
9. Hotel Transylvania 2/Sony            Wknd/$ 2.4        Total/$ 165.2
10. The Last Witch Hunter/LG          Wknd/$ 1.5        Total/$ 26.1

DRINK THE FINE WINE, MUTHAFUCKA! THE FINE WINE!
Spectre holds at number one and much has been made of Monica Bellucci appearing as a Bond girl actually Bond’s age. In fact, she’s actually older. This has only happened twice before. First, with Honor Blackman, who as Pussy Galore was also older than Sean Connery and Diana Rigg who was older than George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Know what else these two women have in common? Both were partners to John Steed on The Avengers TV show. Honor Blackman in fact was on the show before Diana Rigg. Sadly, both women played roles that were more integral to the plot than the one Monica Bellucci plays. Bond shows up, has sex with her and leaves. That’s it. It’s the 20-something blonde French girl who is the actual female lead here. Yet another of this film’s mistakes. It should have been reversed. When John McTiernan made The Thomas Crown Affair he fought to have an age appropriate female lead, insisting a middle-aged man (ironically, another Bond, Pierce Brosnan) wasn’t going to open up to a twenty-something. He was right.

BUT I GET IT. THOSE SONGS CAN BE ANNOYING.
The Peanuts Movie holds at number two and there are only two things I can think of that were missing from this movie (even the Kite Eating Tree shows up): Rerun, Linus & Lucy’s younger brother and the Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron songs by the Royal Guardsman. The latter stands out because a good portion of the movie is dedicated to Snoopy’s imaginary battles against The Red Baron.

LIKE REAL FAMILY YOU LOVE THEM WITHOUT SEEING THEM
Love the Coopers opens at number three and this is what you get opening a Christmas movie even before Thanksgiving. In fact, this is too good for it. And isn’t Diane Keaton getting tired of playing the matriarch to a family gathered for some occasion? But someone should have told her, if Olivia Wilde is in it, it’s gonna tank. Seriously, she’s basically the female Ryan Reynolds. Someone who seemingly has everything going for them, but couldn’t buy a hit. I gotta be honest: you’re both TV stars. You’re too generically attractive for the big screen, but would work on the small one. Go there and prosper.

THE ONLY TIME IT’S OKAY TO SAY THEY DO ALL LOOK ALIKE
The Martian is down to number four and also in this is Jessica Chastain, who also needed this to wash away her involvement with Interstellar. Not to mention a hit to balance out the flop that was Crimson Peak. No, that wasn’t her in Jurassic World, but you’re within your rights for thinking so. Even Bryce Dallas Howard has joined the joke of the two of them being mistaken for one another. Kate Mara is also in this, which I think violates the One Carrot Top Per Film Rule. Seriously. You will not see two redheads in a film unless they’re related somehow.

NOT TO MENTION THE TITLE SOUNDS LIKE A HORROR MOVIE
The 33 opens at number five and this is a-bit-too-late movie about those trapped Chilean miners from a few years ago. Honestly, this should have been a TV movie, because it’s something that’s interesting if done right, but not so much if people have to pay for it. Not to mention more people would have seen it.

VANITY THY NAME IS DUDE
Goosebumps is down to number six, followed by Bridge of Spies at number seven and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo at number eight. What is that you ask? Yet another Bollywood film crashing the top ten. Apparently this is based on The Prince & The Pauper. That’s all I know. Well, that and the fact film businesses all over the world are the same, as the female lead in this film is two decades younger than the male lead. Sigh.

THE KEY TO LONG-LASTING CAREER…AND MULTIPLE HOMES
Hotel Transylvania 2 is down to number nine and The Last Witch Hunter closes out the top ten at ten and with only $26M domestic and $84M worldwide, it’s safe to say that this $90M film is not giving birth to a franchise. Good. I want another Riddick movie anyway. Also in this is Michael Caine who is continuing his long-established policy of not choosing movies based on the quality, but on the paycheck and whether or not his character is alive at the end of the movie.

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LIKE, LATTER DAY ROGER MOORE BAD

9 Nov

Heineken-James-Bond-2-GQ-21Aug15-pr_b_720x1080

1. Spectre/Sony                                          Wknd/$ 73.0   Total/$ 73.0
2. The Peanuts Movie/Fox                       Wknd/$ 45.0   Total/$ 45.0
3. The Martian/Fox                                   Wknd/$ 9.3      Total/$ 197.1
4. Goosebumps/Sony                                Wknd/$ 7.0     Total/$ 66.4
5. Bridge of Spies/Disney                         Wknd/$ 6.1      Total/$ 55.0
6. Hotel Transylvania 2/Sony                  Wknd/$ 3.6     Total/$ 161.3
7. Burnt/Weinstein                                    Wknd/$ 3.0     Total/$ 10.2
8. The Last Witch Hunter/LG                  Wknd/$ 2.7     Total/$ 23.6
9. The Intern/WB                                        Wknd/$ 1.8    Total/$ 71.4
10. Paranormal Activity/Paramount       Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 16.3

STUPID. VERY STUPID.
Spectre opens at number one and it’s no secret how much I hated Skyfall. I hated Skyfall so, I went back to look at Quantum of Solace to give it another chance and realized it wasn’t so bad (it’s a good Bond movie until they bring back Matthias from Casino Royale). Bond and stupid stories go together like peanut butter and jelly, but Bond, stupid stories and a painful amount of ennui got together like peanut better, jelly and sardines. Spectre is not as bad as Skyfall though it possibly may even more stupid ironically because it’s trying to patch up some of Skyfall’s stupidity (though not why Bond took M out to the middle of nowhere which got her killed and how he still has a job afterwards). Also it’s needlessly fucking long. Where other Bond movies wisely ended with the destruction of the villain’s base, the apparent death of the villain and the saving of the girl, this goes on for another half hour. Hell, for all I know it kept going on after I left. Also in its attempt to patch up a little of Skyfall stupidity it makes the whole of the Daniel Craig run dumber because it tries to tie them all together. Now, SPECTRE was a Bond nemesis back in the day and yes, they were behind the events of Thunderball, From Russia with Love, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service but now imagine if suddenly they claimed they were behind Dr. No and Goldfinger when they clearly were not (ironically they weren’t in the book of From Russia with Love, but were in the book Dr. No). It would make no sense just as all this now makes no sense. Now suddenly this reboot has become a quad-logy, all being forced into being one giant story when they clearly were not meant to be one. Which is stupid. Even when Bond was fighting SPECTRE (it means Special Executive for Counter Intelligence Terrorism Revenge and Extortion) in every film they didn’t act like every film was a sequel to the previous one. Bond did other things totally unrelated to pursuing the organization, which makes me realize that Daniel Craig is the most worst Bond ever. No, not as actor. He’s great in fact. No, as a secret agent. The Craig Bond is the only Bond who isn’t shown regularly as being a competent agent completing missions without massive exposure (he apparently missed the “secret” class in secret agent school) civilian damage like a superhero or Godzilla movie. In the pre-title sequence every Bond is shown completing a mission more or less cleanly, then starting the main story. Craig only does that his first film. Since then, because they have tried to make this one long damn story, he’s never really shown operating with any kind proficiency, again begging the question: how does this muthafucka keep his job?

ALL THAT’S MISSING IS THE SNOOPY VS. RED BARON SONG
The Peanuts Movie opens ironically at number two and I say ironically because both Peanuts and James Bond were products of the 50’s and achieved nuclear mass of popularity in the 60’s. Also, both films throw out calls to their popular past in both films. There are references to actual strip, the famous Christmas special and the Halloween Special. In addition we have Snoopy fighting The Red Baron, being a novelist and the basic plot revolves around Charlie Brown trying to impress The Little Redheaded Girl. It also goes out of its way to remain in a type of bubble were time hasn’t passed, because Snoopy doesn’t use a computer to write his novel, but a typewriter and I have to wonder if the main audience even knows what those are (they must of realized it because they actually have Snoopy figuring out how it works). But here are no flatscreen TV’s, video games, cell phones or even cordless landlines in this world. The only nod to modernity is that Charlie Brown doesn’t wear short pants. He’s also given more dignity than before. Charles Schultz was adamant about the fact that Charlie Brown always had to lose. Even when he won, he had to lose (in one series of strips Charlie Brown wears a paper sack to hide a baseball stitching rash and becomes a star of summer camp as “Mr. Sack” which he loses immediately after losing the sack). It honestly bordered on sadism towards the end and thankfully his children, who are both producers and writers here are much easier on the character. Charlie Brown is allowed moments of quiet triumph even when he fails and given a solid victory in the end. They also balance out Charlie Brown’s disappointments with Snoopy’s literal flights of fancy. In fact there may be a little too much of Snoopy as the supporting cast gets a short shrift as a result. Linus seems to come in and out as Charlie Brown’s best friend and you’d never know he and Lucy are related. Still, it’s nice to have a new Peanuts cartoon and they can’t get enough points for keeping the computer animation faithful to Schultz’s style.

