Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Embedded Video Wednesday

Because I'm lazy, here's some fun things for you to check out.

First, another tinkering of Star Wars by George Lucas. That bastard.

Next, Some good old fashioned Bert and Ernie, doing what they do best.

Finally, from a song that pretty much sums up today in a nut shell.

Drink up kids. I am.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Box Office Report: BAT ATTACK-WEEK 2!

Dude here again.I'm still in a funk over the disappointing numbers concerning a certain film named Space Chimps. This one is a no brainer, people! Monkeys, in space suits! What don't you people get?!?

This weekend, in a surprise to absolutely nobody at all, The Dark Knight continued it's reign of terror, while a few noble flicks tried in vein to make money on their own. One movie had a chance. The other did not. Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates. The actuals will be available on Monday).

1. The Dark Knight (WB)- $75.6, 4366 screens, week 2, $314.2 total

2. Step Brothers (Sony) - $30.0, 3094 screens, week 1, $30.0 total

3. Mamma Mia! (Uni) - $17.8, 2990 screens, week 2, $62.7 total

4. X-Files: I Want To Believe (Fox) - $10.2, 3185 screens, week 1, $10.2 total

5. Journey To The Center of the Earth 3-D (NL) - $9.4, 2688 screens, week 3, $60.1 total

6. Hancock (Sony)- $8.2, 3309 screens, week 4, $206.3 total

7. Wall-E (BV) - $6.3, 3044 screens, week 5, $195.2 total

8. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Uni)- $4.9, 3018 screens, week 3, $65.8 total

9. Space Chimps (Fox) $4.3, 2538 screens, week 2, $16.0 total

10. Wanted (Uni) - $2.7, 1754 screens, week 5, $128.6 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? To be honest, I'm pretty sick of talking about the records that Batman broke. Pretty much go back in the archives and Find/Replace all "Pirates of The Caribbean 2" records with "Dark Knight" and you get the picture. So that's all I'm going to say about that.

Step Brothers, the latest from Will Ferrell, and the first of many comedies in the next few weeks that may or may not feature the same group of actors and taglines that contain the words "From the guys that brought you Superbad", did well. It's the best opening Ferrell has had since Talladega Nights. The X-Files movie, however, fared horribly, taking in $10 million. A far cry from the $30 million opening the previous X Files film opened to a full decade ago. Wow, I feel old.

Mamma Mia! continues to make my roommate sing ABBA songs (thanks for that, by the way) as it had a low decline in it's second week. In all the craziness with last week's bat-nannigans, it should be noted that Mamma Mia! has the biggest opening for a musical. (Non-animated, I believe). I don't know, they made up some record last week to make the movie feel better about itself for opening up against Batman.

Poor Hellboy, who had a very impressive opening but then stumbled terribly performance-wise thanks to that menace. Even Hancock got a fair chance before being completely forgotten. No worries, Hellboy, you're still the tops to me!

Below the radar, some movie called American Teen which is a "documentary" version of The Breakfast Club opened on 5 screens, and took in $44,000. I will not see this film. The only teen dialogue I want to hear uttered in a darkened theater needs that "Diablo Cody" touch. Honest to blog. Oh, and a documentary called Mon On Wire opened up on 2 screens, and took in $48,000, but had the highest per screen average of the weekend, besting the Bat. One less prize, Batman!

There you have my amazing break down. Next week, The Mummy Returns... Again

Until next weekend....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Siskel and Ebert and Roeper no more

It was recently announced that my favorite television program Ebert and Roeper at the Movies, was cancelled, in order to make way for a new, E!-style entertainment news program, hosted by a couple of young guys, none of whom are me. (To be honest, when I first started with my movie reviews, the ultimate goal would have been to be one of the replacement hosts).

