Good morning Bleary-Eyed Fans, did you watch the Academy Awards last night? No? Neither did we. In fact we cared so little, our post was both late, terrible, and unfinished. Also, as far as predictions, we only got one: Leonardo DiCaprio won his Best Actor in a Leading Role.
All I can say is that it seems like a little bit of a pity Oscar. Not that Leo doesn’t deserve an Academy Award…it’s just that he should have got it one of the other four times he was nominated. The Revenant just wasn’t that special (and pretty inaccurate). Oh well, he won, are we done now?
Of course there was a ton of racist issues this Oscars (pretty much like the 87th preceding ones), from boycotting, asking Chris Rock to step down as host, and even the absolutely correct viral statement: #oscarssowhite. There wasn’t anything we could do and it’s just going to keep happening. I wish I could say something different, but I can’t. It’s just a despicable time we live in where all people are not created equally. It’s a shame, but all a movie dissector like myself can do is point it out and choose not to be like those that perpetrate hate and racism. Although I will say, even though he has quietly slipped into the “B-List” of acting, Chris Rock had some good things to say about it. I was proud of him monologue (or what I caught snippets of this morning) and while it wasn’t a joke, he didn’t hide anything.
There are no videos of the full monologue yet, but I’d like to recount my absolute favorite part from Chris Rock’s discussion on race, how awful the Academy Awards are, and how strange the whole damn this is in general:
“But things are changing. Things are changing. We got a black Rocky this year. Some people call it “Creed.” I call it “Black Rocky.” And that’s a big, that’s an unbelievable statement. I mean, cause, “Rocky” takes place in a world where white athletes are as good as black athletes. “Rocky” is a science fiction movie. There’s things that happened in “Star Wars” that are more believable than things that happened in “Rocky”, O.K.?”
Alright, we can agree I can’t fix racism. But what I can do is report on some of the better things of the night. Starting with the big winners:
Best Picture: Spotlight
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Leonardo di Caprio for The Revenant
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson for Room
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl
Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu for The Revenant
Best Animated Feature Film: Inside Out by Disney/Pixar
Best Visual Effects: Ex Machina by Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, and Sara Bennett
Best Original Song: Writing’s on the Wall by Sam Smith for Spectre
Most Awards Won: Mad Max: Fury Road with Six Awards
Let me toss in a bit of thoughts regarding the winners after the jump.
Good morning Bleary-Eyed fans! We’ve got a quick recap of last weekend’s box office results, but first we have to continue to show you that 20th Century Fox is on a roll with the trailers. Last week we brought you the X-Men: Apocalypse trailer, and yesterday they dropped another bomb on us: Independence Day: Resurgence trailer. Check it out:
Now I don’t know about you, but they teased out just a little bit and it really felt good to see a few familiar faces popping up. And the poster work was done really well and extremely simple:
At any rate, I really enjoyed the trailer. It had a great feel and of course the lesser Hemsworth brother is always welcome in my action movies. Just glad he’s not fighting with a crossbow this time. Missing however is Will Smith. I know we all knew he wasn’t doing this film early on, but come up Fresh Prince, you did a third Men in Black movie, would this paycheck had been so hard to cash? Eh, I saw one or two black dudes in the trailer, so maybe one of them will be Smith’s character’s step-son. Let the speculation begin! Oh, also of particular excitement was the famous Bill Pullman’s “Independence Day” speech from the first film playing over the end of the trailer, well done trailer editors.
Anyway, now that we’re all tearing up, erh, got soap in our eyes, let’s rinse off and get on with the Box Office Countdown from last week!
1) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2- $11.3M ($244.5M Total)
Again, surprising only those with anterograde amnesia, the last Hunger Games film dominated the top spot for the last time. Four weeks in a row at number one wasn’t a bad run, but I don’t believe Hemsworths, Sutherlands, or Jennifer Lawrence will stop anything from a “Galaxy far far away”.
