Morning Bleary-Eyed fans, hope everyone had an excellent weekend…well, at least better than Sony did with the new Ghostbusters film. Only have time for a quick recap of last weekend’s Box Office results, but I really have to apologize for the lack of posts recently and of course I want to spend just a moment to mourn all the lives lost in the past few weeks. I love films more than a lot of things, but escapism right now feels, I don’t know, wrong. Especially when so many are suffering. Now I don’t want to speak for anyone other than myself (Manchicken has his own opinions), and it’ll be quick. So just as simple as it can be: Black Lives Matter, White Lives Matter, All Minority Lives Matter, and NO ONE deserves to die at the hand of another other, absolute extreme circumstances notwithstanding.
Also, to keep in the spirit with the subject of the website, but honestly, they had the answer to the future’s woe’s back in 1989. It was in a slacker time travel comedy that starred a young Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter, called Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure:
A friend just mentioned to me something that rang true. It was something along the lines of: “I think it’s dumb that they made people ‘Pick a side with the whole #Team______ stuff’. Especially if people picked #TeamIronman when you come to find out Tony is running his suits off of puppies.”
That’s where we start this review, Iron Man grinding up puppies for energy, you know this will be a fun one. (A note from Future Darkmovienight, this review is our longest yet @ over 3k words. I talk a lot about other things than the film, so feel free to skip to the bottom and read my recommendation. -Sincerely, a man with sore fingers and bleeding eyes.)
After the disappointing combination of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in March, it was time to see what Marvel had to offer. Pretty much anyone who had been paying attention the last few years would have known that Marvel was likely to knock it out of the park. And honestly, they did. I will say, Captain America: Civil War, did showcase one of my tenants of films: expectations vs. actual reaction. The expectations were so high for this film, and it met those expectations. This results in just enjoyment of a film. Unlike Captain America: The Winter Soldier, when no one really knew what to expect and it blew the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe into smithereens and left the collective minds of all fans splattered on top of the theater ceilings.
I’m going to do my best to not spoil anything in this film, which might be a moot point since it did $181.8M at the box office this past weekend, so most of you have already seen it and wouldn’t be spoiled. For the rest of you, I really think you’ve either made up your mind to see this film, or you don’t like superhero films. Either way, I’m going to focus on a bit of the argument in general, the standout characters, and some absolutely beautiful effects.
There are a couple things I want to mention about the box office numbers that Civil War brought in this weekend. In May, Marvel movies have completely dominated. Last year, Age of Ultron opened the same weekend and beat Civil War by $10M ($191M opening), and before that, it almost doubled Winter Soldier‘s $95M opening. All gigantic numbers for kicking off the Summer Movie Season. However, I really would like to point out that in March, Batman vs. Superman drew in $166M, a mere $21M less that Civil War. This tells me two things, audiences have absolute zero superhero fatigue and if anyone tries to use that argument, take a used toilet plunger and cover their mouth with it as they don’t know what they’re talking about.
The second thing all these box office numbers tell me is that professional reviews don’t matter. For years, film advertisers have been using little tricks to make a movie look better than it actually is. For instance, if a film has ridiculously bad reviews, they’ll either take the one good review and quote it, or twist the words of a terrible review. Reading my review of Green Room from last week, you know I hated it, but as an example someone could have used this line to change the tone of my review: “Anyway … the movie was filmed well. That does show Saulnier’s talent.” All I had to take out was “…the only thing I can really establish was the movie…” You see how it’s a much different line without my qualifier? Well, that’s how promoters have done it for quite a while. Can’t blame them, they’re just doing their jobs. However, I have seen many a trailer with “Twitter Review” in the TV spots after a film has released. Check out the TV spot for this poor excuse of a comedy “Let’s Be Cops” from last year:
First review on screen is by a Twitterer?, Twittest?, Twit?, who goes by the handle @lanvinpierre. His “reaction is simple “Holy F****** S***”. Then we have the intellectual comments of a one @KKlarl, who has this to say: “Too Damn Funny”. Also don’t forget the amazing film critic @edgar leyva04 (who no longer has an account) which explains the nuances with “A Bada$$ Movie”. I really wish I had made up the “$$” for “SS”, but I didn’t. They go onto add two more to the list. Now let’s see what Richard Brody (Top Critic from the New Yorker) said: “The chillingly gung-ho darkness that Johnson lends his comic riffs would be the story, if only the director, Luke Greenfield, didn’t play the movie solely for laughs, which are few and far between.” I don’t know about you, but any comedy that has laughs “few and far between” is not a good start. Also, getting a 19% on the Tomato Meter and only 51% audience score gives me pause and hurts the immaculate review of @lanvinpierre and @KKLarl.
