Monday, July 30, 2012

Future Peter Jackson Trilogies

Now that Peter Jackson has made it official that The Hobbit will be a trilogy instead of the previously announced two movies, I thought I'd look  to see what other books he could convert into a trilogy.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: An Unexpected Leaf
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: The Hunger Continues
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: The Final Appetite

Hand Hand Fingers Thumb: Dum Ditty
Hand Hand Fingers Thumb: Dum Ditty 2
Hand Hand Fingers Thumb: Dum Dum Dum

Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel: Breaking Ground
Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel: The Final Dig
Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel: The Rescue

The Little Steam Engine That Could: I Think I Can
The Little Steam Engine That Could: The Summit
The Little Steam Engine That Could: I Thought I Could

In A People House: The Living Room
In A People House: The Kitchen
In A People House: Upstairs Downstairs

Goodnight Moon: The Old Woman Whispering Hush
Goodnight Moon: The Mouse Creeps Closer
Goodnight Moon: Lights Out

The possibilities are endless.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dark Knight Rises #1 again, The Watch bombs

For the weekend of July 27-29.

1.  The Dark Knight Rises - $64.08 million ($289.09) - 2 wks (WB) -60.2%
 . . . 4404 screens / $14,540 per screen
2.  Ice Age: Continental Drift - $13.3 ($114.85) - 3 wks (Fox) -34.9%
 . . . 3869 / $3438
3.  The Watch - $13 - 1 wk (Fox)
 . . . 3168 / $4104
4.  Step Up Revolution - $11.8 - 1 wk (Sum)
 . . . 2567 / $4597
5.  Ted - $7.35 ($193.62) - 5 wks (U) -26.6%
 . . . 3129 / $2350
6.  The Amazing Spider-Man - $6.8 ($242.05) - 4 wks (Sony) -37.5%
 . . . 3160 / $2152
7.  Brave - $4.24 ($217.26) - 6 wks (BV) -29.7%
 . . . 2551 / $1661
8.  Magic Mike - $2.58 ($107.59) - 5 wks (WB) -39.9%
 . . . 2075 / $4343
9.  Savages - $1.75 ($43.9) - 4 wks (U) -48.4%
 . . . 1414 / $1240
10. Moonrise Kingdom - $1.39 ($38.4) - 10 wks (Foc) -24.3%
 . . . 853 / $1626

A 60% drop in week 2 can be expected for a film that had such a big opening weekend, so The Dark Knight Rises is in good shape and could be the third movie this year to hit $400 million domestic gross, behind The Avengers and The Hunger Games.

Brave edged past Madagascar 3 to become the highest-grossing animated movie of the summer.  Ice Age 4 won't catch them domestically, but it has been a giant hit overseas.

The Watch is the disappointment of the summer.  It won't lose near as much money as Battleship, but the reunion of Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn (Dodgeball) plus the hot Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street) should have done better.  Some can blame the Trayvon Martin case or the Aurora shootings, but it didn't look any good, and critics agreed it was terrible.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Random Movie News - 7/27/12

- Ralph Macchio has joined the cast of Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins as the famous director. The film centers around the difficulty Hitchcock had in getting Psycho made.  It co-stars Helen Mirren, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Michael Stuhlbarg, James D'Arcy (Anthony Perkins), Jessica Biel (Vera Miles) and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh.

- Kenneth Branagh (Hamlet, Thor) will direct the next Jack Ryan movie.  Based on the character created by Tom Clancy, Ryan will be played by Chris Pine (Star Trek).  Previously Ryan has been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck.  Branagh will also play the villain.

- Jackie Earle Haley (Dark Shadows, Watchmen) has joined the cast of RoboCop, and Jay Baruchel (Tropic Thunder) is also in talks to join.  It stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Hugh Laurie, Abbie Cornish and Samuel L. Jackson.

- Warner Bros has moved Gangster Squad from September 7 to January 11. It'll give them a chance to do reshoots. The movie, and trailer for it, contains a scene where gunmen shoot up a movie theater.  That scene will be removed, and the shootout staged in a different location.  It stars Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Emma Stone and Nick Nolte.

