April 26-28 Box Office Predictions: ‘Pain & Gain’ vs. ‘The Big Wedding’

Pain & Gain
Pain & Gain vs.


The Big Wedding
The Big Wedding








The Big Wedding looks like a lame romantic comedy. It could be funny, but it looks as if it has flop scribbled on it. It’s a big ensemble including Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Katherine Heigl, Amanda Seyfried, Robin Williams, Ben Barnes and Topher Grace. I guess it’s better than just another Katherine Heigl movie. It just happens to have her in it. The story follows a long-divorced couple (De Niro and Keaton) fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding. It looks like it could turn out to be better than expected, but I’m not so sure. It just seems like one big debacle, and not even a charming one like While You Were Sleeping. The romantic comedy genre averages a $10.37 million opening. Movies similar to this have an average opening of $19.55 million, but this won’t come close to that. This looks like it’s a similar formula to Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve because of its ensemble. Moviegoers are also getting smarter. Since Valentine’s Day was so bad, the sort-of sequel New Year’s Eve only earned $13.02 million in its opening weekend and grossed a total of $54.54 million, while Valentine’s Day grossed $56.26 million in its opening weekend. There just doesn’t seem to be a very large audience for these extremely familiar romantic comedies. But it is nice to see movies targeted at baby boomers. I expect an opening around R-rated The Five-Year Engagement‘s $10.61 million opening. It could do good business between You Again‘s $8.4 million opening and The Family Stone‘s $12.5 million. I expect an opening at $10.7 million.

Pain & Gain looks awesomely entertaining. I wouldn’t call it one of my most anticipated movies of the year, but I’m hoping it will be good. Mark Walhberg’s opening weekend average is $21.28 million; The Rock’s, $27.17 million; Ed Harris’, $13.52 million; and Anthony Mackie’s is $14.21 million. Michael Bay directs a ton of popcorn movies, and the trend seems to continue – even though this does look entertaining and very unique. The writing team of Christopher Markus and Stephen Feely are writing veterans of the Narnia franchise, and they are now Marvel writers (they wrote the first Captain America, and they’re writing Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. With a unique writer(s) and director team and a sweet ensemble cast, this could be a big surprise. Movies similar to this open at an average $19.46 million, and I can see this opening around Contraband‘s $23.4 million. My prediction is $24.8 million.

Here’s how I see the top 10: 

1. Pain & Gain: $24, 800, 000
2. Oblivion: $18, 058, 000
3. 42: $11, 322, 000
4. The Big Wedding: $10, 700, 000
5. The Croods: $6, 300, 000
6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation: $3, 600, 000
7. The Place Beyond the Pines: $3, 350, 000
8. Scary Movie 5: $3, 016, 000
9. Olympus Has Fallen: $2, 600, 000
10. Evil Dead: $1, 698, 000

The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines

Release Date: March 29, 2013

Director: Derek Cianfrance

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes

Runtime: 140 min

When one thinks of an epic, they might think Titanic, Braveheart or maybe Avatar. Even though this doesn’t have huge sinking boats, large wars or stunning visual effects; this truly deserves to be called an epic.

Derek Cianfrance (of Blue Valentine fame) brings us an small-town epic called The Place Beyond the Pines; a thought-provoking and realistic tale of generational feuds, fathers and sons, and corruption. It’s set in the small town of Schenectady, New York, that follows two families over a period of fifteen years. It’s essentially a trilogy of tales, going from chapter to chapter.

Glanton is a stunt motorcycle rider who, after finding out he has a son named Jason, begins to rob banks as a way to provide for his son and his lover, Romina (Eva Mendes). He does with the assistance of his employer, an auto repair shop owner Robin (Ben Mendelsohn), and his superior motorcycle riding skills. His motivation for this is easy to understand as he wants to provide his son and he sees this as the best way fit. He’s a guy who has his priorities in order, even if it implies reckless behaviour and breaking the law time and time again.

Cross’s motivations are harder to comprehend. He’s an ambitious young cop who wants to make his way up in the police force in as little time as possible, as he’s following in his father’s footsteps. The corruption of the police force itself poses enticing decisions for the young rookie.

The strong third act is difficult to discuss without giving too much away, but there are a few things that can be said. It’s admirably carried by young, up and coming stars Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen. Cohen plays a character that is an irritating kind-of Eminem-esque wannabe  but he is portrayed adequately and his character is essential to the film.

