Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hotel Transylvania gets $43 million at #1

For the weekend of Sept 28-30.

1.  Hotel Transylvania - $43 million - 1 wk (Sony)
 . . . 3349 screens / $12,840 per screen
2.  Looper - $21.2 - 1 wk (TriS)
 . . . 2992 / $7086
3.  End of Watch - $8 ($26.17) - 2 wks (OR) -39.2%
 . . . 2780 / $2878
4.  Trouble with the Curve - $7.53 ($23.73) - 2 wks (WB) -38.1%
 . . . 3212 / $2344
5.  House at the End of the Street - $7.15 ($22.23) - 2 wks (Rel) -41.8%
 . . . 3083 / $2320
6.  Pitch Perfect - $5.2 - 1 wk (U)
 . . . 335 / $15,522
7.  Finding Nemo 3D - $4.07 ($36.48) - 3 wks (BV) -57.8%
 . . . 2639 / $1541
8.  Resident Evil: Retribution - $3 ($38.7) - 3 wks (SG) -55.2%
 . . . 2381 / $1260
9.  The Master - $2.75 ($9.63) - 3 wks (Wein) -37.5%
 . . . 856 / $3207
10. Won't Back Down - $2.7 - 1 wk (Fox)
 . . . 2515 / $1074
11. Dredd - $2.28 ($10.87) - 2 wks (LG) -63.7%
 . . . 2557 / $892
12. The Possession - $1.44 ($47.49) - 5 wks (LG) -45.5%
 . . . 1618 / $891
13. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - $1.14 ($1.46) - 2 wks (Sum) +398%
 . . . 102 / $11,147

Hotel Transylvania set box-office opening records for September, and for Sony Animation, whose previous largest success was Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  It's also the second-highest opening of an Adam Sandler movie, if you're counting voicework.

Meanwhile, Looper had a respectable opening in its own right.  It's the first wide-release for director Rian Johnson (Brick), and the best opening to date for Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a name-above-the-title guy. (I'd argue it helps to have prominent roles in Christopher Nolan movies leading up to it, but he's been a star waiting to happen for a while now.)

The take-back-our-school true-story drama Won't Back Down couldn't capitalize on two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis.  Maybe because this opened right after school's started, its target audience (moms) didn't show up.

Pitch Perfect, which looks like Anna Kendrick in Glee Goes to College, had the perfect release strategy.  On only 335 screens, true believers had to hunt it down, and it bodes well for it opening wide next week opposite Frankenweenie and Taken 2.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, starring Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), continues to do well as it expands.

The Master - Movie Review

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Jesse Plemons and Laura Dern.
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.


I have liked all of Paul Thomas Anderson's movies up to this point, and I can't really say I liked this one so much as I respect it.  I read one review that said Anderson was "freed from traditional narrative." I need to pay closer attention to phrases like that.  There's a growing trend in "artful" movies, where they're ditching common hooks like plot, story, and resolution.

PTA is not as egregious a violator of narrative like Terrence Malick, a director who has less story with every movie he makes.  But here is his least conventional movie to date, and I have a hard time imagining even coastal movie critics coming out exhilarated.  It's more of a "so... that happened."  The first metaphor that popped into my brain during the closing credits was the caucus race from Alice in Wonderland.  Round and round we go, and once it stops, we're about where we started.

The movie starts with Freddie Quells (Joaquin Phoenix), a drunken WWII sailor who concocts different formulas for getting inebriated.  Paint thinner being an ingredient sometimes.  Freddie isn't bright in most respects.  He is pure pubescent id, unable to control himself, full of raw emotion.  After the war we see he gets psychiatric treatment but he's left to drift on his own, and his temper doesn't allow him to keep a job long.

(Now some have referred to this as a fictional take on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology, but the comparisons are vague enough that Tom Cruise saw the movie, and he and PTA are still friends.  I'm inserting this here to get it out of the way.)

Freddie eventually drifts into the life of Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), though his name is rarely said.  He's more often referred to as "Master."  Dodd, it turns out, is leader of "the Cause," a religious movement that posits you can recall past lives and use them to cure disease and achieve a form of enlightenment or perfection.  Dodd's wife Mary Sue (Amy Adams) is a true believer and as much a driver of the Cause as Dodd himself.

Freddie starts to develop a sense of purpose in Dodd's service, and Dodd's techniques for "processing" expand Freddie's mind in ways he hadn't been tested.

But Freddie is a man who lives on the surface, in the moment.  If he wants to get drunk, he gets drunk.  If he gets mad, he hits someone.  If he hears a fart, he giggles.  Dodd is his opposite, a well-groomed superego, a charming charlatan who lives the life of benevolent leader 24/7.

