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.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Opening This Week: Toy Ads

First off, I am at a big job interview out of town. So sorry my posts have been less frequent this week (and it will probably be worse once I get my dream job). But I'll get to your comments soon. I also haven't had the time to see any movies lately. But I'm not missing much this week.

Cars 2 -- The sequel to what was by far the worse Pixar movie. Everyone knows Up is the best Pixar movie, but a grumpy old guy doesn't exactly make toys fly off the shelf. So there's a new Cars instead. Also, keep in mind, Monsters Inc 2 is next for Pixar, so with Toy Story 3, that is three sequels in a row from a company that prides itself on originality. I have no clue how much this is going to make at the box office with the way things are going. And remember, great Pixar movies like Wall-E and Ratatouille were relative failures compared to their budget.

But let's be honest. If Cars wasn't a Pixar film, this would be a movie starring Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy. They should be lucky anyone saw this.

Bad Teacher  -- I'm torn on this movie. I love Jason Segel but I hate Cameron Diaz. I love the director (Walk Hard: The Dewy Cox Story) but I hate the writers (Year One). I love Justin Timberlake's acting, but I hate everything else about him. I don't know, but the other Hard-R comedies this summer look so much better.

A Better Life --  A gritty and realistic, as well as critically acclaimed so far, look at a father in a LA barrio trying to keep his son away from gangs. And this is all from the director of the Golden Compass and Twilight New Moon. Huh?

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop -- A documentary about a post-Tonight Show, pre-TBS Conan. I love Conan and all, but his new show is so sloppy and unfunny. Except for his skit Tyler Perry's Row 11. Great irony.

Turtle: The Incredible Journey -- One of those animal migration documentaries that are all the rage now (it's a sea turtle. The journey of a desert tortoise would be the worst documentary ever). The big shocker here? This is the first ever film produced by SeaWorld.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bruce Campbell Birthday Week

It has been an uncharacteristically busy week for me. So here is an uncharacteristically short blog post.

Wednesday was the birthday of the Man, the Myth, the Chin, Bruce Campbell. He is now -- brace yourself -- 53 years old. And he is celebrating his birthday in style with the season premiere of his Burn Notice tonight. That's at 9 p.m. Eastern time on the USA Network. For people outside of America, that's 10 p.m. Eastern time on the torrent websites. I'm not going to lie, the first episodes of every Burn Notice season have been disappointing. Usually, they spend too much time explaining how last season's cliff hanger season finale really wasn't that important after all. But still, Burn Notice is the best show on TV that doesn't involve meth.

Speaking of things that make tons of money in more rural areas, the NASCAR inspired Cars 2 opens up this Friday, and old Brucy has a role in that film too. He plays Rod "Torque" Redline, a super spy that has so many car puns in his name, they had to give him a nick name just to fit them all. I think Cars 2 will be beginning of the end for quality Pixar, but I am at least happy I get to own another piece of Bruce Campbell merchandise.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New to VHS 6/21

The Adjustment Bureau -- Did any of you see this? This Philip K. Dick adaption (Blade Runner, Total Recall, etc.) got pretty decent reviews. Everyone I know wanted to see this, but not enough to actually see it. Anyway, the plot is Matt Damon wakes up in the Truman Show and goes all Jason Bourne. Sounds good enough for a trip to Redbox.

Unknown -- The movie that might as well have been the sequel to Taken. Liam Neeson is in a car accident which scrambles his brain. He wakes up and goes all Oldboy. Except instead of those insane twists at the end, you get corn. Lots of corn. You might want to save your time Redbox.

Cedar Rapids --  A comedy starring Ed Helms and John C. Reilly which was in theaters for about a week. Everything I've seen about this has been good, but the reviews had a higher box office gross than the actual movie. If it is anything like the director's last effort, the criminally underrated Youth in Revolt, then this is a must see.

The Eagle -- An epic film about battles in ancient Rome which is fairly boring. I'm not even sure how that works.

