Thursday, September 1, 2011

Experience Star Wars Like You Never Have Before

...with more rocks

The Star Wars Blu-Rays are just around the corner (it's like we are back in 2006). Despite Lucas saying the movies were going to be left intact this time, we all knew he was lying. Here are some of the brilliant changes made to make the movies into the more complete vision old Georgy originally had.

-R2D2 has more rocks in front of him, for some strange reason.
-Ewoks blink, for some strange reason.
-Jabba's Palace door is now five times the original size, for some strange reason.
-Obi-Wan scares the Sand People off with a new blood-curdling inhuman scream, for some strange reason.
-The puppet Yoda in Episode I has been replaced with a CGI Yoda, for actually a good reason. That puppet - the original one they used back in 1979 - was falling apart during Phantom Menace. Also, a change to a prequel can't possibly make it any worse.
-Any open space has been replaced by a CGI Tie-Fighter, for some strange reason.
-And finally, for some strange reason, during the single most climatic scene in the entire series, they added in Darth Vader saying "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" This scene serves two purposes: to bookend Revenge of the Sith and Return of the Jedi, for some strange reason. And to weaken the mystique that has made Darth Vader one of the greatest fictional characters of all time.

Don't worry people. These will all be changed again in two years when the inevitable 3D Star Wars films are released.

(BTW, I haven't been on as of late because my internet sucks. Great job AT&T. I'm glad your merger fell through.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Top Ten Canadian Characters

While I may be physically back from Canada, my mind wishes I was still there. Maybe it was the kind generosity that all Canadians tend to have, or perhaps it was from all the sugar in Tim Horton donuts, but Canada is just a great country. So it is to my surprise that there are very few Canadian creations in the media, despite the majority of Hollywood seemingly hailing from the Great North. But there are some fine ones out there, so grab your poutine and Neil Young records, here's the top ten Canadian characters.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Opening This Weekend: Remakes and Reboots (also, Canada)

It's true

Hey everyone. Sorry I haven't been around recently, but I'm in Canada on a business trip (feels nice to say that). Between the craziness here and the $20 a day the hotel charges for internet, I've been a bit out of the loop. Thankfully those nice Canadians don't put passwords on their wi-fi. This is a big weekend for movies, but first here's the movie related stuff I've done in Canada.

- Stopped in Toronto's Chinatown and bought a TON of $2 bootleg Asian DVDs. I think I own the entire collection of Akira Kurasawa films now.
- I didn't actually go in, but the Toronto International Film Fest (TIFF) has a really cool looking exhibition on Federico Fellini. I would have loved to have more time to see it. I guess I just have to settle with crappy musical remakes of his films.
- I'm also going to miss the Rue Morgue Horror Expo, Canada's biggest horror fest (feel free in insert a joke her, but it is seriously a huge fest), which starts the day I leave. I'm a very sad man, but I'll meet Elvira some day.
- But I did get to watch the great show Eastbound and Down, which Canada airs uncensored on its regular sports network The Score. I think they also show UFC Pay Per Views free just a few days after the fight. Awesome.
-Not necessarily Canadian, but Topless Robot has a list that makes me happy. The 11 Greatest Ray Harryhausen Monsters
-I found a radio station that plays Duran Duran 75% of the day, other 80s synthpop bands 20% of the time, and the Beatles and Bob Marley the rest of the time.
-Finally, I ate a ton of Tim Horton donuts.

Anyway, opening this weekend:

Conan the Barbarian - This looks amazing from the very short clips they show in the previews. Apparently, the full thing isn't too good. Conan has painted itself into a very interesting situation: This film is much closer to the source material than the previous movies, but Arnold has made himself into such iconic figure that his role as Conan overshadow's the original stories.

Fright Night - Another remake of a vampire movie which was really in perfect remake territory. Enough people know of the old movie to draw a crowd, but not too many people hold the original in too high of regards, so there won't be much fan backlash. Throw in Colin Farrell and Dr. Who, and you got a winner. Rotten Tomatoes says this is the weekend's winner by a huge margin.

