Archive for September, 2013

Sony’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is sitting pretty after a dominating weekend at the box office.  The sequel managed to pull in $35M this weekend in over 4000 theaters worldwide.  It’s a particularly strong opening for a lesser known sequel no matter how well the original film did.  The film doesn’t sport any real big name voice actors but is gorgeous to look at and has been very well reviewed.  Cloudy 2 had a budget of nearly $80M, so it’s gonna take a while to make that budget back domestically – with marketing costs – but it’s another win for Sony Animation which has been going strong for the past couple of years.

*As a side note, I might be the only one that thinks Sony Animation is giving Dreamworks Animation a run for its money regarding being labeled as the bonafide number two animation film company after Pixar.

Second at this weekend’s box office was last weeks winner, Prisoners.  The procedure drama starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal grossed over $11M in its second week.   The early Oscar favorite has grossed over $38M domestically, having a budget of $46M.  Strong box office showings for Oscar contenders usually equal Oscar favorites.

Third this weekend was the Ron Howard Formula 1 drama Rush, starring Liam Hemsworth, brought in a little over $10M but only had a budget of $38M.  It’s not a particularly strong debut for a Ron Howard film, but it’s been getting worthy buzz.

Rounding out the top five at the box office this weekend was the new film Baggage Claim and the Joseph Gordon-Levitt written/directed comedy Don Jon.  The film’s brought in $9.3M and $9M respectively.

Here’s the full top 10:

*Numbers in millions* (TOTALS)

1) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 – $35 (NEW)

2) Prisoners – $11.2 ($38.9)

3) Rush – $10.5 (NEW)

4) Baggage Claim – $9.3 (NEW)

5) Don Jon – $9 (NEW)

6) Insidious Chapter 2 – $6.7 ($69.5)

7) The Family – $3.6 ($31.6)

8) Instructions Not Included – $3.3 ($38.5)

9) We’re the Millers – $2.8 ($142.4)

10) Lee Daniels’ The Butler – $2.4 ($110.2)

 

Via Box Office Mojo

The subject matter of losing a child is both difficult and heady, meaning anytime you discuss the topic you get hand-wringing and cringing.  We cringe because the thought of losing your child is probably the worst thing that can happen to a person.   As a father of two daughters, Prisoners was a film that connected with me on a personal level.  Hell, that sinking feeling in your stomach when you turn around in Wal-Mart and for a split second you can’t find your kid – only to realize that they are across the isle.  It’s a real fear and I hope and pray that whoever reads this never has to go through anything like what the film Prisoners presents.

Prisoners is a procedure drama that has a couple twists and turns built in that is meant to give the film longevity.  The film stars Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, an everyday working man trying to keep his family above water while also being a caring husband and father.  He’s the dad you’ve always wanted.  He’s the teacher, friend, confidant, and leader.  As the movie opens we see Keller and his oldest son hunting in the woods where his son nabs his first deer.  Then on the ride home Keller tells his son that you always prepare for the worst.  It’s a conversation that has extreme significance to the film.   Later that day, which we learn is Thanksgiving day, the Dover’s walk over to neighbor/friend’s house – the Birch’s.  Played by Terrance Howard and Viola Davis play Franklin and Nancy Birch, a pretty straight laced couple with two daughters of their own.   Things quickly spiral out of control when the Dover’s youngest daughter – Anna – and the Birch’s youngest  daughter – Joy – go outside to look for a red whistle and don’t return.  Events quickly go into motion as the story shifts to Jake Gyllenhaal’s character – Detective Loki – a hard nosed cop who’s never not solved a case.   As the story progresses the twists and turns begin to come at you fast and heavy as we’re introduced to a couple of unusual suspects, most notably Paul Dano’s character Alex Jones, who happens to drive an RV spotted in the Dover’s neighborhood and has the IQ of a 10 year old.