In fact, Mr. Germain Lussier from Slashfilm had an interesting article regarding initial Twitter reactions. It’s not quite the same topic, but it does address writing a review so concisely. Let me ask our Bleary-Eyed fans, do you want us to give simple impressions of the films we review? I know I’m way to verbose with my reviews, but I do it to give you my opinion and to help you make up your mind if you’re on the fence. Would this be accomplished with a quick: “Dude, Civil War was awesome!” on Facebook? I honestly wouldn’t mind some feedback regarding this subject.
At any rate, the difference in box office dollars had about a million variables and depending upon how Civil War does next weekend, we’ll know if anyone cares about critics or others’ opinions. And I want to mention one more thing, I’m actually pretty excited to have seen a couple of trailers using the “Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomato Meter” as a function of success for a film. That’s cool because the producers are starting to realize where people get their news, the web or social media, and are following along instead of being pulled kicking and screaming into 2016.
How about I talk a little bit about the movie? If you’ve seen a trailer, well if you somehow avoided seeing a trailer, then the basic info about Civil War you’ll need is that Iron Man and Captain America have a disagreement over giving the United Nations oversight of the Avengers. Now I have my own opinion, but that’s something I really feel is interesting about Civil War, it was able to take a discussion from a film and bring it into real life. Just like privacy over safety was at the forefront of The Winter Soldier, this one was able to bring an argument over control versus freedom. In the film it is presented as a document called “The Sokovia Accords”, named after the city that got dropped from the sky in Age of Ultron.
The stipulations are that the Avengers are no longer a private organization and are sent in, or not, by a governing body within the United Nations. I find this interesting as it is eerily similar to the argument presented in Batman vs. Superman regarding Superman’s involvement in foreign and domestic affairs. And what is equally hilarious to me is that there are such devout fans of both franchises that will choose to ignore the similarities and denounce Superman as a reckless individual with little care for life or jurisdiction. However, when looking at the Avengers, they’ll spout on how the World needs them, yada yada. I’m not going to pick a side (wow, it’s amazing how that theme runs through a review regarding a movie titled Civil War).
Anyway, so both Captain America and Iron Man take a different stance on the Sokolvia Accords and along with the addition of a horrific, villain induced accident (courtesy of a brilliant Frank Grillo as Crossbones who is criminally underused in this film), a little bit of Bucky blame, and the death of Royalty (T’Chaka, the King of Wakanda), crap hits the fan.
After the cluster of terrible events and asinine decisions by both heroes, sides are taken and lines are drawn. The Vision literally draws a line at one point between the two sides. Like I said earlier, the argument at the heart of the movie is exacerbated by a whole bunch of people not listening to each other and a simple bit of idiocy (why the hell would Hawkeye attempt to take on Vision???) At any rate, the argument is a little silly and could have easily been resolved, but then we wouldn’t have amazing action scenes and it’d be a rather short film. So, in my opinion, the argument here, which is supposed to be central feature in the film falls a little flat, but what it kicks off, and what the directors, Anthony and Joe Russo choose to do with it is simply something spectacular.
As I said earlier, I’m going to talk about a few things in here, but I can’t begin until I dote over the Russo Brothers. Directing episodes of some of the best TV created (Arrested Development and Community) they went on to shock everyone with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and now have been given the keys to the Marvel Kingdom. This comes in the form of them being chosen to direct the “Official” next movies in the Avengers saga: Infinity War Part I & 2. Frankly, I’ve not seen films balance action and story as well as what the Russo’s have directed since another set of siblings directed the originalMatrix.
Having the Russo’s at the helm was pretty much the best move Marvel and Disney could have made. Put that together with the incredible cast, wizards with visual effects, and you know you’re going to have a successful film.
Talking about the cast, I have to give a few shout outs to some unsung hero (seriously this phrase is getting tossed around here too much) actors throughout Civil War. While the main focus is on Chris Evans’ Captain America and Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, stuffing about a bajillion more superheroes in the mix makes it to where a couple get lost in the shuffle or even if they have an excellent performance, might not get the credit they deserve.
