Monday, June 18, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be - 6/18

Jonah Hill has joined the always morphing cast of Django Unchained. They may be adding pieces to this movie in December.

The troubled production of The Lone Ranger (seeming more and more like a bad idea) is again over budget. This has some serious John Carter potential.

Speaking of troubled productions, check out this piece on World War Z which has already moved from December to next June and may not see the light of day even then. I've said before that there was a way to make WWZ an incredible film and a way to make a mess of it. I fear the latter.

JJ Abrams, already the owner of a crowded plate these days, has added a small budget sci-fi film called The God Particle to his schedule, though he'll only produce this one.

Check out this brilliantly written piece that delves DEEP into the theological undertones of Prometheus. Not sure that I agree with everything here but it is an incredibly interesting column.

Nick Prigge has an interesting read concerning the evolution, or lack there of, of Adam Sandler. Check it out.

My colleague Mark Hobin gives us an open letter to the people behind Rock of Ages in lieu of a traditional review. Well done, Mark. I'll try not to hold your affinity for that terrible music against you!

Weekend Box Office Results
A few weeks ago I would not have guessed that Madagascar 3 would own the box office for not one but two weekends in a row. I honestly thought Prometheus was going to be bigger and up until the last few days, I thought Rock of Ages would be the type of film that kills it in its first week and then drops off the face of the earth. So much for that. While the studio behind That’s My Boy are probably happy with its paltry fifth place finish, the brains backing Rock of Ages have to be disappointed with the reception it received both critically and at the box office. With such a poor showing, it’s likely to be knocked out of first release theaters within a couple of weeks and I would guess it will have a bit of trouble finding an audience overseas.

1. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted - $35.5M ($120.45M)
2. Prometheus - $20.2M ($88.85M)
3. Rock of Ages - $15.06M
4. Snow White and the Huntsman - $13.8M ($122.6M)
5. That’s My Boy - $13M
6. Men in Black 3 - $10M ($152.67M)
7. The Avengers - $8.84M ($586.73M)
8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - $2.2M ($35.13M)
9. Moonrise Kingdom - $2.18M ($6.77M)
10. What to Expect When You’re Expecting - $1.33M ($38.76M)

What I’ll Be Renting This Week
Jeff, Who Lives at Home – Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon
The Duplass Brothers (Mark and Jay) have become indie darlings over the last few years with each of their efforts gaining more and more acclaim. Jeff brought in their biggest collection of talent yet and while it didn’t do so well at the box office, it did draw attention from critics. I didn’t get a chance to catch it in theaters so I’m looking forward to an in-home viewing.

What I’ve Seen So You Don’t Have To
Wanderlust – Paul Rudd, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux
I gave Wanderlust two and a half stars in my initial review but the more I’ve thought about, the more I’ve come around to the idea that this movie is terrible. Thinking back, some of the things that irked me then now make me truly angry and some of the things I sort-of liked seem stupid. Basically, Rudd and Aniston are enough to make this movie barely passable but that’s as far as it gets. Not a fan.

What’s Better Than You Might Expect
Franklin and Bash: Season 1 – Mark Paul Gosselar, Breckin Meyer
I admit I was skeptical. None of TNT’s previous original efforts have worked for me and I really didn’t expect Franklin and Bash to bring much in the way of legitimate comedy. But amazingly enough, this is a show that has some very funny moments tied together with a light, lively procedural narrative that carries well from week to week. The second season kicked off a couple of weeks ago and it, too, seems to be quality summer entertainment.

Also New
Big Miracle – Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Tim Blake Nelson
Project X – Thomas Mann, Oliver Cooper, Jonathan Daniel Brown
Seeking Justice – Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce, January Jones
Wilfred: Season 1 – Elijah Wood, Jason Gann
Louie: Season 2 – Louis C.K., Hadley Delany

New to Blu Pick of the Week or Whenever I Feel Like It
Newsies (1992) – Christian Bale, Bill Pullman, Robert Duvall
It probably will not surprise you to read that I am not a fan of musicals. They do not float my movie boat. To date, there are two (non-animated) exceptions to this rule: Little Shop of Horrors and Newsies. I can’t exactly explain to you, dear reader, why I love this film so but I do nonetheless and I’ve watched it far more times than I’d like to admit. There’s really no reason for me to replace my DVD copy but…

Also New to Blu
Evita (1996) – Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce
Sister Act 1 and 2 (1992, 1993) – Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Kathy Najimy

Coming to a Theater Near You
I am shocked to my very core to report that That’s My Boy was not pulverized by the national media. With a 23% fresh rating (versus my 4% prediction), it certainly didn’t set the world on fire but compared to Adam Sandler’s recent list of accomplishments, 23% sounds pretty good. It also leaves me wondering if the Rotten Tomatoes algorithm that determines a films score was broken over the weekend because there is no possible way that this movie was better than 10% fresh. Rock of Ages didn’t find much love either, topping out at 43% (51% prediction) and most of the positive reviews included some truly horrendous lines stolen directly from the lyrics of the evil songs personified in the film. So these people cannot be trusted.

This week brings with it a trio of choices, one of which I’m very, very excited about.

Brave – Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson
A young and headstrong Scottish princess (Macdonald) gets herself and her kingdom into a good bit of trouble while trying to assert her freedom. I live by the following rule: if Pixar makes a movie, I will go and see that movie. Only once in the last 17 years has the studio let me down (Cars 2, of course) and while I admit Brave looks a little closer to Disney than Pixar, I’m still in all the way. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 75%

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper
A pre-presidential Abe Lincoln (Walker) takes it upon himself to rid the United States of the vampires that are plotting to overrun the country. Everyone who has read this book seems to be priming with excitement for the big screen adaptation. I have not read the book and I have three major concerns for this film:
1.) Vampires are dumb. Thanks to Twilight and the litany of Twilight wannabes, I’m pretty much out on anything involving a vampire.
2.) Director Timur Bekmambetov is not to be trusted. I guess his foreign films have created a following but his one major US release, Wanted, is a piece of crap.
3.) The R rating is confusing. Summer blockbusters, which Vampire Hunter is clearly trying to be, are rarely rated R and this one in particular seems like it would be better served as a PG-13 venture.
I remain unconvinced. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 45%

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Melinda Dillon
With a giant asteroid approaching earth, a lonely man (Carell) travels cross-country with his neurotic neighbor (Knightley) in pursuit of his high school sweetheart. If it hits the mark as a blend of sci-fi, romance, and comedy, Seeking a Friend could be incredible. It could also be a ho-hum mismatch but this seems like a role Carell will hammer home. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 72%

Also New: Woody Allen’s newest ensemble, To Rome with Love, tells the respective love stories of several couples. 


  1. You work w/ Mark Hobin? I just discovered his blog, I LOVE his Rock of the Ages review!

    I'm excited for BRAVE too, but I'm also gonna see Vampire Hunter as I'm curious how that'd pan out. I wish they'd make it more tongue-in-cheek instead of serious, that'd probably be more enjoyable. Ah well, I like Rufus Sewell so hopefully that'll be worth a watch.

  2. I actually meant colleague in the sense of a fellow movie writer. You're a colleague too, Ruth! :) His blog is great and I really dig that review.

    I will probably see Abe Lincoln when it comes to Blu-Ray but just can't muster enough excitement for the theater. I imagine Sewell will be great, though. That guy is seriously underrated.


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