Monday, September 17, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be - 9/17

The long-awaited Godzilla reboot will hit screens in May, 2014. To me, this is an example of when remakes are worthwhile. The last Godzilla was a mess that no one remembers so this is an opportunity to introduce a vaunted character to a new generation.

In other remake news, the rights to The Brave Little Toaster have been purchased and the reboot will be CGI and live-action and updated to include modern technology. Yes, you read correctly, The Brave Little Toaster is making a comeback.

Donald Glover, for my money the best part of Community, has a project in development at NBC, ostensibly to keep him with the network after Community is cancelled later this year (because we all know it's going to happen, sadly). Smart move for NBC. They inexplicably allowed Mindy Kaling to take her new project to FOX, thereby losing a claim on one of the more talented young comedians in the business. Locking up Glover makes a ton of sense.

There will NOT be a director's cut of The Dark Knight Rises released on Blu-Ray and that makes me grumpy.

Charlie Highmore will play Norman Bates in A&E's Psycho prequel series. So the kid from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will now play a legendary nutjob. This creeps me out perhaps more than it should.

Marshall at Marshall and the Movies saw Killer Joe so you didn't have to and rips it apart to boot. Good call, Marshall.

With summer now in the rear view mirror, Steven at MovieMuse gives us his 5 breakout stars of summer 2012. Excellent list worth checking out.

Weekend Box Office Report
I will say this about the people behind the Resident Evil franchise: they excel at picking the right time to release their films. Each of the last four installments have opened in mid-September, each of them won the box office that week, and none of them have faced much in the way of competition. Afterlife went head to head with the very un-American The American, Extinction had only to tangle with Good Luck Chuck, a bad film even by Dane Cook’s standards, and Apocalypse faced off against the insanely forgettable Cellular. In the case of Retribution, had it opened even a week later, there’s a good chance it would get lost in the shuffle. But with only a re-release to counter it, the newest Resident Evil took home a healthy if less than expected win despite probably being a terrible movie. There’s some definite skill involved in picking the right time to open.

Finding Nemo continued a bad trend for 3D re-releases, as each one that has come out of the Disney vault has fared worse than the one before it. I have to believe this will eventually kill the calendar of 3D re-releases. I’m conflicted on that point because I pretty much hate 3D and think the fad needs to end but at the same time, I’m in favor of studios re-releasing older films, even for limited engagements, to give people a chance to see their favorite movies on the big screen, many for the first time. Perhaps the key is to simply scrap the 3D element.

1. Resident Evil: Retribution - $21.1M
2. Finding Nemo 3D - $17.5M
3. The Possession - $5.8M ($41.16M
4. Lawless - $4.21M ($30.14M)
5. ParaNorman - $3.03M ($49.33M)
6. The Expendables 2 - $3.03M ($80.29M)
7. The Words - $2.88M ($9.16M)
8. The Bourne Legacy - $2.87M ($107.81M)
9. The Odd Life of Timothy Green - $2.51M ($46.28M)
10. The Campaign - $2.4M ($82.85M)

New to DVD and Blu-Ray
During the doldrums of fall, when there are very few DVD releases of note, I’m always thankful that A.) Football has started and B.) I really enjoy watching TV on DVD. Otherwise, getting my entertainment fill from the DVD rack would be nearly impossible. Other than the titles highlighted below, most of this week’s new releases consist of TV crime procedurals, imperfect indie films, and a set of thoroughly lackluster Blu-Ray horror flicks.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkerson
Katy Perry The Movie: Part of Me – Katy Perry
Hysteria – Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce
The Woman in the Fifth – Ethan Hawke, Kristin Scott Thomas
The Do-Deca-Pentathlon Mark Kelly, Steve Zissis, Jennifer Lafleur
Supernatural: Season 7 – Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles
The Mentalist: Season 4 – Simon Baker, Robin Tunney
Body of Proof: Season 2 – Dana Delaney, Jeri Ryan
Hawaii 5-O: Season 2 – Alex O’Laughlin, Scott Caan
Halloween II (1981) – Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence
The Devil’s Advocate (1997) – Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron
Ed Wood (1994) – Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker
Judge Dredd (1995) – Sylvester Stallone, Armand Assante, Rob Schneider
Queen of the Damned (2002) – Aaliyah, Stuart Townsend

The Thing Everyone Loved…Except Me
Cabin in the WoodsKristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Fran Kranz
I respect the crap out of Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, and everyone involved with Cabin in the Woods. They set out to make a moderately budgeted, smart horror-comedy and they absolutely succeeded. If I had to pick a horror-comedy to get behind, it would be this one but I really, really do not care for this genre. I also though the big twist ending was thoroughly unimpressive. If you like horror movies, though, this one is chock full of classic scary movie staples and has a definite air of Whedonistic fun. It’s just not for me.