This show has been on longer than I've been alive. I remember watching it every Saturday as a child, as that's where I heard about most of the movies I saw, even at a young age. (I was a weird kid, what do you want). I reeled in shock when At The Movies became Siskel and Ebert, as At the Movies replaced our beloved Chi town critics with Rex Reed and Michael Medved. I stayed with the show upon the untimely passing of Gene Siskel, a man who loved Saturday Night Fever more than my friend Steve. (And Steve's reasoning was mainly the music*. Yes, Steve was always a little weirder than me). I remember the string of guest hosts leading up to Roeper's placement in the balcony. And now, thanks to the wonderful invention of DVR, I continue to watch the show, even though I think Roeper's gotten a little too big for his britches since Roger had to leave the show 2 years ago due to a cancerous growth that robbed the man of his voice. (But not his words).

It's foolish to change the format of the show, and I'm happy that Ebert and Roeper both decided to walk away as opposed to conforming. (Not that they were asked). I have a feeling they will continue in another medium (interweb, perchance?) and I will probably follow them until the bitter end. Or I've taken over. It's fun to dream.

Anyway, here's something from about 21 years ago. It's Siskel and Ebert doing a promo, then entering into a Zinging contest. It's pretty damn great. Enjoy.

*Senior year of high school, Steve and I would drive around town, blasting that Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. There was one track, an instrumental salsa beat tune, that we dubbed "Priest and a Cop", because it sounded like the theme song of a TV show that would possess that name. Steve would take this one step further, and put a piece of tape onhis collar, and bless the passengers in the cars that we passed. Like I said, we were weird guys).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Holy Shit!

Just got back from The Dark Knight. It really is as good as everyone says it is. Solid filmmaking all around. It really feels like if you took out Batman and replaced him with Al Pacino, the movie becomes Heat. Just outstanding in every respect, this film is. It has better action sequences, looks gorgeous, is cut well, has great music, and through it all, there is the elephant in the room that manages to steal the show and make you wish that you could turn back time and get a certain actor's shit together so that you could see more fantastic performances by him. Alas, this is one of two bizarre swan songs for the man, but this will most likely be one for the ages. Once the movie's over, you'll forget any inkling of the phrase "Nicholson's performance is the definitive Bat-villain".

No more. Ledger does tremendous work, and anytime he's not in the movie, you find yourself missing him.

Outstanding work all around. You owe it to yourself to check this movie out. On the biggest screen, with the best picture and sound conditions possible.

Holy Hyperbole-Laden Box Office Report, Batman!

Dude here again. I want you to prepare yourself for the biggest, most amazing and important box office report of my career, and of possibly your life. Never again will you witness something as miraculous as the numbers I am about to report to you. Sit yourself down and get ready to have your mind blown so much that it's gonna melt your face right off like you just removed the lid from the Ark of the Covenant.

This weekend, in a surprise to absolutely nobody at all, The Dark Knight opened up. And it opened up big. Really big. How big? Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates. The actuals will be available on Monday).

1. The Dark Knight (WB)- $1,000,000,000; 4366 screens, week 1, $1,000,000,000 total

7. Space Chimps (Fox) $7,350,000, 2511 screens, week 1, $7,350,000 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? Well, it means Batman managed to break every single record in existence. Every single one. It made one billion dollars! It singlehandedly restored the damage down from the 4-month Writer's Strike on Hollywood. In 3 days!!!

The Dark Knight managed to play on the most amount of screens (4366 locations, 4 more than Pirates last year) and most places cancelled their other shows of other movies (like Meet Dave, Love Guru, and the Happening) meaning that The Dark Knight played on something close to 20,000 screens. Multiply that by the amount of shows per screen, and it means that the film played over 100,000 times!

There's more, too! It made the most in 3 days than any other motion picture in the history of all time. It took in $18 million on the midnight shows alone, to take in $66 million on Friday alone. (Biggest opening day). The IMAX screens have been sold out for weeks, setting records for IMAX pre-sales. It had the largest per screen average of the weekend, to boot!

