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Reel Rhino’s Weekend Update

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Reel Rhino

Rhino…the weekend is already underway!  Where Rhino…where have you been?

Sorry I’m tardy gang, but I was busy catching flicks.  And since I do that for you, I will assume your forgiveness would be offered and I accept.

~~~~~
This Post:
New Releases
Box Office Predictions
The Conspirator (4 of 5 Horns)
Win Win (5 of 5 Horns)
Jane Eyre (4 of 5 Horns)
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The new, wide-release films for this weekend include:

Water for Elephants
Madea’s Big Happy Family
African Cats

Oh what a weak, weak weekend.  Of these three, African Cats, the full-feature documentary on…drum roll…African cats, seems the most interestings to me.  Narrated by Morgan Freeman-in-training voice talent, Samuel L. Jackson, Cats seems to be the perfect family friendly fare, as it is a G-rated Doc from Disneynature Films.

So what of the adult fare?  Madea?  Elephants?  Which way do you go?

For me, I have no personal draw to either of these films and for each of their sake, I feel both films are opening in a troublesome weekend.  It is Easter weekend and many families will be headed out to the theater, looking for family friendly films.  And just so you don’t think I am taking a religious-centric attitude towards this theory, but the most recent Gallup poll on the topic, places nearly 77% of Americans in the category worshiping under some form of Christianity.

Not my intention to start a religious debate, but being the Blinkin, I wanted to at least share that I thought for a moment before using Easter as an impetus for skewing the weekend results.

Okay…what was I saying?  Oh yeah, movies.

Madea’s Big Happy Family will do well.  Tyler Perry has skills when it comes to making and marketing movies and his fans usually pay their respects in droves.  But will the weekend scenario keep him from taking the top slot at the box office?

Water for Elephants…a film based on a 2006 novel, which spent 12 weeks on the NY Bestsellers List, peaking at #7.  Water for Elephants is directed by Francis Lawrence, a former music video director and also director of the (actually watchable) Keanu Reeve’s vehicle CONSTINTINE and the equally watchable I AM LEGEND.  So what to think about this?  Can I take it seriously with Team Edward (Edward Pattinson) in the lead?  I am not big on Reese Witherspoon, but she has had some gems and then there’s Christoph Waltz.  A diamond in the crown of a film, Inglourious Basterds, and a decent component in the less than decent offering of The Green Hornet.  Oh let us lament The Green Hornet.  I am not interested in Water for Elephants to any great extent, but the real question is this: will Team Edward fans be enough to raise this drama to the top of the box office?

Let’s look at some of the competition…last week’s box office top five were:

1. Rio
2. Scream 4
3. Hop
4. Hanna
5. Soul Surfer

This being a family weekend…this being Easter weekend…I am making a bold prediction…

HOP will take the day and ride it out on top.  This meager attempt at creating a holiday legacy ran at #1 for two weeks.  It was #3 last week and for its milqutoast level of excitement, I think it will have enough draw on topic alone.

What do you think?  Here’s my pick for the weekend 5:

1. Hop
2. Madea’s Big Happy Family
3. Rio
4. Water for Elephants
5. Scream 4

Over the last two days, I had the opportunity to see two films, both in at least their second week but only in limited runs so far.  I don’t think either will make an appearance on my list.
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THE CONSPIRATOR
Robert Redford directs this period epic that looks at the days following the death of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.  Emancipator of slaves, leader of the Union during the Civil War…his death was truly a tragedy.

Unless you took a class in American History or have read any of the recent offerings covering the conspiracy leading to the assassination, the extent of your knowledge on the subject is probably this: John Wilkes Booth shot and killed Abraham Lincoln while the venerable leader was attending the theater.

The Conspirator looks at the complex plot that was hatched in the boarding house of Mary Surrat.  Actually, it doesn’t look at the plot so much, as it looks at the uncertainty that exists surrounding Mary Surrat’s knowledge and involvement in the planning of the killing.  Her son, John, was friends with Booth and the plan certainly seems to have been hatched in that boarding house.  But in a best case scenario, is her ignorance deserved of death, the penelty suggested by the military tribunal called to preside over the criminal trial?

