Friday, April 29, 2011

Box Office Madness Breakdown, Part 1

Ever since I submitted my picks for Fletch's March to Box Office Madness 2011, I've been a bit obsessive about my progress. One could say I've gone 'mad' thinking about it. (Sorry, couldn't resist). This weekend marks a special milestone in the competition; the first official battle begins! That match-up is Scream 4 versus Fast Five. As the Iron Chef Chariman would shout, Battle: Needless Sequels! In honor of the official kick start to the action, I thought I'd take a minute to review why I selected my picks for Region A. My full bracket can be found here. Here's a complete list of the Region A contenders:

4. Scream 4  vs.5. Fast Five: With the waning of horror movies this past year, my guess is that Scream 4 was too little, too late to board the reboot-rejuvenate train. It did worry me that even the excruciating third installment managed to rake in a 90 million domestic dollars over ten years ago, but assuming most Scream fans are now too busy taking their chits to Rio, it's a safe bet part 4 will be lucky to match that decade-old figure.

Conversely, the Fast franchise has some sort of strange hold over audiences. Every installment featuring either Walker or Diesel has grossed $125-$150 million. Considering action flicks like Hanna and Source Code have (hopefully) run their course with the testosterone hungry man-boy crowd by Fast Five's opening weekend and your left with action audiences starved for fast cars, fast women and things that go boom. Sayonara Ghostface!

3. Green Lantern vs. 6. Larry Crowne: This was the most difficult match-up in the region. First off, Green Lantern looks like a luke-warm pig anus. Also, GL is a second-tier DC character with an insanely complex history that probably won't translate to the big screen. I have always thought it'd play much better as an ongoing TV series and my guess is the movie will prove me right. All that said, GL is still a superhero movie, and even a flop of a hero flick can pull in over $180 million. This earns anything over $200 million and execs at DC should publicly thank the American population for being such suckers.

Larry Crowne is a perfect storm of counter-blockbuster programming. Box office golden boy Tom Hanks playing an unemployed Average Joe trying to better himself via community college speaks to a broad audience. Throw in Julia Roberts as a love interest with a script by Greek Wedding writer Nia Vardalos and watch this puppy churn out a steady box office profit for months. It should reach $150 million without breaking a sweat, but I'm hoping the magnitude of suck of Green Lantern won't succumb to the inherent charisma of Larry Crowne.

2. X-Men: First Class vs. 7. HannaThe X-Men franchise has been on a steady decline since Singer walked away from the helm back in 2006. Personally, I'm X-Men'd the fuck out and, aside from seeing how hot Jennifer Lawrence and January Jones look in their costumes, could care less about seeing this. Lame posters and trailers aren't helping their case, so I expect the franchise decline to continue landing them around the same $180 million as Green Lantern.

Hanna looked awesome from the trailers and having now seen it, can attest that it is. Still, the average American can't get down with a child slitting throats and snapping necks, so my guess is it will do good to creep over $50 million and thus lose to First Class

2. X-Men: First Class vs. 3. Green Lantern: The two Region A superhero flicks will square off in Round 2 and, based on my estimates, have competitive box office numbers. At this point it's really a coin toss, but I gave the edge to Green Lantern for two reasons; freshness and core youth. It's a superhero that hasn't been run into the ground unlike the fifth installment of X-Men and will at least have that new movie smell to it. Also, so many kids and man-boys watched the Justice League animated series over the past decade that Green Lantern, at least the John Stewart version, should entice them out to theaters.

1. Harry Potter 7.2 vs. 5. Fast Five vs. 8. The Change-Up vs. 3. Green Lantern: This is a no-brainer. HP7.1 grossed nearly $300 million in domestic box office last year. That's the core audience who've stuck with the series for the duration and will also wrap things up in theaters. I wouldn't expect many new viewers at this point. The crazy long run-time will cut into the profits, but figure a slightly higher gross than last year to wrap the series.