The Closer: Season Six -- The season that won star Kyra Sedgwick her Emmy, but I'm sure you are all more interested in J.K. Simmons and Breaking Bad's Tuco.

Bunnyman -- This has some good hype to it, but the cover alone was enough to sell me. 

Rocko's Modern Life Season 1 -- Only $14 to own at Amazon or $5 to download. This was Nickelodeon's best cartoon. Watch it again when you are older and try to spot all the stuff they got pass the censors.  

Tons and tons of music DVDs -- I have no idea what the deal is, but there are tons of concerts and documentaries out today. Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Miles Davis, Radiohead, the Strokes, and more all have something. My best bet is to pick up Less Than Jake's Anthology DVD.


Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story -- Remember this guy from my Vincent Price post? He is the P.T. Barnum of the film world, utilizing many gimmicks in his movies. He would hire screamers and fainters as well as ambulances and hearses, have skeletons fly over the crowds, give out special glasses that would hide ghosts on screen, and -- one of his strangest gimmicks -- actually make good movies. This documentary starring all the big horror icons of his day is a must own as far as I'm concerned.

Monday, June 20, 2011

RIP Ryan Dunn

 We are starting this week off with some sad news. Ryan Dunn of Jackass fame was killed in a brutal car crash this morning at 3 a.m. His Porsche flew through 40 yards of trees before blowing up and burning into something that does not resemble a car. Another body was found and is still unidentifiable, and Dunn was only identified by his tattoos.

I never want to jump to conclusions here, but Dunn Twittered a picture of himself drinking with friends hours before the crash, as he was celebrating a late birthday. Last week was a busy week for him, as Jackass 3.5 was released on DVD, he appeared on the show Minute-to-Win-It alongside (27 months-sober) Steve-O, and he just began a new Mythbusters-ish show on G4.

People have been saying for years they wouldn't be surprised to see a Jackass member dead. Steve-O and Bam both nearly died to drug overdoses. But Ryan Dunn always seemed like the one most grounded in reality. Sure, there was that time he almost killed Johnny Knoxville in a golf cart, but he was always the most normal and perhaps the most likable member. He was also the most famous of the crew, as far as non-Jackass things went, after the show ended.

So remember kids, Dunn didn't die doing a Jackassy thing. He died the same way that hundreds of normal people die each day. Be careful out there.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Box Office Round Up: ...In Flopest Night

Ryan Reynolds's 3D abs weren't enough to save Green Lantern. Despite a gigantic budget -- rumors at first said $300 million, and now that is actually looking to be close to the truth -- Green Lantern only came home with $52.6 million. That puts the opening less than Thor or X-Men...or Daredevil or Ghost Rider or the Hulk or either Fantastic Four or even Batman and Robin in terms of tickets sold. It also so far has made a near non-existent $17 million foreign gross. Thor made that much in Brazil alone.

The movie is also rubbing people the wrong way. In addition to all the bad reviews, people are upset that the credits never mention original Green Lantern creators Marty Nodell or Bill Finger, nor do they mention the legendary writer/artist duo of John Broome and Gil Kane, who created Hal Jordan, Sinestro, Carol Ferris, Tomar Re, Abin Sur, Hector Hammond, Guy Gardner, and pretty much wrote the screenplay before the movie existed. Keep in mind, this was made by Warner Bros, the parent company of DC Comics. And finally, to add insult to injury, after the credits they show an ad promoting DC's comics with a link to some digital issues. They spelled the URL wrong.

And I almost forgot the best part. WB's explanation on the low success? The audience was getting it confused with the Green Hornet. Really, that was their excuse.

The craziest thing, Green Lantern was the only successful opening this weekend. Jim Carrey's Mr. Popper's Penguins came in at third with $18 million, which is an even worse opening than that God-awful Yes Man. This would be news, but looking back Carrey only had two box office smashes (Bruce Almighty and the Grinch). The real news here is that someone thought it was a smart idea to release a penguin movie in June.

