They say a pictures worth a thousand words. I say, those thousand words are extremely important. And sometimes, it takes a nerd to give those words life.
Welcome to Lamans Language (A.K.A.) Land of The Nerds, where I, Douglas Laman (A.K.A. Nerd In The Basement) discuss the world of pop culture, namely cinema, in the form of news pieces, editorials and reviews!
October 2017 continued its middling run at the box office as Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween topped the box office with $21.6 million. That's the second-lowest grossing opening weekend for a Madea movie, but that's less worrisome than it might be for other franchise since it was in close proximity to other Madea movies. Plus, going down only 24% from your predecessors opening weekend is a dip many much more expensive sequels from 2016 and 2017 would have loved to have. Going down from the $28.5 million bow of the first Halloween-themed Madea movie was inevitable given how the marketing for the sequel failed to offer much new to differentiate itself from its predecessor aside from references to recent horror movie hits Get Out and It. The first Madea Halloween movie was one of the leggier entries in the franchise as it did 2.6 times its opening weekend. I doubt the sequel will hold that well but it might just become the eighth Madea movie (out of eight) to cross $50 million domestically if it doesn't plummet in the weeks ahead.
As The Foreigner starts, we're given no real introduction to the character of Ngoc Minh Quan (Jackie Chan), there's no flashback sequence to inform the audience of some kind of tragic backstory, he's just a dude who's trying to get his teenage daughter to a local store so she can get the dress she needs for a school dance. Right after he drops her off to go into that store while he parks the car, a bomb goes off that kills Quan's daughter, leaving him distraught and shaken. His daughter was the only family he had left, and as we later learn Quan had previously family members under similarly tragic circumstances, this seemingly normal guy snaps and begins a quest for vengeance.
Death is a prominent force in the life of youngster Mike Pearson (A. Michael Baldwin). He recently lost his parents, which has forced him to live with his older brother, Jody Pearson (Bill Thornbury), and now death has reared its head again thanks one of his other brothers (he's got three) just now also passing away. How ironic then, given how heavily death plays into Mike's life up to this point, that it would be a mortician that garners Mike's suspicions. Specifically, a fellow only referred to as The Tall Man (Angus Scrimm) that serves as the local mortician has aroused the distrust of Mike now that the adolescent individual saw this old and feeble man manage to lift his brother's coffin all by himself.
Guillermo Del Toro writing and directing tales that shine a more humanistic gaze upon fantasy creatures in the middle of a large-scale war seems to serve the auteur filmmaker well if his 2006 classic Pan's Labyrinth and the subject of this review, The Devil's Backbone, are any indication. For the premise of the latter film, Del Toro, along with David Munoz and Antonio Trashorras, have concocted a tale about orphan Carlos (Fernando Tielve) being dropped off at an orphanage in the middle of the Spanish Civil War. Here, Carlos finds himself the target of constant bullying by the orphans who have been held here for far longer than he has, though this bullying does result in Carlos making a major discovery.
Who is the titular character of Michael Clayton? Well, Michael Clayton (George Clooney) is the guy they ("they" being a big-time law firm) send in to help clean up messes. He'll walk you through options, he'll help you figure out the best way to proceed in a time of hardship, all that jazz. It's not a glamorous job, but it's one that pays the bills and gives Clayton a comfy life. The new client Clayton and the law firm he works for have taken on is that of the U-North corporation, which is in the middle of a lawsuit alleging that the company poisoned various local water supplies and hurt countless individuals.
Now that Wonder Woman is the star of one of the biggest superhero movies of all-time, the character's backstory is pretty well-known by the general public, but the life of the creator of Wonder Woman is likely still a mystery to many. Well, in order to fully process who was behind the character of Wonder Woman, we have to go all the way back to the 1930's, when husband/wife duo William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) and Elizabeth Holloway Marston (Rebecca Hall) are trying to hit the big time at the college they work at, a college that, incidentally, does not recognize Elizabeth's intellectual achievements solely based on her gender.