Phoenix gives a ferocious performance.  His body is contorted in ways that made me wonder if he dislocated his shoulders for the entire shoot or what.  His face has the squint and snear of a sailor who had one side of his face against the sun too long.  Hoffman, meanwhile, is the terrible flip side to the coin.  Patient, charismatic, believing every word he peddles, even as his philosophy unravels.

Dodd's wife is pregnant most of the movie, as if vessel for the Jacob-and-Esau dynamic with Freddie and Dodd, two men who struggle with yet complete each other.  Freddie gets intellectual stimulation and friendship, Dodd gets vicarious enjoyment from his henchman's emotional freedom.  In the end, when time's passed, and when she confronts Freddie, the baby gone (we're never told when it was born), she calls their efforts in helping him "pointless."  Some may have the knee-jerk reaction to say the same thing about the movie.

The final shot made me wonder how much of it was real. Was some of it just a dream?  Is Freddie in some sort of Jacob's Ladder limbo?  None of the characters are really different from when we started.

Phoenix and Hoffman should be nominated for their work here, and depending on the depth of the field, so should Adams.  It's also gorgeous to look at, having been shot in 70mm.  I just hope this doesn't represent a new direction for PTA where he abandons those enjoyable little tools like "plot advancement" to be more artsy in his work.  I would caution most people to see at your own risk.  I wouldn't say the ending answers any questions, and you have to think about it for a while.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Hotel Transylvania wins Friday

1.  Hotel Transylvania - $11 million - 1 day
2.  Looper - $6.9 - 1 day
3.  End of Watch - $2.4 ($20.57) - 8 days
4.  House at the End of the Street - $2.33 ($17.4) - 8 days
5.  Trouble with the Curve - $2.3 ($18.5) - 8 days

Hotel Transylvania had been tracking at $20 million, so the studio has to be thrilled with this number.  It could hit $30 million for the weekend and gives it a good leg-up on Frankenweenie, which will both serve the kids market until November.

HBO's Girls - TV Review

This show was nominated for all kinds of Emmys, Best Comedy among them. Ahem. Picture getting a big jar of Harry Potter's jelly beans and finding 80% of them are vomit-flavored.  Is it worth it to keep eating for those 20% that are yummy?

Lena Dunham is the writer/director/creator/star, and she does have a natural self-deprecating style.  She has some clever lines in there. It's also full of that chic "edgy" style humor which means you never know know when you're going to get smacked in the face with something disgusting.  Not worth it.  Glad it was shut out.  I'm appalled this was nominated over shows like Community, Parks & Recreation, The Middle, etc.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Emmys "Can't Complain" List

BEST DRAMA SERIES - Can't complain about Homeland winning, but last year's Breaking Bad was the best season of one of the all-time great dramas.

BEST DRAMA ACTOR - Can't complain about Damien Lewis's win, but I can't believe Kelsey Grammer wasn't even nominated for his work on Boss.

BEST DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR - Can't complain about Aaron Paul winning, but wow, Giancarlo Esposito's Gustavo Fring is one of the best TV villains in history.  History, I say!

BEST DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Can't complain about Maggie Smith winning anything, ever, though doesn't it seem like she's the comic relief?  Anyway, I'd like to see Christina Hendricks get recognition for her work as Mad Men's Joan. She gets better every year.

BEST COMEDY SERIES - Can't complain about Modern Family winning, but The Big Bang Theory should have won by now.  Also, Parks & Recreation wasn't even nominated?

BEST COMEDY ACTOR - I can complain that Ed O'Neill doesn't submit himself for Best Actor for Modern Family.  He'd win.  I can complain about Jon Cryer winning.  I mean if they're going to spread the wealth (i.e. someone besides Jim Parsons or Alec Baldwin winning it), why not Louis C.K.?

(Trivia: RIcky Gervais won for BBC's The Office, but Steve Carell never won for NBC's The Office.)

BEST COMEDY ACTRESS - Can't complain about Julia Louis-Dreyfus winning, but I keep hoping Amy Poehler will get one for Parks & Rec.

BEST COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR - I can complain that Eric Stonestreet won simply because I think one of the other Mod-Fam guys should have won this year among the nominees. But it's a crime that Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson wasn't even nominated.

BEST COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Can't complain about Julie Bowen winning, though her acceptance speech made me go "oh, it really is the writers and directors that make her funny." I was actually pulling for Big Bang's Mayim Bialik.