The craziest thing, Mr. Popper's Penguins was not the biggest bust of the weekend. That honor belongs to The Art of Getting By. Yes, it did not have that wide of release, but even playing in over 600 theaters (GL had 3800) it made a mere $700,000. That is $1148 per screen (GL had $13,806). Even Fast Five and Rio did better than that. Heck, Buck which opened on a whopping 4 screens made $64,000, or $16,000 a screen. And Art actually was running alot of commercials too.

Atleast Super 8 is still going good, at #2 with $21 million. It has now made 150% of its budget.

Good word of mouth isn't helping X-Men First Class in the least. It was #4 with $11.5 million and $120m life to date. It is still $40m away from matching its domestic budget, and from catching  X-Men 1, the lowest grossing X-film until now.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Opening This Weekend: Mediocre Movies

Mr Popper's Pen-Pen is NOT a Mediocre Movie

There's been a ton of great movies already this Summer. So a weekend off may be good for us all. All three of these movies have been critically panned, with the sum of their Rotten Tomatoes averages being less than X-Men or Bridesmaids by themselves.

Since I've been talking Tomatoes alot recently, I should probably give my quick thoughts on the site. Their method of grading is a very flawed method, but it is also very easy to use. So I'll use it. Movie reviewing is a very screwed up industry right now, but it is in infinitely better shape than the video game reviewing industry. Now Gamerankings -- the Rotten Tomatoes of video games -- that site is a joke.

So where was I?

Green Lantern -- One of the biggest movies of the Summer has the mainstream press ripping it, and all the actual comic book fans disowning it. I'm sure the Ryan Reynolds fanclub will still enjoy it though. There are unconfirmed reports that this movie has a budget of $300 million, which may be true with advertising. But what we do know is WB added in an extra $10 million to clean up the CGI after the final draft was completed. Sounds like a confidence builder to me.

Mr. Popper's Penguins -- Believe it or not, the most critically acclaimed movie of the week by a longshot, with 43% at Rotten Tomatoes. This is Jim Carrey's fifth (!) movie based on a classic children's book. He's come a long why since talking out of his butt in Ace Ventura. I think the story lends itself pretty well to the big screen, and since everybody loves Penguins so much, I could see this becoming a decent success. But then again, it is post-2004 Jim Carrey.  

The Art of Getting By -- The reviews for this are actually making Green Lantern seem pretty good. This is an Indy romantic comedy like the ones that have been so popular among the hipsters nowadays. But unlike The Art of Getting By, most of those movies have well written characters, unique charm, and something close to a plot. This is just riding the Indy money train. Remember, hipsters sometimes have good taste. 

Buck -- A documentary on Buck Brannaman, the Horse Whisperer. Not nearly as entertaining as a documentary on Buck, the night nurse, from Kill Bill.

Page One: Inside the New York Times -- A documentary about newspapers and why they are going out of business. Running time: seven minutes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Reviewers Love Green Lantern...

                      IN BIZARRO WORLD!

Yep, Green Lantern comes out tomorrow, and it is getting blasted by that green ring that is a Rotten Tomatoes certified rotten stamp. The movie review aggregation website is giving Green Lantern a 22% after 67 reviews and it's dropping fast.   You can see what all the reviewers are saying about it Here, but I think it is put best by Manohla Dargis of the New York Times, one of the world's finest newspapers: "Green Lantern is bad." I don't think that is going on the back of the DVD box.

I'll reserve judgment until I see it, but I probably won't be seeing it anytime soon because it looks bad. People have had it out for this movie right from the get-go, between Ryan Reynolds and Tim Robbin's head (quite literally) leading a nobody cast, the stupid outfit redesigns (which actually fit in pretty well with the recent changes DC is making), and the fact that this film has more CGI than all three Toy Stories combined.

So how will this do at the box-office during the Summer of Flops? This has been marketed MUCH more aggressively than X-Men (87% at RT) or Thor (77% and with a sinisterly similar plot). Besides, never underestimate the power of Ryan Reynolds's abs. And if the year's highest grossing movie, Hangover 2 (35%), has shown us anything, it is reviews don't matter.