The third tale explores the idea of legacies and how one split-second decision can send incidental shockwaves through generations. It also explores fatherly influences in a beautiful way; which is a theme that is also highlighted with Glanton and Cross, where Cross has a father figure, and Glanton is the opposite. Corruption and personal gain is best explored in the middle act involving Bradley Cooper’s haunted character. Finally, the bond between fathers and sons and the lengths they’d go to in order to protect their young is very well explored. One of the most prominent themes is, though, is there are (usually) consequences for your actions, admirably said in the movie’s most memorable quote, “If you ride like lightning; you’re gonna crash like thunder.”

The epic crime drama shifts focus a lot, and since it is a trilogy of intertwining stories, it really feels like it could end at any point. In this way, it might work better as a book – but the narrative feels fresh. It’s still one of the lengthy film’s main faults, that the film feels like it’s just coming around the bend to its climax. Thankfully, the ambiguous and hopeful ending at the place beyond the pines is more than pleasing. Some of the characters’ motivations can be also hard to comprehend, but despite the movie’s faults, it’s engaging and it packs a mighty, emotional one-two punch.

The large and talented cast carries the movie extremely well. Bradley Cooper, Ryan Gosling, Rose Byrne, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Dane DeHaan (Am I the only one who thinks he’ll, at least, be an Oscar nominee someday?), Bruce Greenwood and Emory Cohen are among the cast, and they help carry the film and they make one heck of an ensemble. The tatted-up Gosling is by far the best of them all. The movie’s at its most booming and usually the most intense when he’s on-screen. He is most deserving of an Oscar nomination, and his powerful performance will remain one of the year’s most memorable. His character is as great and as mysterious as The Driver in Drive, and his performance is as good, if not better; he better not be overlooked by the Academy this time around. Even when he isn’t on-screen, his impact and legacy is felt. Other than Cooper and Gosling, DeHaan and Mendelsohn are the most notable. The score is also very memorable; with Mike Patton’s “The Snow Angel” playing in the background of some of the movie’s strongest and most emotionally sweeping scenes. Who woulda thunk one tune could be so haunting, but filled with such poignancy?

Gosling’s tale is by the far the strongest act of the three, Cooper’s sandwiched between in terms of quality, and DeHaan’s is the weakest, but saved by a fantastic ending. With an epic and beautiful drama like this, “weak” is used lightly – because it is by no means a bad act. They all just happen to pale in comparison to the act where Glanton is the focus. The intense crime drama is riddled with great performances, impressive writing, amazing emotional moments; and no matter how much the film may shift focus from story to story, all in a very lengthy flick, it all intertwines admirably in the end and Cianfrance never loses sight of his stunning and beautiful vision.


Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

Oz The Great and PowerfulOz the Great and Powerful

Release Date: March 8, 2013

Director: Sam Raimi

Stars: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams

Runtime: 130 min

Tagline: You know the land. Not the story.

Seventy-four years after the release of The Wizard of Oz, Sam Raimi (director of the Spider-Man trilogy and Evil Dead trilogy) and co. bring us a story of how a small-time magician comes to rule the mystical land.

This is however many years B.T. (Before Toto) and it follows a small-time Kansas magician, Oscar Diggs (James Franco), who gets swept up by a tornado and to an enchanted land, and is eventually forced into a power struggle between the land’s three witches: Evanora (Rachel Weisz), Glinda (Michelle Williams) and Theodora (Mila Kunis).

The people of Oz have been waiting for the one true Wizard to free the land of all of its turmoil, especially that caused by the Wicked Witch. While the people of Oz accept the wizard with open arms, the witches are unsure if he is telling the truth.

He isn’t. Oscar is more of a professional con artist more than a true magician, and some of his actions toward a few of the witches do not benefit anyone. He makes poor decisions left, right and centre, but it’s all on his journey to become a great man; and to force the Wicked Witch out of the land, as the prophecy suggests.

As with all Disney movies, there has to be a message. This one is clear by the end, but during, it isn’t too clear. What’s this trying to teach the kids? Is it trying to teach them that con artist “ladies men” who uses the same lame trick on girls, might eventually face a wicked backlash? Are they urging children not to eat apples, as Snow White teaches eating red apples means death, and now eating green apples means one gets transformed into a witch? Or perhaps if one lies their way through life, but become a greater person in the end and learn the folly of your ways, they’ll still be rewarded by fortune and fame? No, that doesn’t sound right.

