A horror-movie twist on the classic “Hansel and Gretel” fairy tale broke out in the top slot at the North American weekend box office, industry estimates showed Sunday. “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” in which the once lost brother and sister have grown up to become grim-faced bounty hunters, debuted…
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” fought off all comers at the North American box office over the New Year holidays, beating two Oscar-tipped movies to the top spot, figures showed. The long-awaited first part of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel trilogy earned $31.9 million in its third…
In this action-packed mystery thriller, Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, a seasoned airline pilot, who miraculously crash lands his plane after a mid-air catastrophe, saving nearly every soul on board. After the crash, Whip is hailed as a hero, but as more is learned, more questions than answers arise as to who or what was really at fault and what really happened on that plane? — (C) Official Site
Director Robert Zemeckisgives good plane crash. He did it well in the early frames of Castaway, and the one here is even better. A short commercial flight, in heavy rain, from Orlando to Atlanta. Sudden mechanical breakdown, the uncontrolled dive, one engine fails, a calculated roll to stall the plunge, second engine fails, the eerie silence of a plane short of power, then the deadly quiet glide to a patch of open field. Crash. However, of the 102 souls on board, only 6 died, and the reason is clear. Skilled, decisive, with ice-water in his veins, the pilot was indisputably heroic. But this too is indisputable. Those same veins contained high levels of alcohol and traces of cocaine: The hero was also legally intoxicated.
Paramount Pictures - Flight trailer-Denzel Washington - Screen shot from official online trailer
But we already knew that, since the opening scene, just as good, coolly reveals “Whip” Whitaker’s morning ritual. Wake up groggily light a cigarette, drain the dregs from last night’s beerfest, snort a revivifying line, shower and don the uniform and aviator glasses and report for duty. Since the addled fly boy in question is Denzel Washington, looking rather pot-bellied and doughy for the occasion, this first sequence plus the subsequent crash have us riveted and hoping for more of the same, for an uninterrupted journey towards a great movie. Alas, this isn’t a direct Flight.
Instead, there’s an extended stopover when the script, tearing off on various tangents begins to resemble a room-full of errant luggage. Some of the tangents are interesting – like the gathering of officialdom in the aftermath of the tragedy. Reps from the National Transportation Safety Board, from the pilots’ union and from the airline company convene to pursue both their separate and common interests. All seem keen to mitigate the legal liability, thereby placing some of the blame on God and the rest on that real mechanical failure. As for Whip’s really damning toxicology report, the union’s lawyer (Don Cheadle) sets out to “kill” it on a technicality. Unfortunately, when he succeeds, the picture goes into its own tailspin.
That’s because the focus shifts from an intriguing aeronautical drama to a bland psychodrama, as boozy Whip refuses to admit he’s an alcoholic – albeit a remarkably functioning alcoholic, which raises another problem. Torn between lionizing and villainous its star attraction, the screenplay keeps emphasizing Washington’s in-flight heroics, and thereby blunders into a case of truly impaired judgment: the tacit yet blaring assumption that, buoyed by an emergency’s adrenalin, a great pilot sober is still a great pilot drunk. Now that’s a sobering thought indeed, which, the next time I’m sandwiched into an aisle seat staring past the drinks cart at the locked cockpit, I dearly hope to have forgotten.
Anyway, from there, the baggage marked Days of Wine and Poses gets unpacked, leaving Washington to strike whatever pose is demanded by the story’s increasingly convoluted twists. He’s a good fella, he’s a bad fella, pulled off the wagon by his old friend Harling the flamboyant enabler (John Goodman chewing the scenery), then urged back on by his new friend Nicole the reformed junkie (Kelly Reilly swallowing a Georgian accent). So, oscillating to and fro, Whip stumbles towards the climax of the big NTSB hearing, where the suspense is meant to build around this puzzler: Will our flawed hero be falsely exonerated or truly redeemed?
In the hands of a less sentimental director than Zemeckis, that might be a compelling quandary; but here, for us no less than Whip, it feels like being stuck between a rock and a soft place. That makes his choice easy and our verdict easier. This movie is captivating until it gets uplifting – Flight soars when it crashes and crashes when it soars.
LA Times Review One of the lessons to be gleaned from sequels like “Taken 2″ is that bad guys never learn. You’d think, for example, that anyone privy to the bloody rampage carried out by concerned father and ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) to save his daughter from Albanian slavers in the first “Taken” would think twice before messing with the guy. Alas, the villains in “Taken 2,” being relatives of the slain thugs from the previous film, are out for revenge, forcing Bryan to engage in another round of family-saving and neck-snapping.
