Monday, July 23, 2018

'Equalizer 2' edges 'Mamma Mia 2' for #1 at box office


For the weekend of July 20-22, 2018, The Equalizer 2 edged Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again, giving Denzel Washington a big summer win. Reviews aren't great, but he hasn't had a summer movie gross more than $75 million domestic since Crimson Tide over a quarter-century ago, and it looks like this movie will pull it off.

MM2 has to be happy with its performance as well. Nowhere near the opening of the original, but when a sequel comes ten years later, it's always a wildcard how accepting audiences will be of it.

Unfriended: Dark Web hardly had any marketing, but with only $1 million budget, it'll still ultimately have been worth it for BH Tilt to make.

Among the holdovers, Hotel Transylvania 3 has well justified the studio making a fourth one. Heck, Incredibles 2 has well justified making a third one; we'll see if they actually do it, but it's now their highest domestic grosser ever, and it should pass Toy Story 3 soon to be its highest worldwide grosser ever as well. Pixar has Toy Story 4 coming next year, and an as-yet-untitled movie for 2020 that takes place in a suburban world populated not by humans, but by elves, trolls and sprites. There's also rumors that we may get a third Monsters Inc movie, or sequels to Ratatouille, Brave or A Bug's Life.


Opens July 27
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FALLOUT with Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson and Henry Cavill.
TEEN TITANS GO! with the voices of Greg Cipes, Will Arnett and Kristen Bell.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Full List of Emmys Nominations for 2017-2018


Comedy Series

Atlanta
Barry
Black-ish
Curb Your Enthusiasm
GLOW
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Silicon Valley
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt



Drama Series

The Crown
Game of Thrones
The Handmaid’s Tale
Stranger Things
The Americans
This Is Us
Westworld


Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Ted Danson, The Good Place
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Donald Glover, Atlanta
Bill Hader, Barry
William H. Macy, Shameless


Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Allison Janney, Mom
Issa Rae, Insecure
Tracee Ellis Ross, Black-ish
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie


Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Ed Harris, Westworld
Matthew Rhys, The Americans
Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld


Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Claire Foy, The Crown
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
Sandra Oh, Killing Eve
Keri Russell, The Americans
Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld


Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Television Movie

Antonio Banderas, Genius: Picasso
Darren Criss, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Melrose
Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower
John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesse Plemons, Black Mirror: USS Callister


Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Television Movie

Jessica Biel, The Sinner
Laura Dern, The Tale
Michelle Dockery, Godless
Edie Falco, Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders
Regina King, Seven Seconds
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Cult


Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Joseph Fiennes, The Handmaid's Tale
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Matt Smith, The Crown


Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Alexis Bledel, The Handmaid's Tale
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid's Tale
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Vanessa Kirby, The Crown
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Yvonne Strahovski, The Handmaid's Tale


Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Louie Anderson, Baskets
Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live
Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Brian Tyree Henry, Atlanta
Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Kenan Thompson, Saturday Night Live
Henry Winkler, Barry


Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Zazie Beetz, Atlanta
Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Aidy Bryant, Saturday Night Live
Betty Gilpin, GLOW
Leslie Jones, Saturday Night Live
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Laurie Metcalf, Roseanne
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace


Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Television Movie

Jeff Daniels, Godless
Brandon Victor Dixon, Jesus Christ Superstar
John Leguizamo, Waco
Ricky Martin, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Michael Stuhlbarg, The Looming Tower
Finn Wittrock, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story


Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or a Television Movie

Sara Bareilles, Jesus Christ Superstar
Penelope Cruz, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Judith Light, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Adina Porter, American Horror Story: Cult
Merritt Wever, Godless
Letitia Wright, Black Museum (Black Mirror)


Reality/Competition Series

The Amazing Race
American Ninja Warrior
Project Runway
RuPaul's Drag Race
Top Chef
The Voice


Variety Sketch Series

At Home with Amy Sedaris
Drunk History
I Love You, America
Portlandia
Saturday Night Live
Tracey Ullman’s Show


Variety Talk Series

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Last Week Tonight
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
The Late Late Show with James Corden
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert


Limited Series

The Alienist
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Genius: Picasso
Godless
Patrick Melrose


Television Movie

Fahrenheit 451
Flint
Paterno
The Tale
USS Callister (Black Mirror)


Documentary or Nonfiction Special

Icarus
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond — Featuring A Very Special, Contractually
Mister Rogers: It’s You I Like
Spielberg
The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling


Documentary or Nonfiction Series

American Masters
Blue Planet II
The Defiant Ones
The Fourth Estate
Wild Wild Country