Anyway, there are a few minor things that bother me about this just from the trailers.
--There is a scene where Hal Jordan (Reynolds's abs) is sparring with Sinestro. Killawog (and no, I'm not going to bother spell checking any of these names) says something about never trusting your enemy, and the camera zooms in to Sinestro. Ok, I like a good foreshadowing as Sinestro (spoilers, I guess) becomes the main bad guy. That's cool and all, but WHY IS THE CAMERA STILL ON SINESTRO? Seriously, the camera stays on him, as a hero mind you, for the entire minute while they are explaining how bad guys are born. I think we got it.

--People threw a major fit when the alien character of Superman was given to British actor Henry Cavill. But nobody seems to care that a Canadian actor is playing the gung-ho American military brat, Hal Jordan. People are too busy throwing a fit over Reynolds without even getting to his nationality.

--Finally, they changed the Oath. How could they do that? The old Oath goes:
                                   In brightest day, in blackest night,
                                   No evil shall escape my sight
                                   Let those who worship evil's might,
                                   Beware my power... Green Lantern's light!
But the new Oath goes something like this:

                                   In brightest day, in blackest night,
                                   No evil shall escape my sight
                                   Let those who worship evil's might,
                                   Beware my power... GRRRALWWARTMWWIIIIIIIIIIGTTTTTTTTTTT!
Why did they change that? That must be a Canadian word.

Who knows how it will turn out, but I bet Warner Bros is starting to regret that three movie deal before filming even started.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Meet the New Superman

Here's the old Superman. One of the most iconic images in American art. You probably did not forget what he looks like, but I guess the comic writers at DC did forget.

DC is going to be rebooting their entire comic line. All of their current ongoing issues will be renumbered at #1, including Supe's Action Comics which is currently at #901 after a 73 year run. But that is not a bad thing. They will also be cantering more aggressively towards the digital market. Again, a very smart decision. And while nobody really knows the extent of the reboot, they will be cutting out much of the junk and confusion that 70 years of being published tends to create. They are aiming at new comic book readers, and that is a good thing.

Two things however. One, it is kinda a weird time to do this, right when their biggest movie in years is coming out. Does that means DC has no faith in Green Lantern doing good? Or is the movie going to end with the universe being destroyed? I guess they are hoping fans of the film would go out and buy Green Lantern #1, but the reboot doesn't go into effect until August, so they would be buying one of the last issues of Green Lantern instead. And I'm sure they will say the movie will not affect the comic, but they always do. Just all around poor timing.

Second, they are redesigning many of the characters. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you have stupid redesigns like DC is doing...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Box Office, VHS Releases, and other Stuff I Missed

Well I'm back after a long weekend conference. Nothing too crazy happened in the movie world while I was gone, but I'll play some catch-up anyway.

--The Avengers movie poster got leaked. I'm pretty sure this is real, but fuzzy Hawkeye looks a bit too much like a Resident Evil 5 model. Still, I'm liking it.

--Super 8 was number one at the box office, making $36 million and finding tons of good reviews. While this movie had a very small budget of $50 million, this was still below most expectations. I mean, it is practically the sequel to ET, the fourth highest grossing movie of all time after inflation. The Summer of Flops continues. Maybe next time the producers will learn, and Super 9 will be exclusively in IMAX 3D with D-Box.

--X-Men was #2, bringing in $24 million for a total of $98m in two weeks. It still has a ways to go before it gets out of the red.

--Pirates 4 surpassed Fast Five as the year's highest grossing movie ($208 million), only for it to be passed by Hangover 2 ($215 million) in the same week.

--Someone asked where I get my box office stats at. That would be from Box Office, the best place for anything money-related with movies.

--Some definitive "Meh" movies were released today. Now you can own Battle: Los Angeles, Red Riding Hood, and Hall Pass if for some reason you want to own them. There's also Big Momma's House 3 if you really hate yourself. Jackass 3.5 might be good, until you consider it is basically a bunch of deleted scenes sold as a full movie. Your best bet would be getting Haven, the SyFy (I hate writing that) TV show based on a Stephen King western novel.

