Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dredd delivers judgement at no. 6!

TWLWTitle (click to view)StudioWeekend Gross% ChangeTheater Count /ChangeAverageTotal GrossBudget*Week #
1NEnd of WatchORF$13,152,683-2,730-$4,818$13,152,683$71
2NHouse at the End of The StreetRela.$12,287,234-3,083-$3,985$12,287,234$101
3NTrouble with the CurveWB$12,162,040-3,212-$3,786$12,162,040-1
42Finding Nemo (3D)BV$9,641,474-42.2%2,904-$3,320$30,175,449-2
51Resident Evil: RetributionSGem$6,701,803-68.2%3,016+4$2,222$33,469,530$652
719The MasterWein.$4,391,092+496.4%788+783$5,572$5,446,975-2
83The PossessionLGF$2,641,990-54.2%2,598-262$1,017$45,291,617$144

I'm very disappointed. Dredd is a remake of the sci-fi action venture Judge Dredd (1995). The original starred Hollywood buff Sylvester Stallone and well-known actress Diane Lane. It grossed $113m off $90m worldwide whilst garnering several negative reviews and awards in the United States. Arnold Schwarzenegger was originally offered the role but I would've predicted it an even bigger flop if he had accepted.
  But this year's Dredd is very different. It stars a lesser-known lead Karl Urban and Lena Headey from HBO's Game of Thrones as the nemesis Ma-Ma. It is also set in a futuristic dystopian world where the hero is forced to bring order to a 200-story slum and its resident drug lord.
  The 012 version has been critically acclaimed in contrast to the first with 77% on Rotten Tomatoes and most critics applauding Urban's hard-boiled performance. Though pundits predicted the film would open up with $10m-$6m in the States due to the first part's poor status I still hoped it would be in the top three or at least be third.
  In other news, Jake Gyllenhaal's End of Watch opens up at 1st. The crime drama surprisingly overtook House at the End of the Street by an approximate $1m. End of Watch is directed and written by David Ayer famous in the genre of these sort of films adding to his previous directed feature Street Kings and Harsh Times. The opening of $13m managed to cross its budget of just $7m.
  This has been a very slow American box office weekend since August. Even Resident Evil: Retribution opened slowly last week and has fallen from the top to number 5 in just week two. Worldwide, it has done wonders adding to its foreign total of $137m off a $65m production cost. It has also beaten its predecessor's  global opening but has a long way to reach Afterlife's $296m.
  There was only one good Resident Evil and that was the second Apocalypse. Third was past-time but it definitely should've been the last. Afterlife showed how audiences can blindly enter the theatre for the action or the main actress Milla Jovovich.

  Although the 5th introduces many new characters from the Capcom video game namely Leon, fans of the virtual franchise, like me, are still disappointed for not featuring them in the earlier four adaptions. And also basing the storylines so farther away from Capcom's universe. Even notable game reviewer site IGN gave the film a 6 out of 10. ScreenCrush screenwriter added: ''Resident Evil: Retribution might be one of the dumbest things ever crafted by human hands.''
  Another irritating announcement has been made that there will be a sixth installment as the former has done well financially. This one might be the last to cast Jovovich but the director states that the series might be continued without her.
  Clint Eastwood's first starring role in a film he didn't direct since 2003 lands at the third spot. Trouble with the curve has received mixed reviews and is a sports drama on an ailing baseball scout (Eastwood) and co-starring Amy Adams.
  The R-rated comedy Ted has grossed $420m globally becoming the third highest grossing comedy in accordance to its +18 rating. The second being Hangover ($467m) but it will be beaten eventually at the end of Ted's theatrical run. And the first is The Hangover Part 2 ($581m).
  That's all from me folks, here's the HD trailer for Dredd and by the look of its US debut, the sci-fi remake will be showcased as underrated. ''Law's not the law, I'm the law.'' - Judge Dredd (2012):

(Chart by Box Office Mojo)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A fairy-tale with a style of its own

Snow White & the Huntsman is based on the classic fairy-tale complied by the Brothers Grimm. It is directed by Englishman Rupert Sanders, and written by Evan Daugherty (also first feature plus story), John Lee Hancock along with Iranian screenwriter Hossein Amini.
  Sanders landed a biggie with this one, the film grossing just a bit farther off from $400m worldwide off a production cost of $170m, and landing on the top of the US box office. The debutante film-maker has also gone famous owing to the scandal of his romantic involvement with Kristen Stewart that led to her engagement break-up to Robert Pattinson. But I'm not here to analyse behind-the-scenes footage.
  SW and the Huntsman is a good example of decent direction. It follows a Huntsman ordered to kill Snow White yet ending up trying to end the reign of the Evil Queen. Although the plot sounds cliched it is cleverly delivered and acted upon. The dialogues are not too shabby for a fantasy flick and not be compared with the brilliant literacy of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 
  The first half shows the ruined world during the Queen's power. Being based on Snow White, the film is very dark and gloomy in most of its duration. This is no fairytale having a PG-13 rating. There is a lot of violence and gore which was necessary for its standing out from other adaptions such as Mirror Mirror which was released in the same year.
  Action choreography is top-notch and Sanders should be given more action-oriented films later on. Most the characterisation is worth mentioning and development occurs at a noted pace. Sets also owe justice to the atmosphere and its budget. Charlize Theron stole the show with her bad-ass seductress persona. No wonder she won an Oscar and was nominated for another (North Country).

