Monthly Archives: October 2015

Steve Jobs or You Thought Your Boss was a Jerk

steve-jobs-movie-poster-800px-800x1259

Let me get this out of the way real quick.  I am not a fan of Apple products.  It’s nothing personal, I just don’t like the way they conduct business, build their devices, or anyone they parade in front of the stage as their current figurehead.  Do you know what’s funny about that? I grew up using an Apple II.  My elementary school was one of the first (and only) ones to get the Macintosh instead of the top of the line IBM computers.  An iPhone was even my first smartphone.  All that said, after I got a taste of Google’s Android platform, I was hooked.

Seriously, this is the problem, I looked for almost 10 minutes to find an Android version of this...stupid Apple
Seriously, this is the problem, I looked for almost 10 minutes to find an Android version of this but came up with nothing…stupid Apple

Anyway, enough about my personal feelings (of which I could go into a lot more detail), but I’m sure those meetings I was in with The Evil Galactic Empire…I mean Apple, were bugged and video taped, so I don’t want to get into any trouble.

I really wish I was joking about those negotiations...
I really wish I was joking about those negotiations…

Like I said, personal feelings aside, it’s hard to argue with the importance of Steve Jobs and his legacy.  Now some put him in categories along with Leonardo da Vinci or Copernicus, but I just cannot swallow that particular flavor of Kool-Aid.  What I will give him is that he knew talent and how to exploit it.  He also knew consumers and what they wanted.

It’s odd to be discussing a movie about someone who died such a short time ago, but when you think about it, that’s pretty impressive.  Steve Job’s legacy not only spawned two movies after his death, but they both were filmed and released within five years of his death.  Again, I can say I don’t like Apple, but you can’t argue with that type of fan base and legacy from one of its founders. That’s another thing that really gets me, his legacy has almost become something of mythological proportions. I’m quite sure you could ask many people on the street and without pause they would tell you “Steve Jobs invented the iPhone”.  From what I understand, he could even write code.  He was just a marketing genius. All the research I’ve done for this review has come up so murky that you would expect it to come from a polluted lake.  I really thought someone would have the definitive truth on this man, but the accounts are so vastly different that I really don’t know what to say.  He was either a Saint or a Demon.  Let me tell you how Director Danny Boyle portrays him.

Steve Jobs is broken up into three very specific acts.  They are all tied around the launches of a product (the Macintosh, the Next Cube, and finally the iMac).  It’s actually perfectly suited for the film.  Danny Boyle uses the narrative of the half hour or so before the launch event to tell his story.  Now none of this could be accomplished without the amazingly quick dialogue written by Aaron Sorkin.

Now if you’re familiar with Sorkin’s work (The Social Network, Moneyball, and of course the brilliant TV series The West Wing) then you’ll be very familiar with his lightning quick banter and the constant motion of the actors.  This is where I can’t gush enough about the film.  There is not a single word that is unnecessary or wasted in the film’s two hour runtime. I’m sure there are plenty of scenes left on the editing room floor, but what’s left is nothing except for witty, crucial, and vibrant dialogue.

I'd say Sorkin's dialogue comes from the Large Hadron Collider, but CERN wasn't able to clock the screenplay of The Social Network...
I’d say Sorkin’s dialogue comes straight from the Large Hadron Collider, but CERN would have had trouble clocking the speed of The Social Network’s  screenplay

After just having such a speedy dialogue, many people could get lost and ignore the brilliant performances by the actors.  Michael Fassbender does a fantastic job of coming off as the most charming asshole you would ever meet.  According to some sources, this is exactly who Steve Jobs was, the worst possible man to work with.  The employees even gave out awards to congratulate the employee who could stand up to him the most.  In the film, you find yourself on multiple occasions wanting to strangle the arrogant SOB.  Even with this, you know that his vision presents exactly what we have today: computers the size of sticky notes, millions of audio files streaming straight to our pockets, and laptops (like the one I’m typing on this very second) as slim as a stack of papers.  As I said before, who knows what actually occurred throughout Job’s tenure in the technology industry, but he certainly contributed to the way we interact and use technology.  That’s why it is really hard to simply dismiss his horrific personality traits in the film.  Maybe that’s just the stereotypical example of what true genius looks like in our culture, but Fassbender pulls it off remarkably.

