Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New DVD Tuesday!

Marmaduke (2010): Owen Wilson, Emma Stone, Lee Pace
This is one of the most hastily thrown together films I can remember. It came out of nowhere, barely made a mark in theaters, and now hits DVD shelves two months later. If you needed further reason not to see this thing, it has a rating of 2.6 (out of 10) on IMDB. Yikes.

Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010): Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson
Movies like this make me wish I had a friend with billions of dollars just so I could have him offer me a ridiculous some of money in exchange for seeing this so that I could turn it down. Seriously, if I'm being honest, I think it might take $50,000 to get me to watch this piece of crap or any of Tyler Perry's "works." Just awful.

Harry Brown (2009): Michael Caine, Emily Mortimer
A film about a British ex-soldier who goes on a vigilante bender after his best friend is murdered. I'm quite interested in this film as it's garnering some mild Best Actor buzz.

Sons of Anarchy Season 2 (2009): Ron Pearlman, Katey Segal, Charlie Hunam
I'm as excited about this as I have been about anything that's hit the shelves in the last 3 months. FX does TV better than any of the networks these days. Season 1 of "Sons," about a biker gang in small town California, was outstanding. I came late to this party so this will all be new to be but I can hardly wait to get started.

Flash Forward (2010): Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Sonya Walger
The show that was supposed to be ABC's replacement for "LOST" and one of the bigger disappointments in recent memory. The first 4 or so episodes are strong to quite strong...and then it falls off a cliff. When I tell you I didn't watch the last 8 episodes, please understand that I NEVER give up on a show between episode 3 and the end of the season. If this pops up on instant queue I might check it out but I won't go out of my way.

Vampire Diaries, The Middle, NCIS: Los Angeles (2009)
I don't care AT ALL about any of these shows but their debut seasons are, in fact, hitting shelves today.

And now the real reason I've chosen today as my return from the disabled list:
New to Blu Ray:
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004): Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Christina Applegate
A cult classic, an elite comedy, and one of the most quotable movies in the history of the cinema. To say I love "Anchorman" would be to say Michael Jordan was a good basketball player. Aside from "Star Wars", no movie more frequently enters my mind than this one. I've named fantasy football teams after this movie. Heck, I might name a child Ron Burgundy if I can sneak it onto the birth certificate when my wife isn't looking. I am STOKED that it's finally getting the blu-ray treatment.

Movie News Today

I'm back and attempting to write again! This dumb arm is still giving me some problems so until it heals up further or my orthopedist finally gives in and provides me with the bionic arm I have incessantly badgered him for, I'll be keeping this short.

Movie ticket prices may have reached their peak says The Wrap and I quite agree.

Cinematical brings us a short clip of Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford from a 1980 interview.

Empire gives us an in depth look at 10 director's cut movies and decides which ones were worth the time.

In news of the REALLY weird, it's possible that Darren Aronofsky ("The Wrestler") may be on tap to direct the next installment of "Wolverine." Strangest combination ever.

This happened a few days ago but it's worth mentioning that Jeremy Renner ("The Hurt Locker") is expected to join the cast of "Mission Impossible 4." Outstanding choice for both parties.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Broken Arm

Broke my right arm tonight playing basketball. Sadly that means writing is out for the time being. Going to try to pick it back up once I get my cast on Thursday. Hoping I can make it work; 3-6 weeks without basketball is bad enough. No writing on top of that might bring me to the brink of insanity. See y'all soon, I hope. This paragraph took me 12 minutes to type. Sad.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"The Other Guys"

Going into “The Other Guys” I felt like Will Ferrell owed me something. I’m a huge fan of Ferrell, having held a “Ferrell = Opening Weekend” stance for many years. That policy was called into question last year, however, when “Land of the Lost” attempted to use its awfulness as a weapon with which to murder me along with the rest of the audience. Lifelong Ferrell fans everywhere began to turn on the man and while I remained loyal, I confess it was a wavering loyalty. Still, the sheer joy that this guy has brought into my life over the years could not be thrown away so easily. How could I hold “Land of the Lost” and “Semi Pro” against the man without also taking into account the absolute genius of “Anchorman” or the juvenile magnificence of “Step Brothers”? They can’t all be good, you know? All that said, though, I needed Ferrell to prove to me and the rest of the world that he is as talented as I make him out to be in my head. I needed “The Other Guys” to atone for the sins of “Land of the Lost” and while I’m not going to say this is up to par with the other (director) Adam McKay-Ferrell pairings, it goes a long way toward erasing the memory of that last atrocity.

Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) are two desk-jockey cops in a department headlined by Highsmith and Danson (Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock) who have a flare for the dramatic. Gamble wants nothing more than to do paperwork and stay off the streets while Hoitz dreams of getting back to the big time after a hilarious incident involving Derek Jeter derailed his career. When they attempt to make a meager licensing violation arrest, the pair finds themselves wrapped up in a case that is miles above their pay grades and threatens to bring their lives crumbling down around them. Oh, and also, Michael Keaton is their boss. I just felt like it needed to be said so that you would be prepared for this should you decide to see this movie. It was a huge shock to me and it took me the length of the film to adjust to Michael Keaton actually being in a movie.

One of the qualities I look for in a film, and one that is often missing, is flow. Put simply, I want the movie to establish the path it chooses to walk and move fluidly from the beginning to the end. Scene-to-scene transition, significance of every shot, and firmness of the film’s identity are usually the spots that either make or break the flow. If the scenes start and finish smoothly, if there aren’t many (or any) wasted scenes or lines, and if the director shows an understanding for what he wants the film to be, chances are the momentum will carry from beginning to end in continuous fashion. “The Other Guys” hits quite strongly on those first two points of emphasis but falls short on the third requirement, thereby keeping the film from reaching its full potential. It felt to me like McKay couldn’t decide whether he was making a faux action comedy or if he was making a full on humor filled action flick. Because of that the scenes are somewhat choppy, giving the audience the roller coaster effect. You never really settle in for the trip the movie wants to take you on.

On the plus side, Ferrell gives perhaps his best comedic performance since the fabled “Anchorman.” Gamble is a stuffy, relatively gutless accountant-type who enjoys nothing more than following the rules. In essence, he is the opposite of the typical Ferrell character. Ron Burgundy and Ricky Bobby would hate Allen Gamble. I feel this role displayed a bit of Ferrell’s range. I think the average movie goer believes this guy to be a one trick pony but in truth there is a lot of depth to his pool of talent. Burgundy, Bobby, and Frank the Tank may all be screaming buffoons but they’re very distinct and versatile buffoons. Gamble, though, is a horse of a different color and Ferrell nails him perfectly. He is without question the driving force behind “The Other Guys” and I personally think that anyone else in the title role would have sunk this thing. Everyone else in the cast, though, is a bit off pitch. Wahlberg does his fair share but, my Marky Mark man-crush aside, he seems a bit overstretched at times. Eva Mendes is way out of her league as Gamble’s wife, Ray Stevenson is the poster child for the roller coaster feel of the characters, and Keaton is an absolute mess. Between this and his last endeavor, “Post Grad” (second worst movie of 2009), I’m starting to have a hard time remembering that he was once perhaps the biggest movie star in Hollywood. Honestly, this group seems like they didn’t how to make an Adam McKay movie. I believe McKay is a director who relies heavily on the improvisation abilities of the cast to keep the ball rolling and whereas Ferrell thrives under this mentality, actors of lesser funniness (read: everyone else in this movie) seem to struggle.

“The Other Guys” is a solid-enough action-comedy that simply falls short of the other McKay-Ferrell collaborations. In a way it sort-of sums up the entire movie 2010 movie calendar: good entertainment but far from epic, significant, or enduring. I’d watch it again but I wouldn’t watch it a dozen times, memorize the lines, and name my fantasy sports teams after various characters like I’ve been known to do with “Anchorman”, “Talladega Nights”, and “Step Brothers.” If nothing else, however, it provides an opportunity for Ferrell to shine and serves as a heartfelt apology for the “Land of the Lost” debacle.

Grade: B

This might be the best movie ever that features The Rock,

Box Office Monday!

I'm not sure whether to be proud of this or not, but I helped "The Expendables" top the box office this weekend. Review to come in the next few days but suffice it to say, it's exactly what you'd expect. Epically bad on some levels, complete genius on others. The Lady of the Box Office (aka my wife) helped "Eat Pray Love" come in second and tonight we both helped "Scott Pilgrim"... well, we didn't help "Scott Pilgrim" too much because it bombed pretty miserably. Sad, because it was pretty darn solid and INCREDIBLY original. Still, lots of money spent this week at the box office. Respectable totals for this time of year.

1. "The Expendables" - $35 million
2. "Eat Pray Love" - $23.7
3. "The Other Guys" - $18 ($70 million total)
4. "Inception" - $11.4 ($248.6)
5. "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" - $10.5
6. "Despicable Me" - $6.8 ($222)
7. "Step Up 3-D" - $6.6 ($29.7)
8. "Salt" - $6.4 ($103.6)
9. "Dinner for Schmucks" - $6.3 ($58.8)
10. "Cats and Dogs 2" - $4.1 ($35.1)

Movie News Today!

