Monday, September 24, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be - 9/24/12

The Primetime Emmys were last night. Here's a recap and here's a complete list of winners. Other than that, the only thing you need to know is that the Emmys are the worst. I'm not someone who relies on award shows to tell me what to watch but I don't entirely dismiss them either. The Oscars, the Grammys, the SAG Awards, etc. I think there's value in what they do. But the Emmys? Completely and inexplicably irrelevant most of the time. Even the production value was weak this year and I was thoroughly disappointed in Jimmy Kimmel mailing it in. I now live in a world where Jon Cryer has an Emmy and Jon Hamm doesn't. Ugh. 

James Gunn has confirmed that he will rewrite and direct Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the upcoming Marvel franchise features. I'm not a fan of Gunn's previous work (Slither, Super) but there's no denying his ability. Should be good in this setting.

Les Miserables has been bumped back a week and will now open on Christmas. Strong move by the studio as positive word builds for this movie and it fits well in the spot vacated by The Great Gatsby

Saturday Night Live cast off Jenny Slate has signed on to write a Looney Tunes reboot film. That is a sentence I did not expect to write this week. 

You can always count on The Soap Box Office to heap praise upon American Treasure Bill Murray. Please enjoy this New York Times article and then try to think of ten people you'd rather hang out with for a day than Murray. It's impossible. 

Weekend Box Office Report
The bad news is that no one went to the movies this weekend, a rough trend that has carried all the way through September. The good news is, for the first time all month, at least viewers were given a few options. Pretty much everything Hollywood gave us prior to this week was a horror movie or a bad misfire. Nothing that opened this week managed to grab a huge audience but End of Watch, House at the End of the Street, Trouble with the Curve, and Dredd provided viewers with a fairly wide ranging set of choices. The split at the top of the list displays that. Of all those films, I think Dredd is the only return that I’d call surprising. I didn’t expect a $30 million opening but there is a hardened fanbase for Dredd and the early reviews were very strong so I’m surprised it didn’t do better.

Having not been to the theater in a couple of weeks due to complete lack of interest, this weekend was like a field day for me. I gave my money to End of Watch, Dredd, ParaNorman, and Trouble with the Curve. Two of those movies were worth the money; the makers of the other two have some serious explaining to do. I attempted twice to get to The Master but fate continually intervened. But at least I got to see Clint Eastwood embarrass himself even further! *Sigh*

1. End of Watch - $13M
2. The House at the End of the Street - $13M
3. Trouble with the Curve - $12.72M
4. Finding Nemo 3D - $9.44M ($29.97M)
5. Resident Evil: Retribution - $6.7M ($33.46M)
6. Dredd - $6.3M
7. The Master - $5M ($6.05M)
8. The Possession - $2.63M ($45.65M)
9. Lawless - $2.32M ($34.51M)
10. ParaNorman - $2.29M ($52.56M)

New to DVD
Well friends, I hope you like procedurals! Because that’s what you’re getting this week whether you like it or not. The CSIs, the Law & Orders, the NCISes of the world all run together to me and I, along with most of the rest of the world, forgot Desperate Housewives was a show after about season two. That said, I can’t complain much about a week that brings us three quality home entertainment options.
                                                                 New Movies
The Samaritan – Samuel L. Jackson, Luke Kirby, Ruth Negga
Damsels in Distress – Greta Gerwig, Adam Brody, Analeigh Tipton
The Tall Man – Jessica Biel, Jodelle Ferland
                                                                 New TV
American Horror Story: Season 1 – Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Jessica Lange
Family Guy: Volume 10 – Seth McFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green
Desperate Housewives: Season 8 – Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman
Gossip Girl: Season 5 – Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Penn Badgley
CSI: Season 12 – Ted Danson, Marg Helgenberger, Elisabeth Shue
CSI-Miami: Season 10 – David Caruso, Emily Procter, Adam Rodriguez
CSI-New York: Season 8 – Gary Sinise, Hill Harper, Eddie Cahill
Law and Order-SVU: Season 13 – Mariska Hargitay, Danny Pino, Ice-T
Portlandia: Season 2 – Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein
                                                                 New to Blu
The American President (1995) – Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Michael J. Fox
Dave (1993) – Kevin Klein, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella
Arachnophobia (1990) – Jeff Daniels, John Goodman

The Thing You Should See
The Avengers – Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo
Considering that it’s made more than $1.5 BILLION worldwide, I probably don’t need to tell you that you should see The Avengers. I’m not sure exactly where this movie is going to end up in my top films of the year but as of right now, it definitely stands as my favorite. Popcorn movies don’t get much better, or more fun, than this. I’m planning on buying this one though it may take some time to figure out which version I need to buy given that there are at least 27 choices.