Now Magneto wasn’t the only star of this film.  Kate Winslet played off Fassbender’s Jobs very well.  As with any good Sorkin dialogue, it takes two to tongue twist, and Winslet responds amazingly as Jobs’ friend (if he had any) and marketing director Joanna Hoffman.  Able to hold her own against Fassbender’s Jobs is just a treat.  It’s worth noting that Mrs. Hoffman won the aforementioned award with dealing with Jobs for many years in a row.  As far as the actors go, their chemistry was just incredible.  I hope others in Hollywood recognized this and will find a way to pair the two in the future.

The rest of the cast was well rounded.  With such talent as Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogen…wait, what?  Yes, the man consistently higher than a 747 has a serious role in this film as the great Steve Wozniak (or The Great and Powerful Woz).  Now, I knew this man’s name, but I had no idea the impact he had on personal computing.  Like I said earlier about Jobs, Wozniak not only had the vision but he had the talent to put it together and make it run, even in color.  At any rate, I have to give a ton of credit to Rogen here.  He didn’t have a joint or bong in his hand throughout the whole movie and still managed to make me laugh and enjoy his performance.  Rogen was even able to make me forget about all of his past roles and portray someone who knew Jobs and was his equal, no, his better, technologically speaking.

There
There was no real reason to put this here, but it feels wrong to not include James Franco when talking about Seth Rogen

Steve Jobs really embodies a philosophy about film with which I’ve wanted to discuss for a while.  I believe there are really very few types of movies.  The first is a movie that is critically acclaimed but more or less unwatchable by normal people.  There are a slew of examples, but just know these are the movies that win award after award but are only released in that theater with two screens and an army of Hipsters guarding the door to keep out anyone not wearing plaid.

This also happens to be the last thing you see on screen if you were able to stay awake
This also happens to be the last thing you see on screen if you were able to stay awake throughout its runtime.

The next type of film are those that are critically acclaimed and are very watchable and relatable to the general consumer.  This is where Steve Jobs fits.  Everyone involved in this film sees to it that you will enjoy what you’re watching and not regret the last few hours of your life. Unfortunately, these types of movies often have the terrible side-effect of making no money.  The last time I looked, this film had only grossed $9.8M since it premiered and for a two week run, that’s pretty poor, especially with how many screens it ran on. Most would worry that it is due to the subject being uninteresting, but the 700 million iPhones sold (as of March 2015), you can’t tell me no one was interested in the life of “its creator”.  Whatever the reason for the financial failure of this film, I was thoroughly impressed with it.

After my viewing and while doing my research for this review, I found a quote by Mr. Jobs that I found pretty interesting.  He often said, “I want to put a ding in the Universe“.  I admire the ambition there.  While the Universe is a bit too vast, from what I saw in this film, taken at face value, Jobs certainly made a ding in the World.

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

Absolutely everyone involved in this picture brings their “A game” and it really shows.  Every moment presented in front of you tells a story of a passionate and flawed man who cared very little for the individual but cared a whole lot about the future, his vision, and even the mass consumer.  Enjoy Steve Jobs in any medium you can.  It doesn’t have to be at the theater, but you would be doing yourself a favor by watching. Maybe there is a poignant lesson here with it failing in theaters.  You might watch it on your iPhone.

Wednesday Wars- 50 Days and Counting and This is Badass

Welcome all you Bleary-Eyed fans to Wednesday Wars!

Yes, it’s that time of week we like to celebrate the upcoming release of The Force Awakens with a handy countdown clock and a sweet sweet does of something amazingly Star Wars….y.

As the internet was being fed through my brain-mush last night, I happen to come across a very talented individual who mashed up the music from the final trailer for The Force Awakens with footage from the Original Trilogy.  All I can say is that it is definitely worth a peek.  So, for your viewing pleasure enjoy Medley Weaver’s (I’m trying to give credit to the creator, sorry if I linked to the wrong person) most excellent trailer:

The music just fits, and the dialogue could not have been more in tune with the mood.  I would compare it to the original trailers, but I don’t trust any of them on the internet.  Someday we should do a study about movie trailers and how they have changed over the many decades.  All I remember is the Don LaFontaine doing his “In a world…” bit before almost every film.  Those were good times.

Not a lot for today, but we wanted to make sure you all got your dose of Vitamin Force and stoke the hype machine’s engine a little more.

Enjoy your week Bleary-Eyed fans and May the Force be With You…but it’s kind of an hourly thing, so we’ll need it back by 5.

