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Box Office Preview: Nothing to See Here

Snow White and the Huntsman

Who throws a cupcake, honestly? On a similar note, who would think combining Snow White with high fantasy and action/adventure is a good idea, honestly? Why, Universal Pictures, that’s who. We’ve got them to thank for the atrocious “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Coming soon to a theater near you!

I just can’t wrap my head around it, it seems like they’re actually trying to make a terrible movie. What separates good fantasy, stuff like “Game of Thrones” or “Lord of the Rings,” from the alarmingly awful majority of the genre is the subversion of cliches like the ultimate battle of good versus evil. When it comes to “Game of Thrones,” believe me, I should know. Especially given how much of my life I spend writing about it. Yet the tagline for “Snow White” is “Evil meets Destiny,” it’s right there in the trailer. I feel I should add this isn’t just me being grumpy either, the film’s at a 46 percent on the Tomatometer.

The movie’s about… Come on, what do you think it’s about? It’s Kristen Stewart as Snow White and Charlize Theron as the queen. Old queenie gets her panties in a bunch when her talking mirror tells her Snow White may one day be the fairest of them all.

The only difference between this and the Disney version is the queen sends a Huntsman (played by Chris Hemsworth) to capture Snow White. Seriously Hemsworth, if I wasn’t still feeling my “Avengers” contact high I might not be able to forgive you for this. Oh, and there’s battles and actiony stuff too, which always makes for a better film. Just ask “Battleship.”

Piranha 3DD

I didn’t think it was possible for me to be less excited about a movie than “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Then I watched the trailer for “Piranha 3DD.” I think I may have strained whatever muscles are responsible for dry heaving. Did you know the extra “D” in the title is meant to indicate this a sequel? Because I didn’t. I suppose it’s also a boob joke. Don’t blame the messenger, this is high-brow stuff folks. Summing this one up on my own might induce actual vomitus. To spare myself the trouble I’ll let the three of you interested peruse the official synopsis:

After the terror unleashed on Lake Victoria in Piranha 3D, the pre-historic school of blood thirsty piranhas are back. This time, no one is safe from the flesh eating fish as they sink their razor sharp teeth into the visitors of summer’s best attraction, The Big Wet Water Park.

Just copy and pasting that hurt. Anyway, “Piranha 3DD” stars a bunch of young no names, along with people like Ving Rhames, David Hasselhoff, and Gary Busey. To this I say fine, get your money while there’s money to be got. But then I read that Christopher Lloyd is in the picture and my face looked something like this. That’s right, the man who played Doc Brown in “Back to the Future” and Taber in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is dragging his name through the mud with this garbage. Alright, in his defense the original’s been certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. But “Pirahna 3DD’s” rating on the Tomatometer stands at a measly 12 percent.

Avoid this film like the plague, or, you know, a pre-historic school of blood thirsty piranhas.

Battlefield America

Did I say I was unexcited about “Pirahna 3DD” because “Battlefield America” has brought me to depths of disinterest I never thought possible. The synopsis calls it “A steady look at the underbelly of the youth battle dance culture in Long Beach, California.” The underbelly of youth dance culture? Seriously? Even if that didn’t sound ridiculous how many dance off movies can there possibly be? And now we’ve got to involve children?

Apparently “Battlefield America” is director Chris Stokes’ follow-up to 2004′s “You Got Served.” Since when do movies as universally disliked as “You Got Served” (16 on the Tomatometer) get follow-ups? Well, for a while now. I suppose a better question is why these movies get follow-ups, sequels, or anything of the sort. Well, money. Always money.

Please don’t make me talk about this movie anymore, it’s killing me. If you’re going to the theater this weekend see “The Avengers” or “Men in Black III.” Better yet, see Wes Anderson’sMoonrise Kingdom” if you have the opportunity. Please don’t waste your time or money on these new releases.

You can follow us on Twitter @moviebuffs and on Facebook as well.

