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-Any open space has been replaced by a CGI Tie-Fighter, for some strange reason.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.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Opening This Weekend: Hope You Like Aliens

Cowboys &. Aliens -- James Bond, Han Solo, and Oscar Wilde's imaginary granddaughter star in this comic-book movie by the former Iron Man director. I'm not 100% sure on the plot, but I think it has to do with aliens fighting the Dallas Cowboys. That explains how Jerry Jones looks like he leads The Syndicate in X-Files.  This films had tons of hype leading up to its premiere at Comic-con. Then people actually saw it. The verdict: At least it looks good.

Attack The Block -- This had the opposite effect. It slowly built up hype until it exploded at Comic-con. The Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) produced flick has aliens landing in a British ghetto, something that doesn't please the gangs too well. One of the gangs is led by Wright mainstay Nick Frost, meaning UK gangs are much more fun than US gangs. This has won multiple awards already, as has been called a cross between District 9 and Reservoir Dogs. Well it just won another award for "Weirdest Comparison Ever". This recently got bumped up from a limited release, but it still may be hard to find at your local theater.

The Smurfs -- KILL IT WITH FIRE! I guess Smurfs are kinda like aliens, and this movie does look more dangerous than a Xenomorph invasion. The most prominent preview for this film has one of the Smurfs constantly making a vuvuzela sound, and the other characters are saying how annoying he is. Let me repeat, they are selling this movie by a scene that is so annoying, the people in the movie can't stand it. Why does this movie exist? Are Smurf fans really that vocal? Did the film studios think Yogi Bear, Underdog, Astro Boy, and all those other films flopping was just a fluke? Did they even watch the old shows? What is up with Papa Smurf's voice? This probably won't even have the blatant sexism that made the old series such a classic.

Crazy, Stupid, Love -- The previews for this move have been playing for months now. I am really surprised it is just now coming out. Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Kevin Bacon, and a few less important people fall in love. There's a little crazy involved, but mostly stupid. The critics seem to like this so far, so I guess lightning can strike twice for this same creative team who made Bad Santa.

The Fut Ure -- Yeah, it is really stylized like that. Miranda July writes, directs, and stars in a semi-autobiographical tale of a talking cat (played by July) who tells July (played by July) what to do with her life. Have fun discussing this one at Starbucks.

The Devil's Double -- It's about Uday Hussein's body double. I only like this because of an inside joke. Too long, don't care: We lost trivia night because my best friend wrote down Rob Zombie's The Double Rejects. So I would love to run this title by him. Too bad that won't happen. That trivia ended our friendship.

Life in a Day -- A "time capsule" of people around the world recording their everyday lives. On one hand, this is an interesting premise. On the other, this sounds like the most boring movie ever.

Thundercats -- HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Cartoon Network is premiering the new Thundercats cartoon Friday (in just an hour actually). It looks so good, it makes me want to go back to the 80s and relive my childhood. It's the opposite of Smurfs, which makes me want to go back to the 80s and dip all those Smurf toys into vats of Aquadots.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Acting Losing Streaks

Don't watch it. I'm warning you.

It has taken me awhile, but I think I found the secret to good blog posting. If you are too lazy to write yourself, steal from someone else. Welcome to the internet.

The nice folks at Uproxx put together a list of actors who have had at least five bad movies after winning an Oscar. Not that winning an Oscar equals a good movie. But yeah... yeah. I don't have much more to say. So here's the list.

10. Nicole Kidman = 5. Won for The Hours in 2002. Flops from 2007 to 2009, Invasion, Golden Compass, Margot at the Wedding, Australia, Nine.
Remember, Australia and Nine were hyped to hell and back for the award shows. I think only nine people saw Nine, and only the population of Australia saw Australia. That's 18 people all together.

9. Joe Pesci = 5. Won for Goodfellas in 1990. Flops from 1997 to 2010, 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag, Gone Fishin', Lethal Weapon 4, The Good Shephard, Love Ranch.
I loved Lethal Weapon 4. It gave the West Jet Li and it was a great send off to one of the best (now dead) sub-genres in film, the interracial buddy cop flick. It is also a million times better than Lethal Weapon 3.

8. Robert DeNiro = 5. Won for Godfather Part II in 1974 and Raging Bull in 1980. Flops from 2002 to 2005,  Showtime, City by the Sea, Analyze That, Meet the Fockers, Hide and Seek.
DeNiro was one of the greatest actors of all-time. But he should have retired a decade ago. I can only name two good films of his over the past ten years (Meet the Parents and The Score, maybe Stardust). Rocky & Bullwinkle and Little Fockers almost discredit his entire career single-handedly. And don't forget about Righteous Kill with Al Pacino. That was like watching your parents die for two straight hours.

7. Ben Affleck = 7. Won for Good Will Hunting in 1997. Flops from 2002 to 2006, The Third Wheel, Daredevil, Gigli, Paycheck, Jersey Girl, Surviving Christmas, Man About Town.
He only won for writing in Good Will Hunting, and he shared it on top of that. And according to reliable sources (aka that one Family Guy cut-away) Matt Damon did all the writing.

6. Marisa Tomei = 8. Won for My Cousin Vinny in 1992. Flops from 2001 to 2006, Someone Like You, Just a Kiss, The Guru, Anger Management, Alfie, Loverboy, Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing and Charm School, The Factotum.
According to legend, she really didn't win for My Cousin Vinny, but the presenter was too drunk to read the card and just said the last name he remembered (come to think about it, Family Guy did a cut-away for that too). But that doesn't change the fact that she is the world's best looking woman over 40.

5. Julia Roberts = 9. Won for Erin Brockovich in 2000 (with noms for Pretty Woman and Steel Magnolias before that). Flops from 1990 to1996, Flatliners, Dying Young, Hook, Sleeping with the Enemy, The Pelican Brief, I Love Trouble, Ready to Wear, Something to Talk About, Mary Reilly.
I not sure what I'm more upset about: The list maker breaking their own rules for including movies before she won an Oscar, or for the list makers saying Hook is a bad movie.