-Darkmovienight

Crimson Peak or The Horror Movie That was Not a Horror Movie

crimson_peak_xlg

Guillermo del Toro is essentially the George R. R. Martin of film.  Not only are his films usually to die for, but they don’t come along all that often. His largest gap came between Pacific Rim (more on that later) and Hellboy 2 which was seven years.  I’ve only been reading Martin for the past few years, so I’ve had ample time to catch up with the A Song of Ice and Fire series and its respective show, Game of Thrones.  That doesn’t really give me any right to complain, but I want this story to be finished ASAP.  We don’t want any Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time Series) shenanigans occurring.

Crimson Peak comes after a mere two year gap from Pacific Rim, which is a good time between films I believe.  We were quite excited for this film if you recall.  This was the only true “Horror Movie” I felt that would be released this October.  I mean it had freaking Loki in it and the director of Pans Labyrinth!  How could this fail?  I’ll tell you how it did: it just wasn’t scary.  It wasn’t a horror film at all.

Now if it had
Now if it keeps people away from the 19th Century Architecture, as Jaws did with the beaches, then that will be an accomplishment

The film was shot beautifully and looks gorgeous on an IMAX screen, but there just was a lack of scares here.  Sure, there were plenty of terrifying looking ghosts with top of the line CGI, but they didn’t get beyond “creepy”.  All of that is fine.  I didn’t need to have my heart thumping in my chest at all times or watching for the next jump scare, but I was hoping for a little bit of goose-flesh.

The World Guillermo del Toro (GdT from here on out) presents is bleak, full of suspicious characters, motives and of course a wide-eyed female protagonist played by  Mia Wasikowska, who has been missing from major cinema since Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.  In both roles, she plays the intellectual type who is misunderstood by others.  I was happy that she didn’t fall into all of the classic horror movie tropes, but again, this wasn’t a horror film, so I don’t know how much credit I can give to her.

Lastly Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain act as brother and sister in this tale.  I’ve already sung the praises of Jessica Chastain for her role in The Martian, but Tom Hiddleston, that’s not fair to audiences.  GdT and Loki?  That’s just an audience trap.  Hell, I imagine most people went to see this film just because Mr. Hiddleston’s name was attached to the project.  It didn’t fool me as I know who I want:

If only all superheroes could be as dreamy...
Ben, will you ever know my true love for you?

Other than the actors gelling really well, Hiddleston with his charm, Chastain continuing to stretch her acting roles, along with Mia playing much the same part she did in Alice, there isn’t much meat on this film’s plot bones.  Perhaps I expected too much and it didn’t meet my expectations, but I left with a shrug.

Some grievous mistakes GdT made in this film: where were the Jaegers? Seriously, there is nothing that can’t be solved with a Rocket Fist to the face or a good slicing from a seemingly forgotten about sword.  If a ghost had taken down one of those bad boys, I sure as hell would have been more frightened.

While mentioning Pacific Rim and its glorious robot on monster action, I have to ask, where was Ron Perlman?  How could you not find a single roll or line for him to deliver?  I mean for goodness sake, you kept Charlie Hunnam as the “would be hero” but you couldn’t let Hellboy do what he does best and destroy the paranormal?  I just think the film would have been elevated had it contained Giant Steampunk Mechs and Gentleman Hellboy.

I knew they would exist
I knew this would exist on the internet, props to the artist

Don’t get me wrong, it was well written, directed, and acted, but there was just so much false advertising here that I only feel comfortable calling this film “spooky”.  When is the last time something “spooky” raised the hair on the back of your neck?  Yeah, First Grade when someone yelled “Boo” at you…

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

This is not a scary movie no matter how the advertisers attempted to spin it.  Sure, beautiful, creepy scenery, gore, talented actors and a usually superb director, but just nothing to rave about.  Either Netflix, Hulu, or Redbox will be your best bet on this one.  Lower your expectations and you might get something “creepy” instead of just “spooky”.

I'm just saying, he could have saved the film.
I’m just saying, he could have saved the film.

