Sunday, March 31, 2013

Box Office Wrap Up: 4/1/13

Well this weekend saw G.I. Joe: Retaliation shoot its way to the top. While Tyler Perry proved that attaching his name to a movie still draws a crowd and The Host proves that no one cares about Stephanie Meyer unless she writes about vampires.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation made $41.2 million over the 3 day weekend and $51.7 million over the 5 days its been out. For a movie that cost approximately $130 million to make it is not stellar but could be worse.  In comparison the movie actually made less then G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra  did its opening weekend.  Cobra made $54.7 million in its opening weekend with lower ticket prices and without the inflated prices of 3D or IMAX.  While the long delay might have hurt it, the addition of 3D looks like it might pay off since the movie is doing great business overseas and worldwide gross should be greater then the worldwide gross of Rise of Cobra. Read Chris' review here G.I. Joe: Retaliation Review

The Croods continued to bring in the family business as none of the new movies targeted families.  Dropping a reasonable 39% to $26.5 million it fell one spot  to the number 2 spot.

Opening in the third spot was Tyler Perry's Temptation which surprised many in the industry with a strong debut of $22.3 million.  Tyler Perry knows his target audience and even though sexual thriller is a new direction for Perry people didn't care.  When will the Hollywood insiders stop underestimating the strength of  Tyler Perry's name?

Olympus Has Fallen tumbled 54% in its second week with G.I. Joe taking the action movie lovers.  Olympus still managed to make $14 million and land in the 4th spot.

The biggest movie of the year so far Oz the Great and Powerful stays in the top 5 with $11.6 million.  This even while being in its 4th week and The Croods taking much of the family business.  Oz has made almost $200 million so far.

Opening in the 6th spot was The Host with $11 million.  Based on the book by Stephanie Meyer the author of the Twilight Saga the movie did not live up to its predecessor.  It appears that the fans of the vampire series didn't want to see this an alien themed love triangle.  Which makes me wonder if Meyer will go back to writing more Twilight books and we will see more of Bella and Edward on the big screen in our near future.

The biggest drop in the top 10 came from The Incredible Burt Wonderstone which fell an amazing 70% in its third week to a puny $1.3 million.  Barely staying in the top 10 the movie has proved to be a huge failure for Warner Brothers.

The Top 10
1.  G.I. Joe: Retaliation $41.2 million
2.  The Croods $26.5 million
3.  Temptation $22.3 million
4.  Olympus Has Fallen $14 million
5.  Oz the Great and Powerful $11.6 million
6.  The Host $11 million
7.  The Call $4.8 milllion
8.  Admission $3.2 million
9.  Spring Breakers $2.7 million
10. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone $1.3 million

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Movies Opening 3/29/13

It's Easter weekend and teens are the main target of two of the big releases this week.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation aims to make us forget about G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra and take the top spot this weekend.  The Rock and Bruce Willis join the cast as most of the cast of the first one does not return.  Directed by Jon Chu who is best known for Step Up 2: The Streets and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never brings his love of choreography to the action genre with some great fighting scenes.
Check out our review: G.I. Joe Retaliation Review.

The Host aims for the same demographic that made Twilight such a huge hit. Stephanie Meyer scored legions of followers with the Twilight Saga but will those same people go to see The Host?  Unfairly or not since Twilight was a huge hit every YA novel with a love triangle has been compared to it.  Beautiful Creatures was Twilight with witches, Warm Bodies was Twilight with zombies, The Mortal Instruments is Twilight with demons and this looks like Twilight with aliens. Saoirse Ronan has been in a string of critical hits but this looks to end that streak.

Tyler Perry's Temptation tries to capitalize on name recognition and a steamy trailer which seems to promise a lot more then it's PG-13 rating can deliver. The trailerlooks steamy and sensual but lost me a staring Kim Kardashian.  But like Donald Trump Tyler Perry attaches his name to everything and that seems to work.

In limited release and opening locally here in Milwaukee are a couple of movies.

Speaking of Twilight Kristen Stewart's her first big post Twilight movie On the Road opens this weekend  at the Landmark Downer. I honestly thought this movie had been released already and was surprised it is opening now.  Based on the book by Jack Kerouac with lots of sex, drugs, and jazz besides Stewart the movie has a pretty impressive cast including Amy Adams and Viggo Mortensen .

The last movie opening this weekend is No a movie nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards. With Gael Garcia Bernal the movie tells the story of an ad campaign in Chile to defeat the dictator. It opens this weekend at  The Landmark Oriental.