There was no trailer available for The Change-Up before bracket submissions were due, but I can't see a body-switching comedy having Hangover magnitude appeal so, go Harry! As I mentioned earlier, Fast Five should cruise in to the tune of $150 million, but that's still less than half the horsepower Harry has. And spoilers people, but Voldemort with all his dark magic could never defeat Harry Potter, so what chance could Green Lantern and his silly little power ring possibly have?

There you have it; my thinking on how this region of March to Box Office Madness 2011 will play out. Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear your take!

I intend to update my brackets weekly to keep myself and y'all abreast of my standings. The goal is to reclaim my previous glory. In between the weekly updates I will breakdown the remaining regions, so stay tuned for more madness!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Trailer Trash: The April 29th Quickie

April is at an end and that means the summer movies are right around the corner. Remember when the big blockbusters actually didn't open until June, or at least Memorial Day?  Thems were the days. For today IMDb reports there are three new releases. I've also added one of this week's limited films into my analysis, one which opens here today and that I've been anxiously awaiting. Let's take a look, shall we?

Fast Five  "Why'd you drag us halfway around the world?"
"Cuz we got a job."
And that's starring in the only franchise that'll have any of you. Diesel's dialogue delivery looks more excruciating than ever, but name one person who has seen the trailer and doesn't want to know how that Thelma & Louise car jump ends? I also want to see if anyone can pry that rabid chinchilla from The Rock's face.

Verdict:  It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

 Prom This looks to be the most inoffensive, agreeable, coming-of-age film imaginable. I'm sure it will be a pleasant movie-going experience, although it would be equally enjoyable watching it where it belongs; the Disney channel. I'd never intentionally seek out Prom, but I doubt it'd make me divulge my darkest secrets, or the contents of my stomach, if forced to watch it.

Verdict:  It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil It's amazing the crap that spawns sequels nowadays. I've seen stick figure animation that looks a thousand times better. Even worse, it plays like a Kill Bill rip-off with bathroom humor and crotch-kicking filling in the gaps where a decent, kid-friendly story should be.

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy.

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night I didn't realize this is based on a comic book, but what isn't lately? Dylan Dog looks like Blade with a little more tongue-in-cheek humor. I'm glad Brandon Routh is back, front and center, on the big screen. He's a good actor who doesn't deserve the stigma Superman Returns earned him. Can't wait to see him lay the smack down on some creatures of the night.

Verdict: Moist With Antici...Pation!

Today's not over yet. If I have my ducks in a row like I think I do, expect another post. If I, somehow, turn into my usual slack self, enjoy your weekend!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take My Advice

Release: 04.01.11
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 33 minutes

See It, Take a Friend, Buy the DVD!

Captain Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal, Jarhead) awakes on a Chicago commuter train opposite Christina (Michelle Monaghan, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) who has mistaken him as her friend, Sean. After several confusing minutes, the train explodes and Stevens once again awakes; this time in some sort of military issue simulator.

Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga, The Departed) explains to Stevens he is part of the Source Code, a program wherein he can relive the last eight minutes of a person's life. His mission, which he's apparently chosen to accept, is to find the train bomber before he strikes again within the Chicago limits.

Jake hasn't had the best track record on the road to becoming an action star, but Source Code helps him turn that corner. Blending action a touch of mind-bending sci-fi, Jake seems more in his comfort zone. Jake also brings a level of emotional frustration to the role that may have been lacking with a run-of-the-mill action brute.

It was good seeing Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale) in the acting saddle once again; his absence on the big screen has been noticeable these last few years. Farmiga plays his subordinate tasked to keep Stevens on task. She is excellent at conveying the stress and inner conflict Goodwin experiences in her position. 

Source Code is an excellent piece of storytelling by writer Ben Ripley (Species III) and director Duncan Jones (Moon). Jones proves with his sophomore motion picture that it's only a matter of time he'll be getting nominated and awarded Golden Globes and Oscars.

