Friday, June 30, 2017
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Ratatouille was released to American movie theaters ten years ago today and I'm still in utter disbelief that it exists. In a decade where American computer-animated movies were primarily imitating the more abrasive and pop-culture reference laden style of the first Shrek movie, here comes Ratatouille, bearing more resemblance to a low-key drama than most 2000's DreamWorks Animation fare, with its heavy emphasis on small-scale dialogue and contemplations on the cost and dangers of upsetting societally implemented social constraints by way of embracing who you really are. The fact that it had such a troubled production (Geri's Game director Jan Pinkiva came up with the story for this project and was originally directing the movie as well before replacing by Brad Bird) only makes it all the more mystifying that it even exists at all.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Monday, June 26, 2017
I cannot tell you my thoughts on the movie right here and right now.
However, if you meet me back here at this picnic table in 10 seconds, I'll tell you everything.
(Ten seconds pass)
Sunday, June 25, 2017
For ten years now, the Transformers franchise has ruled over the worldwide box office, with even incoherent garbage like Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen managing to crack $402 million domestically and becoming the sixth movie in history to crack $400 million domestically. This past weekend, the newest installment in the series, Transformers: The Last Knight, debuted to middling numbers that, to be fair, don't suggest the franchise has quite reached Independence Day: Resurgence levels of being flat-out rejected by audiences but it does look like moviegoers are tired of the same old same old Autobot/Decepticon brawls.
Saturday, June 24, 2017
We Love To Watch, a podcast started by two super snazzy film geeks, Aaron Armstrong and Peter Moran, allowed me and fellow film writer Michael Guarnieri onto their podcast to discuss Red Planet and Mission To Mars, two dueling Mars movies released in the year 2000! You can find the podcast below, in which the four of us discuss the acting abilities of Gary Sinise and Val Kilmer, why many grounded space movies struggle to create compelling drama and Michael's pizza woes! It's an absolute hoot and it was a privilege to lend my thoughts and distinctive in all the wrong ways cackle to the proceedings! Be sure to listen to the can't miss episode below and be sure to check out the numerous other episodes the We Love To Watch podcast has created, there's so much comedic brilliance in there y'all!
Friday, June 23, 2017
Noah Hawley is an ambitious man, ain't he? Three years ago, he voyaged into the creatively perilous world of TV show adaptations of movies by making a TV show out of the 1996 movie Fargo and created something utterly fantastic in the process. For the second season of that program, he brought the proceedings to the 1970's, widened the scope and managed to deliver something even better than that first season. Just earlier this year, Hawley was the creative head on another FX drama called Legion that managed to fully embrace trippy storytelling and created maybe the best superhero TV show of all-time in the process.
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Transformers: The Last Knight Somehow Takes The Transformers Franchise To New Tedium-Drenched Low Levels Of Quality
the various essays on Revenge Of The Fallen Roger Ebert penned back in 2009 and this one inexplicably bizzare John Turturro moment from the third movie. Otherwise, it's been utterly irritating nonsense for four straight movies. While other American blockbusters lend real gravitas to obscure characters, contemplate weighty themes or deliver rousing spectacle, the Transformers sequels are content to devote entire scenes to the Romeo & Juliet Law.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Monday, June 19, 2017
While the film geek community was aware that director Collin Trevorrow had a movie called The Book of Henry on the docket for release in 2017, the feature didn't gain all that much in the way of attention until it's bonkers first trailer was released, revealing the movies bonkers-looking plotline and immediately rocketing itself onto many people's radars. I'll freely admit to being one such person whose interest got piqued by the absolutely tonally all-over-the-map trailer which combined super-inventive kid movie tropes with Naomi Watts as a sniper action. The biggest question remaining for me and many others after watching that trailer was whether or not the actual movie itself would be this crazy....
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Cars 3 Has One Of PIXAR's Weakest Opening Weekends While All Eyez On Me Overperforms And Rough Night Flops
Thursday, June 15, 2017
3 Generations was supposed to come out in a general theatrical release domestically all the way back in September 2015 with the title of About Ray. After it garnered a critical thrashing at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Weinstein Company pulled it from its release schedule and it basically vanished. Then, earlier this year, it was abruptly announced that the studio would be releasing About Ray under its current title and in a smaller theatrical release under their Radius-TWC banner, which had been discontinued for over a year but was briefly brought back to life solely for the purpose of getting this feature finally released.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Monday, June 12, 2017
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Wonder Womans Wins Another Weekend At The Box Office As The Mummy And It Comes At Night Bomb And Beatriz At Dinner Has Strong Debut
In her second weekend, Diana Prince grossed another $57.1 million, a 44% dip from its opening weekend that serves as one of the smallest second-weekend drops for a movie that opened to over $100 million on its opening weekend! NICE! In ten days, Wonder Woman has grossed almost exactly $205 million, almost doubling it's whopping $103 million in just ten days. How high can this one go domestically? Hard to say since this really is an unusually strong hold for a superhero blockbuster but it looks like Wonder Woman will get past $300 million domestically. Can it knock out Batman v. Superman to become the biggest DC Extended Universe movie ever? I don't think so, even with this phenomenal second-weekend hold, but never say never....
