Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Magnificent Seven is #1 at box office

For the weekend of September 23-25, 2016, The Magnificent Seven was a yet another hit for Denzel Washington, for Chris Pratt, for director Antoine Fuqua. It's also a nice Training Day reunion for Washington, Fuqua, and Ethan Hawke.

Storks didn't open as well as a September animated movie might hope, but its budget wasn't too big and it seems like the type of film that'll translate well overseas. Ice Age 5 ultimately was profitable thanks to overseas business.

Jason Bourne's on the verge of crossing $400 million worldwide.

More people saw the bad Ben-Hur remake than have seen Hell or High Water. Come on, people! You've got to see Hell or High Water. Don't be surprised if it's nominated for Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Supporting Actor (Ben Foster) in a few months.

Opens September 30
MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIARS with Eva Green and Asa Butterfield.
DEEPWATER HORIZON with Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich.
MASTERMINDS with Zack Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Magnificent Seven - Movie Review

Starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, Matt Bomer and Cam Gigandet.
Written by Nic Pizzolatto & Richard Wenk.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua.


Did we need this remake? No, but might as well have some fun with it.

It's a great story, told over and over, from the original Seven Samurai to the Yul Brenner/Steve McQueen classic to Three Amigos to A Bug's Life.  People in peril from someone powerful and evil seek help from outsiders.

This movie features the robber-baron Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), the hammiest mustache-twirling villain you're going to see this year, counting the animated movies. He's bought off the law to the point that he and his men can just shoot a few people in broad daylight and set fire to their church, and no one does anything. After her husband is killed, Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett) enlists the help of bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington). The town scrapes together what possessions they have left so Chisolm can recruit who he needs to in order to kill Bogue. (And Chisolm's bounty hunter scenes reminded me a lot of Django Unchained.)

This is where the movie really picks up. We're given enough time to meet the recruits one by one and have enough time with them that we care whether all of them will survive the inevitable showdown. Faraday (Chris Pratt) is the wise-cracking gambler. Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) is the bandit. Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) is the legendary Civil War sharpshooter, and Billy Rocks (Byung-Hun Lee) is his knife-wielding companion. Jack Horne (Vincent D'Onofrio) is the expert mountain man. Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier) is the Comanche who finds himself without a tribe.

The third act, after the Seven have fortified the town and trained the remaining citizens the best they could, is the money part of the movie. I loved the set-up and execution of the final half-hour battle.

It's not particularly deep, and I would argue it doesn't take itself too seriously. For a movie where almost 200 people get killed.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Emmy Winners for 2016

BEST TV DRAMA - Game of Thrones
BEST TV LIMITED SERIES - The People vs. OJ Simpson

BEST TV DRAMA ACTOR - Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
BEST TV DRAMA ACTRESS - Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black
BEST TV DRAMA SUPP. ACTOR - Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
BEST TV DRAMA SUPP. ACTRESS - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

BEST TV COMEDY ACTOR - Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
BEST TV COMEDY ACTRESS - Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
BEST TV COMEDY SUPP. ACTOR - Louie Anderson, Baskets
BEST TV COMEDY SUPP. ACTRESS - Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

BEST TV LIMITED SERIES ACTOR - Courtney B. Vance, The People vs. OJ Simpson
BEST TV LIMITED SERIES ACTRESS - Sarah Paulson, The People vs. OJ Simpson
BEST TV LIMITED SERIES SUPP. ACTOR - Sterling K. Brown, The People vs. OJ Simpson

BEST TV DRAMA GUEST ACTOR - Hank Azaria, Ray Donovan
BEST TV DRAMA GUEST ACTRESS - Margo Martindale, The Americans
BEST TV COMEDY GUEST ACTRESS - Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live


BEST TV-MOVIE - Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

BEST VARIETY SERIES - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
BEST VARIETY SPECIAL - The Late Late Show Carpool Karaoke Special
BEST VARIETY WRITING - Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping

BEST DOCUMENTARY SPECIAL - What Happened, Miss Simone?
BEST INFORMATIONAL SERIES - Anthony Bourdain, Parts Unknown

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sully Is Still #1 at Box Office

For the weekend of September 16-18, 2016, Sully hung on strong and laid waste to all newcomers. A mere 37% drop is impressive, and it looks like this one will be one with long legs, even if The Magnificent Seven bumps it from the top spot next week.