Redford’s politics brim over the edges a bit, but in manageable doses.  And who can disagree that perhaps those making decisions were doing so through misguided eyes.  The President was dead, the Civil War had just ended, and the nation was in turmoil.  Of course rash decisions were made.

I am pretty sure, as it stands, that the search of Mary Surrat’s boarding house did not reveal any weapons of mass destruction.  At least she had that going for her.

I found this movie entertaining and well-acted.  The star-studded cast includes Kevin Kline, James McAvoy, Tom Wilkenson, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Colm Meaney, Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, and Alexis Bledel.  This film provides a window into what procedural TV would have been like if Law and Order had existed around the end of the Civil War.  This film functions wonderfully as a courtroom thriller as well as the drama upon which the framework is built.

Robert Redford is pure A-List and his work in front of or behind the camera is usually, if nothing else, well made.  Love him or hate him, I am thankful he exists in the film commuity for his work developing Sundance.  One of America’s truly great film festivals, Sundance is indepentant film.

THE CONSPIRATOR: 4 Horns of 5
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WIN WIN
I saw this movie Friday on a whim at the tail end of a visit from my folks.  My dad is a kamakazi when it comes to early departures, and since he and my mother hit the road early, I was out the door as well for the bargain $5 show at AMC.

Win Win was written and directed by Thomas McCarthy.  McCarthy is best known for his acting work…as Dr. Bob, perhaps from the Meet the Parents series, among his many roles.  Honestly, as I hit IMDB to see his stats, I hadn’t realized that this Thomas McCarthy, whose additional work was The Station Agent and The Visitor, was so prolific.  He wrote and directed both films.  This guy has talent!  He even has a “story by” credit on Pixar’s UP!

This is a wonderful film.  I will tell you out of the gate, I give this film a 5 Horn of 5 review.  I loved every minute of it.  I do give some preference to Paul Giamatti as I do believe he is a treasure of modern cinema.  But his slightly subued everyman role is wholly believable here.  His wife is played by Amy Ryan, who for all her beauty, she absolutely becomes whoever she plays and this role is no different.

Win Win is a drama built around the spine of a sports film.  It is a sports film that will leave you wanting more…a hunger that will be satiated by the resolution of the drama.  It is a great film.

The story concerns an attorney (Giamatti) who is struggling in his practice.  He has a client who is in the early stages of dementia and is about to become a ward of the state, as his only daughter cannot be found.  Giamatti’s Mike Flaherty offers to become Gaurdian to old man Leo Poplar, but for the wrong reasons.  The well-off Poplar has a stipulation that an administration fee of $1500 a month will be collected by the Guardian.

Leo Poplar is played by Burt Young.  You know, Paulie from Rocky, Burt Young.  I loved him in this film.  It is a small role, but Young played it like a master.  I was moved by his performance, which was accentuated by his very convincing old man looks.

Flaherty tells Poplar that the judge stipulated that he is required to live in assisted living, when in fact it was arranged so that Poplar could have lived in his own home.  To seal the deal, Flaherty runs by Poplar’s house to turn off his water to make sure his pipes don’t freeze.

When he gets there, there is a boy sitting on the steps of the house.  The boy, Kyle (Alex Shaffer), is looking for his grandfather.  Flaherty obliges him with a visit to see Gramps, and since Kyle is traveling alone, Flaherty takes him in.

Kyle’s mother is in drug rehab, and Kyle is a lonely boy.  Flaherty moonlights from his law practice as a wrestling coach, a former wrestler himself.  Kyle asks Mike if he can practice with the team, and we learn fast that Kyle is a great talent on the mat.

His past as a troubled youth seems to melt away when he is tossing other young men around the gym.  This is where the sports movie kicks in.

This film is insanely witty and well-paced.  The drama picks up at the end, but for the seemingly weighty content, it never becomes a downer.  I found this to be “feel good” from start to finish.

The cast is excellent with support from Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, and Melanie Lynskey.  See this movie.  It is rated R, but minus a few fantastically placed F-bombs, it is pure PG-13.  I hate that this R rating will limit the audience that this film finds.

McCarthy is a genius and this film completes the writer/director’s trifecta of excellent films.

