Weekend movies: Thumbs up on “Bears,” but “Heaven” isn’t for real and “Transcendence” is trashed”

No surprise that another of Disneynature’s engaging, kid-friendly documentaries has earned universal thumbs up from critics. “Bears” has really good photography, faintly cute (ok, cloying) narration by the ursine John C. Reilly, and no bear dies. What’s not to love? Or at least, in my case, like?

The critics — myself included – have been brutal to “Transcendence.” There are plenty of actors, like Kevin Spacey, who have a hard time playing “dumb.” A few, like Matt Damon and Cameron Diaz, are adept at both dumb and smart or at least cunning. Johnny Depp does dumb, and nothing about his performance here suggests “brilliant scientist.” No chemistry with his adoring “wife” (Rebecca Hall), a thriller lacking thrills or suspense. Paul Bettany acquits himself, but the rest? Not so much. Early fanboy raves for this only reveal why fanboys don’t make good critics.

“Heaven is for Real” earns some points for being so unlike the shrill, anti-intellectual screed “God’s Not Dead.” It won’t make nearly as much money, I predict, because shrill sells — when it comes to conservative, evangelical-aimed faith-based films. BEn Stein is still laughing all the way to the bank for the rubes who bought into his Creationist documentary, “Expelled.” But the sweet, embracing and childlike “Heaven” works well enough to earn meekly respectable reviews.

“Fading Gigolo” goes into release this weekend, and John Turturro scores points for giving Woody Allen his most Woody-like role in ages. Other than that? Pretty forgettable movie, a poor mishmash of genres, tones, etc. Still a passing grade on the Tomatometer, but aside from that.

And hey, “Under the Skin.” the weirdest spin on the “Starman” story of an alien (Scarlett Johansson) among us, opens wider this weekend. If you’re into sci-fi, this is what challenging science fiction looks and sounds like. Pretty good.

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: “Transcendence” doesn’t transcend cliches

ImageFor years, the rumor about Johnny Depp was that he wouldn’t take a role that
required him to get a haircut. “Chocolat,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Once
Upon a Time in Mexico,” “Sleepy Hollow” — unchallenging, mop-topped
coincidences, or a career vanity?
With “Transcendence,” he’s got a part that requires a shaved head in some
scenes. And acting. He needs to suggest a brilliant scientist, the first to
crack “the singularity,” a very smart man transferring his mind to a machine and
thus achieving “Transcendence” — immortality.
Depp cuts it off, but he doesn’t pull it off.
This thoughtful but windy and winded sci-fi thriller shortchanges the science
– understandably — and the thrills. The directing debut of “Dark Knight”
cinematographer Wally Pfister is a mopey affair with indifferent performances,
heartless romance and dull action. It transcends nothing.
Depp is Dr. Will Caster, a mathematician, computer genius and artificial
intelligence theorist who, with the help of his brilliant wife Evelyn (Rebecca
Hall), is close to a computer that might “overcome the limits of biology.” It
will think.
That troubles his equally brilliant neuro-scientist/ethicist pal, Max (Paul
Bettany) who doesn’t give voice to fears of a machine that wants to jump from
tic-tac-toe to “Global Thermonuclear War,” SkyNET and HAL not opening the “pod
bay door.” But you know he’s thinking it.
And since this tale is told by Max in flashback, from a desolate,
off-the-electrical-grid San Francisco five years in the future, we figure Max
knows what he’s talking about.
Terrorists have decided that this project is a threat and try to blow it up
and kill Dr. Caster. They almost succeed, sentencing the not-so-mad scientist to
a lingering death. That gives his friends the chance to try and skip a few steps
in their research. They’ll load the electrical and chemical contents of his
brilliant mind — his thoughts, memories, ethics — into a vast machine and save
his life.