4. Kevin Spacey = 9. Won for The Usual Suspects in 1995 and American Beauty in 1999. Flops from 1999 to 2006, Ordinary Decent Criminal, Pay It Forward, The Shipping News, K-Pax, Austin Powers: Goldmember, The United States of Leland, The Life of David Gale, Beyond the Sea, Edison.
Kevin Spacey is at his best when he plays a bad guy. And you can't count Austin Powers against him. His ten seconds of screen time were absolutely brilliant     

3. Helen Hunt = 10. Won for As Good As It Gets in 1997. Flops from 2000 to Current, Pay It Forward, What Women Want, Dr. T. and the Woman, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, One Night at McCools, A Good Woman, Bobby, Then She Found Me, Every Day, Soul Surfer.
She also won four Emmys from 1996-99 in Mad About You. How many other TV actors have made this good of jump to the big screen?

2. Robin Williams = 13. Won for Good Will Hunting in 1997 (and was robbed for several other ones). Flops from 2004 to 2009, The Final Cut, Noel, House of D, The Night Listener, The Big White, Night at the Museum, The Night Listener, R.V., Everyone's Hero, Man of the Year, License to Wed, August Rush, Old Dogs.
Robin Williams is another multi-Emmy winner, both from stand-up routines. For being one of the funniest people alive, he has put out tons of painfully unfunny stuff. What's even harder to believe is the movie that broke his losing streak was World's Greatest Dad, an insanely dark comedy about his dead son that was directed by Bobcat Goldthwait of all people.

1. Cuba Gooding, Jr. = 16. Won for Jerry Maguire in 1996. Flops form 1999 to 2007, Murder of Crows, Instinct, Chill Factor, Men of Honor, Rat Race, Pearl Harbor, Snow Dogs, Boat Trip, The Fighting Temptations, Radio, Home on the Range, Shadowboxer, Dirty, Daddy Day Camp, What Love Is, Norbit.
While he did a great job of yelling "Show me the money!", that best supporting actor award had William H. Macy written all over it. But it was worth it for his mega hyper - possibly cocaine influenced - acceptance speech, which must have blacklisted him from Hollywood. However, anyone who accepts a role in a sequel to a cancerous Eddie Murphy movie deserves to be left in the dust.

Monday, July 25, 2011

News, Death, Comics, Cons, Lines, Money, Stuff

I'm back. I did not go to Comic-Con over the weekend, but I did spend lots of time waiting in line the past few days. So it is basically the same thing. Here's what happened over the weekend.

-Oddly enough, last time I was gone for a weekend, I began my post with an Avengers poster. Here's another (actually, seven more) showing off the characters in all their glory. This is also our first at Mark Ruffalo and the side of his giant face as the Hulk. (slightly better picture Here)

-The final lead-up to the Avengers - Captain America: The First Avenger - did pretty good at the box office. It was number one with $65 million (That's $600,000 less than Thor, which I thought was a flop. It's looking pretty good in hindsight now). $10.50 of that was mine (superior 2-D version), and it was very good. I think Thor was more fun, but this worked a lot better as a movie. It also ties in very well to the other Avengers movies. Big shocker however. The rest of the world doesn't Captain AMERICA that much, as it only made $2 million overseas, despite simply being called The First Avenger in most countries.

-Harry Potter took a big fall, making a mere $47 million domestically in its second week. Don't feel too bad though, it sits at $834 million worldwide.

-Friends With Benefits, the completely fictional movie that made me want to punch my TV every time they ran an ad, was third with $18 million. And now the only reason to see this (Mila Kunis naked) has been debunked as a body double. And no, that wasn't really her topless in Forgetting Sarah Marshall either.

-Amy Winehouse died. I was shocked she was still alive anyway. And since she died at 27 years old, out comes the comparisons to Jimi Hendricks, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain, and everyone else who died at the same age. Despite what some people are saying, there is no conspiracy that people die at 27. Also despite what some people are saying, Winehouse doesn't belong in the same sentence as those legends.

-Comic-Con came and went without too many Megaton announcements. The biggest news was Rhys Ifans, who plays the Lizard in the awful looking Spider-Man movie, came to his press conference drunk, pushed some security guards, and blamed America for everything wrong in this world before he was arrested. Sometime in all that, he revealed that the Lizard was a giant Hulk-like beast without a lizard mouth who lives in the sewer. Who can blame him for drinking?

-Robert Rodrigeuz, one of my favorite directors, announced he was finally going to make Sin City 2. He has the script and he hopes to get it done this year (Sin City 1 was completed insanely fast, despite having a huge ensemble cast). He also plans on a Machete Trilogy, one of which has him going to space. He is also doing a new Heavy Metal anthology movie. There won't too many details with that, but he is looking for fan submissions. These four R-rated, borderline NC-17 films, will come out after the family friendly Spy Kids 4-D. That's why I love this director.

-Pee-Wee Herman is trying to get a new movie now that his Broadway show has been such a hit.

-They are making a live action Voltron movie and a live action Captain Planet (!!!) movie. No word yet on whether Ted Tuner is cast in the lead role.  

-Snow White And The Huntsman is a film to keep your eye on. Kristen Stewart is Snow White, Charlize Theron is the Queen, Chris Hemsworth is the Huntsman, and the Dwarfs are Nick Frost, Ray Winstone, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, Bob Hoskins, Eddie Marsdan, Brendan Gleeson and of course, Ian McShane.

-I compared Spider-Man to Mirror's Edge, a game many of you probably aren't familar with. Well here they are side by side. This actually is pretty sickening. Mirror's Edge is on top, I think.

