Sunday, May 25, 2008

Box Office Report: Money Down The Drain

Dude here again. I bring to you numbers. Large numbers. Numbers that make people happy. Very happy. Unless you're one of the people who was disappointed in what you spent your money on. I know I was. And that makes this large number a little disturbing to report.

This weekend, Spielberg proves that he can just throw anything at all together and make a boat load of money at the same time. And when I say anything, I refer to Shia LeBouf summoning his monkey friends to help defeat communism. 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. PLUS, there will be large numbers for tomorrow being the holiday weekend. but I'm too lazy to write 2 articles. And the word for 2).

1. Indiana Jones... (Par) - $101.0, 4260 screens, week 1, $126.0 total

2. Prince Caspian (BV) - $23.0, 3929 screens, week 2, $91.0 total

3. Iron Man (Par) - $20.1, 3915 screens, week 4, $252.3 total

4. What Happens In Vegas (Fox)- $9.0, 3188 screens, week 3, $54.2 total

5. Speed Racer (WB) - $4.0, 3112 screens, week 3, $36.2 total

6. Made of Honor (Sony) - $3.4, 2393 screens, week 4, $39.0 total

7. Baby Mama (Uni) - $3.3, 2158 screens, week 5, $52.1 total

8. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Uni) - $1.6, 1078 screens, week 6, $58.1 total

9. Harold and Kumar... (NL)- $0.91, 750 screens, week 5, $35.9 total

10. The Visitor (Over) - $0.78, 270 screens, week 7, $4.4 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? Well, I think I said it before, mentioning how Indiana Jones, not the greatest of Mummy rip-offs out there, made an insane amount of money over four days. With tomorrow being the holiday, I have a feeling a record of some sort will be declared. "Greatest Five Day Opening By Spielberg", or "Just a shade under the Pirates, but really they ripped us off first". Studios love to declare things like that.

However, the other movies this week didn't seem to fare so well. Narnia had a steep, almost 60% decline from last week's take, and although it could be considered a hit in most languages, it's an underperforming hit. Iron Man, however, continues to clean up, making another $20 million, in 4 weeks of release. and yet, the Speed Racer seems like it will struggle to break $50 million. What happened to the blockbusters?

War, Inc. is the latest film from John Cusack, and it opened on 2 screens taking in $36,500 total. Not very impressive, although the movie is scheduled for a DVD release in a few weeks. (It doesn't help that it's receiving horrible reviews). Speaking of horrible reviews, the latest magnum opus from everyone's favorite punching bag Uwe Boll, Postal opened up on 17 screens. However, nobody reported any numbers which leads me to believe nobody at all is seeing the film. Which is a shame, because it's not THAT bad. (But it's still pretty bad).

And in the "Because It's There" series: 10,000 B.C. took in $104,000 on 187 screens, bringing its grand total to $94,520,000 in 12 weeks.

There you have my break down. Next week, the onslaught of underperformance continues with the highly anticipated release of a movie based on an HBO show about hookers. At least that's what I think HBO runs, right? It's not TV, it's HBO.

Until next weekend....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Confused Feelings and Monkey Warriors

We've waited for 19 years to finally see what good old Indiana Jones has been up to. Is he still his usual rakish self? Calm under pressure, but as reliant on luck as he is his brain? Can he still work the whip? And more importantly, when push comes to shove, will he just go ahead and shoot first when the time calls for it? Or has he become a useless, forgotten old man?

Sadly, none of these questions become of much issue in the film. Instead we get some good old fashioned chases. Lots of them. And some pretty bad CGI work. But a lot of fun. Mostly.

This is merely a reaction (and a 3 in the morning one, at that), and there will be no plot summary. I don't want to ruin anything about the plot at all, because it's fun to discover it along with the characters. Even if the script sometimes treats you like an idiot.

Man, where to begin. Firstly, this movie is not a disappointment on an "Attack of the Clones" level. It does not murder (nor improperly violate) all the good memories of your childhood Indy. It is, for the most part, a hell of a fun ride. But there's most certainly something rather off about the proceedings. So while I have a big smile on my face during the flick, as soon as it was over, I was starting to let all the little things get to me.

What works: Harrison Ford as Indy, for the most part. It's great to see him back, swinging the whip (in the few scenes he uses it in). He still has it. Although there are some scenes where it looks like Spielberg woke him up from a nap and didn't tell him they were rolling. It doesn't matter, because Ford puts on the hat and is Indy and that's great.