In a manner of speaking.
And since we’ve seen a San Francisco where keyboards are only useful as door
stops and cell phones are just so much worthless litter, we know this is where
the trouble starts.
Kate Mara suggests nothing fanatical, clever or fearsome as the leader of the
RIFT revolutionaries who tried to kill Caster and who then kidnap Max.
“What is it you want?”
“Just some clarity.”
Depp and Hall are supposed to have this “Ghost” level love, a romance of
death-defying longing that drives her actions to save him, in spite of Will’s
warnings to her.
“Don’t lose yourself in this.”
They don’t set off sparks.
Morgan Freeman shows up as a grandfatherly skeptic scientist, Cole Hauser as
a dull military man brought in to deal with the growing problem that happens
when Will’s insatiable brain gets on the Internet, manipulates Wall Street and
starts to plan a technological revolution.
The script suggests the miracles that bio-tech has in store for us —
repairing injuries and infirmities with nano-technology, 3D laser printers and
the like. The lame will walk and the blind will see.
But there will be a cost, well, a cost common to sci-fi stories about “the
singularity” and the unlimited power it promises.
Depp is a bland presence as a disembodied face on a computer screen. Hall
seems to wish she had a flesh and blood actor to emote to and Bettany spends far
too much of the time with Mara, who has never been worse in a movie.
As Max says, in his narration and elsewhere, this sort of dilemma seems
“inevitable” given the state of our wired-in world. But we knew that from “The
Terminator.” The trick is to transcend sci-fi tropes, get past bogey-man
“People fear what they don’t understand” and get into the experience of Will’s
existence across the digital divide.
“Transcendence” doesn’t.

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for
sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and
Cast: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman
Credits: Directed by Wally Pfister, written by Jack Paglan. A Warner Brothers
Running time:1:59

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: Striking photography and Disney cute work together in Disneynature’s “Bears”

Image“Bears” is exactly the sort of nature documentary we’ve come to expect from Disneynature, the film division of the company that rolls out a new nature documentary every year at Earth Day.
It’s gorgeous, intimate and beautifully photographed. And it’s cute and kid-friendly, with just enough jokes to balance the drama that comes from any film that flirts with how dangerous and unforgiving The Wild actually is.
Here, it’s Alaskan brown bears whom we follow as cute cubs through their first year of life. A mama bear and her two cubs endure a year of hunger, dangerous encounters with other bears, a wolf and a riptide as they trek from snowy mountains, where the cubs were born, down to the coast where salmon streams feed into the sea.
The mother, “Sky,” needs to fatten up on salmon to be able to survive and nurse her cubs Amber and Scout through their upcoming second winter. The cubs need to discover the world, and stay out of the way of omnivorous male bears and assorted other dangers. We’re told, right off the top, that only half of the cubs born each winter make it through their first year alive.
Uh oh.
More than once, “Bears” flirts with the grim realities of less sentimental films such as “The Last Lions” and Disney’s own “African Cats.” The adult bear fights are quite intense and frightening.
But John C. Reilly narrates this nature tale with a hint of whimsy, especially when the cubs get into mischief as, for instance, they try to learn how to dig up clams, and discover getting “clamped.”
“Leggo of my claw, clam!”
They’re craving salmon, but until the salmon run starts, the cubs have to get by on chewing grass.
“It’s like settling for a dirty salad!”
The cubs ride mamma’s back across freezing rivers, stick close when danger is near and roughhouse with each other and mother, forcing that involuntary “Awwww,” out of even the most jaded viewer.
The filmmakers get right underneath the fur to see the tiny cubs just after birth, and the extreme close-ups and very cinematic tracking shots take us into a pristine wilderness where survival is a matter of instinct, pluck and more than a little luck. It’s reassuring to see that there are still places as unspoiled as this, and that Disney is willing to pour some of its theme park and Marvel Studio millions back into documentaries that are more worthwhile than profitable.
So yeah, they’re cute. But forget that, and that there’s a whole TV channel devoted to this sort of film and use these Earth Day delights the way they were intended — as big screen rewards for the intrepid filmmakers who devote years at a time to making them and as a taste of nature most of us, especially the very young, will never be able to experience in the wild.
MPAA Rating: G
Cast: Narrated by John C. Reilly
Credits: Directed by Alistair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, written by Alastair Fothergill ad Adam Chapman. A Disneynature release.
Running time: 1:18

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Movie Review: “Heaven is for Real”