 -Finally, here's a full trailer for the Walking Dead season 2. It's so good, I almost forgive AMC for the stupid zombie and rock throwing teaser.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Film

With Captain America just a few days away, it is the perfect time for the other comic books to knock the wind out of the patriot's sails. There's the new Batman trailer, where nothing happened. There's the new Walking Dead trailer, where nothing happened. And there's the trailer after Captain America, which actually has some excitement. I won't spoil it for you, but if you want to know simply tune in to any other website on the internet. Now we have the first full trailer for the Spider-Man reboot, which has just slightly more than nothing happening.

Now the other Spider-Man films - all three of them - are great movies. I understand there were some problems with director Sam Raimi and the studio, and that Tobey Maguire and Kristen Dunst aged about 30 years between films (and still couldn't find any chemistry), but it seems like those are easy things to fix without remaking the entire franchise. Replacing an actor mid-series isn't the end of the world (it's actually pretty common in super-hero movies) and as long as they are good, nobody except idiots would complain. Then they can still work with the established franchise.

I just hate the idea of reboots, so maybe that alone killed this trailer for me. But the trailer being god-awful sure doesn't help. Watch it if you dare.    

Spider-Man is without a doubt one of the most fun and light-hearted comics out there. This is the exact opposite. Strike one: Why does this look serious? I hate throwing the term "emo" around (maybe because I love Rites of Spring and so many other old DC bands, but they all got mixed in with all the crappy MTV-emo bands in the mid 2000s, but that's a story for another day) but this looks insanely emo. The bad kind. One of the biggest complaints of Spider-Man 3 was how it was super emo (less so than the other two, but that's another story for another 'nother day), so what better way to start off a fresh start reboot than by going back to the old films.

Strike two, why are his parents there? Amazing Spider-Man is on issue magic number 666. In all those years, his parents appeared about four times, usually as a robotic decoy. While I don't care how they stick to the comics, Peter Parker having no parents plays a much larger role. It is a common writing strategy to not give the hero any parents (see Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Frodo, Dorothy, and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) to make him more disconnected from his or her surroundings and more relatable to the viewers. It also gives the hero a reason to leave home and begin the adventure. However, everything about this trailer says his parents leaving play a large part of the story. It is just going to bog the film down.

Strike three, what is with that action scene? I guess we should be grateful there actually was an action scene, but that was ripped directly out of Mirror's Edge. Except with worse CGI (must have been the Wii version). Are all the Spider-Man scenes going to be in first person? Or was that just a quick teaser they whipped together? While it sure didn't make me want to see, it got me in the mood to play Mirror's Edge again. This may even be a good enough excuse for EA to finally make a sequel.

For now, I'm not going to look past the trailer (I have too many bad things to say about the film's exclusion of J. Jonah Jameson), but something tells me we may be seeing a second reboot in the near future. We still got a year till its release, so maybe they can fix it still. Until then, the only thing we can take solace in is there is no way this turns out worse than the Spider-Man Musical.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Breaking Bad and Box Cutters

Well Breaking Bad Season 4 premiered last night. With 2.6 million viewers, it was the most watched episode of Breaking Bad yet. But if you weren't one of those people, be careful because I'm about to discuss some MASSIVE SPOILERS!!

So I was wrong about a few things. Thankfully, I was correct when I said Breaking Bad is the best show on TV.  I am just blown away at the details and production values put into this show and so many other shows on AMC. Everything down to the blocking is just brilliant, and they again showed they are not afraid to hold anything back.

However, I can't believe Jesse really shot Gale. I watched the end of season three again, and he is indeed pointing the gun at him. They used some trick cinematography (the scientific film-making term is "moving the camera")  to make it look like he moved the gun. Nearly everyone I've talked to thought he pointed the gun away as well. Maybe it is just that Jesse is such a great character - possibly the best tragic hero in modern fiction - and we don't want to see him falling further into darkness. But it's done, and between that, the other dead body, Hank being all grumpy, Saul being uptight, and the major lack of dialog in this episode, this is looking like it will be a very dark season.

About that other dead body, that my be one of the most graphic and disturbing deaths I've ever seen. And on basic cable nonetheless. It wasn't just the throat being slit, but how he held him and the noises he made was intense to say the least. But it was also a nice bookend to the box cutter cutting boxes at the beginning. Speaking of which, the flashback cold openings are always the best, and this was no different. Best part of the episode. But back to the murder, my only complaint of the episode was Gus didn't say anything like "That's what happens when people see you at a crime scene" or "He forgot the aluminum" or something to justify his death. But perhaps, that makes Gus even more terrifying.

Even Skyler, possibly the most unlikable person ever, showed some compassion for once in her miserable life. Yet people are complaining about her scenes, and a bunch of idiots online are even complaining that the episode dragged. I guess a ton of those 2.6 million tuned in for their first ever episode. If an episode where a guy gets shot through the eye and another gets his throat slashed, his body dissolved in acid, and his "soup" shipped to a chicken restaurant - both being betrayed by their own partners, of course - is a slow episode, I would hate to see an exciting episode. Actually, I would love to see that, but I was just following the saying.

Also, best ever use of a Sony Vaio.

The other thing I was wrong about (and trust me, that isn't a phrase I'll use often) was how the Walking Dead teaser may actually be meaningful. It wasn't. While throwing rocks at zombies is surely tons of fun...was that seriously the entire preview? I almost rather have text and BRAAAAAMs.     

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Box Office Round Up: Harry Potter and the Gobs of Cash

Pictured: Nightmares 

Big upset at the box office this weekend: Harry Potter 7 part 2 was #1. It made a decent profit of $168 million. That is ten million more than the Dark Knight, which previously held the domestic record. It also shattered the record for best international opening weekend, with $307 million overseas. Believe it or not, some movie which people are already forgetting about - Pirates 4 - was the old record holder with $260 million. And of course, by the magic of addition, Harry Potter also has the worldwide opening weekend record with $475 million.

Might as well keep the records coming. Friday alone, this made $92 million in the USA, which is up $20m from Twilight (aka Harry Potter with vampires. And written by a three year old). In Harry's home United Kingdom, it brought in a country best $36.6m, and it also set a national record with $26.7m in Australia. When it surpasses a half billion dollars tomorrow, it would be the fastest film to ever do so.