- Doug Liman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) is adapting Jack Finney's 1970 illustrated novel Time & Again, about a man who enlists in a secret government experiment and time-travels to 1882.  Once there, he falls in love and is torn whether to stay in the past or return to the present.

- Brandon Sanderson has sold the movie rights for his upcoming novel Steelheart, in a near future where a handful of people develop super powers.  One of them, Steelheart, seizes control of a city and kills the father of a boy who grows up to join a rebellion against the super-villains.  Sanderson's best known for his Mistborn trilogy, and for helping complete the Wheel of Time series for Robert Jordan.

- Lady Gaga is the latest to join the cast of Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills, starring Danny Trejo, Mel Gibson, Zoe Saldana, Sofia Vergara, Michelle Rodriguez, Demian Bichir, Amber Heard and Charlie Sheen.

- AMC has cancelled The Killing after two season. The producers said they will try to find the show a home on another channel.  Although it had strong ratings in its first season, the cliffhanger finale upset viewers, and there was a steep decline in ratings for season 2.  The two stars meanwhile have attached themselves to high-profile films.  Mirielle Enos will appear opposite Brad Pitt in the zombie apocalypse action-comedy World War Z, and Joel Kinnaman will play the lead in RoboCop.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2012 Summer Box-Office Numbers

Top worldwide grosses of the big summer movies, as of July 22.
(x) = how many weeks in US release.  Dollar amount in millions.

1. (12) The Avengers - $1,459
2. (9) Men in Black 3 - $615
3. (3) The Amazing Spider-Man - $614
4. (2) Ice Age 4 - $529
5. (7) Madagascar 3 - $489
6. (8) Snow White & the Huntsman - $381
7. (10) Battleship - $301
8. (7) Prometheus - $300
9. (5) Brave - $279
10. (1) The Dark Knight Rises - $268
11. (11) Dark Shadows - $234
12. (4) Ted - $220
13. (11) The Dictator - $161
14. (12) The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - $126
15. (4) Magic Mike - $101

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - Movie Review

Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Modine, Nestor Carbonell, Ben Mendelsohn, Aiden Gillen, Juno Temple and Tom Conti.
Directed by Christopher Nolan.


My wife and I saw this on a Saturday.  The theater's newly-hired security company was prominent and visible.  Signs said they reserved the right to search any bags or purses.  I asked a security a few questions about how many guys they had on site or how many theaters his company had been hired for, but he didn't know.  I appreciated the visibility on the night after the Aurora shooting, but if this is the new normal, I'm going to resent it.

The first four previews (The Watch, Total Recall, The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables 2) had copious amounts of gunfire in each.  Then we got The Campaign, The Hobbit and Man of Steel.

I'll say that Batman Begins / The Dark Knight are the best 1-2 superhero movies ever made (with all due respect to Donner's Superman I & II), and so I had high expectations for this, and at the same time, I tried muting them to not be disappointed.

It's been eight years since the events of The Dark Knight.  Eight years since Harvey Dent died and Batman took the blame.  Batman's retired, and crime is down in Gotham thanks to The Dent Act, which made it easier for cops to catch criminals.  Bruce Wayne himself is becoming more withdrawn and reclusive, to the point where people wonder if he's deformed.

Meanwhile a new evil is on its way to Gotham.  Bane.  He's a mercenary with an unknown past.  He wears a mask that garbles his voice.  It's a cross between Sean Connery and James Mason by way of General Grievous.  I'd heard he was hard to understand so I'd focus whenever he spoke.  I caught 90% of his lines, but it shouldn't be something I have to think about.

Also slinking around is cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), and she was my biggest question mark going in, and I can say she was great.  Michelle Pfeiffer will always be in my heart, but Hathaway has the playful sensuality, the physicality, and the depth needed when Catwoman's trying to figure out just whose side she's on.

But wait, there's more.  We also have Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young cop who keeps wondering when the Batman might return.  He plays into the film's events as much as anyone else.

It's difficult to get much more into the plot without giving away key twists, but suffice to say it's 160 minutes long, and the time flies.  Every scene cuts to the next, and there's not a line of dialogue wasted.  It's densely plotted, but I was never lost.