Make this your weekend choice if you can. I think Hop will take the weekend, but for my money, this would be my pick.

Win Win: 5 of 5 Glorious Horns
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Jane Eyre
I mentioned last week the classic offering, JANE EYRE, a film by Cary Fukunaga.  I mention is again here because if you are looking for an alternative to the more recent releases, this movie could be for you.  This film stars Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Judi Dench and is the lastest filmic rendering of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel of coming of age.  The story itself is great, but director Fukunaga has woven a dark, forboding thriller, that is edgy and fresh.  Jane Eyre is dark.  Many shots are lit by nothing but ambient candle light.  Fukunaga’s efforts, when combined with fantastic art direction and a wonderful score, all equal a wholly watchable film that leaves you completely satisfied.  As Jane Eyre goes into a wider release this weekend, consider checking it out.

JANE EYRE: 4 of 5 Horns.
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Enjoy your Easter, if that’s your cup of tea…if not, kick back and see a movie just for the hell of it.

Until later, take care.
Reel Rhino

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Box Office Numbers – The Big Sham

Posted on 08 July 2009 by GlazednConfused

Next time Michael Bay brags about how much money his movies make, check out this list. Adjusting for inflation is a bitch. Few of the movies are truly surprising, although seeing “Blazing Saddles” at #47 warms my cynical little heart. What’s also interesting is how many of the movies on the list are dramas “aimed” at adults. (“The Sting”, “The Graduate”, “Love Story”?).  This is practically a forgotten genre for mainstream cinema nowadays. I guess studio honchos figure mature adults have better things to do – and they may be right. The top grossing movies of 2008 has “Horton Hears a Who” at #10 for crissakes. But which came first, the dumbing down of cinema or the mass exodus of mature adults?

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2012 Movie Trailer

Posted on 19 June 2009 by scanjack

It looks like a good action flick.

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Movie Madness Mondays

Posted on 03 November 2008 by Five0ClockCharlie

If you have not seen this movie I highly recommend it.

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The Hollywood Legion of Doom – Part 1 of 2

Posted on 19 July 2008 by GlazednConfused

Glazed’s note: I was all set to write a different post, but it would have been a downer. I usually like to buffer a cynical, “gloom and doom” post from Thraxxus and MoMagic (aka Colonel Sugar and Spice) with something a little lighter. Call it retaining the natural balance of this blog, or just call it blowing sunshine up your asses. Either way, enjoy.

I can not stress this enough: sometime around 30 years old, two hours of your time and/or $10 will increase in value dramatically. When can you tell that you’ve reached this point? For me I believe it was 2004, at about the 45 minute mark of The Day After Tomorrow. I remember thinking “You know, I’d actually rather be balancing my checkbook right now.” Talk about depressing. Furthermore, if you are a card-holding member of Thraxxus’ “Fuck You Siskel and Ebert” Club, what is to guide you when picking your movies? Well, maybe this can help. By the way, Rolan Emmerich just missed the following list, but I have a soft spot for Eight-Legged Freaks and The Thirteenth Floor. (in no particular order – they all suck)

1. Jerry Bruckheimer
Crimes against humanity:
Longtime ring leader of the Hollywood Legion of Doom
He has shoved down our throats some of the worst movies in recent memory – Con Air, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Kangaroo Jack, the list could go on forever
Humanitarian efforts:
The first Pirates of the Caribbean was a great movie, probably due more to Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski than Bruckheimer
Beverly Hills Cop was good, and has aged well. Murphy + Bruckheimer = good movie, who would’ve thunk?
Black Hawk Down was explosive, and didn’t suffer from the crap commercialism of typical Bruckheimer fare. Ridley Scott probably had to send hookers to Bruckheimer’s hotel regularly to keep him distracted. “What, no soundtrack with Faith Hill?! Get Ridley on the…oh wait, nevermind”
Dossier:
Next time a obnoxiously loud, treacly pop song kicks in during a movie demanding that you feel a specific way, two actions are required. First, curse the director for lazy film making. Second, hunt down Bruckheimer and punch him in the nuts. Blockbuster movies built around weak pop soundtracks were first engineered by Jerry in Flashdance and then Top Gun. He is widely considered the most powerful douchebag in Hollywood, as opposed to Michael Bay who is merely the biggest. I hope that make sense. Apparently has homosexual sex footage of the biggest stars in Hollywood – that is the only explanation for the awesome cast of Con Air. Bruckheimer has also recruited some really bad directors to briefly do his bidding: Simon West (see part 2), “CGI Kangaroo” David McNally, Boaz Yakin (who?) and Dominic Sena (evil).