That's not all. Since it's release Friday, the stock market saw a remarkable upswing, and the price of oil was lowered by $50 a barrel! The Dark Knight also managed to cure several diseases, including Syphilis and Restless Leg Syndrome. It restored sight to a group of blind people, and brought hope and faith to a small town in Nebraska, who had almost given up entirely. It took gold in the 50 AND 100 meter dash, and is poised for silver in several other events in the Olympics, which haven't even occurred yet. It has been nominated for several Academy Awards already, in addition to its Nobel Peace Prize nomination. (Bono, watch your back). And there are rumors that the image of Heath Ledger giving the thumbs have been showing up in spilled popcorn messes in theaters across the world.

Which means only one thing: Space Chimps failed to capture the global zeitgeist like the ads would have us believe. This brings shame to all.

There you have my amazing break down. Next week, even more records will be broken, as The Dark Knight tries to jump over 17 buses (2 more than Evel Kenieval!!) while translating the forgotten texts of the lost city of Atlantis. Oh, and the new X-Files movie comes out, too.

Until next weekend....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Is there a Batman movie this weekend?

I don't think any can match the epic scope of this.

(Of course, neither film has ANYTHING on Space Chimps)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Why doesn't anyone want to see Space Chimps with me?

Seriously! This is a movie about monkeys in space, people! It's the biggest no-brainer since the alien versed the predator. (Granted, a movie they screwed up not once but TWICE, but still if you just watch the scenes where they serve each other, it's a tolerable motion picture).

But these are monkeys... AND THEY'RE IN SPACE!!! How does that not equal box office gold?!?!?

And why does everyone laugh when I ask them if they want to go see it this weekend?!?!? This is the epic motion picture event of the summer, and all I get are polite laughs, usually followed by the phrase "Wait, are you serious?"

Goddamn right, I'm serious. It's got monkeys in a space ship, and throwing bananas at each other. BANANAS!!! B-A-N-A-N-A-S! (Like that song, My Humps).

I can't stop...

...watching the WATCHMEN trailer! Holy crap does this look good. Say what you will about the lack of substance in Zach Snyder's movies, but the man knows how make a good looking, kinetic action flick.

I've finally found something to take my mind off The Dark Knight excitement for the weekend. March 6th can't come fast enough.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Box Office Hellboy-aganza

Dude here again. Apparently there's a movie coming out about a man dressed as a bat. It's been making some news. I haven't heard too much about it, but I can tell you it didn't come out this week.

This weekend, one more comic book character/superhero joins the fray, and this isn't about the man in the batsuit fighting the clown. Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates. The actuals will be available on Monday).

1. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Uni)- $35.8, 3204 screens, week 1, $35.8 total

2. Hancock (Sony)- $33.0, 3965 screens, week 2, $165.0 total

3. Journey To The Center of the Earth 3-D (NL) - $20.5, 2811 screens, week 1, $20.5 total

4. Wall-E (BV) - $18.5, 3849 screens, week 3, $162.7 total

5. Wanted (Uni) - $11.5, 3157 screens, week 3, $112.0 total

6. Get Smart (WB) - $7.1, 3086 screens, week 4, $111.4 total

7. Meet Dave (Fox) - $5.3, 3011 screens, week 1, $5.3 total

8. Kung Fu Panda (Par/DW) - $4.3, 2704 screens, week 6, $202.0 total

9. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (PicHouse) - $2.3, 1849 screens, week 4, $11.0 total

10. Indiana Jones... (Par) - $2.2, 1664 screens, week 8, $310.4 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? Well, it means Hellboy can enjoy a nice week without having to worry about aforementioned bat man. (He is only a boy after all, although for those who have seen the film, you know he should be called Hell-MAN). Anyway, the wonderfully bizarre freak show from the mind of Guillermo Del Toro brought the filmmaker to his best opening thus far (besting his Blade II opening) and most likely securing a third sequel that we won't see for about 6 more years. Thanks Hobbit fans!

