Tag Archives: World War Z

WHEREIN WE MOCK RYAN REYNOLDS ENDLESSLY

21 Jul

rr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE MONEYING

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

 

MASSIVE SNAILURE. SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

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

 

MORE LIKE PINK THIS TIME AROUND

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

 

IT’S NOT BASEBALL, HOT DOGS, APPLE PIE AND GIANT ROBOTS

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

 

D.O.A.

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

 

MONEY MADE FROM CHICKS CLEARLY ISN’T REAL

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

 

ALL THE MONEY, NONE OF THE ANGER OR RESENTMENT

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

 

MONSTER MASH

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

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YOUR CHILDHOOD TUB BATTLES MADE REAL

14 Jul

spacegians

1. Despicable Me 2/Universal               Wknd/$  44.8            Total/$ 229.2

 2. Grown Ups 2/Sony                            Wknd/$  42.5            Total/$  42.5

 3. Pacific Rim/Warners                         Wknd/$  38.3            Total/$  38.3

 4. The Heat/Fox                                      Wknd/$  14.0            Total/$ 112.4

 5. The Lone Ranger/Disney                  Wknd/$  11.1             Total/$  71.1

 6. Monsters University/Disney            Wknd/$  10.6            Total/$ 237.8

 7. World War Z/Paramount                  Wknd/$    9.4            Total/$ 177.1

 8. White House Down/Sony                  Wknd/$    6.2            Total/$  63.0

 9. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain/LGF     Wknd/$    5.0            Total/$  26.4

10. Man of Steel/Warners                        Wknd/$    4.8            Total/$ 281.0

 

FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU; FOOL ME TWICE, I’M AN IDIOT WHO FELL FOR A COMMERCIAL

Despicable Me 2 holds sadly at number one and I say “sadly” because it means the inevitable #3 is on its way. It won’t be the hat trick on my wallet, however.  Short of a crossover with The Incredibles, I’m out.  The only good I can see coming out of this mess is that Kristin Wiig has another hit under her belt. You get yours, girl.

 

LEMONADE

Speaking of horrible box office success that might mean a third unfunny film, Grown Ups 2 opens at number two. So I guess that makes two good things to come out of Despicable Me 2 holding the stop spot. It kept this piece of crap from opening at number one.  Adam Sandler is stunning how he has managed to carve out a very successful career going for the lowest hanging fruit possible.  He’s even passed Tim Allen.  After awhile I can’t even blame him for it. I blame you people who keep rewarding his utter bankrupt excuse for comedic talent.  You need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

 

ULTRA MAN WASN’T A ROBOT! THAT’S DIFFERENT!

Pacific Rim opens at a disappointing number three and America is funny in how we clearly love giant fighting robots and are no strangers to giant monsters, but put them in the same movie and we’re utterly disinterested.  We all did it in the tub when we were kids with our toys, but apparently put away such childish conflicts as adults for a mature separation of giant monster and giant robot.  Now this is an ingrained part of Japanese pop culture, but I feel we’re basically just too rational for it. Seriously. We cannot get over the fact that building a giant robot to fight a giant monster is just stupid.  If that giant monster is causing mass death and destruction with every step, how dumb is it to build a giant robot to fight it in the city streets?  You’ve just doubled your carnage!  Especially when the movie flat out tells us the first monster to attack was killed by conventional weaponry.  Why would you waste valuable time and resources building a giant robot rather than building more powerful, more effective weapons!?!  Clearly you can if you’ve got the technology to building giant robots with plasma cannons.  Why can’t that plasma just be mounted on a ship or tank?  BUT…if you can get over your very American questioning of the premise, Pacific Rim is a good time. Giant monsters come to Earth from another dimension through a rift located in the Pacific Ocean and we fight them off with giant robots. After initial success the monster attacks become more frequent with ever larger, more effective monsters so the governments of the world decide to give up on it and instead just build a big wall,  pulling the plug on the robot funding.  This leaves the commanding officer just 8 months to use his remaining robots to shut down the rift once and for all because anyone with a brain knows that wall thing is not going to work.  It’s little too long—especially given you go 30 minutes without any giant monster and robot fights in favor of people who amount to little more than character sketches and never really become characters themselves—but this is the definition of a summer flick. Big, outlandish, but made by somewhat talented people and not insulting your intelligence while asking you to suspend your disbelief. Case in point: the film’s primary character is a giant robot pilot that left the program after his brother was killed. When Idris Elba goes to bring him back, he declines and Elba points out the world is going to end so where is he going to go?  There’s a similar ultimatum put forth in World War Z to Brad Pitt. He also realizes his personal feelings mean nothing when the world is at stake.  But in the odious Transformers 2 the result is that Shia Lebouf chooses going to college over saving the world because apparently its destruction will leave the mixer in his dorm on Thursday night undisturbed.  And unlike Man of Steel, when a monster attacks the city, the first action is to evacuate or get people to bunkers and the streets and buildings are clearly shown to be empty.