I FEEL YOU…NOW SHUT UP ABOUT IT
The Martian is down to number three and also in this is Donald Glover who’s playing basically the character he played on Community who comes up with a plan to help save Matt Damon…which seems pretty obvious and it’s kind of a wonder absolutely no one else thought of it, as the astrophysics he suggests are quite common. It was the only moment I didn’t feel like a mouth breathing moron. His presence is notable to me because I’ve been listening to his music as Childish Gambino lately. Like my buddy, I was put off by both his name and another actor doing music, but it’s not bad. I can live without his rapping but I won’t pretend it’s a relief to hear someone rap about something other than “money, clothes an’ hoes.” This doesn’t make it good though. I mean, I can actually relate to him talking about growing up assimilated in freaking Georgia, but still it annoys me and comes off as whining. When will these kids learn you can “diss the haters” without acknowledging that their criticisms have affected you, which is all they wanted. However, his R&B game is strong. Seriously. “Sober” is my jam. He should stick to song and singing, because that’s where he clicks. Even the raps in the songs are better (mainly because he’s not whining). Even his covers are good, as he kills Tamia’s “So Into You.”

UNLESS SOMEONE KICKS THE WOLFMAN IN THE NARDS, I DON’T CARE
Goosebumps is down to number four and I’m actually impressed someone was smart enough to release a movies geared to kids at Halloween, as it is the second most profitable holiday. I was too old for the books by the time they came out, but I wouldn’t mind watching this on cable next year. It’ll never be Monster Squad, but then again, nothing ever will.

EVENTUALLY
Bridge of Spies is down to number five and this is pure Oscar bait, so I will see it…eventually. I’m in no hurry and it’s not going anywhere until awards season is well underway.

IT’S CALLED “WHORING ONE’S SELF OUT”
Hotel Transylvania 2 is down to number six and this was a much needed win for Adam Sandler who’s taken a long overdue beating this year for being the shitty, unfunny comedian he’s always been. What’s truly shocking is that both these movies come from the man behind Samurai Jack, a truly inspired bit of animation. I guess he’s got bills to pay, ‘cause you can’t buy a house for your family on geek praise. Thankfully, he says he’s done with these characters, which, if he actually owns them means something. If not, they’ll be a million more with a different director.

LOOKS BETTER THAN IT TASTES
Burnt is down to number seven and you know you’re dealing with an unimaginative film when the great French father figure chef is named “Jean Luc.” Hell, it’s a miracle it’s not “Jean Pierre.” Thankfully, I didn’t expect much from Burnt so I was able to enjoy it. I wanted pretty people, in a pretty location and pretty shots of food and got all three. Bradley Cooper is the chef making a comeback after burning out on drugs and Sienna Miller is the upcoming sous chef he gets fired to make her work with him. Check. It’s in London and not the London of Guy Ritchie films. Check. Lots and lots of pretty food shots. All that’s missing are shots of more people in ecstasy as they eat it. That’s an essential part of any kind of porn. But take out the great location cursing and you have something that’s little more than a TV movie level of filmmaking. Hint: if part of your character’s motivation involves him having to atone to a dying old man YOU HAVE TO SHOW THAT DYING OLD MAN AT SOME POINT. I’m not kidding. Cooper gets an old friend to make him head chef to a) make it up to the old friend and b) help the old friend impress his father before his father dies and we never ever see the father, much less his response to Cooper’s return or the new restaurant. There’s also a cute kid, a rival chef who was once a friend, a threat from gangsters from the past and of course the great French father figure chef has a beautiful daughter he was once involved with. So many clichés and not a single one made much more than that. Cooper’s original bad boy chef run on the TV show Kitchen Confidential (based very loosely on Anthony Bourdain’s book) was better.

BETTER GET TO WORK ON FAST & THE FURIOUS 8
The Last Witch Hunter is down to number eight and this is Vin Diesel’s attempt to make a third franchise and if he had concentrated on simply making a solid movie than a franchise he might have succeeded. He plays a man made immortal as seeming punishment by The Witch Queen he kills after she murders most of his village with a plague including his wife and daughter. It backfired because he’s now spent 800 years hunting witches as an agent of The Church. Now there’s a treaty between them and the witches. Don’t use magic on humans and every thing is good. But of course now someone has decided to bring back the Witch Queen and Diesel has to stop them. The most interesting aspect of this movie is the idea that witches live in their own underground community among us with bars, clubs and yes, online groups where they talk about how much they hate Vin Diesel. That lets you know how much the main plot fails as “the heavy” the person trying to bring back The Witch Queen, is given no real personality or motivation beyond “just ‘cause.” If they’d made him a character and possibly shown this underground community divided about her return you might have had a better movie. Same for Diesel’s character who’s longing for his lost wife and child comes and goes when needed. There should be more melancholy from given he’s been cursed with immortality, not blessed. Even Highlander got this right.

ALSO DENIRO’S “COMEDY PHASE” WILL CONTINUE
The Intern is down to number eight and this did over $100M overseas. What. The. Fuck? I like Anne Hathaway, but seriously? So yeah, off a $35M budget, $180M total worldwide and even though the studio will get less than half that, combined with the domestic take it will insure that Nancy Meyers will continue to get money to make her pretty, lily white movies. Perfect for you people who haven’t over losing Nora Ephron.

I’M GOING TO SPOIL IT BECAUSE I DON’T CARE
Finally, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension closes out the top ten at number ten and not even Halloween could breathe life into this franchise which single-handedly resuscitated the low-budget “found footage” genre. This is lowest grossing entry of the franchise, which seems to crank out a movie every three six months. It’s also supposed to be the last, which blows because apparently the demon that’s been terrorizing multiple families, killing them and taking their kids. He wins. Seriously. That’s the end. He kills everyone and takes the child. What the fuck!?! This isn’t the 70’s! Why would you end on such a shitty note!?!

THE END OF THE FALL
Final show watched for the fall season…

Rosewood: while I’m glad Morris Chestnut got his own show after all these years and am impressed by a show that’s not only got two minority leads (Black male, Latina female), but also an interracial lesbian couple supporting, it just didn’t grab me and honestly I found it annoying. Yes, it’s a pilot where they do every freaking thing over-the-top for stupid network executives who think it’s other people who are dumb, but him constantly being the “smartest guy in the room” wasn’t so much charming as annoying. That he’s trying to grab every moment of life because he has a heart defect that should have killed him already simply wasn’t enough. But I hope enough people watch to keep it on the air. It’s just that I won’t watch it.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Lost me the moment she started to sing. Sorry. But I am impressed that the ex-boyfriend from summer camp she wants is an Asian male and he’s just another bro. Progress, people.

Supergirl: Okay, this was the big one. CBS deliberately leaked the pilot last year due to the bad buzz that was being generated over its horrible trailer/commercial where it seemed like the SNL skit about a Black Widow movie where it had to be a romantic comedy rather than an action movie because it was about a woman. Honestly, once you get past that part, it becomes a decent TV show. The first episode was still very painfully “a pilot” meaning, again, everything is dumbed down and over the stop because stupid network executives think it’s “other” people who are dumb and not them, but it’s from the people who brought you Arrow and The Flash and they take a little while to find their feet. And yes, while there will still be moments of painful stupidity, the human element it brings (not to mention the geek elements) will hopefully make up for it. I mean, it’s utterly stupid that she doesn’t have any contact with Superman. Until she showed up, he thought he was alone, but doesn’t spend much time with the only other survivor of Krypton who is a freaking blood relative!?! And just a child who’s lost everything!?! Not to mention apparently a Kryptonian prison crashed on earth just after Supergirl releasing all of them on Earth. Pretty sure that would be priority number one for him. The cherry on top is Supergirl’s aunt (twin sister to her mother of course) was in the prison and now wants to take over Earth. So again: other Kyrptonians, some actually related to him and a threat to the world and he’s not around!?! Not even to train her (in the comics he trained her secretly for a year)? They’re seriously pushing suspension of disbelief. This is a movie about superpowered flying aliens in primary colors and they’re pushing suspension of disbelief. That said, I love, love, fucking love it’s true to what Superman is supposed to be: bright and shiny. Supergirl loves having superpowers and loves helping people. There’s no moping or whining. I’m in it for the long haul. Hell, I watched all ten years of Smallville. I can handle this.

