October 2012

'Argo' finally reaches the top spot at the weekend box office

Less-than-stellar debut for 'Cloud Atlas' is disappointing.

The biggest box office story of the weekend isn't that one of my favorite films of the year, Argo, finally reached number one, but that Cloud Atlas sank like a stone in it's debut. This is a big-budget, extremely hyped film, and I'm pretty shocked that it couldn't pull more people to the theater.

And no, we didn't see Cloud Atlas this weekend. When one lives in a college town with the number one football team in the country playing at home, one either hibernates or goes to the game. We hibernated. I love this time of year, I really do, but the traffic and the crowds during football game weekends makes it nearly impossible to get to the theater!

Are television shows more graphic than movies?

Violence and gore galore on the little screen

You've heard me complain a lot about the dumbing down of movies to appeal to the 13-18 demographic that has become the primary audience for movies. Adults are staying in to watch cable, streaming and even network television rather than venture out to the movie theater.

So how have the networks and cable responded to this gradual movement to home theater? By stepping up their game. How many people remember the public fervor created when True Blood had a sex scene where Bill turned the woman's head 180 degrees, just so he wouldn't have to look at her.

New Conan movie coming!

Now that Arnie is done with politics, it looks like we may finally see another decent Conan film

Let me start by saying that Conan the Barbarian is by far one of my favorite movies of all time.  In my humble opinion, there are almost no dark fantasy flicks that even remotely compare to the level of excellence that went into that film.  The second in the series, Conan the Destroyer was a grave disappointment and the newest one, with Jason Momosa (or whatever that guy’s name is) was so bad that my eyes almost bled watching it.  So how should I react when I hear that they’re working on one more Conan movie?  With ecstatic joy!

'Iron Man 3' trailer drops, and it sure looks dark

See it here and weigh in.

Well well, Marvel fans, guess what? The first trailer for Iron Man 3 is out, and it's pretty awesome. It also left me with a ton of unanswered questions, so that was shrewd: Make the super crazy fan girl wait months and blog about her theories and *then* unleash the movie in April 2013, when she's reached the end of her rope!

Without any further buildup, here's the new Iron Man 3 trailer:

Iron Man 3 Trailer - Official Marvel | HD

'Paranormal Activity 4' wins the weekend box office

I didn't see it, but what I saw was my favorite movie of the year (so far).

We love to be scared, and we love our Paranormal Activity franchise, apparently. The latest installment in the spooky series, Paranormal Activity 4, easily won the weekend box office, but interestingly enough, it didn't perform nearly as well as it's predecessors. Bad sign? Probably so.

Somehow, I managed to wiggle out of my promise to see a scary film in theaters before Halloween (whew). I lobbied hard to go see Argo, because the word of mouth from friends was ridiculously strong -- and because I finally got over my cold and felt well enough to brave the theater without infecting my fellow movie goers. The short version: I'm so glad I did. Argo is an incredible movie.

What happened to real action movies?

Contemporary titles, bland disappointments

Do you remember the '80s and '90s? Arnold, Sly, Chuck, Van Damme and Lundgren were the big action heroes of the day. They blew stuff up, had big body counts and we all watched and loved it. These movies were testosterone filled romps with larger-than-life villains and heroes.

Rambo, Commando, Delta Force, etc. are classics, but you just don't see them anymore. The most recent movies like Crank, Transporter, etc. are pale in comparison to the grandiosity of their predecessors and why? The cold hard reality is that most movies are marketing to teens and a blood and bomb fest is too graphic for PG-13 unless it's animated or non-human.

Who won the weekend box office race?

'Taken 2' and 'Argo' did really well.

In the battle of Liam Neeson versus Ben Affleck, Neeson was victorious -- but there's no way you could call Affleck a loser. His new political thriller, Argo, opened to excellent reviews and managed to finish in second place at the weekend box office. This, of course, means that once again, Taken 2 took the top spot.

Unfortunately, a nasty cold prevented me from seeing Argo on Saturday, but I hear excellent things. I'm trying not to hear too much, however, because I want to be at least a little bit surprised when I do get to hit the theater. Right now, the incessant coughing and sniffling would drive me, and my fellow movie goers, insane.