 

ALL PERIOD PIECES ARE NOT THE SAME, HONEY

The Heat is down to number four followed by The Lone Ranger at number five and why is Helena Bonham Carter here?  Did she and Johnny Depp make an agreement on the set of Tim Burton’s films to be weird for the sake of being weird together as much as possible?  Bear in mind when she’s not doing that or working with him she makes movies like The King’s Speech.  Yeah, exactly.

 

PARTY OF ONE…MAYBE LESS

Monsters University is down to number six, followed by World War Z at number seven and also in this with exactly one line from a character with no name is Matthew Fox.  It’s so odd it actually pulls you out of the film for a second. But only for a second because it’s just Matthew Fox.

 

HEY, IT’S THAT GUY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

White House Down is down to number eight and also in this is Jason Clarke who is becoming a character actor (i.e, actors talented, but not attractive enough to be leads) of some weight. First there was critical acclaim for Zero Dark Thirty, then an at least one successful this summer in The Great Gatsby and now this mess for which no one will blame him.  It makes an odd sense he’s working for James Woods in this because Woods is getting old and someone has to take these roles.

 

WHAT’S SUMMER WITHOUT A BIG “S” ON YOUR CHEST?

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain is down only one notch to number nine, which is impressive and wrapping up the top ten at number ten is Man of Steel. Finally! Now that this damn thing is out of the top ten, I can start wearing my Superman t-shirts again. It’s been a long five weeks!

CLARK KENT’S MOM HAS GOT IT GOING ON…

7 Jul

mrskent

 1. Despicable Me 2/Universal                    Wknd/$  82.5            Total/$ 142.1

 2. The Lone Ranger/Disney                        Wknd/$  29.4            Total/$  48.9

 3. The Heat/Fox                                            Wknd/$  25.0            Total/$  86.4

 4. Monsters University/Disney                   Wknd/$  19.6            Total/$ 216.1

 5. World War Z/Paramount                        Wknd/$  18.2            Total/$ 158.8

 6. White House Down/Sony                        Wknd/$  13.5            Total/$  50.5

 7. Man of Steel/Warners                               Wknd/$  11.4            Total/$ 271.2

 8. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain/LGF           Wknd/$  10.0            Total/$  17.5

 9. This Is The End/Sony                                Wknd/$   5.8             Total/$  85.6

10. Now You See Me/LGF                              Wknd/$   2.8             Total/$ 110.4

 

SHOULDN’T THIS STAR DAFFY DUCK?

Despicable Me 2 opens at number one and I didn’t care too much for the first one, finding it more style than substance and was going to give this one a pass as a result.  Then I saw that damn commercial with the minions as the Village People doing “YMCA.”  Everyone who came up with that gets a raise because if it got even me into the theater I don’t want to think about how many others followed suit.  Of course that wound up being one of the high points of the movie as this suffers from all the flaws of the first, thinking a few cute jokes and nice style makes up for a complete and utter lack of depth for the characters.  This is why Pixar continues to leave all its competitors in the dust as despite all the cute animation all their films are nothing but character driven. Strip away the fantastic and Monsters University is about two college freshmen.  Strip away the fantastic and Brave is about a mother and daughter.  Strip away the fantastic and Finding Nemo is about a father and son.  What is Despicable Me 2 without the fantastic?  It doesn’t exist.  This time around Gru is a devoted single father having given up super-villainy to start a jam and jelly business and occasionally fending off being set up by other moms in the neighborhood.  He’s approached by The Anti-Villain League to help them catch a new an unknown supervillain and after initially refusing, is prompted to take the job after his head scientist quits because he misses being a bad guy (and hates making jelly) leaving Gru at loose ends.  There’s so much here to play with and all of it goes unused.  That Gru is an eligible bachelor as a single dad is just used for cheap jokes about blowing off the woman trying to set him up and her bad choices.  That Anti-Villain League was nowhere to be seen when Gru was stealing the moon is never broached though it would be funny to point out that super-villains in fact do outmatch the heroes simply by virtue of numbers.  The girls have no personalities other than cute youngest, tomboy middle, and smart eldest. How do you know she’s smart? Because she wears glasses, duh. Not because of anything she actually does. Just when the film looks like it might go somewhere when she discovers boys, it’s only for the blandest type of sitcom humor.  The minions are wisely used to sell this movie because they are the only things worth watching.  Like the penguins in the otherwise mediocre Madagascar movies, they are a jolt of refreshing, anarchistic fun that keeps the film from dying on the table.