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D finally opened! I remember seeing ads for this forEVER! But it has a T-Rex and it's in 3-D, so it really can't be all that bad, right? It can't be any worse than Beowulf's "Hide-the-wang" 3-D display, right?

Meet Dave, a new movie where Eddie Murphy further distances himself from his rabid Norbit fanbase, opened up pathetically. Like, that's pretty sad. Although, it's not nearly as awful as Pluto Nash, so I suppose there always is a silver lining.

Meanwhile, Hancock, Wall-E, Wanted, and Get Smart continue to make more and more money each week. Kung Fu crosses the $200 million marker. And Indiana Jones struggles to make more money than Iron Man to proclaim it the king of the summer, but it just isn't quite there yet.

Below the radar, a movie called Tell No One, a French thriller that's supposedly very good, took the biggest per screen average (even bigger than Big Red) and took in $241,000 on 14 screens.

And in this week in schadenfreude, let us all observe the sad fate of The Incredible Hulk, which has managed to match the previous Hulk motion picture, but not really advance any further than it, meaning the whole "Reboot" process was pretty much all for naught. At least it was a good flick.

There you have my amazing break down. Next week, SPACE CHIMPS!!!!!

Until next weekend....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sunday, July 06, 2008

It's been brought to my attention...

...That I'm slacking more than usually in the blogging department. And that's true. And there are several good excuses for why. And I shall break them all down for you.

1) Procrastination

Alright, that's really all I got. Well, I probably have a few more reasons if I sit down and really think about it, but I have other things I need to be doing. Well, even that's not true, because I'm also procrastinating on those things as well. It's a vicious circle, no beginning, no end. It's the root of all things not done, or at the very least half done. (In some cases, only a third done, but it's a powerful first third).

Yes indeed, spring fever has lapsed into summer influenza, which when added to extreme heats combines to concoct a heady summer's brew of laze. That and some other factors. One comes to mind:


Yes, indeed, I have been suckered into the fine world of videogaming. Submitting to the whims of hype, my roommates and I purchased this game and have not been able stop playing it for about the past two months.

(There have been some less successful forays into "RockBand", but I get sick of the songs and always insist on playing the drums, where I tend to screw up the final note of each song. This upsets Dan, who seems to be under the impression that our band is actually real, and that my poor performance is approaching Weiland-levels or neglect towards "our fans". Times like this remind why I stopped being in real bands in the first place).

So Grand Theft Auto IV. It's truly remarkable as a piece of gaming history, as you can interact with pretty much anything in the obscenely photorealiistic world. As far as game play goes, it's pretty much more of the same as the other games, so nothing new there. You can still pick up hookers and kill them for the money you just paid them to dry hump you in a back alley. You still have absolutely zero remorse for other's personal safety as you steal their cars and hit them on the head to make sure they understand the lesson you've just taught.

But they've gone and done something remarkable this time around. They've made the game more like real life, as you now have to maintain relationships. Via email, texting, phone calls, dates, trips to bars and pool halls, bowling, mini golf, helicopter tours... There's just too damn much to do in this game. If I want to go on a date with a girl (of which there are several to choose from between friends trying to set you up and internet dating... yes, internet dating. In the game) I have to call her up, pick her up at a reasonable time, change my clothes (after going to a variety of different stores to shop for said clothes), and hope that what I do can impress her. Then, if I did impress her, I can push my luck and try to get sex. Sounds like (gulp)... reality! Sadly, my pixellated avatar Niko has much better luck than I could possible imagine to.

(Christmas time...)

The reality parallels don't stop there for me, I'm sad to say. In the game, you drive around from place to place, delivering various elements in an order to keep your bosses happy. Free time is spent driving around back to my home, or to aforementioned activities. Take away the machine guns, and this game is my life to a T. Again, except for the luck part.