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BETTER LUCK ON MR. TOAD’S WILD RIDE THE MOVIE

26 May

500_3_charlize_theron_w 1. Tomorrowland/Disney                          Wknd/$ 33.0   Total/$ 33.0
2. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                     Wknd/$ 30.8   Total/$ 109.6
3. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                    Wknd/$ 24.8   Total/$ 88.3
– Poltergeist/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 22.6   Total/$ 22.6
4. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney         Wknd/$ 21.7    Total/$ 404.9
5. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate           Wknd/$ 15.0   Total/$ 39.9
6. Hot Pursuit/WB                                     Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 29.1
7. Furious 7/Universal                               Wknd/$ 2.2     Total/$ 347.1
8. Far From the Madding Crowd/Fox    Wknd/$ 2.2      Total/$ 5.4
9. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                           Wknd/$ 1.9      Total/$ 65.7
10. Home/Fox                                              Wknd/$ 1.8     Total/$ 168.1

SOMEWHERE JOHNNY DEPP LAUGHS, “NOT SO EASY, IS IT?”
Tomorrowland opens at number one and between this and Mission Impossible 4, I’m glad Brad Bird is returning to animation with a sequel to The Incredibles, ‘cause live action is clearly not his thing. There are clearly too many compromises you have to make with people that you don’t have to with drawings. Though it’s where the writing is concerned that things go astray. Granted, the simple fact that Damon Lindelof is on as a co-writer here automatically means suckage, but you’d think as director Bird could overcome it. He cannot. This seems to be the logical (and by “logical” I mean only in the mind of someone shamelessly chasing money) extension of Pirates of the Caribbean. That is, Disney making even movies based on their theme park rides. The mistake is while Pirates of the Caribbean was/is a theme park, pirate movies are an old, established genre. You could have called it anything else and still had the same movie. This, however, had to be totally original and how exactly do you tell the story of a future that never came to pass? Well, judging by this, you don’t. Ironically we see more of “the future is now” in our first encounter with the protagonist, Casey (Britt Robertson), than for any other part of the movie when she sneaks onto the Cape Canaveral base using her iPhone to control a toy helicopter. You can use your iPhone to remote control a vast number of things and this has happened in the last decade. It’s amazing but it doesn’t seem to register. Anyway, her father is a NASA engineer and in some naïve way she’s hoping to stop the dismantling of the space program by stomping the dismantling of the launch platform. She’s not only clever, but an incurable optimist and these are the reasons she’s sought out by recruitment robot that looks like a 12-year-old girl. We see this robot earlier when the younger version of George Clooney’s character goes to the World’s Fair in Queens in the 60’s to submit his jet pack idea. The robot helps him sneak into Tomorrowland when House—I mean Nix as played by Hugh Laurie rejects him because his jet pack doesn’t quite work. In Tomorrowland one of the robots fixes it so it does and he’s allowed to stay. Later, however, when the robot drops Casey off at Clooney’s place—after avoiding other killer robots—we learned he was kicked out under pain of death if he ever talked about Tomorrowland. We also learn that Casey was selected because she might be able to fix what’s wrong with it, something Clooney helped to create. As they make the journey back, we learn that the origins of Tomorrowland started with Thomas Edison, Jules Verne and Nikola Tesla…and they apparently built a rocket in the Eiffel Tower which is just cool as fuck. Of course you might wonder how no one knew there was a rocket there, not even The Nazis when they took the place, but honestly it’s so nice I give it a pass. What I cannot give a pass to is basically the whole concept. A world established over hundred years ago in another dimension for the betterment of mankind…that apparently has never done anything for the betterment of mankind and then gave up in 1984. Yeah, that’s how subtle the film is at yelling at you for letting the planet go to hell. Bear in mind they built a freaking rocket in The Eiffiel Tower which was constructed in 1889, had jet packs and robots in the 60’s (not to mention some kind of fountain of youth shake) and never shared any of it, but it’s our fault. The movie never comes close to explaining why all they seemed to was plan for a better tomorrow but never actually did anything (actually that would have been a better reason for Clooney’s exile in that he realized they never would). Also, the girl robot has been recruiting dreamers, but while Casey makes the cut, Stephen Hawking and Steve Jobs never did (no, I don’t see them asking Bill Gates)? Another problem is that Casey is flat out annoying, something both Clooney and the robot mention and they’re not wrong. When Clooney tells her to just shut up and be amazed for once, he’s speaking for all of us. Speaking of Clooney the most mystifying flaw of the film beyond him vanishing off-screen for half-an-hour, is that they give him a 12-year-old girl robot as a love interest. Yes, she’s technically as old as he is, but when it comes down to it, what you see onscreen is George Clooney and a 12-year-old looking lovingly at one another (which sounds like some kind of bizarre comedy Woody Allen would write where the protagonist keeps insisting that it’s okay because she’s a 50-year-old robot while the world wants him dead). Yeah, I’m sure it was cute on the page that he’s harboring a love from childhood but fully realized it’s just creepy. That no one saw this as a problem in the initial planning stages shows you this was doomed from the beginning.

SISTERS ARE DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES
Pitch Perfect 2 is down to number two and returning with a promotion for this one is Elizabeth Banks who was actually one of the producers for the original as well as co-starring. Again, this remains a double-edged sword of success in Hollywood. A female driven film is one of the biggest films of the year so far, but it’s about something “silly.” As opposed to the gritty realism of The Avengers, no doubt. But this is the excuse that will be given for no increased presence of women behind the camera despite this being one of two biggest openings of the year being alongside 50 Shades of Grey. But all props to Elizabeth Banks who was the comedic woman of the moment after The 40-Year-Old Virgin back in…’08. Holy shit! Has it really been that long!?! Unfortunately most of her subsequent roles as the female lead tanked. She had the misfortune to be in both Meet Bill and Meet Dave neither of which anyone wanted to meet. She then fell prey to the attempts to make Ryan Reynolds, Sam Worthington and Chris Pine into stars, but luckily The Hunger Games appeared to give her a new lease on life. After that came Pitch Perfect and this year alone she’ll be in the Magic Mike sequel as well as the final Hunger Games movie. So basically the more female driven her work, the more she succeeds. Now there’s a lesson.

SHE USED TO BE MY GIRL
Speaking of female and driven, no matter what the title of the film Charlize Theron is the clear star of Mad Max: Fury Road, which is down to number three this week. But honestly when you think about it, Max is never really the driving force behind any of his movies beyond the first. He’s just trying to die with his pain in the wasteland when he’s caught up in someone else’s schemes to try and rebuild the world, which usually climaxes him driving a big rig that’s beset by the scavengers of the apocalypse. Seriously, that’s the plot of every movie and I don’t have a problem with that. Like Banks, the more Theron stays away from simply being “pretty girl lead” the better off she does. Her last big hits were the far from critically beloved Hancock, Snow White and the Huntsman and Prometheus but in none of them was she the leading man’s love interest. And she damn sure isn’t one here. Also it was her call to shave her head. Yeah, pretty people live for messing up that beauty thing whenever and wherever they can.

AND WHO WOULD HAVE A CLOWN DOLL ANYWAY!?!
Okay, apparently the remake of Poltergeist opened this weekend, but it actually doesn’t show up on some box office charts. Which would make sense as I’ve seen not one commercial, billboard or even print ad for it. It’s almost like it’s a literal ghost film. I saw the original back when I would do the scary, but honestly if I’d known this was coming out I might have given it a shot as it always felt more like science fiction (girl trapped in alternate dimension) than horror. Well, aside from that fucking clown. Whoever thought to include that (and the tree) tapped into the childhood fears of the collective planet.