 

MOCK WITH US NOW THOSE THRILLING DAYS OF YESTERYEAR

Opening at number two is The Lone Ranger which had disaster written all over it the moment Johnny Depp’s name came up as Tonto and it doesn’t disappoint in being disappointing.  This is one of those movies that makes so many wrong choices you can’t believe no one noticed while they were filming it.  You can’t believe anyone saw this script and EVER thought it was a good idea. I’m assuming there was a script because if we found out there really wasn’t one it actually would explain a lot. The film’s biggest mistake is assuming that we want to laugh at the very idea of The Lone Ranger, that he’s too much of an anachronistic stiff to ever be taken seriously, therefore he must be mocked. He’s basically played as an idiot for most of the movie, starting off with the first scene where he’s basically Jimmy Stewart in the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, as a tenderfoot lawyer returning to Texas from the east and he just happens to be on the same train where Butch Cavendish is being transported to be hanged. Next to Cavendish? Johnny Depp camping it up as Tonto. Their first meeting as a result of Cavendish’s escape is the first big action scene and is needless drawn out and utterly uninteresting. It’s downhill from there starting with an odd love triangle involving his soon-to-be departed brother and sister-in-law (we learn from Tonto that this time around “Kemo sabe” means wrong brother as the brother who dies is an ass-kicking Texas Ranger) that amounts to nothing. I mean you can’t have a love triangle if one of them is dead in the first act.  It’s so boring it’s boring me to even try and re-account it and I’m questioning wasting yet another second on a movie that already stole 2+ hours from my life. Basically nothing works. Not the script, not the directing, not the acting not even the too little, too late use of “The William Tell Overture.” Somewhere, Klinton Spilsbury whose career crashed and burned in the last attempt at a big screen Lone Ranger movie feels a sense of redemption.

 

BECAUSE PIXAR IS TOO CLASSY TO TELL YOU

The Heat is down to three followed by Monsters at number four and along for the ride this time doing voices are Helen Mirren, Nathan Fillion, Alfred Molina, Dave Foley, Sean Hayes, Bonnie Hunt, John Krasinski, Bill Hader Bobby Moynihan, Charlie Day and of course Pixar mainstay, John Ratzenberger who returns as the Yeti.

 

WAR IS UGLY, BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE

World War Z is down to number five and also in this as the cute Israeli soldier who becomes Brad Pitt’s badass sidekick is Daniella Kertesz who is actually Israeli, meaning at one point she actually was a soldier as service is mandatory. So anyone who tells you that no soldiers look like this doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

 

SECRET SERVICE SCREENINGS NEED WORK

White House Down drops to number six and also in this is James Woods as the traitorous Secret Service Agent about to retire.  Not to be confused with Dylan McDermott from Olympus Has Fallen as the traitorous already retired Secret Service Agent.  Both oddly love their country so much they betray it to start World War III.  Not sure how that works, but at least James Woods’ character has the virtue of a brain tumor to explain why his logic centers aren’t working.  Woods is doing it because of a Middle East Peace treaty he hates.  Dylan McDermott was doing it because no bankers went to jail during the financial crisis. No, I’m not kidding.