Variety Special (Live)

The 75th Annual Golden Globes
60th Annual Grammy Awards
Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert
Night of Too Many Stars
The Oscars


Variety Special (Pre-Recorded)

Carol Burnett Show 50th Anniversary Special
Carpool Karaoke Primetime Special 2018
Dave Chappelle: Equanimity
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Presents: The Great American Puerto Rico (It’s Complicated)
Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life


Informational Series or Special

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman
StarTalk With Neil deGrasse Tyson
Vice


Guest Actor in a Drama Series

F. Murray Abraham, Homeland
Cameron Britton, Mindhunter
Matthew Goode, The Crown
Ron Cephas-Jones, This Is Us
Gerald McRainey, This Is Us
Jimmi Simpson, Westworld


Guest Actress in a Drama Series

Viola Davis, Scandal
Kelly Jenrette, The Handmaid's Tale
Cherry Jones, The Handmaid's Tale
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Cicely Tyson, How to Get Away With Murder
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid's Tale


Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

Sterling K. Brown, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Bryan Cranston, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Will Ferrell, Saturday Night Live
Donald Glover, Saturday Night Live
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Katt Williams, Atlanta


Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

Tina Fey, Saturday Night Live
Tiffany Haddish, Saturday Night Live
Jane Lynch, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Maya Rudolph, The Good Place
Molly Shannon, Will & Grace
Wanda Sykes, Black-ish

Monday, June 11, 2018

RBG - Movie Review

Directed by Julie Cohen & Betsy West.

Documentaries have always been a fascinating art form. They're usually agenda-driven, but it's most important they have an interesting story to tell. RBG is a loving tribute to liberals' favorite Supreme Court Justice. (At one point I thought "We will never get a loving Alito doc.")

What's nice about this, and about the Supreme Court in general, is that they're the only branch of government not prone to toot their own horns. Ruth Bader Ginsberg is by nature a shy introvert. She would never run for public office, but in a way, we'd be better off as a country if more people with her temperment were in public office. She knows the law and can do the work and doesn't need to be on TV.

We get to see how she grew up, and how the cases she would tackle would make history. We understand how she and Antonin Scalia could be genuinely good friends. May everyone live a life so you could have a movie like this made about you.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Solo is #1 for 2nd week


For the weekend of June 1-3, Solo: A Star Wars Story was #1, but it took a steep drop in week 2 without any major competition. It's also been rolling out more slowly to international markets so it might not be that profitable after all.

Of the new releases, none of them made much of a splash. Adrift might break even. Upgrade deserves to find a bigger audience. Action Point fell on its face.

Book Club has had legs since it opened. It will probably finish in the top 20 for summer domestic gross.

Black Panther just needs another $870,000 to cross the $700 million mark domestically, but seeing as how it's aleady out on DVD, I don't think it's going to get there.

Avengers: Infinity War will cross the $2 billion mark for its worldwide gross later this week.

Opens June 8
OCEAN'S 8 with Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and Mindy Kaling.
HOTEL ARTEMIS with Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Jeff Goldblum and Sofia Boutella.
HEREDITARY with Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne and Ann Dowd.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Deadpool 2 - Movie Review

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, TJ Miller, Lesley Uggams, Karan Soni, Brianna Hildegard, Terry Crews, Bill Skarsgard, Rob Delaney, Eddie Marsan and Stefan Kapicic.
Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick & Ryan Reynolds.
Directed by David Leitch.

★★★

Deadpool, the anti-hero that can't die, is back, and he's as zippy and self-referential as ever. This movie recaptures the magic of the first one and moves along nicely to new characters, particularly Cable (Josh Brolin, having the best summer ever), an assassin from the future hear to kill a young mutant that Deadpool was trying to help.

There are fun cameos, funny side-jokes, and really, the plot doesn't matter that much. Even when Wade Wilson is having a tearful moment, he has to mention this is for the Academy voters. This movie feels like everyone had a blast making it, and their enjoyment is infectious.

Bring on X-Force and/or Deadpool 3!

Deadpool 2 is #1


For the weekend of May 18-20, 2018, Deadpool 2 finally ousted Avengers: Infinity War from the #1 spot. The $125 million opening is actually a little lower than what the original opened to; nevertheless it's a big hit and it should cross $300 million domestic once it's all said and done.

Book Club opened to be decent counter-programming.

Show Dogs bombed; it always felt like a straight-to-DVD sequel to something that somehow got a theatrical release.