It's not as "fun" as TDK.  It doesn't have that energetic villain like Heath Ledger's Joker.  How could it?  Bane was a daring choice.  He matches Batman's mind and strength.  Most villains Batman can just beat up, but he can't do that with Bane.  Really wish the voice had been effortless to listen to.

The movie does feel like the final chapter in a trilogy, and the events of the first two movies culminate here.  It's all one story, all part of Christopher Nolan's vision.  I'm glad I saw it; I loved the experience; I can't say this is one where I'll be watching it over and over.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dark Knight Rises wins Friday

Warner Bros. has said they won't announce full-weekend grosses out of respect for the twelve who were killed in Aurora, Co.  Here were Friday's estimated numbers.

1.  The Dark Knight Rises - $77.2 million - 1 day
2.  Ice Age 4 - $6.8 ($75.3) - 8 days
3.  The Amazing Spider-Man - $3.3 ($221) - 18 days
4.  Ted - $3.1 ($173.6) - 22 days
5.  Brave - $1.9 ($205.7) - 29 days
6.  Magic Mike - $1.6 ($99.4) - 22 days

Obviously this weekend's fun at analyzing the business of The Dark Knight Rises has been ruined by a well-armed grad student dropout.  It'll probably do about $160 million for the weekend, then end its grosses in the $360 range.

Ice Age 4 will ultimately be profitable, but it'll probably be the last chapter.  It's not going to reach the heights of previous installments.

The Amazing Spider-Man passed $500 million world-wide grosses, and so the already-planned sequel is justified, but I think the series might need a good actor linked to a good villain to build better buzz for it.

Ted's the biggest R-rated comedy since the Hangover movies.

Brave will pass Ratatouille to be Pixar's ninth-highest grosser, and it'll likely pass #8 Wall-E.

Magic Mike will be Steven Soderbergh's first $100 million + grosser since Ocean's 13.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

US Daily Review's New Contributor

(Spoiler: It's me.)

Emmy Nominations I'd Change

Best Comedy
I'd swap out 30 Rock and Veep and put it Community and Parks & Recreation.

Best Drama
I'd swap out Boardwalk Empire and put it Justified.  And just add The Good Wife.

Best Comedy Actress
I'd swap out Edie Falco and put it Patricia Heaton (The Middle).

Best Comedy Actor
Out: Jon Cryer.  In: Joel McHale (Community).

Best Drama Actress
No complaints here.

Best Actor Drama
This is tough, but I'd swap out Steve Buscemi for Kelsey Grammer (Boss).

Best Supporting Comedy Actress
Out: Sofia Vergara and Merritt Wever.  In: Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) and Eden Sher (The Middle).

Best Supporting Comedy Actor
Out: Tough. I'd swap Eric Stonestreet for Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation). And I'd want Danny Pudi for Community, but it's hard to remove someone else.

Best Supporting Drama Actress
Hard to remove someone, but I would have liked to Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) in.

Best Supporting Drama Actor
I think Jeffrey DeMunn was the best actor on The Walking Dead, and Walton Goggins shouldn't be ignored for his work on Justified, but I can't really yank anyone out because the person who should win (Giancarlo Esposito) is nominated, and second (Peter Dinklage) and third place (Aaron Paul) are there too.

2012 Emmy Nominations

Best Comedy
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Modern Family
30 Rock

Best Drama
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Mad Men

Best Comedy Actress
Zooey Deschanel, The New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation

Best Comedy Actor
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louic C.K., Louie
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Best Drama Actress
Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Best Actor Drama
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Best Supporting Comedy Actress
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live

Best Supporting Comedy Actor
Ed O’Neill, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Max Greenfield, The New Girl
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live

Best Supporting Drama Actress
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men

Best Supporting Drama Actor
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jared Harris, Mad Men

Best Miniseries or Movie
Game Change
American Horror Story
Hatfields & McCoys
Hemingway & Gellhorn

Best Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
Real Time With Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live

Best Animated Series
American Dad
Bob’s Burgers
The Penguins Of Madagascar
The Simpsons

Best Competition Reality Show
The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
The Voice
Top Chef

Best Non-Competition Reality Show
Antiques Roadshow
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution
Shark Tank
Undercover Boss
Who Do You Think You Are?

