Monday, November 30, 2015

Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is #1 at box office

For the weekend of November 27-29, 2015, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 held on to the top spot despite the latest Pixar title coming to town. THG:M2 is still trending behind the other three films domestically, but as it's already at $440 million wordlwide, I can't imagine studio executives are too upset about it.

The Good Dinosaur hasn't had much of a ramp-up compared to most Pixar fare, but it's been able to enjoy the long Thanksgiving weekend, and it should stay the #2 movie in America until the new Star Wars gets here.

Creed has the reviews to back up it up as its own movie and not just Rocky VII.

Victor Frankenstein was a spectacular bomb. Not even having Professor X (James McAvoy) and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) could save it.

Thanksgiving weekend is usually good for box office overall, and titles that were already open had small declines.

Award-hopefuls like Spotlight, Brooklyn, and Trumbo could really use some actual nominations for something to use in their marketing.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Beasts of No Nation - Netflix Review

BEASTS OF NO NATION (R) Starring Abraham Attah and Idris Elba.
Written & directed by Cary Joji Fukunaka.


The country may be fictitious, but you can tell it borrows heavily from the quagmire of war-torn Congo. The story centers on Agu (Abraham Attah), a 12-year-old boy who sees his family slaughtered by government guards. He flees into the jungle, barely escaping his own execution, before he runs into Commandante (Idris Elba), a rebel leader with an army of young killers.

At first, Agu and his new brothers seem like they're fighting for a just cause, overthrowing the corrupt and murderous government. But soon enough, Commandante's true nature is revealed, and the boys are whipped into frenzies to commit worse and worse atrocities. There are no heroes; there are no good guys.

We witness the horrors of civil war through the eyes of Agu, and innocence is lost on a devastating scale. Newcomer Attah does an amazing job, which is significant since he has to share the screen with Elba, who might be doing his own career-best work.

This is all directed masterfully by Cary Joji Fukunaka (True Detective), and his camera work is on par with anything from Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket. There's almost a poetry to the carnage.

This movie manages to sink into the bones of its audience. It makes the mentality of mass murder comprehensible, and therefore all the more disturbing. It goes to some dark, dark places; I don't think I can exaggerate how dark it gets.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is #1 at box-office

For the weekend of November 20-22, 2015, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 had the fifth-highest opening of the year. It's the lowest opening of the series, but if your lowest opening is still $100 million, you've had a good franchise.

The Night Before was a disappointment for Seth Rogen and crew, but they kept the budget relatively low. Secret in Their Eyes bombed, surprisingly. This movie should have opened in March or September, and even if he has the biggest part, I would not have top-billed Chiwetel Ejiofor over Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman. But the reviews are bad, so maybe marketing did the best they could.

Spectre has passed $675 million worldwide. If I was Daniel Craig, I'd make sure to get in a fifth Bond movie to pass Brosnan. Maybe even a sixth to tie Connery. Roger Moore has the most at seven, but keep in mind those seven films came out in a 12-year span. Craig now has four Bond films down in a 9-year span.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Spectre - Movie Review

SPECTRE (PG-13) Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott and Rory Kinnear.
Written by John Logan & Neal Purvis & Robert Wade & Jez Butterworth.
Directed by Sam Mendes.
It’s not quite Quantum of Solace bad, but it’s not Skyfallgood either. Here’s where I first thought we might be in trouble. The movie opens with an impression opening scene in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead. A giant parade of thousands going down the street. James Bond (Daniel Craig) sees his target and shoots. Somehow the building blows up. I couldn’t tell if Bond had some sort of mini-rocket or if some villains blew up the building. Anyway, after the explosion, he sees his main target still alive and he chases him.
About two blocks later, the parade is still going as if no one heard that building explode. The celebration continues. The movie seems to forget that it just blew up a building. When Bond catches his guy trying to escape by helicopter, the shots of the city somehow don’t include a burning pile of rubble. “You just blew up a building two blocks away. How comes no one’s noticed?”
Spectre feels like an assembly of cool set pieces and stunts, but they never really strung them together with a compelling plot. I think that’s why it feels empty when we get to our showdown between Bond and Franz (Christoph Waltz). What is Franz’s ultimate goal? Why is he doing what he’s doing? Why doesn’t he just kill Bond?
Don’t get me wrong. The set pieces, the stunt-work, the locations, etc., are all top-notch. I also liked how Bond’s supporting characters are given more to do than be in the office and the beginning and end of the story. M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw), and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) all actually go on the road to help Bond with his latest, off-the-books mission.
Really, a few of the Bond films have suffered over the years from not having villains with clear motives. So this seems to follow in that tradition.