Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend US box office March 23-25

TWLWTitle (click to view)StudioWeekend Gross% ChangeTheater Count /ChangeAverageTotal GrossBudget*Week #
1NThe Hunger GamesLGF$155,000,000-4,137-$37,467$155,000,000$781
2121 Jump StreetSony$21,300,000-41.3%3,121-$6,825$71,051,000$422
32Dr. Seuss' The LoraxUni.$13,100,000-42.5%3,677-92$3,563$177,300,000$704
43John CarterBV$5,014,000-63.1%3,212-537$1,561$62,347,000$2503
55Act of ValorRela.$2,062,000-44.8%2,216-549$931$65,942,000$125
64Project XWB$1,950,000-51.8%2,065-857$944$51,752,000-4
76A Thousand WordsP/DW$1,925,000-47.0%1,787-108$1,077$14,926,000$403
8NOctober Baby (2012)Gold.$1,718,000-390-$4,405$1,718,000-1
97Safe HouseUni.$1,400,000-48.5%1,330-590$1,053$122,600,000$857
108Journey 2: The Mysterious IslandWB$1,373,000-42.5%1,340-595$1,025$97,155,000$797
I couldn't believe at first the weekend gross of The Hunger Games. Based on the best-selling young adult novel by Suzanne Collins. Although I agree the book has been super popular and profitable from its initial release, my expectations were that the adaption would just cover the budget. The film star Jennifer Lawrence best-known for starring as Mystique in the overrated X-Men: First Class, along with Miley Cyrus' boyfriend Liam Hemsworth, and the skinny-sexy Elizabeth Banks.

  It has grossed $155m off $78m. Last week's first 21 Jump Street seems not so colossal against The Hunger Games but has been declared both a critical and commercial success worldwide. The Lorax is also impressive in its 4th week but John Carter continues its commercial unpopularity. Big loss for Disney as they themselves have announced losing $200m at the end of March. Lead actor Taylor Kitsch may consider early retirement although he was good as Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Maybe they could've starred him in X-men Origins: Gambit...
  October Baby 2012 new entry at 8. A drama film winnings a couple of Best Picture awards at the Red Rock Film Festival. The weekend proves lucky as it outgrosses its budget of $1m. And it's lucky as the competition was against The Hunger Games as teenage girls were expecting to gather for both. Safe House is at 9 and Journey 2 is at 10. The former making an estimated $190m and the latter making just a little over $304m worldwide.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This will not scare you from visiting the local ATM.

To begin with, ATM is ridiculous. The plot is rather absurd: Three co-workers stop off at an ATM late at night and soon find themselves confined to an enclosed area made up of an ATM booth and car park by an unknown hooded killer lurking outside. Newer horror fans might take this in but for veterans like myself it would be hard not to be judgmental.
  The horror film star Brian Geraghty, Josh Peck (pictured), and Alice Eve. Peck is best known for starring in the Nickelodeon teen comedy series Drake & Josh. He's a good actor as also seen in the film. Geraghty acted the best of the trio. Eve was disappointing. It seemed as if she were laughing when crying and vice versa. So do not expect a future scream queen. As the title suggests most of the film takes place in the ATM long past midnight. The only creepy thing is the background - it's a cold frosty night. Apart from that the film is not even scary. No wonder they tossed the blonde (Eve) in.
  The director couldn't even save this one. It had bad written all over it from the moment the three co-workers entered the booth. This movie falls in line with the failed slashers that occurred mostly in the aftermath of the original Halloween. Same amount of gore or even more but lacking the charisma that makes viewers scream inside out.  The film is directed by David Brooks and not doubt this is his first feature venture. Hope he improves drastically in his next ones. The writer Chris Sparling globally famous for Buried 2007 which is a must-watch thriller if you haven't seen it and a better alternate to the overrated 127 hours, fails to show the same talent in ATM. I'm so shocked that he wrote this. Trust me, it's better to watch I Know What You Did Last Summer and its sequel this slasher.

My score: 0.5/4.
Rotten Tomatoes: N/A.
IMDB: 5.2/10.

