Thursday, July 31, 2008

Congrats, Batman. You've just earned a round of sarcastic applause.

Oh, I know the TWX stockholders are beaming about this one. Oh, gone are the days when they were raking in even more money from the whole Harry Potter v. Lord of the Rings East Coast-West Coast division, but it's gonna be a good summah ne'theless. As soon as this damn rain stops!
Yeah, but it's not all good news, is it? Did you hear the latest about Amy Winehouse? Did you know she's a soul singer? I didn't even know that! I know I'm getting old when you got pop stars like Jessica Simpson and Amy Winehouse and you've never even heard their songs. And you know you're getting old when you listen to Miley Cyrus and think, you know? She DOES rock! Forget Clapton and this whole Led Zeppelin crap, Miley Cyrus rocks. Well, I hope Ms. Winehouse's latest stay at the hospital goes better than her boyfriend's latest stay in the pokey. Fingers crossed, honey child.
All right, enough monkeying around. I'm going to work from my Excel file on this one in tallying up this week's box office. And at #10 it's Wanted. Toil and tears indeed! Oh, it's all so unreal. But before we do like the bullet and say goodbye for good, after crunching the numbers I find that this one has the fourth highest take of the ten, with 129 million in a Russian bank. Or should I say, it's the #1 biggest total for an R-rated movie. That is, if you don't count The Dark Knight; that seemed a little R-rated to me. Was it just me? Okay, James McAvoy, now that Wanted has taken all it can from the box office, it's back to being an insignificant nobody for you, just like your character in the movie.
Cuz it's time to move on to #9, and it's Space Chimps. And did I mention already that it's a shoe-in for being the Best Animated Feature nominee that doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning? I mean, Wall-E's the shoe-in, Kung Fu Panda is the close second, and ... yeah. Unless Jimmy Neutron's got another animated feature coming out. Well, S.C., will you last another week or not? I'm thinking not.
As for #8, it's Hellboy 2, and it's the #1 Mike Mignola comic book-based action flick on the top 10 this week. With just an anemic 66.1 million total in the bank? PATHETIC! And I thought the economy was strong and getting stronger, my friends. Shows you what I know. Some economist I've turned out to be. Might have to relinquish my Nobel Prize for Economics / Movie Reviewing after all.
Coming in at #7 it's Wall-E and it's the #1 animated pic on the top 10 this week. I think it's Pixar's most expensive venture to date. Welp, here's hoping it did well overseas, because it just barely recouped its catering budget with 195 million in the bank. Awful lot of 180 million dollar blockbusters out there this year! I remember the good ol' days when these people who worked on movies didn't get cost of living increases, and every movie cost 30 million dollars to make. But it was a different time, you know. There was a youth bubble, and people back then had more fun. Must of been all the illegal drugs. Yeah, that must of been it.
At #6, it's Hancock, and it's the #1 historical biopic about the founding fathers this week at the box office. Good, these things aren't just consigned to HBO miniseries territory or something.
Awright, just cleared the halfway point. And with it we come to JCE: Journey to the Center of the Earth coming in at #5, and it's the #1 kitschy adventure movie for kids. I didn't know dinosaurs AND asteroids lived in the center of the earth! I thought it was all magma! Of course, some say it's a black hole, or a portal to another dimension that keeps our ol' Earth spinning so fast. Well, all that astronomical brainiac stuff makes my head spin way too fast. And besides, I don't want my nose getting lopped off like ol' Tycho Brahe. Oh, don't get me started. Vinny Vincent! Why did you lop the ol' ear off, babe? Run out of brushes?
Where was I? Oh yeah, at #4 it's That 70s X-Files Sequel, and it's the #1 movie based on a cancelled Fox TV drama this week with an anemic 10 million in the bank. PATHETIC!!!!! Oh, how I miss my different font sizes. See, it's cuz they think this blog is done automatically so they had to take away some of my features and tinkertoys. Making hyperlinks has always been a chore for me, but now it's even more so. Well, it's not that bad, I guess. I'm just grousing and complaining about the way things used to be again. Let me retype that: I'm just grousing and complaining AGAIN about the way things used to be. Yeah, that's more like it. Meantime, let's do better, X-Files, okay? Don't want you to be a one-weeker like Meet Dave, all right?
Moving briskly along to #3, it's Mamma Mia! The #1 musical this week. And moving even more briskly along to #2, it's the #1 comedy at the box office this week, and it's Step Brothers! Just like the industry insiders predicted, this didn't stand a chance against the bat. But it's still doing better than Ferrell's last pic, Semi-Pro. But both are a bold move into R-rated territory, where even Sandler fears to tread. And for good reason! I know, that was a low blow, right? But once again I digress. Congrats, Ferrell, and I'm already looking forward to your next McKay collaboration due in 2010, and of course the other five pictures you'll do in between. Will at least two of them have something to do with the 70s? Will one of them feature you with an afro? I'm hoping a big double-yes!
And #1, Batman, two weeks in a row, shattering box office records, blah blah blah, yawn yawn. Heard it all before. I gotta go.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Holy Inflation-Adjusted Credit Derivatives, Batman!

