Tag: Jason Bourne (Page 2 of 2)

Weekend box office: “Alice” will be in the zone and out of everyone’s league

Johnny Depp is the Mad HatterYes, there really doesn’t seem to be any reason at all to think any of the four new major releases this weekend will come anywhere remotely near the grosses for the latest tentpole flick from Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and company. That’s because last weekend saw the 3-D “Alice in Wonderland” earn an enormous $116 million, so even a gigantic drop would mean a rather huge second weekend by normal standards. And, as both Anne Thompson and Jolly Carl DiOrio seem to agree, the new competition isn’t incredibly strong.

The leading contender of those, however, appears to be the new movie from director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon, “Green Zone.” The publicity is doing everything it can to remind the audience that both of them worked on the last two Jason Bourne films. However, the film itself is a political thriller — never, I’m sorry to say, the strongest genre commercially. Oh, and it’s about the Iraq war, not a favorite topic of escape-seeking audiences, it appears. Indeed, the only thing worse commercially than a political thriller about an unpopular and still ongoing war is one with mediocre reviews.

Green Zone

Still, the Bourne connection, Damon’s appeal, and a bit of topicality may be good for something. About $14-16 million says Carl DiOrio, which may not be enough to support the film’s hefty price tag, he warns. Anne Thompson, also has some hints about what went might have gone wrong with the film. (Hint: Except perhaps on documentaries, it’s rarely a good thing when a director has to “find” the story in the editing room. It’s nice to have it in the screenplay, but I’m old fashioned that way.)

Like “Green Zone,” the primary commercial asset of “Remember Me” is its male lead. To a certain segment of the market, Robert Pattinson certainly kicks Damon’s box office keister, even if the “Twilight” pasty-factor is out of this picture. On the other hand, if a single unaccompanied male sees the weepy romantic/emotional drama which also features Emile de Raven and Pierce Brosnan, it’ll be a shock. Pretty much detested by David Medsker, this one didn’t exactly wow the mass of critics either. There’s also the matter of its ending, which has been leaked on the web and many find a kind of insult.

Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve in Under those circumstances, you might expect the seemingly Apatow-esque (but not Apatow-associated) guy-friendly romantic comedy, “She’s Out of My League” to do rather well. Like Apatow’s break-through film, “The 40 Year-Old Virgin,” it benefits from a premise, fully explained in the title, that plays to the kind of universal male insecurities that seem to make for commercial comedy gold. Still, though our own David Medsker found the film quite likable, the overall reviews are middling and the level of interest out in the world appears to be low.

So low is the interest in the comedy, in fact, that Carl DiOrio actually expects the abysmally reviewed comedy, “Our Family Wedding,” to make about $3 million more dollars than “League,” even though it’s in nearly thirteen hundred fewer theaters. Featuring actors who I’m sure deserve better, including Forest Whitaker, America Ferrera and Taye Diggs, as well as comedian Carlos Mencia (who absolutely does not deserve better), I’m not sure why people would want to see this. On the other hand, since when am I “people”?

Celluloid Heroes: Best Characters of the Decade

There are a lot of variables that go into making a successful movie – actors, writers, directors, producers, and all of the other overlooked crew members – but even if everything is done exactly right, it doesn’t mean anything without a good character. And at the end of the day, that’s what people remember the most when they leave the cineplex. As part of our look back at the movies of the 2000s, I present you with a list of the best characters of the decade. Obviously, some cuts had to be made (notable omissions include The Joker, Batman and Derek Zoolander), so feel free to comment on which of your favorite characters didn’t make the cut.

spiderman

10. Spider-Man

The web-slinger would probably make a list of best characters in any decade-end review of comic books, but this is the first time he can even be considered for a movie list. Thank Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” for that, because without its success, there’s a good chance we may have never seen Spider-Man jump to the big screen. Sam Raimi definitely deserves credit for adapting the character without all the cheese of the 60s TV series, but it’s Tobey Maguire’s strong performance that really brings the character to life. Although many claim the second film to be the best in the series, we think that all three have their own strengths and weaknesses. Sure, Peter Parker may lose some of his appeal when he goes all emo in “Spider-Man 3,” but seeing Spidey rock the black symbiote suit was just as cool as anything he did in the first two films.

Memorable Quote: “You know who I am. Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”

jigsaw

9. Jigsaw

Say what you will about the deteriorating quality of the “Saw” films: Jigsaw is right up there with Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Freddy Kruger as one of the ultimate horror icons. What makes him so different from the others, though, is that he’s a fairly regular guy (when he dies, he really dies) who isn’t so much a villain as he is someone who goes to radical extremes to get his point across. Though his argument that he doesn’t ever kill anyone could be debated for eternity, Jigsaw is still a pretty badass dude. Not only is he one of the most inventive baddies to ever grace the silver screen, but the fact that he’s doing all of this while dying from cancer is beyond impressive. Tobin Bell may never be remembered for anything other than his work in these films, but his limited appearances are so memorable that we wouldn’t really mind.