Best Reality Show Host
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White’s Off Their Rockers
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance

Best Guest Comedy Actress
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock
Margaret Cho, 30 Rock
Kathy Bates, Two and a Half Men

Best Guest Comedy Actor
Michael J. Fox, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Greg Kinnear, Modern Family
Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Will Arnett, 30 Rock
Jon Hamm, 30 Rock

Best Guest Drama Actress
Martha Plimpton, The Good Wife
Loretta Devine, Grey’s Anatomy
Jean Smart, Harry’s Law
Julia Ormond, Mad Men
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Uma Thurman, Smash

Best Guest Drama Actor
Mark Margolis, Breaking Bad
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Jeremy Davies, Justified
Ben Feldman, Mad Men
Jason Ritter, Parenthood

Best Comedy Writing
Chris McKenna, Community
Lena Dunham, Girls
Louis C.K., Louie
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
Michael Schur, Parks & Recreation

Best Drama Writing
Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey
Alex Gansa, Gideon Raff, Howard Gordon, Homeland
Semi Chellas & Matthew Weiner, Mad Men
Andre & Maria Jacquemetton, Mad Men
Erin Levy & Matthew Weiner, Mad Men

Best Comedy Directing
Robert B. Weide, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Lena Dunham, Girls
Louis C.K., Louie
Jason Winer, Modern Family
Steven Levitan, Modern Family
Jake Kasdan, New Girl

Best Drama Directing
Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad
Brian Percival, Downton Abbey
Michael Cuesta, Homeland
Phil Abraham, Mad Men

Best Actress In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Connie Britton, American Horror Story
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Ashley Judd, Missing
Emma Thompson, The Song Of Lunch (Masterpiece)

Best Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys
Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Idris Elba, Luther
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock

Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or A Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Sarah Paulson, Game Change
Mare Winningham, Hatfields & McCoys
Judy Davis, Page Eight (Masterpiece)

Best Supporting Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Denis O’Hare, American Horror Story
Ed Harris, Game Change
Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
David Strathairn, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Martin Freeman, Sherlock

Best Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special
Jay Roach, Game Change
Kevin Reynolds, Hatfields & McCoys
Philip Kaufman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Sam Miller, Luther
Paul McGuigan, Sherlock

Best Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Danny Strong, Game Change
Ted Mann & Ronald Parker & Bill Kerby, Hatfields & McCoys
Abi Morgan, The Hour
Neil Cross, Luther
Steven Moffat, Sherlock

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Random Movie Stuff - 7/18/12

- Fresh off his expensive flop John Carter, director Andrew Stanton is returning to animation with a sequel to his own Finding Nemo.  It's set for a 2016 release date.  Pixar has Monsters University set for 2013, The Good Dinosaur for 2014, and Inside the Mind and Dia de Los Muertos for 2015.

- Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) is in talks to play the Falcon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, starring Chris Evans.  The Falcon helps the Captain fight crime via a special suit that helps him fly and enhances his strength.  He can also communicate telepathically with birds.

- Amanda Plummer (Pulp Fiction) has joined the cast of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as Wiress, a veteran tribute from the Games.  Her character is nicknamed "Nuts."

- Johnny Depp will next star in The Grand Budapest Hotel for director Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums).  With his Thin Man reboot on hold, it'll be his next movie after The Lone Ranger.

- Robin Williams will play Dwight D. Eisenhower in The Butler, based on the true story of Eugene Allen, who served as butler in the White House from the administrations of Harry Truman through Ronald Reagan.  Alan Rickman will play Reagan, James Marsden will play JFK, and John Cusack will play Richard Nixon.  The cast also includes Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Melissa Leo, Jane Fonda, Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alex Pettyfer and Zac Efron.  Lee Daniels (Precious) will direct.

- Kevin Kline is joining Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas and Morgan Freeman in Last Vegas, about four old friends who decide to have a bachelor party in Vegas for the one of them who's always remained single.  Jon Turtletaub (National Treasure) will direct.

- Vince Vaughn will produce and star in Gunslingers, about some iconic Wild West heroes who find themselves in modern-day Los Angeles.