One final record: All eight Harry Potter movies have now combined for $6,847,600,000! That is 2.6 billion more dollars than the Star Wars franchise. I believe they have sold a couple Harry Potter books as well. Basically, J.K. Rowling has so much money, she could build a 1:1 replica of Hogwarts out of British pounds, only to set it on fire to keep her twelve other 1:1 replicas of Hogwarts warm.    

Number two was Transformers ($21m), which has built a nice domestic lead with $302 million overall. Harry will catch it though, just like in Quidditch.Then everything else would mean nothing, just like in Quidditch. It's a weird sport.

Horrible Bosses was third with $17m and $60m on the year. Zookeeper had $12m for fourth. Cars 2 was fifth with $8m and $165m on the year. And coming in sixth is Winnie the Pooh with $8m in its opening weekend *plays Price is Right failure music*. I don't think anyone even knew this was opening.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Opening This Weekend: Harry Potter and the Final Cash Grab (Part 2)(In 3D)

It's Harry Potter!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 -- Some people may think it is blasphemous that I have never read a Harry Potter book or that I have only seen one Harry Potter movie (I did like it though, which makes it even odder that I've never seen any of the others). I say it is blasphemous that a movie can cast both Gary Oldman and Alan Rickman, and have neither of them play bad guys. 

I am happy to see the main trio of actors in all their TV interviews now. Despite being typecast for life, they are all very appreciative that they had those roles and are legitimately sad the series is ending. You can't say that about too many big series (I'm looking at you cast of Star Wars minus Anthony Daniels). 

I hope everyone who wants to see this already has tickets. Every single theater in the St. Louis area was sold out for the Thursday midnight showings, as well as the 2:30 a.m. showings, to the tune of some 270,000 seats. And some people think Transformers will out-gross this.

The Dark Knight Rises teaser -- This is almost as big of news as the new Harry Potter. The first teaser for the new Batman will show before HP, and people are going nuts. Some people have no idea what a "tease"r is. Enjoy your minute and a half of old footage, text, BRAAAM!s, and maybe MAYBE ten seconds of new footage.

Winnie the Pooh -- Ladies and gentlemen, this here is the stupidest decisions Hollywood has ever made. Winnie the Pooh is one of the most beloved creations of all time, and unlike so much other CGI remake crap nowadays, he retains his classic hand-drawn art style, in a film that is getting tons of love from critics all over. And they bury it under Harry Potter. Good show, morons.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan -- An epic drama based on a Chinese masterpiece...which co-stars Hugh Jackman.

The Undefeated --  A documentary on Sarah Palin's rise to power. I guess serving a half term in a state which is virtually Canada is enough to get you a documentary.

Tabloid -- Another documentary, which is actually a much more fitting name for a Sarah Palin vehicle. But this one is about Miss Wyoming (a state that makes Alaska look like downtown Tokyo) and someone she kidnapped in 1978, or something. Its supposed to be great.

Salvation Boulevard -- This one is supposed to be horrible, but you would never tell from the synopsis. Greg Kinnear is a Grateful Dead fan turned born-again-Christian, and he is framed for murder by the town pastor, Pierce Bronson. Oh, and it somehow plays out like a Three's Company episode.

Phase 7 -- This Argentine film is a mix of Shaun of the Dead and [REC], except without the zombies. I have no clue how that works.

Breaking Bad -- Since I'm not a Harry Potter fan, I'm staying in this weekend. Good thing for me the best show on television returns on Sunday. Spoilers for the end of season 3: Did Jesse shoot him? Of course he didn't shoot him. How can so many people actually think he did.

The Walking Dead teaser -- AMC's second best show after BB. This is my pick for teaser of the weekend, as it has a chance of actually showing some meaningful new footage.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The ESPYs. Because Why Not?

Pictured:The new Joker in The Dark Knight Rises.

Some people don't think there are enough meaningless award shows. Some people explode if they go three days without a real baseball game. If you fall into either of these categories, then the ESPYs are for you. You should probably also consider taking up a new hobby.

Even though I am a huge sports fan, I try to keep them out of this blog. This blog is dedicated entirely to movies (except when I talk about TV, comics, books, video games, live theater, AT&T, Norway, economics, stuff in my life you don't care about, etc.), but the ESPYs have so little to do with sports, I figure I could include them here.

First off, why Seth Meyers? While he is a step up from Jay Mohr, who hosted the legitimate NHL Awards, Meyers has to be the least funny person in Saturday Night Live history. And unlike the ESPYs, you actually have to try to win that award. The silence that went through the audience was just plain eerie. Then he did that Dirk School skit with Bill Hader which was kinda funny, but it lasted waaaaaaay too long.

On that note, why was this so long? There were two awards for perseverance, and each one had a seemingly 30 minute video clip to them. Why? Isn't that what ESPN's 30 for 30 was for?
(On that note, some of those documentaries were really good, namely "The Two Escobars", "The U", and "June 17th 1994".)
Yet even with those taking up so much time, they still made room for the stupid Tron/Logan's Run intro for each person.

But people only watch award shows to see who wins, right? Well, that's the biggest joke of them all. Best Male Athlete: Dirk Nowitzki, Aaron Rodgers, Raphael Nadal, and Jimmie Johnson.

Jimmie Johnson? First off, athlete and race car driver should never be used in the same sentence, unless that sentence is "He wasn't coordinated enough to become an athlete, so he became a race car driver instead." Also, he is currently ranked 6th in NASCAR, and I'm sure many people would argue how Formula One makes NASCAR look like a minor league team, or possibly Major League Soccer in comparison.
Raphael Nadal? He's been the best tennis player for the past several years, but his reign is about at an end. Even before the French Open, Novak Djokovic has been smacking him around all year.
It sounds like people were voting based on legacy and not their current state, but that is thrown out the window with Rodgers and Dirk. Sure their teams won championships, but I didn't think anyone would vote for them as MVPs at the end of their regular seasons. Dirk, the eventual winner, actually had one of his worst seasons statistically. But hey, he was in the news just a month ago. Everyone vote for him.