So, I realize the Alanis-esque irony involved in playing a videogame that is essentially my reality in my hours when I'm trying to escape said reality. Not exactly the healthiest of psyches, but then again, I haven't always been the brightest crayon in the box.

Since I've spent so much time playing this game, I've lost track of almost all the other things in my life. I'm amazed I've come this far, to be honest with you. But it did eat up into my movie going schedule, and for awhile I hadn't seen anything since Indiana Jones. (Except for a week I spent watching old movies in a theater. I had a lovely Escape From New York/L.A double feature, with a John Carpenter Q&A. (And I had a big laugh at the end, when Snake shuts down the world in L.A., the movie print was old and Paramount Static-y, so it naturally shut down the movie. I pointed it out at the right moment, providing one of the bigger laughs of the evening. not Simon Pegg-laugh worthy, but I take what I can get). This was followed a few days later with a Big Trouble in Little China/Assault on Precinct 13 double bill that just rocked my world silly.

Anyway, here's a quick recap of the flicks out now that I did manage to catch, in reverse order of when I saw them.

Hancock - Completely serviceable for the first 2/3, much like I Am Legend, Will Smith's latest flick. Hancock succeeds primarily because of Will Smith's charm. But it falls apart big time at the end, most likely as a result of studio tinkering. And while Hancock is fine and enjoyable, it's movie cotton candy that evaporates from your mind the second it's over. However, I was left with the notion that there is a much darker, much more hilarious and misanthropic version of Hancock that Billy Bob Thornton should have played in full on Bad Santa mode.

Wall-E - Unbelievably good, like all Pixar films. I can't believe this movie worked as well as it does. Wall-E is a fantastic character, and his journey is a bold one. This movie is for the whole family, but everything you read about how adults can enjoy the film just as much is more than true. The themes, and social satire on display will go over a lot of kids heads, but it should send messages to those able to comprehend them. And aside from that, it's really fun to watch a robot as a main character. While he might not knock down R2D2 as my favorite robot of all time, Wall-E does damn fine. It's also quite possibly the best looking movie I've seen this year, and it makes me upset that I probably won't live long enough to travel through space.

Get Smart
- Full disclosure, I had a little bit to drink when I saw this movie, which would explain how hard I laughed at the trailer for The Rocker before the movie began. (Upon watching that one sober, I realized there isn't much to be laughed at). Regardless, Get Smart is a lot better than it has any right to be. It's carried by the effortless charm of Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and of course, The Rock. The plot is not exactly the strongest, and it devolves into the tendency to end every movie, no matter what genre, with a large explosion, but the leads keep it fresh and fun, and there's one joke in the movie that should be the lamest joke conceived, but they pull it off so well, I was laughing for far too long, embarrassing the person next to me. Again, there was liquor involved, but it's still much more worthy of your time than you might think.

The Happening - Oh my, this movie is awful. 10,000 B.C. awful. There's so much wrong with this movie that it's worth watching for the unintentional comedic value alone. Only a filmmaker like Shyamalan could pull this movie off. Apparently, it's about trees that get mad at humans so they emit a gas that turns bad actors into bad performance artists. Seriously, the first scene alone should tell you what you're in for. Hell, even the company logos before the film are long and drawn out. The movie opens with a two minute title sequence over clouds. CLOUDS! Mark Wahlberg, in the worst performance of his career, stares vacantly, as he and Zooey Deschanel both seem to not believe that they are actually in this motion picture. Seriously. Just look at them in this picture.

They try to outrun the wind, and somehow manage to do just fine. Meanwhile, the wind manages to hit quite a few cities in it's attempts to scare humanity into taking better care of the trees. This leads to elaborate set pieces that involve people stopping, then killing themselves. It would have been a bit more frightening if the people had turned on each other, a subject that was handled with far more skill and finesse in The Signal. (Consequently, they made Signal for what was probably Wahlberg's Fruit Roll-Up budget on Happening). Anyway, this movie's pretty terrible, but definitely worth checking out. Sadly, I liked it better than both The Village AND Lady in the Water. Shows to go ya...