I’ll try to get through them quickly, but it’s going to be tough since they’re all so good and don’t get near enough spotlight in Civil War. First up are the actors on Cap’s side: Anthony Mackie as Falcon, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch & Paul Rudd as Ant-Man. Anthony Mackie brings charm and comedy to his role and is easily one of the most likable characters in the film. While he plays second fiddle to Captain America, I really hope that at some point he gets to take over the shield and portray the Captain America/Falcon hybrid seen in the comics recently. As the only Olsen that got any talent in that family (yeah, the Ashley & Mary-Kate were cute as toddlers, but once you go for the coked-out Lindsey Lohan look, you don’t get to come back). Anyway, Olsen gets to show off her skills, both with invisible magic hand movements (I know Benedict Cumberbatch is going to have to do it soon too, yay for Doctor Strange) and the gravity of having kicked off this entire event along with the meaty scenes she gets with The Vision (Paul Bettany), it’s clear that she is a very talented actor. Attempting not to give into the guilt her character feels along with still getting back up to fight, mirroring one of my favorite scenes in Age of Ultron with her and Hawkeye, she exhibits such a wide range and as films are created (often out of chronological order), she nails every single emotion and ferocity you need from this character. It’s just so well done. Finally I have to talk about Paul Rudd. After being one of Judd Apatow’s personal finger puppets for years, he struck the comedy and heroic balance in last year’s Ant-Man, which Marvel needed to follow up the stellar Guardians of the Galaxy. While the MCU doesn’t lack in comedy, few characters are there to be the comic relief. While I won’t put him on the level of Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord, I’ll tell you he gets some of the best parts in the film. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but his HUGE bag of tricks and clever dialogue really put him over the top and in the spotlight for the ten to fifteen minutes he gets on screen.
Next we have a few hidden gems on Iron Man’s team: Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Tom Holland as the all-new Spider-Man. Now it’s almost unfair that Boseman is in this film. Not only does his Black Panther steal the show every moment he’s in the film, but why does he get to play everysingleimportant African American figure in recent history? Boseman is just too talented, from using a brilliant African accent to kicking total ass in the film, he portrays everything wonderful about the character. Even in the end where he gets a chance for revenge for his father’s death (see above mentioned regicide), he takes the high road and delivers some of the most haunting dialogue in the film with complete ease. Hmm, where have I heard about peaceful resolution before?
Last but probably the most important behind-the-scenes aspects of this film is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. After looking closely at Holland’s credits as an actor, I have no idea what he did to impress Marvel/Disney and Sony (aforementioned most important behind-the-scenes aspect), but the kid did not disappoint. As soon as it was mentioned that Sony had brokered a deal with Marvel and Disney to allow Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there was a collective fan squee and also the silence of a million people not wanting another origin story or thirtyyear old actors playing High School Peter Parker/Spider-Man. While Holland is 20 now (Tobey Maguire brought Spider-Man to life in 2002 at the age of 27) he pulls off the awkward teenager better than any of those to come before him. I swear in the film you can hear his voice crack. Again, as mentioned earlier, once the Russo Brothers got their hands on the webslinger, they did something special with him. Not only giving Holland a brilliant scene with Downey Jr., making him a pivotal character in the most incredible action scene in recent years, but also allowing him to deliver the best line in the film. If you thought you were tired of Spider-Man, then the moment Tom Holland opens his mouth, you’ll be completely convinced otherwise. The future is bright for Mr. Holland and his solo film, Spider-Man: Homecoming which will also star Downey Jr. and Aunt Hottie… I mean Aunt May who is portrayed by the beautiful Marisa Tomei.
As an aside on the actors, Martin Freeman adds his charm and British-ness to the film with what looks like him taking over as a surrogate Phil Coulson. Even though you can see Coulson every Tuesday on ABC in Agents of SHIELD (seriously, this show is good, I promise). I guess they also needed someone to be Nick Fury-Like until Samuel L. Jackson gets back.
Other than all of the actors, and the standout ones I mentioned above, the real treat in Civil War is the action. In this golden age of Superhero Films, there was still skepticism that an Avengers movie could be made (let alone 2.5 of them, yeah counting this as an Avengers film) or the words “Terrigen Mist” uttered on TV (seriously SHIELD is good), no one could have ever predicted a battle and action sequence that was done in the middle of Civil War. The airport sequence cranks the “War” portion of the title up to eleven and then somehow goes to twelve. I know what you’re thinking, how did they top the NYC battle in the first Avengers? Without spoiling it outright, just think about all the characters involved in this movie and decide for yourself what could be so amazing. There just isn’t any way to describe it without spoiling something. Know it was easily one of the best action scenes concocted in film, period. After a sequence like that, you’d assume they would be out of fuel (and budget), but no, you still have the titular battle between the heavyweights Captain America and Iron Man.