The Chicago Tribune mourns the death of "At the Movies" and laments the handling of the ground breaking show. It is an absolute shame that "ATM" was fumbled the way it was and despite how many websites and reviews I have access to these days, the lack of that Saturday night program is a serious detriment to movie fans across the country. That show (and its hosts) is the reason I do what I do. End rant.

Cinema Blend has posted a video containing a deleted scene from "Return of the Jedi." Look, not to totally nerd out on you but... HOLY CRAP. A.) Why did this not make the final cut? B.) Why did it take this long to see the light of day? C.) If you're not a huge "Star Wars" fan, you don't understand how important this clip is to me, a Lifetime Star Nerd. There is a very good chance this gets removed from YouTube quickly so check it out now.

Oh, and I'm kind of burying the lead here. In case you missed it in the link above... The original "Star Wars" trilogy is headed to Blu Ray next fall. Full on geek out achieved.

I saw "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" tonight but as I'm a bit behind this week, my review is destined to be delayed. Sad. Until I can get it written, check out the review from my pal over at Movie Muse.

The Great Film Retrospective, the movie blog I write with my wife, presents the Pixar classic "The Incredibles." Check it out.

Friday, August 13, 2010

New Movie Friday!

FINALLY!!! For the first time all stinking summer Hollywood delivers a week with more than one exciting choice! You could actually debate today which of these new films will take the box office this weekend, something that's been missing all year. Too bad the summer is now officially over but at least we're getting something decent to send us out with a bang.

"The Expendables" - Sylvester Stallone and every other beastly dude in the history of film
I'm not even bothering with the summary of the plot because, really, do any of us care? No. Either you're a girl and you'd rather watch a puppy get capped than see this movie or you're a guy and you can't wait for Steroid Fest '10. Look, again I say, the odds of this being good are just incredibly low. Like, Nicolas Cage to win another Oscar low. But YOU KNOW you want to see this! I know I do, anyway. It's just too much awesome to pass up and the unintentional-comedy factor is a huge player here.

"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" - Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Cera plays a nerdy guy (duh) who must battle the seven exes of his would-be girlfriend in order to win her heart. My Nerdar (nerd radar) went FREAKING CRAZY the first time I saw this trailer. Absolutely ridiculous all around but I'm hearing great things from everyone except Movieline, a site that I've abandoned entirely. Super excited about this.

"Eat, Pray, Love" - Julia Roberts, James Franco, Javier Bardem
Roberts travels around the world and discovers herself in the process. Sounds exactly like "Under the Tuscan Sun" but whatever. Here's the deal: movie critics across the country right now are discussing the dwindling impact of stars on the outcome of a movie. Meaning, Tom Cruise isn't carrying a movie anymore. Either this trend is just a symptom of a crappy movie calendar or I'm weird or both. Because in no way shape or form am I interested in "Eat Love Pray" if it stars anyone other than Julia Roberts. Now, I'm not running out to the theater tomorrow to check this out, especially given what it's up against, but when its turn roles around, I guarantee I'll see this just because of the star.

Movie News Today!

Art of the Title Sequence takes us through the opening credits for one of my all time favorite movies, "It Might Get Loud." Seriously guys, if you care AT ALL about music and the guitar, "IMGL" is an outstanding achievement in film. Go watch it right now.

Den of Geek, one of my favorite little nerdy time wasters, has an article on going to a movie alone, a habit I am a proponent of.

There is an animated "Terminator" movie in the works, ostensibly for kids. Weird.

Todd Phillips (the director of "The Hangover" and "Old School") has a John Belushi biopic in the works. I'm not dying to see this but isn't it about time?

Paramount has picked up the rights to an extremely interesting comic book called "Last Man Standing" that was a big hit at Comic Con last year.

Ben Affleck is replacing Christian Bale in Terrence Malick's newest film. Verdict: Downgrade.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blu Ray Review - "Cop Out"

"Cop Out" is the most recent work of writer-director-"Star Wars" nerd Kevin Smith. The movie centers around two half-idiot cops with a knack for the outrageous (Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) who find themselves in the middle of a case that is way above their heads. As the shenanigans unfold, their personal lives begin to fall apart and the entire situation spins rapidly out of control.

(Can you tell I struggled with how to summarize this movie?)