TIME TO WORK FOR A LIVING
Avengers: Age of Ultron is down to number four—or five—and finally making an onscreen appearance is someone who’s been part of the Marvel movies all along: Paul Bettany, who’s been the voice of Jarvis. Something he admits to forgetting in interviews. Must be nice to make money that easily. Well, not anymore as he has to be painted and suited up to be the android known as The Vision. You say you want a brief comics history of the character? Well, don’t mind if I do. Shut up. You were too thinking it. The Vision is created by Ultron to help him destroy humanity, but turns on him, becoming an Avenger and ultimately marrying The Scarlet Witch. And they have two kids! Well, kinda. They’re made of magic and…okay even that’s too much for me. But Bettany does a good job with a limited role that only pops in the last half hour of the film. But he’s lost that easy Iron May paycheck.

SISTERS ARE DOING IT PT II
The Age of Adaline actually rises to number five (or six), followed by Hot Pursuit at number six (or seven), Furious Seven at number seven (or eight) and Far From The Maddening Crowd rising to number eight (or nine). Okay let’s tally it up. Britt Robertson is the protagonist of Tomorrowland, followed by the women of Pitch Perfect 2, Charlize Theron and all the women of Mad Max: Fury Road, Blake Lively in Age of Adaline, Reese Witherspoon & Sofia Vergar in Hot Pursuit and Carey Mulligan here in Far From The Maddening Crowd. That makes six out of the top ten (or eleven) films female driven. Sadly, that’s kind of impressive and won’t be lasting very long now that the summer movie season has formally begun. So enjoy your moment, ladies!

THE END
Paul Blart is either number nine or ten depending how you count it and Home is either number ten or finally removed from our sights.

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MAD MAX: I-95, EXIT 23

18 May

jordana_brewster-gq
1. Pitch Perfect 2/Universal                      Wknd/$ 70.3    Total/$ 70.3
2. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                    Wknd/$ 44.4    Total/$ 44.4
3. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney         Wknd/$ 38.8    Total/$ 372.0
4. Hot Pursuit/WB                                     Wknd/$ 5.8       Total/$ 23.5
5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                           Wknd/$ 3.6       Total/$ 62.9
6. Furious 7/Universal                               Wknd/$ 3.6      Total/$ 343.8
7. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate           Wknd/$ 3.2      Total/$ 37.5
9. Ex Machina/A24                                     Wknd/$ 2.1      Total/$ 19.6
8. Home/Fox                                                Wknd/$ 2.7      Total/$ 165.6
10.Far From the Madding Crowd/Fox    Wknd/$ 1.3      Total/$ 2.6

MAD MAX: ROUTE 12, EXIT 15!
Pitch Perfect 2 opens at number one with Mad Max: Fury Road opening at number two and this is bittersweet triumph for female-driven films. The sweet is obvious. The number one film in the country was written, directed, starring and co-produced by women and nothing about it suggests they gave flying fuck if anyone with a “Y” chromosome saw it They were rewarded for this with a $70M opening off estimated $30M budget. This means whomever approved the third film even before this was released looks like a genius. The bitter is the hit taken by any who hoped for more action movies driven by women as the wonderful hi-octane (literally) Mad Max: Fury Road is beaten out for the number one spot. It’s also female driven from its plotline to its actual hero, Charlize Theron. Yeah, it’s called Mad Max, but everything in it is about her and her plan to save five of her fellow models from The Humungous, er, I mean Immortan Joe, who uses them as his personal breeding stock. And if you think I’m kidding about the models part, the film is very self-aware about it. There’s not one, but two scenes where people stop and gape at them because they’re so different from everyone else. When Max first sees them, he stops dead in his tracks because the women are literally soaking wet in off-white gossamer fabric. It looks like he wandered onto the set of a music video (at any moment you expect the camera to pan over and show INXS singing). The other is such a great scene I’d rather not spoil it. Max is also a prisoner of Immortan Joe’s empire: providing healthy blood for the tumor-ridden mutant “half-life” boys. In fact, Max only gets free because of Theron’s efforts to free the girls and goes from reluctantly helping them to be willing to die for them. Yes, he does help to save the day in the end (his name is in the title after all), but it’s Theron’s show all the way, which is why her name comes up first in the opening credits and she’s the most prominent in the posters. She also has a great name: Imperator Furiosa. But you know someone somewhere is going to fault all these things as to why the latest sequel in an action franchise came in second to a movie about chicks singing. Which I’ll never see because I hated the first Pitch Perfect. I find Mad Max more grounded in reality than anyone anywhere liking Anna Kendrick singing “No Diggity.”

AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU ASKED ME? SHUT UP. YOU WERE THINKING IT.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is down to number three and if you thought it was getting beaten up before on account of how it treated The Black Widow, just wait now that they’ve got the giant hammer that is Mad Max: Fury Road. The other prominent female superhero in this film is The Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen. Yes, sister to the Olsen Twins, who’s been carving out a critically acclaimed acting career these last few years and now has stepped up her game to big, mainstream action movies. That’s gonna get a lot of indie films no one will ever see financed. In the comics she and her brother Pietro, aka, Quicksilver are the children of Magneto and were part of his original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants alongside Toad (who was in the first X-Men movie) and The Blob (seen in the first Wolverine movie). In the most recent X-Men film, Days of Future Past where Quicksilver also appears there’s a passing reference made to Magneto being his father and a cut scene where his sister (who would be The Scarlet Witch) is referenced.

MAYBE SHE CAN MEET UP WITH BRIDGET JONES!
Also female driven, but hardly a success story is Hot Pursuit, down to number four. Besides being directed by a woman and starring women, both Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vegara are onboard for this as producers, so they truly have to take some of heat for its failures as they were making some of the decisions. I’m thinking it’s to put on the pink one more time and bring back Elle Woods. Get it right this time and put her where she’s looked down upon and is the underdog, something a pretty blonde coming from money is not in Washington DC. Now, England on the other hand…

AND IT LOOKS LIKE BALLS TOO
Paul Blart holds at number five and women should be proud they had nothing to do with this. Writers, director and producers…all men. This is an all-ball production. Pure scrotum, if you will.

TOO PRETTY TO DRIVE FAST, MUCH LESS FURIOUS
Furious Seven is down to number six and while Jordana Brewster is back it’s in a role so slight it’s almost a cameo. She never got to develop into a butt-kicking action star like almost all the other women in the series. She went from love interest to wife and mother. It may have something to do with being the prettiest cast member (behind Paul Walker, of course). There’s a montage of all the stars from the beginning of the franchise until now and it’s amazing how she’s gone from looking like Demi Moore’s daughter to her sister. I’ll let you discuss why amongst yourselves.

CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. SERENA VAN DER WOODSEN!
The Age of Adeline is down to number seven and I’m still disappointed no one has combined the trailers and produced an “Avengers: Age of Adeline” mash up yet. Me? I’m busy.

CLEARLY MY TUTION WAS FOR THAT PRIME GREENWICH VILLAGE ADDRESS—AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT
Home is down to number eight, followed by Ex Machina at number nine and Far From The Maddening Crowd opening at number ten. This is based on the famous novel by Thomas Hardy and NYU should be ashamed of the fact that I graduated with a degree in English Literature and never read it. Ashamed I say! No, I won’t see it. That would be cheating.

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YOUR CAREER STRATEGY MAY NEED SOME RETHINKING

11 May

Schermafbeelding-2015-02-12-om-12.22.42

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney     Wknd/$ 77.2    Total/$ 312.6

2. Hot Pursuit/WB                                 Wknd/$ 13.3    Total/$ 13.3

3. The Age of Adaline/Lion’s Gate      Wknd/$ 5.6      Total/$ 31.5

4. Furious 7/Universal                          Wknd/$ 5.3      Total/$ 338.4

5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                       Wknd/$ 5.2      Total/$ 58.1

6. Ex Machina/A24                                Wknd/$ 3.5      Total/$ 15.7

7. Home/Fox                                            Wknd/$ 3.0     Total/$ 162.1

8. Woman in Gold/Weinstein               Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 27.0

9. Cinderella/Disney                               Wknd/$ 1.6     Total/$ 196.2

10. Unfriended/Universal                      Wknd/$ 1.4     Total/$ 30.9

GEEK HISTORY 101: WHAT IS AN ULTRON?