But the bad news came in second place, where The Mummy was the movie that became our fourth big-budget misfire over the course of five weeks. This Alex Kurtzman blockbuster bowed to only $32.2 million, which is beneath all of the opening weekends of the Brendan Fraser Mummy movies (none of which had Digital 3D or IMAX 3D ticket pricing to boost their grosses), though it was the fifth biggest non-Mission: Impossible opening weekend ever for Tom Cruise. Sure, it racked up a hefty $141.8 million internationally but this is not the kind of opening weekend you want for a movie that's supposed to kick off an entire cinematic universe. The Mummy (whose B- CinemaScore is one of the worst CinemaScore ratings I've seen for a major bockbuster) is probably gonna end up doing $80-85 million domestically (it'll probably do $310-320 million overseas, which might be able to make this one the rare American film to crack $400 million worldwide without grossing $100 million domestically). Universal is almost certainly hoping those domestic numbers increase with their next entry in their Dark Universe franchise, Bride Of Frankenstein.
Despite having a smaller opening weekend than most major computer-animated family fare, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie had a larger than usual second-weekend decline than most in that subgenre, going down 48% to gross another $12.3 million for a 10-day total of $44.5 million. I'd imagine this one will end up grossing a little over $70 million domestically, not great even for an animated film that cost only $38 million. In fourth place was Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which went down another 51% to gross another $10.7 million for a 17-day domestical total of $135.8 million, which seems to be setting this one up for a final domestic total just under or over $165 million. Rounding out the top five was Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, which actually had the best weekend-to-weekend hold of any movie in the top 12, easing 36% to gross another $6.2 million for a domestic cume of $366.3 million.
Failing to break out was It Comes At Night, which A24 tried to position as a potential early summer sleeper hit but in the end the misleading marketing ended up poisoning the word-of-mouth and gave the movie a disastrous D CinemaScore. Grossing only $6 million, that's not awful for a $5 million budgeted thriller, but it's obvious with the marketing push A24 gave the project as well as it's 2,533 theater count that the studio was hoping for more out of It Comes At Night. This should become the sixth movie ever for A24 to crack $10 million domestically but it's doubtful it stays around at the domestic box office for long.
Also bowing this weekend was Megan Leavey, which was the first movie ever from Bleecker Street to open in wide release and also got by far their widest theater count ever with 1,956 locations playing the film. Though Megan Leavey performed slightly better than expected, it could only muster $3.7 million, which is still subpar given its reasonably sized theater count. I wonder why they didn't try to bow this one in wide release over June 30th, where it could have been timed with the patriotic 4th of July holiday? Seems like that would have been a natural move.
My Cousin Rachel bowed in 523 theaters (just 77 locations shy of premiering wide release!) and grossed an underwhelming $954,000 in its opening weekend. Aside from sleeper hit Gifted, Fox Searchlight has had a rouger 2017 thanks to them putting out a few titles like Wilson, Table 19 and now My Cousin Rachel into too many theaters to qualify as smaller limited release fare but don't give them enough promotion to get general audiences aware that these films are out there. So weird. We shall see if their two Sundance acquisitions for this year (Step and Patti Cake$) can end their Summer 2017 on a higher note.
Paris Can Wait expanded it's limited theater count to 176 theaters and grossed $457,207 (a 13% dip from last weekend) for a per-theater average of $2,598. and a current domestic total of $2.2 million. Making serious waves in the limited release sphere was Beatriz At Dinner which grossed $150,160 at 5 locations for a per-theater average of $30,032, which is the fifth best per-theater average for a limited release opening weekend in 2017. Considering Beatriz At Dinner is being distributed by Roadside Attractions, who have actually handled a number of recent arthouse sleeper hits, this one may become a title to keep an eye on as it expands its theater count in the weeks ahead. Finally, The Hero debuted this weekend to an OK $48,414 at 4 locations for a per-theater average of $12,104. The movie's distributor, The Orchard, planned to expand The Hero into 550 locations by the time 4th of July rolled around and we shall see if it still adheres to that plan after this weekend's box office.