All cards on the table, I'm not a fan of Kevin Smith. "Mallrats" is pretty funny and I appreciate a good "Star Wars" reference more than just about anyone who isn't George Lucas himself. But for the most part, Smith is the poster boy for half-conceived ideas. Most of his movies seem to be based on one funny idea or situation that is then painstakingly expounded upon for two hours. Smith is also extremely proud of himself and quick to lash out at anyone who doesn't appreciate his genius. To be fair, Kevin (in case you're reading), I know plenty of people who are big fans of your work. I'm just not one of them.

So while I haven't liked a Smith movie in 15 years, I confess that the trailer for "Cop Out" made me giggle every single time. I didn't want to laugh and more than once I crossed my arms, clinched my jaw and refused to do so until I couldn't take it anymore. I knew this movie was bound to be INCREDIBLY stupid and yet it was everything I could do to keep from blowing my money on a theater viewing. No such fighting over an in-home viewing, though.

The first half of "Cop Out" is ridiculous, stupid, immature fun. I laughed a lot. My man crush on Bruce Willis has been well stated throughout the course of my writing "career" and here he shows again how versatile he is. The delivery on some of his lines is impeccable. Tracy Morgan was long considered a nemesis of mine but his work here is very similar to the hilarious run he's had on "30 Rock." Seann William Scott also managed to not annoy me despite having made three appearances in my house in the last week ("Planet 51" and "The Rundown"). The movie moves pretty fast, there's a fair amount of wit to the dialogue, and the action sequences are decent enough. At some point, however, "Cop Out" just runs out of gas. There's no defining moment that separates good from bad but somewhere in there I realized I wasn't laughing or having much fun anymore. And it seemed like everyone involved was in the same camp. The last 45 minutes is dry and formulaic, lacking the life that the first half exhibited. It's a decent effort and maybe my second favorite Smith movie; but then again, that's not really saying much is it?

Grade: B-

Movie News Today!

My friend over at Marshall and the Movies gives a pretty spot on review for "The Book of Eli", a film that has grown on me since my first viewing but one that certainly didn't quite hit the mark.

 LIE has a small rant for all of you (*ahem* us) who use movie and TV quotes as a conversation crutch. My wife would probably second this...

In "Hollywood Still Doesn't Get It News", a writer has been brought on for another remake of "An American Werewolf in Paris." Oh, and it's the guy who wrote "The Number 23" which was a debacle. Way to go, Hollywood.

A funny little look at the predecessor of the iPad, as shown on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

The HBO Western series "Deadwood" is finally headed to Blu Ray. Now, please hear me when I say: this series is not for everyone or maybe even most people. It is ROUGH. It is also, however, one of the best TV shows EVER. Might call for a repeat viewing on BRD.

Complex.com brings us the top 50 Saturday morning cartoons ever. Solid list. Man how I miss the joy of the cartoon.
 My top 10?
10. Muppet Babies
9. Darkwing Duck
8. Ducktales
7. Thundercats
6. Bobby's World
5. X-Men
4. Loony Tunes
3. Garfield and Friends
2. Animaniacs
1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blu Ray Review - "Repo Men"

In the not so distant future, organ donors are a thing of the past, replaced by mechanical versions of our vital organs. If you have a heart attack, contract cancer, or suffer an accident, a much more durable version of your affected body part can be put in at a high price. But if you fall behind on your payments, Jude Law and Forest Whitaker will show up and cut it out of you. That is, until Law has an accident and wakes up with an artificial heart in his chest and an outrageous debt to pay. When he can't get back into the swing of repossessing (and murdering most of the clients, mind you), he ends up on the run and wages war on the company that provided his heart.

The problem with concept films is that the writers and directors of these movies focus entirely on the concept and not on the story or progression of the movie. Obviously this is an easy trap to fall into because it happens all the time. "Daybreakers" from earlier this year is a perfect example of this. "Repo Men" has an interesting idea from which to build a strong movie (and interesting enough to get me to rent this against my better judgment). But in truth this thing never really gets off the ground. The first 15 or 20 minutes does a decent job of setting the stage but everything after that is an utter mess. Weak story development, an over reliance on "shocking" bloody, gory shots, and embarrassingly one dimensional characters plague "Repo Men." A cast that includes Law, Whitaker, and Liev Schreiber should be a selling point but it's incredible how lackluster and uninspiring their characters are. "Repo Men's" final insult is a conclusive plot twist that has very little attachment to the rest of the film and lacks originality or even desirability. It is just a poorly conceived film all around the mercifully ends before too long.

Grade: C-

Note: No Movie News Today, yet again. I apologize. I just got a new, super awesome laptop and it is wildly different from my old, crotchety, unhip laptop. The transition is taking longer than I had anticipated. Who knew Windows 7 is to Windows 6 what "Star Wars: A New Hope" is to "Star Wars: Phantom Menace." Seriously a crushing defeat at this point but man, is it different. Everything should be back up and running tomorrow, however, so fear not, dear readers (all 6 of you).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

DVD Tuesday!