It is really all about the journey (Down the yellow brick road, perhaps?) of changing from a selfish person, to a selfless one. It also teaches that the power of friendship and believing in yourself will conquer all. Oz makes friends along the way that impact his life and help him fight evil forces. China Girl (voiced by Joey King) is a now-orphaned child made of China, whose village was destroyed by the Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys. Don’t underestimate her though, she may appear to be fragile, but she has a fair amount of backbone! The other is Finley (voiced by Zach Braff), a CGI-animated monkey who is both servant and useful companion. He is the odd one out, as he seems to be the only monkey of all the land to not be on the evil side, like all the other flying monkeys.

Finley’s the runt of the flying monkeys litter, because the evil ones  look as if they have been taking one too many steroids. The 1939 monkeys are incredibly creepy with those little smiles and their impressive numbers, but these CGI-body building monkeys with sharp teeth shall instil fear in kids of a new generation. Some of the content is intense and frightening (like when intense battles of legitimate wizardry occur and the flying monkeys themselves, or even the tornado sequence at the beginning), but it’s not nearly as disturbing as some material previously seen in 1985’s Return to Oz. The content here isn’t enough to bring about a soft PG-13 rating, but it’s enough to urge me to warn off small children. It feels as if sometimes Raimi forgets this is meant to be a family feature.

It’s simply amazing to see the advancements in technology in 74 years, where the monkeys were once in costumes and now they’re animated, or how much can now be achieved visually. Raimi makes some really special nods to the 1939 classic. The first fifteen (or so) minutes are played out in Kansas in black and white, or even the tornado sequence itself. There are also incredibly sweet poetic scenes where Joey King and Zach Braff portray more than one character. King plays the little China Girl in the land of Oz, but she also plays a small girl in a wheelchair back in Kansas, and because Oscar can’t make her walk in Kansas, it’s really heart-warming to see him help her in the mystical land of Oz. Braff plays Frank in the land of Kansas and Finley in Oz, where Oscar is able to cherish the friendship Finley has to offer, instead of taking Frank’s friendship for granted and treating him purely as a servant.

Raimi also manages to keep this a bit different, by, for example, by only having a part of a musical number. When Oscar and co. visit the Munchkins of Oz, their musical number is cut off mid-song. He also makes this visually beautiful with some notable 3D visual effects and some really cool CGI-animation for the monkeys and a certain green someone. When battles of sorcery occur, it’s visually compelling. This is a great movie, but the main fault is the simple story. It really only follows Oz and his journey to become the legendary Wizard, and his attempts to rid the land of the Wicked Witch. It makes up for it by being visually great, charming and heart-warming at parts. Even though this might not make you feel as magical as you feel watching the 1939 classic, it’s a satisfying substitute.

As for the acting, no one really stands out. James Franco works the charming leading man role by smiling a whole lot, the three witches are good (Williams being the best) and Zach Braff makes Finley sound a bit too much like Chicken Little. He’s a monkey, Braff, not a chicken!


‘Oblivion’ Starts off Blockbuster Season with $37M

The following article is courtesy of Joe over at Two Dude Review. Also, I’m a part of a box office game with him and a few others (Nick of Cinematic Katzenjammer, Shane of FilmRehab, and Jason and Trevor, both of Movie Mavericks). It’s pretty fun, silly me for waiting until now to mention it. Trevor of Movie Mavericks has also started a user-friendly website called Box Office Ace where anyone can predict the box office. If you’re interested in predicting, just register and test your luck, it’s free and fun! 

Unlike last weekend, where the box office was off just a slight bit from the same weekend last year, this past weekend’s difference was significant. 2013′s weekend #16 was off by 18.1% compared to 2012, bringing the current year’s deficit back up to 11.3%. With some big names attached to Pain and Gain and Big Wedding this coming weekend offers a little bit of opportunity for ground to be made up, thanks in part to last year’s weak offerings for the same weekend. Unfortunately, after this weekend it’s going to take a lot of box office hits to match-up with the box office greatness that was The Avengers.

Opening at more than $37 million, Oblivion gave Tom Cruise his biggest opening weekend since Mission: Impossible III. The opening weekend figure may not seem all that impressive, when you take its $120 million budget into consideration. However, once you factor in Oblivion‘s $112 million haul overseas already, the film is a definite hit. Its ‘B-’ Cinemascore tells us that film wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t all that buzz worthy and Rotten Tomatoes pretty much echoes that sentiment with critic scoring the film 57% fresh and 68% of audience liking the film. IMDB’s 7.2 rating, however, indicates there is an audience for the film.