Avengers: Age of Ultron holds at number one and in the film Tony Stark creates Ultron, but in the comics it’s created by Henry Pym who was an original Avenger known as Ant-Man/Giant-Man/Yellowjacket. Henry Pym wasn’t in either Avengers movie, but will appear in Ant-Man later this year, but as neither Ant-Man nor Yellowjacket. Got it? Good. I never liked Ultron as a villain because ultimately it made every bad thing he did the fault of The Avengers (one of those things being actual fucking genocide). How can you be a hero when all you’re doing is cleaning up your own mess? They hint that there’s another cause, because Tony is messing with Loki’s Scepter, but to the world at large Tony Stark and The Avengers are responsible ultimately for every life lost and every bit of damage Ultron causes so how can they still be seen as heroes? That said, one good thing they do is give him an actual personality via James Spader. In the comics he’s just “I am evil and hate humans.” Here he’s a perversion of Tony Stark all the way down to the wiseass sarcasm. At one point he unknowingly quotes Tony and becomes enraged when it’s pointed out to him like an actual character with daddy issues would be. In the comics, Henry Pym uses his own brain patterns to create Ultron, but such a simple and effective device of having Ultron act like him. has never been utilized in the character’s near 50-year history to my knowledge. It’s just, “I hate you, father.” That’s it. One of the film’s flaws is that some of the more interesting aspects get shortchanged to accommodate everyone and that is clearly one of them. Whedon says the original cut was three hours long so maybe we’ll see that restored in the inevitable directors cut on DVD. In a better world that whole bullshit “Beauty & The Beast” storyline between Black Widow and The Hulk would have gotten cut in favor of…well anything else. Seriously, it sucks that bad.

LUCKILY THEY HAVE OSCAR NOMS AND COMMERICALS TO FALL BACK ON

Hot Pursuit opens at number two and while nothing was pushing AoU out of the top spot this is still a weak opening and throws a monkey wrench into the Reese Witherspoon comeback machine. Because I like both her and Sofia Vegara, I wanted this to do better, but at the same time, I was unwilling to put myself through it. Sorry, but it just looked like the most painfully forced of “wacky hijinks.” In the past Witherspoon has been somewhat vocal about how she’ll never be in an action film. She might want to rethink that strategy in a world where an action film grossed in a day than her film did all weekend. Especially given her ex-hubby is in talks to hop on the Marvel superhero gravy train.

BEHIND EVERY STRONG ACTRESS IS A TALL, REALLY PRETTY DUDE

Age of Adaline holds at number two and while not a success, it’s not a failure either having at least made its production budget. Too bad there’s a promotional budget that often costs as much as the film itself to consider. Also in this is Michael Huisman who is the latest addition to those guys you know because they always support a stronger, more famous leading actress. Twenty years ago, David Straitharn was guy you went to for Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver. Ten years ago, Mark Ruffalo was there for Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow and now Michael Huisaman is the guy here for Blake Lively, there for Connie Britton on Nashville, with Gisele in those Chanel commercials and also for Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Expect to see him kissing Jennifer Lawrence onscreen any day now.

GUESS NO ONE WANTED ESCAPE FROM CHICAGO…

Furious Seven is down to number four and also in this is Kurt Russell, apparently knowing the place of the aging action hero is playing the higher up the younger heroes have to deal with. I’ve no doubt part of his deal was that his character doesn’t die so he too can get on the F&F gravy train. Spoiler? Oh, fuck you. It’s been out for a month and a half.

BECAUSE FEM-BOTS UNLEASHED WAS TOO OBVIOUS A TITLE

Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is down to number five, followed by Ex Machina actually rising to number six, so I guess I’m the only person who has no tolerance for cautionary tales with sexy robots.

HEY, HER MONEY IS JUST AS GREEN

Home is down to number seven followed by Woman in Gold rising to number eight and I can’t imagine why. I mean who wants to see a movie about an strong, older female lead who is supported by a handsome younger man when there’s hockey and basketball playoffs on TV and a movie where some woman is cursed to look like 28-year-old Blake Lively for eternity in the theater? Oh. Your mom. And clearly you took her to see this on mother’s day.

THE END…AGAIN

Cinderella is down to number nine and Unfriended closes out the top ten at number ten.

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ONE, TWO, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, THREE, SEVEN

20 Apr

kenneth-branagh-image
1. Furious 7/Universal                          Wknd/$ 29.1    Total/$ 294.4
2. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2                      Wknd/$ 24.0   Total/$ 24.00
3. Unfriended/Universal                      Wknd/$ 16.0    Total/$ 16.0
4. Home/Fox                                           Wknd/$ 10.3    Total/$ 142.6
5. The Longest Ride/Fox                      Wknd/$ 6.9      Total/$ 23.5
6. Get Hard/WB                                     Wknd/$ 4.8      Total/$ 78.3
7. Monkey Kingdom/Disney                Wknd/$ 4.7      Total/$ 4.7
9. The Divergent Series: Insurgent     Wknd/$ 4.2      Total/$ 120.6
8. Woman in Gold/Weinstein              Wknd/$ 4.6      Total/$ 15.9
10. Cinderella/Disney                            Wknd/$ 3.9      Total/$ 186.3

IT TEACHES THE KIDS MATH…KINDA. WELL, NOT REALLY.
Furious 7 holds at number one and why this is called Furious 7 while the previous entry was Fast & Furious 6, but the one before that was Fast Five while the one before that was Fast & Furious, which is not to be confused with the very first one, which was THE Fast and THE Furious? I have no freaking idea. The only other title to have “The” in it was the much maligned third entry: The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift and yes, they do make a return here for a brief scene in Tokyo because the films 4, 5, and 6 all take place before the events in number 3. So the order is The Fast and The Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast and Furious, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and now Furious 7. Got it? Good. Needless to say the nine years between entries were not kind to, Lucas Black, the male lead of Tokyo Drift, while the other two leads, Lil’ Bow Wow (understandably going by his real name of Shad Moss these days) and that ethnically dubious girl who’s now more famous for being in a Bruno Mars video, were relatively unchanged. So it’s not only black that doesn’t crack but also brown (she’s Peruvian-Argentine).

FOR EVIL TO SUCCEED ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS FOR GOOD PEOPLE TO SEE BAD MOVIES
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 opens at number two and stop trying to tell me that God exists. What kind of god would let this happen. Twice. On the other hand, if the greatest trick The Devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn’t exist, then he’s giving himself away by greenlighting films in Hollywood.

A MOVIE NO ONE OVER 60 WILL UNDERSTAND
Unfriended opens at number three and just as a broken clock is right twice a day, apparently a low-budget stepchild of found footage films (everything is seen from the screen of one computer) is both successful and critically praised. The fact that it may be scary is just more reason for me never to see it.

ANOTHER PRETTY BLONDE SUCCEEDS IN LA. NEWS AT ELEVEN.
Home is down to number four, followed by The Longest Ride at number five and this is a another rung up the ladder for Britt Robertson, who I know because I watched both Life Unexpected and The Secret Circle (where she wore her skirts so short they had to be digitally lengthened in post). Shut up! Shame is for lesser people! She and her team have been making good, solid choices. She was the lead on that show though it was cancelled, got steady exposure on Under The Dome, was in Jennifer Anniston’s Oscar-bait movie, Cake, wisely chose this piece of popular crap and it will culminate in Tomorrowland this summer, directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney. Remember the last young woman to co-star with Clooney? Shailene Woodley. Good, because I swear this girl’s been chomping at the bit for superstardom for as long as I’ve seen her. We were moments away from a sexually explicit film from her to get noticed. Whoops. She did that last year.

SO FATIGUED IT’S NOT FUNNY
Get Hard is down to number six and given it hasn’t even doubled its budget in the month it’s been out (compare to Furious 7 which hit a billion dollars last week) people may have had enough of both Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell’s manchild routine. I know I have and I’ve only seen one or two of them.

MONKEY FUNNY. ALWAYS AND FOREVER.
Monkey Kingdom opens at number seven and I swear I will watch the shit about of some monkeys in the jungle on The Discovery Channel, but don’t think I’m gonna get up and go pay for it. But great for all of you who did!

I’M TELLING MYSELF HE DOES THIS TO PAY FOR THEATER WORK
Woman in gold is down to number eight, followed by The Divergent Series: Insurgent at number nine with Cinderella closing out the top ten at number ten and while that seems as disappointing as Get Hard given it failed to double its budget domestically, globally it quadrupled it and while Disney isn’t getting all of that, it’s damn sure getting enough. Not to mention what this is going to pull on home video. Oh, and did we ever mention this was directed by Kenneth Branagh? He’s sadly become a director of very mediocre big budget studio films recently. There was nothing exceptional about this. The best thing about Thor was one man’s performance and there was no best thing about Jack Ryan. This is sad because Dead Again was huge dose of campy fun. Given the difference trajectory of their careers, I’m starting to wonder how much of that had to do with Emma Thompson. Especially now that I remember the awfulness that was his version of Frankenstein, which also had Helena Bonham Carter in it. Seems it’s easier to work with ex-girlfriends than ex-wives.