Haywire not up to the director's standards

Director Steven Soderbergh's specialty is including an all-star cast in his films. This time he employs the star power of Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan Mcregor (one of my favourites), Michael Fassbender and Channing Tatum with new face Gina Carano as the lead. It was better to include an all-star cast without the latter.
  Haywire has a super cliched plot. A govt. agent gets betrayed by her own agency so she seeks revenge. The story of main-leading female agents has increased a lot in the past decade. Films like Naked Weapon and Salt are examples of this. Also, the TV series Nikita starring NW's Maggie Q. I've seen a lot of the repetitive tale and expected less from Haywire. But the film had its good points.
  The action scenes are old school and reminiscent of class Chuck Norris movies. To be sincere Gina Canaro can pack a punch. She was formerly the 3rd ranked female fighter in the world according to Unified Women's MMA rankings. But she can't act. Although we have plenty of other 'actors' who can correct this. But the main problem here is that Soderbergh directed Haywire showcasing only Carano's role. He did not go with the Ocean's formula. And that's what was expected. The feature film is 1 hour and 28 minutes long so it won't waste most of your time. And the directing is at its best. But these two features cannot hide the boring plot and dialogues. The film is too predictable after the first 60 mins. Hell, anybody whose seen his fair deal of spy flicks could guess the ending there.
  S. Soderbergh is a multiple Academy Award-winning American director best known for his Ocean's trilogy of films which garnered not only critical acclaim but over $1 billion global box office receipts. Soderbergh has lately directed more drama-oriented films such as The Girlfriend Experience starring pornstar Sasha Grey and the historical biopic Che. Haywire is Soderbergh's latest action sequence after Che 2008. Haywire proves Soderbergh has not lost his directing touch. But Lem Dobbs' screenplay could've been better. Hope Soderbergh makes better choices selecting screenplays in the future.
  Haywire opened at no.2 at the UK box office on a budget of $23m earning a little over $29m worldwide. Although a return of $50m would be deserving.

My score: 2.5/4.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%.
IMDB: 6.3/10.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend US box office March 16-18, 012.

TWLWTitle (click to view)StudioWeekend Gross% ChangeTheater Count /ChangeAverageTotal GrossBudget*Week #
1N21 Jump StreetSony$35,000,000-3,121-$11,214$35,000,000$421
21Dr. Seuss' The LoraxUni.$22,800,000-41.3%3,769+23$6,049$158,400,000$703
32John CarterBV$13,515,000-55.2%3,749-$3,605$53,172,000$2502
43Project XWB$4,005,000-64.1%2,922-133$1,371$48,131,000-3
56A Thousand WordsP/DW$3,750,000-39.3%1,895+5$1,979$12,103,000$402
64Act of ValorRela.$3,678,000-47.4%2,765-186$1,330$62,398,000$124
77Safe HouseUni.$2,800,000-41.7%1,920-224$1,458$120,200,000$856
810Journey 2: The Mysterious IslandWB$2,460,000-31.9%1,935-590$1,271$95,066,000$796
9NCasa De Mi PadreLGF$2,200,000-382-$5,759$2,200,000-1
109This Means WarFox$2,125,000-43.4%1,660-289$1,280$50,525,000$655
21 Jump Street written by one of the two main leads Jonah Hill along with screenwriter Michael Bacall (whose co-written Project X is on 4th) has topped the US box office. The movie is based on the 1987 TV series of the same name, Its worldwide total is $42m which is the equivalent of the film's budget. The Lorax continues its financial brilliance by collecting over $22m bringing it to a worldwide total of just a little bit over $172m off $70m.
  On the other hand, John Carter proves its disappointing States venture. It has a global consummate of a little bit above $179 million off a colossus budget of 250 million dollars. The Vow has left the top ten. The Rock's Journey 2 has reached blockbuster status grossing above the previous part. It is just a few points away from scoring a triple hundred. This Means War is at no. 10 although it has done better globally reaching over $119 million for its complete net. We see another new entry along with 21 Jump Street and that is Casa De Mi Padre (Home Of My Father) - a Spanish language American comedy film starring comedy veteran Will Ferrell in the lead. The film has opened at no.9 with a reported $6m budget. The figure of over $2m is impressive as the film has only played in 382 locations!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weekend US box office results March 9-11, 012.