Can't complain about Costner and Berenger winning acting awards for Hatfields & McCoys, but the only award I thought Game Change deserved was for Woody Harrelson, and he didn't win it.  But he didn't attend in person, so forget him. Costner Power!

I'd like to see Saturday Night Live win it once, just to break up the Daily Show monotony.

I'd also like to see Phil Koeghan win for Best Host just once.

Glad The Good Wife wasn't shut out, even if it was just for Best Guest Star (Martha Plimpton).

Very surprised Mad Men was shut out.  Not as surprised Game of Thrones was shut out, but it would have been cool for it to get something.

Paranormal Activity 4 actor dies

Stephen Dunham has died from a heart attack on his 48th birthday.  He is survived by his wife Alexondra Lee, an actress he met on the set of ABC's Oh Grow Up in 1999. They've been wed since 2005.

Dunham has appeared mostly on TV (DAG, What I Like About You, The Bill Engvall Show), but he and Lee will be playing husband and wife in next month's Paranormal Activity 4.  Dunham most recently played Six in Oliver Stone's Savages.

Monday, September 24, 2012

2012 Emmy Winners

Best Series: Homeland
Best Actor: Damian Lewis, Homeland
Best Actress: Clair Danes, Homeland
Best Supporting Actor: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Best Supporting Actress: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Best Director: Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Best Writer: Ganza/Gordon/Raff, Homeland

Best Series: Modern Family
Best Actor: Jon Cryer
Best Actress: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Best Supporting Actor: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Best Supporting Actress: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Best Director: Steve Levitan, Modern Family
Best Writer: Louis C.K., Louie

Best Movie/Miniseries: Game Change
Best Actor: Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Best Actress: Julianna Moore, Game Change
Best Supporting Actor: Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Best Director: Jay Roach, Game Change
Best Writer: Danny Strong, Game Change

Best Series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Best Director: Glenn Weiss, 65th Annual Tony Awards
Best Writer: Louis C.K., Louie C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre

Best Host: Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
Best Reality-competition program: The Amazing Race

Sunday, September 23, 2012

End of Watch - Movie Review

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, David Harbour, Frank Grillo, America Ferrera and Cody Horn.
Directed by David Ayer.


David Ayer written his share about the LAPD (Training Day, Dark Blue), and here he writes and directs this one that might be the best buddy-cop movie in years.  It's not about a grizzled veteran showing a rookie the ropes, nor is it about corrupt cops shaking down drug dealers.  It's about two friends on the force, uncorrupt, just doing their job. A very dangerous job.

Gyllenhaal and Pena are the stars.  They play officers Brian Taylor and Mike Zavala, and the whole movie is what happens to them over one summer.  Most of it has that you-are-there feel to it, with about 80% of the footage coming from videocameras, iPhones, surveillance tapes, etc.  Over the course of the summer, they have run-ins with cartels heavy into drugs and human trafficking.  But they can't let it affect their jobs.  There's paperwork to be done.

Most of the movie takes place inside the squad car, watching the conversations of Brian and Mike, and Gyllenhaal and Pena have some of the best give-and-take on-screen chemistry... ever.  I really believed these guys have been best friends for years.  Career-best performances by both.

I liked how most of the plot of the movie is hidden from the main players.  They believe they're just encountering a series of events, a mix of banter in the car, and scary arrests outside the car.

Its only negative for me was the ridiculous amount of profanity.  I think Summer of Sam's wide-release record of 435 f-words is in danger.

Weekend Box Office - 9/23/12

1.  End of Watch - $13 million - 1 wk (OR)
 . . . 2730 screens / $4762 per screen
1.  House at the End of the Street - $13 - 1 wk (Rel)
 . . . 3083 / $4217
3.  Trouble with the Curve - $12.72 - 1 wk (WB)
 . . . 3212 / $3960
4.  Finding Nemo - $9.45 ($29.98) - 2 wks (BV) -43.4%
 . . . 2904 / $3253
5.  Resident Evil: Retribution - $6.7 ($33.47) - 2 wks (SG) -68.2%
 . . . 3016 / $2221
6.  Dredd - $6.3 - 1 wk (LG)
 . . . 2506 / $2514
7.  The Master - $5 ($6.06) - 2 wks (Wein) +579.1%
 . . . 788 / $6345
8.  The Possession - $2.63 ($45.65) - 4 wks (LG) -54.4%
 . . . 2598 / $1012
9.  Lawless - $2.32 ($34.51) - 4 wks (Wein) -46.6%
 . . . 2614 / $888
10. ParaNorman - $2.3 ($52.57) - 6 wks (Foc) -25.7%
 . . . 1617 / $1421

It'll be another day before we know who really took #1, but since End of Watch only had a $7 million budget, and House at the End of the Street had a $10 million budget, they're both winners.  Dredd cost $50 million, so that's another disappointment for Lionsgate.