Blair Witch had been tracking in the high teens last week but a slew of negative reviews may have killed its momentum. it only had a $5 million production budget, so it's still profitable. Hopes to relaunch the franchise might be dashed.

Bridget Jones's Baby opened just under what Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason opened to in 2004, so one wonders why this was greenlit in the first place.

Oliver Stone's Snowden was delayed multiple times and never gained the buzz it would need.

Opens September 23
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN with Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke.
STORKS with the voices of Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer and Keegan-Michael Key.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Sully - Movie Review

Starring Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Mike O'Malley, Anna Gunn, Jamey Sheridan, Holt McCallany, Chris Bauer, Ann Cusack, Molly Hagan and Jerry Ferrara.
Written by Todd Komarnicki.
Directed by Clint Eastwood.


The genius of this movie about an event where everyone survived is how it captures the emotions of the people involved who did not know everyone survives. Never in history has a passenger plane landed in a body of water and had no casualties. And so we can feel the heightened emotions of those involved.

Tom Hanks plays Capt. Sullenberger, and I'd never wondered if he'd had PTSD after the Miracle on the Hudson. The movie goes back and forth between that day but also the investigation afterwards, where Sully was actually criticized for not turning back and landing at La Guardia.

It's actually a perfect New York movie to put out over the 9/11 weekend. It's a story about how New York's finest all came together and had a happy ending on a story involving a plane. We feel the anxiety and fear of the passengers, and therefore feel their gratitude at the miracle of surviving.

Clint Eastwood had stumbles as a director recently but after American Sniper and now this, he's back at the top of his game.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sully is #1 at box office

For the weekend of September 9-11, 2016, Sully outperformed its tracking numbers and marks a return to success for Tom Hanks, his best opening ever outside the Toy Story and Da Vinci Code franchises. It's also the best opening ever for director Clint Eastwood (American Sniper opened in limited release before it expanded).

When the Bough Breaks was a decent opening for a movie with 0% RottenTomatoes ranking. The Wild Life had the worst animated trailer since Underdogs, and so it opened low. The Disappointments Room also had 0% RottenTomatoes score, and between it and Morgan bombing, I think horror fans are catching up on Don't Breathe and then waiting for Blair Witch next week.

Suicide Squad has made over $300 million domestic now. Pete's Dragon hit $70 million.

Opens September 16
BLAIR WITCH with Callie Hernandez, James Allen McCune and Corbin Reid.
BRIDGET JONES'S BABY with Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey.
SNOWDEN with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley and Zachary Quinto.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Jared Hess to direct third Shanghai Noon movie

- Jared Hess (Masterminds, Napoleon Dynamite) will direct Shanghai Dawn, the third film in the Shanghai series that stars Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson. The first two were 2000's Shanghai Noon and 2003's Shanghai Knights.

- Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible 5) has joined The Greatest Showman on Earth, a musical about P.T. Barnum. It stars Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle WIlliams, and Zendaya.

- Gary Oldman is set to play Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, all about the Prime Minster when things weren't going so well for Great Britain during WWII. Lily James (Cinderella), Ben Mendelsohn, John Hurt and Kristen Scott Thomas co-star.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

CBS's Big Brother 18 - TV Review

This has been one of the lamer seasons in recent memory.

1. The cast skews too young - The original vision of the show was to have people from all walks of life living under one roof. The median age of the cast has been going down steadily, which means you're lucky to have more than two people over 30. This means the show is more concerned about showmances than engaging personalities. It also means they think Millennials will watch more if there's less variety in age.

2. Too many empty pretty people - Corey may have a nice body, I've been told, but the guy has no personality. He is boring boring boring. Then you have Paulie, who got in based on his brother's gameplay, but he wound up proving to be a misogynist bro. Every show needs a villain, but my goodness. As for the women, the ones with the most interesting personalities (Davonne, Bridgette) are out, although Natalie's the best of the remaining.