--At least there are a few decent Blu-ray releases today, namely Johnny Mnemonic, Point Break, and Heavy Metal.

--Michael Bay was inducted into the Transformers Hall of Fame, or something stupid like that. Also, sometime recently, Transformers 3 got moved back from July 1st to June 29th. It's moving the wrong way.

--The producers are considering giving the new Conan movie PG-13 rating now. This wouldn't be crazy news, but the first two trailers had nothing but blood and nudity.

--Sean Bean of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings fame got stabbed at a pub in London. Boromir he is not, as he was fine and even continued drinking afterwards.

--Finally, the audition tape of Tom Selleck trying out for Indiana Jones surfaced. It is only like four seconds long -- and in Spanish for whatever reason -- but I almost have to say he would have made a better Indy than even Harrison Ford.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Opening This Weekend: Hotel Chains

The Actual Poster for the Film
I'm going out of town for a conference this weekend, so I won't be able to see any new movies. Good thing I already saw the main weekend movie back in 1985.

Super 8 -- JJ Abrams and Steven Spielberg giant mash-up of 80s Spielberg films. I'm sure it is very good, but I'm trying not to pay attention to it. I think the less I know about this movie, the better. I was really into Cloverfield before it was released, and then I felt so empty when I knew what the monster looked liked before he even appeared. However, I probably am missing tons of cool JJ Viral Marketing. Was there any good ones?

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer -- Here's one for the kids. I won't knock this, because when I was younger, I would have killed for a Wayside School movie. Then they made a Wayside School cartoon, and I actually wanted to kill people after that disaster.

Trollhunter -- The original Norwegian version. Think Cloverfield (interesting weekend to release this) or Blair Witch but with Trolls. Thankfully, they are the Jim Henson version trolls, not the naked ones with long hair, or the internet variety. I want to see this, but it is of course playing nowhere near me (but Serenity is for whatever reason. I sense an Abrams vs Whedon nerd war coming)

Viva Riva! -- Here's to keep your eye on. Too bad you won't be able to keep your eyes on it, since it is even in limiter release than Trollhunter. This is a highly acclaimed gangster movie from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It seems to have a Guy Ritchie (Snatch) vibe. It cleaned up at the 2010 African Academy Awards. In other news, there is an African Academy Awards.

The Trip -- A decent looking comedy about rival food critics. It stars Steve Coogan -- a very funny British actor whose only big American role was the director in Tropic Thunder -- Rob Brydon, and director Michael Winterbottom. The three of them tend to work well together a la Simon Pegg/Nick Frost/Edgar Wright.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Top Ten X-Men Yet to Get The Film Treatment

Pictured: Two and a Half People on this List

Well X-Men First Class is pretty good. If you haven't seen it yet, just watch the previews. Every major scene is there. But man, even after five movies, they have barely scratched the surface as far as the available mutants go. So without further ado, here's ten of the best hundred or so characters who have yet to find the big screen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New to VHS 6/7

Here are the new videos you can own today. I got you the Amazon link too. Notice, most of these link to the DVD version, because most of these aren't available on just Blu-Ray. Most of these are only on those stupid Blu-Ray/DVD Combo packs. Because we all remember how successful those DVD/VHS combo packs were.

True Grit -- A remake of a John Wayne Western that has been Coenified and Dudeified. This was a very good movie, and I'm very surprised it took this long for i to hit video. All the other Oscar nominees seemly hit the store shelves two days after the Academy Awards. Well this was better than most of them anyway.

Green Lantern: Emerald Knights -- A couple short Green Lantern tales interwoven into a big story. They did the exact same thing with Batman: Gotham Knights right before the Dark Knight came out. While DC hasn't quite gotten the live-action film down, they put out some great animated movies, and I'm sure this is one of them.

Superman Anthology -- Speaking of DC, they got this beast out on Blu-Ray today. Eight discs containing all five movies in addition to the famous Donner Cut of Superman 2. That leaves two more discs just for extra features. Definitely a gift for the die-hards.