No Movie News Today today as there's just not much happening. The summer doldrums are hitting hard. Hopefully we'll get some valuable info tomorrow.

Date Night (2010): Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg
A suburban couple caught in a rut hit the town and are mistaken for a pair of thieves, resulting in an all night chase around New York. Carell and Fey are a perfect on screen couple and both have strong moments throughout. I very much enjoyed this movie when I saw it and it has since grown on me even more.

Death at a Funeral (2010): Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, Tracy Morgan
Shenanigans take place at a funeral of a family's patriarch. I refuse to see this movie and almost didn't even include it in DVD Tuesday. To take an English language film from THREE FREAKING YEARS AGO and reshoot the whole thing, sometimes scene-for-scene, but with black actors instead of British actors is embarrassing and should be offensive to the African American community. It's as if to say you can't enjoy a movie unless the cast is black. Boycott.

New to Blu Ray
What's Up Doc? (1972): Barbara Steisand, Ryan O'neal
I vaguely remember my mom watching this movie over and over but I'm not sure I'm quite equipped to summarize it beyond what's on IMDB. Regarding Streisand: not a fan. I get that she has/had talent, I just don't care. It's a generational thing I think.

Vacation (1983) and European Vacation (1985): Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo
Classic 80s comedies finally on Blu Ray. Speaking candidly, I'm not sure I've ever seen these movies all the way through. I mean, I've seen them but I haven't seen them, you know? I have no idea what happens or even which hi jinks happen in which of these movies. I know "Christmas Vacation" very well and unfortunately have had numerous encounters with "Vegas Vacation" but I feel quite vague on these two. Maybe the blu rays are in my near future.

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Dinner for Schmucks"

You know when a movie either bombs or has a hard time finding an audience and the studio still manages to find a positive quote to put on the poster? It’s usually something like Bloodandguts.com or Peter Travers from Rolling Stone but the point is, no matter how many people trash a given movie, there’s always some idiot out there who will say it’s good. Sometimes I feel like I might be that idiot. Not often, mind you. The entire purpose of this blog is to have an average dude (that’s me) write reviews for other average dudes and lady dudes (that’s you). My taste in movies is fairly well refined and usually falls in line with that of normal people, relatively speaking. Every once in a while, though, a movie comes around that is almost unanimously hated but somehow strikes a chord with me. And so it is with “Dinner for Schmucks.”

“Schmucks” involves generic businessman Tim (Paul Rudd) who takes a gamble that ends up paying off in the form of a big promotion. The only caveat that comes with this promotion, however, is a request to come to a dinner held each month for the higher ups, the purpose of which is to make fun of weirdos. (Seriously, Spell Check? “Weirdos” is totally a word.) Tim struggles with this assignment until he runs into Barry (Steve Carell), an IRS agent with a penchant for taxidermy. And by taxidermy I don’t mean the deer heads hunters display on their walls. No, I mean the staging of dead, stiff mice in real life and/or historical situations, such as the painting of the Last Supper. Yup. Tim invites Barry to the Dinner for Idiots which unwittingly opens a door for Barry to wander into his life and create total chaos.

“Schmucks” is unquestionably a stupid movie. It is also, at times, quite painful to watch. The situations that Barry routinely gets Tim into often make everyone in the audience squirm (with the notable exception of the man sitting in front of me in the theater who clearly had not seen a comedic movie since 1993). Director Jay Roach has a style all his own that screams out, “THIS IS A JAY ROACH MOVIE! THIS IS A JAY ROACH MOVIE!” This comes across so strongly in “Schmucks” that my wife, upon exiting the theater with no background on the movie, made the comment that it was, “a lot like “Meet the Parents” only harder to watch.” Bingo! I’m not saying that is necessarily a bad thing. When it works (like it does for much of “Meet the Parents”) it can be truly hilarious. When it doesn’t, however, the result is “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.” Retched. “Schmucks” doesn’t ever get firm footing in either camp. For extended periods of time it is funny if insulting to the intelligence but then it quickly shifts back to the near unbearable. Still, even as Barry digs in deeper and deeper, I found myself laughing, albeit nervous, “this could go wrong at any moment” laughter.