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Box Office Recap: ‘Men in Black’ Takes the Top Spot


Men in Black 3” raked in $55 million this weekend, which was enough to finally knock that other movie out of the top spot. What was it called? I think it had superheroes. Wait a minute. I think I’ve been neuralyzed!

Members of the staff who avoided having their memories wiped are informing me that the superhero movie I was referring to is called “The Avengers.” Apparently it broke a whole bunch of records, which I have no memory of, but the domestic box office now has a new reigning champ.

In spite of its victory this weekend, “Men in Black” has a long row to hoe if it expects to make a profit. Fifty-five million might have been enough to knock off “The Avengers,” but Sony Pictures was no doubt hoping for a better showing given the film’s $230 million budget.

Battleship” and “Dark Shadows,” which came in third and sixth place, respectively, face similar problems. The based-on-a-board-game “Battleship” (yes, you read that correctly) took in just $10.8 million in it second week. That brings its cumulative gross to $44.3 million, a paltry sum compared to its $209 million budget. Likewise, “Dark Shadows” made just $7.5 million it its third week, bringing its cumulative total to nearly $63 million, which isn’t much when juxtaposed with its $150 million budget.

Fourth and seventh place finishers “The Dictator” and “What to Expect when You’re Expecting” continued to disappoint, making $9.6 and $7.1 million, respectively. “Chernobyl Diaries,” on the other hand, got to disappoint for the very first time. The low-budget horror flick written by Oren Peli, who wrote and directed “Paranormal Activity” brought in $8 million. That’s only slightly below the $9.4 million projected by the studio. But more importantly the film disappointed because of its abysmal D+ CinemaScore.

Perhaps to counteract all these big-budget flops, a couple of films with lower budgets and more limited releases offered a few feel good stories this weekend. “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” is being played in more and more theaters every week, increasing its count by 879 to 1,233 theaters and making $6.3 million in the process.

Meanwhile, Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” is making waves at the specialty box office after opening the Cannes Film Festival earlier in the month. Despite being shown at just four theaters nationwide, the film made over half a million dollars, giving it a record-breaking per-theater average of $127,250, which is both the highest in 2012 and the highest ever for a film released in four theaters.

Here are the results for this weekend’s top 10 at the box office:

Title/Weeks in release/Theater count, Studio/Three-day weekend total/Cume
1. Men in Black 3, 1/4,248, Sony, $55 million.
2. The Avengers, 4/3,918, Disney/Marvel Studios, $37 million, $513.7 million.
3. Battleship, 2/3,702, Universal/Hasbro, $10.8 million, $44.3 million.
4. The Dictator, 2/3,014, Paramount, $9.6 million, $41.4 million.
5. Chernobyl Diaries, 1/2,433, Warner Bros., $8 million.
6. Dark Shadows, 3/3,404, Warner Bros., $7.5 million, $63 million.
7.What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 2/3,021, $7.1 million, $22.2 million
8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 4/1,233, Fox Searchlight, $6.3 million, $16.5 million.
9. The Hunger Games, 10/1,421, Lionsgate, $2.7 million, $395.2 million.
10. Think Like a Man, 6/786, Sony, $1.4 million, $88.3 million.

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Hidden Netflix Gems – Ladybug Ladybug

Hidden Netflix Gems is a new feature designed to help readers answer that burning question, “What should I watch tonight?” It will be updated every Saturday before the sun goes down.

Frank Perry’s Ladybug Ladybug feels dated in many ways, and not just because it is in black & white; it is a quintessential Cold War paranoia movie, from the era of Sidney Lumet’s Fail-Safe and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the only film of its era to make the threat of nuclear annihilation the subject of comedy. While those films are revered to this day, Ladybug Ladybug has fallen unfairly by the wayside, though its unique approach and hypnotic style are definitely worthy of viewing by a modern audience.