-Darkmovienight

Pan or The Only Origin Story I Wanted to See

Pan Poster

The film industry these days have an immaculate crystal ball that tells them exactly what audiences want to see.  It is so accurate that I can clearly the scene:

*We open on large circular boardroom with 20 Hollywood executives form various studios.  All of them are cloaked in dark robes.  All seated around a table with one object on it.  It is a glowing orb that showcases action scenes, various actors, and above all, audience reactions.  One of the cloaked figures rises to address the rest of the assembly.*

“Oh great Orb of the Drunken Muses, show us what audiences are willing to pay for this year and whom we must cast!” the figure calls out to  the swirling and glowing Orb.

*Minutes pass and then a quiet raspy voice spills out of the orb like a cold drink spilled on your crotch in freezing temperatures.*

“Prequels, Sequels, Superheroes, Remakes, Origin Stories and as much Chris Pratt as possible!”

I'm pretty sure this is the look of a guy who has been summoned by a Hollywood Demon Orb
I’m pretty sure this is the look of a guy who has been summoned by a Demon Orb from Hollywood

Well, it’s something like that.  I’m pretty sure.  About 50%.  Maybe 25%. Okay, I know there is a Demon Orb, that I can say with absolute uncertainty.  Why are you critiquing, I’m the movie reviewer here.  You just sit there and read.

Whatever unholy actions that take place in the film industry to churn out the brief list the Orb of the Drunken Muses spoke of earlier, Pan was one of the tropes I was actually interested in seeing.  My first experience with the tale of Peter Pan was from Disney, in play form, and then the brilliant film of the 1990’s, Hook.

Look, I didn't make the movie
Look, I didn’t make the movie, but I’m pretty sure they held a gun to Dustin Hoffman’s head to get him to put on that makeup.

While Dustin Hoffman’s Captain Hook gave me nightmare fuel for weeks to come, I had a general idea of the Peter Pan mythos and eventually how it would end: Robin Williams would beat out a ten year old boy (Rufio Rufio Rufio Rufiooooooooo) for the job of leader and crow, fly, and imagine his way to victory over the Pirates.  All well and good.  But I must admit when I first saw the trailer for Pan, I was really intrigued.  This, I believed was a story worth telling.  I know that J.M. Barrie wrote both the stage play, Peter or The Boy Who Never Grew Up and later the book Peter and Wendy or Peter Pan as it became known.  And these stories told everything I had already seen, but how did all of this begin?  That was something worth investigating.  Also of note, if you haven’t already, check out the fantastic film Finding Neverland as it chronicles the tragic but beautiful life of J.M. Barrie (bonus, Johnny Depp doesn’t wear anything ridiculous in the film).

Do you think this was the point he decided to kill someone?
Do you think this was the moment in which he questioned his life decisions?

At any rate, I really was looking forward to Pan.  I figured Hollywood had gotten it right for a change and found a story worth telling as a prequel. Unfortunately I underestimated the Orb of the Drunken Muses ability to twist a good idea into a film I cannot describe in any other way than odd.

The basic story didn’t offend me but it never came near to the satisfaction I was hoping for in this feature.  Not saying it didn’t give me the information I wanted on Peter Pan’s origins, but I never felt engaged. You also have the problem with all prequels, how can there be any stakes here, you know how things turn out eventually.  Anyway, let’s just say that I left highly unsatisfied at Joe Wright’s (Director) origins of Peter Pan.  Which is really what I wanted to see.

There are some good things to be found in this film.  The young man, Levi Miller, who played Peter looks to have a bright future in film in front of him.  At no point did I see him as a twerp or annoyance unlike other child actors.  Other than some serious over-acting, I mean like a ridiculous level of over-acting, by Garrett Hedlund as Hook.  First of all, why was he called “Hook”?  Because his surname happened to be Hook, was it really necessary to have him be introduced with a hand-held hook?  We get it, he eventually becomes the bad guy, we don’t need to be hit over the head with references to future stories.  Oh, and there is a lot of that.  The Writers and Director were so busy giving winks and nods to Peter Pan  references that they forgot to tell Garrett to take it down a notch.

When I come down from the coke, you'll have to carry me home.
Once I come down from the coke, you’ll have to carry me home kid.

