Tag Archives: violence

Guardians of the Galaxy tops another slow weekend

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It’s official Guardians of the Galaxy is now the highest grossing film of the year but considering just how slow the year has been it’s not surprising. Last year three movie made more the Guardians did at this point. So far the box office has been the worst in almost 20 years. Not a single film has grossed more than $300 hundred million and it looks as if Guardians is the only one going to do so until November comes around.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is continuing to impress and is currently well above expectations but even then $166.4 million isn’t anything to special when it comes to blockbusters. It is doing much better than the first G.I. Joe, which was released at the same time, but not as great as Transformers, another Bay production.

In third place is Let’s Be Cops, which is still over performing considering to horrid reception. With $10.6 million and nearly $60 million total, Let’s Be Cops managed to make back much more than the limited budget and can be considered a success even if it didn’t receive good reviews.

Even this weekends new releases didn’t make a dent. The November Man seemed to be riding off the goodwill of the Taken franchise but didn’t make nearly the money that both of those movies received. As Above, So Below failed to to gross anything of note and even for a horror movie in a summer deprived of horror movies this movie didn’t register well with it’s intended audience.

With Intersteller, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies coming out the box office should make a comeback in a way but this just might be one the worst years for movie, box office wise, that I have seen in a while.

 

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Guardians of the Galaxy Returns to the Top of the Box Office

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This weekend was a down weekend for the box-office. Each weekend so far provide some much needed business but not this weekend. Guardians of the Galaxy managed to return to the number one spot at the box office with 17.1 million, after two weeks of losing to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The new releases this weekend didn’t do anything to lend to the already bad summer. If I Stay opened at number 3 with 16.3 million. The biggest failure this weekend was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (read my review here). It opened at 6.3 million, nearly 13 million under tracking. I don’t see a third film anytime soon consider the budget was anywhere between 50 and 70 million.

The biggest surprise this weekend was the impressive hold of Let’s Be Cops (read my review here). It dropped only 38% to a good 11 million. Considering the horrible reviews I was expecting something much steeper but then again it shows that critical dismissal doesn’t always translate to terrible box office returns.

This officially ends the summer box office. This year has been the worst at the box office in a long time. No film surpassed the 300 million dollar mark domestically and the highest grossing domestic release sits at 251 million. Hopefully the rest of the year can improve but if not than it should be noted that big budget films are slowly becoming irrelevant.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Review, A Visually Striking Misstep

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Directed by: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller

Starring: Mickey RourkeJessica AlbaJosh BrolinJoseph Gordon-LevittRosario DawsonBruce WillisEva Green, and Powers Boothe

Lightning doesn’t always strike twice and neither do movie sequels. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is trying to something it’s not, a worthy sequel to a very well crafted original. It is so desperately trying to mimic the visual style and ingenuity that Sin City was so easily able to capture. For it’s time Sin City was a cultural and filmmaking success. It revolutionized the was you were able to make movies and inspired so many movies to use the same style. The biggest problem this movie faces is the fact that it is at least 7 years too late. In my eyes this really hurt the film and it’s need to remind us how stylistic and relevant we still are.

The movie begins with a short segment dedicated to Marv (Mickey Rourke), don’t worry he pops back up in each segment as the Sin City’s equivalent of Gandalf the Grey in the Hobbit. Marv is the brute of the movie and the “main” character. He helps out the other character out with their predicament and then he is off on his own once he is done. The characters mostly “use” him for their own benefits but without him the story just wouldn’t work. Sadly his segment is the most forgettable. Like “The Customer is Always Right” in the first one, “Just Another Saturday Night” leads us into the movie and shows us what we are getting into.

Just Another Saturday Night” begins with Marv forgetting how he got the scene of a crime. Cars are piled up and two dead bodies are shown by the wreckage, the cause of death isn’t so much the accident as it is Marv and his brutal sense of vengeance. He starts taking his medicine so that he can make sense of the situation. He beings remembering and what he remembers will set him on a course to Oldtown to finish off what he started.