Cinematically Speaking - 9/23/12

I saw THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN (★★) a while back, and it hasn't aged well in my mind as I think about it.  My kids liked it, which was its point, but it also seemed geared toward childless couples who only watch Disney movies.  It's like a Bizarro Mary Poppins, where this magical boy appears in their life and teaches them how to be parents, and CJ Adams does a really good job as Timothy. (Actually it reminded me a lot of D.A.R.Y.L. too.)  The supporting cast is one you might expect in something heavier.  Dianne Wiest, Ron Livingston, Shohreh Aghdashloo, David Morse, Rosemarie DeWitt, Common, Lois Smith and M. Emmet Walsh are the other adults touched in one way or another by Timothy.


If you ran a studio and I came up to you and said "Give me $250 million and I'll make a movie based on A Princess of Mars" you'd at least pause before showing me the door, right?  But that's how JOHN CARTER came to fruition.  But how do you not get thrown out the door for pitching "Give me $225 million and I'll make a samurai movie starring Keanu Reeves?"

The long-delayed 47 RONIN is such a movie, and the director finally got fired after the budget ballooned and shooting spiralled out of control.  I expect more people to get fired before it opens.


Saw the preview for SILENT HILL: REVELATION. I saw the first one but I don't remember anything about it besides the visual style.  I can't imagine the sequel doing well.  It has Sean Bean in it, and I thought he died in the first one, but I attend to assume Sean Bean dies in everything he's in.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday's Box Office - 9/22/12

1.  House at the End of the Street - $4.64 million - 1 day
2.  End of Watch - $4.6 - 1 day
3.  Trouble with the Curve - $4.17 - 1 day
4.  Finding Nemo 3D - $2.39 ($22.92) - 8 days
5.  Dredd - $2.23 - 1 day
6.  Resident Evil: Retribution - $1.95 ($28.72) - 8 days
7.  The Master - $1.39 ($2.44) - 8 days
8.  The Possession - $.82 ($43.47) - 22 days

Jennifer Lawrence's name might be enough to keep House at the End of the Street #1 for the weekend, but it'll be a low grosser.  End of Watch opened on fewer screens and is doing a little better than it had been tracking.

Random Movie News - 9/22/12

- Hitchcock will now open in limited release on November 23.  It stars Anthony Hopkins as the famous director Alfred Hitchcock, and the film takes place during the filming of Psycho.  Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg and James D'Arcy as Anthony Perkins.

- Terminators unite!  Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sam Worthington will star in Ten, about an elite DEA squad who steal a large stash from a drug cartel.  They think they've committed the perfect crime, but then someone starts assassinating squad members one by one.  Terrence Howard, Mirielle Enos, Malin Akerman, Josh Holloway, Joe Manganiello and Olivia Williams co-star.

- Elijah Wood will star in Grand Piano, a psychological thriller about a retired pianist forced back onto the stage by a psychopath (John Cusack) in order to save the lives of himself and his loved ones.  Allen Leach (Downton Abbey) and Alex Winter (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) co-star.

- Victims from the Aurora theater shooting are suing Cinemark for not providing adequate security.  Which means you can expect the police-state mentality to spread to movie theaters now.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Own TV Cheers & Jeers

CHEERS - To Survivor, for keeping it fresh and having a fantastic debut.  I like that it brought back three guys who had left the game previously due to injury, and I like that it started off with three teams.  But most reality shows live and die by the cast, and they had some real characters this time around, not least of which was Zane, who seemed like he'd be a clever character, a tattooed Southerner who made alliances with everyone immediately.  But he thought by telling everyone they could vote him out, he thought they'd go against his "wishes" and keep him.  One of the silliest strategies ever.

JEERS - To The Newsroom.  I finally saw the last two episodes, and while the show has so much potential, it's in desperate need of someone to point out to Aaron Sorkin that his fantasy world doesn't represent objective journalism. It's full of grandstanding speechifying, a Sorkin signature, but it's a cheap trick to make Will McAvoy a Republican and have him dedicate the entire season to criticizing Republicans, only Republicans.  And that's the noble thing to do (cue the inspirational music).  It'd be nice if next season he gets an actual Republican somewhere in the writing room to let them know how he's making CurrentTV look bipartisan.

CHEERS - To NBC for sticking with quality shows even if the ratings aren't there.  Parks & Recreation and Community get one more season, even though if they'd had the same ratings on ABC or CBS, they'd be gone.