Even with more visual effects that are so subtle they can easily be missed (like the de-aging of Robert Downey Jr. in the beginning of the film), it’s a testament to the power of Marvel & Disney together and an utterly towering bar for any effects team to hurdle in future films. There is nothing else to be said.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
It’s Marvel. You have either already seen Civil War, don’t want to see it, or so broke that you’d have to rob a liquor shop to get the money to watch it in theaters (seriously, ticket prices are nuts and will not stop inflating). Regardless of a dumb setup (just so easily avoided), Civil War shines as the best that Marvel has to offer, especially from extremely weak source material. It’s visually stunning and all the new characters added to the film simply push it to heights that I will go ahead and declare it Marvel’s best film to date. $181M worth of tickets sold last week domestically, let’s see what happens when you add your stubs to the mix. And believe me, it’s worth every penny.
“Wait, wait, wait…slow down now I say.” Why in the name of Stephen Spielberg remake The Jungle Book. And just to sate curiosity, they actually do mean a remake of the beloved animated film from 1967. This is Disney after all and they have been making it a bit of their MO recently: remake old animated features into live action adaptations, some good:
And some not so good:
So, it’s come to this Disney. You took the remake/reboot wagon to new heights and then made it skydive. Well, I have one thing to say to you about your precious new Jungle Book live action film: how did you make it so good?
First of all, I’m all for remakes. I don’t care, if I loved the film before, and Hollywood remakes it now, I either get to laugh at it and remember how good the original still is or I get to see it through new eyes and be surprised by the unique take a director or actor has done to my loved film. Of course the bottom line is that Hollywood is out of ideas so they’re just hoping all the people that saw the film originally in theaters are dead now. I mean, after almost 80 years, I think it’s okay to retread a little bit of ground:
But, now that I think of it…
Okay, so Disney is taking their classics and remaking them with today’s technology. In the case of The Jungle Book, director Jon Favreau (the guy that pretty much made the Marvel Cinematic Universe possible) used cutting edge animation to make the most believable CGI characters I’ve ever seen. There is even a question of if the film will compete as an animated feature instead of the typical “live action” films in Award Season. I’m reasonably tech savvy myself, but what those artists and Weta did is something unlike I’ve ever seen. Right there, it’s worth the price of admission.
After you’re done gawking at the realistic animals actually talking to the new actor, Neel Sethi (Mowgli), you then have to listen to who is talking. Voice work is where it get’s a little sticky for me. For a while, animation voice work was done by relative nobody actors or some that just had a natural talent at voice work and eventually became completely iconic:
But then Dreamworks had success with Shrek in 2001 with Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy headlining the film. First time I can remember that an animated feature actually billed the actors playing a role. Well, that’s not quite true:
Nevertheless, once Myers and Murphy headlined Shrek, every animated feature had to have Hollywood stars doing voice work, whether they could or not. This was not a problem in the least for The Jungle Book. Being told the tale by the amazing Ben Kingsley as Bagheera the panther, laughing it up with Bill “Freaking” Murray as the lovable lazy bear Baloo, or just being plain freaked out and comforted by Scarlett Johansson’s boa constrictor Kaa. These actors didn’t just phone in a lazy script. They made their mark on the characters, and yes, I thought of the animals just as real as Mowgli. Usually you can hear the voice and see the actor’s face, but Favreau went to great lengths to gather a cast of professional actors to bring more life into his CGI world.
I skipped two names up there. The first one, Idris Elba as the vicious tiger Shere Khan, who basically took an entire jungle hostage for the sake of revenge, was terrifying. Not one moment did he not sound menacing, in charge, and lethal. I’m now convinced that Elba should be available at all times so parents can have him call unruly children and calmly speak until their pants are full.
Hell, I bet it would even work on adults:
The other name I left off was someone that absolutely stole the show every second his character was on screen. Christopher Walken portrayed the devious (and humongous) King Louie the Orangutan, and oh yeah, they let him sing. Walken’s “I Wan’na Be Like You” started off as a discussion with Mowgli and soon took off like a bullet from a gun. His talents were absolutely perfect. Dancing, singing, and totally creeping everyone out. I have no doubt in my mind that Walken didn’t audition for the part, he simply came in took it over. There is not enough words of joy to describe his performance.