“Schmucks” is made entirely, however, by Carell. Just a few weeks ago I wrote about how great Carell is at making unlikeable characters likeable. He brings heart to subjects who you think might be completely irredeemable. This whole movie hangs on Carell’s performance. Barry is stupid, inept, and socially retarded. His lack of wit is astounding. And yet, you rout for the guy not because Roach desperately wants you to but because Carell forces you to appreciate the guy for what he is. Barry is a cross between Michael Scott (“The Office”) and Brick Tamland (“Anchorman”) but the combination comes across as original, again expounding upon the talent of Carell. He sets the example that no one else seems able to keep up with. I’m a huge fan of Rudd but for the first time I think we’ve discovered something he can’t do: physical comedy. Roach requires a fair amount of physical comedy from his stars and while Rudd is an insanely funny dude, this area appears to be a weakness. The rest of the characters feel a bit heavy handed and one dimensional but each have their moment, particularly “Flight of the Conchords” alum Jemaine Clement whose career was thankfully not ruined by the stench of last year’s “Gentleman Broncos”, my worst film of 2009.

Overall “Dinner for Schmucks” is a worthwhile comedy. It is not witty, smart, or especially inventive but it does the job and adds another entry to the growing list of “Things Steve Carell Does Good.” (I realize that’s not grammatically correct but “Steve Carell Does Well” rhymed so awkwardly that I had to avoid it.) In a year like 2010 that is so amazingly devoid of strong content, mindless, fun, entertainment is about all we can ask for and good enough to keep me from complaining.

Grade: B-

“Good enough to keep me from complaining” should go on the DVD cover,

Box Office Monday!

Well it sure put up a heck of a fight. As one of the very few bright spots of 2010, "Inception" stayed at the top of the box office charts for three weeks before finally succumbing to the power of Will Ferrell. "The Other Guys" debuted with the second biggest opening of Ferrell's career, bumping "Inception" to number two. The only other mainstream new release, "Step Up 3D", failed to impress or attract much of an audience. Then again, with a budget of only $30 million, these opening numbers aren't so bad.

1. "The Other Guys" - $35.6 million
2. "Inception" - $18.6 mil ($227.7 million total)
3. "Step Up 3D" - $15.5
4. "Salt" - $11.1 ($91.9)
5. "Dinner for Schmucks" - $10.5 ($46.7)
6. "Despicable Me" - $9.4 ($209.4)
7. "Cats and Dogs 2" - $6.9 ($26.4)
8. "Charlie St. Cloud" - $4.7 ($23.5)
9. "Toy Story 3" - $3.1 ($396.3)
10. "The Kids Are All Right" - $2.6 ($14)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Movie News Today!

"Inception's" Cillian Murphy has signed on to play a part in "I'm.mortal", a project that is rapidly gaining my attention.

This is a fairly weak article but the question posed is a worthy won: what the heck has happened to the romantic comedy?

Movie Muser takes a look at one of my top 10 films ("E.T.") and the films who have held the title of "highest grossing movie ever" over the years.

Here's the trailer for Tony Scott's new film "Unstoppable." Not going to lie, this looks mediocre at best but it's still Denzel so I'll pass it on.

Friday, August 6, 2010

New Movie Friday!

Gosh do I have a lot to write this weekend. Usually I'm able to balance work, a mediocre social life, and this blog but this week hasn't exactly allowed for that. I have seen a plethora of films, though, and have started working on some editorials. Next week should be a banner week for the Soap Box Office. We'll see if the real job cooperates.

"The Other Guys" - Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg
Two low-rent desk-jockey cops (Ferrell and Wahlberg) look to solve a case that is way over their heads. The Will Ferrell Bubble broke last year with the smashing failure of "Land of the Lost" but I for one am still on the bandwagon. There's a lot more to Ferrell than people give him credit for and "The Other Guys" looks like a pretty solid bet to get him back in favor audiences. Add in Marky Mark, an admitted man crush of mine, and I'm definitely in sometime this weekend. It does seem weird, though, that this will be the film that unseats "Inception" at the top of the charts. My bet is, however, that "Inception" still comes in second.

"Step Up: 3D" - Who cares
My wife is big time into dance and I can handle some dancing, especially hip hop. I get the appeal. But the idea of sitting through 90 minutes of what is sure to be a paper thin plot to connect one dance sequence to the next in what is sure to be truly terrible 3D is sure to be only slightly better than being tortured by Jack Bauer himself.

"Middle Men" - Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, Gabriel Mact
The story of the introduction of the adult entertainment industry to the Internet. Out.