- And here's a viral video for After Earth.  Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, it's a futuristic actioner where Earth has been abandoned and humanity has moved to a new planet, Nova Prime.  Will Smith and Jaden Smith play a father and son who go back to visit the now unknown, dangerous Earth.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Magic Mike - Movie Review

Starring Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Riley Keough and Gabriel Iglesias.  Directed by Steven Soderbergh.


Arguably the best male-stripper movie ever made.  Arguable because I can't think of another one.

Steven Soderbergh said after the long shoot and quick box-office death of Che that he wasn't going to be as concerned about "art" so much as just making movies that interested him.  When he filmed Haywire with Channing Tatum, he spoke with him about his stripping past and developed a movie out of it.  After Contagion and Haywire, this is Soderbergh's third movie to open in nine months, and none of the three looked rushed.

An engaging element in a movie that centers on a profession is to show us the behind-the-scenes grind of what doing that job actually entails.  Magic Mike is light-hearted in its approach, at first, and it makes being a male stripper look like a much more fun way to earn $200 a night that, say, construction.  The story comes together when Mike (Tatum) takes under his wing a teenage punk named Adam (I Am Number Four's Alex Pettyfer) who needs some money of his own.  We meet the other men who work there, a very unique foursome consisting of Matt Bomer (USA's White Collar), Joe Manganiello (HBO's True Blood), Kevin Nash (Rock of Ages), and Adam Rodriguez (CBS's CSI: Miami).  And they are all led by Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), a southern-fried Fagin, fulfilling the fantasies of women all over Tampa Florida in his club.

Naturally, Mike knows he can't dance forever and his real dream is to start his own custom furtniture business.  This contrasts with Adam, who's dropped out of college and seems content for the quick score, eventually dabbling in the ecstasy business.  A movie with that element can only stay light-hearted for so long.

This movie made me appreciate the economy of Soderbergh.  His editing choices never feel too choppy, nor does any scene drag.  He also knows where to put a camera to allow for natural responses from his actors.  The stand-out performance belongs to McConaughey.  Getting away from Kate Hudson rom-coms has done him some good.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weekend Box Office: Ice Age 4 is #1

1.  Ice Age: Continental Drift - $46 million - 1 wk (Fox)
 . . . 3881 screens / $11,853 per screen
2.  The Amazing Spider-Man - $35 ($200.9) - 2 wks (Sony) -43.6%
 . . . 4318 / $8106
3.  Ted - $22.15 ($158.99) - 3 wks (U) -31.2%
 . . . 3303 / $6705
4.  Brave - $10.7 ($195.6) - 4 wks (BV) -45.5%
 . . . 3392 / $3153
5.  Magic Mike - $9.03 ($91.85) - 3 wks (WB) -42.3%
 . . . 3090 / $2922
6.  Savages - $8.74 ($31.47) - 2 wks (U) -45.5%
 . . . 2635 / $3315
7.  Madea's Witness Protection - $5.6 ($55.63) - 3 wks (LG) -45%
 . . . 2004 / $2794
8.  Katy Perry: Part of Me - $3.74 ($18.59) - 2 wks (Par) -47.7%
 . . . 2732 / $1367
9.  Moonrise Kingdom - $3.66 ($32.43) - 8 wks (Foc) -19%
 . . . 924 / $3963
10. Madagascar 3 - $3.5 ($203.73) - 6 wks (DW) -53.5%
 . . . 2285 / $1532
11. To Rome with Love - $2.54 ($8.66) - 4 wks (SP) -18.4%
 . . . 744 / $3413

Ice Age 4 isn't going to be the biggest-grosser in the franchise, but Sony should still be pleased that they were able to get this haul as the third animated movie in six weeks to open. (Why didn't they publicize Peter Dinklage is one of the voices? Too niche?)

Spider-Man has already hit $200 million domestic. It won't get to $300 million, but a sequel is more than justified. Good thing, because they've already scheduled it for 2014.

Brave and Madagascar 3 will both pass $200 million.  Good for them.

Brave - Movie Review

Starring the voices of Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson. Directed by Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman.


 We're seeing further evidence of Disney and Pixar operating under the same roof. Brave has the visual hallmarks of Pixar, but the straightforward story qualities of a Disney movie. Merida could be right at home greeting kids at DisneyWorld next to Rapunzel.