The Incredible Hulk
- Hulk smash. Hulk nowhere near as boring as previous Hulk! Hulk also missing heart, but Hulk become Hulk-Ultimatum! Hulk also no get boner or turn into Hulk! Hulk's life suck! Tim Roth good actor! Hulk loud and sometimes blend into background! But Hulk still fun loud movie!

Alright, that's about all I got now. But rest assured, I'll have a few more posts in the upcoming weeks, including an award winning short essay about porn.

Box Office: Fresh Prince Edition

Dude here again. Thanks for bearing with last week's truncated box office report. I know you come for the goods, and like, 40 weeks of the year I deliver, but sometimes, even a man like me needs a break. Or, wireless internet when I go on vacation. But the places I went to were charging far too much for that, and I don't make as much money from stripping as I used to. Point is...

This weekend, Will Smith tests my juvenile urge to giggle every time someone utters his character's name. Oh and he makes a mint in the process solidifying him as the last true movie star in the world. Let's go to the numbers, shall we? (All in millions, remember, and these are the studio estimates. The actuals will be available on Monday).

1. Hancock (Sony)- $66.0, 3965 screens, week 1, $107.3 total (Wed. open)

2. Wall-E (BV) - $33.4, 3992 screens, week 2, $128.1 total

3. Wanted (Uni) - $20.6, 3185 screens, week 2, $90.7 total

4. Get Smart (WB) - $11.1, 3574 screens, week 3, $98.1 total

5. Kung Fu Panda (Par/DW) - $7.5, 3347 screens, week 5, $193.3 total

6. The Incredible Hulk (Uni) - $4.9, 3043 screens, week 4, $124.9 total

7. Indiana Jones... (Par) - $3.9, 2192 screens, week 7, $306.5 total

8. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (PicHouse) - $3.6, 1843 screens, week 3, $6.1 total

9. Sex and the City (NL)- $2.3, 1275 screens, week 6, $144.8 total

10. You Don't Mess With The Zohan (Sony) - $2.0, 1731 screens, week 5, $94.7 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? Well, it means Will Smith can continue to be in whatever the hell he feels like being in, and people will come. Oh my, the people will come. With a five day total equivalent to the Gross National Product of Anguilla, The Fresh Prince can reclaim his crown as the king of 4th of July Weekend, as well as something ridiculous along the lines of most consecutive #1 openings. Records are FUN!

Wall-E continues to kick a lot of ass, as well it should, because that's a damn fine movie. I'm using a lot of profanity in this. Wanted also continues it's cinematic boot to the groin of awesomness. Ass damn hell! Anyway, Hancock (hehe) pretty much had the weekend to itself, although there seems to be a nipping at the heels by Kit Kittredge, another movie about a doll that comes to life and kills people.

(Alright, full disclosure time, I didn't even watch the movies anymore. I just make the movies up in my head, as they're far superior and ultimately more satisfying. And curiously enough feature Dolph Lundgren and dancing Salma Hayek).

Below the radar, a movie called Gonzo opened up on 26 screens and took in about $190,000. Sadly, this is not a biopic of the beloved Muppet, but a doc about everyone's favorite writer and Johnny Depp subject, Hunter S. Thompson. (Fun fact: I have a tattoo of Thompson somewhere on my body. Only Jack Daniels will say where).

And in this week in schadenfreude, let us all observe the sad fate of The Love Guru, which in only it's third week has dropped from the top ten and has yet to reach $30 million domestic gross, which is less than half the film's reported budget. Good times. (I'm mean when I drink. And I shouldn't be allowed to write things when I'm drunk either, but that hasn't stopped me in the three years of doing this).

There you have my amazing break down. Next week, Hellboy has one week to make a lot of money before The Dark Knight swoops down and gives us a spanking we all deserve.!

Until next weekend....