To go to any of my reviews, just click the link.

Title: Result — Prediction — Difference (Over/Under)
1. Oblivion: $37,054,485 — $38, 900, 000 ­– $1, 845, 515 over
2. 42: $17,721,410 — $20, 850, 000 — $3, 128, 590 over
3. The Croods: $9,235,295 — $8, 920, 000 — $315, 295 under
4. Scary Movie 5: $6,150,584 — $5, 420, 000 — $730, 584 under
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation: $5,763,891 — $6M — $236, 109 over
6. The Place Beyond the Pines: $4,917,545 — $6.25M– $1, 332, 455 over
7. Olympus Has Fallen: $4,475,543 — $4.9M — $424, 457 over
8. Evil Dead (2013)$4,112,001 — $4, 500, 000 — $387, 999 over
9. Jurassic Park 3D: $4,054,285 — $5, 000, 000 — $945, 715 over
10. Oz The Great and Powerful: $3,004,644 — $2.8M — $204, 644 over

Total difference for one (1) new release: $1, 845, 515

Total difference for nine (9) holdovers: $7, 705, 848

Oblivion (2013)


Release Date: April 19, 2013

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Stars: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko

Runtime: 126 min

Tagline: Earth Is a Memory Worth Fighting For

Jack (Tom Cruise) is one of the last drone repairmen remaining on Earth. All other survivors have evacuated, after a decades-long war with an alien race, where now the only threat are the Scavs remaining on Earth. After a disturbing find, Jack begins to question what he knows about his mission and himself.

At the end of it all, it remains a moderate disappointment and there’s much to be desired, especially in the story department.

The movie has a lot of good going for it. The characters are intriguing, where they make us ask who some of them really are. The characters of Julia and also Beech, portrayed by Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman, respectively, are the charcters wrapped in the most mystery. Sally (Melissa Leo) is the head honcho up in space at the station, the Tet, who basically delivers and authenticates orders. Victoria (Andrea Risenborough) is on the mission with Jack, and she monitors him while he’s on missions to fix drones. Her philosophy is strictly business during the day, and fun in the evening. Jack often maintains that business mindset while on missions, even though he tends to go off monitor and do his own thing because he is very curious and is searching for meaning. He still believes Earth is his home, while Victoria cannot wait to go to the Tet and join the others. Jack’s search for meaning gives the film a solid narrative and makes it an effective character sci-fi drama, where all the dots are connected in the end. He has to find his way through basic man vs. man conflicts, man vs. technology conflicts, and most of all, man vs. self conflicts, as he is haunted by his own memories. The cast that portrays these characters is also top-notch.

The other highlight of the movie are the solid action sequences, the breathtaking landscapes and fantastic cinematography. This will be one of the most beautiful science fiction films to hit theatres this year, and is the nicest sci-fi to look at since last year’s Prometheus. It’s stunning when the camera is sailing over Iceland or when Cruise is just flying about; and that magnificent cinematography is the film’s strongest aspect. It’s one of the most gorgeous post-apocalyptic films you might ever see. The film also has a great score, and the technological gadgets are sh-weet.

The concept of Jack not really knowing his true self is portrayed well because sometimes we all lose our real sense of identity. It’s very frustrating when we really don’t know, so it’s realistic because he really has no idea of it, and it’s made even harder as he’s trying to hang onto any of his own humanity that remains.

The movie’s main problem is the storyline. The narrative all makes an admirable U-turn by the end of it all, but its road there can be hard to follow. Especially if you over-think it during. (You’d be thinking about the previous scene when a new, sometimes more complex scene is going on.) It’s also one of those sci-fi flicks that’ll be easier to understand on second or third viewing. The story also makes us question who the true villains are: Those on Earth (the Scavs, who look a bit too much like the antagonists from Predator), or whoever else is keeping secrets?

The story is intriguing but it loses its pacing and its initial great spark in the middle act. It aspires to be something grandiose in scale with its complex storyline, but comes out to be not as original as it could be and quite familiar because of all of its homages. The writers’ ambitions get in the film’s own way. The thing is, with all of its plot twists and turns, it feels like it’s striving to be something out of an M. Night Shyamalan or Christopher Nolan handbook. The twists aren’t as magnificent as something Nolan or Shyamalan could think of, because it feels like it’s striving to find the next new masterful twist that will never be forgotten. You might not be able to see them coming from the beginning of the movie, but many times during, you might be able to predict the basics of what will happen next a minute in advance.