 Merida (voiced by Boardwalk Empire's Kelly MacDonald) is the firstborn daughter of the Scottish king. (I don't think they ever say "Scotland" but tis all heavily implied.) Merida prefers to ride horses and shoot arrows than learn how to be a proper lady from her mother (Emma Thompson). When she finds out she has three suitors coming for her hand in marriage, she desperately tries to find something that will "chaynge her fayte."

Thankfully, marketing for this movie left out what the big fate-changing twist is halfway through this movie, although I had an idea just from the movie's original title and a couple jokes I saw on Twitter. The movie doesn't have as many laughs as Pixar's more comedic efforts, nor the memorable supporting characters. It does benefit from being the only animated movie I can think of where it's about the relationship of a mother and daughter. Mom's usually already dead in movies like these.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Random Movie Stuff - 7/12/12

- John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein (Horrible Bosses) have written a sequel to the National Lampoon's Vacation movies, this time focussed on grown-up Rusty Griswold and the misadventures he has vacationing with his family.  (I'm assuming Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo will show up at some point as Grandpa and Grandma Griswold).  Ed Helms is in talks to play Rusty.

- Channing Tatum will play daredevilling pioneer Evel Knievel in a biopic.

- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay will be split into two films.  Part I will open in November 2014 and Part II in November 2015.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens November 2013, and in case you missed it, Philip Seymour Hoffman has signed on to play new gamesmaster Plutarch Heavensbee.

- Deadfall will now open December 7.  It stars Eric Bana (Funny People) and Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens) as two siblings on the run from a botched casino heist. They're trying to make it to the Canadian border during a whiteout blizzard.  Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy), Kate Mara (American Horror Story), Treat Williams, Sissy Spacek and Kris Kristofferson co-star.

- Jim Piddock (The Man, Tooth Fairy) has been hired to write the screenplay for the big-screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey.  If he takes the Exit to Eden approach, he's going to get crucified.

- More cast members have signed on for Olympus Has Fallen, starring Aaron Eckhart as the US president when the White House is overtaken by terrorists.  Gerard Butler, Angela Bassett and Radha Mitchell had previously been announced, but now Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Ashley Judd and Robert Forster have been added.

- And here's the trailer for Sam Raimi's Oz: The Great & Powerful.  It looks as visually interesting as Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, but it didn't do anything to ease my main fear: James Franco doesn't seem like the right choice to play the Wizard.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ranking the Batman

Best Batman (1988-2008)

1.  Christian Bale
2.  Kevin Conroy
3.  Michael Keaton
4.  George Clooney
5.  Val Kilmer

Best Batman Movie

1.  The Dark Knight
2.  Batman Begins
3.  Batman
4.  Batman Returns
5.  Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
6.  Batman Forever
7.  Batman & Robin

Best Batman Villain

1.  Joker (Heath Ledger)
2.  Joker (Mark Hamill)
3.  Joker (Jack Nicholson)
4.  Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer)
5.  Penguin (Danny DeVito)
6.  Riddler (Jim Carrey)
7.  R'As al-Ghul (Liam Neeson)
8.  Two-Face (Aaron Eckhart)
9.  Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy)
10. Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones)
11. Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman)
12. Bane (Jeep Swenson)
13. Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Monday, July 9, 2012

FX Thursday Night Lineup - TV Review

ANGER MANAGEMENT - Charlie Sheen's comeback after Two and a Half Men is another laughtrack show, and it's one where the writing isn't near what it should be.  It's actually a safer, blander show than Men, and it's just not funny.  Sheen runs an anger management support group, and the characters around the circle are stock (although it's amusing to watch Barry Corbin do his best Wilford Brimley).  The one-liners are groaners.  Grade: D

WILFRED - I gave up on this show last season, but I've seen the first two episodes, and I'm back in. It's found its voice.  It's much improved now that Elijah Wood's has a job and is no longer suicidal.  Grade: B

LOUIE - Sometimes it's barely a comedy; it's more of a melancholy reflection on mid-life life.  But it stays funny as it reveals truth.  I like how it blends the events of the episode into the stand-up act.  Seinfeld did it too, but that felt detached.  This is part of his life.  Grade: A-

BRAND X with RUSSELL BRAND - Russell Brand, that British comedian whose career's on its way down, now has a show where he takes the headlines of the day and improvs comedy from them, talking to the audience.  It's like he's working out material, but since Brand's worn out his welcome with me, I'd say it's quite skippable.  Grade: D-

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Spidey wins Friday's box-office

Box office numbers for July 6.