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EVERYBODY LOVES A CHICK FIGHT. EVERY. BODY.

13 Apr

chickfight
1. Furious 7/Universal Wknd/$ 60.6 Total/$ 252.5
2. Home/Fox Wknd/$ 19.0 Total/$ 129.6
3. The Longest Ride/Fox Wknd/$ 13.5 Total/$ 13.5
4. Get Hard/WB Wknd/$ 8.6 Total/$ 71.2
5. Cinderella/Disney Wknd/$ 7.2 Total/$ 180.8
6. The Divergent Series: Insurgent Wknd/$ 6.9 Total/$ 114.8
7. Woman in Gold/Weinstein Wknd/$ 5.9 Total/$ 9.3
8. It Follows/RTWC Wknd/$ 2.0 Total/$ 11.8
9. Danny Collins/BST Wknd/$ 1.6 Total/$ 2.5
10. While We’re Young/A24 Wknd/$ 1.4 Total/$ 1.4

CHICK FIGHT!
Furious 7 holds at number 1 and in addition to Tony Jaa the other martial artist in this is MMA Champion, Ronda Rousey. Like Jaa she has to pretend that her opponent wouldn’t be toast in 30 seconds. Just as Paul Walker’s character suddenly became a master of hand-to-hand combat, Michelle Rodriguez’s character also developed martial skills. Not only does she take on Rousey, but a team of female Arab bodyguards before that. And in the previous installment she took on Gina Carano. But like Carano and Tony Jaa and Bruce Lee before her Rousey clearly made it part of her deal that she wasn’t going to lose in a straight-on fight to some actor. Yes, Jaa loses, but not because Walker punches him out or anything. Similarly, Rousey’s fight with Rodriguez ends in a draw, which is good, because if my eyes had rolled back any further in my head I’d have seen my own brainstem. But don’t get me wrong. I am perverse enough to enjoy a good chick fight and I’m not alone considering this was twice as long as the Carano fight. Though the fact they were in evening gowns is clearly someone else’s fetish. Seriously, you just know that’s his kink because he views it as some kind of clever irony. It’s not.

HE HAS HIS OWN SUPER POWER: PANTY DROPPING
Home holds at number two, followed by The Longest Ride opening at number one and the most notable thing about this is that the male lead is Scott Eastwood. Yes, it’s his son, if you couldn’t tell simply by looking at him. Now I will give him credit for at least attempting a career without using his famous name (he used his mother’s surname), but he quickly realized that it’s stupid not to use every advantage you have. Especially when you actually like your dad unlike say, Angelina Jolie Voight. But let’s face it, if a name really did anything for you, Tyrone Power Jr. would have been a giant star, as would Jennifer Grant (yes, Cary Grant’s daughter). And do we have to once again bring up the sad story of the other son of Kirk Douglas who was an actor? Not everyone can be Jeff and Beau Bridges either. Needless to say the simple fact it’s based on a Nicholas Sparks novel guarantees this a place on the crap list, but I’ll never know because I will never, ever see it. In fact, I’m still angry I was tricked into seeing The Notebook (and by “tricked” I mean a really pretty girl I knew named Jennifer wanted to see it). But being in one has never hurt a career if you’re young (Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Miley Cyrus, Amand Seyfried), so it’s a smart move on his part. Another smart move is getting into a comic book movie. Learning that he’s going to play Steve Trevor actually made me interested in a Wonder Woman movie for the first time.

IT’S AN ABOMINATION
Get Hard is down to number four, followed by Cinderella at number five and yes, they are making live action versions of everything now, including Winnie The Pooh and Dumbo. Now, Pinocchio I get, because that has been made into live action features before, but Winnie The Pooh and Dumbo? Why!?! Simply because CGI means you can doesn’t mean you should. May god have mercy on their money grubbing souls…which they clearly gave up long ago.

NOW BEST KNOWN AS A NAME IN AN EMINEM SONG…
The Divergent Series: Insurgent is down to number six and let’s rundown the adult cast in this thing: Oscar winner Kate Winslet, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, two time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Maggie Q, Tony Goldwyn, Daniel Dae Kim and Mekhi Phifer. Remember when he played the male lead to Beyonce in MTV’s version of Carmen? Me neither. Though judging by his size on House of Lies last season, brutha hasn’t missed many meals.

IT’S THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
The Woman in Gold holds at number seven and also in this is…Katie Holmes? Well, it makes sense given this is little more than a TV movie that escaped into theaters, though the smart move would have been to be an adult in one of the YA novel film adaptations. I also recommend taking that “hot mom” role on a TV show. After all, it’s where you began. Dawson and Pacey have already accepted their small screen fates. Time to join them, Joey.

HOLDING MY WUSSY GROUND
It Follows is down to number eight and yes, I still refuse to see this.

IMAGINE IF THE LETTER HAD BEEN “YOU SUCK. QUIT NOW.”
Entering the top ten at number nine is Danny Collins, which is based on the true story of a folk singer to whom John Lennon once wrote a letter of encouragement, but since no one really gives a crap about a folk singer, the movie makes it a rock singer and if you’re having trouble seeing Al Pacino as an aging rock singer, come sit right next to me. Yes, he was the same age as John Lennon, but still it doesn’t seem to fit. That said, the movie follows this fictional character who like the real life folk singer never received the letter until 40 years later and it makes him reevaluate his life. Honestly, though I still don’t give a crap about folk singing, I’m more interested in how the real life guy handled it, not this clichéd story of about a man trying to re-connect with the son he’s basically ignored for almost 40 years. Not helping is that his growth is also indicated by him dumping his 20-something girlfriend and becoming more interested in the older manager of the hotel where he’s staying, played by Annette Benning. Pacino is 74. Benning is 56. That’s not age appropriate. Not even close. God forbid you give an actress his age a job. Last I heard Julie Christie is still working. How about giving her some fucking work?

OLD PEOPLE NEED MORE SLEEP
Speaking of age appropriate casting, Ben Stiller is forced to submit to it in While We’re Young, entering the top ten at number ten, since age is kinda the focus of the movie. It’s about two 40-somethings played by Stiller and Naomi Watts (two movies in the top ten this week) who reevaluate their lives after striking up a friendship with two 20-somethings, played by Amana Seyfried and the actor, Adam Driver, who plays Hanna’s creepy boyfriend, Adam, on Girls. This is from writer/director, Noah Baumbach (whom I’ve loved since Kicking & Screaming) who’s banging a 20-something in real life while getting divorced from Jennifer Jason Leigh so like most of his work it’s drawn from his real life. I’m not going to say what’s keeping me from seeing this is because it strikes a little too close to home (not the banging a 20-something part), because it’s not. I’m just lazy. That’s the real reason.

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THE FUN AND THE STUPID

6 Apr

Maggie-Smith
1. Furious 7/Universal                               Wknd/$ 143.6  Total/$ 143.6
2. Home/Fox                                             Wknd/$ 27.4    Total/$ 95.6
3. Get Hard/WB                                        Wknd/$ 12.9     Total/$ 57.0
4. Cinderella/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 10.3    Total/$ 167.3
5. The Divergent Series: Insurgent            Wknd/$ 10.0    Total/$ 103.4
6. It Follows/RTWC                                   Wknd/$ 2.5      Total/$ 8.5
7. Woman in Gold/Weinstein                     Wknd/$ 2.0      Total/$ 2.1
8. Kingsman: The Secret Service/Fox       Wknd/$ 1.7      Total/$ 122.3
9. Do You Believe/PFR                              Wknd/$ 1.5      Total/$ 9.8
10. The 2nd Best Exotic Marigold Hotel   Wknd/$ 1.0      Total/$ 30.1