Aw, man! That's what I get for procrastinating. Wasn't anti-procrastinating enough. Well, I sure can't let the biggest weekend in Hollywood history pass me by without commenting on it. But let's build the tension slowly by starting with Kung Fu Panda at #10, karate chopping Meet Dave down to #13 or lower. I don't read Variety slavishly so who knows how low that one dropped to. Coming at #9 it's Get Smart, yeah yeah yeah. Is The Nude Bomb any good? Maybe that'll be the sequel.
Meanwhile the Russian mafia's still boffo with Wanted at #8, Morgan Freeman's favorite movie of 2008, personally. Not that he didn't have fun with The Dark Knight or anything. It's just that, why should he have to work for scale? You'll feel like you got scooped up into a sports car too!
And rounding out the bottom 10 it's the other two nominees for Best Animated Picture 2008, Wall-E and Space Chimps. It's going to be a tough year, but I think Wall-E will emerge triumphant, for not only is there big merchandising behind this, but a big budget for big splashy "For your consideration" ads in Variety.
And on to the top five, finally. The first casualty of the superhero bubble is Hellboy 2 with an anemic 10 million in the bank this week! Maybe they can submit a dubbed version in Spanish to qualify for the Best Foreign Film Oscar. Good plan, eh?
At #4 it's JCE to all the hipsters, but for those of you who aren't in the know, like me, it's Journey to the Center of the Earth. Or, the latest non-Jurassic Park flick to use one of them big ol' CGI dinosaurs. Kewl! But for sheer brontosauri, you gotta go with the director's cut of 2005 King Kong. Man, there must be about a million of 'em what get piled up. Fire up the grill!
Rounding out the top 3 it's Hancock, and some publication, not even Variety, mentioned that this is the latest Will Smith to make more than 200 million. Apparently this is his fifth in a row, or eighth. Man, what's a brother gotta do to get some respect around here?
At #2 it's Mamma Mia. It's sort of a family picture. Not quite like that Hairspray. Now THAT was a good family picture, and a musical to boot. Well, one of these days the Oscar committee will make a new category for Best Musical. The market will be that clogged with 'em I tells ya! Oh it'll be glorious, just like Bollywood.
And finally at #1, it's another reboot, this time of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, which incidentally ALSO featured Harvey Dent, but in a more diminished capacity, and what's that all about anyway? Yes, it's the indie film sensation of the year, Batman Begins 2: The Dark Knight. With its cast of unknowns and shaky-black and white super 8mm cinematography, it's the biggest Hollywood Cinderella story of the ... oh, wait, I'm confusing it with The Blair Witch Project. I hate when that happens. Well, what can be said that hasn't already been beaten to death about this thing? Did you know that Christian Bale beat up his mum this week? Couldn't of picked worse timing! But I don't think this is going to hurt the movie's box office take that much. But make no mistake about it, we're all living in Harsh Times. Still, ya gotta be impressed, folks. It'll be a while before we see a film like this beloved by critics, and people waiting in line to see, even at 9 in the morning! Why, this is the biggest opening of a film since ... Spider Man 3? But that was terrible! I gotta go.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where in the World is ...

If you're anything like me, (and if you're reading this you either are like me, or more likely, you ARE me) what with this being an election year and all, you've probably been wondering to yourself ... where the heck has Brendan Fraser been all this time? Well, according to his detailed resumé at the, after successful stints opposite The Mummy and the Looney Tunes, he took some time off to do some things more like 1998's Gods and Monsters. Well, now, he was in Crash(2004) ... wait a minute! Shouldn't that be Crash 2005? I mean, it DID win Best Picture after all, right? Is that ancient history already? Anyway, for all you nay-sayers out there who thought his career slipped into some kind of permanent midnight or something, watch out world! Because the Fraze has gone from Journey to the End of Night to this week's #3 entry, the latest remake of Journey to the Center of the Earth. That's right, he's gone from Monkeybone to The Mummy 3 coming out on August 1st. Hopefully The Dark Knight will have petered off a little bit by then and that can make some money, too. So, since Journey's probably not going to be in the Top 10 next week, let me give out the briefest of shout-outs to special effects man turned director Eric Brevig. Howsit feel, buddy? Being in that big ol' director's chair? For who better to know how to direct a pic these days than a special effects guy who's spent the last 20 years clawing his way to the top of his craft, through dreck like Total Recall and Men in Black, finally to make a little dreck all your own? Personally, I prefer Albert Pyun's Journey to the Center of the Earth, but that's just me.