3. Too much diary room; not enough juicy footage - The show relies more and more on houseguests summarizing what happened in the diary room, rather than just showing us. BB17's Johnny Mac used this to his advantage, displaying a far different personality in the DR than outside. This time around? Ehhh, I'd say the best at it is Paul. But most of the HGs, I do not want to hear them gived coached summaries of what happened.

4. Too many opportunities to return - Victor won his way back into the house TWICE. There should only be one time someone can win their way back in, if there's an opportunity at all.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Jane Got a Gun - Netflix Review

Starring Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich, Boyd Holbrook and Rodrigo Santoro.
Written by Brian Duffield, Anthony Tambakis & Joel Edgerton.
Directed by Gavin O'Connor.


This is one of those projects that went through many cast members and directors before it finally got made, and there were so many troubles surrounding this movie that it was ultimately dumped in theaters in January.

Natalie Portman plays Jane, a frontier woman who's hooked up with an outlaw on the run from his old gang. When he comes home shot up, Jane looks to hire a mercenary to help her defend her home before the gang inevitably shows up. And the only man she can think of for the job is her ex-fiance (Joel Edgerton).

Most of the movie then has us, the audience, waiting for the gang to show up so we can have our showdown. We get flashbacks here and there that explains backstory and previous relationships. The leader of the gang is a dangerous man named Bishop (Ewan McGregor, doing an unconvincing Southern accent).

The showdown comes at night, and there were times I couldn't tell what exactly was happening. I have a soft spot for Westerns, as they rarely are profitable these days, but this suffers from the same flaw as Slow West. Not enough story in the first two-thirds before we get to the third act.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Don't Breathe wins box office weekend again

For the weekend of September 2-4, 2016, all newcomers failed to entice, allowing Don't Breathe to remain the #1 movie. Its mere 40% drop is a good sign this suspense film will have long legs and manage to stay in multiplexes while the wave of September releases washes everything else out.

Pretty low drops for several films. Suicide Squad is well in the profiting range, having passed $672 million worldwide. Pete's Dragon and Kubo & the Two Strings have been two family films that have underperformed their budgets domestically and will need strong overseas showing to break even.

So about those new releases. No Manches Frida had a great opening for its amount of screens. It follows in the tradition of Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos, in that it looks like Lionsgate's plan is to release a Spanish language film on a few hundred screens in late August/early September, and so far, it's working.

The Light Betweens Oceans featured a solid cast with a heavy, emotional premise, and the marketing never gave it that "must see" feel. Just looked like a bummer. Morgan, meanwhile, flat-out bombed. I saw it opening night, and there were only eight people at my screening.

Bad Moms crossed the $100 million mark.

Opens September 9
SULLY with Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney and Anna Gunn.
WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS with Morris Chestnut and Regina Hall.
THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM with Kate Beckinsale and Lucas Till.
THE WILD LIFE with the voices of Jeff Doucette and Sandy Fox.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Morgan - Movie Review

Starring Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, Toby Jones, Rose Leslie, Boyd Holbrook, Paul Giamatti, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Yare, Chris Sullivan, Vinette Robinson and Brian Cox.
Written by Seth Owen.
Directed by Luke Scott.


It is the great misfortune of Morgan that a better version of it came out last year. That would be Ex Machina.

This movie is about an artificial intelligence that has grown in five years to look like a teenage girl. Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy) had an incident with one of her doctors - she stabbed her in the eye - and so now Lee Weathers (Kate Mara) from "Corporate" has been brought in to determine if Morgan should be terminated, or if it's safe to keep her going.

Lee is the outsider who comes to the secluded study facility. Everyone has their job, and it's clear the staff is fond of Morgan. I enjoyed settling in with this cast. It's a good bunch of actors. I knew from the trailer where this movie was going to go, but I found it really unfortunate that it took some really dumb decisions by someone allegedly smart people to get us into the violent second half.

The movie's directed by Ridley's son Luke Scott, and while there's beauty to some of his shots, this felt like a conventional debut for him. I thought the atmospheric build was nice, but the emotional tension didn't work for me in the third act. It felt like the movie was going through its "this is how these type of movies need to climax" motions.

I enjoyed Taylor-Joy (The Witch) as Morgan. Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones' Ygritte) was interesting using an American accent. But yeah, hunt down and watch Ex Machina.