Liam Neeson chases down more bad guys in "Taken 2." (Magali Bragard / 20th Century Fox / October 5, 2012)
Critics agree that “Taken 2″ is essentially a retread of the first film; whether that’s a good thing or not may depend on your taste for Neeson’s “very particular set of skills.”
The Times’ Kenneth Turan calls the film “more a remake than a sequel” but adds that, like its predecessor, “Taken 2″ succeeds largely thanks to Neeson’s acting chops. “Neeson’s empathetic performing skills put him in a different category than the usual suspects for this kind of a part,” Turan writes. “His acting makes him seem human and even vulnerable, someone we can’t help but worry over even though it’s those feckless Albanians we should be nervous about.”
Many other critics, among them the Wall Street Journal’s John Anderson, are less favorable in their reviews. Anderson knocks “the blind adherence to formula evident in most of ‘Taken 2.’ ” He concedes that “it’s an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride. But it could have been much more.” Instead of taking the series in a new direction, “Taken 2″ copies its predecessor “slavishly, right down to the flaws,” which include wooden acting and corny dialogue.
The Boston Globe’s Wesley Morris finds the screenwriting lazy, as “typed up” — not written, mind you — by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen. And while “Taken 2″ has a new director in Olivier Megaton (“The Transporter 3,” “Colombiana”), Morris notes that he’s “a Besson-factory regular.” (Besson co-wrote and produced both “Taken” films.) Morris does, however, admit to rooting for Kim (Maggie Grace), Bryan’s daughter, who has gone from being an imperiled abductee to following in her dad’s footsteps in the span of two films. “Her mounting sense of self-defense,” Morris says, “is the partial source of the film’s comedy.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea declares “Taken 2″ an “inevitable — and unfortunate — sequel” that is “rigorously formulaic and far-fetched.” While “Neeson is full of Neesonesque stoicism” and “Grace is as convincing as the wobbly script allows,” it’s unfortunate that Famke Janssen, playing ex-wife and mother Lenore, is “relegated to the role of helpless victim, spending a good part of the film in a state of semiconsciousness.” The original “Taken,” Rea concludes, is “far more satisfying and suspenseful.”
Finally, Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times offers a haiku-like appraisal: “['Taken 2'] seems like a nonstop car and foot chase, with Albanian after Albanian falling victim to Bryan’s remarkable aim and hand-fighting skills. Foreigners bad, Americans good, box office busy.”
Genzlinger does have a point: After all, movies like “Taken 2″ are about as concerned about critics’ reviews as Bryan is about the trail of dead bad guys he leaves in his wake. As long as box office dollars and Bryan’s family are safe and sound, consider the mission accomplished.
“The Expendables 2″ — starring action superstars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others — took in $10.5 million Friday, putting it on track for about a $27 The Expendables 2 holds the top spot at the box…
“The Amazing Spider-Man” climbed to the top of the North American box office this weekend, beating cheeky teddy bear comedy “Ted,” industry figures showed Monday. The 3D flick starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone — the latest take on the iconic superhero — netted $62 million during its first Friday…
Floyd Mayweather’s attorneys have asked the fighter to be allowed to spend the remainder of his domestic battery sentence at home or the undefeated fighter might never climb in the ring again. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Tuesday that Mayweather’s lawyers have filed an emergency motion…
“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” and “Prometheus” leapfrogged a fairy tale to take the top spots in the North American box office charts over the weekend, industry figures showed Monday. The animated “Madagascar 3,” the third installment in the wildly popular franchise starring Ben Stiller about…
“Snow White and the Huntsman” was the fairest of them all at the North American box office over the weekend with a $56.3 million debut, industry estimates showed Sunday. The film starring Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart of “Twilight” fame, which offers a new twist on the classic fairy tale, knocked…
As I walked out of the advance screening of Snow White and the Huntsman, I got nostalgic. Being a child of the MTV generation, I had a déjà vu moment of leaving the theater after 1985’s Legend, directed by Ridley Scott. Yes, the Ridley Scott that is about to bring the science fiction fan in me to orgasm with the Alien prequel Prometheus when it’s releasedin a little more than a week.
Legend starred Tom Cruise fresh off of being in Ridley’s brother Scott’s blockbuster Top Gun. It was a fantasy yarn in which a man was supposed to stop the Lord of Darkness (Tim Curry) from bringing perpetual night to the Earth. The previews had lots of heroic derring-do, and the costumes and special effects looked flawless. Every time I saw the trailer I thought, “This is the guy who directed Alien and Blade Runner. There is no way this will be bad.”