In limited release, Paul Schrader's First Reformed, starring Ethan Hawke as a conflicted priest, had a $25,068 per-screen average. A re-release of 2001: A Space Odyssey had a $50,000 per-screen average.

Avengers: Infinity War is now at $1.8 billion worldwide.

Rampage is in the black; it's grossed over $400 million worldwide.



Opens May 25
SOLO with Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Donald Glover and Emilia Clarke.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Avengers #1 for 2nd week


For the weekend of May 4-6, 2018, Avengers: Infinity War snapped its fingers and demolished the competition, as expected. It's already grossed $1.2 billion worldwide.

Overboard did surprisingly well with its per-screen average. The gender-flipped comedy is already more successful than the 1987 Goldie Hawn-Kurt Russell original.

Despite being a reunion of the writer and director of Juno, Tully couldn't find an audience. The marketing was never really clear what it was about, besides that it's hard to be a mom. Bad Samaritan flopped.

In limited release, RBG did well. The documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsberg had a per-screen average of over $17,000.



Opens May 11
LIFE OF THE PARTY with Melissa McCarthy and Gillian Jacobs.
BREAKING IN with Gabrielle Union and Billy Burke.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War - Movie Review

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Tom Hiddleston, Karen Gillan, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Benecio Del Toro, Danai Gurira, Idris Elba, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Letitia Wright, William Hurt, Carrie Coon, Ross Marquand and Winston Duke.
Written by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely.
Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo.

★★★

This 2-hour 38-minute epic showdown is what all 18 previous movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been leading up to, and this movie is leading to the next Avengers movie opening in May 2019. This movie ends on a cliffhanger. It is definitely part 1. And it needs every minute it takes to get there.

I like how this just assumes you're up to speed and you've seen most of the Marvel movies leading up to this one. The action starts immediately, with Thanos (Josh Brolin) attacking Asgard looking for one of the infinity stones. The infinity stones have been around in previous movies. We know the tesseract that Loki used is one. That the stone in Vision's forehead is another. Dr. Strange's amulet is another. There are six total, and with Thanos's gauntlet, he will have ultimate power over the universe if he's able to attach the six stones to it.

There are so many superheroes in this movie that they use one line to explain why Hawkeye and Ant-Man aren't here (but they'll surely be in the next one). We get to see characters meet and interact in fun, unexpected ways, like the arrogant Tony Stark and the equally arrogant Dr. Strange. Chris Hemsworth gets to continue showing his comic chops he displayed in Thor Ragnarok by bouncing off the Guardians of the Galaxy. And so on.

This movie is really about Thanos, who's lurked in the shadows but takes center stage here. He wants ultimate power because he believes his cause is ultimately for the greater good.

I've seen a lot of references to people crying at certain deaths in this movie. I didn't. It's pretty obvious that many of the characters who die in the final battle are going to be brought back to life in the next one. And I for one am excited to see Hawkeye, Ant-Man, and (after-credits spoiler hero) team up with the survivors in the next one to take on Thanos.

Summer Box Office Preview


Summer usually doesn't start until May, but Marvel threw us a loop. Those who listen to Jedi & Jerms know I had my list written up before Avengers opened, but here's my write-up.

1. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR - $720 million - Every Marvel movie made has lead up to this point, and this movie is leading up to next year's Avengers movie, and so forth. The record opening was easy to predict.

2. INCREDIBLES 2 - $410 million - Pixar's had a couple stumbles lately (Cars 3, The Good Dinosaur), but Coco soared, and this movie should do Finding Dory type numbers.

3. SOLO - $380 million - This "smaller" side adventure looks like it's finally come together.I don't feel like this has the buzz of Rogue One, but it'll still make a ton of money.

4. JURASSIC WORLD FALLEN KINGDOM - $350 million - The marketing campaign has reminded me of Terminator: Genisys, where the initial trailers don't really spark excitement, so they cut another trailer that makes it look like a completely different story. I just get the feeling the reviews are going to be mixed and it'll fall quickly after a massive opening.

5. DEADPOOL 2 - $300 million - It's opening in a great spot, and I see it outgrossing its predecessor.

6. MISSION IMPOSSIBLE FALLOUT - $210 million - Tom Cruise's track record may be hit and miss lately, but the Mission Impossible franchise is rock-solid reliable. Looking forward to seeing him and Superman fight.

7. ANT-MAN & THE WASP - $190 million - Ant-Man may have sat out the latest Avengers movie, but things are getting darker over there. Here he gets to keep his light touch going, and it'll be another grossing example of how Marvel can do no wrong.