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Review: GI Joe Retaliation

Due for release a year ago, GI Joe Retaliation got stuck in the studio system. It was reworked and post converted into 3D. Was it worth the wait? Let's start at the beginning with GI Joe The Rise Of Cobra. It's no secret that I really disliked that movie when it came out and, still do today. I thought it took the beloved characters from my youth and twisted them into a shell of what they were. It was like a bad joke for GI Joe fans. GI Joe Retaliation, thankfully is as much a reboot as it is a sequel to the original. Gone are the ridiculous power suits and bubble headed Cobra Commander. In are the Cobra H.I.S.S and silver masked Commander. Definitely felt more like the "old days". The story starts off after the original with Zartan impersonating the President of The United States. Storm Shadow infiltrates the prison holding Destro and Cobra Commander and helps him escape. Destro is left in his cell which, just like the cartoon, the Commander and Destro were always at odds so, it made sense for the Commander to leave him on ice. The Joes are are them framed for war crimes and destroyed by Cobra forces. Jonathan Pryce does double duty here as the impostor President and the captive hostage. His role was little more than a cameo in the original but, here he is a major player. It was nice to have him because he was quite good as the "evil" president. Dwayne Johnson is a new character "Roadblock". In the cartoon, he was more of a background character. Here, he's the leader of the small band of Joes. Even leading Flint who, in the cartoon was the leader. That was a bit confusing but, seeing as how Johnson is the big star, it made sense in the movie. Snake Eyes also returns and is very true to the original material. Gone are the goofy lips on his mask. replaced by the smooth face seen in the comics and cartoons. The lips in the original were like the glaring "Bat nipples" in Batman and Robin.  The plot was very formalistic but, worked well here. The story was ripped right out of the cartoon and, unfolded as such. You won't hear "Knowing is half the battle" or, "YO JOE!" Disappointing as it was, it still felt like GI Joe. Jon Chu who, directed Justin Bieber's concert movie does an admirable job here. While, the 3D was bad and the wait sucked, the movie was't half bad. I just wish we could have seen it a year ago.

3 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Netflix Steaming movie of the Week: Cave of Forgotten Dreams

We continue our month long look at Werner Herzog documentaries that are streaming on Netflix.

This week we are looking at Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

The movie documents some of the oldest cave paintings ever found. The Chauvet Caves in South France have drawings that date back 30,000 years along with fossils and other signs of life. The caves are off limits to the general public and those that are allowed to enter only have a limited time. Herzog was granted permission to bring a 3D camera and film down there.

For a Werner Herzog documentary this is the one that is the most different from the others.  It is still a wonderful film with great philisophical moments by Herzog.  And as a huge fan of Herzog I will watch pretty much anything he narrates. But one of the brilliance of Herzog is his interviewing and getting people to open up.  This movie has very little of that since it mostly about the caves.  I would have loved to see the movie in it's original 3D but I did not get a chance too.  Still the movie is beautifully shot and Herzog does offer his unique observations on things.  

Cave of Forgotten Dreams on Netflix


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Home Movie Releases 3/26/13

It must be Steven Spielberg Day because we are getting three Spielberg Blu-Rays released today. Also, a Brad Pitt movie, and Billy Crystal’s return to comedy. And in time for the start of baseball season we have one of the best baseball movies.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Box Office Wrap-Up: 3/25/13

Box Office Wrap-Up.

The beginning of spring break and box office had one of the best weekends so far this year, but it couldn’t compete with the same weekend last year.  This year the top 10 made $129 million last year the Hunger Games made more money its opening weekend ($152.5) than the entire top 10 made this year. 

Families helped The Croods land in the top spot with $44.7 million.  The first animated family comedy in over a month and families flocked to it.

The big surprise this weekend was how well Olympus has Fallen did.  In a year when R rated action thrillers have been bombing Olympus opened with an impressive $30.5. It also reverses Gerard Butler’s bad luck. 

Oz: The Great and Powerful in its 3rd week lost the family business to The Croods, but still managed to make $22 million.  And it is the first of two James Franco movies to land in the top ten this week.

Falling to 4th place is the other R rated thriller that is doing better than expected Halle Berry’s The Call. It dropped 50% from last week and made $8.7 million.

Now that thrillers are starting to do better in the box office I guess comedies are the next ones to start opening with disappointing numbers.  Last week The Incredible Burt Wonderstone opened with a disappointing $10 million and this week the Tina Fey comedy Admission opened with $6.4 million. 

After having an incredible opening in three theatres last week Spring Breakers rolled out to 1,100 theatres this weekend and made $5 million for an average of $4,500 not anywhere close to last week’s average of $90,000. But it marks James Franco’s second appearance on the Top 10 this week.

Warner Brothers better hope that Man of Steel is as good as everyone is saying it is because they have two big flops this year.  The Incredible Burt Wonderstone dropped 58% to a dismal $4.2 million and the big budget Jack the Giant Slayer made $2.9 million for a total of $59 million for a movie that cost over $200 million.