Sanctum -- aka that movie that had James Cameron's name all over it, despite him having nothing to do with it. People get stuck in a cave and go crazy. No aliens or albino eye-less monsters anywhere in sight. It really sounds pretty good, and it's apparently one of the better 3-D movies out there. I guess that means there are more than two scenes that actually use 3-D.

Just Go With It -- Adam Sandler tries to trick Jennifer Aniston into thinking he's still relevant. Judging by its box office gross, I don't think it worked.

Happy Gilmore -- Adam Sandler's best film is out on Blu-Ray (is it really for the first time?) in hopes people may see this, forgot his past five films, and pick up Just Go With It. Also out today are Billy Madison and Bulletproof.

Breaking Bad Season 3 -- The best show on TV which has been on break for waaay too long. We are a little over a month away from Season 4. So make sure you watch this and be up to date of the cliff hanger at the end.

Burn Notice Season 4 -- The second best show on TV. Sadly, Season 4 wasn't exactly its best season.

White Collar Season 2 -- Own Season 2 for $30, or own Seasons 1 and 2 for $34. Why couldn't Amazon have this great of a deal with Breaking Bad?    

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Box Office Round Up: Best X-Men is Also the Worst

Despite getting universally great reviews, X-Men First Class is a bomb. The fifth installment made $56 million its opening weekend, good enough for the worst in the franchise. Ok, X-Men 1 made $54.5 million, but that was waaay back in 2000. Inflation takes care of that. X2 and X4 each made $85 million, and X3 raked in $103 million. Keep in mind, X3 had universally bad reviews, even before the movie was made (that's the internet for you), and X4 had a "Mostly complete" DVD quality version leaked a solid month before it hit theaters (the internet strikes back).

I panicked when Thor only brought home $65 million. But this is a much bigger disaster for comic book movies. I should also point out X-Men cost more to make than Thor, and unlike that Norwegian-Aussie, X-Men hasn't made that big of a splash overseas ($64 million) but there is still lots of time for that.

So why did X-Men flop? Unlike Thor, this had a pretty solid advertising push behind it. Was it people being sick of comic book movies? Was it people just being sick of the X-Men franchise? Maybe people just didn't know any of the characters or actors in this one? Maybe Kevin Bacon wasn't promoted enough? Well, since we are dealing with idiot movie studios, they will accept none of those, and they would think the only reason why it flopped was because it wasn't 3-D. Whoever wins, we lose.

Hopefully good word of mouth will help it. But bad word of mouth sure hasn't hurt the Hangover 2. It brought in $32 million its second weekend, giving it $187 million overall after a monstrous holiday weekend. For whatever reason, I didn't have a BORU last weekend, but Hangover made $85m for the weekend and a $117m 4-day total.

Kung-Fu Panda 2 sits at $100m overall after a $24m weekend this weekend, and $48 last weekend.

Pirates was 4th with $18m, giving it $190m domestic life to date. It will be interesting to see who makes more, this or Hangover. Even with the one week jump, Pirates isn't looking too hot.

Bridesmaids is hanging in there at 5th, bringing in $12m, and just crossing the 100,000,000 mark.

Thor is 6th, at $169 million so far. It had nice legs, so that should be a positive sign for X-Men. And Fast Five was 7th and it became the first film this year to break the $200m mark in America.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

...But What About X-Men Origins Wolverine?

X-Men Origins Wolverine is a fun one. It is the fourth X-Men movie, and the first prequel. But it is not as prequelly as X-Men First Class. So where does this fit in with the rest of the films?

Wolverine >>> X-Men 1, 2, and 3
(PS. I saw First Class, but just for this article I'll pretend I haven't yet. Spoiler Alert: it's the best one yet)

Yes, the movie that somehow attracted tons of hate is better than anything in the original trilogy. See, unlike the first three movies, there is actually some focus. The original ones had such a broad view and were all over the place. This one is Wolverine and nothing but Wolverine. By doing so there is actually some character development and a plot, something so rare in the first three. As it turned out, by having less in this film, we are given a whole lot more of what we enjoy.