 

“CLARK KENT’S MOM HAS GOT IT GOING ON…”

Man of Steel is down to number seven and also in this is Diane Lane as Martha Kent and while she has a very nice moment with Clark as a young boy helping him to navigate his powers by virtue of her love, she spends the rest of the film in lousy old age makeup begging the question, why the hell did you hire Diane Lane to begin with if you were going to do that to her!?!  She’s 18 years older than Henry Caville.  That’s old enough to be his mother without needing to tip the scales with crummy make up.  Again, it’s not just that it was old age makeup, but that it was crummy old age makeup.  Annette O’Toole was perfectly fine (literally) as being Clark Kent’s severely hot mom on Smallville untouched by the makeup artist’s brush.

 

HOW MANY SIZE JOKES ABOUT HIM CAN I MAKE?

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain opens well (relatively speaking) at number eight and this is when you know you’re one of the “comics of the moment.”  You get a concert film.  The irony here is, if you’re really, really white hot, you actually get an HBO special. More people will actually see you on cable than will actually go to a movie.  So yes, while he has a show on BET and has hosted Saturday Night Live, Kevin Hart isn’t big enough for HBO.  The greater irony is that I won’t see this until it’s on cable, because while I do like Kevin Hart, I’m not making a trip to the movies to see him. Not to mention a little goes a long way with him.  Being short, funny and borderline annoying, he was born to be the wacky sidekick in a movie.

 

THE END

This Is The End is down to number nine, followed by Now You See Me closing out the top ten at number ten.

IT’S FALLEN AND CAN’T GET UP

30 Jun

This_World

 1. Monsters University/Disney           Wknd/$  46.2            Total/$ 171.0

 2. The Heat/Fox                                     Wknd/$  40.0           Total/$  40.0

 3. World War Z/Paramount                Wknd/$  29.8            Total/$ 123.7

 4. White House Down/Sony                Wknd/$  25.7            Total/$  25.7

 5. Man of Steel/Warners                       Wknd/$  20.8           Total/$ 248.7

 6. This Is The End/Sony                       Wknd/$   8.7             Total/$  74.7

 7. Now You See Me/LGF                       Wknd/$   5.5             Total/$ 104.7

 8. Fast & Furious 6/Universal              Wknd/$   2.4            Total/$ 233.3

 9. Star Trek Into Darkness/Par            Wknd/$   3.0            Total/$ 216.6

10. The Internship/Fox                           Wknd?$   1.4             Total/$  41.7

 

IT’LL BE DIFFERENT EXCEPT WHEN IT’S THE SAME

Monsters University holds onto the number one slot and Pixar announced that their new strategy is one year an original film, then the following year a sequel to an original film and so on and so on.  So yeah, the golden age of Pixar pretty much ended how it started: with Toy Story. Number one kicked it off and number three was its beautiful closer. Since then it’s been lesser efforts (Brave) and sequels like Cars 2 and this one, which honestly I prefer to the original, but that’s only because Monsters, Inc. wasn’t one of their A-list films to begin with.  I won’t lie: I’m dying to see Finding Dorry, but I could have lived with just Finding Nemo, which is my absolute favorite Pixar film and proof that not including animated features in the Best Picture category at the Oscars is just Hollywood protecting its own ass, because Pixar would have owned it for years.  No one and I mean not even Pixar itself was hot on a Cars sequel, but the merchandising just made so much money they basically had to, which is sad and that was the beginning of the end. Again, I’ll see an Incredibles sequel, but Ratatouille 2: This Time It’s Roaches is going to have a hard time finding an audience.

 

GLORIA STEINEM WILL UNDERSTAND

The Heat opens strong at number two and while the feminist in me is delighted to see a female led film doing well in the summer where dudes are failing (yes, I’m still laughing at the failure of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) I personally gave it a pass, because I so hated the original, unfunny trailers even though the final batch of commercials contained some genuinely funny moments. Too little, too late.  Oh, and I don’t like Sandra Bullock to begin with so there was that hurdle to overcome and they didn’t get it done.

 

SORRY, GEORGE A. ROMERO, BUT THAT’S HOW I FEEL

World War Z is down to number three and one of my all time favorite science fiction films is The Andromeda Strain, which is basically about scientists trying to fight an alien invasion…of a virus.  Yep, no ships or monsters, just virus from space that wipes out a small town leaving only an infant and an old man alive and they race against the clock to find out how to beat it.  This is why I enjoyed World War Z because it is to zombie movies what that was to alien invasion movies.  I don’t want to call it a “thinking man’s” zombie movie, because it’s still plenty dumb (civilization is collapsing but somehow everyone still has power) but it’s not your typical game of “10 Little Indians” with zombies picking off a group of people one by one.  Ironically, I could still give a crap about The Walking Dead.