2) In the Heart of the Sea- $11.0M
The better Hemsworth brother did his best to best the Girl on Fire, but sadly this Ron Howard film didn’t really have the same punch of Apollo 13 or one of the Da Vinci Code movies (which is saying something). I also had a few people tell me they were not going to see the film based on the nature of whaling in general. I totally agree that we shouldn’t make a species extinct, but isn’t this film about one taking revenge? Oh well, I didn’t make an effort to see it, instead I watch Tom Hardy play gangster brothers. I imagine Legend was much better. Still disappointed, this film had not only The Scarecrow but the new Spider-Man in it and it came out just “meh”. All I’ll say is that Netflix needs to put Ron Howard back to work as the Arrested Development narrator.
3) The Good Dinosaur- $10.5M ($89.7M Total)
Pixar’s latest film continued to plod along after a lackluster opening and will only be a slight cushion to the enormous butt that Star Wars will have. Maybe that was Disney’s plan: release a sub-par Pixar film for the kids that might get scared during Star Wars.
Perhaps Disney will allow Pixar to go back to releasing a movie just once a year. I know the brilliant Inside Out was the only Pixar movie I needed this year. I think the 2016 slate looks better. Going back to ocean isn’t going to hurt anyone.
4) Creed- $10.1M ($79.3M Total)
Continuing to impress, the spiritual successor to the Rocky franchise is holding its own in the ring (see what I did there?) A couple sources put the production value at only $35M, so New Line, MGM, and Warner Bros’ are going to make a pretty tidy profit on this one. Pretty likely to see a sequel to this film. If they get the whole group back together, who I gushed over, then I’m all for it. I also don’t see any other boxing movies or the lesser sport, UFC, coming down the pipeline, so any Creed sequel won’t have any stiff competition and I welcome the continued story.
5) Krampus- $8.0M ($28.2M Total)
I have been debating on seeing this film since it came out. My original intent was to go see it immediately, but I ended up seeing Mockingjay Part 2 again (see #1 box office position above). From what I’ve heard, it’s not much more than a Christmas-y type horror/comedy. I’ve heard some pretty bold comparisons, so I may just have to break down and see this film for myself sometime this week. Maybe on Thursday, the crowds won’t be that bad, right?
Thus we have another morning shower while discussing last week’s box office. Of course make sure to thank Bill Pullman for putting soap in our eyes. Oh, and how could we forget the amazing Jeff Goldblum for saving us once again. Perhaps this time he’ll use an iPad. Funny how Steve Jobs inadvertently saved the Earth.
When we did our review of Spotlight, we told you the difference between “Based on a True Story” and “Inspired by a True Story”. This film sets up the uncanny valley between the two: fiction mixed with more fiction, but while seeming like a true story, or at least based off one.
Through six movies, Sylvester Stallone has portrayed his most popular and arguably most fleshed out character, Rocky Balboa. The Rocky series started in 1976 and has gone all the way through to 2006’s love letter to the fans and the franchise, Rocky Balboa, which was directed by Stallone himself. What most people remember about the films is he screams “Adrian” at the top of his lungs, fights Russians and works out to a catchy tune that my Norman High “Tigers” Marching Band friends got extremely sick of. There are not many films out there that have the pop culture impact that the Rocky franchise has had. Although, thesefilmsmaydisagree with that assertion.
If you’ve been living in an underground vault for most of your life due to some type of nuclear apocalypse, or no one in your family loves you enough to show you the Rocky films, then let me tell you why Creed is a bit of an odd duck in the world of cinema.
Apollo Creed is not a real boxer. He’s a fictional adversary turned friend in the Rocky franchise. Being based on the real champion of boxing, Muhammad Ali, Creed was introduced in the first Rocky film as the main antagonist and is portrayed by the classic real life action hero Carl Weathers. I can’t vouch for his actual heroics, but he’ll always be my hero. Basically, the first Rocky movie had him being arrogant and getting beat up at the end of the movie to some triumphant music. It’s typically used as an inspirational fable when someone is going through some sort of trials in the real world. Well, as most people fail to remember when recounting Rocky, Creed actually won the fight in the end. That’s pretty much like taking inspiration from a bee stinging someone.