There are also some good chase scenes and set pieces that only Spielberg could have directed. I particularly enjoyed the warehouse chase, and the motorcycle chase with Shia LeBouf, as Indy's reluctant partner this time around. I liked the dynamic between Indy and LeBouf, which grows throughout the film nicely, not forced. And it's great to see Karen Allen again, and the scene where she and Indy are reunited... I'll just let Indy's reaction speak for itself. All the actors do good jobs, really, but their characters feel a little off.

It should be noted that John Williams once again provides an excellent score, referencing the previous music cues of Indy's past adventures, while creating some
new ones. though not quite as memorable.

But then we get to the things that don't work. Which is, like most George Lucas projects, the script. Did we really need to wait 19 years for this story? It feels like pieces of forgotten failed ideas, stitched together with the occasional wink and a nod to the original series. It has far too many characters doing stupid things for the sake of plot purposes, and the final goal in the end, the goal of Cate Blanchett (with her wonderful "Boris and Natasha" accent) is ultimately pointless, and nowhere near as compelling as the MacGuffin in the previous three films.

Oh, and this movie also features the dumbest use of monkeys since Apocalypto. Seriously. It is so mind numbingly stupid, your jaw drops in disbelief that it made it past Spielberg, who usually has a good detector when it comes to these kinds of things.

The CGI effects aren't that great (the practical effects are dandy, and a nice "old fashioned" technique that works). Every single punch and kick sounds exactly the same (although they are most certainly the same noises from the original films, which is nice.) And above all, the look of the film is strange. Janusz Kaminski, Spielberg's DP since Schindler's List, loves to use a harsh white light in his scenes, bringing a sense of "harsh realism" into the palate. Here, he tries to replicate the camera moves of the original, but he continues that blinding light, and it's distracting and off putting. Just like most of the movie.

I'm not going to lament about how the movie feels old and sluggish, because I kind of liked that. I don't feel that the story tarnishes the good name of Dr. Henry Jones Jr. I am not offended by the existence of this film, like I sometimes get. I fully admit, I had a good time at it. I suggest people check it out with a crowd and have a good time at the movies seeing an old hero return.

I am saying, though, that it's definitely the weakest of the Indiana Jones movies. And I think it's because Spielberg and Lucas have gotten old, and fallen into their routines without having too much joy show up on the screen. I feel the making of featurette on the DVD will be more fun to watch, seeing everyone back together and smiling and having a good time that doesn't quite translate to the film I just saw and the films from my youth. And that makes the tears fall outta my face faster than Toht's face melting before the ark of the covenant.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The classics never die

I saw this as a kid, and then not again until last night. The funny part is, I never actually read the credits before.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Box Office Report: May 18th 2008 Edition!

Dude here again. My mother was more than pleased to do last week's box office report. I think she did a good job with it. But I missed doing it, so I fired her and took back control. (She still does the laundry, though).

This weekend, the Iron Man is knocked down a peg by the Prince Caspian fellow. And Speed Racer continues to sputter over any sort of finish line. 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. Just to prove this column wrong).

1. Prince Caspian (BV) - $56.5, 3929 screens, week 1, $56.5 total

2. Iron Man (Par) - $31.2, 4154 screens, week 3, $222.4 total

3. What Happens In Vegas (Fox)- $13.8, 3255 screens, week 2, $40.3 total

4. Speed Racer (WB) - $7.6, 3606 screens, week 2, $29.3 total

5. Baby Mama (Uni) - $4.59, 2503 screens, week 4, $47.2 total

6. Made of Honor (Sony) - $4.50, 2816 screens, week 3, $33.7 total

7. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Uni) - $2.5, 1601 screens, week 5, $55.0 total

8. Harold and Kumar... (NL)- $1.8, 1403 screens, week 4, $33.9 total

9. The Forbidden Kingdom (LGF) - $1.0, 997 screens, week 5, $50.2 total

10. The Visitor (Over) - $0.68, 224 screens, week 6, $3.4 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? Well, the Chronic(What?)cles of Narnia opened up to some decent numbers. Fewer than the previous film in the series, but that didn't have to go up against Iron Man. Or face Indiana Jones next week. Still, an impressive haul, one I'm sure will be declared as the "Highest Grossing Sequel to Open on May 16th, 2008".

It's looking like Narnia was the only movie that really opened up this week. Although joining the top ten this week is The Visitor, the second film from Thomas McCarthy, who directed the wonderful film The Station Agent. It's getting rave reviews and looks to be an indie sleeper worth checking out.