Spy Kids 4-D - I don't care about this, but I love director's Robert Rodriguez style. He does an ultra violent movie and then a kids movie. Here, Jessica Alba plays a normal mom raising two kids, who just so happen to be spies. In RR's (hopefully) next movie, Sin City 2, Jessica Alba will play a stripper who kills people. I like the pattern.

One Day - Anne Hathaway stars and probably gets naked in this "mainstream indie" (whatever the hell that means) bomb. She fakes a British accent too, but as long as she doesn't rap again, it's all good.

Griff the Invisible - A super hero movie not based on a comic. I was about to give this a chance, until I read the tagline. "The greatest superpower is love." Nope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Box Office Round Up: Maids Cleaning Up The Crap

First off, posts this week will be few and far between. I'm hard at work at my other blog: life. It isn't quite as fun as this blog.

It was a weird weekend that saw The Apes win again with $27.8 million, for a two week total of $105 million domestically which already puts it ahead of the budget. It also makes it worth more than all five of the original Planet of the Apes movies combined. 

In second place was The Help with just a million less. However, it opened up on Wednesday for God knows why, and it finished with an impressive five day total of $36 million. Measuring from Wednesday, it actually beat Rise of The Apes by a million. Keep in mind, this film had very little advertising and a less than stellar cast, yet it has destroyed just about every other "Based on a novel old ladies love" movie in recent years. Remember Eat, Pray, Love? Because Julia Roberts is trying to forget it.

Number three was Final Destination 5, the third FD movie which was billed as the final movie in the series. It made $18 million with a very high 3D attach rate (75% (most blockbusters can't get past 60% (most should stay at 0%))). While that is nothing to be ashamed of, we need to look at the bleak side with a movie about death. That is down from FD3 and 4, and adjusted for inflation it is the weakest entry yet. Word on the street though is that it is the best of the series.

On the topic of not escaping death, The Smurfs are hanging in there, making $13.7 million at #4. It has now broken $100 million worldwide. I made a post about this in my other blog: "Life isn't fair."

30 Minutes Or Less made $13.3 for #5. I guess that mean's The Help's Emma Stone beat out Jessie Eisenberg as the best Zombieland alumni. I was never too hot on this film, but I wouldn't wish getting manhandled by the Smurfs on anyone.

Finally, we have Glee. It wasn't 6th, or 7th, or 8th, 9th, or even 10th. It clocks in at #11 with a mere $5.9 million. Seeing how Glee averages 10 million viewers an episode (with its peak being 39.5 million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I would say this was a failure. I don't even want to hear your excuses on how this wasn't a real movie. Somewhere sits Jane Lynch...not caring, as she is too busy shooting two more TV appearances and another movie all at the same time.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Opening This Weekend: Tons of People Dying

None more tragic than theater goers this weekend.

Final Destination 5 - Here we go again. We have all seen this a million times before (well actually, four times before) and it is always the same deal. Let me save you a few dollars.

It starts with a big drawn out scene showing in detail the gruesome deaths of every poor person on the plane/highway/roller coaster/bridge. But then the main character wakes up and yells "We need to get off this plane/highway/roller coaster/bridge!" They do that; one of the other guys yells at him and says "You are crazy, nothing was going to..." and is interrupted by the plane/highway/roller coaster/bridge blowing up. Foreboding black man shows up and tells them you can't cheat death. One by one, each of the high school stereotypes are killed off. Each one has a very elaborate lead up with one little thing going wrong, which snowballs into a massive death trap. But the character always avoids the deathtrap, only to be killed by something little a second later. In the end, the hero rescues his girl from death, and they sit down to enjoy life. But something bad is happening behind them, and as soon as it is about to hit them, BOOM!, credits roll. Every time it is the same thing.

Despite my cynicism, these aren't too bad of films. They are very watchable just because of the absurdity of some of the situations. My only problem was the last movie was in 3D too, and did not take much advantage of the effects. Hopefully this does better, considering they can do pretty much anything. My other complaint is the numbering. The last film was simply called The Final Destination in an attempt to reestablish, if not purely reboot, the series. Yet now it goes back to numbers. What the hell Hollywood?