Without a doubt, the best athlete over the past 17 months (that's the ESPY voting period, allegedly) is Roy Halladay. A perfect game, a playoff no-hitter, and a 33-13 record the past season and a half, yet he wasn't even nominated?

As for best female athlete, there were no soccer players. Do people even watch sports anymore?

I've been to Albert Pujol's restaurant in St. Louis (great Cuban sandwiches) and he of'course has all his awards and jerseys and what not all over. He has his ESPYs - and I'm not kidding - on the floor behind the hostess stand. So I'm glad athletes take these as seriously as I do.  

Some movie news did come out of this though. The Fighter was the best sports movie. My quick two cents on that: it had some amazing supporting acting - Bale and Leo both deserved their Oscars - and it was all brought down by Mark Wahlberg. And while I first thought the last fight was boring, I saw the footage of the real fight. They actually jazzed the movie up a bit.

The other news is Jonah Hill is looking pretty good anymore. He is easily the most underrated of all the comedians in his little circle (he made Funny People tolerable, with a little help from Eric Bana and of course Eminem & Ray Romano ) and he got a lot of unheralded heat just because he was fat and shaggy. But look at him now:

And what better way to show off your new thin body than by standing next to a giant.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Movies You Should See (But Probably Haven't): The King of Kong

Horrible Bosses is a surprise hit in most people's books. But not nearly as big of a surprise that it comes from documentary director Seth Gordon. He did have one prior studio film in Four Christmases, but that itself is a documentary on how Vince Vaughan somehow finds work.

Anyway, Gordon's first feature was the doc The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. It is about the video game Donkey Kong and the quest to reach the highest score. Sounds thrilling, right?

I can honestly say this is the best documentary ever. This doesn't expose any crazy government cover-up, or explains the amazing miracle of penguin life, or anything like that. It takes seemingly normal people attempting to do something that is, quite frankly, pretty boring, and it molds them into a truly remarkable masterpiece. These real-life characters are more interesting than anyone Christopher Guest could dream up, and there is more emotion over this stupid game than in even the best written Hollywood dramas.

So let's meet the competitors. On one side is child prodigy Billy Mitchell. He believes that if you aren't first, then you are last. The cocky, hot sauce entrepreneur was one of the very first video game champions, holding records to all the classic arcade games. Among his accolades was being the first person ever to achieve a perfect score in Pac-Man.

How do you get a perfect score in Pac-Man you ask? You eat every dot on the screen except for one and the four power-pellets. Then you eat the power-pellets one by one, eating all four ghosts every time in between. Then you eat the final dot, as well as all the fruit that popped up. Repeat that for all 255 levels until the game glitches out.
Namco declaring him the greatest gamer of the 20th century.

He was also the current Donkey Kong champ, the most complex of the classic arcade games. He is worshiped as a God by all his fellow gamers, some of who have dedicated their entire lives to recording video game high scores. He ate all that attention up, and lived the life of a God.

On the other side of the country is Steve Wiebe. He is your classic everyman who has always thought he deserved better. He gets laid off from work, again, and he can't get motivated, until he sees a TV special about the Donkey Kong record. He says "Hmm, I was good at that game back in the day", and without any fanfare at all, he breaks Billy's unbreakable record. This throws the competitive gaming world into madness, as they refuse to accept his score. And it leads to a one-on-one throw down between the Gaming God and the blue-collared family man.

Or does it? Billy almost seems scared to face him. I won't spoil it for you.

Not to sound cliched, but this is about more than just a game. But the supporting characters are far from cliched. There's Walter Day, the man behind all the video game records, whose entire wardrobe consist of referee uniforms.  Ladies man and professional "pick-up artist" Roy Shildt has hated Billy Mitchell and his spiteful banter since he was a child, and will do anything to get his revenge. Brian Kuh was busted for cheating, by Billy nonetheless, but took his "pwnage" with pride, and made a successful law career off of Billy's wisdom. And of course, there's Doris Self, a flight attendant trailblazer turned 80-year-old Q-Bert champ. You couldn't make these people up.

Everyone in this, as well as the entire scenario, is just so unreal, and that makes it even more believable somehow. This film is all around funny and captivating, due mainly to it being so...normal, in all our abnormal lives.

Word is they are making a non-documentary film version of this, again directed by Gordon. While I don't doubt his talent, he could never create something like this, no matter how funny Kevin Spacey was. So get out there and see the real version of King of Kong now. You don't need to be a gamer to enjoy it. As long as there was something meaningless in your past that meant everything to you, you will find yourself in this.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Box Office Round Up: The Calm Before Harry Potter

Pictured:  People not waiting in line for Zookeeper

Nothing too crazy at the box-office this weekend. Just the highest grossing movie of the year.

Transformers 3 was number one for the second week in a row. It made $47 million, which is about a 50% drop from last weekend. However, it is more than Transformers 2 made in its second weekend, which saw a much sharper drop-off. With this, T3 surpassed the Hangover 2 for the highest grossing film of the year domestically with $261,000,000. Worldwide, it is up to $645 million, good enough for 50th all-time. Not too bad for twelve days.

Number two was Horrible Bosses with $28 million. While that is a very good amount, it is a little bit off from the Bad Teacher opening weekend, despite Horrible Bosses over-(star)powering that 9-1. I got to watch this and man did I love it. Each actor simply nailed their roles, and the entire theater was ROFLing the entire way through. Very diverse audience too, for what it's worth.