The top 12 movies this weekend grossed $138 million, a lower than usual gross for a 23rd weekend in any given year.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
People have been eagerly awaiting a feature film adaptation of Black Panther for so very long, to the point that any reference to the character, no matter how small, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe drew profound excitement (I remember the mere off-hand mention of Wakanda in Avengers: Age of Ultron drew excitement from the packed auditorium full of moviegoers I was seeing the film with). Now, after eons of anticipation, a film based on this legendary superhero will finally arrive in February 2018. Before that though, we do get to see some footage from the feature in the form of a teaser trailer that dropped last night. Check it out below!
What even needs to be said?
This looks outright flat-out incredible, holy goodness. Every frame of this trailer is jaw-dropping and that's really no exaggeration here. The look of Wakanda is obviously fully embracing the art of Afrofutirism to some stunning results, the costumes look bright, colorful and like nothing else we've seen in a blockbuster before, the action looks fantastic and oh boy, so many amazing actor get to grace the screen in this trailer alone! Lupita Nyong'o! Forest Whitaker! Michael B. Jordan! Angela Basset!!! And the shots we see of Black Panther himself in action are so great, the guys got an agility and grace to his hand-to-hand combat skills that are unlike anything else we've seen in an MCU superhero before.
I'm chomping at the bit to see the full movie Ryan Coogler and co. have created after this phenomenal trailer! Kneel before the king of Wakanda folks because his movie looks quite incredible!
Friday, June 9, 2017
Douglas Laman Gets A Tune-Up (Entry #4): The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
DOUGLAS LAMAN GETS A TUNE-UP
ENTRY #4: The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars by David Bowie
Douglas Laman Gets A Tune-Up is a new weekly series wherein Douglas Laman listens to an album of music he's never fully listened to before (though he may have heard one or two songs from it) and writes up his brief thoughts on it.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
SPOILERS FOR WONDER WOMAN AND THE GODFATHER FOLLOW
I love the feeling of anticipation. That sensation that builds up in your stomach as you see the waiter approach your table with your meal or seeing Christmas presents under the tree you get to open in just a few days, there's something about being so close yet so far to an object or event you want ever so much that can be quite exhilarating. Many movies get to replicate this phenomenon by way of leaving the viewer on the edge of their seat via the process of build-up, which in movies can make certain character revelations or action sequences all the more powerful. Today, I thought I'd take your dear reader through two excellent examples of proper cinematic build-up by way of examining an individual scene from two separate movies that both manage to demonstrate the power of well-done build-up.
Placement On Sight & Sound Top 50 Movies List: #21 (Tied with L'Avventura and Contempt)
In 1979, director Francis Ford Coppola would unleash a realistic drama called Apocalypse Now that emphasized the realistic emotional and mental turmoil experienced by soldiers dropped into Vietnam. Coppola dove right into a war that had grown bigger than any human being could imagine and dared to imagine what it must be like to live, to breathe, to exist in the midst of all that carnage. Seven years prior, this same guy was responsible for a minuscule indie you may have heard of entitled The Godfather that applied the same thought process of pondering what it's really like to live a life of pervasive violence to the world of mobsters.
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Monday, June 5, 2017
Sunday, June 4, 2017
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Oh does that ever feel good to say!
After taking decades to get to the big screen, Wonder Woman finally has her first theatrical movie and thankfully, we don't have a Green Lantern or Fantastic Four on our hands here wherein the first theatrically released film adaptation of a beloved comic book character turns out to not have been worth the elongated waiting period. Instead, Patty Jenkins Wonder Woman is an absolute delight, one that mixes together the iconic compassion and warmth that made this character so beloved for decades now and stirring them up with plenty of rousing action sequences and even some contemplation of the complex morality present in mankind.
Friday, June 2, 2017
How come more of these romantic dramas aren’t from a female perspective? Like, any person of any gender can enjoy a romantic movie but these particular movies do have a notable female fanbase and are typically marketed towards women, not to mention that the most famous of these features (The Notebook, Twilight and The Fault In Our Stars for instance) are told through the prism of women. It’s kind of odd to me then that so many of these movies go for an overtly male perspective that relegates women to the sidelines as thinly sketched romantic interest material. Wouldn’t you be better served getting a woman as the face of the project and tying the premise into issues facing specifically women instead of treating your target audience as just a poorly defined object for your male protagonist to covet?