Monday, July 16, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be - 7/16

As I'm sure you know, Comic Con just wrapped up and as always, the event was filled with news and first looks at upcoming features. For a list of some of the highlights, check out the news and notes from

Speaking of Comic Con, Marvel announced its upcoming slate of films including the title for the next Captain America film and a new franchise known as Guardians of the Galaxy. The way in which Marvel is dominating DC Comics is just mind boggling.

And speaking of Marvel, the studio gave us a look at the ridiculous box set of Marvel movies that will debut in conjunction with the release of The Avengers on DVD and Blu Ray. The set looks amazing to be sure and part of this is due to the work of Matt Ferguson, a graphic artist (and comic geek) who runs the site Cakes and Comics, linked on the left hand side of the page. He did the design for all of the individual film cases. Matt's work has been featured many times throughout my reviews and I'm proud to have brought his work to this space before he hit the mainstream, so to speak. Congrats Matt and keep up the incredible work!

In "Worst Kept Secret EVER" news, Josh Trank of Chronicle fame has been tabbed as the director of the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. I move that we wipe the record clean of the original films in this series. Seconded?

Darren Aronofsky will build an actual ark for his upcoming feature project Noah. Not sure this thing is going to be good but I know it's getting very interesting.

Ron Howard and Jason Bateman both have been tweeting updates on the production schedule for the fourth season of Arrested Development and we now know that it will begin shooting in 4 short weeks. Still can't believe this is actually happening. Can't wait!

One of these days I'm going to get around to a feature on The Shawshank Redemption aka The Best Movie of All-Time. In the meantime, check out Dan the Man's review for a nice look back.

Weekend Box Office Results
It didn’t come as a surprise to me that Ice Age: Continental Drift unseated The Amazing Spider-Man at the top of the charts this week. This is a franchise that has brought in almost $2 billion worldwide over the last decade and is a major hit with kids who don’t know any better (I hate these movies, by the way). It did surprise me, though, that both of the top films brought in relatively meager totals. $46 million is nothing to sneeze at but in a summer that has seen absurd highs for a number of films, I thought it would go higher. Meanwhile, Spider-Man dropped further than I or I think its makers thought it would, failing to grip the nerd group the way The Avengers or The Hunger Games did earlier this year. On the other hand, Ted was actually featured in MORE theaters than it was last week and continues its remarkable run. It now looks like it will top $200 million at the domestic box office before its run ends. Very, very impressive. And unexpected.

1. Ice Age: Continental Drift - $46M
2. The Amazing Spider-Man - $35M ($200.9M)
3. Ted - $22.14M ($158.99M)
4. Brave - $10.69M ($195.59M)
5. Magic Mike - $9.03M ($91.85M)
6. Savages - $8.73M ($31.46M)
7. Tyler Perry’s Please Stop Watching These Movies America - $5.6M ($55.62M)
8. Katy Perry: Part of Me - $3.73M ($18.58M)
9. Moonrise Kingdom - $3.66M ($32.42M)
10. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted - $3.5M ($203.73M)

What I’ll Be Renting This Week
Get the Gringo – Mel Gibson, Peter Stormare, Dean Norris
Friends with Kids – Jennifer Westfeldt, Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig
Say what you will about Mel Gibson (and there’s an awful lot to say), but the guy knows how to act. Get the Gringo puts him right back into his old comfort zone as a smart mouthed, half-crazy rebel type in an action setting. It’s been years and years since we’ve really seen Gibson go at it like this and I’m excited to get a look first hand. Friends with Kids, on the other hand, illustrates what a great cast can do for your film. Generally speaking, this sort of “life sucks now that I’ve settled down” film doesn’t do much for me but with Hamm, Wiig, Scott, and a host of other talented and funny people on board, I imagine I’ll give it a shot.

What I’ve Seen So You Don’t Have To
Lockout – Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Peter Stormare
Properly describing the experience I had with Lockout is difficult. This movie boasts a razor thin plot, generally bad acting, and some of the worst special effects you’re ever likely to see in a movie that was indeed produced by a real movie studio, not thrown together for $150,000 in some dude’s basement. On the other hand, there’s an at-times-brilliant streak of self-awareness that runs through the film winking at the viewer and smiling wryly, not to mention the fact that Guy Pearce is just plain awesome. At the end of the day, though, the efforts at becoming Taken in Space fall short and it’s really not worth a viewing…unless it’s on HBO…and it’s 1 o’clock in the morning…and maybe you’re not in the most stable frame of mind.

What I’ll Probably End Up Seeing Even Though I Should Know Better
Case de Mi Padre – Will Ferrell, Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna
The reviews were not good and even self-described Ferrell fans such as myself weren’t overly kind to Casa de Mi Padre. But I know myself and I know that if Ferrell is in a movie, eventually I will end up seeing that movie. And more importantly, even if it didn’t turn out well, I respect the man for doing something different. You know, like doing your entire movie in Spanish.

Also New
Three Stooges – Will Sasso, Sean Hayes, Chris Diamantopoulos
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Amr Waked
Intruders – Clive Owen, Carice van Houten
Leverage: Season 4 – Timothy Hutton, Gina Bellman
Eureka: Season 5 – Colin Ferguson, Salli Richardson-Whitfield
Sanctuary: Season 4 – Amanda Tapping, Robin Dunne
Alphas: Season 1 – David Straithairn, Warren Christie

New to Blu
Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter
High Noon (1952) – Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly
Mean Streets (1973) – Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel
Butterfly Effect (2004) – Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart
A Perfect Murder (1998) – Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen
Just Cause (1995) – Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Blair Underwood
Next of Kin (1989) – Patrick Swayze, Liam Neeson, Adam Baldwin

Coming to a Theater Near You
I ended up missing wide on my Rotten Tomatoes prediction for Ice Age: Continental Drift (40% versus 55% prediction) but it is nice to know that I am not alone in my dislike for this franchise. The original Ice Age sits currently at 77% fresh but (as you probably should expect) that number has dropped significantly with each sequel. Ice Age 2 sits at 57%, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs holds as 45%, and now the fourth film enters the field. I’m glad to see critics aren’t buying this bag of blerg even if audiences (see: “kids”) are.

The Dark Knight Rises – Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway
Batman (Bale) faces his toughest test yet in the form of Bane (Hardy). That’s it. That’s all I’m going to say. That’s all I know FOR SURE and that’s all I’m willing to find out before heading to the theater this week. Usually I am all for the average moviegoer reading a review or two about a given movie before heading to a theater but this is one time when I really and truly believe that the less you know, the better. And the same goes for me. I will avoid all reviews, I will be skim through Twitter cautiously, and I will probably stay away from live TV in order to prevent a Letterman-esque spoiler. I will not be posting my own review until next Tuesday at the earliest to give everyone a shot to see this without messing anything up. Other than The Hobbit, this is the movie event of the year and probably much longer. Get your ticket, get out to a theater, and revel in what I’m already sure will be a magnificent experience. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 95%

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