There are a few thing I especially liked about how this was handled. All three leads got perfectly equal screen time.  This was the first comedy I have seen in awhile that had no straight-up gross-out humor. I mean, most comedies these days would gone into great detail with the toothbrush scene. And also, the movie never has a turn for the serious. It's a comedy all the way through. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing, too many flicks go overboard anymore. If this was a Judd Apatow film, it would have had a scene like this:

Charlie: Man, I can't wait to kill our bosses.
Jason: You know... I've been thinking
(Indy music starts to play)  
Jason: We hate our bosses, but they are just doing what they need to do to get a paycheck. They are just like us.
(...Where you go?)
Jason: We shouldn't be hating our bosses. We need to reach out to them. We need to love our bosses.

It just doesn't fit in every movie.

Number three was Paul Blart: Zookeeper with only $21 million on a $80 million (!!!) budget. With that kind of money, they must have actually taught real animals how to talk. The movie's failure was due in part to PETA protesting it, this not being released in the middle of a drought like Mall Cop, and the fact that the trailers don't even mention that Adam Sandler plays a monkey. But lets not point the blame. People didn't see this because it sucks.

Cars was 4th with $15m/$148m US LTD. Bad Teacher was 5th with $9m/$79m LTD. Some other crap was after that. Midnight in Paris was 12th with $38m life to date, becoming Woody Allen's highest grossing film ever (but keep in mind when stuff like Annie Hall was being released, the average movie ticket price was about 35 cents). And Green Lantern was number nine, earning $3 million or 1/100th of its budget. It sits at $143m worldwide, and it is only down to two showings at my big theater (neither of which are at night). Dark Knight Rising can't come out soon enough for Warner Bros.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Opening This Weekend: Horrible Bosses and Horrible Movies

Horrible Bosses -- This is the most excited I've been for a non-Marvel movie in a long while. Three friends what to kill their bosses, who are presumably horrible. Film critics are calling this 9 to 5 for men. In other news, film critics missed the point of 9 to 5.

 This is getting great reviews, and it has an amazing cast. Charlie Day is playing a guy that makes me crack up every time I see him. Jason Bateman is playing a successful upper-middle class white guy with minor family problems aka every Jason Bateman character ever. Jason Sudeikis is playing a talented guy who should finally have his big break away from SNL. Kevin Spacey is playing a bad guy, the role he is best at (until he plays NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. But I guess he'll still be a bad guy). Jamie Foxx plays a brooding black guy. Donald Sutherland, Colin Farrell, Ron "The Best of the Blue Collar Comedy guys" White, and Bob Newhart all play... somebody. And of course there's Jennifer Aniston in what is shaping up to be the role of her career. To top it all off, this is being directed by Seth Gordon, who did the best documentary ever, The King of Kong. Two-time Donkey Kong world champ Steve Wiebe even has a role in this. If there are still any doubts, look no further than how long I've rambled on about this.

Zoo Keeper -- I really do like Kevin James, but this movie looks horrible. This was green-lit after Mall Cop became a runaway success. While I like Mall Cop more than most people would say, it was only a hit because it was released during one of the biggest movie droughts ever. Going up against Transformers? It doesn't stand a chance. At least they didn't blow Kevin James being fat out of proportion this time. He really isn't that big, and wore a fat suit for parts of Mall Cop.

The Ward -- The first film from horror master John Carpenter in ten years. The verdict...maybe he should have stuck to loaning out his old movies for remakes.

Ironclad -- Medieval film with an odd cast and a poorly thought out budget (they spent so much on the castle exterior, they couldn't afford to have anything inside). It wouldn't look too bad if it came out a a few years before Lord of the Rings. But now, compared with Game of Thrones, it looks like something SyFy would avoid.

The Chameleon -- A FBI agent searches for a missing kid after yadda yadda yadda. This looks so similar to The Changeling, they decided to practically give it the same name.

The Ledge -- A cop talks a jumper off a ledge. Apparently, it is Saw minus the gore. It is also apparently Saw minus the good, and Saw wasn't exactly swimming in surpluses of that to begin with.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Greatest Movie Poster Ever

Well, I got some faulty wires hidden somewhere in the walls of my house. I got a temporary connection, but my service comes and goes as it pleases. I have to live with it for now. I mean, I can't keep going back to my old college. They might catch on to me. So this is a quick post while I'm still connected.

Here is one of the posters which will be used for the Captain America movie, and I have to say this is the greatest poster ever. It's a nice send-back to the 40s when this story takes place. Beautiful artwork with all the stars showing up, and it even has the Howling Commandos. It is also a nice look at the new outfit, which is much more practical and much less comic-y. That may also be the greatest Hitler ever.

And if the poster looks familiar, look no further than Captain America Issue Number 1.

This has been my number one most anticipated movie of the summer, and now I want to see it even more. Now, to find a good online poster dealer...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

AT&T Strikes Back

Yep, my internet is dead again. Also, possibly not coincidentally, my sewer died on me too the same day. Whenever I take a shower, the toilet backs up. So I'm posting this pointless blog post from my college library, a college I haven't been enrolled in since 2007. And as much as I love you guys, I mainly took the trip to check out the Steam sales for today. Everyone should buy Jamestown. $5 today only.

To the people saying there is nothing good last weekend besides Transformers: only a month ago most analysts were predicting Cars 2 and Green Lantern to still be going strong into the 4th of July. They are both major bombs. And Larry Crowne could have easily made bigger waves than it did. It is the Summer of Flops. Except Transformers.

Braumaman - Besides the Island, there is Pearl Harbor. It made decent money, but it may be one of the worst films ever. Also, he produces all of those horror remakes (Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Amityville Horror etc.). Save for possibly Texas Chainsaw Massacre, all of those remakes were awful and unprofitable.  

And Erin, I haven't seen anything but bad stuff about Something Borrowed.


Some movie news which may be fake, but supposedly Adam West has a cameo in the new Batman movie. I'll still label this a rumor, because it was CONFIRMED at one point that Eddie Murphy was cast as the Riddler. I don't trust anything out of that camp.