The movie runs a tad long at two hours and thirty minutes but it never seems like it as the story is always moving at a fast pace and the dialogue never stops.  Don’t let anyone fool you, this is Hugh Jackman’s greatest performance on-screen.  He’s a tour de force as an actor in Prisoners.  There are times when Jackman is yelling and you can tell that his entire being is on display, there is not acting in those scenes, just raw emotion.  Also showcased in the film is Jake Gyllenhaal, who puts on his greatest performance as well.  I’ve always wondered why Gyllenhaal never received his proper due, but he should garner it with his role here.   The supporting cast is also top notch.  It’s been quite some time since Terrance Howard was in a movie this good, but he’s perfect as the timid father of a missing girl who just doesn’t know what to do.  Davis is also perfectly cast as Howard’s wife who knows the events that transpire during the film are wrong, but also will stop at nothing to get her daughter back.

The movie isn’t perfect as there are some questions I had about the plot; why is Loki the way he is?  We aren’t told or even given glimpses of what motivates the detective.  He’s got tattoo’s all over his body and has a tick/twitch that is interesting but never explored.  I believe it’s a missed opportunity by the writers to establish Loki as the actual hero of the film.  Another question I had was why Paul Dano’s character wasn’t explored more, he’s a central character to the film but he’s more of a placeholder.  He obviously knows something but won’t say anything…why?  That’s never explored.  The writers, likely, spent so much time trying to establish Jackman’s character as the father who takes matters into his own hands but also left other pivotal characters in the wind.  Luckily for the audience Gyllenhaal takes the source material and makes it his own.

Prisoners is an early Oscar contender for Best Picture and will likely net Jackman a Best Actor nomination and potentially even a win.  He’s earned it.  Prisoners will likely try to capture that early Academy Award buzz, much like Argo did last year, and ride it to February.

The Oscar field will be loaded when February 2014 rolls around and one of the most anticipated films of the year is Bennett Miller’s upcoming drama Foxcatcher.

The film’s first teaser trailer showcases a very creepy Steve Carrell as wrestling coach John du Pont and his obsessive quest to make wrestler Mark Schultz the greatest ever.   The trailer really takes a grizzly tone and showcases Steve Carrell in a way you’ve never seen before.  The talk of Carrell getting an Oscar nomination were not understated as he looks poised to throw himself into that realm of comedic actors turned Oscar-caliber.

Foxcatcher is out on December 20.

Warner Bros. and FOX have struck a deal that will bring a Commissioner Gordon origin story titled Gotham to the small screen.  The show was created by Bruno Heller (The Mentalist) in partnership with Warner Bros. TV.

The show will establish the character of Detective James Gordon and the evil that stirred in Gotham City long before Bruce Wayne or Batman were putting away baddies in Arkham Asylum.  As a matter of fact, Batman will no be present in any of the 13 episodes that WB/FOX have greenlit.   The show will showcase Gordon before he became police commissioner and hopefully establish and examine the relationship he has with his wife and young children.

James Gordon is one of the more popular side characters in comic book history and Gotham City as an environment hasn’t really been explored either on film or in television.  Depending on the young actor they get to play Gordon I will be 100% behind this project.  However, as Marvel/ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (the pilot episode aired tonight) showed, it’s hard to tell a story with a HUGE background without major characters.

You may remember Warner Bros. last big comic book television hit, Smallville, as it originally started on the Warner Bros. network which later turned into The CW.  Smallville was a hit, but it starred a major comic book character and was a bit of an origin story.  Gotham, in order to be successful, will need to establish the character of James Gordon and then establish some of Batman’s early nemesis before they actually became well known.  Could you imagine Gordon going up against the serial killer known only by his calling card, a playing card.  Or maybe a younger Oswald Cobblepot trying to establish his empire.  Either way, they’ll need to be smart about it.

Only time will tell.

 

Via Deadline

The 2013 Emmy Awards were held last night amidst to much fanfare and after six years AMC’s Breaking Bad finally received the recognition it’s long deserved.