CHEERS - To Christopher Heyerdahl for his work as "The Swede" on AMC's Hell on Wheels.  The show itself hasn't lived up to its potential, but Heyerdahl's snakelike railroad worker spices up any scene he's in, whether trying to get the Irish brothers killed, or Iago-ing his way into making a preacher lose his mind.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Revolution ratings hit, Mob Doctor miss

Monday night was won by NBC.

I watched Revolution and really enjoyed it. I like the world they've set up. I like seeing Billy Burke of all people as a master swordsman, and Giancarlo Esposito as the main villain. Nothing scarier than seeing his mask smile disappear into his serious frown.

I have The Mob Doctor DVR'd but that may get deleted before I watch it.  Premiering to a 1.5 might be good for CW, but not Fox.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall TV Preview 2012

Last year, there were 27 new shows on the networks.  Eleven of them got a second season, and four more mid-season replacements (Scandal, Touch, Bob's Burgers, Don't Trust the B--- in Apt. 23) were renewed.

This year, there are 19 new shows.  I think there's room for fewer new shows because there are more two-hour reality competition shows with one-hour results shows.  Even if The X Factor is underperforming, it's still one of the highest-rated shows on Fox.

Let's assume seven of these new shows get renewed.  I'm going to guess The Mindy Project, Elementary, Nashville, 666 Park Avenue, Arrow, Vegas and Go On.

New shows in Bold.


Dancing with the Stars

How I Met Your Mother
2 Broke Girls
Mike & Molly
Hawaii Five-0

The Voice

The Mob Doctor

Gossip Girl

New Shows:
PARTNERS - David Krumholtz (Numb3rs) returns to CBS for this comedy about two longtime friends and business partners where one of them (Ugly Betty's Michael Urie) is gay, and their relationships sometimes intrude on their work.  Brandon Routh (Superman Lives) plays Urie's partner while Sophia Bush plays Krumholtz's girlfriend.

REVOLUTION - Civilization is in tatters fifteen years after all forms of power cease to work.  Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) plays the main villain, and Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost, V) and Billy Burke (Twilight) are among the adults fighting for survival.

THE MOB DOCTOR - Jordana Spiro (My Boys) is a legitimate doctor with colleagues like Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights) and Zjelko Ivanek (The Event), but she also secretly must help the mafia when they call.

Partners has a plum position and appealing cast, but reviews have thus far been uninspiring.  Then again, it could grow into it.  Unless it's downright disastrous, I see it having Yes Dear success.  Revolution could be the geek serial NBC's been looking for ever since Heroes jumped the shark, but Castle and Hawaii Five-0 are proven in their timeslots.  Meanwhile I've heard The Mob Doctor is bad, and so I don't give it much of a chance to last.  I actually don't think any will get a second season, but I'll put Revolution on the bubble just because it looks intriguing.


Dancing with the Stars results
Happy Endings
Don't Trust the B--- in Apt. 23
Private Practice


The Voice results
Go On
The New Normal

Raising Hope
Ben & Kate
New Girl
The Mindy Project

Hart of Dixie
Emily Owens MD

New Shows:
VEGAS - Based on the true story of the Las Vegas sheriff who did his best to keep his city safe while mobsters ramped up their influence.  The timing's right for Dennis Quaid to try TV, and it'll be nice to see Michael Chiklis (The Shield) play a less-than-savory character again.

GO ON - Matthew Perry is a sports-radio host whose life is turned upside-down after his wife dies. This is a comedy about group grief therapy sessions.

THE NEW NORMAL - Gay couple decides to go the surrogate mother route to have their first child.

BEN & KATE - Carefree brother helps single sister raise her daughter.

THE MINDY PROJECT - Mindy Kaling (The Office) gets her own show as an ob-gyn with a shaky dating life.

EMILY OWENS MD - Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep's daughter) gets her own medical show.

I expect a bloodbath for the second hour.  Dancing with the Stars and the NCIS franchise skew older, but they get the total ratings.  Raising Hope was on life-support anyway, so I don't see ben & Kate benifitting from following it.  New Girl however is a legit 18-49 hit, and The Mindy Project should success behind it.

I don't see Go On and The New Normal doing as well as NBC needs them to, but I can see both surviving just because so many of their other sitcoms are on their last year, with Go On more likely to survive than New Normal.

Vegas is getting prime real estate Tuesdays at 10/9 so it should do well.