What Happens In Vegas continues to hold strong and attract audiences in the mood for laughs and inevitable romance between two obnoxious people. And the audiences are choosing this one over the Made of Honor one. I can't decide whether to be happy or sad about this.

Let me tell you something about Speed Racer, it seems nobody is seeing, nor even cares about this movie. A 60% drop for the movie I best heard described as "Stabbed in the eye with a rainbow", Speed Racer is almost ready to be declared a natural disaster, This saddens me, but it gives me hope that the IMAX screenings will be less crowded for it now!

And in the "Because It's There" series: Son Of Rambow took in $223,000 on 91 screens, bringing its grand total to $509,000 in 3 weeks.

There you have my break down. Next week, the two-fisted punch in the junk of awesomeness that is Indiana Jones and Postal!

Until next weekend....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

An answer to a question asked awhile ago

Most people have tasted capers, but few have seen them growing or knowwhat they are. These tiny, pungent spheres are actually the pickled flower buds of an attractive shrub (Capparis spinosa) that is common in the Mediterranean region but oddly rare in this country.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Box Office Report: Mother's Day Edition

Dude here again. It's Mother's Day, so in a nice change of pace, I decided to have my mother do the box office report for this week. Because nothing says "Thanks for being an awesome mom" like making her do your work for you. But she better make it quick because I have a few more loads of laundry she needs to get done tonight.

This weekend, the Iron Man made a lot of money. 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. Just to prove this column wrong).

1. Iron Man (Par) - $50.5, 4111 screens, week 2, $177.1 total

2. Speed Racer (WB) - $20.2, 3606 screens, week 1, $20.2 total

3. What Happens In Vegas (Fox)- $20.0, 3215 screens, week 1, $20.0 total

4. Made of Honor (Sony) - $7.6, 2734 screens, week 2, $26.2 total

5. Baby Mama (Uni) - $5.7, 2627 screens, week 3, $40.3 total

6. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Uni) - $3.7, 2376 screens, week 4, $50.7 total

7. Harold and Kumar... (NL)- $3.1, 2264 screens, week 3, $30.7 total

8. The Forbidden Kingdom (LGF) - $1.9, 1724 screens, week 4, $48.2 total

9. Nim's Island (Fox) - $1.3, 1601 screens, week 6, $44.2 total

10. Redbelt (SPC) - $1.1, 1379 screens, week 2, $1.2 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? Look at how much the iron man made. I like that Robert Downey Jr. He was great in Soapdish. I always liked him.

Speed Racer? They made a movie about that? My son is telling me it's from the people who made The Matrix. Wait, Emile Hirsh is Speed Racer? I thought he was also in Iron Man. There's so many movies out there.

What Happens In Vegas? It should stay there! I'm kidding. I'm glad to see that Ashton Kutcher got some work after That 70s Show. He always plays dumb so well. Oh wow, that made almost as much as Speed Racer. I bet somebody's inflating some numbers there. nobody likes coming in second, but nobody likes coming in third even more.

Which was the movie where the man keeps showing his business? Forgetting Sarah Marshall! Your father laughed at that one a lot.

What's Redbelt? My son once again informs me that it's a new movie from David Mamet. David Mamet used to prank call your Aunt Rachel's father a few years ago. Something about an order of goats. I guess it's a Northeastern thing.

There are so many movies. They all made a lot of money. When are your movies going to be made? You know, you can still go back to school and get a teaching degree, right? Your brother Mark is doing well with his degree, teaching kids in Tanzania how to write a paragraph, he's such a good humanitarian. What? Oh, the dryer buzzed.

There you have my (mom's) break down. Next week, the Chronic (what?)-cles of Narnia comes out. Mom did like that one, but she says she fell asleep during the one with the polar bears. And she is also very excited for Indiana Jones. (She made me write that).

Until next weekend.... Happy Mother's Day
(My parents).

Friday, May 09, 2008

Donnie Darko 2?

How about that?

Please go on over to Moviesonline to check out the whole scoop. (Broken by yours truly). Was supposed to break next week, but then those TMZ assholes picked up on it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Here's another Steven Seagal music video!

Really, what more do you need?

Box Office Report: All Iron Edition

Dude here again. Did you see that movie where the guy in the iron suit beats up a tank? Because looking at these numbers, I'm willing to bet that quite a few of you did. Then again, as I've previously stated, there's nothing wrong about a movie in a giant metal suit fights another guy in a giant robot suit while an electric guitar wails in the background. Nothing wrong with that at all.