TWLWTitle (click to view)StudioWeekend Gross% ChangeTheater Count /ChangeAverageTotal GrossBudget*Week #
11Dr. Seuss' The LoraxUni.$38,846,020-44.7%3,746+17$10,370$121,724,850$702
2NJohn CarterBV$30,180,188-3,749-$8,050$30,180,188$2501
32Project XWB$11,142,103-47.1%3,055-$3,647$39,717,098-2
43Act of ValorRela.$6,991,877-48.5%2,951-102$2,369$56,092,474$123
5NSilent HouseORF$6,661,234-2,124-$3,136$6,661,234-1
6NA Thousand WordsP/DW$6,176,280-1,890-$3,268$6,176,280$401
74Safe HouseUni.$4,801,510-35.0%2,144-409$2,240$115,605,325$855
87The VowSGem$3,842,485-36.1%2,478-348$1,551$117,456,231$305
98This Means WarFox$3,756,060-32.5%1,949-393$1,927$46,895,410$654
106Journey 2: The Mysterious IslandWB$3,611,388-44.8%2,525-535$1,430$90,641,999$795
Info. from Box Office Mojo. The Lorax still going great with a previous weekend over $70m opening. And now outgrossing John Carter which was expected to top the weekend. The film stars model Taylor Kitsch who is remembered for playing Gambit in X-men Origins: Wolverine. The movie's set-up and the hero's get-up are reminiscent of Disney's 2010 feature Prince of Persia. But in the same period it has earned a little over $70 mil. worldwide for a total catch of $101.2 million.
  Safe House which has been stirring waves on horror webpages opens at 5 which is quite impressive for a low-budget thriller. Elizabeth Olsen is gonna get her sister's' palms sweating. Journey 2's overall worldwide gross is over $291m off 79 million dollars. The Rock is also set to deliver with G.I. Joe 2 as per my prediction.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Awakening

Underworld 1 and 2 will be remembered for awakening the British to a vampire-lycan(werewolf) world. Dark backgrounds and old-style clothing with sexy kitten Kate Beckinsale. Well, most of the audience who hated the   movies still remembered the lusciousness of KB.
  Underworld 3 also known as Rise of the Lycans was a better take on the saga. The 3rd one was a prequel of the first and explained the obvious reason of the war between the two generations. Michael Sheen replaced K.B. as the lead, and his acting was top-notch, along with the villain played by Bill Nighy. Nighy is my favourite English actor also known for being in Underworld, Underworld: Evolution and the thriller Notes on a Scandal. Furthermore, Nighy acted the best throughout the trilogy. Rhona Mitra shared some screen space reminiscent of Beckinsale's aura in the prequel.
Underworld was good. Evolution was too predictable. Rise of the Lycans had a better plot, and acting but with  more average action the two. The 4th part improves only in that area. This venture in 3-D is blood-spattering, vampire-gritting and ass-tightening to the core. One is amazed how Beckinsale looks the same since Underworld 1 and 2. No wonder the British actress is being voted globally to become a model in real life. Though we get what we expect from her. Bill Nighy is still sorely missed. The film co-stars Michael Ealy,Stephen Lea and India Eisley, who acted more impressively than the lead. The story is plain boring. The writers must've had only one cup of coffee while producing the script. I'm also amazed how it took more than one writer to come up with this. And yeah, the plot is utterly predictable. Its as if you were playing hide and seek with your best friend and you told him where you were going to hide. David S. Goyer could've penned the story instead. Alas, the director of the first two and executive producer of the whole series decided to. He's also the husband of Beckinsale. Her ex Michael Sheen is more critically acclaimed for his acting that Wiseman's directing but alas, modern women seem to go for the commercially-fashioned
  Underworld: Awakening earned an estimated $110m worldwide off a $70m budget and is the 2nd highest-grossing of the series just behind Evolution. This movie has the best action scenes of all the parts. It is one of those action movies that adapts its scenes well to the 3-D format. And it is worth a watch in 2-D as it doesn't differ much in the impact. Rise of the Lycans is the best-written. I urge Hollywood to come up with more unique concepts for vampire movies. Fortunately, The Vampire Diaries airs on TV...

  Underworld 2.5/4
  Underworld: Evolution 2/4.
  Underworld: Rise of the Lycans 3/4.
  Underworld: Awakening 3/4.