If you thought Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) had already been through hell watching all of his friends and his girlfriend get killed by demonic spirits in the first Evil Dead movie, just wait until you see how Evil Dead II puts this character through the wringer. Continuing right where the first one left off, Ash is trapped in the forest where that fateful cabin he and his friends got trapped in resides with there being no way to escape. He's stuck here with these Candarian Demons, who are bent on messing with his mind and eventually devouring him. Just because Ash is up against formidable supernatural forces though doesn't mean this guy is about to go down without a fight.
The fact that the plural version of the word story is utilized in the title of the new Noah Baumbach movie The Meyerowitz Stories should indicate to the average viewer that this one film contains multiple different tales it plans to tell. All of the assorted plotlines follow the Meyerowitz family, a group of assorted artists at differing stages of life. The member of this family most prominent in the film itself is Danny Meyerowitz (Adam Sandler), a piano player whose going through a divorce and also dealing with his 18-year-old daughter leaving home for college. Meanwhile, his half-brother, wealthy accountant Matthew Meyerowitz (Ben Stiller), is coming up from Los Angeles to sell their dads home.
Rare is the trip by airplane that goes exactly as planned. You're bound to end up getting transferred to another flight or missing some piece of luggage or landing hours later than originally expected if you end up choosing this mode of transportation. Dr. Ben Bass (Idris Elba) and Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) were already facing the kind of mundane difficulties we all go through when trying to embark on a flight, namely being unable to get on flights they absolutely need to get on for extremely important personal events (Bass has a patient he has to perform surgery on while Martin is getting married the next day).
If anyone's had a fantastic 2017, it's Blumhouse Productions, the company behind Paranormal Activity, Insidious and The Purge. They've already had Split and especially Get Out makes gobs of money earlier this year and now Happy Death Day is here to be their newest box office hit. With $26.5 million, this one had the tenth biggest debut ever for a Blumhouse movie and has already more than made back its $4.8 million budget. The marketing on these Blumhouse movies continues to be noteworthy and Happy Death Day was no exception with omnipresent and distinctive advertisements making its presence known, not to mention a smartly chosen Friday The 13th release date.
My yearning for Tom Cruise to do more non-blockbuster work has been heightened by seeing him in American Made, which has Cruise delivering one of his better performances in a while as Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), an airline pilot who passes time in his mundane life by smuggling certain everyday items across the border for those willing to pay up for such items. He's caught in the act by a CIA agent known as Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson) who offers Barry the chance to use both his piloting skills and his yearning for a more exciting life by piloting a plane that can take photos of the bases of operations for Communist insurgents located South of the American border.
For Amelia Vanek (Essie Davis), life as a single mother isn't easy. You can tell just by looking at her tired face that she's being run ragged by the responsibilities of her life including raising her precocious son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), on her own. Samuel has some major behavior problems and his school is just about ready to give up on the boy and the fact that Samuel has become just as fascinated by a monster called the Babadook and telling everyone within earshot about how he's going to kill the Babadook as he is with performing magic tricks isn't helping anyone. Like I said, this isn't an easy life.
Back in 2005, Steven Spielberg delivered two motion pictures that managed to crystallize different aspects of how 9/11 impacted America. The first, War Of The Worlds, was a harrowing motion picture that managed to capture just what it was like to be an ordinary American citizen that suddenly found themselves thrust into the middle of an attack larger than anything they could have imagined. Six months after War Of The Worlds, Spielberg's second directorial effort of the year would arrive in the form of Munich, which paralleled real-life events from the 1970's to the morally shady (at best) the American government was responding to the 9/11 attacks.
For Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), there are more difficulties in playing professional tennis than worrying about potential injuries or missed balls on the court. As a woman, she's constantly putting up with double standards stemming solely from her gender and when her requests for payment equal to the payment male athletes receive, she decides to start up her own female-oriented tennis organization, one that's scrappy for sure, but full of grit and determination. They've got a cigarette sponsorship and numerous players, plus a hairdresser, Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough), with whom Billie Jean King begins to develop a romantic relationship with.
Discussing Blade Runner 2049 in any kind of detail requires spoilers, so be forewarned, this entire review is lathered in spoilers. Want a spoiler-free reaction to the movie? Then I shall tell you this is a great movie with beautiful visuals and thoughtful ideas. If you want to hear me get more in-depth then that, then read on but BEWARE OF SPOILERS