Written by Perry’s wife and frequent collaborator, Eleanor Perry, from a story by Lois Dickert, Ladybug Ladybug‘s title comes from the children’s rhyme, “Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home / Your house is on fire and your children are gone.” Based on a real incident, the film examines the course of events following a nuclear attack alarm at a small town elementary school. The alarm is a “code yellow,” which translates to “nuclear attack imminent within an hour.” After some panicked deliberation, the school’s principal, Mr. Calkins (William Daniels), decides to heed the alarm and send the children home. After this, the film follows one particular group of children as they are escorted home along a country road by a teacher, Mrs. Andrews (Nancy Marchand, best known as Tony’s vindictive mother, Livia, on The Sopranos).

We also see several of the schoolchildren camped out in the bomb shelter owned by one of their families, playing the waiting game and gradually evolving into their own small version of society. The way in which they instinctively form hierarchies and begin to govern themselves when left to their own devices recalls William Golding’s brilliant 1954 novel Lord of the Flies, though the savagery portrayed in that book is given far less time to flourish here. Instead of hunting and killing one another, these children discuss their situation with a rationality nowhere to be found in the adult world of Strangelove, for example. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, the children take a vote on whether or not war should be allowed; they all vote against it before concluding that nobody will listen to children.

It’s not all polite discussion, though, as the inherent selfishness of human nature comes out in the children’s refusal to allow their fellow student, Sarah (Marilyn Rogers), into the bomb shelter, claiming there is simply not enough room. The result of this, though ambiguous, implies great tragedy for Sarah, and this tragic ambiguity extends to the film’s ending. Though its political import is a bit heavy-handed, as a narrative conclusion it is striking, poignant and memorable, all adjectives that could be applied to the film as a whole.

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4 Mobile Apps that Can Help You Look like an A-List Celebrity

Anyone who has ever had a dream or even ounce of interest in looking or acting like a celebrity knows how much work is involved. Not only do you have to work on perfecting hair and makeup, but you have to look good physically and have an extensive fashion collection. While it might not be possible to make a supermodel or celebrity overnight, some mobile apps have tried to achieve the impossible and help others become “pseudo” celebrities or supermodels.


Image Courtesy of Flickr

The following are some must-have mobile apps that every person needs to consider downloading. So grab your phone, choose one of the many no contract cell phone plans, and start working on becoming a celebrity or supermodel look-a-like.

Touch Closet

Celebrities have personal assistants that personally go through their wardrobe and catalogue when they’ve worn certain outfits. While you might not be able to afford a personal assistant, the Best Wardrobe Organizer can help you catalogue your outfits so you never wear the same outfit twice in a row. Just snap a picture of the clothing you are wearing, place it in the calendar and you can see what you’ve worn in the past or plan on wearing in the future.

WhoWhatWear

If you want to pick out fashion ensembles that are similar to the celebrities, the WhoWhatWear app is a must-have for you. This mobile app shows you photos of celebrities from all over the world, and features a how-to guide on how you can recreate that look for less. Style suggestions are updated daily, so you’ll never have to worry about sifting through old, outdated fashion ensembles.

Ask a Stylist

Ever wonder what you might look like in a certain fashion ensemble or pair of shoes, but have no one to ask? Ask a Stylist is a free mobile app that allows you to upload photos of the fashion accessory or fashion ensemble you choose to wear, and ask a professional stylist to the stars their opinion. All you have to do is pick a personal stylist who matches your likes and interests, and send them a quick photo of what you want to wear. You’ll receive honest, straight-forward advice that allows you to pick fashion ensembles that have you looking and feeling your best.

Style.com

You can’t look and feel like a celebrity or supermodel if you don’t know what is hot or not. The Style.com app is a great way to stay on top of all the latest news and trends in the fashion industry. This information is instantly downloaded to your smartphone, and you can use it to make judgments on what to wear.

Perfecting the supermodel or celebrity look can take years and lots of money, but with the help of these mobile apps it can take just a few minutes. If you ever had a dream of becoming a celebrity or supermodel, then download these apps and you will be one step closer to looking and feeling like one.

