Tag Archives: woody allen


8 Sep


1. Riddick/Universal                                    Wknd/$  18.7           Total/$  18.7

 2. Lee Daniel’s The Butler/Weinstein     Wknd/$    8.9           Total/$  91.9

3. Instructions Not Included/LGF            Wknd/$    8.1           Total/$  20.3

 4. We’re The Millers/Warners                  Wknd/$    7.9           Total/$ 123.8

 5. Planes/Disney                                          Wknd/$    4.3           Total/$  79.3

 6. One Direction This Is Us/Sony             Wknd/$    4.1           Total/$  24.0

 7. Elysium/TriStar                                       Wknd/$    3.1           Total/$  85.1

 9. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters           Wknd/$    2.5           Total/$  59.8

 8. Blue Jasmine/SPC                                  Wknd/$    2.7           Total/$   25.4

10. The World’s End/Focus                        Wknd/$    2.3           Total/$  21.7



Riddick opens at number one and no one is more shocked than I am and I paid to see it.  This is the continuing adventures of the titular super-killer who first appeared in Pitch Black, which I still have not seen because two actresses I like a lot both die in it and I refuse to watch. Seriously. Unless it’s some kind of super prestige film, I do not see movies where actors I like die. Oh, and you’re so sane with your movie-going decisions! Now, I loved the second film, Chronicles of Riddick which was a total left turn of a sequel, but was not appreciated by the fans of the first—or anyone else for that matter and it tanked.  Still, thanks to home video it managed to find a new life, though still not enough for Universal which traded the rights to the characters to Vin Diesel to get him to be in Fast & The Furious Tokyo Drift, a decision that worked out well for both parties as Diesel helped finance this low-budget sequel himself.  It’s more or less a remake of the first film (bringing back the fans who loved the first one, clearly) but they don’t apologize for that as its reason is simply to make money so they can continue the left turn they took in Chronicles of Riddick which is the only reason I went to see this, because I want more of that. Oh. And to see Starbuck topless. Oh, and you’re so noble in your moviegoing choices!  All that said, it’s not a bad film but you’ve got a serious problem when your main character disappears off the screen for twenty minutes of a two-hour film. That means it only needed to be just over an hour and a half.  And when you add up into the first half hour which is just him recovering alone with a CGI dog fighting CGI monsters, you’ve basically got an hour-long movie stretched out to two hours. That’s never good. But I honestly didn’t mind the twenty minutes spent exploring the other characters.  I actually found it more interesting than the last half-hour of fighting CGI monsters in the dark. That’s when I began to realize I needed to go the bathroom which is always the sign of an overlong film.



The Butler is down to number two followed by Instructions Not Included at number three and this is a very generic looking Mexican film about a bachelor who gets left with the daughter from one of his liaisons and of course grows into a loving father only to be faced with mom’s return. It’s an old story and the trailer makes it look like made-for-basic cable in its execution, but people still love it.  Part of its success is that it’s part of a growing number of films aimed directly at a neglected audience and in this case it’s Spanish speaking Americans.  Normally, this would have stayed south of the border, but like the recent spate of Indian films, has found a distributor and was well rewarded for the risk. No one should be tto surprised. The last Hollywood version of this, The Game Plan, was also successful. Even in the 21st Century people love the idea of a single, carefree guy turning into a good dad to a precocious daughter. You don’t even have to do it well. Or in English.



We’re the Millers is down to number four and speaking of less-than-noble moviegoing choices, you think if Jennifer Anniston wasn’t doing a gratuitous striptease half the people would have seen it?  Exactly. There’s a reason it’s the central part of the ad campaign. Why it’s a hit is still a mystery, however.



Planes is down to number five and while this will undoubtedly make a little money for Disney in the long run, at only $121M worldwide from a $50M budget it’s done little more than break even. The real test, however, is merchandising. Cars 2 only existed because they sold a billion dollars worth of toys. Hopefully there won’t a billion dollars in Planes sales to inflict a sequel on the world.



One Direction: This Is Us is down to number six followed by Elysium at number seven and Blue Jasmine at number eight and also in this are Louis CK and Andrew Dice Clay. Yes, you read that correctly. Andrew. Dice. Clay. In a Woody Allen film. But let’s not kid ourselves. That “cache” died the second he put Julia Roberts in one.  And the fact that Owen Wilson was in his biggest film of the last 30 years nailed the coffin shut.



Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is still hanging around like those leftovers in the back of the fridge you thought you threw out but the smell reminds you that you didn’t, but thankfully at $152M worldwide from a $90M budget, there won’t be any more of them.



Finally, World’s End closes out the top ten at number ten.


2 Sep


 1. Lee Daniel’s The Butler/Weinstein      Wknd/$  20.0            Total/$  79.3

 2. One Direction This Is Us/Sony             Wknd/$  18.0            Total/$  18.0

 3. We’re The Millers/Warners                   Wknd/$  15.9            Total/$ 112.9

 4. Planes/Disney                                          Wknd/$  10.7            Total/$  73.8

 5. Elysium/TriStar                                       Wknd/$    8.3            Total/$  80.4

 6. Mortal Instruments: COB/SG               Wknd/$    6.8            Total/$  24.3

 7. The World’s End/Focus                          Wknd/$    6.1            Total/$  17.9

 8. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters            Wknd/$    6.1            Total/$  56.6

 9. Getaway/Warners                                    Wknd/$    5.5            Total/$    5.5

10. Blue Jasmine/SPC                                   Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$   21.8



It’s somehow fitting that The Butler should prevail on Labor Day weekend, holding onto the number one slot and apparently Ronald Regan’s son, Michael, is upset that his father was depicted as slightly racist. He then points out that the movie—which was based on the life of a real butler—was fictionalized. Um, doesn’t that only make you seem like more of a dumbass for complaining that a fictionalized depiction was indeed fiction? He probably complains when his coffee is hot. Guess what?  ALL Hollywood bio-pics are fictionalized with made up characters and situations.  And coffee is traditionally served hot.



One Direction: This Is Us opens at number two though without the extra day would have been the number one film. You know you’re old when you have no idea who the new teen idols are.  I didn’t know anything about The Jonas Brothers or Justin Bieber who pushed them out or these guys who pushed Justin Bieber out. The downside to having no kids is you know nothing about youth culture once you stop officially being part of it.  If you do it means you’re either in the business of it or some guy on an FBI watch list so I’m not going to feel to badly about my ignorance. Now get off my lawn.



We’re The Millers is down to number three and also in this is Emma Roberts, daughter of Eric, making her the niece of you-know-who and I generally like her as an actress having more of her father’s edge and none of her aunt’s annoyingly vapid presence that seemingly everyone but me loved.  It’s why she usually winds up in roles where she’ll be “the girl” but never too nice or sweet. For example, her character here is that of a streetwise runaway. One day maybe she’ll be in a movie I’ll actually want to see.



Planes holds at number four and lets see who in the cast list was looking for an easy paycheck.  Well obvious is Dane Cook, then Stacey Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dryfus, John Cleese, Cedric The Entertainer, Sinbad—wait. Sinbad? Am I the only one who though he was dead? Guess that was just his career.



Elysium is down to number five and also in this is Jodie Foster, supposedly the films “bad guy” except that at no time are she and Matt Damon in direct opposition to one another and never actually meet, which is a huge mistake given they are your two big stars. But Jodie doesn’t have the best of luck with science fiction. Contact still haunts us all.



The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is down to number six and the star of this is Lily Collins as in daughter-of-Phil and this is her second big misfire, having been in the Snow White flop last year with Julia Roberts. In a perfect world she would have been in Snow White & The Huntsman because while it makes sense that Julia Roberts would be threatened by the beauty of Lily Collins, it made zero sense that Kristen Stewart was a threat to Charlize Theron. That’s how you knew it was a fantasy film.



The World’s End is down to number seven followed by Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters at number eight and opening at number nine is Getaway, preventing Ethan Hawke from having a summer hat trick of films. He’s had success in indie drama with Before Midnight and in genre horror with The Purge.  An action film would have sealed the deal on his career resurgence, but alas, ‘twas not to be. I was minorly interested, as a low-budget fast car movie looks like nothing but fun, but then I saw the words “Selena Gomez” and that blatant to boost its audience betrayed an utter lack of confidence in itself.



Finally, Blue Jasmine closes out the top ten at number ten and speaking of career resurgence, Woody Allen’s last few films have been openly turning a significant profit since Match Point in ’05.  They have consistently made 4 and 5 times their budgets, which is impressive to begin with, but even moreso when you realize they never spend a lot of marketing.  This looks to be joining them as only the top three films made more money per theater than Blue Jasmine.