30 Minutes Or Less - Kenny Powers and Terry from Reno 911 strap a bomb onto Mark Zuckerberg and make him rob a bank. This is based loosely on a true story. Loosely because it implies American banks still have money. This is getting meh reviews, and to say it looks only meh is a compliment in my opinion, despite the strong following it has already built. I like the cast, I hate the director (Zombieland just isn't a good movie), but I can really get behind more comedies based off real crimes. Think of the possibilities: Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill are The DC Snipers. Fund it.

The Help - In a 1962 Mississippi, Emma Stone becomes great friends with the two black maids who raised her. The book it based on has been one of the world's top selling books for two straight years, so that should mean something. Did you know this is the third Emma Stone movie in four weekends? The odds are she has to be in a good movie eventually.

Glee: The 3D Concert Movie - I don't even want to figure out how many movies and TV shows Jane Lynch has been in the past month. My brain couldn't handle it. Then my brain hurt even more when I found out Jane Lynch is NOT in this movie. She even filmed scenes for it, and they were deleted. She's still in the commercials though. I dunno. This isn't anything special, just a video for the tour the Glee cast recently did. These concert movies are getting pretty popular with the kids these days, but why are they in 3D? Is Cory Monteith really going to jump off the screen at you? No, it is just a marketing ploy to...wait, why do I know Glee cast members?

Senna - A documentary about Ayrton Senna, one of the best Formula One racers ever. He died in a car accident, so he apparently wasn't that good. This is the highest grossing documentary in British history, but doesn't hold a candle to the grosses of Michael Moore. So films like Fahrenheit 9/11, Roger€ & Me, and  Bowling For Columbine show how America is simply the all around better country.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Top Ten Career Killing Films

Kevin Costner looking confused at a script

Stardom can sometimes happen overnight. And despite what some people may think, it is doesn't usually go away that fast. If it is a good actor it will take more than one bad role to sink his or her career, unless that was one absolutely horrible movie with no redeeming features what so ever.

Here's ten of those movies.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Box Office Round Up: Rise (Albeit Slowly) of the Apes

Ho-hum weekend. Rise of the Apes took home number one at the box office with $54 million. Now there are several ways you could judge how successful a movie is. Compared to its relatively tiny budget ($93 million with some of the best CGI to date. Smurfs cost $110 million and it looks like a high school project) it took in a pretty nice haul. It should also take in some pride considering people are actually liking it. But comparing the number of tickets sold to the number of TV spots, the ratio isn't even close.

However, I think the true test of successitude is comparing something to its crappy Tim Burton remake. Planet of the Apes made $14.5 million more than this, and that's 2001 money. Therefore, Rise of the Apes is a colossal failure. In other news, Disney's 1951 version of Alice in Wonderland is the biggest bomb ever.

Despite narrowly losing to Cowboys & Aliens last weekend, the Smurfs pulled out a big victory this time around. The blue guys made $21 million (a 41% drop) vs. the old guys' $15.7 million (a 57% drop). Neither are near their budgets though. My first thought was that the bad reviews brought the Cowboys down, but considering Smurfs had genocidal reviews...

Speaking of bad reviews, The Change-Up was fourth with $13.5 million. This has a shockingly high budget of $52 million, $0 of which went to writing. Jason Bateman shouldn't feel too bad, as his Horrible Bosses (#9) crossed the $100 million mark this weekend. But this is the fourth flop in a row for Ryan Reynolds after Green Lantern, Buried, and Paperman. The last two made $1.05 million combined despite huge film fest hype. Guess you can't replace your abs with merit like the good old days.

Captain America was fifth with $13 million on the weekend, $143 million life to date. Thor had made $145 million at this point of its release, so now we all know Marvel can make consistent movies. Cap adds another $105 million international, and while the movie has yet to open in Germany or Japan, its biggest non-(North or South)American foreign gross comes from Italy, the Axis people forget about.

Finally, Harry Potter is still making some money. It now has made one billion, one hundred and thirty-three million, nine hundred thousand dollars world wide. That moves it into third place for highest grossing movie ever, behind only Titanic ($1.843 billion) and Avatar ($2.782 billion). It is also stealing the hype away from Transformers 3, which moves into seventh place all-time with $1.037 billion. Perhaps the US Government should start asking James Cameron, Michael Bay, and J.K. Rowling for money.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Opening This Weekend: Animals and Comedians Revolting

The Missing Link?