The film was a box office bust, and I was very disappointed in the film, because the it was all scenery and not real cohesive plot. And when there was a plot it dragged. It was a lesson in the fact that if you do not have a script, all of the window dressing in the world cannot save your film.
Fast forward back to Snow White, that attempts to put a twist on the classic fairy tale by turning the princess into a tragic warrior. Ravenna (played by Charlize Theron in stone-cold mode) imprisons young Snow White after seducing and killing her father. Fast forward to teenaged Snow (played by Kristin Stewart in stone-cold mode, you get the idea) who escapes from her cell when Ravenna’s albino-looking brother Finn (Sam Spruell in a damned ugly white wig to boot) tries to seduce her. This evil family just can’t keep their hands off of anyone.
Soon Ravenna looks into her cool-ass melting mirror, and is told by the spectre that comes out of it, that she is not the fairest of them all. When she finds out Snow White is, she sends the monosyballic Huntsman (Thor’s beefy Chris Hemsworth) off to kill her, by acknowledging her as only an escaped prisoner. Of course, Huntsman cannot kill her because he eventually finds out her true identity and her innocence. The Huntsman instead decides to train her to be a warrior in order to destroy Ravenna and rid the kingdom of the darkness she had brought to it.
Unless you are completely brain dead, I think you can figure out act three.
Newbie director Rupert Sanders has some really beautiful people to use, and never quite knows how to get any of them out of three-expression mode. Theron, Hemsworth and Stewart are truly dialing it in. All of them have their serious, fight mode and concerned (aka I look like I just smelled a fart) looks down pat. But no attempt is made to give any of these characters depth. They are merely pawns to walk through the chessboard of a script.
The three screenwriters, including The Alamo director John Lee Hancock, make the film a continuous chase. Snow White and the Huntsman come across an all-woman community in the Dark Forest. We get some chit chat of them oohing and ahhing at Snow. Suddenly the bad guys led by creepy brother Finn show up slinging arrows, and we have an incoherent battle sequence that they barely escape.
Our heroes come across a colorful land of animals and lame looking sprites. They just begin to pet them and the arrows come again. We yawn through another horribly-edited, dark and messy action sequence, with no rhythm or soul. Lots of shaky camera work attempting to show emotion.
Mutli-Academy Award winning costumer Colleen Atwood gives it her all. She will be up for an Oscar again with the all-around stunning outfits. But it is all for naught since they have more character than any of the characters in the film.
The climax is formulaic, and an attempted love triangle between Snow White, the Huntsman and a young childhood crush named William is never resolved. It is all truly a mess. Much like Legend was two generations ago, and much like many fantasy films Hollywood makes, and will continue to make. As long as the studios keep setting up the deal: the stars, the production designer, and the first- time director, without developing the script.
In this film image released by Sony Pictures, Tommy Lee Jones, left, and Will Smith star are shown in a scene from "Men in Black 3." (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures-Sony, Saeed Adyani)
That bumps Disney’s“The Avengers” into second-place after three blockbuster weekends on top for the superhero sensation. “The Avengers” took in $37 million over the three days to push its domestic total to $514 million and become only the fourth movie ever to top half a billion dollars.
Distributor Sony estimates that by the end of the four-day holiday weekend Monday, “Men in Black 3″ will have pulled in $70 million domestically and $202 million worldwide.
Universal’s “Battleship” was No. 3 in its second weekend with $10.8 million, raising its domestic earnings to $44.3 million. Paramount’s comedy “The Dictator” took in $9.6 million to finish fourth in its second weekend and lift its total to $41.5 million.
The Warner Bros. horror tale “Chernobyl Diaries” opened at No. 5 with $8 million.
“Men in Black 3″ launched with a bit more cash than its two predecessors, which both had opening weekends of just above $50 million.
But the original “Men in Black” debuted in 1997 and “Men in Black II” premiered in 2002, when admission prices were much lower than today’s. That means “Men in Black 3″ sold fewer tickets than the previous installments.
“Men in Black 3″ reunites Smith’s Agent J and Jones’ Agent K as they battle a new alien menace that travels four decades back in time to do away with the younger Agent K (Josh Brolin).
Among the movie’s box-office highlights overseas were debuts of $19.5 million in China, $18.9 million in Russia, $8.5 million in South Korea and $8 million in Japan.