The Long Bad Night“, after the opening credit scene we are introduced to Johnny (Joseph Gorden Levitt), a new character to this universe. He is a cocky gambler setting his eyes on Senator Roark (Powers Boothe) and his high stake poker game. After beating and winning all of Roark’s money, Johnny takes the waitress Marcy (Julia Garner) out on the town and blows throw his winnings. Meanwhile Senator Roark decides to teach Johnny a lesson about power and he hunts him down. After being beaten and bruised Johnny devises a plan to show Roark who’s the real “winner” and prove that he is the better player.

A Dame to Kill For” is the main focus of the movie and uses the time allotted wisely. Dwight (Josh Brolin) is a man with a dark past, which isn’t really explored that much. He is a private eye working on a case with an adulterating husband and his wife. After finishing the job he receives a phone call from Ava (Eva Green), a former lover and damsel in distress, about meeting up with him at the local bar. She begins to spew the truth about her husband and her love for Dwight. Dwight begins to investigate the suspicious Ava and the life that she is currently living. This lead him down a path that he never expected and will learn more about the mysterious Ava than he ever expected.

Nancy’s Last Dance” is the final and the most uninteresting storyline. After the death of John Hartigan (Bruce Willis), Nancy (Jessica Alba) has lost control of her life. She is constantly drinking on the job, wallowing in self pity, and hell bent on revenge. Every night she is practicing at the gun range, prepping to kill Senator Roark. Her self loathing continues every night she is on stage. One night she cuts up her face in an attempt to use Marv for her own benefits. The two end up attacking the Senators house in an attempt to get revenge on him for the death of Hartigan.

The movie suffers from over confidence. It’s trying to be something that it’s not. It wants to be a noir thriller and do it a different way than before. Sadly it is far behind the movie that actually achieved that, Sin City. The original felt fresh and something that we’ve never seen before but now it just feels as if they are trying to survive off the good will from the first one. Sequels are meant to build off the universe that the first one created but this feels as if it is just trying to copy what the first did without actually building on it. The movie feels vapid and the actors seem uninterested. The beautifully rendered environments can’t save itself from an emotionless execution.

Mickey Rourke essentially carbon copied his performance from the first one. His segment is narrated in the same way that  ” The Hard Goodbye“. It had the same exact lines and reason behind the lines. The amount of times he says “I have a condition” in this series is insane. This might be my personal opinion but I know he has a condition because they told me in the first one and it fell redundant to have him repeat himself. Maybe it is for the new audience but even so he isn’t given anything in his own segment that it really doesn’t matter. The same goes for Jessica Alba. She was energetic in the first and in this movie she seems as if she if just collecting the paycheck and half assing a performance. As she is on stage her looks is so vacant that it feels like she is a robot. Her role in this movie really doesn’t matter either. Her story is the most disposable and could have been removed entirely and the film would be a much tighter and worthwhile effort.

However Eva Green killed it as the villainous Ava. She brings a vibe that is both electric and cunning. She was perfect cast as Ava and deserves any praise she gets. With 300: Rise of an Empire and now Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, it is clear that Eva Green could have a good career as strong female character that is both villainous but sympathetic.

The stories are some what dull. I liked “A Dame to Kill For” but it felt too long and could have been cut down. A lot of it had unnecessary moments that really take away from the film. Like I stated before both Marv’s and Nancy’s stories are useless and really didn’t add much to the film. On the other hand I felt “A Long Bad Night” was the best story overall. Each of the stories have a great deal of violence dealt onto expendable characters and are also ridiculous to the extreme but Johnny’s story is completely different. It deals with the character and his luck with gambling. It is a story that had a more toned down and felt like it was the closest to being an actual noir film. The ending is much more depressing than the other ones but it is also the most sincere.

Now the big thing this movie does is use it’s style. It’s overly stylistic and it is completely ridiculous. It is what made the movie so popular when it was released and it works just as well in this film. The use of color mixed with black and white makes for a completely interesting viewing experience. The visual style makes it all it’s own. The environments are like nothing I’ve seen before. Where this movie lacks in story it makes up for it in it’s visual brilliance.

Though it fails with it’s stories and acting, it excels in it’s visual style and some rather interesting moments that it’s a worth while theater experience.

Grade: C+

 

 

‘The Strain’ renewed for season 2

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As a reader of the book I am glad to hear this news. Right now the show feels a little lacking but that because it hasn’t really set up what is going to happen in following seasons. I feel if they limit this series to only a few season it will be great but going farther than they should will really limit the success and the ultimate effect this show will have.