Rise of the Conquest of the Battle of the Escape of the Return of the Beneath of the Planet of the Apes -- This looks very good despite the studios shoving a stupid title down our throats, and the critics seem to agree so far. James Franco creates a smart ape, possibly while high, who in turn creates a ton more smart apes, and they overthrow humanity because the zookeepers make fun of them. We all knew Kevin James was going to be the end of us. WETA Workshop, the crew behind Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and District 9 among others, provided the special effects. That means the effects are very good. And Andy Serkis [pictured] (Gollum, King Kong) did the motion capture for the apes. That means the apes are more apelike than real apes.

The Change-Up --  Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, two well off people, switch bodies. It's like the Prince and the Pauper, but instead it is the Prince and the Prince. It's not as exciting, and the critics again seem to agree. When I first saw a preview for this, it was immediately after Reynolds in Green Lantern (which may have been good if WETA was in charge of it) and Bateman in Horrible Bosses. It's like they combined the previews. Olivia Wilde, who was just in Cowboys & Aliens, is in this too, meaning this really is the chop suey of Summer movies.

Also, has anyone else noticed that the ads for new movies have octupled in the past few weeks? My theory is people think since Harry Potter made a billion dollars, their movie can too with enough advertising. Because we all know that is the only reason why people saw Harry Potter.

The Whistleblower -- Rachel Weisz plays a small town cop who joins the UN in Bosnia as they turn a blind eye to sex trafficking. Based on a true story. This was made as Oscar bait, but it is falling apart in the minds of critics. Needs more Ryan Reynolds, imo

Magic Trip -- A documentary about the Merry Pranksters who went on a road trip across America in 1964. In today's terms, it's about drug addicts escaping police jurisdiction. The Pranksters include Ken Kesey (author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Neal Cassidy (Bono's character in Across The Universe), Jerry Garcia (of the Grateful Dead), and a few imaginary people they met on their acid trips. 

Bellflower -- New comer Evan Glodell directs and stars in a bleak film where he builds weapons just in case an apocalypse happens. A prequel to Mad Max? Sign me up. Seriously, this sounds great, and it is getting tons of praise on its unique film style. Made on zero budget, Glodell custom made a camera using other old camera parts, providing a dirty and raw picture. Look at this beast:

Wait, a Mac Book Pro? Ok, this is definitely not a zero-budget film.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What to Look Forward to in August

The Best film with August in the title. Also somehow, the worst film with August in the title..

Here is everything worthwhile coming out in August and then some.

Aug 5th
Rise of the Planets of the Apes (formally known as Conquest of the Planet of the Apes formally known as Rise of the Apes formally known as Caesar formally known as Caesar and the Rise of the Apes formally known as... they seriously need to just stick to a title)
A stoner (James Franco) becomes a scientist and makes smart monkeys. What do you expect to happen?This looks pretty good, but is there going to be anything left to see? The previews must have shown us the entire movie by now.
Hype Level = A million times Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes

The Change-up
An upper middle class white family man (Jason Bateman) switches bodies with an upper middle class white ladies man (Ryan Reynolds). What crazy shenanigans could they get into to?
Hype Level = New and Exciting </sarcasm>

Whisker Wars
A reality show on IFC about people trying to grow the world's longest beards. Yeah, it is a slow TV month.
Hype Level = Do I even get IFC?

Aug 12th
30 Minutes Or Less
A pizza boy (Jesse Eisenberg) gets and bomb strapped to him by two formally funny people (Danny McBride and Nick Swardson) . Based on a tragic true story. Except this is a comedy. From the director of Zombieland, which means it may not be a comedy after all.
Hype Level = People are really excited for this?

Final Destination 5
People Die. They "rebooted" the series after FD3 with The Final Destination, but now they are back to the old numbers. Seriously, just stick to a title.
Hype Level = Quite frankly, one of the best uses of 3D

Aug 19th
Conan The Barbarian
Jason Momoa from Game of Thrones plays pretty much the same character he did in Game of Thrones. Except with more killing and less walking. Probably the same amount of sex. Btw, this did indeed stick with the R rating after flirting with going soft.
Hype Level = Less than Arnold's Conan but more than Conan the Destroyer

Fright Night
Dr. Who is a vampire. He makes fun of those sissy Twilight vampires, but isn't that far away from one of those himself.
Hype Level = Don't care about Dr. Who or the original Fright Night, so they cancel out into being just ok

One Day
Anne Hathaway falls in love. It's like An Education but more gushy.
Hype Level = Unless I find a girlfriend quick, I won't be seeing this

Aug 23
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC, PS3, X360)
The cyberpunk prequel to the original Deus Ex, one of the finest video games ever made. More or less, it is the thinking man's first person shooter.
Hype Level = It looks great, don't let the classic gaming elitists get you down.