1.  The Amazing Spider-Man - $20.7 million ($95.72) - 4 days
2.  Ted - $10.5 ($98.15) - 8 days
3.  Brave - $6.24 ($160.6) - 15 days
4.  Magic Mike - $6.14 ($63.32) - 8 days
5.  Savages - $5.6 - 1 day
6.  Madea's Witness Protection - $3.42 ($39.07) - 8 days
7.  Katy Perry: Part of Me - $2.71 ($5.8) - 2 days
8.  Madagascar 3 - $2.33 ($190.65) - 29 days
9.  Moonrise Kingdom - $1.37 ($23.63) - 43 days
10. To Rome with Love - $.86 ($2.62) - 15 days

Spidey's opening is strong, but not when you compare it to the previous Spider-Man movies.  It'll still be profitable and warrant a sequel.

Ted's looking strong in its second week, as is Brave in its third.  Brave should still pass $200 million, but it'll be interesting to see what its drop is when Ice Age 4 arrives.

Savages did fine. It's a B-movie with the bigger names in the supporting roles, and my understanding is it changed the ending of the book on which it's based for the worse.  Katy Perry: Part of Me shows that maybe the time of the concert film is coming to a close.

Woody Allen's To Rome with Love opened wider, and it will not get Midnight in Paris business.

For what it's worth, I hear Moonrise Kingdom is considered a dark horse candidate for a Best Picture nomination this year.  Haven't seen it yet myself.

Ted - Movie Review

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, Giovanni Ribisi, Patrick Warburton, Matt Walsh, Jessica Barth, Bill Smitrovich, Laura Vandervoot and the voice of Patrick Stewart. Directed by Seth MacFarlane.


From the creator of Family Guy comes this movie... that feels a lot like an episode of Family Guy.

For those not familiar with Seth MacFarlane TV shows, they feature a family, and there will be a plot, and then someone will make a pop-culture reference, and then we'll see that reference played out for a few seconds.  Someone could say "I haven't felt this uncomfortable since Paris Hilton appeared on Inside the Actor's Studio" and then you'll see ten seconds of just that, like we've popped in the middle of a skit, and then it'll go back to our regular story.

Ted does that a couple times.

This is about John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) and his teddy bear (MacFarlane).  Ted magically came to life in 1985, and John and Ted have been best friends ever since.  I like that the movie acknowledges that Ted had brief fame in the 1980's do to his whole magical-talking-teddy-bear existence, but then like Corey Feldman, he grew up and his fame vanished.

John and Ted now hang out and smoke pot and live in arrested adolescense.  John works a terrible job at a car-rental service; Ted freeloads.  Living with them is Lori (Mila Kunis), John's girlfriend of four years who is fine with Ted, but after coming home to Ted and four hookers, she decides maybe it's time for Ted to move out.

Since the movie is substance-free, it lives or dies on how funny it is.  Well, some of it is, and some of it isn't.  Once the initial shock-laughs wear off of a pot-smoking teddy bear, where do you go?  I don't find pot humor that funny, maybe because I've seen most of Judd Apatow's movies, or maybe because I don't smoke pot, and you apparently need to in order to find all of it funny.  But it made me think: Ted's full of fluff.  Why would smoking pot affect him?  Why does he eat and drink?  How does Ted have sex since he's anatomically... a regular toy teddy-bear?

There are some funny cameos, and the entire Flash Gordon subplot is well-done.  Wahlberg's good at comedy, lest we forget his work in The Other Guys and Date Night, and Kunis is game, even if too much of her role is patiently waiting for John to grow up.  The CGI on Ted is flawless.  I just thought its joke-to-laugh ratio wasn't that high. (See what I did there?)

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Face in the Crowd

I'd seen pieces of it a long time ago, but I'd never seen the whole thing until now, in honor of Andy Griffith's death, and it was amazing.  Elia Kazan really was one of the great all-time directors.  Patricia Neal, Walter Matthau and Lee Remick are all good, but this is one star-making debut for Griffith, best known as a stand-up comedian before this.