Distributor Disney estimates that “The Avengers” will take in $47.1 million for the four-day holiday weekend, lifting the film’s domestic total to $523.8 million. That will put “The Avengers” within $10 million of “The Dark Knight,” the No. 3 movie on the all-time revenue chart with $533.3 million domestically.
“The Avengers” will pass “The Dark Knight” in the coming week, leaving only two movies above it: “Avatar” at $760.5 million and “Titanic” at $658.5 million.
With $26.3 million overseas, “The Avengers” raised its international total to $781.6 million, and its worldwide revenues to just under $1.3 billion. “The Avengers” will soon overtake “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ at $1.33 billion to become the No. 3 film on the global revenue list, again behind “Avatar” at $2.8 billion and “Titanic” at $2.2 billion.
Overall domestic receipts for the four-day Memorial Day weekend will come in well behind last year’s record of $276 million. Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com, estimated that four-day revenues this time will total $195 million to $200 million, about 30 percent below Memorial Day weekend a year ago, when “The Hangover Part II” delivered a $100 million-plus debut.
Hollywood remains on a record pace this year, with domestic revenue so far at $4.24 billion, up 12.5 percent over 2011 receipts, according to Hollywood.com.
But “The Avengers” and now “Men in Black 3″ have been the only notable successes for the summer season so far, with big releases such as “Dark Shadows” and “Battleship” fizzling on the domestic front.
“We really need to get going if we don’t want to have play catch-up every weekend through the summer,” Dergarabedian said. “Some of these summer movies are just not doing the business people had hoped for in North America.”
Remember that high-energy trailer of G.I. Joe: Retaliation that some of you saw before Battleship last weekend. You were enjoying the phenomenal-looking action shots, the pectorals of The Rock and the what-the-fuck appearance of Bruce Willis as “the reason we are called Joes.”
(c) 2012 Paramount Pictures
Well, those of who that were looking forward to seeing that film this summer will have to wait. G.I. Joe: Retaliation has been pushed back nine months by Paramount Pictures thanks to the juggernaut box office of The Avengers.
The studio gave a new release date of March 29, 2013 claiming they wanted to take time and adapt it for the money making scam of 3-D. This is of course a total ruse, since if they really had a hard on for it to be in 3D they would have filmed it for that format in the first place.
The move is of course the studio blinking in the wake of Battleship getting killed at the domestic box office with a $25 million opening weekend, second to The Avengers mind-numbing $55 million in its third weekend of release.
March has proven to be a big month for movies because there’s a lack of big-budget competition, This March, The Hunger Games premiered on March 12 and went on to make $629 million worldwide.
The summer movie season officially kicks off with Walt Disney Pictures’ Marvel’s The Avengers on May 4th and predictions for the opening weekend are huge. Based on pre-release tracking, the movie is expected to earn over $150 million domestically on its opening weekend.That puts it in the company of record-breaking films such as The Dark Knightand the Harry Potterseries.
This exciting blockbuster should make up for the John Carter debacle. The Avengers combines several of the studio’s existing properties, including Iron Man and Captain America, which have been huge successes for the brand.
According to Bloomberg Business Week, a lot is riding on this new action flick, which is the first Marvel film Disney has marketed and distributed since buying the comic book company under former Walt Disney Chairman Rich Ross .
Disney spent an estimated $220 million producing The Avengers, it definitely looks like they are taking the necessary steps to ensure that the biggest Marvel super hero movie of ‘all time’ also gets a decent run for its money, let’s hope it’s not another crappy movie adaptation.
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Back in 2009 Steve Harvey’sbook, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” quickly became a bestseller. Giving women the scoop on what men really think about love, relationships, intimacy and commitment.
Harvey was no Dr.Phil but women cherished his secrets and tidbits which in some cases if they were lucky, gave them the upper hand in their relationships. Within weeks of its release, the ‘self help’ book was under the arm of almost every female that were looking for better success rates in their love life. Theater Tickets
The film follows a group of men who realize their relationships are being infiltrated by Harvey’s self-help book. The women are highlighting away at the pages and using every tactic to get what they want out of their affairs. And while many critics claim the movie looks more like an infomercial, what saves the film is the ensemble cast of attractive, talented actors — Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Kevin Hart,Taraji P. Henson , Gabrielle Union and Regina Hall, to name a few.