 

YEP, IT’S DOWN AGAIN

White House Down opens at a disappointing number three and I honestly don’t understand why. It’s no worse than your average Hollywood action film and certainly better than anything Michael Bay does, not to mention the latest Die Hard movie.  Of course we have to compare this to Olympus Has Fallen, the first “Die Hard In The White House” movie released earlier this year.  It’s better in some ways and worse in others.  Better because the villain is not some evil minority from a nation we could defeat in our sleep and that we’re mercifully spared having to watch the hero’s backstory. Worse in that even without having to watch the hero’s backstory it’s still over two hours long and Roland Emmerich is a shitty director, while Antoine Fuqua knows how to make an action flick.  This follows the Die Hard formula more closely in that Channing Tatum has a woman in his life that he needs to please then save. In this case it’s his 11-year-old daughter, who just so happens to be a political—and specifically Executive Office and very specifically this president—junkie.  The president is played by Jamie Foxx who is still…Jamie Foxx and while you could buy Aaron Eckhart being the president, Jamie Foxx is something else again. Also the president’s son plot line in Olympus Has Fallen was so useless you wonder why it was even there. Here Channing Tatum’s daughter is a vital part of the story for better or worse.  It’s a matter of personal taste whether or not the relatively bloodless carnage of White House Down is better than the full on R-rated violence of Olympus Has Fallen.  I’m good either way, but I’m pretty sure when this kind of thing happens there’s a lot more cursing.  There are also fewer wasted actors here. While you know Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, etc all could and should be doing better things than Olympus Has Fallen, but with the exception of Maggie Gyllenhaal you know pretty much everyone else here is right where they belong.  The stories are basically the same: bad guys take the White House with some help from within (apparently no one retires gracefully from the Secret Service) with stupefying ease, the president get lectured how he’s actually betrayed the nation and the ex-solider now a cop in DC is the rogue element who steps in to save the day.  Channing Tatum is much more appealing as the younger man trying to save his daughter than Gerard Butler was as the older man looking for redemption.  Also, it’s a buddy film so he doesn’t have to carry the full weight on his shoulders. It works for me because a little Jamie Foxx goes a long way. Plus, as president he has to play the straight man so he’s less Jamie Foxx than usual (in case you haven’t guessed I’m not a fan).  Both films are ridiculous and require massive suspensions of disbelief (one wants you to believe you could take the White House without an army while the other wants you to believe that one was imported from Korea without being noticed), but White House Down, coming from the man who brought you Independence Day of course has to kick it up to 11 with a high speed chase. On the White House Lawn.  In circles around the fountain.  Yeah. That pretty much sums this movie up.

 

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME…

Man of Steel, which is down to number five this week is like World War Z in that the only thing this it has in common with the source material is the name.  The difference being if they’d called World War Z something else it would still be a decent movie, but even if you’d called Man of Steel  “Ultraman” or “Stupendousman” it would still be a bad movie. It’s not just a failure to understand the source material, it’s just a flat out bad execution. The film is overlong, joyless and ends in an orgy of CGI for the sake of it and not much else.  Yes, I’m going to rip on it until it goes away because so long as this damn movie is in the top ten I’m unable to wear any of my 20 Superman T-shirts because if I do I’ll have to talk about it to strangers every time I go out! Seriously, you’d think I was the first person they’d ever seen in a Superman t-shirt.

 

YOU TOO, CHELSEA HANDLER!

This Is The End is down to number six and looking at this and seeing all the cast members is like a party of all the coolest kids in high school, so if you’re not in it, then you’re nobody.  In this case the high school is the world of comedy, so take a hint, Whitney Cummings.

 

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Now You See Me is down to number seven with Fast & The Furious 6 still here at number eight and with us for the last time is Sung Kang, as Han Seoul-Oh. Seriously, that’s his name.  If you stick around after the credits the final scene is his demise in Tokyo Drift setting up the next film with a surprise guest star who is no stranger to movies about cars. Yes, that means. Fast & The Furious 4, 5 and 6 ALL took place before number three.  And now Vin Diesel’s appearance at the end of Tokyo Drift now will formally tie into 7.  The only question is will the stars of Tokyo Drift now finally be able to tap into some of this F&F sequel money?  Apparently Lil Bow Wow needs a check from what I hear?