8. OCEAN'S 8 - $144 million - All-star female cast. Breezy ad campaign. Sequel without really being a sequel. It has all the markings of a summer hit, and hey, three Oscar-winning actresses letting their hair down.

9. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3 - $125 million - This franchise is fine. Not great, not bad. I don't see why this won't be successful.

10. MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN - $118 million - I have zero interest in this, but I'm not the target audience. I could be wrong, and this could be a Rock of Ages level dud, but I think it's more likely to be a hit.

11. SKYSCRAPER - $110 million - Dwayne Johnson takes a break from pre-established IP and stars in a semi-original movie that looks like a cross between Die Hard in the Towering Inferno.

12. THE EQUALIZER 2 - $108 million - Denzel Washington movies tend to come out in the fall, but I see this doing just a smidge better than the original thanks to its release date.

13. CHRISTOPHER ROBIN - $100 million - Haven't seen much of this yet, but I have a sneaking suspision Disney's going to be able to pull this off, with Ewan McGregor as an adult Christopher Robin who suddenly starts seeing his old friend Winnie-the-Pooh in real life.

14. THE FIRST PURGE - $90 million - This has been a pretty reliable franchise, and while the third one effectively wrapped it up, this goes back to the beginning to show where it all began. Plus it has Marisa Tomei.

15. UNCLE DREW - $72 million - I think tracking for this will rise as it gets closer, as the NBA Finals heat up. Reliable comic actors like Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, and LilRel Howery (Get Out) mix together with NBA greats in old-age makeup (Kyrie Irving, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, etc.)

16. TEEN TITANS GO TO THE MOVIES - $70 million - Hey, I didn't think the Emoji Movie would be successful either, but it was.

17. LIFE OF THE PARTY - $63 million - Melissa McCarthy's own version of Back to School looks all right.

18. THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME - $60 million - Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon look like a decent comedic pair, and something has to make money in August.

19. THE MEG - $58 million - This giant shark movie has the weekend to itself, so why not?

20. HEREDITARY - $55 million - I've heard this is a genuinely frightening movie, so it'll need that word-of-mouth to crack the top 20.

Wild Cards:
(Between $30-50 million)

Action Point - Johnny Knoxville's slapstick humor might get some people out, but after seeing the preview more than once, I feel like I've seen the whole movie.

Adrift - Those waves look amazing, but otherwise I don't think this'll break out.

The Darkest Minds - Looks like a YA X-Men rip-off, but if it hits the right emotional notes...

The Happytown Murders - Haven't seen a trailer yet, but the thought of a murder mystery in a world where humans and muppets interact is intriguing.

Hotel Artemis - It looks like a blast, like a John Wick spin-off, but I don't trust the studio releasing it. I'm rooting for it to be good.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado - The marketing's been going on forever, but the first one, while really good, wasn't exactly a box office smash. And Emily Blunt's not here this time around.

Slender Man - You never know what horror movie will take off, but this has a decent chance.

Tag - Looks like one of those comedies that opens in the mid-teens, grosses around $45 million.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rampage is #1, Quiet Place #2


For the weekend of April 13-15, 2018, Dwayne Johnson has another #1 movie on his resume. Rampage blasted through the competition to a $34 million opening. However, with a $120 million production, it's going to need superior overseas performance to break even.

The poorly reviewed Truth or Dare benefited from those frightening face contortions in the marketing campaign to manage being profitable immediately. It wasn't enough to best the horror movie A Quiet Place, which only dropped 35% in its second week, a very good sign for a movie that opened to over $50 million the week before.

The other new release - Beirut - came out of nowhere and didn't do much better than 7 Days in Entebbe, which also starred Rosamund Pike.

Isle of Dogs added a few more screens, and it's on the way to passing The Fantastic Mr. Fox as Wes Anderson's most successful animated movie. He's made two. In fact, here's how specific Wes Anderson films are. His highest-grossing movie was The Grand Budapest Hotel, at $59 million domestic.

Opens April 20
I FEEL PRETTY with Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams and Emily Ratajkowski.
SUPER TROOPERS 2 with Jay Chandrasekhar, Rob Lowe and Kevin Heffernan.
TRAFFIK with Paula Patton, Omar Epps, Roselyn Sanchez and Laz Alonso.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Ready Player One is #1


For the weekend of March 29-April 1, 2018, Ready Player One took the #1 spot, earning over $50 million (as it really opened on Thursday). It's Steven Spielberg's highest opening in ten years (partially in thanks to him doing mostly prestige fare like Lincoln and The Post lately.)