2. Joel Schumacher
Crimes against humanity:
Nipples and codpieces – need I to say more?
WMDs:
Almost killing off the superhero genre with Batman and Robin
Attempting to kill off Jim Carey’s career with Number 23
Humanitarian efforts:
Tigerland is underrated
I enjoyed Batman Forever, so sue me
Dossier:
Schumacher refuses to retire or die, no matter how many bombs he manufactures. Reached his peak over 20 years ago with The Lost Boys, which wasn’t exactly Citizen Kane in the first place. He prides himself on taking lurid subject matter and watering it down to make it palatable to mainstream audiences (8mm, Falling Down). Failed Hitchcock while wasting my precious time watching Colin Farrell on the phone with Kiefer Sutherland for 80 minutes in Phone Booth.

3. Gore Verbinski
Crimes against humanity:
100% responsible for the second-worst trilogy of all time – the last two Pirates movies were 5.3 hours of life-sucking awful
WMDs:
The last two Pirates of the Carribean movies
Humanitarian efforts:
The Ring was the best Japanese-to-American horror movie translation yet, which isn’t saying much
Allowing Johnny Depp free reign, possibly saving Verbinski’s career
Drugging Nic Cage into actually acting for Weather Man
Dossier:
Somehow managed to go from director wunderkind to Bruckheimer’s bitch in record time. Like Lucas, incapable of guiding actors to save his life. The result is absolute awfulness from sub-par talent like Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly. His career is still fairly new, but if he screws up Bioshock he may be run out of Hollywood on a rail – good luck, Gore!

4. Simon West
Crimes against humanity:
Con Air, one of the worst movies ever made
WMDs:
Nic Cage’s hair extensions and accent in Con Air
The exploitation of Steve Buscemi, child molestor and serial killer, in Con Air
Pissing one of the greatest casts ever assembled in Con Air
Starting the dumb sub-title trend with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
When a Stranger Calls, a most unnecessary remake
Humanitarian efforts:
Zero.
Dossier:
Started with the Rick Astley video “Never Gonna Give You Up”, which says it all. Did I mention Con Air is a bad movie?

5. Stephen Sommers
Crimes against humanity:
Taking a long history of classic monsters out to the shed and brutally cornholing it for two hours
WMDs:
The Mummy Returns and those gawddamned midgets
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor without Rachel Weisz
Humanitarian efforts:
The Scorpion King was acceptable cheese
Dossier:
Sommers basically owes his entire career to Brendan Frasier and his underrated charm and uncanny ability to act in front of a blue screen. He has the audacity to make the upcoming and pointlessly subtitled G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. It will undoubtedly suck ass – and does anything scream “sequel in the works!” more than that subtitle? Just shoot me now. Four more movies on the way in the next two to three years is a sure sign of the apocalypse.

6. Eddie Murphy – the last 15 years
Crimes against humanity:
Norbit, for crissakes!
WMDs:
His entire resume, besides Bowfinger and DreamGirls, since The Nutty Professor in 1996 – over 17 movies!
Humanitarian efforts:
Mocked himself well in DreamGirls and Bowfinger
I should put the first Shrek here, but Murphy mailed in Shrek 2 and 3
Dossier:
Participants in an informal survey are convinced that the real Eddie Murphy was abducted sometime between Metro and Doctor Doolittle, and was replaced by a clone without a penis. That clone should mock himself more often. In 2002, Murphy had a legendary string of major movie turds that would have caused even Tom Cruise to a overdose on prescription drugs: Showtime, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, and I Spy. Egads! Since then, he has resigned himself primarily to lowest-common-denominator kids movies and fart jokes. Also the Vice President of the Money Whore Club for Actors. This club is currently presided over by Nic Cage (see Part 2), with Kevin Spacey as Treasurer.

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