 

SPACE ADVENTURE II: THE RETRIBUTION OF BAHN

Star Trek Into Darkness is down to number nine so let’s go through the numbers. It had a $190M budget and the basic rule of thumb is that due to marketing costs you need to make twice your budget to break even and 3x your budget to turn a profit theatrically.  It’s hit $438M worldwide so breaking even is assured, but it’s not even going to come close to the $570M needed to turn a profit theatrically.  That will probably come from Pay-per-view and DVD sales.  The only upside here is JJ Abrams is now gone to screw up Star Wars so maybe the next Star Trek movie might actually be a Star Trek. As it stands if you called these movies “Space Adventure” they wouldn’t be awful, but they are failures as Star Trek films.

 

THE SCHADENFREUDE

Finally, The Internship closes out the top ten at number ten and yes, I’m still laughing at its abject failure.

MONSTERS VS. MONSTERS

23 Jun

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1. Monsters University/Disney                    Wknd/$  82.0           Total/$  82.0

 2. World War Z/Paramount                        Wknd/$  66.0           Total/$  66.0

 3. Man of Steel/Warners                              Wknd/$  41.1            Total/$ 210.0

 4. This Is The End/Sony                               Wknd/$  13.9           Total/$  57.8

 5. Now You See Me/LGF                              Wknd/$   7.9            Total/$  94.5

 6. Fast & Furious 6/Universal                     Wknd/$   4.7            Total/$228.4

 7. The Internship/Fox                                   Wknd?$   3.4            Total/$  38.4

 8. The Purge/Universal                                 Wknd/$   3.4            Total/$  59.4

 9. Star Trek Into Darkness/Par                   Wknd/$   3.0            Total/$ 216.6

10. Iron Man 3/Paramount                           Wknd/$   2.9            Total/$ 399.6

 

MEH UNIVERSITY

Monsters University opens at number one to no one’s surprise because even the odious Cars and Cars 2 opened at number one.  Not even Superman can stand against the might of Pixar.  Now for me Monsters, Inc was something that should have been great short film (there really are monsters in your closet, but they’re not here to hurt you) but was stretched out into a mildly entertaining movie with pretty much a rock solid ending that honestly left no where to go.  They seemed to have realized this which is why they went with a prequel, answering questions no one really asked about Mike and Sully.  This actually contradicts Sully’s line in Monsters Inc about knowing Mike in the 4th grade as they meet here in college.  Sully is a lackluster student due to his family name and innate “scaring” skill while Mike is a perfect student, but honestly not being even remotely scary to anyone and they clash almost immediately.  Their rivalry gets them both kicked out of the “Scaring Program” so they have to join forces and also a frat of underachievers to prove themselves to get back in. Wait. Did I just describe the plot of Revenge of the Nerds?  It’s not Pixar on the level of Toy Story, Wall-E, Up, Finding Nemo or The Incredibles, but more Pixar on the level of A Bug’s Life (which I love) Brave and Ratatouille.  Better than pretty much all other computer animate films, but paling in comparison to their best.  That’s it’s a sequel is no excuse as the Toy Story films got better with each installment, so I was a bit disappointed they didn’t up their game with the inventiveness of their humor.  At its best Pixar works on many levels, from childlike humor to elements that have the adults in the audience trying to explain to their children why mommy and daddy are crying. None of that is present here.  The laughs are simple but effective as is the message (believe in yourself).  There’s no human element this time, but honestly I preferred it.  Boo was a little too cute at times.  Besides the emotions of the monsters are human enough.