The only downfall in Favreau’s The Jungle Book is that it is a remake and thus no surprises in the story. It’s not even a “The original was better” argument, it was just the same. Sure, they added more adult dialog and changed a couple scenes up, but it was still the same Jungle Book I remember from when I was a kid. That’s the trap you have with a remake or a reboot: if you don’t make it different enough while still using the same framework, you’ve pretty much already lost. We’ve seen it happen with multiple films, and unfortunately the best example of a remake/reboot giving better life to the source material would be 2010’s True Grit. While tons of people will argue that there is no one better than John Wayne in a Western Film, seeing “The Dude” bring Rooster Cogburn to whole new levels and satisfactorily bringing in crowds for a Western film…in 2010! So, yeah, it sucks, but unless you’re Jeff Bridges getting drunk, you can’t escape this aspect of a remake.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
The Jungle Book took almost every fear away from being it being a remake. It was truly an adaptation. Showcasing probably the best CGI I have seen to date which allows a talented director and a myriad of stellar actors to move and breathe just as if it was all real. No surprise in the story, but it won’t matter when you here this:
There isn’t a good way to start a review of the most anticipated film of 2015. But, we have to start somewhere. And all I can think of is…
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away….
The Star Wars franchise wasn’t in the best of shape. From 1999 to 2005, George “These are my toys” Lucas released prequels to the beloved Star Wars franchise. He wrote and directed each film and after 17 years since Return of the Jedi, his creation fell flat. Perhaps it was an expectation that could not be matched by any film trilogy. However, The Force Awakens seems to disagree with the anticipation vs. fan enjoyment argument, seeing as it could become the number one grossing film of all time. That’s right, it’ll pass Avatar by James Cameron.
When the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney was completed (to the tune of $4.05 Billion) in 2012, they wasted no time in announcing new Star Wars films. A great tremor was felt in the collective fan community. How could the ‘House of Mouse’ ever do this franchise properly? Could they possibly do the The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn (which this reviewer thinks is the best Expanded Universe tale ever told)? What would happen to the excellent Clone Wars animated show? All questions, but no answers.
Finally, after what seemed like ages, news slowly trickled out about the state of our Galaxy Far Far Away.
From the movie production:
Who was the director? J.J. Abrams.
How much CGI? Lots, but hey they’re using practical effects too!
Reasonable expectations began for the film. Then came the dark times. Clone Wars was cancelled in favor of a new Disney Star Wars cartoon. The Expanded Universe many fans had been reading since the 1980’s was disbanded as canon and rendered to a “Legacy” status. It seemed that our worst fears had been realized, Disney had taken away everything we loved and filled it with hollow promises of movies, shows, and merchandise. Then a new hope arose in the form of a trailer in November 2014:
In my opinion, that’s when the tide changed. Instantly everyone changed into a five year old with their Star Wars toys. Of course a lot of people made fun of Kylo Ren’s cross guard lightsaber, but everyone was pumped and just like that…December 2015 couldn’t get here fast enough for anyone.
More trailers came out. And so did the merchandise. “Star Wars all the things!” cried every manufacturer and retailer. I honestly don’t have a problem with this as long as it wouldn’t effect the storytelling. Now if Luke Skywalker had been playing with the amazing Hot Wheels line while some dialogue, I think there might have been a problem.
There are a lot of things to be said about the film itself. I could really go into the amazing space battles, which were the center of the action over any lightsaber battle shown. Truly, it was well done. Then there was the acting. Every single person there was excited to be in a Star Wars filmed and their enthusiasm and talent showed.
The old cast really meshed well with the new characters introduced and the delight was very evident on everyone’s face. The writing, the actors, the sets, the CG, and the thrill…it was all there. Star Wars is back and I cannot wait for the next iteration.
Didn’t read my fancy words, here is the short version:
You didn’t need my review to decide if you were going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you were either going to see it or you were never going to see it. Sure there are plenty questions left unanswered and of course I could really nitpick at details and find reasons why this issue or that issue…blah blah blah. Nothing I can say will change what you’re going to do. I can say it’s as simple as this: I really enjoyed the film. And I hope you do as well.
And today is the last day of the year, and the last post of 2015. We hope that you all enjoyed our random writing, be it reviews or some of our other content.