Also, this film doesn't hide the fact that it is primary an action movie, and it gives us plenty of that. Plain and simple, there are some great, adrenalin pumping scenes in this. I could watch two straight hours of just Wolverine fighting helicopters.

And of course, the series' great casting continued into this film. Hugh Jackman is again wonderful. It is great to finally see Sabertooth in a X-Men movie (I have no idea who was with Magneto, Mystique, and Toad in X-Men 1. Was it a male Wolfsbane or Feral's evil clone? Or maybe even Hrimhari the Wolf Prince), and Liev Schreiber brought the character alive. Off topic real quick, Liev Schreiber is the best documentary narrator, ever. Kevin Durand was quietly solid as Blob, and even Mr. Black Eyed Peas was good, as he fit the role perfectly. And course, Ryan Reynolds was surprisingly funny during his short stint as Deadpool.

That leads us to my only true problem with this film: They turned Deadpool -- one of Marvel's most profitable and interesting (depending on the writer) characters -- into whatever that was at the end. Although, that is fairly easy to revise by saying he was just cloned or whatever. But it really doesn't matter because they are never going to rip Reynolds away from Warner Bros to reprise his role anyway.

There is one other major change with Emma Frost, but someone from /co/ of all places has a great solution to that. She was Kayla's sister (and credited only as so), one of the girls released at the end who turned into diamonds, but didn't have Kayla's, or comic Emma's, psychic powers. Well it's suggested Emma from First Class (who has both powers) has two kids, and each retains one of mom's powers. That makes perfect sense! Besides that, any of the other departures from the comic can be overlooked if you aren't a stupid comic book elitist. You wouldn't believe all the crap they complain about.

And I should mention the best part about this movie. If you remember right, a "Mostly finished" DVD quality version of this was leaked to the internet a complete month before it hit theaters. Fox was freaking out, even though it still cleaned house at the box office. Now by "Mostly finished" I mean many of the special effects were not in place, and you saw a lot of green screens and MS Paint quality place holder effects. You were also treated to on screen notes, saying where to add said effects and ADR. It was GREAT watching the movie like this. Especially if you have ever worked with film before, it is very fun to see a work-in-progress cut to a major blockbuster. Every DVD, Blu-ray, and VHS should add such a version in their extra features.

But even with the finished version, it is a very good movie that gets a ton of undeserved hate. Don't listen to the comic book nerds, go watch this movie and enjoy it for yourself.


Friday, June 3, 2011

A Tale of Three X-Men Movies

Today, the newest X-Men movie, First Class, drops. It is getting reviews so good, it's uncanny. It is either actually a good movie, or 20th Century Fox has the mutant powers to pay off reviewers. In either case, the reviews are saying it is the best of the X-Men movies. I would not disagree with that. Let's look at the first three X-Men movies.

X-Men 1 = X-Men 2 = X-Men 3

I have to say the first three X-Men movies are very much equal. And by that, I mean the first three X-Men movies are equally bad.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Top Ten Acting Jobs of Shaq

Good thing he isn't Dr. Shaqhatten

First off, my internet sucks and I couldn't get on yesterday.

Second, you may have heard the news that the biggest (quite literally) basketball star of the post-Jordan-in-his-prime era, Shaquille O'Neil, has called it a day. The 7'1, 325 lbs, 39-year-old all-star is retiring after 18 seasons and 28,596 points, good enough for fifth all time. He played for the Orlando Magic, the LA Lakers, and...wherever the hell he was at these last four years.

In addition to him retiring during the NBA Finals, two hockey players called it quits and an entire team moved countries during the Stanley Cup Finals. Can't these people wait a week or two till the off-season?

So you may be wondering why I bring this up on a movie blog. Well, Shaq was quite the star off the court too. He must have been in more films than any other athlete while they were still playing.  Now that he has some free time, maybe he can bless us with even more film appearances. We can only hope so. So here are the top ten acting roles by Shaquille O'Neil.