  However, there are flaws. Firstly, Stewart getting the titular role is preposterous. Maybe she can pull it off as super insecure Bella in the Twilight movies but as Snow White - please! She has no beauty or onscreen presence. Julianne Hough should've gotten the role after transforming into a brunette. So I guess Stewart was   cast well, because she is white as snow.
  Also, the ending is predictable and so is the plot development. Introduction to new characters happens at the wrong times and this shows novice scrip-writing coming into play. More creativity should've been used in the depiction of magic.
  In conclusion, Snow White & the Huntsman is the fantasy movie of the year (so far), noting that a Lord of the Rings prequel (An Unexpected Journey) will be released in December. There is also a second-best act by Thor thespian Chris Hemsworth. But I'm glad I watched Prometheus over this in the theatre.

IMDB: 6.4/10.
Rotten Tomatoes: 49%.
BO101: 2.5/4.

Dark Shadows - a Burton vampire movie

Tim Burton (the director) is best known for his dark-themed movies and this film itself has the dark word in the title. He is also well-known for starring Johnny Depp as the main character in most of his features (Depp has starred in a total of 8 pictures shot by Burton). Burton also directed Alice in Wonderland which is the 11th highest-grossing movie of all time.
  I haven't watched many of his films but Edward Scissorhands (which launched Depp's career) is my favourite of his. Dark Shadows was written by Seth-Grahame Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) with a story by him and John August.
  Based on the 1960s soap opera of the same name, Dark Shadows follows Barnabas Collins, a 200-year old vampire who awakens in the 70s to find the atmosphere completely changed. Much of the movie is based on Collins' new-found relationship with his dysfunctional descendants and confrontations by his ex-lover.
  DS is a typical Burton film although you could guess that by the poster and trailer. Eerie settings and witty dialogues all play homage to his originality. Depp plays Collins unsurprisingly to the depth. And the co-stars also play their roles well. Apart from the acting, the best part is Depp's reactions to the changed American town. That quirkiness saved the feature from utter disappointment. Furthermore, the lines are brilliantly written and the America of the 70s is actually quite well depicted by Burton who usually lets his own gloominess rule the settings.
  However, the film has its cons. None of the other characters are fully exploited. The plot does not have a particular storyline and you wonder whether there are several distinct episodes of a series being played at random. And the end is not too unpredictable. There is not much depth showcased in the story and this leaves it unbalanced.
  Second-best performance was by French actress Eva Green who really brought out the psycho in her hopeless romantic demeanour. She was sexy and seductive and rightfully cast outshining the other lady thespians.

   Also, being a horror comedy this is much more focused on horror than comedy and never fighting the right equilibrium for the two. It co-stars Eva Green (the ex-lover), veteran Michelle Pfeiffer, Burton's wife Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Hayley and Bella Heathcote.
  Finally, Dark Shadows was released with The Avengers and due to that competition the Burton film amounted to a final theatrical cumulative of $238.5m off $148m although it should've made a more decent $400m. DS is not the best of vampire movies and I favour last year's Fright Night remake over it but it's also not the worst.

IMDB: 6.5/10.
Roger Ebert (Top Critic): 2.5/4.
BO101: 2/4.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