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Box Office Preview: Here come the ‘Men in Black,’ also ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ and another crap Hollywood horror flick


Men in Black III

The Men in Black are back, with time travel! Let me start off by saying I fucking hate sequels. And threequels? Fuggedaboutit. Speed round: name ten threequels that didn’t suck, no cheating. I’ll try, there’s “Return of the Jedi, “The Return of the King,” “Toy Story 3,” uh, uh, Jackie Chan!

So what is “Men in Black III” about? Time travel, duh, I already told you that. But seriously, the beginning of the movie has Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones still running around doing their alien-fighting thing. But suddenly, history has been rewritten and Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) is somehow at the center of it, or at least that’s what the trailer told me. With K’s life and the fate of planet at stake, Agent J (Will Smith) “will have to travel back in time to put things right.” Along the way, he’ll discover “there are secrets to the universe that K never told him—secrets that will reveal themselves as he teams up with the young Agent K (Josh Brolin) to save his partner, the agency, and the future of humankind.” Also, Andy Warhol is an Agent.

Could “Men in Black III” be the rare exception that makes the rule? Or will the filmmakers wish they could go back in time and put a fat red light on this thing? The film is at a 68 percent on the Tomatometer, but no consensus has been reached yet. So as with any series, if you’re a huge fan of the first two, sure, you’ll like it. For us average folks, meh, it’ll probably be alright. However, as A.O. Scott of The New York Times points out, people will have low expectations of the movie specifically because it’s a threequel. When the bar is low, it’s easy to jump over it.

Apart from the urgent necessity of reminding us that Will Smith is a movie star (and the usual need to wring a few more dollars out of a profitable franchise), “Men in Black 3” arrives in the multiplexes of the world with no particular agenda. Which may be part of the reason that it turns out to be so much fun. You don’t need to study up on the previous installments or master a body of bogus fanboy lore to enjoy this movie for the breezy pop throwaway it is. Your expectations may be pleasantly low, and you may therefore be pleasantly surprised when they are exceeded.


Moonrise Kingdom

Well, unfortunately for my sarcastic side (which is actually both of my sides), “Moonrise Kingdom” looks really good. It’s been certified fresh on the Tomatometer with a 98 percent rating. Also, Bill Murray is in it, nothing else need be said. Shit, Wes Anderson directed and Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, Bruce Willis and Jason Schwartzman are in it too? I know, fuck me right?

So “Moonrise Kingdom” is the story of two twelve year-olds who fall in love and run away together on a New England island in 1965. Much to the dismay of the local police captain (Willis), and the boy’s scout troop leaders (Norton and Schwartzman), and only slightly to the dismay of the girl’s father (Murray).

Seriously, I’m not too good at this whole “wow this should be a really good movie” thing. Most of what Hollywood churns out is mindless trash. I hate it, but it makes my life easier. What else can I say? It’s a Wes Anderson film, perhaps his best one yet, and 47 of the 48 critics listed by Rotten Tomatoes loved it. See this movie.


Chernobyl Diaries

Speaking of mindless trash, “Chernobyl Diaries,” brought to you by Oren Peli, the director of “Paranormal Activity,” will also be released this week. I don’t really have much to say about it yet, Rotten Tomatoes hasn’t posted any reviews nor could I find one in any major publication. All I’ve got to work from is the trailer and the official synopsis, which states:

The film follows a group of six young vacationers who, looking to go off the beaten path, hire an “extreme” tour guide. Ignoring warnings, he takes them into the city of Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, but a deserted town since the disaster more than 25 years ago. After a brief exploration of the abandoned city, however, the group soon finds themselves stranded, only to discover that they are not alone…

“Extreme tourism,” ooooo… Scary… I’ll say what I do about most movies that look like crap, if you’re into the genre or the director’s earlier work, this film could be for you. Otherwise, stay away. When you’ve got “Men in Black III,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” and “The Avengers” (for all four of you who haven’t seen it yet), there’s little to no reason to see a movie like this.

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