A plane lands at John F. Kennedy International Airport with the lights off and doors sealed. Epidemiologist Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and his team are sent to investigate. On board they find 206 corpses and four survivors. The situation deteriorates when all the bodies disappear from the morgue. Goodweather and a small group of helpers find themselves battling to protect not only their own loved ones, but the entire city, from an ancient threat to humanity.

Lets Be Cops Review, A Comedy That Doesn’t Embrace it’s Concept

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Let’s Be Cops

Directed by: Luke Greenfield

Starring: Jake Johnson, Damon Wayans Jr., Andy Garcia, Rob Riggle, and Nina Dobrev

The one thing that I thought from this trailer was that it had an interesting concept but I thought it would be vanilla and safe. I like New Girl for what it is and the dynamic of the two leads is what brought me to this movie. This year has been an interesting year in comedy. Neighbors and 22 Jump Street both impressed at the box office but those are nothing stellar about them. Let’s Be Cops is another one that follows suit. For the most part I enjoyed what I was watching but it never impressed me. The comedy is the typical R-rated humor that is typically hit or miss with me. Comedy, like horror, is very subjective. Everyone has their own take on comedy and if it makes you laugh than it is successful for you. I thought 22 Jump Street accomplished what it set out to do but it felt like a bad sequel that recycled the plot but had a lot of good humor. Lets Be Cops is similar, in a sense.

Ryan Davis (Jake Johnson), a failed quarterback, and Justin Chang (Damon Wayans Jr.), a video game developer, attend their high school reunion, with a theme of a masquerade, dressed as cops. They begin to realize just how bad their lives have become. On their walk back to their apartment Ryan and Justin begin to notice that the people around them are intimidated by their uniforms. After a night of fun and debauchery Ryan gets the idea to impersonate cops so that they can cheat the system and gain more respect from those around them. Soon they begin to get out of control. One night they run into Officer  Seagars (Rob Riggle) which leads them into a conspiracy that involves a madman drug dealer. Soon they realize they are way over their heads leading them way farther down the rabbit hole than they were expecting.

There was a lot that I liked about this movie. Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. are great together, they share a chemistry that worked well here and perfected suited the comedy at work. Jake Johnson seems to be playing Nick from New Girl but it seems to be what he is good at so I can’t complain. He is down on his luck and finds an opportunity to make his life into something new but that leads him into a bunch of uncontrollable situations. Damon Wayans Jr. is great as well and plays a tight ass who eventually changes his ways. Personally I feel that he is the most talented of his family and has a chance to have a well defined career. Outside of the comedy and the premise the movie is rather bland.

The core story isn’t anything new. The Other Guys, 21 Jump Street and The Heat tried to do something similar and they succeeded while on the other hand Let’s Be Cops fails on that level. It ends up going the route of every movie of this caliber. The movie doesn’t try to be new or try something different it goes down the road that every comedy like this does. You have two unexperienced cops wrapped up in some type of conspiracy that is completely out of their hands. The villains are one note drug dealers who’s only purpose is to do evil things and look evil nothing else. The only developed characters are the two leads and the others are just there to progress the story.

The biggest thing that bugged me was the fact that the third act felt like a completely different movie. I’ll even go as far and say that the third act is extremely well done and the first two felt like they had a set goal and just improvised it. The third act made the movie interesting and worth seeing. It brings the idea that the real thing that they’ve gotten themselves into is much scarier than anyone can imagine. There is one scene in particular that I would label as a great scene. It starts with Damon Wayans Jr. narrating about his video game telling them that he wanted the view to experience what the real thing felt like. During this we have a scene with Ryan, scared out of his mind, making his way to his apartment having just learned that the villains will stop at nothing to kill him. The way that this scene was shot and edited belonged in a completely different movie. It actually used the plot line to it’s potential and showed just what the director is capable of.

It’s too  bad that this and the third act really didn’t work in this movie. This movie had so much potential. The concept was funny but the execution was lacking. Even though I enjoyed the comedy side of this movie it is wholly uneven and feels like two completely different movies wrapped into one.

Grade: C-