Anyway, throughout the whole franchise, Creed and Rocky come to blows again and again, both physically and emotionally. Eventually, Creed dies in the ring during Rocky IV, by the living embodiment of the Red Menace, Ivan Drago, portrayed by the then semi-coherent Dolph Lundgren. It was an action/drama film in the 1980’s, so of course the villain had to be Russian, it was the Cold War dammit!
Well, the long and the short of it is, Creed dies in this fictional universe and Rocky continues on…for two more films. Now that we’ve established a bit of the history in this fictional universe, let’s talk about the film at hand.
Creed features the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, Adonis Johnson. He’s portrayed by the criminally underused Michael B. Jordan (see the latest Fantastic 4 disaster). Now Jordan brings something really interesting to this film. It’s his motivation. Think about it, as an actor, there are so many styles you can employ to create a character: classical acting, method acting, or even the newfangled Neurostethic acting (I’d try to explain the last one but I’m pretty sure it’s made up by the Screen Actors Guild to show that film is continuing to be “progressive”). Jordan doesn’t have a lot to work with here. His emotional input is to be the son of a famous fictional character. It’s not rocket surgery or anything, but it does present a problem: how can the young actor motivate himself when the source material is completely made up?
I’m sure many of you are confused here and saying, “Isn’t that what actors do?” Well, you’d be right for the most part. A role like this could easily be phoned in and done with little to no emotion. Jordan doesn’t take that route. He makes you believe that he really has a chip on his shoulder and is afraid he can’t get out from under his father’s shadow. Remember, his “father” is a fictional character. I truly believe that took a lot of talent on Jordan’s part and I hope he gets to have meaty roles like this in the future.
At any rate, you have Jordan’s amazing performance and determination (both as an actor and as the fictional Creed’s son), but you also have Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa. Now I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Sly in real life, but based on his body of work, I’m pretty sure the “Rocky” character is close to his real personality, or at least I hope it would be. Rocky is Rocky. There isn’t too much to say for Sly but he does his job and handles some of the more difficult sequences with the talent of an experienced actor. I will give him the credit of using his age to his advantage instead of falling off the face of the Earth and retiring as so many do. There is a place for older actors and I’m glad he takes full advantage of it.
After the performances given by its cast and a robust fictional lore, the final few things that Creed excels at is its cinematography and fight choreography. Most people don’t tend to notice one cinematographer from the next, but I really have to applaud the amazing job Maryse Alberti does here. Her work is also seen in the fantastic 2008 film, The Wrestler if you want a point of reference. Now, she has won multiple awards for her work, so it’s no surprise that she would do well, but when you are watching Creed, not only do you feel every punch, see clearly the agony and endurance of Rocky and Creed Jr., but you really get a point of view that is spectacular. It’s difficult to describe, but in each and every fight or training scene, you feel like you’re actually in the action. While Creed is only rated PG-13, the work done by Alberti makes it feel much more brutal. Make no mistake, this is a tough boxing movie.
Speaking of the boxing, it is incredible. This is a sport’s film, so of course everything will be an exaggerated version of the real thing, but man oh man do these fights make you want to get up and cheer just as in a real match. In my screening, there were several people that were actually shadowboxing during the titular fight scene, which getting that sort of response from your audience is just cool. The fight choreography was absolutely top notch. I don’t think I’ve seen something as gripping and thrilling since the Neo/Smith fight in The Matrix (yes, I’m just talking about the first one in the subway). I just have to say that it had me cheering, albeit quietly.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
The Rocky franchise can now live on since Stallone has passed the torch to a younger generation. Let’s see how many more movies can be made on this premise. Creed is a sports film through and through. It’s main job is to make the audience feel like they can do anything and sensationalize the sport in question. Check both those off of your list, then add to it an amazing performance by Michael B. Jordan, Sly being Sly, amazing film work, exciting fights and you’ve got a winner in every sense of the word.