This disappointing sci-fi feature will only receive a half-hearted recommendation; there’s just too much to be desired. There are effectively thrilling action sequences, breathtakingly beautiful cinematography, intriguing characters; but because of the highly ambitious storyline, the end product is an entertaining action movie, an intriguing sci-fi character drama, but a thinly-written mystery.


Scary Movie 5 (2013)

Scary Movie 5Release Date: April 12, 2013. Director: Malcolm D. Lee. Stars: Ashley Tisdale, Simon Rex, Charlie Sheen. Runtime: 85 min. Tagline: Evil is coming. Bring protection.

This quote from Billy Madison, said by the Principal to Madison, sums up my thoughts on this film really well (I have paraphrased it extensively), “Mr. Zucker, your movie is one of the most insanely bad films I have ever seen. At no point in your god-awful excuse for a comedy were you even close to anything that could be considered a hilarious joke. Everyone who sat through this is now dumber for having seen it. I award your movie no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

In the parody sub-genre that’s already standing on a thin wire, Scary Movie 5 comes into play and curses the world. It’s not refreshing or witty. It’s sophomoric, tedious and, worst of all, painfully unfunny. The filmmakers reach to the very bottom-of-the-barrel for laughs. There are many fart jokes, and you’ll forget every joke one minute after they say it. The jokes are everything a ten year-old boy might find hysterical.

The jokes are unfunny, they don’t conquer any punch-line because there isn’t one, and they’re so, so predictable. If a man stands under a frying pan, what should one expect to happen? There’s also a scene shared between Snoop Dogg and Mac Miller where they are escaping from pot farmers after they steal a giant blunt from their harvest. As a hiding place, Dogg sees a cabin in the woods in the distance, and suggests they go there. Miller replies, “I don’t know, that reminds me of a horror movie I once saw…” Dogg would suggest a title, “Texas Chainsaw Massacre?” To which Miller says, “No, the one with the cabin in the woods!” This goes on for what feels like ten minutes, until Dogg gets fed up. He seems like a saviour to the audience for stopping this nonsense, but he’s still the one who’s in the movie. We get that, yes, there are 30+ horror movies that have a cabin in the woods in it. Thank you, Zucker, but do you have to show us that in this predictable, lazy and endlessly tedious exchange?

This is such an embarrassment, so much that, everyone involved should move to a country where movies are unheard of, change their name and live the rest of their lives there. Mostly because when this is as bad as Disaster Movie or Meet the Spartans, one knows their movie won’t be a success. When you request more Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, your movie is terrible. It’s also terrible if the strongest scene is a poor “comedic” sex scene shared between those two, where they inexplicably rustle around under the covers, and soon enough midgets and even a small horse join the fun. Whoever thought “Haha, hey, this is going to be really funny!” should be hit by a car, or, if that’s too extreme, fired.

Following the norm, spoof movies always have meaningless characters and a haphazard plot that just makes fun of movies that are way better than it. Some of the movies that are spoofed include: Black Swan, Mama, Evil Dead, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Inception, Paranormal Activity 4, The Cabin in the Woods, and Insidious, among others. This takes seventy minutes to get to the end, and it feels like a two-hour runtime. This is what torture feels like. The fact that the ten-minute blooper reel is miraculously more painful than the movie itself, is baffling.

There’s very little that this has to offer. It spoofs movie after movie, and even ones the writers aren’t smart enough to understand. One of these titles include Black Swan. Darren Aronofsky’s style of cinematography is mocked by filming Tisdale walking to an audition, and she just begins to walk in reverse. It’s not funny. It’s indubitably stupid. It’s no wonder that none of the original cast members are a part of this, and to make it even more offensive… They make an obnoxious character that is an obvious knock-off of Regina Hall’s Brenda Meeks (this character is called Kendra Brooks). Simon Rex is from the third and fourth Scary Movie, and he’s somehow even worse now. No one in this movie is funny. At all. Especially not Ashley Tisdale. Who would have thought one person could miss Anna Farris so, so much?

