This summer will be a test on how many superheroes one season can handle. (First posted this here.)
2. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (5/23) - $285 million - Marvel's all the rage, and the chance to see Hugh Jackman walk between the old and new generations looks irresistible. Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender have since had their stars shine brighter.
3. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (5/2) - $275 million - I don't think this will be the unstoppable juggernaut Iron Man 3 was in this slot last year. Early word's been mostly positive, but it looks awfully crowded with three villains.
4. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (6/27) - $250 million - Out: Shia LaBeouf. In: Mark Wahlberg. Wise choice by Michael Bay.
5. GODZILLA (5/16) - $220 million - This reboot looks like it takes it seriously, and it's in prime release position to make a big splash upon arrival.
6. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (7/11) - $205 million - The quality looks like it'll still be there, and Caesar (Andy Serkis) is still the main character. This is a good thing.
7. MALEFICENT (5/30) - $195 million - These reboot/reimaginings have been fairly successful, and I don't think this'll be much different.
8. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (8/1) - $180 million - Really hope the movie is as fun as the trailer hints. It's the biggest gamble Marvel's taken since the original Iron Man.
9. 22 JUMP STREET (6/13) - $145 million - Two-time Academy-Award nominee Jonah Hill lets Channing Tatum tag along for another go-around. If they can just be as funny as the first one, then this should be a hit.
10. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (8/8) - $135 million - I think this'll be the last blockbuster opening of summer, and then it'll coast while lesser titles open throughout the month.
11. HERCULES (7/25) - $130 million - I could just as easily see this bombing, but it does have the slot where The Wolverine found success last year.
12. NEIGHBORS (5/9) - $128 million - The Seth Rogen/Zac Efron banter looks funny, and early word-of-mouth has been positive.
13. TAMMY (7/2) - $115 million - Melissa McCarthy finally gets top billing after delivering hits with co-stars like Kristen Wiig, Sandra Bullock and Jason Bateman. Susan Sarandon's been aged up to play her grandmother. I'm going to assume marketing doesn't screw this up.
14. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (5/30) - $105 million - Ted was a big hit, but now let's see if people can stand Seth MacFarland's face for a whole movie. It helps that he's recruited actors like Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson to be around.
15. THINK LIKE A MAN TOO (6/20) - $100 million - Kevin Hart is now a star, so he should boost this ensemble comedy.
16. EDGE OF TOMORROW (6/6) - $95 million - Tom Cruise's star is fading, and the final trailer didn't quite have that hook that will launch it to a smash, but it's really made more for the overseas audiences.
17. GET ON UP (8/1) - $90 million - Chadwick Boseman (42) in another bio-pic, this one of music icon James Brown, and I think this'll be the long-legged success story of August.
18. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (6/6) - $85 million - Based on the best-selling book, buzz seems to be growing for this as it gets closer. It'll be a test if Shailene Woodley can parlay her Divergent success into legitimate stardom.
19. BLENDED (8/15) - $84 million - Adam Sandler made Grown Ups 2 a hit, so as long as it's not rated R (looking at you, That's My Boy), it'll crack the top 20 of summer, even if it sucks.
20. JUPITER ASCENDING (7/18) - $82 million - I love the risks the Wachowskis took with Cloud Atlas, but it bombed. Here comes another wholly original-looking tale, but I don't know how much of a chance audiences are willing to give it. Channing Tatum's been made up to look like Dominic Monaghan, so this could be a John Carter-sized bomb.
The next ten, probably in the $50-$80 million range:
MILLION DOLLAR ARM (5/16)
JERSEY BOYS (6/20)
DELIVER US FROM EVIL (7/2)
THE PURGE: ANARCHY (7/18)
PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE (7/18)
INTO THE STORM (8/8)
THE GIVER (8/15)
EXPENDABLES 3 (8/15)
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR (8/22)
Other wide releases:
MOM'S NIGHT OUT (5/9)
LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY's RETURN (5/9)
EARTH TO ECHO (7/2)
SEX TAPE (7/25)
STEP UP ALL IN (7/25)
THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (8/8)
LET'S BE COPS (8/15)
IF I STAY (8/22)
WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL (8/22)
JANE GOT A GUN (8/29)
THE LOFT (8/29)
Notable limited releases:
THE SACRAMENT (5/2)
THE DOUBLE (5/9)
THE ANGRIEST MAN IN BROOKLYN (5/23)
NIGHT MOVES (5/30)
THE ROVER (6/13)
BEGIN AGAIN (7/2)
AND SO IT GOES (7/11)
THE FLUFFY MOVIE (7/11)
WISH I WAS HERE (7/18)
A MOST WANTED MAN (7/25)
GRACE OF MONACO (8/29)
ONE CHANCE (8/29)
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth. Directed by Darren Aronofsky.
My first impressions were what they were, but I was inspired to do a little more research into the story of Noah. I've always known the Bible's version, but I also read the Torah and Midrash, which has subtle differences and theories.
Noah is a hybrid tale. It has some adventure and some thrills and some psychosexual drama that you'd expect from the director of Black Swan.
Did he take artistic liberties? Sure. Which ones are the most egregious?
I don't have a problem with the rock monsters. The Bible refers to "giants" walking the land in those days, and the Torah and Midrash refer to the Nephilim - fallen angels - and combine these two, so sure, now the Nephilim are giants, encased in rock bodies unable to return to heaven. I'll give it that.
I don't have a problem with Noah's environmentalism, which he takes a weird extreme. But I can also see why there would be confusion. In this story, mankind's only been on the Earth a handful of generations, and after the fall of Adam and Eve, and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, man's figuring out how to make it on his own in this dreary world. Noah still sees tending the Earth, respecting the plants and animals, as part of his righteous duty.
God (almost always referred to as The Creator here) doesn't speak to Noah so much as send him visions. Noah then interprets these visions as to what he must do. And the visions aren't vague. Noah sees the evil of mankind in the way they... eat animals and mine for minerals. (Not so much the robbery, rape and murder.) In this respect, the Creator/Noah motives reminded me too much of Keanu Reeves in that lame Day the Earth Stood Still remake.
I didn't even mind the villainous Tubal-cain secretly stowing away on the ark.
My biggest problem was Noah's insistance that Ham and Japeth don't get wives. The Bible's pretty clear that all three sons had wives. When the rains started coming, and only Shem has a wife, and Noah's not collecting any women for his other two sons... um, wait a minute. It's a pretty big part of the story that Earth was populated through the generations of Noah's three sons.
Noah believes part of The Creator's plan is for mankind to go extinct. He thinks the Creator called him to save the plants and animals, and then he, his wife, Shem and his wife, and Ham and Japeth will be the last humans on Earth.
Now in the Midrash it says that Noah and his sons entered separately from Noah's wife and his sons' wives, and there's a theory that the animals were separated by gender, and there was therefore no sex by anyone/anything on the ark until after the flood.
In the end, the very very end, Noah does the right thing, and it's implied the Earth will get repopulated when Shem's daughters are old enough for Ham and Japeth to marry, but that whole second half of the movie, I just couldn't get past that change. Rock monsters? Fine. Stowaway? Fine. Noah wants to make mankind go extinct? No.
Side-notes of praise: The entire flood sequence was great. Aronofsky has proven he can handle a budget. And the acting is great. Crowe, Connelly, Watson, Hopkins, Winstone, even Lerman as Ham. Poor lonely horny Ham.