Reviews: The Grey and Footloose (2011)

The Grey grossed approximately 55 million dollars at the end of its theatrical run off a budget of $25 million. It deserves much more. Hopefully it will, as the film may return in October for an Oscar push.
  The film's genre is adventure. It is more like a role-playing horror game with wolves instead of the undead. The plot concerns John Ottway (Liam Neeson) being left out in Alaska with other plane cash survivors. Either the frost gets to them or the wolfpack but Neeson is determined to not let the animals eat them up. Luckily, there was no doctor on board to slow the pace down. The scenery is amazing and the movie captures the ice element with perfection. I urge the director Joe Carnahan to try a niche in the National Geographic channel. Directing is superb and makes most out of the film's good points. It surpasses the screenplay write by Joe Carnahan and Ian Mackenzie Jeffers based on a short story by the latter.
As most would expect Neeson acted exactly according to the role. Co-stars also shone along with him and you can't call this one a one-man show like his Taken and Unknown. The Grey is better than Unknown but does not exceed the cinematic greatness of Taken. Better luck with Taken 2 Neeson!
  Overall, the film is one of the rare few that equals drama and thrill in a single venture, unlike the boring 127 hours. And it tells the story of a wolf-hunter not a Navy SEAL or ex-army guy doing mind-numbing heroics. This feature film never once exceeds the point of reality and although it is slow at most parts, you'll never predict the woo!
  A 3 out 4 from me.

Moving on, the 1984 Footloose was a good movie. Yes it's a teen dance classic but even the first Step Up was better. I have no quarrel with 5.2 rating from IMDB.
  The remake is almost a scene-to-scene copy of the original. And although we have veteran actor Dennis Quaid delivering his sentimentality, the others were unimpressive. The lead played by Kenny Wormald did well to equal the dance moves of Kevin Bacon, but lacked the charisma. Face it - both movies were predictable. But at least the first did a grand job of covering it up. Even the 1984 version had better dance performances. The drama in this one is cliched to the point of exhaustion. And although the female lead Julianne Hough has gorgeous leopard features, she couldn't convince audiences as an actress even if she won a fake Academy Award.

  The plot follows a young man who moves from Boston to a small southern town and protests the town's ban against dancing. Well, with such dancing no wonder it would be banned. Where's the power of the script? The directing is OK but the screenplay is bad. The dialogues sound like an ill excuse for lack of experience. The set-up of the town is well done though. Quaid played his part of a Father well both to the church and the girl. Only the moves by the lead actor were worth remembering. Believe me this dance flick could've been better choreographed by an action stuntman. The film has earned $62m off $24m. The original grossed a little over $80m off $8.5m - rightfully so.
  Footloose (1984) 2.5/4.
  Footloose (2011) 2/4.
  And people might watch the film full because of Hough - like I did...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weekend US box office results March 2-4, 012

TWLWTitle (click to view)StudioWeekend Gross% ChangeTheater Count /ChangeAverageTotal GrossBudget*Week #
1NDr. Seuss' The LoraxUni.$70,700,000-3,729-$18,960$70,700,000$701
2NProject XWB$20,775,000-3,055-$6,800$20,775,000-1
31Act of ValorRela.$13,700,000-44.0%3,053+14$4,487$45,239,000$122
44Safe HouseUni.$7,200,000-34.1%2,553-499$2,820$108,200,000$854
52Tyler Perry's Good DeedsLGF$7,000,000-55.1%2,132-$3,283$25,745,000-2
63Journey 2: The Mysterious IslandWB$6,925,000-48.3%3,060-290$2,263$85,611,000$794
75The VowSGem$6,100,000-38.5%2,826-212$2,159$111,712,000$304
87This Means WarFox$5,625,000-33.2%2,342-847$2,402$41,464,000$653
96Ghost Rider: Spirit of VengeanceSony$4,700,000-47.8%2,487-687$1,890$44,881,000$573
1013The ArtistWein.$3,900,000+34.2%1,756+790$2,221$37,088,000$1515
  Info. from Box Office Mojo. The Lorax covered its $70m budget in just 2 days! Warner Bros. comedy Project X at number 2. Journey 2 proving quite profitable for The Rock following my predictions on his future financial successes - such as the upcoming G.I. Joe sequel. The Artist on 10 from last week's 13 due to the Oscar buzz. And Act of Valor no. 3 from no.1 again due to the Academy Awards about two weeks ago. We may not hear about a Ghost Rider part three for quite a while then.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bollywood review: Don 2 is the King

