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!
September 2016 continued to roll right along with two September mainstays (a Denzel Washington vehicle and an animated family film) popping up and doing varying degrees of box office business. On top of the box office was The Magnificent Seven, which grossed an alright $35 million, the third biggest opening weekend ever for Denzel Washington and the third biggest opening weekend ever for a Western (only behind the $36 million debut of Cowboys & Aliens and the $38 million bow of Rango). This is also the fourth biggest opening weekend ever for a movie in September and it's worth noting that, counting The Magnificent Seven, half of the ten biggest opening weekends ever in September are Sony releases.
MGM, in their post-bankruptcy state, has been going through their library of titles and remaking everything so exhaustively, it'd be amazing if the remakes typically weren't so forgettable. A RoboCop remake came and went without any fanfare and (like most moviegoers) I never even saw their Poltergeist and Ben-Hur remakes. Before the studio embarks on a Death Wish remake starring Bruce Willis that'll start filming at the end of the month, we have their latest remake of a well-known MGM from decades past (with the original film itself being a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai), The Magnificent Seven.
Do people still tell their kids the tale of babies coming from storks instead of the more sexually explicit truth? Me not being a father myself (as far as I'm aware), I have no clue if that's still a thing, but maybe it's being kept alive solely by the surprisingly notable presence the tale has in the world of American animation. Let's not forget that it was a stork calling for "Mrs. JUUUUUMMMMBBBOO!!" that brought Dumbo into the world in that 1941 Disney film, while PIXAR had a short film entitled Partly Cloudy that went attached to every screening of the 2009 motion picture Up. And now, the second feature film from Warner Animation Group (the animation studio responsible for The LEGO Movie), Storks, centers its entire plot on the idea of storks bringing humans their offspring.
Before Ben Affleck, before Christian Bale, before Michael Keaton, before all of that...there was Adam West. West was the man who portrayed Batman in the 1960's Batman TV show and ended up becoming the first actor to portray Batman in a theatrical film (aside from Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowrey, who played the caped crusader in two different 15-chapter serial films in the 1940's) once that TV show got a film adaptation promptly titled Batman: The Movie. The feature film carries over the heavily stylized and campy aesthetic of the show with aplomb, there's really no limit to how absurd how this movie can get.
It's interesting that Antoine Fuqua and David Ayer would team up for Training Day, since the duo seem like two birds of a feather in their directorial efforts. Both filmmakers tend to helm projects that are heavily action-oriented that so blatantly bask in the most overt bro-tastic concept of masculinity, their movies tend to become the cinematic equivalent of Steven Seagal bench-pressing Jeremy Piven while listening to Nickelback. For the 2001 motion picture Training Day, Fuqua takes on directing duties (this was only his third time directing a feature film) while Ayer handles the duties of screenwriting.
Hollywood loves making movies based on the lives of criminals. How many movies have been based on the lives of Bonnie & Clyde over the years? Hell, look at how many times O.J. Simpson has returned to the pop culture limelight this year over two decades after that infamous trial. And now Edward Snowden becomes the newest fugitive to receive his own movie, unimaginatively titled Snowden, with Snowden's crimes of leaking crucial Government data revealing to the public that the NSA was using its advanced technology to spy on innocent civilians.
Well now, this was a pretty tepid weekend at the box office, one where newcomers pretty much across the board failed to break out at best and at worst utterly failed to live up to their promise. But on top again was Sully, one of the big sleeper hits of the year that continued to perform well, grossing another $22 million this weekend, a 37% dip that's on par with the 36% decline experienced by fellow Tom Hanks Fall drama Captain Phillips three years ago. Sully has grossed $70.5 million in ten days, and if it continues to perform like Captain Phillips, it would end its domestic run with a spectacular $147 million.
First off, I wanna apologize real quickly for the slower crawl of content coming out of yours truly lately. The past two months have been a whirlwind of activity for me, particularly in the last month when my new semester of college started and has ensured that I've been quite busy with plenty of academic activity. In addition, there's been plenty of personal stuff going on for me, most notably a new exercise regime (this NerdInTheBasement is getting cut!), keeping me from doing as much writing as I'd like to. I don't see an end in sight in terms of my personal business for now, so I just ask for your patience for now. :)
There's an undeniable sense of wonder that creeps into one's body while watching Charlie Chaplin move around on-screen. He makes the artforms of slapstick and physical comedy seem so natural, like he realizes that this was what he was put on this Earth to do and he's gonna do it as well as he can. The rhythm of his body movements is impeccable, ditto for the timing found in his humorous pratfalls. To watch Charlie Chaplin in a film like City Lights is to see a master at the top of his game and to be astonished that one man can carry such command over his craft.
The idea of recognizing that the concept of gender might be more complex than just the binary constructs created by general society seems to be one that many find challenging, despite the fact that the way an individual see's themselves in terms of gender literally has no impact on another human being in any way shape or form. High-ranking Republican politicians across the country (including a number of bozo's like Lt. Governor Dan Patrick in my own home state of Texas) have spent countless hours ensuring that the crusade for frivolous things like "equality" and "acceptance" won't happen in our lifetime.
I typically don't do spoiler-filled reviews, that should be as clear at this point as my utter refusal to do letter or star grades to accompany my reviews. Even for classic movies that are decades old and whose big twists are as well-known as anything else, I'd rather not spoil things in case someone who hasn't seen said classic films comes along to my review. That being said, The Interview is one film where I feel like you must experience it going in cold, especially since the lower-profile release of the movie means there hasn't been a pervasive marketing campaign that's even given away the tone or basic conceit of the motion picture. So I urge you to go watch The Invitation on Netflix right now and then come back and read my analysis of it, alrighty? :)
This past Wednesday, I looked at the ten biggest movies of the summer. Now, it's time for me to turn my eye to some major box office duds, the indie movie scene and a little bit more! Let's dive into the second part of my look back at the summer 2016 box office!
The Fall 2016 movie season got off to fantastic start this weekend thanks to Sully lifting off far above expectations. The new Clint Eastwood motion picture grossed $35.5 million this weekend, an astonishingly high number that's the fifth biggest opening weekend in September ever and the biggest opening weekend ever for a Tom Hanks movie that isn't connected to the Toy Story or Da Vinci Code franchise. It's also the second biggest wide release opening weekend ever for director Clint Eastwood, only behind the massive launch of American Sniper last year.
When it comes to household pets, I'm more of a dog and guinea pig person with a hankering for certain cats (preferably ones that don't act like complete jerks, which is difficult because, y'know, cats) sprinkled in there for good measure. While I've never owned the breed of dog commonly referred to as a wiener dog, I've had plenty of experience with these cute critters over the years and can attest firsthand to their loveable nature. No wonder filmmaking Todd Solondz was compelled to make a feature film, appropriately titled Wiener-Dog, centered on this particular breed of canine.