I didn't do a DVD day yesterday because not much was out. But there was one shining film, Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins. Go buy that.

Finally, I watched Paul last night. It was really good. It wasn't Hot Fuzz/Shaun of the Dead good, or even Superbad good. The sub issues felt very forced compared to those. And Simon Pegg and Nick Frost may be the two most serious characters in the film. But it is very much watchable. I still can't believe how many different stars they fit into it.

AT&T guy comes tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Box Office Round Up: Make That Box Office Clean Up

Hello everyone. I hope you all had great Fourth of July weekends. However, I'm sure none of us had as good of a weekend as Paramount and Hasbro did.

Despite seemingly everyone in the world hating Transformers 2: Electric Boogaloo, The Dark of the Moon made bank and then some at the box-office.

Transformers 3 made $65 million just on Wednesday and Thursday, $97 million more on the weekend, and an extra $19m on Independence Day, for a grand total of $181 million. And that is just America. The rest of the world -- most of which was not celebrating a holiday -- added in another $237 million, bringing the worldwide total to $418 million! Did I mention the movie has been out for six days?

This is the biggest 4th of July opening ever, beating Transformers 1, Spider-Man 2, War of the Worlds, Twlight, and a ton of Will Smith movies. This is also the biggest opening of the year by far. Amazingly, this is down slightly from Transformers 3, which made $200m domestically by the end of its first June weekend. It dropped like a rock after that, but not before it made $402m US/ $836m WW. Since this is actually getting some positive reviews -- and it's in 3D! -- this has a good chance of catching its predecessor. T2 sits at 25th all time worldwide and 11th in the USA.

T3 was also made with a slightly smaller budget as well ($195m), and that is partially because Michael Bay reused footage from his stinker The Island in this.

Number two was Cars 2. Despite being on more screens than Transformers, it had a pathetic showing. $32 million over four days for a 60% drop from its opening weekend. It sits at $123m in the US, $202 Worldwide (not yet earning back its budget), and at 35% at Rotten Tomatoes. The mighty have fallen.

Bad Teacher was number three with $17m. It has now tripled its budget.

Larry Crowne opened fourth with $15m. Seeing as that stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, it's not even close to the casting budget yet.

Super 8 is hanging on $9m. Monte Carlo opened sixth with $8m. And Green Lantern is number seven in its third week, bringing in seven and change for the big weekend. It is now at $137 million WORLDWIDE!  My condolences to anyone who owns Warner Bros stock.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Ten Worst Movie Titles Ever

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I've never heard wrong with judging it by the title. A stupid title will turn off so many people, and sink your film before it ever sets sail.

For example, here I have The Midnight Meat Train, which is a great, serious horror movie directed by Ryuhei Kitamure (Versus, Metal Gear Solid cutscenes), based on the amazing short story by Clive Barker (Hellraiser), and starring a pre-Hangover Bradley Cooper and a psycho Vinnie Jones. You should all go see it, however, you could not have seen it in theaters because they could not release a movie called The Midnight Meat Train to a wide audience.

While that was a good movie, here's ten (mostly) not-so-great films with even stupider titles. I can't believe studios would ever ok some of these dumb names. I'm not including any intentional dumb titles (ie The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies), nor am I including any indy or guerilla or just plain horrible films (Manos: Hands of Fate). All of these were green-lit by a major studio without anyone thinking the title was idiotic.   

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Transformers: Fall of the Revengen

Let me set the stage before I get into the second Transformers movie. I hated the first movie, and had negative desire to see the sequel. Everyone else in the world loved the first one, and couldn't wait to see the sequel. The sequel came out, and everyone hated it. That hate led to a retroactive hate for the first one. I simply laughed.

Jump ahead a few months, and I was on a plane to Japan. This is a 16 hour flight for those who have never taken that trip. But we have a little media center at our seats. I already watched Book of Eli (great movie), Shutter Island (meh), and every episode of The Big Bang Theory (very funny show, but the mainstream appeal of it boggles my mind). There was nothing else left to watch, but I was tired anyway. So I threw on Transformers 2.

It wasn't too bad.

I would never say it was a great movie, but it is much better than Transformers 1. It fixed so many of the mistakes of the first film, and I'm really not sure how much more you could ask for in a sequel.

First off, it gutted much of the excess cast. Therefore, the Transformers all had much more screen time, and you actually even began caring for them. Remember when that one Transformer died in the first movie? Me neither. Which one even was that? The dark grey one? I dunno. But the scene when Optimus Prime gets killed (spoilers btw) in T2 still stands out to me.

Kinda on that same subject, the fight scenes weren't ridiculous. Maybe it was just the sleep in me, but I don't remember entire scenes being filmed in slow motion. I also don't remember Mountain Dew machines or Xboxes attacking people, so that's a plus. The action scenes were, plain and simply, bigger and better and with no stupid gimmicks.

Unlike the original, this movie had something that sorta resembles a plot. Transformers built the Pyramids, the story of the Fallen mirrors the Bible, and humans are working alongside the Autobots to fight off aliens. Put that all together, and it makes much more sense than a Cube which does who knows what. Even the Transformer's Heaven scene, which sounded so unbelievably stupid beforehand, was actually pulled off as kinda neat.  

Again, there is a lot of stupid humor. I say again, because the original had tons of it, and some of it was actually funny. The scene when the Beef is trying to take Megan Fox home at the beginning may be the best part of the entire first movie. I don't think any scene in the second is quite as funny as that, but still it seemed like the entire fanbase turned on the humor of the second, despite loving it the first time around.

Finally, we come to the duo of racist robots, Mudflaps and Skids. The stereotypical black Transformers talked jive, had rims, grills, and other bling, and were even illiterate. However, unlike every other non-neon yellow Transformer, I could actually distinguish them from the other dark grey robots. Also, while I don't remember the line (probably something racist), they said something that made me laugh out loud as I was watching it on the plane with my headphones on. They were a welcomed addition.