Manchicken and I will likely share our favorites from 2015 over the next few days, but the best all around movie in 2015 was The Martian. There is lots more to say (comedy, action, failures, etc.) but I’ll get to that in another post. For now, I wish you all a wonderful New Years and hope you’re looking forward to 2016 as I am!
Good morning Bleary-Eyed fans, are you awake enough after your third or fourth viewing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Well, prepare to drop the soap as we spend some time on how amazing Star Wars did this weekend.
1) Star Wars: The Force Awakens- $238M
There isn’t going to be much else to talk about this morning, so we’re going to get really involved with this film. And from now on, I’m just going to type “Star Wars” as the movie title so I don’t contract irreversible mega-carpel-tunnel syndrome. Like I said last week, we all knew that Star Wars was going to break records, but had no idea that it would break all the records. Let me quickly tick off the records it shattered:
Largest opening weekend: $238M, previously held by Jurassic World earlier this year ($208.8M).
Largest Thursday showings: $57M, previously held by the final Harry Potter installment ($43.5M) four years ago.
Largest opening day (FYI, this does include the above Thursday showings): $120.5M, beating the crap out of the Kid Wizard again which previously held it at $91.1M
Largest dollar amount per theater of a wide release: $57.6k per theater, with Star Wars releasing in 4,134 theaters. There really is no comparison to any other movie here, that’s how far it eclipses everything else.
Largest IMAX release: $30.1M out of 391 IMAX screens, making extinct the dinosaurs from earlier this year which had $20.9M. I’ll do the math for you, that’s $77k per screen…
International opening of $279M. They still have India, Greece, and China (opening in January) to go.
The entire global weekend gross for Star Wars was $517M. If each person who saw Star Wars only once (not the case, but for sake of jaw-dropping figure), then each human of the Earth’s population (7.3 Billion), will have spent an average of $14.12 a ticket. That’s right, even toddlers spent $14.12 on average to see Star Wars.
Honestly, I knew it was going to be big, but I had no idea the power of the Force, I mean hype. Now it is estimated that the production costs of Star Wars was north of $200M (not including advertising). If that is a true number, then Disney/Lucasfilm might eek out a tiny profit…
All this success does cause a little bit of a problem for I Watch Too Many Movies: we’d love to do a review of Star Wars, but we’ve got a few roadblocks in our way. We don’t want to spoil it for the 1% who didn’t go this week, and those of you who did see it (likely ANYONE who reads this site) you’ve already made up your mind about how you feel about the film and did your own micro-review on Facebook or Twitter. I think Manchicken and I will give our thoughts on the film separately in the next few days, but I’m pretty sure those opinions won’t differ too much.
2) Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip- $14.4M
Apparently some film studios decided to find a convenient excuse for their movies failing by sacrificing, er, releasing them against Star Wars. 20th Century Fox pulled this move by releasing the fourth movie in the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie franchise. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that being a Babysitter this weekend was quite lucrative. And likely this is the film the babysitters’ took the kids to while their parents went and saw Star Wars in the theater next door.
3) Sisters- $13.4M
Universal pulled this trick with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s new comedy, Sisters. Apparently this wasn’t a horrible film, so I don’t know if they just dumped it here or had the misfortune of having this weekend booked for quite a while. At any rate, it’s a comedy, so it likely didn’t cost much to make and the fact that it made any movie this weekend was an achievement. The audience consisted mostly of women over 25, so that fits squarely in the demographic that grew up watching these two on Saturday Night Live and haven’t seen or don’t care about seeing Star Wars.
4) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2- $5.6M ($254.4M Total)
Katniss’ bow, speeches, or constantly waking up in a hospital bed were no match for a good blaster at Star Wars’ side. After being in the top spot for four straight weeks, the final chapter in The Hunger Games film series finally toppled. It’s okay, Lionsgate made their money and now they’ll just have to wait for the Blu-Ray/Digital release. This shouldn’t surprise anyone since it was more or less the same crowd seeing Star Wars.
5) Creed- $5.1M ($87.9M Total)
Since this is likely the last week in the Top 5 for Creed, there isn’t much to say except we’re looking forward to any type of continuation to this franchise. Good job Sly, you did a good job here.
That my friends was an intense box office recap session. I think I need to take a nap. Sadly, I’ve got movies to watch (I feel like seeing Apollo 13 today), and real jobs to apply for (unless someone wants to pay me for this gig…yeah…didn’t think so).