Aug 26
Our Idiot Brother
Lovable druggie Paul Rudd mooches off his sisters. It's like You, Me, and Dupree, but probably not horrible.
Hype Level = I wish Paul Rudd was my brother.  

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
Guillmero del Toro puts his name all over a movie despite having nothing to do with it. But he does have a good track record of picking out good movies. The Orphanage is a must see for horror fans.
Hype Level = OH MY GOD PLEASE stop showing the trailer late at night. I really want to get some sleep.

Aug 29
Death Valley
A new comedy/drama on MTV where the LAPD fights vampires and zombies and stuff.
Hype Level = What does the "M" in MTV stand for? Moronic? Moneyhat? I have no idea.

Are you ready for some footbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal! The NFL owners and players finally agreed to a deal, so that solves one lockout. However, unlike the NBA, the NFL actually makes money.
Hype Level = I'm a Rams fan. There's no hype.

Back to School
Speaking as a college graduate, all these back to school ads are making me really depressed.
Hype Level = Summer Forever

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Box Office Round Up: Cowboys Win in Overtime

It was a close race, with the weekend estimates predicting a tie. But the actual results are coming in and Cowboys & Aliens just barely edged out Smurfs & Neil Patrick Harrises. The Cowboys wrangled in $36.4 million, while the Smurfs smurfed in just a little less with $35.6 million. While this may be a temporally win for Camp Favreau, C&A did nowhere near as expected after its huge $163 million budget and big marketing push. And the reports for the movie are all quite disheartening, as the movie apparently isn't a western, isn't Sci-Fi, isn't really much of anything. The only good thing about it is that it's easy on the eyes, thanks to the effects and Olivia Wilde.

Speaking of Miss Wilde, I just want to point out to my loyal readers that she really is Oscar Wilde's imaginary granddaughter. Olivia Jane Cockburn officially changed her last name to honor her fellow Irish author Oscar. Good thing she did too, or we will have never gotten what is perhaps the greatest red carpet interview ever.

Interviewer: Your original name was Cock-Burn. Lol, Cockburn. So did a lot of people in school make fun of the name Cockburn?
Olivia Wilde: (awkward silence) ... It's pronounced Co-Burn.     

On to Smurfs. No budget has been released yet, but seeing how it looks like a homemade Youtube video, they should be happy with $30+ million. That's twice as much as the similar(ly bad) Yogi Bear made its first weekend. It was also on fewer screens than C&A meaning to took in a better per-theater average. But what is good for the studios is bad for us, as this means we will probably get a Smurfs 2: Back 2 Tha Hood with even more forced urban references.

Captain America took a sharp fall to $25.5 million. But it is finally gaining some cash in the rest of the world with $53m of its worldwide $170m gross coming from markets that the movie completely neglects. It opens in Germany in three weeks, hopefully with an alternate ending where Red Skull wins. I wonder how it does there.

Harry Potter is still doing pretty good. Another $22 million US brings the worldwide total pass the Billion mark. It becomes the ninth movie ever to hit ten digits, and it only sits behind two James Camerons, two Pirates, one Lord of the Ring, one Toy Story, and, somehow, one Alice in Wonderland. Think it will catch Avatar? Think again, as Harry only needs to make another $1,773,400,000. Transformers 3 (8th with $6m US) should also pass the billion mark in a week or two.

Crazy Stupid Love was 5th with $19 million. Much like the movie itself, I can't think of anything witty to say.

Finally, Attack the Block didn't do much of anything as it was only on eight screens. Remember, this was set for a limited release, but got bumped up. Bumped up to eight screens. Neither math nor logic have ever been strong suits for Hollywood.