 

THE REAL MONSTER IS MAN’S INHUMANITY TO MAN…OR SOMETHING

World War Z opens well at number two which is ironic even this apocalyptic film had a buzz of certain disaster written all over it, from rewrites to reshoots to Brad Pitt allegedly not speaking to the director.  I enjoyed it, but I never read the book, so I had no outrage ready and waiting in the chamber primed to fire.  Also, the trailers were well cut in my opinion selling the movie not so much as being about zombies as the world coming to an end because of a plague and a handsome brave scientist was out to stop it (for a movie about zombies, shots of them were conspicuously missing from the trailer).  That worked for me, he who has no interest in zombies or horror.  Well, I was right for the most part.  Brad Pitt is actually a former operative of sorts for the United Nations, not a scientist.  He’s so good he’s the first person the secretary general apparently calls when zombies overrun Manhattan. Though in his defense, when Pitt witnesses his first zombie attack he instinctively counts how long it takes for an infection to turn someone, which is something I’d be too busy stepping over the guy in front of me to do. While Brad Pitt then refusing to help stop the apocalypse makes no sense (the line where the general tells him his family is going to die too is missing from the film) the reaction of “Well, then we’re kicking you and your family to the curb. Good luck with those zombies” sure as hell does. Needless to say Pitt’s then off to South Korea with a team of NAVY Seals and an actual brave young scientist—who accidentally shoots himself in the head when zombies attack.  Now it’s up to Brad Pitt to take what little info the scientist gave him to find a cure. Along the way we find out North Korea solved the zombie problem by yanking the teeth out of all 23 million people. Damn. We also find out that Israel was so prepared for this they built a wall…but oddly never noticed that zombies were attracted by noise. They find this out the hard way, but not before Brad Pitt gains the cutest female Israeli soldier ever as his sidekick and they’re off to their next stop.  WWZ works because it realizes what the best monster movies always realize: the monster represents something else. It’s not just a creature for the sake of a creature.  Either it’s greed, rage, pollution, etc. Here it spreads from disease and neglect and poverty and is beaten by multi-national cooperation.  So you can guess what the monster is. The president of the US is dead; but the secretary of the UN is working to save the world.

 

MY TWO SUPER DADS

Man of Steel is down to number three and also in this are Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner as Superman’s fathers. Yes, both his dads were Robin Hood. Can we move on?  Russell Crowe acquits himself nicely as Jor-El the scientist who’s ready to whoop a little ass on when he has to on Krypton in order to save his son.  He fares much better than Kevin Costner who is burdened by a script that insists that Jonathan Kent not imbue Clark with the moral foundation that will one day make him Superman, but instead raises him in a climate of petrifying fear, actually suggesting that the deaths of all of a teenage Clark’s classmates is worth keeping his secret because Clark is just that important. This doesn’t make your son a good person. This makes your son that frat boy who breaks all sorts of laws then skips the country once you’ve mortgaged your house to pay his bail because you’ve told him all his life he’s so special that conventional morality doesn’t apply to him.  People mock the Clark Kent aspect of Superman all the time, not realizing that if you get him wrong then you get Superman wrong. This movie sadly proves that.

 

THEY HAVE ONE THING IN COMMON: THEY’RE ALL EVIL

This Is The End is down to number four followed by Now You See Me at number five and also in this is Isla Fisher whom I tend to confuse with both Amy Adams and Kate Mara.  No, I’m not saying all redheads look alike…I’m saying all short, skinny redheads between 25 and 35 look alike.  And I’ve dated enough of them to know.

 

ENTER THE FOINE ASS DRAGON

Fast & The Furious 6 is down to number six and also in this is Gina Carano, former MMA superstar following in the footsteps of people like Chuck Norris and Don “The Dragon” Wilson in attempting to become a martial arts action star.  Her first film was the underwhelming Haywire because Steven Soderbergh was too ashamed to make an actual action movie.  Hopefully this will serve to get her back on track.  No, she can’t act, but neither can Chuck Norris and she’s a helluva lot prettier. Trivia: she’s dating Henry Caville, in case you wondered what it’d look like when Superman and Wonder Woman had sex.

 

I WONDER WHAT THE KLINGON WORD FOR SCHADENFREUDE IS

The Internship is down to number seven, followed by The Purge at number eight and Star Trek Into Darkness at number nine, and at $430M from a $190M budget it has broken even so profitability will have to come from the backend of home video (dvd, on-demand etc) because it’s not going to make the $570M needed to do it theatrically. At best it will match the first one, which also didn’t profit theatrically, making only 2.5x its budget. You can’t prove I’m smiling about this.

 

STURDY AS STEEL

Finally, Iron Man 3 holds at number ten, as if to spite Man of Steel somehow.