Memorable Quote: “I want to play a game.”

wolverine

8. Wolverine

Though it’s difficult to think of anyone other than Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, it certainly could have ended up that way. You can go ahead and thank the comic book gods for interfering, because if Dougray Scott hadn’t gotten hurt while shooting “Mission: Impossible 2,” “X-Men” fans might have seen a decidedly different take on their beloved adamantium-laced berserker. And since Wolverine has since become the mascot for those films (even earning a mediocre spin-off of his own) that also would have affected the movie as a whole, which might have stopped the whole comic book movie revolution before it even began. Just think about that the next time you see Jackman in his role as the wise-cracking, cigar-chomping mutant, because without his charismatic, star-making performance, this list would look a lot different.

Memorable Quote: “I’m gonna cut your goddamned head off. See if that works.”

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Post-Turkey Day film news bites

A few items as Hollywood finishes digesting its turkey and stuffing.

* Paramount has picked up “Area 51,” the science fiction follow-up to the ridiculously profitable “Paranormal Activity” from writer-director Oren Peli. Somewhat to my disappointment, this one will also use the “found footage” gimmick, though I guess we can assume that with an exponentially larger budget — $5 million (about enough to pay for craft services on some films) as opposed to $15,000 — Peli will at least attempt to spread his wings creatively. One reason to give him props, however, is that the film has already wrapped principal photography. We can’t accuse the Israel-born former video game designer of failing to strike while the iron’s hot!

Matt Damon and Julia Styles in * It appears that The Playlist broke the story that it appears that the very talented Paul Greengrass has left the helm of “Bourne 4” and if he goes, Matt Damon may not be far behind. Still, at this point it’s a tale without an ending in more ways than one

* Kim Masters considers “Avatar” and Robert Zemeckis’s motion capture and 3-D work as featured currently in “A Christmas Carol.” To me, they’re creatively too different beasts in that James Cameron‘s creations aren’t trying so hard to be realistic, which I think is the real reason for the “ugly” problem with the creator of Roger Rabbit’s more recent work. As for the “Avatar” characters, I’m not sure I’m going to love them yet, either, but we’ll see when the movie’s out. I’m also not at all sure that movies need to be revolutionized in quite this way.

* Over at Film Threat, Gary Morris of the highbrowish Bright Lights Film Journal is interviewed. Among the topics: interviews like this one. Don’t fear the meta. (H/t The Auteurs on Twitter.)

* It technically ended yesterday, but the Boris Karloff Blogathon, hosted where else but at Frankensteinia, lives on with tons of material still coming in submitted by innumerable bloggers about the late, great character actor who originated the role of Frankenstein’s monster in 1931. Definitely worth many looks.

The vocal there is quite obviously reconstructed using the original recording by Bobby “Boris” Pickett. If you want to hear the actual vocal from the 1965 episode of “Shindig” featuring the real Boris Karloff, you may hear it here.

Going forward to yesterday

Some of you may know that I have my own blog, Forward to Yesterday. Today we have numerous items that inspire movie déjà vu of various sorts. Below are just a few and there’s more where that came from. Expect a sequel.

* Steven Spielberg is set to produce, but not direct, a possible series of films based on Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm character. Cinegeeks will recall that during the sixties spy craze Dean Martin starred in four not terribly well regarded, highly tongue-in-cheek films featuring a character who I gather has a lot more in common with Austin Powers than he does with Hamilton’s far grittier and more realistic creation. (I haven’t seen any since I was maybe six or seven at the oldest; I have a vague memory of Martin lounging in a giant bottle of champagne.)

Apparently the thinking here is to update the series, but to hew a lot closer to the books, which Wikipedia explains are about as far from spy spoofs as they could possibly be, and take a more “Bourne”/”24”-like approach (I gather torture plays a part in the first Helm novel, Death of a Citizen.). I’m weird and “Munich” is by far my favorite recent spy film, so I’m kind of sorry Spielberg won’t be doing this. In any case, I actually hope the filmmakers who take this on find their own path. I’m not sure why, but I could see Steven Soderbergh or Alfonso Cuarón nailing this one.

* Original “Alien” director Ridley Scott is attached to a proposed prequel. He did pretty well the first time around; I say it’s high time the kid got another chance.

* Much as I dig both Johnny Depp and Keith Richard, I’m not a fan of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, though I’m rather fond of movies with sword fights in general. Nevertheless, Mike Fleming, who also brought us the Matt Helm news above, is here to tell you that, following up on the upcoming “Nine,” Rob Marshall’s next movie may be “Pirates 4.”

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