Damn! Sorry, folks, having a little intractable hardware trouble. Okay, what else we got this week? Kittredge hanging in at #10, doing similarly as Little Miss Sunshine, only America fell in love with that one a little bit harder if I remember correctly.
Hancock, Hellboy 2, yeah yeah yeah. Wanted and Get Smart tied at $112 million cume. There was an interesting thing over at The Onion about the Wall-E backlash. Just wait til they get a load of Terra! ...nothing? I'd say that's much worse. But anyway, if Wall-E really did cost $180 million to make, I'd say the 'hippies' over at Pixar will have to be a little more conservative in their next choice.
But the thing I really wanted to brush up on is this little thing called Meet Dave. Now, most of the people I know are still suffering from Eddie Murphy Fatigue (EMF) even though they liked Shrek, but I say, aw c'mon! Give a brother a chance! At least he's trying! Yeah, I remember the good ol' days of Pluto Nash, the days when it seemed like every 100 million dollar movie out there was doing SOME business. And then P. Nash hit and crashed big time. Didn't crack the Top 10 if I remember correctly! And Luis Guzman was in it and everything! Now, I ask you, HOW in the hell do you go wrong with Luis Guzman in your movie? Wow. Very wrong. Check out those numbers. And now Ron Underwood's directing episodes of Ugly Betty. But the director of Meet Dave? Oh, he's flying high, babies! He's on the Reelz Channel, talking about how he love's going to work in the morning. Hey, he directed Kenan & Kel, he can direct this one. Hell, he did Norbit! Why not.
Where was I? Oh yeah, got sidetracked again. Well, only 12 more hours or so before we find out how much ass Batman Begins 2 really kicked. Maybe they'll get cocky and let Joel Schumacher take over again! heh heh ...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hollywood Auteur Watch: Peter Berg

Who is that masked man, Smithers? Who is this man claiming to be Michael Mann's right hand man, directing all those things that Mann would've made too long and artsy? And in digital videotape? Who is this guy who looks like Ethan Hawke's... I hate to say evil twin, 'cuz he'd probably kick my ass. Let's just say, angry twin. Face it, Pete, you weren't right for Training Day! Actually, he didn't want to do Training Day just to avoid working with Laws of Gravity co-star Peter Greene. That would've just been awkward. You might remember ol' Pete Berg as the cop in Collateral who extols the virtues of staying in bed and not getting too emotionally involved in this line of work. Someday this character will be truly appreciated. Get on it, all you Ayn Rand decipels!
Deciphels? Decipels? Anyway, he's come a long way from Very Bad Things. But that was the go-go 90s, you know? But Pete's learned his lessons, sowed his wild directorial oats, so to speak, and has finally grown up, and figured out what people really want to see at the movie theater. Things like Hancock at #1. No surprise there. Although, maybe the numbers could've been a little better. Did a little better than Wall-E, which comes in second this week with half of Hancock's take. More than three times the take of #3, Wanted. Both Smith and Jolie were in Shark Tale, remember? Seems like only four years ago.
What else? Things pretty much break down as they did last week, except that Kit Kittredge has completely eliminated M. Night's entry at #8 with a paltry 3.6 million dollars, and somewhere, Dakota Fanning is smiling.

...well! I owe someone an apology. Peter Berg was NOT IN Laws of Gravity. I'm just not sure who I owe an apology to. Nick Chinlund maybe. And now I better get back to work. quick addendum. Dune? Really, Pete? DUNE? Even after the Sci-Fi TV version, does this really need to be re-remade? Why not re-do Stargate while you're at it? Or Total Recall? Okay, gotta go for real now. My disk defragmenter seems to be taking longer and longer. Is that another one of those computer geek signs of prosperity, like a full-to-bursting browser cache? I just dunno.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