Although the story could have been repetitive and tedious given it's premise, editing and pacing keep tensions high with each of Stevens' returns. More importantly, the sci-fi thread of the story avoids losing its audience amid a wash of scientific mumbo jumbo. It instead focuses on the emotional turmoil inflicted upon Stevens and the urgency of the impending terrorist attack.

When the mumbo jumbo becomes unavoidable, that's when the deft of director and writer raise Source Code from mediocre to must-see. Much like Moon, this may go overlooked by the masses, but it is one that you'd do yourself a disservice to miss.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, April 25, 2011

MMM: What Is Music Like?

I hope everyone had a good Easter weekend. Mine was nice except I realized we're nearly at the end of April! Fingers crossed May will move a little slower; yet even as I write that statement, I know it won't be so. If we want to enjoy what lies ahead, you'll just have to make the effort yourself. It's like Ferris always says, "life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Thanks to Fletch over at Blog Cabins, one thing I didn't miss out on was seeing Hanna in theaters. Movies like this remind me I need to slow down and tout how good they are. One thing that makes Hanna such a good film is how well the soundtrack by The Chemical Brothers works with the scenes. While you wait for my review, why not enjoy an awesome clip from Hanna set to one of the brothers' block rockin' beats.

The Chemical Brothers - Escape 700 
(from the Hanna Soundtrack)

Hanna Clip by teasertrailer


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Friday, April 22, 2011

Trailer Trash: The April 22nd Quickie

Morning stargazers. Another week has flown by and I've got a million things to do today, and the whole Easter weekend. Thankfully, it's another craptacular weekend of new releases so I don't have to try and squeeze in a movie along the way; at least not one of these. However, for those of you looking to check out the latest and 'greatest' Hollywood has to offer, here's what IMDb says is newly available.

Madea's Big Happy Family you folks should know my attitude towards Tyler Perry's movies by now. If this insipid trailer doesn't stop you, maybe the swath of silly spoof posters they made should. Happy Family may strive to be a new low for Perry, just as a way to prove even total shit can make big bank at the box office. Trust us, TP, they're are a plethora of examples out there already, several of them yours.

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy.

Water for Elephants Not dying to see this, but you won't have to drag me into a theater as if it were a Tyler Perry movie. The always charismatic Reese looks to be on her game. Pattinson needs a movie to pry him from the Twilight franchise. No need to wind up like Vin Diesel, grasping onto the only popular series he has a decade down the road. Walsh needs anything to make fans remember why we love to hate his villains, before the stench of Green Hornet spreads to DVD.

Verdict:  It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

African Cats Disney has a hard road to profit from their nature series this year, what with Morgan Freeman hocking orphaned orangutans and elephants in Born to be Wild. To their favor, Sam Jackson is their narrator. But as much as I'd like to hear him shout things like , "the mother-fuckin' lion is the fuckin' king of the mutha-fuckin' jungle, " or "that damn cheetah is one fast-ass, mother-fuckin' cat," I don't see that happening, which is a mutha-fuckin' shame.

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy.

Hate to slam and run, but I've gots to get to getting. Have a great weekend and, for those to which it applies, Happy Easter!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, April 18, 2011

MMM: Keeps Me Searching

It's been an insane weekend here in North Carolina. If you've seen the news you've heard about the crazy weather. Outside of being caught on the road by a torrential downpour of rain and hail on Saturday afternoon, it wasn't too bad in my area of the county.

Before the rains came, I was able to mark another performer off my "Artists to See in Concert Before They Die" list. At 65, Neil Young still rocks. His set list contained seventeen songs, six of which are from his latest album, Le Noise. Here's the detailed list:

My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)
Tell Me Why
You Never Call
Peaceful Valley Boulevard
Love And War
Down By The River
Sign Of Love
After The Gold Rush
I Believe In You
Cortez The Killer
Cinnamon Girl
Walk With Me

Seeing as how I was there to hear his hits, I wasn't as enthused by his new stuff. Not that it wasn't good, but sometimes you just want the classics. Of all his hits, there was one song I wish he had performed. I'm sure Neil is tired of playing it and was glad to have a tour without it. For today's mood music selection, I want to take you back forty years to April 1971 when this tune was fresh on Neil's mind.