Here is the full recap of winners:

(Winners in bold)

 

Outstanding Comedy Series

Modern Family

– The Big Bang Theory

– Girls

– Louie

– 30 Rock

– Veep

 

Outstanding Drama Series

Breaking Bad

– Downton Abbey

– Game of Thrones

– Homeland

– Mad Men

– House of Cards

 

Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie

Behind the Candelabra

– American Horror Story: Asylum

– The Bible

– Phil Specter

– Political Animals

– Top of the Lake

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

– Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)

– Don Cheadle (House of Lies)

– Jason Bateman (Arrested Development)

– Louis C.K. (Louie)

– Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

– Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom)

Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey)

– Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

– Jon Hamm (Mad Men)

– Damian Lewis (Homeland)

– Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra)

– Benedict Cumberbatch (Parade’s End)

– Matt Damon (Behind the Candelabra)

– Toby Jones (The Girl)

– Al Pacino (Phil Spector)

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep)

– Laura Dern (Enlightened)

– Lena Dunham (Girls)

– Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie)

– Tina Fey (30 Rock)

– Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation)

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Claire Danes (Homeland)

– Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey)

– Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)

– Connie Britton (Nashville)

– Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)

– Kerry Washington (Scandal)

– Robin Wright (House of Cards)

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Laura Linney (The Big C)

– Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Asylum)

– Helen Mirren (Phil Spector)

– Elisabeth Moss (Top of the Lake)

– Sigourney Weaver (Political Animals)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Tony Hale (Veep)

– Ty Burrell (Modern Family)

– Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family)

– Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live)

– Ed O’Niell (Modern Family)

– Adam Driver (Girls)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire)

– Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

– Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)

– Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)

– Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad)

– Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie

James Cromwell (American Horror Story: Asylum)

– Zachary Quinto (American Horror Story: Asylum)

– Scott Bakula (Behind the Candelabra)

– John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C)

– Peter Mullan (Top of the Lake)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Merritt Weaver (Nurse Jackie)

– Mayim Bailik (The Big Bang Theory)

– Julie Bowen (Modern Family)

– Jane Krakowski (30 Rock)

– Jane Lynch (Glee)

– Sofia Vergara (Modern Family)

– Anna Chlumsky (Veep)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)

– Morena Baccarin (Homeland)

– Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)

– Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)

– Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones)

– Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

Ellen Bursytn (Political Animals)

– Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story: Asylum)

– Imelda Staunton (The Girl)

– Charlotte Rampling (Restless)

– Alfre Woodard (Steel Magnolias)

 

Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Series

The Colbert Report

– The Daily Show with John Stewart

– Jimmy Kimmel Live!

– Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

– Real Time with Bill Maher

– Saturday Night Live

 

Outstanding Reality Competition Program

The Voice

– The Amazing Race

– Dancing with the Stars

– Project Runway

– So You Think You Can Dance

– Top Chef

 

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

Heidi Klum/Tim Gunn (Project Runway)

– Tom Bergeron (Dancing with the Stars)

– Anthony Bourdain (The Taste)

– Cat Deeley (So You Think You Can Dance)

– Ryan Seacrest (American Idol)

– Betty White (Betty White’s Off Their Rockers)

 

 

The fall television season officially kicked off this week and this is the first fall I can remember where there are so many new shows with established actors premiering.  Let’s examine some of this week’s new shows:

 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (FOX Tuesdays 8:30pm) – ONE THUMB UP

Starring: Andy Samberg, Jade Ealy, Terry Crews

Mark’s Take: The pilot episode for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, in my opinion, was pretty good.  While there were moments of corny jokes, no one carries corny jokes better than Andy Samberg.  Samberg’s energy as a pretty bang-up detective that’s a tad (!) immature brings back a Parks & Rec vibe, but in a police department setting.  Ealy’s deadpan demeanor fits in perfectly with Samberg’s upbeat wry style, and that’s something to focus on in later episodes to see if it continues to be a positive for the show.  The supporting cast is also one of the bright spots on the show with several different personality types.  I’ll continue to watch.