ImageImageGreg Kinnear, an actor perpetually on the verge of tears (he’s the “white Terrence Howard) is the perfect choice to play a preacher whose son tells him he’s been to heaven. And “Heaven is for Real,” based on a book by a Nebraska pastor about his then-four-year-old son’s near-death experience and account of a visit to heaven, is a sometimes touching and comforting account of this family’s story.
It’s a child’s tale, and the childlike faith of the kid (Connor Corum) who almost died of a burst appendix is underscored at every turn in this Randall Wallace (“Braveheart”) drama. Kinnear, as Todd Burpo, does his best to suggest a guy overwhelmed by the thought that the words he says every Sunday have a real-world relevance that his kid has witnessed, first hand.
What’s novel about “Heaven” is the weight the film gives to alternative explanations for Colton’s miraculous recovery (his dad’s congregation prays en masse, for him) and what he says he saw “up there” in the clouds, sitting on the lap of Jesus, with singing angels who giggle when he makes a request.
“Can we do ‘We Will Rock You”?
Is what little Colton’s saying merely “an echo” of the house and environment he grew up in? Is this his elaborate fairy tale recreation of the sort of heaven kids are taught in Sunday School? Or does he have too many details, too many descriptions of dead family members he’s never met for this to be not “for real”?
Pastor Todd buys in, somewhat reluctantly, the film suggests. Mom (Kelly Reilly from “Flight”) is a harder sell. The academic Dad visits dismisses him, or makes him feel dismissed. And his own congregation (Margo Martindale, Thomas Haden Church) has its doubts, too.
That’s a tricky turn that this film never quite makes. A story with assorted health, personal and financial crises facing this wholesome, small-town family, “Heaven” lacks real villains. Even the nosy reporter who questions the kid is compassionate. So when people turn on the preacher for obsessing over his kid’s story, it feels unnatural, half-hearted and abrupt. The debates have no weight to them.
The best faith-based films are embracing, and “Heaven is for Real” aims for that. It’s too slow, the plastic smiles of the little boy are kind of creepy (his sister-character reacts to him that way) and the literal representation of heaven feels comically childlike. Jesus looks just like Kenny Loggins, circa 1983.
But it can, on occasion, touch you. Reilly has a wrenching moment or two and Kinnear is as sincere as a recent convert in the lead role. His Todd Burpo is an informal, caring preacher in the modern mold, a guy who doesn’t wear a robe or a tie, but who sells his sermons with conviction.
“If He forgives anything, He forgives EVERYthing.”
This spring’s indie faith-based hit “God’s Not Dead” may have a similarly assertive/defiant title, but it lacks the tolerance and sensitivity of this movie, trafficking in angry, anti-intellectual caricatures of academics and journalists.
“Heaven is for Real” accentuates the positive, the simple faith ingrained in a kid who learns “Jesus Loves the Little Children, All the Little Children of the World” fresh out of the cradle. Whatever the film’s other failings, it presents an incredible story with a credulous, approachable innocence that it to be envied, whether or not you believe a word of it.

MPAA Rating: PG thematic material including some medical situations
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Thomas Haden Church, Connor Corum, Margo Martindale
Credits: Directed by Randall Wallace, scripted by Chris Parker and Randall Wallace. A Sony/Tristar release.
Running time: 1:40

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Movie Review: Aged Woody and ageless Turturro look for laughs in “Fading Gigolo”

Image“Fading Gigolo” is John Turturro’s idea of an old school Woody Allen comedy,
so he wrote Allen into it.
It’s a sentimental farce that presents Turturro as a Brooklyn Jack of All
Trades whose pal (Allen) decides another trade this Jack, named Fioravante,
would be good at is pleasing women.
Allen is Murray, one of Fioravante’s several bosses, as the younger man has
to juggle several service sector jobs to make ends meet in what we call “the gig
Murray runs a rare book shop, and he’s about to give up the ghost.
“Only rare people buy rare books.”
But those rare people figure the grandfatherly Murray can help them find
something a little special — like a third for a planned menage a trois.
“Yeah, I know somebody. But it’ll cost you a thousand bucks!”
Mild-mannered Murray has to talk milder-mannered Fioravante into it. It helps
that Sharon Stone was the woman doing the soliciting.
“Is he clean?” the society trophy wife wants to know. “I’m a little crazed. I
just came from an AIDS benefit.”
And we’re off, with Sofia Vergara as the “trois” in that menage. Fioravante
tackles this new gig with sensitivity and compassion. That’s why Murray figures
there’s no harm in offering him to this lonely Orthodox rabbi’s widow he’s just
Avigal (Vanessa Paradis) is lonely, depressed and, Murray figures, in
desperate need of a man’s touch. But how do you “help” an Orthodox woman?</P>
“I don’t shake hands,” she says. Her culture doesn’t allow her to touch a
man. Her elders watch over her like a hawk. Her Bensonhurst community even has
its own NYPD sanctioned neighborhood watch, and one of those over-zealous
watchers (Liev Schreiber) watches Avigal with love, and a lot of suspicion. Even
passing off Fioravante as a masseuse with hands “that bring magic to the
lonely,” this is going to be tricky.
The ancient Allen gamely makes Murray a doting, baseball-playing father in an
interracial marriage full of kids he has to keep entertained. Thirty years ago,
he’d have made Murray’s “new pimp throws around the cash” scenes very “Broadway
Danny Rose” and funnier.
Bob Balaban is amusing as Murray’s trusted, kvetching lawyer, Vergara and
Stone set off comic sparks. But Turtorro winds up playing the sad straight man
in his own comedy. And he and Paradis play this too somber. Sex scenes are more
explicit than silly. The movie gropes around for a lighter touch.
Moments when the Orthodox religious police nab Murray for an Inquisition are
meant to play like farce, but the often scary Schreiber lends that an alarming
theocratic, fascist feel. Seriously, New York allows “religious police” to
enforce dogma?
But by then “Fading Gigolo” has mimicked its title and faded, a failure in
tone, a romantic comic juggling act where every dropped ball kills another
potential laugh in a movie that desperately needs them.