There’s little good that can be said about this movie. It’s in focus, sure. It’s the first spoof movie (and hopefully the last) that mocks 2013’s Mama and Evil Dead. However, that’s also one of the movie’s most idiotic choices. Evil Dead might be considered a remake, but it’s more of a reboot and since it was only released April 5, that means the filmmakers have to do a few last-minute, amateurish adjustments to fit it into the storyline. Also, if Evil Dead is still in theatres, wouldn’t it only be logical to go and watch the real thing and not this piece of crap? Mama is also not a prominent horror movie in popular culture just yet, and it isn’t nearly as popular as Insidious or Paranormal Activity. These are some of the filmmaker’s biggest screw-ups because the audience likes to be aware of which movie  is being mocked.

The fact that this movie is not R-rated is an absolute farce. There is one f-bomb and non-stop sexual humour throughout. (Even some of the swear words throughout are bleeped, which is RIDICULOUS for a Hollywood production.)

The movie’s masterwork could be the narrator, who might or might not be Morgan Freeman. It isn’t. It’s an impersonator. It’s really stupid. Filmmakers, if you can’t get Morgan Freeman to narrate your movie, either follow Seth MacFarlane’s decision and settle for Patrick Stewart, or, I don’t know, don’t have a narrator at all!

This is not only the worst addition to the Scary Movie franchise, Worst Movie of the Year Contender, but a Worst Film of All-Time Contender. I also sincerely hope this is where the franchise ends. This movie makes me want to find the Book of the Dead, recite every phrase in that book, and unleash demons onto the world. I’ll read it in Latin, English, Greek, French, Clik-Clak, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Cherokee, Taushiro; all languages so it wakes up foreign demons, and it stops at least some of the world from experiencing this lazy and dreadful movie.


April 19-21 Box Office Predictions: ‘Oblivion’

Oblivion seems like a promising film with great visuals, and it’s the only new release of the weekend. Director, writer and producer, Joseph Kosinski only had a hand in directing Tron: Legacy, so at least one person has some experience in the sci-fi genre. The other two writers are new to genre, Karl Gajdusek only has written Trespass, and Michael Arndt has had a hand in writing Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3. It looks like it could be a very cool ode to science fiction, but it’s not clear how big of an audience it will attract this weekend, but it could very well become a big blockbuster. Tom Cruise isn’t as attractive at the box office as he once was. He has a $21.92 million average opening, but Jack Reacher only managed to earn $15.21 million in its opening weekend last year. Hopefully he does well in this, because it’s his only 2013 film. The co-stars of the film include Morgan Freeman and Olga Kurylenko, and Melissa Leo. Similar movies to this open at an average $26.87 million. I think it will come fairly close to $40 million and still do good business with $38.9 million.

Here’s how I see the top 10:
1. Oblivion: $38, 900, 000
2. 42: $20, 850, 000
3. The Croods: $8, 920, 000
4. The Place Beyond the Pines: $6, 250, 000
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation: $6, 000, 000
6. Scary Movie 5: $5, 420, 000
7. Jurassic Park 3D: $5, 000, 000
8. Olympus Has Fallen: $4, 900, 000
9. Evil Dead: $4, 500, 000
10. Oz the Great and Powerful: $2, 800, 000

42 (2013)


Release Date: April 12, 2013

Director: Brian Helgeland

Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie

Runtime: 128 min

Jackie Robinson (portrayed by Chadwick Boseman) is a prominent figure in the civil rights for black athletes, as he is the first African-American athlete to play in the major leagues and break the colour barrier. 42 is the second biopic for Robinson, after 1950’s The Jackie Robinson Story. This follows Robinson’s life between 1945 and 1947, focusing on the hardships faces, after being integrated into a white-dominated sport by Brooklyn Dodgers President Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford).

It highlights these hardships he faces so precisely, that we really start to care for Robinson and what he goes through to play a game that he loves, and advance equality among races in the process. It is a true testament to the heart and soul of Jackie Robinson, a man for segregation, and a true American hero. That’s what helps this become such a successful film when it’s both on the field, and off.

When it’s on the field, it’s very rousing and often times, you’ll have the urge to stand up and cheer. It really feels like one is watching the actual game on TV for the first time, and that’s what helps it feel genuine. The more competitive viewers might even feel the urge to yell at the screen when the umpire makes a bad call; and you’ll definitely feel infuriated by some of characters’ actions against Robinson. You’ll either want to clap or weep for him at times because of the opposite race’s contempt he must face.