The Middle
The Neighbors
Modern Family

Criminal Minds

Animal Practice
Guys with Kids
Law & Order: SVU
Chicago Fire

The X-Factor


New Shows:

THE NEIGHBORS - A couple (Jami Gertz, Lenny Venito) moves into a new neighborhood and learns that everyone there are actually undercover aliens.

NASHVILLE - Sopay drama about a country star (Connie Britton) trying to keep her career afloat while an up-and-comer (Hayden Panetierre) looks to pass her up.

ANIMAL PRACTICE - Weeds vet Justin Kirk heads an animal hospital. A huge animal hospital I might add.

GUYS WITH KIDS - Three guy friends have kids.  See my review.

CHICAGO FIRE - It's about firemen.

ARROW - Green Arrow: the TV show.


Animal Practice is a terrible show, and it and Guys with Kids will be cancelled quickly.  The Neighbors seems too silly a show to plant between The Middle and Modern Family, but otherwise, ABC seems to have its Wednesday block figured out. I've heard Nashville's great.  I expect Chicago Fire to go the way of Mercy.


Last Resort
Grey's Anatomy

The Big Bang Theory
Two and a Half Men
Person of Interest

30 Rock
Up All Night
The Office
Parks & Recreation
Rock Center with Brian Williams

The X-Factor results

The Vampire Diaries
Beauty & the Beast

New Shows:

LAST RESORT - Perhaps the biggest question mark for me. Andre Braugher stars as the captain of a nuclear submarine who ignores orders from above to nuke Pakistan.  He and his 160 crew members start their own little country on an island.  I like the idea of this thriller.

ELEMENTARY - Jonny Lee Miller is a modern-day Sherlock, and Lucy Liu is his really modern Dr. Watson.

BEAUTY & THE BEAST - The "Beast" is a hunk with a facial scar, so...


NBC seems to have given up on getting ratings with Rock Center.  30 Rock, The Office and Parks & Rec are all in their final years.  Beauty & the Beast is getting bad reviews, but Vampire Diaries is a good lead-in, so it could survive that.  Elementary seems like the surest bet of the fall.


Shark Tank
Primetime: What Would You Do?

Made in Jersey
Blue Bloods

Dateline NBC


America's Next Top Model

New Shows:

MADE IN JERSEY - A street-smart Jersey lawyer is the square peg at her uptight New York law firm.


Not a lot of ratings pressure on Made in Jersey.  Reviews are meh, but it fits in to CBS's brand.


Once Upon a Time
666 Park Avenue

The Amazing Race
The Good Wife
The Mentalist

Sunday Night Football

The Simpsons
Bob's Burgers
Family Guy
American Dad

New Shows:

666 PARK AVENUE - Terry O'Quinn finally gets his post-Lost TV show, teaming with Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty) as a sinister couple in charge of a supernatural hotel.


Good reviews. I think it'll succeed.  Its weakness could be Revenge as a lead-in. How many viewers will follow it to Sunday?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Resident Evil 5 wins box-office

1.  Resident Evil: Retribution - $21.1 million - 1 wk (SG)
 . . . 3012 screens/ $7005 per screen
2.  Finding Nemo 3D - $17.5 - 1 wk (BV)
 . . . 2904 / $6028
3.  The Possession - $5.8 ($41.17) - 3 wks (LG) -37.8%
 . . . 2860 / $2028
4.  Lawless - $4.22 ($30.14) - 3 wks (Wein) -29.8%
 . . . 3063 / $1377
5.  ParaNorman - $3.04 ($49.34) - 5 wks (Foc) -27.6%
 . . . 2326 / $1307
6.  The Expendables 2 - $3.03 ($80.29) - 5 wks (LG) -38.8%
 . . . 2896 / $1046
7.  The Words - $2.88 ($9.16) - 2 wks (CBS) -39.4%
 . . . 2801 / $1028
8.  The Bourne Legacy - $2.88 ($107.82) - 6 wks (U) -27.6%
 . . . 2170 / $1325
9.  The Odd Life of Timothy Green - $2.51 ($46.28) - 5 wks (BV) -31.2%
 . . . 2415 / $1040
10. The Campaign - $2.41 ($82.86) - 6 wks (WB) -28.8%
 . . . 2002 / $1201

Last Ounce of Courage opened on 1407 screens and came in at #15.  In limited release, Arbitrage and The Master did well.  2016 Obama's America passed the $30 million mark.  Hope Springs passed $60 million.

Resident Evil has owned the second weekend of September whenever it's chosen to open in that spot.

NBC's The New Normal - TV Review

This was put forward as one of NBC's better new sitcoms, and based on what I've seen so far, it IS one of the better new sitcoms NBC has to offer this fall.  But it's still not good enough to bother entering my DVR schedule.