WE HAD STUPID FUN, LITERALLY.
Furious 7 (don’t ask me why it’s not Fast 7) opens at number one and this is the most over-the-top and ridiculous entry yet, which is saying something given we’ve seen a giant safe dragged through the streets of Rio and a tank on the highways of Europe. Let me put it this way: it opens with Jason Staham basically destroying a hospital single handedly while demanding they take care of his brother, who was the bad guy in Fast 6. Yeah, they’re really gonna see to him care now. It’s stupid fun with equal emphasis on both “stupid” and “fun.” Once again a government agency feels the need to recruit a bunch of criminals to do a job for them. In return they’ll help them find Jason Staham who is after the team for crippling his brother. At least this time they have Kurt Russell explain that “officially” that his agency was forbidden to do it themselves, so they need to outsource the job. Hell, all that’s missing is a tape saying if they’re caught the secretary will disavow any knowledge of them then self-destructing. Of course the only way Vin Diesel & Company can do a job is through an utterly ridiculous and convoluted use of cars, as if no other devices or options exist. This time it’s dropping muscle cars out of a C-4 transport plane to intercept an armored transport bus on a mountain pass. Understand that actual covert operative, Jason Statham manages to get there too without doing that and no one seems to notice. Also ignored are the basic laws of physics, but that happened once the series stopped so much being about racing and became an urban-Ocean’s-11-by-way-of-James-Bond. Ludcaris was once just a guy who set up races, but became a hacker genius, while Paul Walker who was a cop then FBI agent is now basically Jason Bourne, a master of hand-to-hand combat skills going toe-to-toe with Tony Jaa. Yeah, that guy from Jackie Chan’s stunt team who became a martial arts star in his own right. Watching it makes you think of when Bruce Lee fought Robin on the old Batman TV show. Extensive suspension of disbelief is required. Also ignored is basic biology as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who falls out of building onto a car (with another person on top of him), heals himself and breaks out of his cast Hulk style to…no. Telling you would only ruin the ridiculous fun of it. Honestly it’s as much of a cartoon as anything you saw Bugs Bunny in, only here Bugs Bunny is played by Jason Statham and he wants you dead.

WORSE YET, IT WASN’T EVEN PIXAR
Home is down to number two and also a voice in this is…Jennifer Lopez. Ouch. You know it must have been sobering to get the call for this and be told you were supporting Rhianna (especially since JLo has that little girl voice). Hell, 20 years ago she was the hot 20-something, barely-can-sing pop star best known for being hot. And it hurts me that I’m old enough to remember this. I’m sure Steve Martin felt the same crushing touch of time when he was called and told that Jim Parsons would be the funny lead. Especially when Steve Martin at his peak was like Eddie Murphy at his peak, something Parsons isn’t even remotely close to. Not to mention Martin was and is actually funny, something The Big Bang Theory has never been.

BRITTANY MORGAN FAIRCHILD (YOU HAVE TO BE OLD TO GET THAT JOKE)
Get Hard is down to number three and also in this is Allison Brie, whom I keep confusing with Brie Larson even though one is blonde and one is a brunette and I’ve only ever seen one thing from either of them. Allison Brie is on both Mad Men and the horribly overrated (but still better than The Big Bang Theory) Community while Brie Larson was Envy Adams in the horribly underrated Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and was briefly also on the horribly overrated (but still better than The Big Bang Theory) Community. The only other difference is Allison Brie will pose in her underwear for men’s magazines, though I’m sure that’s not the sole reason she has a more successful career. I mean, Brie Larson is blonde and we know that matters more than anything.

VERSION 1A
Cinderella is down to number four, followed by The Divergent Series: Insurgent at number fit and I forgot to mention the star, Shaliene Woodley (buds with Brie Larson by the way), who is most often compared to Jennifer Lawrence, which she doesn’t understand. Well, honey, unless you can name another young female star heading a Young Adult science fiction novel based movie franchise who also has indie movie and Oscar cred under her belt then you need to suck it up. It’s not simply that you both have a pixie haircut. She also takes Jennifer Lawrence’s honest talk in interviews to a new level. Actually she takes it to a flat out, weird-ass hippie level about eating, clay walking around barefoot and sunbathing your vagina. Honestly, I can get behind that last one because I often feel my balls could use a little sunlight. Lead us (and our junk) out of the darkness, sister! But you or your agent or your manager should seriously be pitching a fit about the shitty photos in your Elle magazine spread. I mean, they made me feel better about the shitty photos I take, they’re so bad.

LITERALLY AN ART FILM
It Follows is down to number six, followed by Woman in Gold opening at number seven and this looks like yet another Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that escaped to the big screen. It’s based on the true of a woman who sued the Austrian government to get back a Klimt portrait of her aunt that was stolen by the Nazis in WWII while they insisted it was part of their cultural heritage, given that Klimt was Austrian. Now, I loves me some Klimt, but this just looks too antiseptic and filled with forced cuteness between Helen Mirren and trying-hard-to-comeback Ryan Reynolds, who at least seems to have learned that no one wants to see just him and he needs an actor with some actual weight beside him. And what’s heavier than an Oscar-winning English actress?

THERE AIN’T NOTHING LIKE SOME DAMES
Kingsman: The Secret Service is down to number eight, followed by Do You Believe at number nine (which always makes me think of that Huey Lewis song) and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at number ten and apparently Maggie Smith and Judi Densch are friends and have been for sixty years and doesn’t that just make perfect sense? Wouldn’t it be great for Maggie Smith to show up in the next Bond film as M’s sister and ask him why the fuck he got her killed? No, I will never miss an opportunity to tell you how much Skyfall sucked.

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CHICKS DIG BAD BOYS…WHEN THEY’RE ALREADY HOT

14 Sep

idris elba shirtless 2

1. No Good Deed/SGems                                  Wknd/$ 24.5     Total/$ 24.5
2. Dolphin Tale 2/WB                                       Wknd/$ 16.6     Total/$ 16.6
3. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney                Wknd/$ 8.0       Total/$ 305.9
4. Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles/Par           Wknd/$ 4.8       Total/$ 181.0
5. Let’s Be Cops/Fox                                         Wknd/$ 4.3        Total/$ 73.0
6. The Drop/FoxSearchlight                           Wknd/$ 4.2        Total/$ 4.2
7. If I Stay/WB                                                    Wknd/$ 4.1        Total/$ 44.9
8. The November Man/Relativity                  Wknd/$ 2.8        Total/$ 22.5
9. The Giver/Weinstein                                    Wknd/$ 2.6        Total/$ 41.3
10. The Hundred-Foot Journey/Disney       Wknd/$ 2.5        Total/$ 49.4

YOUR MOM LIKES HIM TOO
No Good Deed opens at number one starring your wife’s/girlfriend’s fantasy boyfriend, Idris Elba. Oh, he is. Don’t kid yourself. I don’t care what she’s telling you, he is. And apparently when he’s good, he’s good; but when he’s bad he’s better as this almost doubles its budget the opening weekend. And don’t be surprised to find it in her Netflix cue or on her DVD shelf in about 6-12 months. For Elba, whose fame has been bubbling under A-list for a few years now, this is a wise move, being willing to be play the bad guy, albeit not in a stereotypical manner. Range and courage will take you far. Of course being hot helps. A less attractive actor might not have had the same level of success. Your girlfriend/wife is shallow.

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO SAD
Dolphin Tale 2 opens at number two because apparently somebody somewhere saw the first Dolphin Tale. Only now am I realizing both these films feature the re-teaming of Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd, who were both white hot after Kiss The Girls to the point where they a) both were given suspense thriller movies (she got Double Jeopardy and he got Along Came A Spider, another Alex Cross adaptation) and b) reteamed to hopefully repeat the success (High Crimes, which didn’t). It’s sad they’re doing this type of family film treacle because they actually had wonderful chemistry. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s only here as a favor to her, because he’s got plenty of hits in a starring role, while she’s now playing the mom to the star. Hell, she’s the mom to the protagonist here too. I still love you, Ashley Judd! Even if rumors have it that male actors have turned down parts once they’ve learned you were cast…

I AM PAID
Guardians of the Galaxy is down to number three and also in this is Vin Diesel as the voice of the biggest breakout character of the movie, the sentient tree, Groot. Everyone loves Groot. The only thing they love more than Groot is Dancing Baby Groot. It’s the easiest and hardest job. After all it’s only three words “I Am Groot” but the intonation has to be different each and every time. It’s also the more perilous gig, because it’s just a voice (neither he nor Bradley Cooper were ever on set). He can’t bargain for more money, because honestly, anyone can do this. But for now this makes him the rare actor with not one, not two, but three franchises to his name: Guardians of the Galaxy, Fast & The Furious and Riddick. And while I loved this movie, I love Chronicles of Riddick just as much if not more.