A lot of the racism is expressed through manipulative characterization. Some are just right, like when some of his own team mates still don’t feel comfortable playing with him or even showering with him, for that matter. Or when a child at a Cincinnati game falls under the societal pressures of the day and begins shouting racial slurs at Robinson like the rest of the crowd. Other times, they’re way over-the-top. Take Alan Tudyk’s character of Ben Chapman, for example. What he does is infuriating and manipulative because its cause is to get the watcher’s blood boiling, but it does work effectively, and it will definitely rouse a certain reaction. When Jackie breaks down and cannot take the discrimination any more, it is truly powerful and one of the film’s strongest scenes, on the field or not. That’s what really admirable about a sports feature like such: It finds a unique balance between scenes on-and-off the green grass.

It’s always exciting and never a dull moment, even if the dialogue gets more corny than your grandmother’s best corn dish at Thanksgiving. It’s helped by the stellar performances from the cast. Almost everyone in the supporting cast is fine, but Andre Holland as journalist and companion of Robinson, Wendell Smith, is very good. Lucas Black as Pee Wee Johnson is excellent, and the scene he shares with Boseman is significant and heart-warming  Chadwick Boseman (best known prior to this for small-screen roles in Persons Unknown and Lincoln Heights) shines as Jackie Robinson in a star-making role, and since Robinson can’t play himself (dead men can’t act!), you’ll be glad it’s Boseman. The chemistry between him and Harrison Ford (appearing as Branch Rickey) is excellent, and the scenes they share together are very memorable. Since Ford will most likely receive an Oscar nomination for his outstanding performance, he once again proves he has the ability to be wildly successful without a fedora on his head or a lightsaber in his hands.

It’s also impressive that such a powerful film gets to have a little fun with itself, as it beams with charm. There’s some laugh-out-loud humour here, as well, especially when John C. McGinley (portraying Red Barber) commentates; one of his funniest lines about being, about Robinson, “He’s definitely a brunette.” What would we do without that keen sense of observation?

Do not miss the opportunity to see 42 in theatres, because it is a fantastic true story that has to be known; it’s a rousing, charming grand slam and a new American classic. It’s a two-hour-plus film that feels like 90 minutes, and it’s one of the best sports movies of the past few years.


Jurassic Park 3D (2013)

jurassic parkJurassic Park 3D

Release Date: April 5, 2013 (3D Re-release date) (Original release date: June 11, 1993)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum

Runtime: 127 min
Tagline: The most phenomenal discovery of our time… becomes the greatest adventure of all time.

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

The cause for the power outage is one of the park’s main technicians, the incredibly selfish, but somewhat funny, Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight), who attempts to steal the dinosaur embryos for personal gain. The incredibly lazy man thinks the best way to make some big bucks is to steal dinosaur embryos and put everyone’s life in danger.

There are only a few characters that are worth mentioning. There’s Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), a palaeontologist who is the main hero and dino guy of the story, and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), the mathematician with a personality. Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler also is good, as is Richard Attenborough’s John Hammond, the park’s owner. The others are hardly anything to rave about, especially the grand kids of Hammond. They aren’t nearly as annoying as mostly everyone says, but you probably won’t feel the need to spend a day with them. There’s also a lawyer present, Donald Gennaro (Martin Fererro), a character who seriously needs to learn when and when not to use an outdoor restroom. But if you were killed by any living thing, wouldn’t it be kind-of cool for people to know you were killed by a Tyrannosaurus Rex? Maybe not…

The great director-composer team of Spielberg and Williams is amazing, as usual. Spielberg is a true expert when directing all these folks, and he does it so, so well. Their involvement in the film is also nothing to sneeze at (but the so-called “Veggie-saurus” might think otherwise). The cast or characters are designed to be not that memorable, because the real stars of the show are, of course, the dinosaurs! The real action heats up when the T-Rex and then the raptors join in all the fun, and let’s not overlook the a venom-spitting dilophosaurus.
The visual team deserves a serious nod in creating these beautiful dinosaurs, that are a serious marvel of modern-day filmmaking. Now, the visuals aren’t too impressive because of films like Avatar or Life of Pi, but one really has to admire the disparate achievement the visuals and dinosaurs are for the year 1993. The 3D is only okay, but it does seem to add another more modern visual layer to the film and it gives it a different feel and it could be a brand-new experience for some viewers (like me, because this being my first viewing in approximately ten years). In some scenes the 3D is incredibly blurry, but not really when the dinosaurs are on-screen and on the prowl. It’s mostly when there’s technique cinematography present, like when characters are walking uphill and there’s hill in the frame. At times, it’s hardly nice to look at. It improves as it goes on, and it’s great to see on the big screen. If 2D screenings are available in your local market, then that might be a better option, as it’s still amazing to watch. This incredibly suspenseful adrenaline rush would be a perfect choice for a family outing (don’t take small children, though!) or anyone seeking some sweet nostalgia.