"Twelve" - Chance Crawford, Emma Roberts, 50 Cent
A dark, teenage drug flick featuring some young actors that I don't care about. Roger Ebert gave this a good review and for that reason alone I'm willing to think this could possibly be decent. But Joel Schumacher directing this cast doesn't do anything for me

Limited Release:
"Flipped" - Madeline Carroll, Callan McAuliffe
This movie centers around a budding romance between two 8th graders. On paper this doesn't interest me and clearly a theater screening is out of the question. But I might be in on DVD because of director Rob Reiner. Sure, Rob hasn't been on his game of late but what I love about this guy is that you can come in in the middle of a movie you've never heard of and know instantly that it's a Reiner movie. His characters and dialogue are distinctive and I appreciate that.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Movie News Today

Never been a big Grateful Dead fan but here's some advice for the makers of a Jerry Garcia biopic: if you lose the rights to the music, just stop right there. Your film is dead whether you actually proceed with production or not.

Speaking of projects that probably should be left behind, Terry Gilliam's "Don Quixote" has run into yet another speed bump. I respect Gilliam a lot and his latest film, "Dr. Parnassus", is wonderful. But this is a passion project that is never going to happen, at least on the scale that Gilliam envisions.

Tony Scott is in talks to take over a production of the John Grisham novel "The Associate." Scott is a bit hit or miss but it's been a while since someone took on one of Grisham's work and I for one think it's way past due.

Viggo Mortensen and Amy Adams have joined a production of Jack Kerouac's "On the Road." There has been some grumbling about whether this book needs to be adapted or not but if it's pulling Mortensen and Adams, there's a good chance it could be strong to quite strong.

"Road to Perdition" (which debuted on Blu-Ray this week) has a sequel in the works. I love "Perdition." One of my 50 favorite movies of all time. In no way, however, is a sequel needed nor would it make any sense as it would have almost no connection to the original film. Boo.

And in the worst news of the day, Stephen Sommers (easily one of the five worst directors in Hollywood) has agreed to make a sequel to last summer's abortion "G.I. Joe." Because, you know, when a movie is overwhelmingly hated by audiences and critics alike, you've just got to bring back the whole gang for another go round. Kill me.

The BBC brings us 20 films that make grown men cry. Being the sensitive, weepy guy that I am, I'd agree with about half of these. But any list like this that doesn't include "Saving Private Ryan" should be questioned strongly.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blu Ray Review - "The Rundown"

When debt collector/pseudo bounty hunter Beck (The Rock) want out of the business, his boss, Walker (William Duckling), sends him on one last mission. Beck heads to Brazil to track down Walker's son Travis (Sean William Scott) and bring him back to the States. It seems like an easy enough task until Beck finds himself in the middle of a cultural war between the locals and slumlord Hatcher (Christopher Walken).

Apparently I didn't learn from my own Rock-related lesson with "Planet 51." Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment. Either way, Netflix delivered me another craptastic action movie starring The Rock (who, again, I will not call Dwayne Johnson until he proves he can act) and I watched. I'd actually heard good things about "The Rundown" from people I trust so I'm willing to admit that my Rock prejudice may have gotten in the way here. But...


Truthfully, The Rock isn't even the worst part. He's up there, sure, but he's the secondary issue. The real problem here is the movie's identity crisis as defined by director Peter Berg. Let me be clear: I'm a big fan of Berg. The three movies he did after "The Rundown" ("Friday Night Lights", "The Kingdom", and "Hancock") are all extremely strong, especially those first two. Maybe he just hadn't found his groove yet when he made this thing or maybe he just hitched his wagon to the wrong fake movie star. Regardless, this thing can't figure out whether it's a serious action movie or an over-the-top send up. I can enjoy either one. I'm not against absurdity when it's done right and even when it's done wrong I can usually just give it a pass on the grounds of no harm, no foul. But I can't get on board for a movie that jumps back and forth across the Ridiculous Line. One minute it seems like "The Rundown" wants to be legit, the next The Rock is flying through the air like freaking Peter Pan. I feel like this movie would have fit in fine in the 80s but things have changed since then. "Die Hard" changed the game for action movies. If Berg had gone all-in and thrown together an 80s homage/throwback flick (like "The A-Team" for instance) then I think it's possible that I could get past The Rock sinking every scene like the on-screen dead weight he is. But as it is, the stupidity of the plot and the juvenile comedy (can any movie that features a monkey humping a human be considered funny?) just eaccentuate how bad The Rock is.

Grade: D

Sean William Scott is funny, though,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Movie News Today!

Robert Rodriguez is considering the possibility of taking on direction for "Deadpool." I do not care for this news as Deadpool is one of my most anticipated projects of the next few years and I am not a fan of Rodriguez's work. (Key part of this article is "...after he finishes up his next film, Spy Kids 4... Blerg.)