 

New Girl (FOX Tuesdays 9:00pm) – TWO THUMBS UP

Starring: Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone

Mark’s Take: After two seasons of playing will-they/won’t-they, season three of New Girl finally establishes Nick and Jess’ characters as a couple and while that may take away some of the chemistry the two actors have with each other, it gives the show a lot more material to work with.  Greenfield’s character Schmidt is once again caught up in his love for Simone’s character Cece while also being in love with another woman.  Morris’ character Winston may be the best character of the quartet as the standoff-ish loner, sensible one.  Season three opened with a bang with the group going to Mexico.  The show’s third season looks to pick up right where they left off.

 

Sleepy Hollow (FOX Mondays 8:00pm) – One Thumb Down

Starring: Tom Mison, Nicole Beharie

Mark’s Take: Sleepy Hollow is FOX’s new Monday night drama they’re hoping brings in the former True Blood and Breaking Bad audiences considering those people are going to need favorite TV show.  However, the premise of Sleepy Hollow resurrects Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) in the modern day with a headless horseman running about killing people.  A local detective (Nicole Beharie) is on the case and begins to work with Crane to solve and capture the horseman.  There’s no telling how good or bad the show will get but I wasn’t exactly impressed with the pilot episode.  If you’ve got nothing better to do with your Monday night a combination of Sleepy Hollow and Bones might suffice, but here’s hoping the former gets better.

 

Dads (FOX Tuesdays 8:00pm) – Two Thumbs Down

Starring: Seth Green, Giovanni Ribisi, Peter Riegert, Martin Mull, Brenda Song

Mark’s Take: Dads is quite possibly the most disappointing new television show starring established funny actors I’ve seen in quite some time.  You would think that a comedy starring Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi (a long time underrated actor) would actually be funny, but unfortunately it’s nothing to laugh at.  It’s almost cringe worthy bad in fact.  There were times during the 20 minutes of actual show time that I found myself wanting to turn the channel but couldn’t because I wanted to see just how bad it would get.  As a show that FOX is/was banking on to be their staple on Tuesdays nights (along with New Girl and The Mindy Project) this one might end up getting cancelled.   To top it off, FOX has had to answer questions about the show’s open racially charged jokes – which I have to admit, there were a lot.   While we’re at it, the show is called “Dads” but the two actors playing the title roles as “dads” couldn’t be any more unmotivated and unfunny even if they tried.  It will be a miracle if this lasts past October.

It’s almost October and that means horror films will soon be an abundant commodity in the cinema, however – as has been happening in the past few years – horror films are quickly becoming an all-year event and it’s no different here in September.

Insidious Chapter 2 opened the weekend at the number one spot with $41M, which is considerably strong for a horror sequel with a modest budget of only $5M (!).  Compare those numbers to the original Insidious film that opened in 2011 to only $13M.  That’s a 300+% increase, for a horror film, in a sequel, in 2013.  That is downright incredible.

Second at the box office this weekend was the Robert De Niro dramedy The Family which opened to $14.5M.  It’s a sign that the movie year is slowing down and it’s also a sign that movie-goers will watch just about anything.   However, it’s a sign that Robert De Niro still has box office draw.

Third this weekend was the Vin Diesel sci-fi action flick Riddick, which pulled in $7M in its second week.  The film will make its budget back but has severely underwhelmed in theaters.

Rounding out the top five at the box office this weekend was the early Oscar contender Lee Daniels’ The Butler and the surprising comedy We’re The Millers.  The films pulled in $5.5M and $5.4M, respectively.

Here’s the full top 10:

*Numbers in millions* (TOTAL)

1) Insidious Chapter 2 – $41 (NEW)

2) The Family – $14.5 (NEW)

3) Riddick – $7 ($31.2)

4) Lee Daniels’ The Butler – $5.5 ($100)

5) We’re the Millers – $5.4 ($131.6)

6) Instructions Not Included – $4.2 ($26.5)

7) Planes – $3 ($82.9)

8) One Direction: This Is Us – $2.4 ($26.8)

9) Elysium – $2 ($88.3)

10) Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – $1.8 ($62)

 

Via Box Office Mojo