Don (1978) was released in the era of Amitabh Bachan. Before his breakthrough most Bollywood movies were based on romance, dance and seldom action, not counting the silly fighting scenes done usually by Rishi Kapoor in rom-coms. Big B was a maverick. He was quite tall, 6'2 to be exact, when the average Hindi superstar's height were 5 feet and 7 inches.
  So most producers didn't take him aboard the movie cruise early on. The majority of his start-up roles were side ones. Although, due to his towering structure, he must've made an impression. After the release of Zanjeer in 1973, Big B launched the span of B-wood action films. He is considered the one actor to revolutionise thrillers and adrenaline in the 70s and 80s. Big B had charisma - he was unique - and that's what made him a legend.
   Don was one of the biggest hits of B-town both in commercial and critical terms. The film had thrill, suspense, humour with an unsentimental touch of romance, quite unusual for a Hindi film. This would've left even Hollywood bedazzled. The film was directed by Chandra Barot and written by the cult duo Salim-Javed. The film follows a police officer trying to catch the criminal Don. To do this he hires a lookalike named Vijay to impersonate him. It grossed Rs. 70m off a Rs. 8.5m budget domestically. And was the 3rd highest-grosser of 1978. Don's remake was a proven theory of superhit when Shah Rukh Khan was cast in the lead. Sorry Abhishek, guess you couldn't fill your own father's shoes in the end. Kareena Kapoor glittered elegantly in her sexy attire in Helen's footsteps with dancing to the song 'Ye Mera Dil'. Though the storyline was good there were noticeable flaws. Farhan Akthar, the director and co-writer seemed confused in some areas. Where the audience wanted action there was unwanted suspense and vice versa. The movie couldn't been done better, as also said by the late Indian Times critic Nikhat Kazmi. Most of the film is matched with the original, and the premise is the same, but I have to mention that SRK suited the role better than Big Bachan.
  Don: The Chase Begins Again grossed $23.1m worldwide on a $7.7m budget and was the 6th highest-grossing Indian movie of 2006.
  Now moving on to Don 2. This sequel is the continuation of the remake. Much of the sentimentality of a dual role is missing. The plot is a lot stronger than the first, and the majority scenes were shot in Berlin and Malaysia. Boman Irani, veteran Om Puri and the exotic Priyanka Chopra reprise their roles. With Irani's acting coming 2nd to King Khan's playing a badass irrespective of being a noted comedian.
  Applause to SRK for his best performance since Josh (2000), my 2nd fav. movie of his. SRK leaves an impression with his lead villainous aura washing away his gig along with Bachan's. His dialogue delivery is top notch and no other actor in the whole of B-wood could've done it better. The best part of the film are the dialogues. They give a sense of humour in scenes full of mystery and suspense. It is as if reading a horror teen novel without being able to guess the end. The story follows Don, the underworld kingpin, surrendering himself to Interpol. He attempts to make a deal with the authority but is thrown into a Malaysian penitentiary awaiting two weeks for the death penalty. Now here the suspense starts as his ex-associate is in the same prison. The movie co-stars Kunal Kapoor and Lara Dutta (who had an unimpressive item song) as new faces. Though people are comparing the venture with the likes of Hollywood and I don't compare B-town films with the US film industry - this one managed to be in rank with MI: Ghost Protocol and A Game of Shadows in the December releases. It has managed to make $46.2m off $15.4m worldwide, releasing on 23 Dec. 011 in both 2-D and 3-D, and is the highest grosser for a non-Friday holiday and the highest Indian box office attraction of 2011 overseas. It has ended its theatrical run and may go on to earn the total off $50m in DVD and blu-ray sales. It was also the most popular feature at the 62nd Berlin Film Festival. Many overseas critics have given it positive reviews, and I'm unofficially one of them. I give the original Don 3/4, the remake 3/4 and this biggie a 4/4. Don 2 is not only the most profitable films of Indian cinema, it is the King!