9 Jul

1. Amazing Spider-Man/Sony                   Wknd/$   65.0            Total/$ 140.0

 2. Ted/Universal                                          Wknd/$   32.6            Total/$ 120.2

 3. Brave/Disney                                            Wknd/$   20.2            Total/$ 174.5

 4. Savages/Universal                                   Wknd/$   15.6            Total/$   16.2

 5. Magic Mike/Warner                                Wknd/$   15.6            Total/$  72.8

 6. Madea’s Witness Protection/LGF        Wknd/$   10.2            Total/$  45.8

 7. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                   Wknd/$     7.7            Total/$ 196.0

 8. Katy Perry: Part of Me/Paramount      Wknd/$     7.2            Total/$   10.3

 6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter      Wknd/$     6.0           Total/$  29.0

 7. Prometheus/Fox                                        Wknd/$     4.9           Total/$ 118.3

 9. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                       Wknd/$     4.6           Total/$   10.3

10. To Rome With Love/SPC                        Wknd/$     3.5           Total/$     5.6



The Amazing Spider-Man opens at number one and as someone who hated Sam Raimi’s borderline camp approach to the character, I was actually looking forward to this and I wasn’t disappointed.  Gone was the “lifted-straight-from-the-comic-books” dialogue and the sun-drenched fantasy NYC and in its place was a more appropriate and actually accurate angsty lead character and a New York City of dark blues and grays.  Tobey Maguire was actually a good Peter Parker, looking pretty much like the character brought to life while Andrew Garfield is a good interpretation of the character fitting in better with this slightly darker viewpoint.  This is also not based as much upon the original comics from the 60’s but upon the Ultimate Spider-Man series from 00’s where the character was “updated” for a 21st Century audience (Peter Parker now works on a the Daily Bugle website).  But much of the “old school” is still here, most notably a return to mechanical webshooters.  None of that bullshit organic webbing which was just gross if you really thought about it.  Also, they utilize Dr. Curt Connors, aka “The Lizard” something Raimi only teased us with for three movies with Dylan Baker.  They also make sure to include Spider-man’s most notable characteristic: he’s a wiseass.  Wisecracks are as much a part of Spider-man as the webbing and the wall-crawling and they were strangely absent from all Raimi’s films.  Unfortunately, like its predecessors, the film does run a tad too long with nothing to show for the length, especially when at the heart of the film is a mystery involving Peter Parker’s parents.  Instead it’s dangled like a carrot for the post credit sequence, which doesn’t so much make you look forward to a sequel as much as it reminds you how much time was wasted on an unresolved plotline.



Ted is down to number two and this takes away from brief joy at how Adam Sandler’s recent films haven’t been dong that well by introducing me to his replacement in the world of frat-boy cinema: Seth McFarlane.  This is doing so disgustingly well, expect to spend the next decade watching this guy make a fortune with his policy of low-hanging-fruit humor.



Brave holds at number three and this gets points for its use of actual Scottish actors.  Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Kelly McDonald are all here, though I can’t believe there’s no Ewan McGregor given he’s in every other goddamn movie all of them not this good.  Likewise Gerald Butler.  And what, no token call to try and lure Sean Connery out of retirement?



Savages opens at number four and I was actually set to see this until I saw that it had a run time over two hours and Oliver Stone simply does not get that kind of commitment from me any longer.  His days as a “must see” director are long over and not even the possibility of seeing Blake Lively naked and in a threesome is enough to get me in there. Not to mention, given how Stone treats women I also have no interest in watching probably her and definitely Salma Hayek die horrible deaths.  Mommy died, Oliver. She didn’t leave you.



Magic Mike is down to number five and no one needed this like Alex Pettyfer needed this. After I Am Number Four, Beastly and even In Time all tanked his run as the “Hot New Thing” was over pretty much before it started (he was also rumored to have been a bad boyfriend to the pretty blonde Glee girl which didn’t help his public image).  So much so that even though he’s the catalyst of the events in the film, you’ll notice he wasn’t on any magazine covers with the other four. He had the dangerous stain of previous failures on him so they basically cut him out completely.  Adam Rodriguez also wasn’t part of it because…well, he’s Latino. There’s simply no other way around it. But is that better or worse than being left out because they’re afraid you, as a blonde, English, ex-model will tank a movie about pretty men?



Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection is down to number six and also in this is Denise Richards of all people. Now, I became a fan of hers after her short-lived reality series where it was revealed she was a foul-mouth girl with a honking midwestern accent, but that pretty much means I follow her twitter feed. That’s about all the fandom I’ve got in me for her.  And Eugene Levy must simply take solace in that he’s paying for his kids college educations because the man was on SCTV 30 years ago so I know that he knows what funny really is—and this ain’t it.



Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is down to number seven followed by Katy Perry: Part of Me opening at number eight and honestly I’m stunned because it’s only now dawning on me how big Katy Perry is. Even when she was churning out hit after hit I was in denial that someone so bland and mediocre was some kind of superstar and yet here we are.  Now, these films are cheap to make because they’re basically just filming them on tour, but honestly there still aren’t a lot of them made because only the biggest bands can make a return on their release.  We’re talking Prince and U2 at their 80’s peak level of big.  And dozens of legit superstars have still never done this, but here is Katy Perry’s.  Unbelievable. Needless to say, I’ll never see it. Her music blows (I heard it the first time in the 80’s), her looks are mediocre and covered breasts don’t occupy a lot of my time.



Moonrise Kingdom continues to hang around the top ten at number nine with To Rome with Love entering the top ten at number ten. This is Woody Allen’s latest and the latest of his “overseas funding” series because these are the people giving him the money to make his films.  That’s it.  It’s not like his inspiration has led him overseas.  His investors have.  You keep hearing people talk about how overseas revenue has mattered more than domestic for years, well it started with Woody Allen.  As much as he was loved here at his peak he was worshipped overseas and these are the people supporting him financially today.  And to people who love Polanski, his banging Mia Farrow’s daughter was positively quaint so it didn’t even register. I’m indifferent, however, which is even worse than being repulsed.  It looks like so much more of the same with no “hook” like the fantasy element of Midnight in Paris to set it apart.