Oh, and even though it’s not in the film, a huge pop culture gift the Rocky franchise and the band Survivor gave to everyone (and you’ll be singing it throughout the rest of the day) was this glorious tune:
You can find my personal favorite video version here, but you would have to be a Supernatural fan to really appreciate it.
Good Morning Bleary-Eyed fans, hopefully you’ve recovered from your food comas’ and the inevitable Black Friday wounds. Don’t forget Cyber Monday deals can also be just as dangerous and painful, just think of the Carpul Tunnel Syndrome. The surgery you have to have looks like it is straight out of some horror B-Movie special effects.
While we are all gingerly tending to our wounds and over-sized stomachs, your fellow Bleary-Eyed fans will take care of those “hard to reach” places…like belly buttons and behind the ears. Onto the Top 5 movies everyone watched during their glutton fest! (Note: this is only counting the Friday to Sunday numbers as Wednesday releases are calculated from opening to Thursday).
1) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2- $51.6M ($198.3M Total)
Have to admit I am a little surprised here since a Pixar film released this week, but I’ll go ahead and give the franchise its due, it can certainly make money. Maybe it doesn’t completely tell a coherent story, but it’s entertaining enough to get our seals of approval. People will keep seeing this and I think it’ll have a long run in the Top 5. Kinda like that aunt who came to stay for Thanksgiving, but decided she might as well stay till Christmas. After all, Southwest doesn’t charge for changing flights!
2) The Good Dinosaur ($55.6M Total)
The Good Dinosaur was the second worst opening of a Pixar film and the worst you might ask? Toy Story– the first film by an untested studio even though it was attached to Disney (note, if you look it up Toy Story 2 and A Bug’s Life’s opening weekend gross, you’ll notice severely low numbers due to them only releasing in one theater their opening weekend, the following weekend would be the true opening and follows what is seen regarding about The Good Dinosaur’s opening.) This is a bit odd as there really isn’t another cartoon other than The Peanuts Movie out and that doesn’t appeal to “today’s children”. Thankfully it was still an entertaining film and those that went likely enjoyed it. I have a feeling it might see a reasonable run at the box office, especially as schools start to let out.
3) Creed ($42.6M Total)
I’ll do my best to get a review out there soon, but believe me when I say, this film is good. If you’ve ever enjoyed a sports film (Remember the Titans, Hoosiers, or The Mighty Ducks) then you will fall completely head over heels for this film that passes the torch from the Rocky franchise to a new and younger generation.
4) Spectre- $12.8M ($176.1M Total)
007 and Blofeld continue to rake in a few million over the past few weekends. Spectre still lags behind Skyfall especially with inflation, but it does continue to weigh our action lust until The Force Awakens releases. Then Bond can retire for another three to five years.
5) The Peanuts Movie- $9.7M ($116.8M Total)
On the plus side, The Peanuts Movie has made back it’s $99M budget so far, but they still have to make back the marketing and such they did in the US. Also, it does have a place in the Top 10 of “G-Rated Film Grosses”. Depending upon when it finishes its theatrical run, that ranking will likely go up. One thing I’m sure Fox is watching closely is to see if they can engage new viewership and create new specials. I don’t know if that’ll work, but if it gives them a lift on the Halloween and Christmas Special sales, then it’ll have been worth it.
That’s it for our Top 5. My hope is that a lot more people will Creed a chance in the next few weeks. I doubt Miss Katniss Everdeen will give up her hold on the top spot for another week or two, but in less than 18 days, the most anticipated movie this year will blow our minds out the back of our skulls.
I could have shown real brain matter blown all over the place, but I figured since we all just got cleaned up in the shower, I’ll spare you look at that type of horror and just show the first amazing Captain America: Civil War trailer instead. It’ll likely play before Star Wars.
Hope to have a detailed Creed review to you all tomorrow and we’ve got some great surprises for Wednesday Wars, just pay attention, or actually read this site.