Tyler Perry has another mid-budget success with Acrimony, about a woman who gets revenge on her cheating husband. Meanwhile the third film in the God's Not Dead series should be its last. In the faith-based corner of cinema, I Can Only Imagine is vacuuming up all the ticket-buyers.

Tomb Raider's slipping quickly, and while it will probably break even thanks to overseas success, I wouldn't hold my breath for a sequel.



Opens April 6
A QUIET PLACE with Emily Blunt and John Krasinski.
BLOCKERS with John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz.
CHAPPAQUIDDICK with Jason Clarke, Kate Mara and Bruce Dern.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Pacific Rim Uprising is #1, Black Panther #2


For the weekend of March 23-25, 2018, Pacific Rim: Uprising pulled off what movies the past five weeks have not been able to do: keep Black Panther out of the #1 spot. Even without the original's director (Guillermo Del Toro) and stars (Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam), the monsters vs. robots sequel blasted into the #1 spot. Now relative to its budget, that'd be the sign of a bomb, but this movie was greenit with the assumption 80% of its gross would come from overseas. It'll be huge in China.

Audiences weren't thrilled with the other new offerings. Sherlock Gnomes will make more money than Early Man, and Unsane was a low-budget indie disguised as a wide release, but Midnight Sun bombed, and Paul Apostle of Christ couldn't keep enough of the faith-based audience away from week 2 of I Can Only Imagine.

Tomb Raider's steep drop in week 2 showed that a new franchise is not born.

Peter Rabbit passed the $100 million domestic mark. Who saw that coming?

Black Panther is now 5th on all-time domestic grosses list, and it's on pace that it should be able to jump Titanic to 3rd by the time it's done. (Panther is currently 12th all-time for worldwide grosses.)



Opens March 30
READY PLAYER ONE with Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn and Mark Rylance.
TYLER PERRY'S ACRIMONY with Taraji P. Henson, Jazmyn Simon and Lyriq Bent.
GOD'S NOT DEAD 3 with John Corbett, Ted McGinley, Tatum O'Neal and David AR White.
FINDING YOUR FEET with Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie.

The Strangers: Prey at Night - Movie Review

Starring Bailee Madison, Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson and Lewis Pullman.
Written by Bryan Bertino, Ben Ketai.
Directed by Johannes Roberts.

★½

The first one was a methodically paced home invasion thriller. The three killers slowly circled in, and they had the ability to be at the right place at the right time. This time around, the pacing stops and starts, and the killers apparently have the gift of teleportation.

Mom, Dad, Son, and Daughter pull into a trailer park at night that an aunt and uncle run. There's 15 minutes or so of backstory, where Daughter's about to be sent away to boarding school and is furious with her family. But the Strangers make their presence known fairly quickly and from that, it's a lot of running around in the dark in a trailer park that must exist in some mind-bending section of the universe where it keeps circling back on itself.

It has some perverse flavor (the Man in the Mask listens to Air Supply when he kills), but it uses all the usual slasher-flick tropes without much creativity. The beginning is early Wes Craven nastiness, but by the end, it's more of the later Friday the 13th self-awareness.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Waco - TV Review


Starring Michael Shannon, Taylor Kitsch, Andrea Riseborough, Paul Sparks, Rory Culkin, Shea Whigham, Melissa Benoist, John Leguizamo, Julia Garner, Camryn Manheim, Glenn Fleshler and Eric Lange.
Created by Drew & John Erick Dowdle.

The Branch Davidian tragedy is one of the biggest black stains on the resume of the ATF and FBI. It's been ripe for a limited-series retelling, and I'm glad Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV) took it on.

For the most part they do a good job. It's an incredibly talented cast, and it's treated with the same prestige as American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson. Kitsch in particular has to play the balancing act of a believably charismatic leader for his followers while showing the meglomaniacal side that led him to believe he was another Messiah.

This six-episode series dedicates the first two episodes to before the siege. We see top negotiator Gary Noesner (Michael Shannon) trying to clean up the mess of the Ruby Ridge standoff that led to the ATF killing an unarmed mother and child. He butts head with FBI man "Mitch Decker" (Shea Whigham). He's based on someone else, but he's such a cartoon villain for most of this miniseries, I can understand them changing the name so they wouldn't get sued.

We also see David Koresh being a loving leader, albeit with polygamy and underage brides snuck in. They're telling this from the perspective of the Branch Davidian survivors, making it plausible why so many people would follow him.