One thing I worry about is that we continue to teach Hollywood and their evil Tribunal the wrong lessons. Everyone went to see Star Wars because it was Star Wars and we had faith it was handled properly by J.J. What they learned: “Franchise all the things! Revive every film from the 1970’s! Reboot everything!” They’ve heard this lesson for so long it’s more of a mantra they chant than something new.
Have a great week my friends and wake up, I know you saw Star Wars four times, but falling asleep in the shower is dangerous to yourself and others.
Morning Bleary-Eyed Fans, it’s Wednesday and you know what that means…
TIME MOVES TOO SLOW
It is one day before Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases in theaters. Many lives are at stake as no one knows the true power of The Force…of line stampeding. Hopefully your theater of choice has assigned seating.
Millions of people await this EPIC RELEASE without any fear that the Jedi Captain himself, J.J. ADAMS, has messed up the franchise or created another Episode I misfire. We here on “I Watch Too Many Movies” have faith in the living Force that this will not occur.
With this being the final WEDNESDAY WARS until we start getting excited for Episode VIII, we will throw everything we have at this difficult post and hope we find the thermal exhaust port to your funny bone. I guess that means we would kill you or something, but let’s gloss over that for now….
Even celebrities who got to attend the showing on Monday dressed up. You can see one of our favorite actors, JGL, up there in “Yoda-Face”. I’m not sure, but I also see The Grinch lounge pants. Reasons we love him #262. Another star, Rainn Wilson showed up as a grizzled Jedi along with an adorable Boba Fett:
Now that we’ve hated with all our might those that walked the red carpet and saw The Force Awakens two days ago, let’s find some things fun in the world of Star Wars stuff.
Today I’ll lead off with a little girl who knows what she wants and her amazing parents who worked hard to get it done for her. I present to you, a Princess Chewbacca Birthday cake:
I think they did a fantastic job. Also make note of the little girl’s Imperial Head Band. Make fun of her and I’m sure her Sith parents will ensure your windpipe closes with record speed.
The next few videos we have, come from the gluttonous geniuses at Epic Meal Time. In celebration of the release of The Force Awakens, they create an over 70,000 Calorie BB-8 Beef Ball. While I usually find some enjoyment in their culinary disturbances in The Force’s collective bowls, this one was over the top. Just watch:
There isn’t much about food that turns me off, but that monstrosity comes close. And of course they had to create something for breakfast as well. I don’t feel as nauseated after watching this one. Presenting the “Blue Milk Breakfast Sandwich”:
You’re eyes do not deceive you. That is a beautifully forged lightsaber to go with J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings world. Instead of enslaving Middle Earth, our Earth, and the entire Galaxy, the individual who commissioned it from the amazing craftsmen at Vader’s Vault used it to merely ask for a someone’s hand in marriage. All that aside, can you imagine if Sauron had wielded this type of power? Especially if he had access to The Dark Side of the Force…he’d be one powerful Motherf-
Finally, we turn to Saturday Night Live, which has become merely a stage for The Lonely Island and Justin Timberlake to show off how talented they are, has come up with an excellent Star Wars toy commercial that rings all too true and hits close to home:
And yeah, I bought The Black Series figures on Force Friday. And of course they’re still in their box! You think I’m going to play with them? Well, I really wanted to but my wife wouldn’t let me. Something about buying too many toys when we don’t have children. I don’t know, I stopped listening pretty quickly.
Anyway, we hope you appreciated all of ourWednesdayWarspoststhisyear. I also owe a special apology to Drag Queens for our post on the extremely uncomfortable looking Star Wars heels I wrote about on October 14th. It was definitely not meant to single you all out. I don’t believe anyone would be comfortable in those things.
We’ve enjoyed doing this segment and plan on continuing with a Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice countdown at the start of 2016. Hopefully we’ll find enough material to keep you all engaged and laughing like a victim of the Joker.
Lastly I want everyone to get a good eyeful of yours truly. Dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi for the Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones premier:
Have an excellent Wednesday and make sure to enjoy Star Wars: The Force Unleashed,in theaters this Friday.
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.
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!”
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.
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).
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.
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.
As many of you know, there is a certain film that will be releasing on the 18th of December. What that film might be is a mystery that even the Vegan Deities cannot discern, but to be sure, some sort of force, if you will, is at work. Most likely the force of gastrointestinal problems because they don’t eat meat, but perhaps they can fathom a world outside of their obnoxious, gassy bubble and divine what will cause a stir that day.