The other two main actors Rooney Mara, Tiger Lilly, and the ever talented Hugh Jackman playing the infamous pirate Blackbeard (I’m not going to link to his body of work, because if you don’t already know it, you’ve likely been held prisoner in some cult bunker).  Hugh Jackman has fun with this role.  Not only does he get a chance to play a villain for a change, he gets to do some of the most bonkers things in a film I’ve ever seen.  For me, how absolutely insane a particular scene of them bringing in new children for mining purposes almost saved the movie. The setup is that Blackbeard’s Pirates have captured orphans and are bringing them to assist in mining Neverland’s mountains for Pixie Dust in rock form.  The current miners actually sing to their new compatriots one of the most insane versions of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit I have ever heard.  Seriously, this is the best scene of the film.  I wish the film was already released so I could show you this scene, but for now you’ll just have to prepare your ear-holes for this batty rendition.

Wasn’t that absolutely perfect?  At this point in the movie (relatively early), I was pretty stoked and ready for anything that came afterwards. Sadly I called it too early and the rest of the film just let me down.  My niece and nephew enjoyed it, but that was just for the pretty visuals and some moderately unique VFX, but they didn’t care or understand about the content.  Kids will enjoy this film, but being out three weeks and only making $25.7M at the box office is abysmal.  No love for an origin tale of Peter Pan, which is sad, because I really wanted to see that movie.

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

I didn’t hate everything, but with some serious acting issues, lack of any real follow-thru on Peter Pan’s Origins, plus only one redeeming scene, I just can’t recommend this to anyone other than when it runs on cable. Maybe the Orb of the Drunken Muses and Hollywood will learn a lesson and recoil a bit.

Or perhaps not...
Or perhaps not…

-Darkmovienight

Yes

Wednesday Wars- 64 Days and Counting and I Feel Sorry for Drag Queens

Happy Wednesday Bleary-Eyed fans and you know what that means…

It’s October 14th!

Wait, that’s not right, well, it is October 14th, but Wednesday means it is time for…

Wednesday Wars!

You’ll have to forgive your Movie Overlords, because not only are both of us working our Dictator butts off, but some of us are on vacation and decided to drive for hours, drink straight Captain Morgan for an hour, then pick up his phone and decide everyone needs to know his life story.

And the Force is strong in my stomach
And the Force is strong in my stomach…

So, we’re feeling pretty lazy today, but it’s not going to stop us from bringing you top tier Star Wars weirdness.  Since we haven’t received any submissions from our fans, I had to scour the Internet to find something relatively new and unique (believe me, don’t Google “Strange Star Wars Things“).  But deep into the Dark Side of the Internet I did go and what your hero, Jedi Master Bruce Garrett (I know it’s not that inspired, but better than Anakin Skywalker…stupid name) found were these:

crazy-star-wars-heels-1

From a UK based company called Irregular Choice, these babies combine the rubber bottoms of a sneaker with the soul crushing high heel of the Classic Luke Skywalker lightsaber from Episode VI and VII.

And any performer during a Star Wars themed Drag Show's Achilles tendons
And the Achilles tendon of any performer during a Star Wars themed Drag Show

I love the design, but the practicality is pretty much non-existent here.  I suppose you could say that about most high-heels, but with a heel that is made out of a blade weapon of plasma and lasers just seems unruly.   Here are a couple more shots:

crazy-star-wars-heels-2
Did you notice the “Star Wars” on the back? In case these heels were too subtle
crazy-star-wars-heels-3
The lights are necessary for calling attention to your lunacy

Now I can neither confirm nor deny my desire to see a woman in one of these, but I’ll let you know that it’s not likely you’ll see me in a pair anytime soon.  But if you have to walk down the red carpet for The Force Awakens, I suppose you could do worse:

Much worse...
Much worse…

All images are credited to the incredibly talented Irregular Choice team who have many more hell and flat choices and some really unique purses.  Head over there and Like/Share their page because they deserve the love.

While you’re on Facebook, don’t forget to help out your Movie Overlords and share our page.  We appreciate everyone who is already part of our community, but we command you to bring in more minions!

minions-as-stormtroopers
Acceptable, but I don’t know if they had Bananas a Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away, so, payment could become difficult…

-Darkmovienight

The Martian or Why Haven’t we Gone to Mars Yet?

the-martian-poster

I want you all to understand a few things before we begin.  Space is vast, it is beautiful, and it is dangerous.  We live on this beautiful rock/spaceship we call Earth hurtling through empty space at unfathomable speeds and it is AMAZING.  Something I can say is that I am proud of the Domestic Public for embracing this film and in recent weeks, other celestial events.  There is a vast Universe staring back at you, don’t back down, ask it more questions and encourage others to do the same.