I think the miniseries would have been stronger if the creators hadn't pressed their thumbs so heavily on the scale. The one-two punch of incompetence by the federal government leading to the deaths of innocent people didn't need the extra melodrama. In that respect, it reminded me of classic movies like Bonnie & Clyde and Dog Day Afternoon, where no matter what the criminals did, law enforcement was eeevil.

And yet, it's still highly effective in pushing those buttons. The tension builds and builds to the final showdown, where we see how tragedy could have been averted if Koresh and the FBI bosses had just been a little bit less stubborn.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Black Panther #1, Wrinkle in Time #2


For the weekend of March 9-11, 2018, Black Panther wins once again, dropping a mere 38% in its 4th week. It's currently the 7th highest domestic grossing movie ever (21st on the worldwide list).

Is this the first time in history that the top two movies at the box office had African American directors? A Wrinkle in Time did well but was no match for Panther. Perhaps mixed reviews damaged its Saturday/Sunday intake. It's currently at 45% at Rotten Tomatoes.

A handful of other poorly reviewed movies also splashed into theaters. Strangers: Prey at Night is a sequel that should have come out five years ago. Gringo felt like a cashed-in favor by everyone involved. The Hurricane Heist looked like a Syfy movie that they threw on to the big screen as a joke.

Best Picture winner The Shape of Water went back into theaters, but it looks like whoever was going to see it has already seen it.

The Death of Stalin did well in limited release.



Opens March 16
TOMB RAIDER with Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins and Dominic West.
LOVE SIMON with Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel.
I CAN ONLY IMAGINE with Dennis Quaid, J. Michael Finley and Cloris Leachman.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Annihilation - Movie Review

Starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Benedict Wong.
Written & directed by Alex Garland.

★★★½

Alex Garland is 2 for 2 when it comes to delivering smart, suspenseful sci-fi. His debut was Ex Machina, now this. He's already established himself as a must-see filmmaker.

Natalie Portman stars as Lena, a biologist whose soldier husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) has been missing in action for months, presumed dead. But then one day he shows up in their house, not quite himself. Soon they find themselves in a government facility where they are questioned, and she learns it's by a phenomenon they call "the shimmer," a section of land covered by shimmering lights that are surely alien.

The government's sent several teams inside to discover what's in there, but so far, Kane's the only one who's come out. Lena volunteers to be part of the next team that goes in, an all-women crew led by Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a psychologist who mainly just wants to see for herself what's in there.

I liked that feeling of the unknown going in, like getting into a haunted-house ride and you go through the first dark door. Part of the enjoyment comes from not really knowing what will happen next.

Black Panther still #1


For the weekend of March 2-4, 2018, Black Panther is still crushing the competition. It's on pace to pass The Last Jedi domestically. It could pass The Avengers to not only be the high-grossing Marvel movie but could wind up being the 5th highest grossing movie of all time.

Worldwide it's at $900 million, which still puts it just behind Jumanji. 32 films have passed the $1 billion worldwide gross mark, and Black Panther will probably join them sometime next week.

Next weekend it should be a real race between it and A Wrinkle in Time for the #1 spot.

Of the other newcomers, Red Sparrow edged Death Wish. Not surprising. Jennifer Lawrence is currently a bigger draw than Bruce Willis, and Death Wish had terrible reviews.

Opens March 9
A WRINKLE IN TIME with Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine.
STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT with Christina Hendricks and Bailee Madison.
THE HURRICANE HEIST with Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace and Ryan Kwanten.
GRINGO with Charlize Theron, David Oyelowo, Joel Edgerton and Amanda Seyfried.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

2017 Academy Award Winners

BEST PICTURE - The Shape of Water
BEST DIRECTOR - Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
BEST ACTOR - Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
BEST ACTRESS - Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing MO
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing MO
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Allison Janney, I Tonya
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY - Jordan Peele, Get Out
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY - James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name
BEST ANIMATED FILM - Coco
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM - A Fantastic Woman
BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM - Icarus
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY - Blade Runner 2049
BEST FILM EDITING - Dunkirk
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS - Blade Runner 2049
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN - The Shape of Water
BEST COSTUME DESIGN - Phantom Thread
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING - Darkest Hour
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE - Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
BEST ORIGINAL SONG - "Remember Me", Coco
BEST SOUND EDITING - Dunkirk
BEST SOUND MIXING - Dunkirk
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT - Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT - The Silent Child
BEST ANIMATED SHORT - Dear Basketball