brought to you by ... THE LIP SQUAD

And it's the super-babes who reign triumphant in second place this week! With her undeniable, overpowering sexiness that even Jennifer Aniston couldn't fight, Jolie plays a character named Fox in Wanted. You know, if I were her, I'd object to such objectification of women. But we're living in the age of sexy sexism. Why, I remember when they had ads on the TV for films like A Fine Mess where the chick is walking away into the bedroom and disrobes on the way in. What do they call that in the biz? Cucaloris, something like that. There's a term for everything nowadays. See, nowadays, when a movie starlet does that she has to have a giant tattoo on her back or something, or one of those tummy bracelets. See, there's more pressures on girls and women nowadays, even from me! Well, not so much from me, and that's such a turn-off.
And speaking of Jolie, she's also featured in this week's #4 entry, Kung Fu Panda. Speaking of which, I haven't been to Panda Express in a while. They running ads for it there? If not, they missed a golden opportunity. Lucy Liu's in it, too. Wasn't she great on Ally McBeal? You remember her character of course, all you pervs out there, right? Also doing voices are Seth Rogen, Kyle Gass and Wayne Knight. Between them and Jack Black, that's gotta represent a metric ton of Hollywood male un-sexiness, am I right ladies?
At #6 it's The Love Guru. If Mike Myers had a production company, it'd be an unhappy couple months there. Someone else beat me to the wise-ass observation that Myers picked a weak director so he could control the shoot. On their behalf, looks like they've been working their way up through the previous films of M. Jay Roach to become a director in their own right. Man, I wouldn't trade places with them for anything. So many years of ass-kissing, so many wasted months on something called 'The Librarian'. Are you TRYING to alienate the American market? As for you, Myers, better get cracking on Austin Powers 4. Remember! Demi Moore's the love interest this time.
On to #8, it's The Happening. What is this, the swinging 60s?
And moving quickly on to #10... oh wait, that's right, already did it. At #9, closing out the feminist shanghai-ing of the box office, it's Sex and the City. A buddy of mine asked me, doesn't that look awful? Well, he's just a sexist, right, ladies?
Did I cover all the points? Oh yeah, the other members of The Lip Squad. Lemme know if I left any out. I tried to find a good photo of the Bratz, but I wasn't happy with them. Check out Scully in The X Files part 2: Chris Carter Has to Believe.

I Don't Need No Wah-Wah

As in WA(LL-E) and WA(nted). Get it? Anyway, this is why I have to do something I think I've never done before. I have to split this week's top 10 into oddsies and evensies to reflect the trends at work here. On the one hand you have the G-rated Wall-E from Pixar at #1, and at a close second you have the Russian blood and sex fest that is Wanted at #2. I haven't seen anything like it since... since... since Jurassic Park 2 and Addicted to Love opened at #1 and #2! Something like that. It's all I could think of; sorry. So let's break it down like a proverbial enzyme; I haven't got all night.
Boy, that Pixar can sell anything. Yeah, but they'll get cocky someday and release a raunchy beach party movie that one of the Pixar bigwigs wrote 25 years ago, I can feel it. Meantime, the robot flick made a whopping 63 million dollars. Just another day at the office for these folks. The key is the merchandising, I'd imagine. Am I right, parents? Wall-E lunch boxes, Wall-E glasses for the kids, Wall-E combination binoculars and digital camera from Hammacher Schlemmer? Hell, you could probably get a battery-powered Wall-E single-person sized car like George Clooney supposedly drives around, but have it shaped like Wall-E. But when it's Oscar time, I have the feeling that Kung Fu Panda's going to get it. Just a feeling. Might be wrong, might be wrong.
Anywho, at #3 it's Get Smart. Happy now, all you Carell fans who hated Evan Almighty? Can ya blame a guy for stretching his acting legs? Nice to see whats-his-face from Borat getting some more work. Just as long as I don't have to see him naked in this one.
Moving on briskly to #5, and it's ... what was it? The Incredible Hulk. Well, I hope you're happy. You've hurt Ang Lee's feelings. He's Stan Lee's brother, you know. I'd expect that kind of thing from him, but I certainly wouldn't have expected that from you.
At #7 it's Indiana Jones 4, just finally passing the 300 million mark. Well, Spielberg must be happy about that! I can't remember the last time he did that. Lemme check. Amistad? Munich? The Terminal? Oh, I'm getting sidetracked again. Guess it was Jurassic Park. Man, it kicked Last Action Hero's ass all over the place! Hah! I the only one who remembers? I mean, besides this guy?
And finally, at #9... nah, let's make it #10. I'll tie in #9 later somehow. At 10 it's Zohan, numerically and alphabetically at the end of our list. Smell it, smell it, now take it, yeah, it'll take a while to get that out of my head. But it'll be on cable soon enough, and it'll be just like all the other Happy Madison films on cable, won't it?
Welp, since I just watched Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that!