Check out some of the reviews below –
“Think Like a Man is an occasional funny 90-minute romantic comedy. Unfortunately it’s interrupted by about 30 minutes worth of Steve Harvey commercials. Once the movie starts, it feels like an ad for the book. We see Harvey on TV, talking about it. We get Harvey on screen, talking right to us. We get endless closeups of the dust jacket, of various pages, of actual highlighted sentences. We get everything but a way to drop it in our Amazon shopping cart.
It’s not only shameless, it detracts from what this movie could have been, and still is when the self-promoting Harvey shuts up – which is an old-fashioned battle-of-the-sexes comedy, focusing on four fictional, supposedly modern couples.” – Tawanda Cawthon, EOTM! Online
” ‘Think Like a Man’ is a romantic ensemble comedy — an excessively populated and chatty two-hour one — spun from comedian and syndicated radio host Steve Harvey’s 2009 self-help relationship bestseller ‘Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man’…The fact that the movie adaptation uses just the latter half of Harvey’s book title is your first clue to its slant. It centers around a fraternity of six friends — each designated in the intro as a particular ‘type’ (as per Harvey’s book) — who regularly meet to play basketball, drink and talk about women. Four of them discover that the women they are involved with (who are also ‘types’) are applying Harvey’s wisdom to the relationship dynamic, so the men study up and turn the game to the home-team advantage for what amounts to a temporary fix.” — Jennie Punter, The Globe and Mail
“Forget hackneyed clichés about Players and Dreamers and the scheming women who seek to domesticate them. Focus on the pleasures of watching a group of gifted actors spar and seduce each other with genuine warmth, and ‘Think Like a Man’ just might go straight to your head.” — Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
“Every primary cast member is appealing, elevating the disposable plot — men and women are in constant battle, yawn — into a funny, sexy take on contemporary dating. Middling lines are delivered with sharp sass; tired stereotypes are … well, still tired, actually (women manipulate and nag, men lie and evade). But at least the actors offer gentle twists that take away some of the sting.” — Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark Tickets
” ‘Think Like a Man’ is occasionally funny, though its dirty riffs — most provided by Kevin Hart as the Happily Divorced Guy — are as formulaic as its earnest parts. The movie isn’t liable to surprise you. Nor will it bore or offend you, even if you find Mr. Harvey’s shtick more old-school sexist than old-school courtly.” — Rachel Saltz, The New York Times
“These 30-something folks, comfortable in their circumstances and their skins, are allowed to be smart of heart if baffled by the 21st-century courtship game. There’s nothing profound going on here; the truisms don’t blossom into life-enriching truths. It’s more like the person you meet at a bar who, on second glance, is surprisingly attractive. Call ‘Think Like a Man’ a perfectly satisfactory one-night stand at the movies.” — Richard Corliss, TIME
Are you planning on seeing “Think Like a Man”? Let us know in the comments below!
(LA Times) “The Devil Inside” is scaring up way more business than most people in Hollywood expected.
Estimates based on box-office returns as of late Friday afternoon indicate the horror film will collect well over $20 million this weekend and could end up close to $30 million. That’s double earlier predictions, based on pre-release surveys that indicated it would do between $12 million and $15 million.
The film is now set to collect almost that much money on Friday alone, including $2 million from after-midnight screenings Thursday.
Where “The Devil Inside” ends up will depend on word of mouth from opening day audiences. Reviews have been overwhelmingly negative, garnering the film a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 8%.
It’s now certain, however, to be the No. 1 movie at the box office this weekend, ahead of “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” which will likely earn about $15 million.
For distributor Paramount Pictures, it’s poised to be a huge winner. The studio spent only $1 million to acquire the picture, before marketing expenses.
Breaking Dawn part 1 had the 3rd highest day opening ever, finishing just behind New Moon, and just ahead of Eclipse with a $72 million estimated Friday box-office take.
Andrew Cooper, Summit Entertainment
“Twihards” came out in force on Friday for the continuing Twilight saga. Estimates put the Friday numbers for the second-to-last entry in the series at $138 million around the world, as “Breaking Dawn” rolled out in 54 global markets. The domestic box-office received a welcome 11 percent boost from the same period last year, thanks to the legions of “Twilight” fans.
“Twilight” fans who endured long lines for midnight showings accounted for $30.25 million of the “Breaking Dawn” first day-number. Based on the receipts thus far, industry watchers predict an opening weekend in the $140 million range, which is more than Summit Entertainment’s conservative projections. That would give the latest “Twilight” the fifth-highest opening weekend ever behind “Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” “The Dark Knight,” “Spider-Man 3″ and “New Moon.” “Eclipse” opened with $68.5 million; the first “Twilight” debuted with $36 million.
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