This weekend, summer begins, as will the countless weeks of huge openings and steep drop offs. It's just the nature of the business and overcrowding. 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. Just to prove this column wrong).

1. Iron Man (Par) - $100.7, 4105 screens, week 1, $104.2 total

2. Made of Honor (Sony) - $15.5, 2729 screens, week 1, $15.5 total

3. Baby Mama (Uni) - $10.3, 2548 screens, week 2, $32.3 total

4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Uni) - $6.1, 2872 screens, week 3, $44.8 total

5. Harold and Kumar... (NL)- $6.0, 2545 screens, week 2, $25.2 total

6. The Forbidden Kingdom (LGF) - $4.2, 2960 screens, week 3, $45.1 total

7. Nim's Island (Fox) - $2.7, 2478 screens, week 5, $42.5 total

8. Prom Night (ScrGms) - $2.5, 2434 screens, week 4, $41.4 total

9. 21 (Sony)- $2.1, 2242 screens, week 6, $79.0 total

10. 88 Minutes (Sony) - $1.6, 1765 screens, week 3, $15.4 total

So those are the numbers, but what do they mean? Well, it means there's a record of some sort here, probably utilizing the phrase "Best Non-Sequel Weekend Not By Spider-Man", or something along those lines. I'm a little ashamed having written that. Regardless, Iron Man made a whole lot of money. That's a serious chunk of change. Whether or not the other summer blockbusters live up to this weekend remains to be seen (Probably won't, save for Indiana Jones and Batman), but this is a grand way to start off the summer movie season.

In an effort to counter-program for audiences who wouldn't want to see a man in a metal suit punching things (Which is probably a very small portion of the populous, let's be honest, who doesn't love a movie with that?), Made of Honor opened up to second place, a mere $85 million less than the number one spot. This would not seem like a well thought out plan, and given that there's other counter programming competition, this one will probably fall by the wayside soon enough.

The holdovers are interesting to look at. Baby Mama, Sarah Marshall, Harold and Kumar... hell, even 88 Minutes is still in the top ten. Wow. That's chilling AND depressing!

Below the top ten, Redbelt, a David Mamet movie about mixed martial arts fighting, opened up on 6 screens to take in $68,600, or roughly about $103 million and change less than Iron Man took in. And Son of Rambow opened up on 5 screens to take in $52,500, which is $16,000 less than the aforementioned $103 million average figure of the Iron guy. Pretty impressive. And a new film from Harmony "Gummo" Korine called Mister Lonely opened on one screen, taking in $19,100, which is pretty impressive for one screen, and the second highest per screen average after the metal one.

And in the "Because It's There" series: In Bruges took in $54,900 on 71, bringing its grand total to $7,488,000 in 13 weeks.

There you have my break down. Next week, a Speed Racer will try to match Iron Man, and will probably not do nearly as well. And there's an Ashton Kutcher movie I've already got my ticket for! (That is a total lie, I want to burn prints of this film).

Until next weekend....

(Jason Vs. His Inner Demons)

Friday, May 02, 2008

A dude in an iron suit fights a fuckin' tank!!!

Iron Man slapped my world silly. It's a pretty kickass movie. It contains almost everything I want out of a moviegoing experience. Let's go to the checklist:

1) Robots (or men in robot suits) fighting.

2) Badass electric guitar anytime said robots make a move.

The only thing is, the movie needed to end with a high-five. (That and a Salma Hayek dancing scene is always appreciated). But that doesn't negate the impact of how pretty freakin rad Iron Man is. Downey gives a great performance as Tony Stark, and is just having the time of his life. Sort of like Depp in the first Pirates movie, how carefree he was about the whole affair, in his own world doing his own little thing. He's a good guy, that Robert Downey Jr.

Jon Faverau was defintely the right guy to direct this movie. He has a great sense of tone and pacing, and a style that differentiates this from the other super hero flicks. Not for nothing, but I really enjoy how each comic book hero gets a different style and feel to their respective films. It's all about matching the right material with the right filmmaker, and with Faverau, Iron Man has found his match.

If there is any complaint I have (aside from the lack of a high five at the end), it's that the movie feels a little slight. It's a wonderful origin story, but you spend so much time watching Tony Stark become Iron Man, but I want to see more of what he does As Iron Man. I guess that's what the sequel's for.

(By the way, stay through the end credits. There's a lovely surprise awaiting you there).

So to sum up: Iron Man- Ain't nothin' wrong with that!


(yet another Man of Iron)