MPAA Rating: R for some sexual content, language and brief nudity
Cast: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sofia Vergara, Liev
Credits: Written and directed by John Turturro. A Millennium release. </P>
Running time: 1:31

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Turturro talks about writing for Woody, teasing tha Hassidic and playing a “Fading Gigolo”


of his many associations with Spike Lee — from “Do the Right Thing,” to “Clockers” to “He Got Game” — eight films stretching back to the ’80s.
Or maybe it’s the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” connection, his four films with The Coen Brothers, including “The Big Lebowsky” and “Miller’s Crossing.”
But he’s also done a couple of films with Woody Allen, and that’s what led to his latest — “Fading Gigolo.” Turturro not only stars in it, he turned the tables on his “Hannah and Her Sisters” director by writing and directing a film in which, as The Guardian newspaper noted, “Turturro has given Allen his biggest and best on-screen turn in years.”
“We’d always talked about doing something together,” Turturro, 57, says of Allen, 78. So Turturro cooked up a comedy about a Brooklyn Jack of all trades that he’d play, with Allen as his boss at a rare book shop who becomes, sort of by accident, the younger man’s pimp.
“Actors have to reinvent themselves a lot,” Turturro says. “And that’s a lot more common in the world at large, now. People have to change who they are to be viable, to make a living.
That is something that we wanted to get into the movie. Woody’s character is a guy whose business is out of date. My character is comfortable with women, so out of necessity, these two friends both re-invent themselves.”
Allen “gave me a lot of construction criticism and feedback as Turturro dug into what would be his fifth film as director. And with Allen on board, lining up a supporting cast became a breeze.
Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara play women who want to enjoy Turturro’s character’s company at the same time. French actress Vanessa Paradis plays the widow of a Hassidic rabbi who needs a man’s touch to lift her out of her mourning. Liev Schreiber is a fellow Orthodox Jew who longs to make the Paradis character part of his life. Bob Balaban’s a kvetching lawyer, Jill Scott plays Allen’s character’s wife.
“People will do you a favor when you’re an actor and you’re casting an indie film, sure,” Turturro says. “They knew Woody and I would be in it. Which helped. But if the material is good, they want to do the movie. Actors like being around other good people, too.”
Turturro knows New York well enough to make the city’s Hassidic subculture a major setting and component for the film. In “Fading Gigolo,” as Fioravante (Turturro) spends more time with the rabbi’s widow, Schreiber’s character uses his city sanctioned Orthodox citizen policeman status to harass and eventually kidnap Allen’s pimp for a comical Hassidic Inquisition.
The Italian-American Turturro has taken heat in the New York press more than once for his portrayals of Jewish characters (“Mo Better Blues”). Was he worried about crossing the line with the Orthodox Jewry of New York?
“I poke fun at everybody,” he says. “I think the film is very respectful of the Orthodox community. I did a lot of research on it to get a candid and fair depiction of that world. Nobody comes off as a buffoon.”
But he laughs when he remembers the ace up his sleeve.
“Besides, people in the Hassidic community, they don’t go to the movies!”
The film’s uneven blend of romantic longing and ribald sexuality, family farce (Allen’s mixed-race/vast age difference household has him teaching small black children how to play baseball) and wistful mourning is earning “Fading Gigolo” mixed reviews. “At times the movie’s a mess, but it goes to such special places that you don’t mind,” the Boston Globe noted in a typical notice.
But that’s fine with Turturro. He embraces the messiness of this world and the movie he made from it.
“Most movies don’t have a lot to do with life. I like making movies that do.”


Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Box Office: Weak reviews, word of mouth tamp down “Rio 2″ — “Captain America” wins another weekend

Based on the great Friday night it had, “Rio 2″ appeared headed for a $43 million opening weekend at the box office, an established brand whose fans ignored poor reviews to give it a weekend win over blockbuster “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

But Friday night’s filmgoers apparently did what America’s critics could not. They warned their friends with kids that this wasn’t nearly as good as “Rio.” And with most reviews on such popular “buy my tickets ap” as Fandango being negative (i.e., MY review), expectations for the film fell. So Saturday’s take fell off.

It still earned $39 million, a huge return, but not enough to top the Captain. And it probably won’t do the business that “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” has done ($105 million and counting).

“Oculus” did an almost-respectable $12 million. Unfamiliar horror, not an established franchise, not that bloody, no horny teenagers, it’s just a ghost story. That doesn’t pull them in the way a “Cabin in the Woods” might.

“Draft Day” did a middling $9.7 million, and will not cover costs. A bad draft pick by Summit. Kevin Costner’s ability to open a movie is over. Hyped to death on sports events sports talk TV and sports talk radio, the NFL and ESPN couldn’t buy an audience for this clunker.

“God’s Not Dead” added a lot of theaters and lost a lot of box office. It will lose many of its screens, starting this weekend. “Heaven is For Real” would be lucky to do the $50 million or so the indie “Dead” will end up with, all in.

“The Raid 2″ opened somewhat wide and just bombed. Bombed.



Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Box Office: “Rio 2″ runs over “Captain America” — “Oculus” is respectable

rio2“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” seemed overly praised when it opened last week. To me, it’s more of a shrug than “the best Marvel movie” since this or that. The swooning by a few seemed unwarranted.

Audiences made it a record setter on its opening weekend. But this weekend, word of mouth tamped that down quite a bit. It did a perfectly ordinary 40% of what it did on opening weekend, not even enough to tally a second win in the weekend box office race. Well under $40 million. Nothing to sneeze at, but the bloom is off the rose, there.

“Rio 2,” which isn’t very good at all, with reviews reflecting that, is performing just over expectations — $43 million or more, based on Friday and still dependent on the all-important-for-kids-movies Saturday take. The original was good enough that families considered it a safe bet, critics be darned.

The biggest horror openings, generally sequels, open in the $20s, typically — mid-to-upper $20s if they have the hype, the reviews, etc., to give them a push. “Oculus” only managed to reach the mid-teens ($13-14). Those are right around “Insidious” numbers, which, if reviews are to be believed, mean it will perform better over the log haul than on opening weekend.

The best the weakly-reviewed NFL drama “Draft Day” was going to do was $10-12, and that’s just what it’s doing.

“God’s Not Dead”, but life signs are finally fading on this low budget indie phenomenon. It added theaters but slipped quite a bit as it nears the $40 million mark, overall.

“Divergent” will reach $125 million by Sunday night, “Grand Budapest” a healthy $40, “Noah” will come close to $85. It may well make $100 million in North America, before it’s all-in.

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | 1 Comment

Movie Review: “Cuban Fury”