KSL-TV said it won't carry it, but no prob, I can just download it on DirecTV.  This show has a gay couple (The Hangover's Justin Bartha and Broadway's Andrew Rannells) going the surrogate-mother route in order to start a family.  The surrogate mom (Georgia King) is poor and raising her daughter (Bebe Woods) on her own now that she's divorcing her dumb-as-doornails husband.  It's almost too feel-good perfect, right?

Enter great-grandmother Ellen Barkin (did she not notice they were making her a great-grandmother?)  She's a racist, homophobic, Fox News-watching judgmental monster who has those one-liners supposed to be Archie Bunker-esque, I suppose, but they go so over the top with her that I never wanted to see her character again.  Racist homophobes can be funny, but they miss the mark here.

Maybe if they tone her down and find new ways to spice up the guys (first episode's too soon to have them embracing their "boring married couple" phase) it can grow into being a good show.

Friday, September 14, 2012

NBC's Guys with Kids - TV Review

Anthony Anderson (NBC's Law & Order), Jesse Bradford (Swimfan), and Zach Cregger (IFC's The Whitest Kids U Know) star as three friends with babies who cart them around in those front-backpack things.  Tempestt Bledsoe (NBC's The Cosby Show), Erinn Hayes (The Watch), and Jamie-Lynn Sigler (HBO's The Sopranos) are the mothers, with one a workaholic, one a shrew-ish ex, and the other is... played by Sigler and I'm waiting to see what her character is.

It's a laugh-track sitcom, and of the three guys I liked Cregger the most.  Bradford and Hayes play a divorced couple, and he was so henpecked, and she was so selfish that I couldn't stand either.  Bledsoe and Sigler... who knows.  You know what you're getting with Anderson (though I personally prefer him in dramas).

It won't make my reviewing rotation.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

HBO's Game Change - TV Movie Review

Finally got a chance to see HBO's movie based on one-fifth of the best-selling book from Heilemann/Halperin about the 2008 election.  And it did play like one-fifth of the book, where I wished we could get the other four-fifths.  You know, since the book's main plot was how Obama beat Hillary in the Democratic primary.

But this focusses on three characters. The main character is Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson), one of McCain's closest advisors and likely one of the main sources of the book.  Just as it looks like Obama's sealed the Democratic nominee, McCain's thinking of who his running mate should be.  He wants his pal Joe Lieberman, but internal polling shows it would be disastrous, so they have to look for a high-risk high-reward candidate.

Enter Sarah Palin, played with juuust a little too much Alaskan twang by Julianne Moore sometimes, while other times she's lost in the role and I forgot I was watching Moore.  Sarah is this enigmatic figure, smart on some things and unbelievably stupid on other things. (She really didn't know that England's run by the Prime Minister, not the Queen?  She really thought Saddam was in on the 9/11 plot?)  But lest you think we're seeing a caricature, we see the scenes of her children crying due to the press treatment they're receiving, and we see her putting on a brave face while her son's deployed in Iraq.

John McCain's role isn't as big as I thought it might be.  Ed Harris does a fine job, and for the most part, McCain's portrayed as a good man bewildered by his friends in the press turning on him.  Schmidt is the moral center, and Palin by the end is Willie Stark as Greg Stillson in The Maleficent Story, and it's Schmidt's willingness to be candid in interviews afterward about just how unprepared she was that put the brakes on the printing of Sarah Palin 2012 bumper stickers. (So that's how he got his job at MSNBC.)

So if HBO was willing to go warts-and-all with the Palin parts of the book, why not do the rest and be a mini-series?  Politics, obviously.  If Palin had decided to run, what a deliciously opportune time for the movie to come out.  But we won't go into the Hillary/Barack/Bill/John & Elizabeth Edwards sections of the book.  Might make the Democrats look bad.  It's from Danny Strong and Jay Roach, the same team behind HBO's Recount, which retold the 2000 election through Gore-colored glasses.