In its 7th week Identity Thief continues to hang around in the 10 top with $2.5 million for a total gross of $128 million. 

Finally in the 10th spot is The Rock’s Snitch with $1.93 million which has been in the top 10 for 5 weeks.  While it will fall out of the top 10 next week The Rock will be making another appearance with G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  With The Rock having a new movie coming out almost every month for the first half of the year we will be seeing plenty of him in the Top 10. 

Here is the full Top 10.

1.      The Croods-$44.7 million
2.      Olympus has Fallen – $30.5 million
3.      Oz: The Great and Powerful- 22
4.      The Call – 8.7
5.      Admission – 6.4
6.      Spring Breakers- 5
7.      The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – 4.2
8.      Jack the Giant Slay – 2.9
9.      Identity Thief – 2.5
10.  Snitch – 1.9


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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Movie Review: Spring Breakers

When it first premiered at the Toronto Film Festival Spring Breakers seemed like it would get a limited release but there wasn’t much to it.  But after  its showing at the SXSW Film Festival it found it audience and the buzz grew quickly.  After getting an amazing 270,000 from three theatres it became one of the first must see movies of the year.  With all the talk about nudity, drugs, and guns with some former Disney stars the movie piqued my interest and I headed out to see what all the fuss was about.  The movie delivered what it had promised there is a little debauchery in here for everyone. 
The plot of the movie is really simple. Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson), Cotty (Rachel Korine), and Faith (Selena Gomez) want to go to St. Petersburg Florida for spring break.  At first they don’t have money and three of the girls decide to rob a diner.  Once they have the money and make it to spring break the craziness continues.  After being arrested they are bailed out by a drug dealer and wannabe rapper Alien (James Franco).  Once they are a part of Aliens entourage he learns these girls are really not the average spring breakers. 

Harmony Korine’s big breakthrough came as a screenwriter came in 1995 with Kids.  That movie was a disturbing look at sex obsessed youth in New York City.  Even though it was directed by Larry Clark the praise for that movie allowed Korine to start directing his own movies.  I have not seen any of his other movies (Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy, or Trash Humpers) but have heard they are all pretty disturbing and odd.  Which makes Spring Breakers his most mainstream movie but that isn’t saying much. 

The movie is more style over substance.  It has an unconventional story narrative with lots of montages and dialogue spoken over random images.  Certain lines of dialogue are repeated over and over and the movie jumps back and forth in time.  It has a similar story telling as The Tree of Life just with boobs, drugs, and guns.  Despite all the nudity and guns there is not much sex or violence going on in the movie.  But there is a whole lot of drug and alcohol use.   The score by Skrillex and Cliff Martinez (Drive) with the some cool looking shots keeps you entranced.  

As far as the acting goes not much is asked from the girls except to be pretty and shake their asses which they do very effectively.  Selena Gomez as Faith the good Christian girl of the group has the most interesting role of the four girls but  it is James Franco as the drug dealing rapper with Alien that steals the show.  Franco gets to let loose and play a crazy character with cornrowed hair and platinum teeth.  He seems to have a lot of fun with the role which makes him a lot of fun to watch. 

Who would like this movie? It is hard to say who will like this movie.  It is somewhere between an arty independent movie and a trashy Cinemax movie.  It is not for the average movie goer and definitely not for teens.  While the allure of sex, drugs, and violence will appeal to the younger crowd the bizarre narrative structure is going disappoint them.  This is not a raunchy party movie like 21 and Over or Project X.  It is like a Terrence Malick movie on acid.  If you like linear stories then you will probably not like this one. 

Overall: 3.5/5
Even with the unconventional narrative structure I got sucked in.  There is just something crazy about the whole thing.  You get the idea that Harmony Korine is trying to make a statement about youth culture but it is not clear what that statement is.  It is one movie that I will probably be thinking about for a while and change my mind a few times about.  And any movie that makes me think is a movie I like. 

Here is the Red Band Trailer

  And here is a short clip showcasing how crazy James Franco gets to be.

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Movies Opening 3/21/13

This week we have three new wide releases opening and few limited releases coming to Milwaukee.    

First up is the animated film The Croods.  With the voices of Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds The Croods is about a prehistoric family that is forced out of their cave and needs to search for someplace new to live.  I  have been unimpressed with the  trailers so far and it does not seem like anything special.  But the movie has been getting some decent reviews and it is the only animated family movie out there and challenge  Oz: The Great and Powerful for the number one spot this weekend. 

Trying to buck the trend of R rated action thrillers and the disappointing results for his last few movies Gerard Butler is back in Olympus has Fallen.  Aiming for the more adult crowd with Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart and Angela Bassett the movie is about a takeover of the White House.  From the preview it looks like Die Hard in the White House with Gerard Butler instead of Bruce Willis.  Antoine Fuqua is known for making some good movies like Training Day but this one just isn’t getting me interested. 