HEY, AT LEAST IT’S NOT STEVIE-O OR BAM
Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles is down to number four and speaking of an easy paycheck by just being a voice, Johnny Knoxville is actually one of the turtles, giving him two franchises as well. He’s got the Jackass series, which includes Bad Grandpa and now this. If I told you ten years ago Johnny Knoxville would still be around and making money, you’d have called me crazy, but now you see it’s the universe that’s crazy.

IT’D BE TASTELESS TO SAY HE WENT OUT WITH A BANG, RIGHT?
Let’s Be Cops is down to number five followed by The Drop opening at number six and this James Gandolphini’s final film and it’s both fitting and sad that it’s a gangster flick. Fitting because it was Tony Soprano that made him a star and sad because he’d begun transcending it, especially with the wonderful Enough Said. It’s gotten good reviews and it’s on my radar to see, but we know my likelihood when I don’t catch something on opening weekend. And the new fall TV season is coming too? Hoo, boy.

IT’S WHY I SAW THAT MOVIE WITH DENZEL WASHINGTON
If I Stay is down to number seven, followed by The November Man at number eight and part of the lack of interest in this is the lack of a strong antagonist. It’s yet another one of these generic, Australian pretty boys of whom they seem to have a neverending supply. Imagine how much more interesting this would have been with Pierce Brosnan against a younger actor you actually knew? Even Stallone knew that it was good to have then rising star, Antonio Banderas facing off against in him in Assassins (not that it was a great success either). You would have had my money yesterday if you gave me the possibility of seeing Pierce Brosnan kicking the ass of Ryan Reynolds.

MARKETING FAIL
The Giver is down to number nine and also in this…Taylor Swift!?! Clearly there’s something in her contract prohibiting them from pushing this point because when your film is disappointing, you might want to mention it’s got one of the biggest pop stars on the planet in it.

THE END
Finally, The Hundred Foot Journey closes out the top ten at number ten, a modest success with $61M worldwide from a $22M budget. Emphasis on “modest.”

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YOUNG ADULT NOVEL ADAPTATION NUMBER 15

23 Mar

936full-eva-green

 1. Divergent/LGF                                           Wknd/$  56.0           Total/$  56.0

 2. Muppets Most Wanted/Disney              Wknd/$  15.6            Total/$  16.5

 3. Mr. Peabody & Sherman/Fox                 Wknd/$  11.7             Total/$  81.0

 4. 300: Rise of an Empire/Warner            Wknd/$   8.7             Total/$  93.8

 5. God’s Not Dead/Free                                Wknd/$   8.6            Total/$    8.6

 6. Need for Speed/Touchstone                   Wknd/$    7.8            Total/$  30.4

 7. The Grand Budapest Hotel/Fox             Wknd/$    6.8            Total/$   13.0

 8. Non-Stop/Universal                                 Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$  78.6

 9. The LEGO Movie/WB                              Wknd/$    4.1             Total/$ 243.4

10. Single Mom’s Club/LGF                         Wknd/$    3.1             Total/$  12.9

 

YOUNG PERSON, SPECIAL POWERS…BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…YOU KNOW THE REST

Divergent opens big at number one and you know how for the past decade every studio has been buying up and making films based on Young Adult series in hopes of getting their own Harry Potter or Twilight and how when that seemed about done, The Hunger Games reignited it? Well, buckle up for the third wave because despite only three successes out of literally over dozen tries—what? You think I’m kidding? Let’s count it off: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Eragon, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Ender’s Game, I Am Number Four, The Mortal Instruments, The Host, Beautiful Creatures, The Seeker, Cirque Du Freak, Vampire Academy… Yeah, now you believe me. But all this will be washed away from their memories with Divergent opening at number one. Now, I didn’t see this for pretty much the same reason I didn’t see the others: I don’t like the young people and I really don’t like reminders that I am no longer one of them.  That’s it. No, I’m not going to throw stones in my glass house made of comic books at Young Adult novels. No snobbery here. But I will say this: knowing that it’s a series tells me the movie won’t have a definitive ending and that does put me off a bit.  I’ve got my comic books for freaking stories that never end, thank you very much.

 

WHAT’S WANTED IS MORE CREATIVE PEOPLE AT THE HELM

Muppets Most Wanted opens at a disappointing number two, but honestly I’m partially to blame for that as I am clearly a representative of people who love The Muppets, have loved them all their lives, but still didn’t go to see this (and I saw Muppets From Space).  Not helping was that underwhelming movie that came out last year with one of the worst new Muppets since Scooter’s uncle…or Elmo. Yeah, I said it. Elmo sucks.  It’s like a red Grover baby-talking to you. This looks better, wisely making my favorite Muppet, Kermit, the central character, but still once bitten, twice shy so I gave it a pass in favor of more sleep and clearly I was not alone.  Especially when I saw that damn dull-ass Muppet from last time in the previews. He’s so horrible not even Tina Fey could overcome him.

 

NOTHING PERSONAL

Mr. Peabody & Sherman drop to number three and as the voice of Mr. Peabody is Ty Burrell who is also in Muppets Most Wanted and it’s looking like I’m personally dissing him. I am not. I love him as Phil on Modern Family.  It’s not you, dude. It’s me…and how you seem to appear in movies appealing to the child in me but getting it all wrong.

 

THAT’S SHE’S USUALLY NAKED HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT

300: Rise of an Empire is down to number four and if there’s any good to come out of this being a success, let it be that Eva Green is creeping ever closer to becoming a leading lady in her own right as she’s clearly the best part of this, leaving the charisma-free Sullivan Stapleton in the dust.  She’s going to be starring in Penny Dreadful on  Showtime, whose original programming is the best part of it.  But that’s not saying much given its abysmal movie choices. Let me put it this way: I’m getting it for free and I kinda want it to stop.  May it boost her profile to the next time I see her onscreen she actually lives to see the end. Oh, shut up. It is not a spoiler to tell you the bad guy dies.

 

SOUNDING A LITTLE DEFENSIVE, AREN’T WE?

God’s Not Dead opens strong at number five, picking up the baton dropped by Son of God Last week and whatever fundamentalist Christian movie came out before that.  I’m actually glad these people have their own films so now they can stop bitching about everyone else’s.  And you can’t beat that title.  Even though it’s not true. If it were, there wouldn’t be a fourth Transformers movie coming out this year.

 

EVERYONE KNOWS BAD GUYS ARE UGLY

Need for Speed drops deservedly to number six and one of the biggest mistakes of this is the casting of Aaron Paul as your lead. Sorry, but did they learn nothing from Fast & The Furious? Former model Paul Walker wasn’t cast as the good guy against appealing but-never-mistaken-for-pretty, Vin Diesel by accident. I maintain that Aaron Paul and Dominic Cooper were sent each other’s scripts by accident and like the annoying actors they are, were happy to play against type for once.  They also failed to make Aaron’s character a genuinely good guy. As it stands he’s just the protagonist, which doesn’t necessarily make him moral.  And he’s not. He’s just better than Dominic Cooper, who’ll commit manslaughter without blinking and frame someone else for it.  Neither one cares about the innocent lives put into jeopardy by their racing on public streets in broad daylight. Even in Fast & The Furious the racers go out of their way to try and make the streets as empty as possible.  Not to mention Paul Walker being an actual cop (not to mention FBI Agent later).  Cannonball Run had a better grasp on these things than this movie does, which is not a good sign.

 

BUT I SAW NEED FOR SPEED. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?

The Grand Budapest Hotel rise to number seven after literally tripling the number of screens on which it’s playing. Hopefully my living room will eventually be one of them, because it’s looking like that’s the only way I’ll see it.

 

I BLAME HER LACK OF ONSCREEN NUDITY

Non Stop is down to number eight, followed by The LEGO Movie at number nine and Tyler Perry’s The Single Moms Club closing out the top ten at number ten.  You know it’s killing Nia Long to being reduced to being in this given at one point she was the Halle Berry heir apparent (remember: Hollywood can only handle one leading minority actor at a time; one from each ethnic group), but it’s clearly and overwhelmingly Kerry Washington (having been Zoe Saldana for a hot second, Thandie Newton before that and might be Lupita Nyong’o tomorrow).  Both she and Best Man Holiday co-star, Eddie Cibran, are both in this and I wonder if they rolled eyes at one another at the difference between that film and this one.

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