Now, can I see a show of hands of how many people believed that Matt Damon would grow into the actor he has?  I just don’t remember when the switch flipped.  I suppose you could say that it was Good Will Hunting, but I think that’s too easy.  If I recall he played an angel without genitals after that.   You know what, even that was awesome.  I guess I’m getting to the point where he has become one of our most talented actors of our time.

Let's just agree that he's been awesome the whole time. After all, Buddy Christ thinks so.
Let’s just agree that he’s been awesome the whole time. After all, Buddy Christ thinks so.

If you haven’t already seen the impressive amount of marketing surrounding this film, then the basic premise is that in the near future, an astronaut on a manned Mars mission is stranded, presumed dead, and we get an excellent single actor drama/comedy/thriller in the vein of Cast Away  Sorry Tom Hanks, the Mars Pathfinder makes a hell of a better companion than a volleyball.

Although I don't know if there is a marketable difference in intelligence.
Although I don’t know if there was a remarkable difference in intelligence between the two…

Suffice it to say, Damon nails his performance.  And what I find so brilliant about that is this was based on the book “The Martian” by Andy Weir in which, if you’ve read it, you’ll know that the humor and story would be exceptionally difficult to translate.  What I saw on that movie screen was the living embodiment of one of my favorite novels and the entire spirit of that book intact.  Movies based on books will always have a certain stigma because you cannot literally put every single word, thought, or action from a novel into a movie.  Then there is always “that guy” who will waste precious oxygen telling others how much better the book was than the movie.

Yeah, this guy
Yeah, this guy, I believe you’ve met

For someone who read the book and saw the movie, all I can say is that Ridley Scott and Drew Goddard did something I have never seen before.  Not only did they bring the novel to life, but the edits and changes they made to the book made it even better.  I just cannot say enough about how amazingly well done Weir’s novel was captured.

I raved about Damon, but seriously, with a supporting cast like this, you had to know something special was coming.  Each one of them could get their own paragraph, but since I’m sure half of you stopped reading somewhere between Comic Book Guy and my Alf reference, I’ll keep this short.

You went back and looked didn't you? Now wake up and pay attention.
You went back and looked didn’t you?

I want to point out a few actors that I’ve seen recently that have elevated their level of talent in my opinion.  First we have Jessica Chastain who is pretty much the Hollywood go-to tough, intellegent, and red-haired actress out there.  Then we have Michael Peña.  It was his performance here and every scene he stole during Ant-Man that just resonates with me.  The funny is strong with this man.  Lastly, I can’t forget Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, and Sean Bean.  All of them did their jobs exceptionally well and brought their A-Game.  Even Sean Bean didn’t die, and that’s impressive.

There are so many more things I would love to tell you about The Martian,  but you just have to see it.  And as you watch this cinematic beauty unfold, pay attention to the little details.  Did you notice they had to CG the sky?  Yeah, it’s that impressive.

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

This is easily the best film I’ve seen this year other than The Imitation Game.  Damon, Ridley Scott (in a continued welcomed return to science fiction), Drew Goddard, and a whole host of supporting characters transform your 2 hours and 24 minutes into an all encapsulated experience.  Simply put, go see this film.  Then see it again.  And once you’ve done that, go outside and look at the Cosmos, they exist for your viewing pleasure, just as this film does.

-Darkmovienight

Box Office

Monday Morning Shower Report: Box Office 10/2-10/4

Good morning Bleary-Eyed fans.  We here at I Watch Too Many Movies work very hard for you and you’re completely ungrateful.  This is unacceptable.  Due to your lack of love, respect, and worship, we condemn all of you to the pit of Sour Gummy Worms!  I’m told that some of you might be diabetic and that might not be a good idea, so we’ll figure some punishment for you.  Also, I’ve been made aware that some of you are Vegan.  That is punishment in and of itself, proceed with your unhappy existence.  Other than that, let’s all hop in the shower together and see what the masses swarmed to this weekend shall we?

1) The Martian- $55M

I certainly hope everyone saw this coming.  Fox had a brilliant marketing strategy with their trailers and even the social aspect of their marketing with videos of the crew on their journey to Mars.  At any rate, we will have an in depth review this evening, so hold on to your butts and wait till around 7-8 Eastern (What?  You’re not my boss, we can post whenever we want to!)