Neil Young - Heart of Gold


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Friday, April 15, 2011

Trailer Trash: The April 15th Quickie

Yay me! I'm back with a Trailer Trash. I hate I didn't get my shit together to post one these past two weeks. At least there were a few movies worth talking about, unlike this weekend. According to IMDb, we've got two major releases this weekend, and my area is getting Redford's latest film, The Conspirator, currently a limited release. Let's take a closer look.

Scream 4 As the interest in mainstream horror continues to wane, the last of the popular slasher franchises takes a stab (pun intended) at snatching coin from anyone nostalgic enough to care. However, there's little in the trailer to interest non-fans to see this and, considering I was never a fan, this can go into the nether regions of my NFQ alongside Scream 3.

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy.

Rio The first in a long line of animated summer entertainment for the kiddies. While this 'Nemo of the Skies' doesn't look as painful as the upcoming Cars 2 or that God awful Smurfs movie, I'll satisfy my jones for bright colors and silly animals when Kung Fu Panda 2 releases next month. You should do yourself and your kids a favor and do likewise. 

Verdict: Exercise the Right to Cinematic Celibacy.

The Conspirator Redford's latest project promises thrilling political intrigue and, for those of us who eked through American history, surprises about the Lincoln assassination. Much like in high school, I'm not sure I'm up for being edumacated this weekend, so I'll pass until I get the buzz about the film from one of my fellow stargazers.

Verdict:  It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

I'm actually glad this weekend's releases are so sucky. My local second run theater has all the mildly appealing movies of February and March; Drive Angry, Hall Pass, Take Me Home Tonight all for a $1.50 a pop. Sure, the hallways smell of urine and several of the seats are roped off with caution tape, but that's just what we call character, baby.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, April 11, 2011

MMM: Why Try Anything?

I first caught wind on this group sometime last year and had honestly forgotten about them. Thankfully, their latest single now reminds me to give them a closer listen. Two Door Cinema Club, a name derived from a mispronunciation of a local cinema on the part of member Sam Halliday, is a group of Irish lads doing the indie rock thing. Undercover Martyn was the song I heard from them last year and worth the listen if you're looking for more.

There is something oddly soothing about the video for their latest single, What You Know. Is it the plain white background or the placement of random things surrounding the band? Maybe it's the bopping and swaying of the choreography or the sway of those four dancers' ponytails that clears my head for three plus minutes. Either way, there is a symmetry that lulls my usually multi-tasking brain into a state of calm. And that's a good place to start the week from. I hope it does the same for you.

Two Door Cinema Club - What You Know 


Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, April 4, 2011

MMM: Headed South

Sorry for the lack of a Trailer Trash last week, but I had to leave for Jacksonville, Florida on Friday morning and my unorganized self didn't blog ahead. I have faith you were able to avoid Hop and Insidious without my coaxing.

At one point in Jacksonville, the radio sent me a blast from my past. As the Miami Vice theme coursed through the speakers, my first thought was why the show hasn't been revived a la Hawaii 5-0 or V. Then I remembered we have Burn Notice so who needs a revamp of Miami Vice? Besides the networks would only screw up a revival much like they did with Hawaii 5-0 and V.

Within the first few notes a field of charging flamingos, the ocean waves, and bronze bodies fill my mind. The introduction to Miami Vice made you want to call your travel agent and book the next flight out. Seeing the drug busts erupt into a hail of gunfire amid a cloud of cocaine dust made you call the agent back and cancel that reservation. Hammer's racing groove still makes Miami feel like the place to be. With spring upon us, what better song is there to kickstart our summer vacation planning?

Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme

If only Jacksonville had a great theme, maybe we would have stayed more than a day.

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