But I do hope Woody Harrelson wins the Emmy for his work here.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekend Box Office - 9/9/12

1.  The Possession - $9.5 million ($33.35) - 2 wks (LG) -46.4%
 . . . 2834 screens / $3352 per screen
2.  Lawless - $6 ($23.52) - 2 wks (Wein) -40%
 . . . 3138 / $1913
3.  The Words - $5 - 1 wk (CBS)
 . . . 2801 / $1785
4.  The Expendables 2 - $4.75 ($75.42) - 4 wks (LG) -47.4%
 . . . 3260 / $1457
5.  The Bourne Legacy - $4 ($103.7) - 5 wks (U) -44.7%
 . . . 2766 / $1446
6.  ParaNorman - $3.83 ($45.1) - 4 wks (Foc) -41.7%
 . . . 2856 / $1341
7.  The Odd Life of Timothy Green - $3.65 ($43.01) - 4 wks (BV) -42%
 . . . 2717 / $1343
8.  The Campaign - $3.53 ($79.47) - 5 wks (WB) -38.2%
 . . . 2542 / $1389
9.  The Dark Knight Rises - $3.29 ($437.85) - 8 wks (WB) -46.3%
 . . . 1987 / $1653
10. 2016 Obama's America - $3.28 ($26.09) - 9 wks (RM) -41.5%
 . . . 2017 / $1627

Predicatbly slow weekend saw last week's top two keep their spots.  The Words had bad reviews and no buzz, and The Cold Light of Day opened to more screens than planned (1511) but had even worse reviews. The Words and Hit & Run are two Bradley Cooper movies that won't make much but their budgets were low enough that they'll still be profitable.

2016 Obama's America is now the second highest-grossing political documentary of all time.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ice Age: Continental Drift - Movie Review

Starring the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Wanda Sykes, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Peter Dinklage, Seann William Scott, Josh Peck, Keke Palmer, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Josh Gad, Nick Frost and Chris Wedge.
Directed by Steve Martino & Mike Thurmeier.


This is the fourth installment in the series, box-office-wise, there's no indication it'll be going extinct anytime soon.  Ice Age 5 & 6 will happen.

Manny, Sid and Diego are living happily ever after, or at least have been since escaping the middle of the Earth where dinosaurs still roamed.  Manny's daughter's growing up and he's overprotective (no references to the wife and child he lost before the first Ice Age).  Sid's family shows up long enough to drop off Granny and abandon him again.  Diego's just hanging out.

The best part of all of the movies is Scrat, in fruitless pursuit of the perfect acorn.  This time he falls to the Earth's core, causing the plate shifts that rip apart the continents.  Manny, Sid, Diego and Granny happen to be on one piece of land that drifts out into the ocean, cutting them off from everyone else.

I welcome an excuse to narrow down the cast, and Wanda Sykes is a perfect fourth-wheel as the cranky, wrinky granny sloth.  The four eventually encounter pirates, led by a malicious baboon named Captain Guts. (I couldn't place the voice, but ah, it was Peter Dinklage).  Naturally there's a sabre-tooth hottie (Jennifer Lopez) among the crew that Diego can pine for.

It's an okay time-killer.  I still enjoy John Leguizamo's Sid the Sloth, and some of the visual gags are funny.  The teenage-daughter subplot is typical Nick Jr. stuff.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Possessions wins box-office weekend

1.  The Possession - $17.73 million - 1 wk (LG)
 . . . 2816 screens / $6294 per screen
2.  Lawless - $9.67 ($11.82) - 1 wk (Wein)
 . . . 2888 / $3350
3.  The Expendables 2 - $8.8 ($66.16) - 3 wks (LG) -34.4%
 . . . 3334 / $2639
4.  The Bourne Legacy - $7.25 ($96.25) - 4 wks (U) -22.4%
 . . . 3131 / $2315
5.  ParaNorman - $6.55 ($38.03) - 3 wks (Foc) -24.2%
 . . . 3085 / $2124
6.  The Odd Life of Timothy Green - $6.06 ($35.9) - 3 wks (BV) -15%
 . . . 2635 / $2298
7.  The Dark Knight Rises - $5.88 ($431.2) - 7 wks (WB) -18.6%
 . . . 2187 / $2689
8.  The Campaign - $5.45 ($73.02) - 4 wks (WB) -27.1%
 . . . 2941 / $1851
9.  2016 Obama's America - $5.1 ($18.2) - 8 wks (RM) -21.6%
 . . . 1747 / $2921
10. Hope Springs - $4.7 ($52.06) - 4 wks (Sony) -17.9%
 . . . 2441 / $1925

Late August to mid September are typically slow, and The Possession did about a good as could be expected.  I can't help but think if Lawless had someone else as the kid brother besides Shia LaBeouf, it would have opened better.

As far as political documentaries go, 2016 has passed Capitalism: A Love Story and is on pace to pass Bowling for Columbine.  If it can catch Sicko's $24.5 million, it'll be the second highest grossing political doc of all time.

The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure also opened, and it now has the dubious distinction of being the worst opening in history of any movie over 1000 screens.  It debuted at #26, averaging $207 per screen on 2160 for a total of $448,000.