2) Hotel Transylvania 2- $33M ($90.5M Total)

Having an extremely low dip for a second week Hotel Transylvania 2 proved there just isn’t anything in the market for kids right now.  I still have not seen it myself, but the parents who have saw their younglings enjoying it and that’s good enough for me.

3) Sicario- $12.1M ($15.1M Total)

Now we’re talking, some good ole drug cartel killing.  We haven’t seen that in a long time.

You’d think for such a nice looking guy, he’d get tired of playing drug lords, mercenaries, or creepy arms dealer…

This one had a limited release last week, so this is it’s first week of wide-release, so we can forgive a low box office total, but it’s a little scary to see it under a two week old movie and just above one from last week.  It’s going to be a rough road for this drug feature film, as my guess the Martian will dominate for a few more weeks.

4) The Intern- $11.6M ($36.5M Total)

Just some more love for the new Dynamic Duo of film/sitcom hybrid (Filmsits?  Filmcom?  Sitfilms?, eh, we’ll find a name for it).  I’m happy to see this family/date comedy continuing to make a few $$’s.  It you’re interested, you can read our full review here.

5) The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials- $7.6M ($63.2M Total)

Okay, this one I still don’t get.  From my research, it cost roughly $61M to make this film and based on this week’s run, it has at least made that back.  Of course you still have to include the marketing and licensing, but considering I’m only looking at the Domestic Box Office numbers, this thing is going to make a profit and then there will be a third one…then a fourth…then a fifth.  I know it’s an odd gripe, but I’m just tired of the genre.  Besides, this year finishes off the only one worth while:

Yeah, she’s about a million times better than Hawkeye…or Jeremy Renner for that matter

Thus ends our Monday Recap of the Box Office.  Let me say a few things, I’m extremely proud of our Nation rallying around the Universe over the past few weeks.  Between beautiful moons, to the Waters on Mars (probably better than that Doctor Who episode…sheesh, dark), and then making The Martian the #1 movie this week (and probably a few weeks to come, sorry Steve and Peter).

Enjoy your week everyone, and did everyone make sure to scrub the bottom of their feet?  Nothing is worse than an unclean foot.  Seriously, you could have put the laptop down for like two seconds and ensure they’re good to go.

-Darkmovienight

The Walk or The Greatest Love Letter to the Twin Towers via Film

The Walk

I am not afraid of heights.  Roller coasters, skydiving (haven’t done it yet, but I will), and even tall buildings have not registered anything but exhilaration on my emotional spectra.  That’s why coming into The Walk in gorgeous IMAX 3D did not seem a daunting task at all.  I was wrong.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (or JGL for the remainder of this review) has come a long way from being the you “kid” on the fantastic sitcom “3rd Rock From the Sun”.  His filmography in the last five to ten years has been stellar.  I really would love to credit Christopher Nolan’s Inception for putting him on his serious acting career, but honestly, that honor belongs to Marc Webb’s brilliant (500) Days of Summer.  At any rate, this film would have not been near as powerful without him leading the cast.

Philippe Petit (JGL’s Character) was a French high-wire artist who gained fame in August 7th of 1974.  He garnered his fame due to his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.  This was a 1,362 foot above the ground walk.  Now, without some sort of safety system, I would likely pass out the moment I took the first look over the edge.  Wire-walking is just not for me.  Gravity and I have just had such a long relationship that at this point, It would be more like us taking the step of marriage after the second date.  That’s just not something I could do.  He performed for 45 minutes, making eight passes along the wire. This was, how do you say…illegal in the City of New York.  Did I mention the 45 minute walk at 1,350 feet?  Anyway, all of his charges were dismissed in exchange for doing a performance in Central Park for children.

Children, helping people avoid jail time since 1974
Children, helping people avoid jail time since 1974

What really popped for me was the writing.   Robert Zemeckis has always been a good screenwriter but he excels in dialogue and this film is simply one of his best.  Of course we can’t compare it to the classics (Back to the Future Trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Forrest Gump),  but watching him add his dialog to a true story is something of a wonder.  He writes each and every one of these characters perfectly and JGL’s Philippe is just so full of energy and quickness that you would be hard pressed to not admire what both Zemeckis and JGL bring to life here.

Something I’m always enamored of in films is the narration.  Philippe narrates his own adventure and of course this was based on a true event, but we have no idea how much of the surrounding material is actually true.  It doesn’t matter though.  We’re guided on the adventure by Philippe (well, JGL anyway) and the way they keep it moving, it’s brilliant.  I’ve not seen such a well narrated film since Moulin Rouge.