MiB 3 - latest and the least

Men in Black 3 is directed by Barry Sonenfield who shot the last 2 features and written by Etan Cohen. The supposed action-comedy is based on the comic-book series of the same name created by Lowell Cunningham. Being a sequel with a gap of 12 years it made $623.9m worldwide with a production budget of $215m.
  To start with, I got a headache going through this sci-fi venture. The first part was great, second was average but this was plain bad. I owe much of its commercial success due to Smith's star power (his last 10 films have grossed over $100m globally!) and starting the streak is MiB 2. Critically, I have no idea how this was rated 'fresh' on Rotten Tomatoes.
  MiB 3 follows Agent J (Smith) going back in time to save the entire planet from an outerworld invasion and his partner Agent K (younger version played by Josh Brolin and the present by Tommy Lee Jones). My main positiveness of this feature is Brolin's acting skills. Seriously, when you catch him at first sight he is the splitting image of the Jones' depicted Agent K. He would've gotten an Oscar weren't this film way below Academy Award status. 
  Some lines are entertaining and witty especially when Smith enters the late 60s New York but nothing seems original. Wisecracks are lame and the sense of humour, is well, senseless. Smith's theatricals are boring and except for Brolin there is no silver lining in the picture. All other actors except for the 3 in the poster are uninspiring and unwanted for any potential sequel (which has been confirmed).
  Plus the villain is disgusting and tedious. There was no hardwork done on his costume design or character innovation. Other aliens shown were quite few a number with good designs but highly weak personalities unlike what MiB is known for. And most of the cult characters, like Chief Zed and Frank the Pug (extraterrestrial dog agent). This goes to show that adding more humans to the mix like Agent O played by famous English actress Emma Thompson was disastrous.
  The plot is boring and even the back-in-time America is badly showcased and the 70s America was given more justice in this year's Dark Shadows. The ending was good but that does not manifest the one hour and 40 minutes of suicidal viewing.
  Let me also add that this is one of the worst sci-fi ventures I've seen of all time. If you wish to have an alien adventure this year it's better you try Disney's John Carter despite its flop status.
  In the end, MiB 3 might be the highest grossing film in the series outside North America but it is the worst according to my book. It was also shown in 3D which by watching the 2D version you can say was completely unnecessary. It is also made the biggest IMAX Memorial-Day weekend and I guess Smith can achieve anything (at the box office).

IMDB: 7.1/10.
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%.
BO101: 1/4.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Possession possesses Labour Day Weekend

TWLWTitle (click to view)StudioWeekend Gross% ChangeTheater Count /ChangeAverageTotal GrossBudget*Week #
1NThe PossessionLGF$17,700,000-2,816-$6,286$17,700,000$141
31The Expendables 2LGF$8,900,000-33.7%3,334-21$2,669$66,259,000$1003
42The Bourne LegacyUni.$7,327,000-21.5%3,131-523$2,340$96,325,000$1254
66The Odd Life of Timothy GreenBV$6,249,000-12.3%2,635+37$2,372$36,126,000-3
75The Dark Knight RisesWB$6,100,000-15.5%2,187-419$2,789$431,416,000$2507
84The CampaignWB$5,665,000-24.2%2,941-361$1,926$73,242,000-4
972016 Obama's AmericaRM$5,587,000-14.2%1,747+656$3,198$18,686,000-8
109Hope SpringsSony$4,700,000-17.9%2,441+39$1,925$52,057,000-4
A typical Labour Day has slow grosses and this one was no different. LionsGateFilms has two movies at the top three: The Possession and The Expendables 2. Admirably, LGF had 3 films at the top spot this year namely the previously mentioned movies and The Hunger Games. The latter being the most successful of their releases this year, and of all time.

My favourite genre is horror but I was surprised Lawless did not lead the weekend. It stars good actors like Shia LaBeouf (Transformers trilogy) and Gary Oldman. The Possession was inspired by The Exorcist and any supernatural buff could guess it by the poster. The story is based on the allegedly haunted Dybuxx box and how father and ex-wife must save their daughter from its curse. Typical yes, but if a top critic like Roger Ebert can give it 3.5/4 stars it must have some perspective to look forward to.
  Furthermore, the flick stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan whose world-renown for starring in the TV series Supernatural as father of the main characters. Ironically, his father figure role here has already earned domestic fame. The Possession is co-produced by Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi.
  Lawless is a western gangster film based on a 2008 novel by Matt Bondurant and also stars Tom Hardy, Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Guy Pearce. The former who starred as Bane in the last Batman movie. The trailer is gritty and it follows a bootlegging gang being threatened by a new deputy and other authorities wanting a cut of their profits.
  The Expendables 2 will eventually end up with $150m-$160m worldwide which is very less than its predecessor's. The Expendables grossed $103m domestically and the sequel will probably end up with $73m. The Colorado shooting was a major reason for hesitating theatre goers. Thought it isn't hesitating Sly Stallone on a 3rd part that has Nicolas Cage already signed up.
  The Dark Knight Rises rises one place higher than The Dark Knight on 12th with an approximate $8m higher than the former. My accepting of this I might explain later on in a full-fledged review. It won't beat The Dark Knight domestically but will rise up to the 8th spot next week replaced Steven Spielberg's E.T.
  The Bourne Legacy will not beat its budget nationwide although it has worldwide. In other news, The Avengers rises up to 13 from 39! So Marvel is still trying to compete with DC's Batman haha.
  That's all from me folks. The Possession hasn't beaten Rob Zombie's Halloween in the Labour Day debut. Halloween still has $30.9m at the start-up. Below is the trailer for Lawless:

(Chart by Box Office Mojo)