For the past five years to commemorate the big Sunday triathlon there was an Underwear Run the preceding Friday.  A friend of mine asked me to do it three years ago and my response was an instant “No.”  The underwear was not the problem. It was the running. An underwear walk or bike ride would have had my instant approval. However, after watching it on TV I kinda grew to regret not doing it and told her we should do it next year….but she forgot to register us.  And again the year after that.  This time I took matters into my own hand and actually made a note on my calendar on when registration for the event began. Of course by this time she’d become a world traveler and wouldn’t be in town to do it (likely story) so I’d be going it alone. Now, it’s not simply a matter or running in your tighty-whiteys (which should be banned, by the way), but putting on a show.  Of course I have some Superman briefs and a cape (don’t ask) and my running shoes have a lot of red in them so I was going to run in those, only I didn’t know they had a theme and this year it was “Celebrate America.”  I briefly considered keeping Superman as he is an American icon, but Superman represents all of us regardless of borders so I felt that wouldn’t be right (it’s called respecting the character).  Fortunately enough I also have some Captain America underwear, a mask (stop asking!) and the red running shoes work there too.  But you can’t be Captain America without a shield and since I threw out the first one I made I had to make another because the only ones left on-sale were $50 a pop and that wasn’t happening.  Enter the internet.  There are literally dozens of tutorials on how to make a shield, from using actual metal (an old direct TV dish) to simple cardboard and duct tape and since there’s nothing more American than duct tape, I went that route.  The design I chose was somewhat important because I wanted actual curvature to the shield instead of some flat disc.  It took a few hours spread out over a few days (ironically enough, I didn’t work on it on the 4th of July) and while not perfect I was ultimately pleased with it.  Especially considering it was only finished about two hours before runtime.  Now came the second part: someone to hold my pants. Not knowing anything about running I didn’t know if they’d have a bag check or not for such relatively small event.  They did, but still I wanted to bring my camera and didn’t want to leave it and I also wanted someone else to take pictures, but one-by-one all the people I called either backed out, couldn’t make it or decided that “I need help tonight” translated into calling me back the next day.  Fortunately one person was free and it was my Fashion Work Crush. My Fashion Work Crush is of course a woman I work with and have a crush on, but my crush is fashion generated. I love her fashion sense.  It goes from utterly funky to totally chic and everything in between. When you’re relatively tall woman (5’8”) and thin you can wear anything you want, but she actually has some taste in style.  “Oh, these old boots,” she said to me once. “I got them in Peru.”  She was uber-free and looking to get out thanks to a recent breakup. I should have paid more attention that that last bit as it would come back to haunt me.  The run began at 7:30, but I got there at 6:30 to check in and take photos of the other runners. Of course there was a group of Hot Asian Girls in Lingerie who got most of the attention even over other groups of hot girls. What could be more American than the fetishization of an ethnic group?  I wasn’t eager to disrobe because given there were so few there at the time it would mean instant attention. Something proven by the other Captain America, who disrobed in a heartbeat and was soon posing with Hot Asian Girls in Lingerie and being interviewed all over the place.  He had a little toy shield, but made up for it with his boots and gloves.  When Fashion Work Crush finally arrived and I did disrobe, he [other Captain America] and I took a picture together.  As people began to ask me to take pictures, my ego became a little upset we didn’t do it earlier, but given how badly I looked I stand by it. Now when I decided to do this I began to take steps to make sure I didn’t look like a total slug on camera. I gave up my after work snacks of buttered popcorn, my nonstop eating of dark chocolate caramels and 5 pounds dropped off me without even trying. I also started my “Once A Year” running to make sure I didn’t die out there.  Once a year I run three miles a few times a week to prove I can still do it. Then I stop BECAUSE RUNNING SUCKS.  This time however, the run was easier than I remembered, not threatening to give me a heart attack.  In fact, I thought I could do it faster and longer if I wanted to. Of course this is when my right calf, clearly jealous of the attention given the torn left calf earlier in the year decided it would begin cramping like a muthafucka. I got two weeks of running in before it happened but that combined with increasing my swimming, going back to weights (I hate weights too) and cleaning up my diet even more actually resulted in my waist shrinking.  If only I’d had those last two weeks of running I might not have had the same gut I did while running.  Not that I stood out. At. All.  The bodies on display at the Underwear Run ran the gamut from fucking chiseled perfection (she was awesome) to normal, to a guy who should be embarrassed to be seen like that.  Seriously.  There were also kids, which creeped me the fuck out. Why would dress your daughter in matching underwear for you?  I know they probably loved the bonding, but there’s the creepy bastard factor to consider.  The run itself is 1.7 miles through Central Park up and down hills and given I can do 3  it shouldn’t have been a problem, with the exception of my calf, which I’d been stretching and using a foam roll  on for the previous week. It felt fine. Of course I hadn’t taken into account something designers of moving vehicles like cars and planes call “drag coefficient.” You know, the thing that inhibits your motion through the jetstream, like superfluous decorations…OR A TWO FOOT FUCKING SHIELD ON YOUR ARM!  This is how you know comics are fantasy. Running around in a cape is stupid, masks are insanely hot and a giant circular thing on your arm inhibits running speed.  Even my need to have it accurately curved came back to haunt me because that made turning it straight to avoid drag impossible. Still, despite the shield,  the hot mask, the overall heat of the day and the training time I lost, I was soon part of the first pack, which left all the others behind.  And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy people yelling out “Captain America!” at me as I ran through the park and taking pictures. They seemed to take a special delight in the fact I had that TWO-FOOT FUCKING SHIELD ON MY ARM. I can’t tell you my time because aside from not wearing my glasses I could barely see through the damn mask, but I’m assuming it was about 15-20 minutes thanks to the adrenalin rush.  Afterwards there was more picture taking—which was especially gross thanks to the sweat—but also free shit from sponsors, which included Mexican food, bottled water, Muscle Milk energy drink and a coupon for free underwear.  Now remember Fashion Work Crush?  She had my camera and had been taking pictures all this time.  We went out for dinner and drinks afterwards so it wasn’t until I got home late that night that I saw the results…which was lots and lots of man-ass.  Remember, she’d just broken up with someone and apparently was looking at what was out there.  And I was no exception as some very unflattering ass and crotch shots of me too.  Chicks, they’re as nasty as we are.  So now that it’s over I’m sugaring myself to death with all I’ve given up over the last month, but at the same time I think I’m going to keep with it. My repulsion at my body outweighs all other things so we’re going to keep going through July to see what we can make out of this middle-aged mess.  Or maybe I’ll stop tomorrow cause life is too short to run and not eat chocolate every day.  Who knows?