Of course when you have an unreliable narrator, things can get weird
Of course when you have an unreliable narrator, things can get weird

Now this being based on true events, anybody can read Wikipedia and see how the event plays out, so they have to put the drama elsewhere.  And where they stick it is in the visuals.  I cannot say enough about how brilliant the 3D and cinematography are in this film.  Like I said at the beginning, I am not afraid of heights, but however they shot the scenes of his performance, I will never forget the drama and exhilaration I felt.  And 3D has become such a gimmick these days to inflate ticket prices, but when I say it is completely necessary to see this film in 3D, please believe me.  Find the largest screen with amazing audio and crisp 3D glasses and you will not be disappointed with the up-charge.  I find that AMC’s IMAX 3D experience to be suitable.

There were a few elements that didn’t ring quite true to me, but those were mainly the relationships between characters.  Of course this is an illegal undertaking and maybe it was just the 1970’s but the ease he is able to recruit others in his insane venture just doesn’t seem feasible.  I can barely get two people to go to lunch with me let alone a whole crew to pull off a caper with (although I do have an idea how we can kidnap the Pope from Italy, but it’ll take some peanut butter, duct tape, some non-Newtonian fluid, and this guy’s legs).

Maybe it was just me, but they did seem to drag the run time a bit and some of the actors that were added close to the climax had absolutely zero time to develop so I don’t know why they even bothered unless that’s how it really happened.  It didn’t do much to harm the film, but I would curse the editor here for not trimming enough fat.

What does go on to be tragic is that you can no longer view those beautiful towers that Philippe crossed on his wire.  We know of the event that changed the world and of course we will never forget, but as one of the characters said in the film, “You gave life to those towers”, I will say this film treated them with a tremendous amount of respect and love instead of just a set piece.  They were as much characters as anyone else in this film. Robert Zemeckis did what few are willing, respecting the past, showcasing that they existed before 2001 and that they were one of the wonders of the world.

Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt puts on a terrific performance,Robert Zemeckis directs writes beautifully, and visually, the 3D is stunning.  While I will not spoil the dramatic final dialog of the film, but rest assured that you will be choked up and look upon a former staple of New York City in a new, more positive manner.

-Darkmovienight

Throwback Thursday: The Iron Giant or They Just Don’t Make Them Like They Use To

The_Iron_Giant_Poster

Brad Bird is a genius.  Not only has he entertained us with films from Pixar (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) but an incredible action film: Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol.  But in my humble opinion, his magnum opus was done sixteen years ago and it was this film, The Iron Giant.  

Now I want to say right up front that this review is going to be exceptionally short.  There are two reasons.  One, I’m on my tablet with a tiny Bluetooth keyboard typing this out on a decidedly non-mobile website.  Two, if I talk about this movie too much I’m going to cry my eyes out like I did last night.

If you haven’t seen The Iron Giant you either have no interest in animated films, have no kids, or in 1999 you were too scared about Y2K to come out of your fallout shelter.  Whichever kept you from seeing this film, you’ve missed out on something truly wonderful.

Since Walt Disney put together the Beautiful work of Snow White, I seriously don’t believe there has been a better hand drawn animated feature out there.  There is also a bit of sadness here because it is one of the last hand-drawn animated films out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore any form of animation, but we’re losing the art that started it all and that’s a shame.  Not only is the artwork pure beauty, but the writing, the direction, the characters, and even the plot are perfect.  It seriously is a lesson in how to create good cinema.

I know you’re looking for more from us here at I Watch Too Many Movies, but I just can’t say enough good about the work.  Not only is it a wonderful, funny, and endearing film, it also gives excellent ideas on personal strength and growth.  Not enough films today work to inspire young people to be all that they can be and they can be anything.   That’s truly special and needs to be repeated more often.

Didn’t Read My Fancy Words, Here is the Short Version:

The Iron Giant is a brilliant film that is criminally underated.  I wish more people can see the beauty I see when the film rolls.  Soon it will be out on Blu-Ray and you’ll have the chance to experience it.  For now, I want to leave you with a line that has resonated with me for years.  One line of dialog from an almost perfect film: “You are who you choose to be.”  This film was made for everyone and no matter what stage of life you are in…You are who you choose to be.

-Darkmovienight