It's timeless as well.  The media personality skyrocketing, the empty commercialism, the "wonder drug" Vitajex, power going to the head of the formerly humble man.

The movie was a box-office bomb in its day, but it was ahead of its time.

My Own Bucket List

1.  Travel to Europe.
2.  Get a speaking part in a movie directed by Nolan, Scorsese or the Coens.
3.  Sell a screenplay.
4.  Get Greta van Susteren and Rachel Maddow to recreate the opening credits of Laverne & Shirley.
5.  Sit courtside at a Utah Jazz game.
6.  Add more stuff to my bucket list.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Random Movie Stuff - 7/5/12

- Inside Llewyn Davis will now open February 8, 2013.  It's the next movie from the Coen brothers, and it's about the folk-music scene in 1960's New York.  Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Oscar Isaac and John Goodman star.

- Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Angela Bassett will star in Olympus Has Fallen.  Butler will play an ex-Secret Service agent who defends the President (Eckhart) when terrorists attack the White House.  Bassett will play the head of the Secret Service.  Antoine Fuqua (King Arthur) will direct.

- Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical) will star in Scary Movie 5.

I've caught a couple 2011 titles recently.  First my wife and I were looking for a romantic movie to watch on Netflix Instant, and I remembered Certified Copy had good reviews.  Well, it's one of those movies that shouldn't be listed as a "romance" just because it stars a woman and a man.  That's like calling Revolutionary Road a romance.  So because it wasn't what we expected, my wife hated it.

Not the movie's fault, but Certified Copy (★★½) is one of those talky, well-acted foreign films that has an interesting hook, but it becomes increasingly unpleasant as it unwinds.  Juliette Binoche stars as Frenchwoman who goes to meet a British author in Tuscany, and most of the movie is their conversation as they tour the city.  We know only what the movie tells us, and as their conversation continues, we start to question the relationship between the two.  Do they already know each other? Is this some odd flirting ritual?

Also, the Scera theater has kid movies every Wednesday afternoon for cheap, and we bought season tickets.  Since the 4th was a holiday, I was able to accompany them.  Unfortunately the movie was Hoodwinked Too: Hood vs. Evil (★½), one of the ugliest animated movies I've ever seen on the big screen.  It is cheap, television-level quality and never should have made it to theaters.  Having said that, it had a couple good lines here and there, buried among the crap, and my kids really enjoyed it.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Ted #1, Magic Mike #2 at Box-Office

For the weekend of June 29-July 1.

1. Ted - $54.1 million - 1 wk (U)
. . . 3239 screens / $16,703 per screen
2. Magic Mike - $39.16 - 1 wk (WB)
. . . 2930 / $13,363
3. Brave - $34.01 ($131.69) - 2 wks (BV) -48.7%
. . . 4164 / $8168
4. Madea's Witness Protection - $26.35 - 1 wk (LG)
. . . 2161 / $12,193
5. Madagascar 3 - $11.82 ($180.01) - 4 wks (DW) -40.1%
. . . 3715 / $3180
6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - $6 ($29.03) - 2 wks (Fox) -63.2%
. . . 3109 / $1930
7. Prometheus - $4.93 ($118.26) - 4 wks (Fox) -50.3%
. . . 1951 / $2524
8. Moonrise Kingdom - $4.87 ($18.41) - 6 wks (Foc) +43.6%
. . . 854 / $5706
9. Snow White & the Huntsman - $4.41 ($145.59) - 5 wks (U) -45.5%
. . . 2337 / $1885
10. People Like Us - $4.31 - 1 wk (BV)
. . . 2055 / $2095
11. The Avengers - $4.22 ($606.3) - 9 wks (BV) -41.3%
. . . 1757 / $2399

Ted has to be the surprise of summer. I guessed it would be a hit, but not to this degree. Magic Mike is a close second for the surprise of summer. The producers had to be delighted when they saw the receipts for The Vow and 21 Jumpstreet.

Tyler Perry cranked another from his Madea cash-cow and it paid off.

People Like Us is another misstep in Chris Pine's non-Star Trek career.