ImageIn the ’80s, when he was a young lad, Bruce heard the siren’s call. More likely, it was Gloria Estefan’s call. The “rhythm is gonna getcha,” and it did.
As a teen, he danced salsa with his sister Sam all over England. They won
contests. He was a devil in Cuban heels and spangly pants — “Cuban Fury.”
But then the teenage bullying got the best of him, and “the fire in my heels,
it just went out.” His teacher, his hairy-chested dance guru (Ian McShane) was
Decades later, gravity and the British diet have caught up with him. Bruce
(Nick Frost of “Hot Fuzz” and “The World’s End”) doesn’t dance and barely
exercises. He works as an industrial machine designer at an engineering firm, is
still bullied and has only his fellow losers, drinking and golfing buddies, for
“Have you had any contact with a member of the opposite sex in which money
does not change hands?” is their weekly query.
But there’s a new single woman at work — his American boss (Rashida Jones).
She is approachable and ever-so-fine. If only Bruce could keep her out of the
arms of the office Irish Lothario (Chris O’Dowd). If only Bruce wasn’t “a two.
She’s a ten…It’s like a butterfly going out with a parsnip.”
If only they had something in common. Oh, but they do.
“Cuban Fury” is a quite funny if entirely predictable farce built around the
sight gag of portly Nick Frost kicking up his heels on the dance floor. He is
the latest in long line of graceful men of girth, a nimble comedic butterball.
And this film is a giggle of a showcase for him, a silly romance that surrounds
him with an over-the-top villain (O’Dowd of “Bridesmaids”), an over-the-top guru
(McShane, who was born to wear tan in a can) and a quirky-cute and accessible
Jones, now on TV’s “Parks and Recreation.”
O’Dowd makes a wonderful creep, given all the lines a ladies man would ever
need to scare off the competition.
“Women like that use guys like you to get advice about guys like me.”</P>
McShane’s dance teacher, Ron Parfitt, runs a dance studio and salsa club long
past salsa’s expiration date (“Dancing with the Stars” brought it back). He
wants to see Bruce back “in a pair of one and a half inch heels.” He wants him
quoting Cuban crook Tony Montana from “Scarface.”
“Say HELLO to my leetle friend!”
He wants him to remember that yoga nothing on salsa when it comes to
cutely-named positions.
“Arms of an eagle! Legs of a stallion!”
As juicy as his support is, it is Frost who totes this formula funny business
across the finish line with sweaty skill and aplomb. We believe he can dance. We
believe he MUST dance.
And thanks to him, we can even believe the parsnip has a shot with a
butterfly. If only for 90 minutes.

MPAA Rating: R for language and sexual references
Cast: Nick Frost, Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd, Ian McShane
Credits: Directed by James Griffiths, screenplay by Ron Brown. An eOne
Running time: 1:38

Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment

Weekend Movies: Critics boost “Oculus,” indifferent reviews for “Draft Day,” “Rio 2″, but “Rio” should make a mint

oculusEver since “Insidious,” April has been a benchmark month for smarter-than-genre ghost stories. And this year’s installment, “Oculus,” is earning the same sort of solid (not rapturous) reviews and should give horror fans a tiny taste of what they like. Not a hard “R-rated” horror picture, just a reasonably complex one with decent actors doing the heavy lifting.

I have been waiting for the NFL to jump the shark as the sport of choice in these United States. Overexposed — it’s not quite on every day or night of the week. But close. It’s a year round obsession of sports talk radio. “Draft Day” feels like a manifestation of that, an NFL approved, ESPN connected dramedy about a general manager’s machinations pre-Draft Day, which the league turned into a post-Super Bowl/pre-training camp TV spectacle some years back. Weak reviews for “Draft Day.”

Kevin Costner’s box office drawing power is WAY down. As your audience ages, they stop going to the movies you’re in. “3 Days to Kill” proved that earlier this year. His future would appear to be where “Hatfields & McCoys” lie — TV, cable.

“Rio 2″ does what middling sequels do — the same things that the original film did, only more so. More songs, more voice actors (Bruno Mars plays an old flame for Anne Hathaway’s “Jewel”). The novelty of the first film is lost despite moving the setting from Rio de Janeiro to the Amazon, bringing in all sorts of new critters. There are too many characters to ably service them all with the script. Indifferent reviews for this one.

If Nic Cage’s “Joe” is opening in your market, it’s the movie to see this weekend. A genuine comeback picture, earning him back some of the goodwill he’s squandered over the years.

Box office? “Rio 2″ shows signs of doing a generous $40 million or more, lacking kiddie competition in the cartoon department. Box Office Guru is saying $32, which seems very low for a pre-branded cartoon franchise.

Neither prediction will let this one pass “Captain America”, which could do another $40 million+.

Funny thing about decently reviewed horror films. They don’t draw the faithful. They’d rather see dead teenager movies, with nudity and more graphic gore. “Oculus” will be lucky to earn in the teen$.

“Draft Day” will bomb. Couch potatoes and fantasy league gamblers who obsess over the draft won’t show up, and without them, this movie will be lucky to clear $10 million.

“Noah” will have faded to a point where the Evangelical-approved “God’s Not Dead” could challenge it at the box office — $7-8 million. “God’s Not Dead” has been adding screens, which allowed it to maintain $7-8 million per week for the past month. It should start to fade this weekend, but if it doesn’t, “Noah” will slip behind it for the weekend.



Posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news | Leave a comment