Box Office Predictions: ’42’ versus ‘Scary Movie 5’

Scary Movie 5
Scary Movie 5

After three consecutive weekends where at least one film grossed over $20 million, this weekend has the potential to be a four-peat. I say again, potential because the two new releases are a baseball biopic, 42, and the fifth addition to the Scary Movie franchise.

Baseball movies are sometimes a hard sell at the box office, and compared to football movies, they’re not big box office success stories. It’s not that they do very poorly, it’s just that none have opened to over $20 million (the closer one has been is the Happy Madison comedy, The Benchwarmers with $19.65 million). Though, because of the great story and because it’s being released right at the beginning of the baseball season, 42 could be the movie to break that trend. It’s a biopic of one of baseball’s greatest players and a true American hero, Jackie Robinson. It looks like a great film, and the trailers have been very effective, especially because they utilize the exciting Jay-Z song “Brooklyn (We Go Hard)”. Newcomer to the acting game, Chadwick Boseman, looks really promising as Jackie Robinson. Also, if anyone could write this beauty truly well and make it captivating, it’s writer-director Brian Helgeland (writer of Man on Fire, Mystic River, L.A. Confidential). Helgeland’s average opening is $16.02 million. Harrison Ford (who has an average opening of $18.91 million) and Lucas Black [Jarhead, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift] (who has a $15.3 million average opening) also star. The three baseball films with the best openings are The Benchwarmers, Moneyball and The Rookie, with $19.65, $19.5 and $16.02, respectively. Similar movies to this open at an average $11.23 million. Realistically, I see this outdoing The Benchwarmers. My prediction is $22 million.

The new release that could make $20 million this weekend is Scary Movie 5. I’m not sure how much appeal this might have for moviegoers if there’s no Anna Farris or Regina Hall’s Brenda Meeks character. The only kind-of returning cast member is Simon Rex (George of Scary Movie 3 and S.M. 4, even though this time his character is called Dan). This seems like a major cash grab after seven years since the last sequel, but spoofs aren’t as pop-culturally relevant as they were in the early 2000’s, and literally almost the same movie, A Haunted House, came out earlier this year. Marlon Wayans, original cast member and writer of Scary Movie 1 & 2) was behind that one. This has Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Snoop Dogg, Katt Williams, Mac Miller, Sarah Hyland, Simon Rex, and spoofs movies like Mama, Sinister, Insidious, even last week’s newly released Evil Dead, Inception, The Cabin in the Woods (Yeah, the writers are mocking movies they probably don’t understand!) and, of course, Paranormal Activity. Movies similar to this open to an average $18.21 million, and that would be an ideal earning for this. The franchise peaked with Scary Movie 3 at a $48.1 million opening, and was at its worst with Scary Movie 2, that opened to $20.5 million. Reviving franchises isn’t always successful, as Scream 4 only received a lifetime gross of $38.18 million and opened to $18.69 million, while the first two grossed over $100 million and the third grossed $89.14 million. I expect it to either hit $20 million or just miss the mark, but you never know, audiences can surprise you… Since A Haunted House proved there’s still a fairly large audience for parody flicks since it opened at $18.1 million (on a $2.5 million budget — and it’s already getting a sequel [groans]). I’m mostly curious to see how many casual moviegoers who saw AHH earlier this year are dim-witted enough to pay to see the same movie twice. My prediction for this is $18.5 million.

Here’s how I see the Top 10
1. 42: $22, 000, 000
2. Scary Movie 5: $18, 500, 000
3. The Croods: $14, 950, 000
4. Evil Dead: $11, 300, 000
5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation: $11, 200, 000
6. Jurassic Park 3D: $10, 520, 000
7. Olympus Has Fallen: $7, 100, 000
8. Oz the Great and Powerful: $5, 275, 000
9. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor: $4, 460, 000
10. The Host: $2, 495, 000