The last wide release this week is the Tina Fey comedy Admission.  About a college admission officer who goes on a road trip to see a student at an alternative school and just might find love.  The movie is directed by Paul Weitz who made one of my favorite romantic comedies About a Boy and stars Tina Fey who is one of the best comedic actresses around, unfortunately it has not been getting great reviews and after The Incredible Burt Wonderstone flopped last week who knows how many people will go and see it. 

Expanding in limited release is the movie everyone was talking about at SXSW Film Festival Spring Breakers.  What happens when you take a bunch of ex Disney good girls (Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez) and send them to spring break?  Apparently they meet a weird James Franco and go wild.  When I first heard about this movie when it was playing at the Toronto Film Festival is seemed intriguing but I didn’t think it would be anything big. But apparently the buzz built up and last week it premiered in 3 theatres to a staggering $270,000 million so we will see what happens when it widens to 1,000 theatres. Playing in only a select theaters in Milwaukee.

 Also opening this weekend in Milwaukee is the horror movie Stoker.  The first English language film by Park Chan-wook the director of the Korean film Oldboy.  Staring Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, and Nicole Kidman the movie is about a family with secrets. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Netflix Steaming movie of the Week: Encounters at the End of the World

We continue our month long look at Werner Herzog documentaries that are streaming on Netflix.

This week we are looking at Encounters at the End of the World the only Herzog movie to be nominated for an Academy Award. 

In this movie Herzog travels to Antarctica to interview the people that live and work there.  His goal was to find out what kind of people go there and he made it very clear he “would not come up with another film about penguins”.   What Herzog finds in Antarctica are a group of fascinating people.  He interviews everyone from maintenance workers to scientists.  As always Herzog uses his unique outlook on things to ask questions that get interesting answers.  Although he does spend time showing us the wonder and beauty of Antarctica Herzog is more fascinated with the contrast of the mini city that has been built.  Lamenting that it “has climate-controlled housing, a bowling alley, and abominations such as an aerobic studio and yoga classes. It even has an ATM machine”.    

At the end of the movie the viewer is left with a feeling of awe for the land and the people that work there.  It takes a special kind of person to want to work there and Herzog is the perfect person to document them. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Home Movie Releases 3/19/13


Lots of great movies coming out this week. We have three movies that were nominated for Oscars this year two of them were nominated for Best Picture. Also getting released today are movies in the Criterion Collection and the classic 80’s comedy Porkys.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Saturday Trailer Blitz 3/16/13

It's the Saturday Trailer blitz. Not many new trailers out this week but we are going to start it off with The Big Wedding.  Not even sure if this is a new trailer because it looks like the same trailer to me.  
The Big Wedding

Next up on the Trailer Blitz is the new Ryan Gosling movie that is getting some great reviews.  Here is the new TV spot for The Place Beyond the Pines

Not much new in The Lone Ranger International Trailer

In case you missed it earlier in the week here is the Kick-Ass 2 Red Band Trailer

Scary Movie V has a new trailer that I don't think is any better then the last one.

The first trailer for the new horror movie American Mary

Last but not least the new trailer for Gingerclown 3D with Tim Curry playing another clown.  I have been hearing about this movie for a while it will be nice if it finally gets released. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

New Home Movie Releases 3/12/13

Lots of goodies coming out today. Two 3D movies from last year the family adventure film Rise of the Guardians featuring Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny and the Academy Award Winning Life of Pi both come out in Blu-Ray 3D. Also two movies celebrating their 25th Anniversary Willow and Who Framed Roger Rabbit get their first Blu-Ray releases.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Saturday Trailer Blitz 3/9/13

The Saturday Trailer Blitz for 3/9/13
Bringing you some of the newest trailers of the week. 

Starting off the Saturday Trailer Blitz with the animated movie The Croods with the voices of Nicholas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, and Emma Stone

M. N ight Shyamalan looks to redeem himself after a series of flops with Will and Jaden Smith in After Earth

Somehow while filming The Avengers Joss Whedon found time to make the Shakespeare adaption Much Ado About Nothing.  Got great reviews at the Toronto Film Festival and now showing at the SXSW Film Festival.  Here is the first trailer.

Emma Watson is really is really starting to distance herself from the Harry Potter movies.  Here she plays a thief who robs celebrities in Sofia Coppola’s new movie the Bling Ring

The new teaser for Star Trek into Darkness looks pretty action packed.  Makes me excited to see what Abrams does with Star Wars!.

Rapturepalooza (Red Band Trailer) – Not sure what to say about this movie.  Looks very bizarre and irreverent but the trailer still made me laugh. 

And for those that didn't see here are the trailers for Iron Man 3 and The Hangover 3.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013