The Thing My Dad Will See
Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection – Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Daniel Craig
Confession: I’m not a HUGE fan of the Bond films. I think several of them are very good, I own the Daniel Craig entries, and I’m very excited for Skyfall. But as far as the entire 22 films go…honestly, many of them blend together for me. That said, I completely respect their place and importance in the film world and I know tons of people, including my dad, LOOOOVE these movies. If you’re in that boat, this Blu-Ray collection is pretty incredible.

New to Blu Pick of the Week or Whenever I Feel Like It
The Game - Criterion Collection (1997) – Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger
I think The Game is one of the most sinfully underrated films of the last 20 years. For some reason I think it has been stamped with the “throw away thriller” label and even I was probably guilty of applying that tag. I rewatched it, though, a few years ago and was shocked at how well it holds up and how seriously chilling it really is. It gets lost in the shadow of David Fincher’s other films but at the end of the day, it really might be one of his best. The added Criterion content should make it even better.

Coming to a Theater Near You
This week’s Rotten Tomatoes scores serve as a reminder that this isn’t a science. I did fairly well on my predictions, picking Dredd at 83 percent (77% actual), End of Watch at 77 percent (85% actual), and Trouble with the Curve at 48 percent (53% actual). I overestimated House at the End of the Street with my 37 percent prediction (13% actual) but therein lies the problem: I didn’t see House at the End of the Street but it is fundamentally impossible that it could possibly be that much worse than Trouble with the Curve because Trouble with the Curve might be the worst movie I’ve ever seen. I cannot believe that any film critic under the age of 85 could watch Trouble with the Curve and give it a Fresh rating. So, again, it goes to show that Rotten Tomatoes (and any other indicator) aren’t perfect.

Looper – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt
An assassin (JGL) who disposes of the mob’s enemies after they’re sent back in time from 30 years in the future faces his toughest challenge when his older self (Willis) becomes his newest target. I’m really excited about this one. Like, really, really, REALLY excited. I love good sci-fi and Looper most definitely appears to be good sci-fi. This could be a legitimate genre game changer. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 88%

Hotel Transylvania – Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez
After discovering a retreat designed only for monsters, a mortal (Samberg) falls for the daughter (Gomez) of Dracula (Sandler). 2012 has been a seriously disappointing year for family films so you wouldn’t think a Happy Madison production would inspire much confidence. But while I certainly don’t expect a world beater here, Hotel Transylvania doesn’t look awful. If it could score a solid B- grade, it would be a step up from most of the other animated junk we’ve gotten this year. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 50%

Won’t Back Down – Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holly Hunter
A pair of mothers (Davis, Gyllenhaal) takes on the system in order to improve the quality of their local school. I assume Won’t Back Down will be very faux-powerful and wholesome and manipulatively emotional. My experience with Trouble with the Curve has left me very jaded toward this sort of bad Oscar bait and I now expect this movie to be stinking awful. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 30%

Pitch Perfect – Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow (Opens limited, expands next week)
A goth-y freshman loner (Kendrick) reluctantly joins her college’s glee group and infuses some much needed attitude. Yeesh. I really dislike everything about this movie but more than anything else I dislike that Anna Kendrick is subjecting herself to it. You’re so, so much better than this, Anna. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 27%

The Other Dream Team – Arvydas Sabonis, Sarunas Marciulionis, Donnie Nelson
I usually relegate limited release films to the “also new” portion of the column but I got a chance to see The Other Dream Team earlier this year and it is AMAZING. Browse through my review to get  a feel for it and seek it out if it’s playing in your area.

Also New: Take a documentarian look at a hospital that mostly cares for the uninsured in Waiting Room…and Solomon Kane, an action-horror flick set in the 16th century, comes off the shelf after three years of collecting dust. 


  1. Nope. Your Dad loves all of the Sean Connery Bond flicks, but not the ones with Roger Moore. Dalton, kind of. Craig, mostly.

  2. You left out the most important Bond: Brosnan. #sarcasm


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