It appears that Will Ferrell may be up for a Spanish-language comedy called "En Casa De Mi Padre." I try not to pass on rumors very often but come on, how do you pass this one up? Ron Burgundy actually speaking Spanish? Absolutely!

And right after I say "I don't pass on rumors" I come back with... The "Arrested Development" movie is officially on!!!...according to speculation from stars Michael Cera and Jeffrey Tambor. Other than the final "Harry Potter" chapters and "The Hobbit", there is no other film I'm looking forward to more than this one. The absolute funniest TV show in history. If you haven't seen it, 2010 is the year to do it.

The AV Club gives us 14 examples of actors getting cut from a film's finished version. Some interesting behind-the-scenes stuff here.

My friend over at Marshall and the Movies gives us a primer for a movie double feature, something I am a HUGE proponent of. Point number two (see the best movie last) is of vital importance to a successful double feature.

Charlize Theron has been tagged to star in "Young Adult", written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman. I know next to nothing about the movie and I'm not the biggest fan of Theron, but bringing back the team that put together "Juno" is an almost sure thing in my book.


Movie News Today and DVD Tuesday are going to have to wait until later in the day. I took such a beating in my basketball game tonight that even being alive, let alone awake, is painful. I'll get to it tomorrow. Sorry to my "readers."

To help you get through your pain and uncontrollable rage, I give you Basil Marceaux, Republican Gubernatorial candidate in Tennessee. You're welcome.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Box Office Monday!

Bravo to all of you who have helped "Inception" stay atop the charts for yet another week. Seriously, a movie as original and cerebral as this doesn't often make this kind of impact at the box office and it is important to get out and support the ones that do. This is likely to be the last stand for "Inception" as the front runner with "The Other Guys" prised to take over next weekend, but what a good showing it has been. In other news, my theater money this week went to "Dinner for Schmucks" which pulled in a solid figure at second place. My review will come later this week but I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how relatively decent it is. Other new comers "Cats and Dogs 2" and "Charlie St. Cloud" finished in the top six with good-enough figures.

1. "Inception" - $27.5 million ($193.3 million total)
2. "Dinner for Schmucks" - $23.3
3. "Salt" - $19.3 ($70.8)
4. "Despicable Me" - $15.5 ($190.3)
5. "Cats and Dogs 2" - $12.5
6. "Charlie St. Cloud" - $12.1
7. "Toy Story 3" - $5 ($389.7)
8. "Grown Ups" - $4.5 ($150.7)
9. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice - $4.3 ($51.9)
10. "Twilight: Eclipse" - $3.9 ($288.2)

DVD Review - "Planet 51"

On a planet far far away, a green Martian species exist quite quietly, content to keep their sights set on their own world and nothing more. The population of this world (I guess it's called Planet 51 but I'm not really sure) is going through their version of the 1950s, complete with poodle skirts. Everything is fine until human astronaut Captain Charles Barker (The Rock) lands on Planet 51, unaware of its inhabitants. Things take off from there as must of the Martians organize a manhunt to track down Barker while Lem (Justin Long) attempts to help the alien get back to his shuttle.

The first 15 minutes or so of "51" aren't bad. It's kind of a fun "Back to the Future"/"Pleasantville" mix that comes off as a bit inventive if uninspired. And you could do worse in the voice talent category than Justin Long. Where this movie made a decisive turn for the worse was the minute, nay, the second that The Rock's Captain Barker stepped onto the screen. Some actors have the ability to move from live action to animated feature seamlessly and some don't. It's a different talent, a different skill set that some great actors can't master. Of course, this transition is probably a little easier for an actor who can, in fact, act. Unfortunately The Rock is not an actor and he seems hell bent on proving his talent deficiency at every opportunity. I have yet to see The Rock do anything in his short career that hasn't made me want to set myself on fire. And I refuse to call him Dwayne Johnson until he does something to prove he's an actor, not a wrestler masquerading as an actor. In all seriousness, his arrival in "Planet 51" is the exact moment that the movie begins a steady decline. Very rarely have I seen a single actor or character suck the life out of a movie as quickly as The Rock did here. It's so sudden that you almost want to give the guy an award if only there was a sophisticated way to say, "You sucked so bad that the entire movie crashed around you the minute your character appeared." He's awful. In all fairness, the script, which is riddled with poor attempts at adult humor and outrageously bad dialogue, does him absolutely no favors. But it wouldn't have mattered if "Planet 51" had been penned by Tarantino, Nolan, Sorkin, or any of the others who stand out among the Hollywood elite. What would have been a decent enough kid's flick is instead left broken and mangled on the side of the road, another victim of what The Rock is cooking.

Grade: D