Are reboots necessary?

When good movies turn bad

It's no secret that repetition is a big part of Hollywood. When something goes good, they capitalize on it and soon the theaters, DVDs and streaming sites are filled with the same genre. Their idea is that if it worked once, then it will work again.

That's why when Twilight became popular, there was a sudden resurgence of vampire movies and television shows. This also goes true for movies that were hugely popular long ago and are now getting a facelift through reboots. Many of these movies that are getting reboots are modern day classics.

Atlas Shrugged: Corporations thrive, people do not

Paul Ryan and deregulation

I just saw the preview for “Atlas Shrugged.” Now I’m understanding why Paul Ryan has been talking up the novel “Atlas Shrugged,” which is Ayn Rand’s version of the world if corporations were to take power. 

Corporate power has long been the dream of many American corporations. And many corporations are in fact ethical and set higher standards for themselves than the government regulators would. Corporations need regulation, just the same way that individuals need laws. 

 

Let’s be realistic about corporations. If the head of a corporation has a choice to take a large bonus or disperse the amount more evenly to some of his senior employees, which decision will he make? Obviously, he or she would try to put the money in her own pocket, even if he did not do all of the work necessary. 

Review: Indie Game: The Movie (2012)

An amazing documentary about the world of independent video game developing.

Indie Game: The Movie is a documentary that deals with the struggles and hardships that plague the life of the independent video game developer.  The basic premise is that the film crew follows two groups of people and watches them as they go through the hard work and trials associated with trying to get their projects completed. 

One pair, that of Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes, are racing the clock to release their game, Super Meat Boy.  The other part of the story involves Phil Fish (and the occasional visit with his comrades in arms) as he attempts to get the long-delayed Fez ready for a gaming expo.  In the background are some interviews with Jonathan Blow, famous for his renowned Braid game.  All together, these three stories come together to create one of the most compelling documentaries I have ever seen.

'Taken 2' rules at the weekend box office

Other debuts, including 'Frankenweenie,' fizzle

All hail Liam Neeson: King of the action movie, at least for now. Neeson's Taken 2 was the undisputed champion of the weekend box office in the U.S., taking in a whopping $50 million. Movie goers love their Taken movies, don't they? I suspect Taken 3 is already being written.

Sadly, the news is anything but good for Tim Burton. His latest effort, the stop-motion animated film Frankenweenie, only managed a (weak) fifth place finish. I didn't see either of these films, but the one I did see, I loved.

Prometheus coming to DVD

Alien prequel

I was always a big fan of the original couple of Alien movies by Ridley Scott. Once you got to Alien 3, it started to get a little tired and by the end of the series, it was just plain bad. I was a little apprehensive when I heard that Prometheus was going to be a prequel to the movies, but it turns out to be pretty good.

It did very well in theaters and a sequel to the prequel has already been slated with some of the original crew coming back. Many people didn't realize that this was directly connected to the Alien movies, but after watching it you'll definitely see the connections.

Review: Photographing Fairies (1997)

What could have been a nice, independent movie ends up over-produced

 

Photographing Fairies is an older film that I’d seen once before, shortly after its initial release, and decided to revisit on Netflix.  I couldn’t remember much of what it was about, so it was almost like watching it new again.  By the end I kind of wished I had decided on something else.  It’s not that the film is completely bad.  In fact, the screenplay is really quite interesting.  But some mediocre acting (aside from Ben Kingsley, who is always great) and a strange atmosphere of over-production killed it for me.

Animated flick 'Hotel Transylvania' takes top spot at weekend box office

Numbers suggest movie goers are heading back to theaters.

Movie goers, you're back! The new weekend box office numbers are in, and they strongly suggest that all of us have finally decided, after taking several weeks off, to head back to the movie theaters for a little escapism. And what, pray tell, are we seeing?

We love our animated comedies, apparently: Sony's 3D offering Hotel Transylvania was a huge winner at the box office, taking in a whopping $43 million and easily besting several other high profile film debuts.