Monday, May 14, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be - 5/14

This weekend was big for me, along with many other TV nerds, as NBC renewed both Community and Parks and RecreationCommunity will receive 13 episodes (which many pundits speculate will be the last of its run) and Parks will surprisingly receive a full 22 episode order. For my money, these are the two best sitcoms on television and the best network shows, period. It would have been a real shame to see either one come to an untimely end.

Both Kurt Russell and Sacha Baron Cohen have dropped out of their roles in Tarantino's Django Unchained. Walton Goggins will replace Russell. I must say I'm becoming a little concerned about this movie. Scheduled for a Christmas release, it has now lost three of the members of its impressive cast (Joseph Gordon Levitt dropped out a few weeks ago) and we're getting awful close to make-or-break time.

Jon Hamm has agreed to star in Disney's Million Dollar Arm, the true story of a sports agent who sought out Indian cricket players and brought them over to the US to play baseball. Shockingly, this will be Hamm's first starring role on the big-screen. Incredible.

The great and thoroughly underrated Sean Bean has agreed to star in a series of films based on the "Devil's Peak" trilogy of books. I'm excited for Bean not only for grabbing a starring role in a mainstream movie but also because I assume he will live through at least the first two movies which would be the longest streak of his career.

Cinema Blend gives us a pretty great list of heroes who should see playing time in the sequel to The Avengers.

My colleague Matt at Cinema Slants did a really nice piece on "The Migration of the Epic" from film to television. Check it out.

Weekend Box Office Results
The hits keep on comin’ for The Avengers. After its record SHATTERING opening weekend, the film added another $100 million to its total on these shores and crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide. That places it at the eleventh spot on the list of all-time, highest grossing films and it has only been out for 15 days. One more little fun fact: the $103 million that The Avengers scored in this, its second week in theaters, would have registered as the 19th largest OPENING WEEKEND ever.

So now my question is: When does Firefly season two kick-off?

1. The Avengers - $103.16M ($373.18M)
2. Dark Shadows - $28.8M
3. Think Like a Man - $6.3M ($81.91M)
4. The Hunger Games - $4.4M ($386.9M)
5. The Lucky One - $4.05M ($53.72M)
6. The Pirates! Band of Misfits - $3.2M ($23.1M)
7. The Five-Year Engagement - $3.1M ($24.37M)
8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - $2.65M ($3.72M)
9. Chimpanzee - $1.62M ($25.58M)
10. Girl in Progress - $1.35M

New to DVD
What I’ve Seen and You Should, Too
Chronicle (2012) – Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan
It’s been swallowed up by all the hoopla surrounding The Hunger Games and The Avengers but Chronicle was the first hit of the year. This is a very, VERY well made film and perfectly exemplifies the way in which the found footage technique should be used. This is by far the most worthwhile rental option to come through this space in a while.

What I’m Not Sold On
The Grey (2012) – Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo
There are a lot of critics I really respect who went head over heels for The Grey when it debuted in January. I can understand the appeal as this is a much deeper experience than what you might expect after seeing the trailers. But while I thought there were some great moments, I wasn’t as impressed. In fact, it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth that has gotten worse over time. Neeson is great, the concept is ambitious but the finished product isn’t a favorite of mine.

What I Hope None of You Will See
One for the Money (2012) – Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, John Leguizamo
This is the second time in three weeks that I’ve used the “What I Hope None of You Will See” moniker, the last usage referring to New Year’s Eve. Katherine Heigl was in both of those movies. I’ll let you connect the dots.

Also New
Albert Nobbs (2012) – Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Mia Wasikowska
The Devil Inside (2012) – Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth
Rampart (2011) – Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Sigourney Weaver
Hell on Wheels: Season 1 (2011) – Anson Mount, Colm Meaney, Common

Blu-Ray Pick of the Week or Whenever I Feel Like It
Father of the Bride I and II (1991, 1995) – Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short
These films are a little on the fluffy, cheesy side of things but I’ve got a soft spot for both of them, mostly due to the combination of Martin and Short which is always (ALWAYS) top-notch. I caught part of the first movie on cable recently and I thought it held up pretty darn well for being 20 years old.

Also New to Blu
Being John Malkovich Criterion Collection (1999) – John Cusack, Cameron Diaz
Romancing the Stone/Jewel of the Nile (1984, 1985) – Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner
Before and After (1996) – Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Edward Furlong
White Squall (1996) – Jeff Bridges, Caroline Goodall
Duets (2000) – Gwyneth Paltrow, Huey Lewis
Bringing Down the House (2003) – Steve Martin, Queen Latifah
There were a number of Blu-ray selections this week that ranged from “thoroughly mediocre” to “downright awful” in nature. Be sure to check Amazon if there’s a horrible movie you’ve been waiting for on Blu-Ray; this might be your lucky week.

Coming to a Theater Near You
Dark Shadows put an end to my recent hot streak, finishing with a Rotten rating at 41% (compared to my 61% prediction). Having seen it, I think 41% is pretty generous because (SPOILER ALERT) I found it to be a lazy piece of trash. Ugh.

This week, three new mainstream challengers will step up to the plate and I suspect The Avengers will send them all away in ruthless fashion.

Battleship – Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Rianna
A fleet of Navy ships is the only thing that stands between a massive alien force and the destruction of the world as we know it. Battleship is basically Peter Berg channeling Michael Bay. I can’t imagine any way that this movie will be GOOD but I will say this in its defense: I believe at least a third of the hatred being thrown in the direction of this movie would disappear if it wasn’t “based” on a board game. Seriously, if the origins weren’t so simple and ridiculous, would anyone get up in arms about Battleship weeks and months before it even opens? I don’t think so. Regardless, it can’t be good but I imagine I’ll find myself at a showing before it’s all said and done. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 35%

What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Rock, et al
A group of couples experience the ups and downs of having a child. The only positive thing I can say about this movie is that it doesn’t look as bad as Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve. I realize that’s not saying much but it’s all I can muster. I really wish I could go back in time and prevent the genuinely talented people involved with this film (Anna Kendrick, Chris Rock, Elizabeth Banks) from signing on. I don’t know, I guess it could be alright, I just hate this type of film. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 38%

The Dictator – Sacha Baron Cohen, Ana Faris, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly
The well-known dictator (SBC) of a hypothetical country in the Middle East is stranded and forced to do menial tasks in New York City. For months, I have operated under the assumption that there’s no way The Dictator could possibly be good. And yet…here we sit, on the eve of the film’s debut, and darnit if it doesn’t look better and better with each trailer. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 70%

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