But the best part of all about the Twins was it led to possibly the greatest quote ever. When director Michael Bay was asked if he was racist for including those characters, he replied "I'm not racist, I made Bad Boys". That's some concrete fact right there.

But seriously, Transformers 2 isn't too bad of a film. Try watching it again while blocking yourself from outside influence. You might actually have a good time.

Transformers: RotF >> Transformers 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Transformers vs Bayformers

Transformers 3: Turn Off The Dark Of The Moon comes out tomorrow. And tomorrow is not Friday, so I'm all screwed up here. Lets look at the first two Transformer movies.

First off, I was never big into the Transformer cartoon, and the toys were only ok. They weren't nearly as cool as the commercials made them look. Personally, I was G.I. Joe all the way, or at least until Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles took over. But I have no soft-spot in my heart, nor do I have any childhood hatred, for Transformers.

With that being said, Transformers 1 is a horrible movie. I hated it the first time I saw it. I gave it a second chance, and I hated it a second time. Where do I begin? Well how about the plot? This is the entire plot of the movie:

Act 1: Don't let Megatron get the Cube. He'll be invincible!
Act 2: Oh no! Megatron got the Cube. He is invincible!
Act 3: Megatron died because he got the Cube.

What the hell was the point of this movie again?

Really, the biggest problem was it had too large of a cast for its own good. Let's see, we have The Beef and Megan Fox as the two main characters. Both of his parents play very prominent roles, and there's a few other kids at school featured a lot in the beginning. Then we have all the Army guys. The main Army guy who wants to live to see his son again is ripped straight out of Michael Bay's Armageddon, and Tyrese Gibson is doing something or another. Then we have Jon Voight and all suites at Washington DC, none of whom have ever touched a computer in their lives. So they hired some kids to do their jobs for them (for what it's worth, Rachael Taylor >>> Megan Fox), but they can't do their jobs either, so they call up their hacker friends. Then you have the great John Turturro in a degrading role as a "special" agent. And somewhere in all of this is Bernie Mac in his last role released while he was still alive (prehumously?).

Man, that is a lot of actors, but doesn't it seem like we are forgetting someone? Oh yeah, the Transformers. I figured beforehand that the Transformers would be the main characters of Transformers, but I was wrong. But it is just as well really, the Transformers all had less character than an actual electric transformer. With the exception of Bumblebee -- and only because he is brighter-than-the-sun yellow -- all the Formers are completely indistinguishable and interchangeable. That big fight at the end?  I had no clue who was who. And that wasn't because it was too fast, as it was filmed in (the Michael Bay patented) seconds per frame.

Even the filmmakers had trouble telling them apart. Why else would a good Transformer attack a moon rover? And even though their signature skill is being able to transform into a normal vehicle, being robots in disguise and all, they spent most of the film hiding around corners and behind walls. It worked though. Nobody noticed the five giants just chilling on top the Hover Dam.

The movie was bad, and I feel bad just thinking about it. Yet, it seemed like the entire world was just absolutely in love with it when it first came out. Well, that all changed when the sequel was released, and people retroactively hated the original. Since I'm burnt out now, I'll rip into the sequel tomorrow. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Box Office Round Up: Pure Randomness

Picture of Captain Kirk arm-wrestling Captain Kirk is always related 

Cars 2 was number one to nobody's surprise. But like I said, it could have made any amount of money, and I wouldn't be surprised. It brought in $66 million, which I am sure Disney is happy to have. That puts the opening just a little bit less than Finding Nemo, Up, and the Incredibles, but slightly more than Wall-E and Cars 1. 

If you recall, the original Cars was the first movie made after the Disney-Pixar merger, and the stock holders were less than pleased to see it make only $60 million. It went on to make $460m worldwide, and Star Wars-level money in merchandise. Oddly enough, Cars was not that big of a hit overseas, so the filmmakers this time around added in more foreign cars and stars (aka Jeff Gordon is in the US version, but is replaced by Sebastian Vettel in the German release, Fernando Alonso in the Spanish edition, etc.) so that should help them in the long run.

Again, Cars 2 is looking good money-wise. But it is nowhere near Toy Story 3 which opened to $110 million only 53 weeks ago, and in less theaters to boot. However, Cars is striking out with the critics as it sits at only 33% at Rotten Tomatoes. Let's compare to Toy Story 3 again, who sat at MORE than three times 33% for 197 reviews before it finally got a grumpy critic. And he received death threats for his review. Cars is not Toy Story.

The big winner is actually Bad Teacher. The R-rated comedy which was advertised almost solely on a Lebron James joke made $31.6 million for the number two spot. The Hangover was the king for R-rated comedies (until Hangover 2 came out anyway), and it didn't make much more its opening weekend at $45 million. If Disney was "happy" with with $66 million, Sony must be "ecstatic" with this. Neither of these two budgets have been released yet, but I can only imagine the entirety of Bad Teacher cost the same as one scene in Cars. And they both combined cost less than Green Lantern. Speaking of which... 

Disney is happy, Sony is ecstatic, and Warner Bros is suicidal. Green Lantern finished third with $18 million. That is a massive 66% drop from its low opening weekend. After ten days, it has yet to reach $90 million, and $90 million is still less than a third of its projected budget. 

Mr. Popper's Penguins also dropped hard, falling 45% to fifth (Super 8, which I still really need to see, held at #4) for a $10 million weekend/$40 million ten day total.

X-Men was sixth with $6 million/$133m life to date on a $160m budget. If it wasn't for Green Lantern and Mr. Popper, this would be the biggest flop of the year.

The year's highest grossing movie, Hangover 2, was seventh for $5.5m/$243m ltd, but right on its heels is Bridesmaids, making $300,000 less than Hangover -- despite being out for two extra weeks -- for a $146m total, and it has outlasted heavy hitters like Kung-Fu Panda 2 and Pirates 4. Did I mention its budget is only $32 million? Bridemaids is looking to be this year's big winner.