The Thing You Should Watch
Suburgatory: Season 1 – Jane Levy, Jeremy Sisto, Cheryl Hines
Yes, the title of this freshman comedy is AWFUL. I thoroughly agree and in fact, the title alone kept me away for the first few weeks of its run last year. But when I did tune in, I found Suburgatory to be a consistently funny, at times special comedy headlined by a star in the making in Levy. Created by Emily Kapanek (who cut her teeth on Parks and Recreation) and centering on a New York City high schooler and her single father who move from the city to the suburbs, the show displayed some serious promise that I can only hope is realized in the upcoming second season.

The Thing That’s Overrated But Is Still Pretty Good
Modern Family: Season 3 – Ed O’Neill, Ty Burrell, Sophia Vergara
The first season of Modern Family is exquisite and the second season is very, very good. But the third season, the year in which most sitcoms take it another level, was uneven and showed some signs of an identity crisis. There are so many quality parts of this ensemble and I felt like the third season struggled in keying in on the better parts. Personally, I think the strength of the show is in the male characters and yet too often they took a backseat to those belonging to Vergara and Julie Bowen. It’s still a very good show, though, and one that I enjoy week-to-week but not nearly as much as I enjoy Community, Parks and Rec, etc.

New to Blu Pick of the Week or Whenever I Feel Like It
Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures (1981-1989) – Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, John Rhys-Davies
Let me tell you, I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while now. In the pantheon of my all-time favorite films, both Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade each hold a prominent place. Temple of Doom also has extreme “It’s Saturday and it’s raining so I just want to lay here and half-pay attention to a fun movie” value. And as we all know that’s where it ends. There are only three Indiana Jones films, two great, one pretty good. There is no fourth film, no ill-conceived return from retirement, no scenes of Indy and his little buddy swinging through the trees with a horde of monkeys, no Area 51 nonsense, no weird room full of ancient aliens that makes no sense whatsoever in any context, etc. It all ended, wonderfully I might add, in 1989 and we never saw Indy again. (Lobotomy complete.)

 Coming to a Theater Near You
As noted previously, most of you didn’t get a chance to see The Master this weekend but the critics who did seemed to dig it as it finished with an 87 percent Fresh rating compared to my 91 percent prediction. Not too shabby. The newest Resident Evil, meanwhile, not only won the (lackluster) box office but also managed to earn itself the highest rating from the franchise, clocking in at 35 percent Rotten as opposed to the 22 percent prediction. Way to go, Alice! Now please stop.

I can’t say that I’m overly excited about any of the films headed our way this week but at least we’re being given some stinking options. I feel like the last two weeks have been a complete and utter waste of time in this department and I’m starting to get withdrawals for having not been in a theater in a while.

Dredd 3D – Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey
In a post-apocalyptic America, a notorious peacekeeper known as Judge Dredd (Urban) and his trainee (Thirlby) are sent into a crime-riddled neighborhood to take down a drug lord (Headey). I was somewhat excited about Dredd when it was announced but the trailer convinced me it would be a more violent version of Lockout without Guy Pearce’s humor. That, of course, sounds awful. And yet, the early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, earning Dredd a Certified Fresh rating before it opens to audiences. So honestly, I don’t know what to tell you. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 83%

End of Watch – Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick
A pair of young police officers (Gyllenhaal, Pena) find themselves marked for death after running afoul of a powerful cartel. I’m not completely sure if End of Watch will employ the found footage technique or if it’s just going to go the route of the shaky camera effect but whichever it is, this is supposed to be a gritty police affair and it has impressed the first batch of critics. For my part, however, I can’t find much interest within myself, due in part to my dislike of Gyllenhaal and the fact that I feel like I’ve already seen this movie tucked away within a dozen other gritty police dramas. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 76%

House at the End of the Street – Jennifer Lawrence, Max Thieriot, Elisabeth Shue
After moving to a new town, a teenager (Lawrence) befriends a neighbor (Thieriot) whose sister killed their parents. Scary shenanigans ensue. I think this is a smart move on Jennifer Lawrence’s part as she continues to prevent herself from becoming pigeonholed into one character type or another. That said, House reeks of the sort of scary movie clich√©s that I just can’t stand. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 37%

Trouble with the Curve – Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake
A longtime baseball scout (Eastwood) takes his daughter (Adams) along for the ride on his final trip. On paper, you see this plot along with a cast that includes Eastwood, Adams, Timberlake, John Goodman, and others, and you immediately think “Oscar.” And then you see the trailer and you realize it’s going to be the sort of over-written, smash you over the head with emotion schlock that audiences sometimes buy but award committees HATE. I must tell you, dear readers, the trailer for Trouble is one of the more painful, embarrassing previews of the year. This looks HORRIBLE to me. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 48%

Also New: An introverted youngster (Logan Lerman) befriends two older youngsters in The Perks of Being a Wallflower…A woman’s (Lynn Collins) life is changed at just the right moment in the faith-based Unconditional…and How to Survive a Plague takes a documentarian look at two groups who work with AIDS sufferers. 

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