Not likely, they’re too busy kissing birds. So, ear biting is cool as long as you don’t swallow. Sounds like a smoking or sex work around.
Anyway, we all know that Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out that wonderful day in December. Ten years ago was the last Star Wars film we saw and it, well, it…um…eh, it’s up to you. The reason you either hated that movie or enjoyed it was whether or not you believed that attempting to keep Padme alive is a good enough reason to exterminate Younglings. And did Obi-Wan forget that? I mean, he just gives the damn thing to Luke.
That was in 1977, 38 years ago, before they showed what happened ten years ago…ugh, doing prequels is a bad ideal all around. Time doesn’t work that way. Let’s forget anything was ever said above and move on.
In order to celebrate the release of The Force Awakens, every Wednesday (Wednesday Wars?), we will showcase something from a fan of “I Watch too Many Movies”, notable info from the interwebs, or even some fun trivia which will turn into prizes. Yes, you read that correctly, we have enough capital to buy your loyalty!
This weeks Wednesday Wars submission comes from our good friend Darth Andrews on Facebook. With his Force powers he managed to mash up some excellent figures. Without further ado, I present to you: General Stitch Grevious:
We thank Darth Andrews (admit it, you’d tremble at that name) for his contribution. As much as I love the news on the internet, I’d much rather see awesome stuff from you all. So send me pictures of your collection, your Halloween costume when you were two, or your ER bill when you attempted to use The Force on that bully in 8th Grade.
Until next week, May the Force be with you…while you do mundane things and such.
I enjoyed this film… a lot. It was a Marvel super hero film, so of course it has the same formulaic tropes and story plots as the other ones… but it’s fun. The special effects are neat, and it’s surprisingly funny.
There are really two possibilities here, from what I can tell:
If you enjoyed the other Marvel films, I think you’ll like this one too.
If you hated the other Marvel films, you probably won’t like this one either.
The Premise of the Film
Scott Lang is down on his luck. He has a young daughter who is growing up without him, and his vigilante-style whistleblowing has landed him with a criminal record and jail time, which he is just finishing up when the film starts. Scott’s daughter lives with the girl’s mother, and her step-father, who is a cop. He has a hard time finding a job with his record, despite an advanced degree and extreme determination. He relents and considers returning to crime, and that’s where the excitement begins.
Scott breaks into a house he believes to be unoccupied, which leads him to finding something special. This special something brings Dr. Hank Pym into his life, and Hank’s daughter Hope. There’s the usual family tension, like with most Marvel films.
Hank has an old apprentice, Darren Cross, who is dabbling in some dangerous technology involving a suit that can shrink and give the wearer extraordinary physical capabilities while enabling them to get into small places, which is a similar feat accomplished by Hank himself decades before.
The main players in this film are:
Paul Rudd – Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Michael Douglas – Dr. Hank Pym
Evangeline Lilly – Hope van Dyne
Corey Stoll – Darren Cross / Yellowjacket
Abby Ryder Fortson – Cassie Lang (little girl)
Judy Greer – Maggie Lang (mother of little girl)
Bobby Cannavale – Paxton (step-father of little girl)
I think the best player was probably Michael Douglas. I thought that he did “regretful father who kept secret that which he should not have kept secret” well. The worst player, I think, was Corey Stoll. While I like Corey Stoll – mostly from his work in House of Cards – I don’t think he did a very good job with “jilted and jealous apprentice”. This could have been Peyton Reed’s (director) fault, the world may never know.
What I Liked
I liked the fight scenes, the sci-fi elements, and I always like how Marvel rewards me for being a comic reader. I don’t read Marvel stuff much anymore, but I used to and I liked it. I still have fond memories of Ant-Man appearing in my books when I was a kid and young adult.
What I Didn’t Like
I didn’t like that I had to watch the same Marvel film again with different characters and different special effects. I understand that this is how Marvel does its business, and that most of the characters and story arcs go like this… but they changed so much of the canon that they could have improved this as well.
I will concede that I am not the objective observer on this film. Watching this film carries almost two decades of comic book love with it, and I have to disclose that up front.
I’m glad I saw this film in theaters, I’m glad I saw it in 3D-IMAX, and I’m glad that while Marvel couldn’t bring me a complex and innovative story line, they at least brought me enough classic Ant-Man throw-backs to reward me for my ticket price.