Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 2018 Box Office predictions

I'm not one to predict financial results at the box office. I've never really tried that before.

However, what I am usually good at is predicting what's going to bomb and what's not going to bomb. I sit in the theater and see the trailers and go, 'That's going to be awful!'

That's what happened with Baywatch, Jupiter Ascending, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Ghost in the Shell, the latest version of The Mummy and various others.

I sat there thinking, 'How could anyone think these were good ideas?!'

This is the first time I've voiced my opinions in a published format.

Here goes nothing.

Here are my predictions for some of December's movies:

Prediction: Hit

Like I've already told some of my family members, this is an underwater Thor. This is going to be good for D.C.

While they've has a few issues with some of their other movies, they got this one right the moment they cast Jason Momoa as Aquaman.

He gave the character a much-needed update. The look isn't cartoonish anymore. He looks like a bad-ass!

That's how he was presented in Justice League. He also displayed comedic ability at the same time. I have a hunch it'll be a great blend of action, comedy, drama and special effects.

All the while it will showcase Momoa as a key player in the DCEU.

If they hold onto Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa, they could have several successful movies in the future --- solo or ensemble.

Mary Poppins Returns
Prediction: Bomb

It's like Solo: A Star Wars Story. Why would you put an actor in the position of playing an iconic role? Even if the story is good, people will inevitably compare Emily Blunt to Julie Andrews. While she's alright in several movies, there is no winning a comparison battle against Julie Andrews ... especially as Mary Poppins!

I'm not sure why they didn't make Blunt a pupil of Mary Poppins or a daughter or granddaughter or maybe the next in line to have the title. While those are tired ways to continue on a franchise (or develop a franchise), they're more acceptable than casting someone entirely new as a beloved and iconic character.

If Disney wanted to do a sequel, then just bring in Julie Andrews for the entire movie. If she didn't want to do it, that's fine. There are other ways to go about it. They apparently got Dick Van Dyke on board for a cameo. That's a starting off point. Mary's umbrella isn't an actual person. They could incorporate that. Maybe explore just who Mary was and where she came from.

Are there dozens of other cloud-riding nannies out there? Did Mary leave her powers for someone else to take charge of?

It'll probably do well enough at the box office because it's a family movie and the Christmas season is when families go to the movies. It's when schools take field trips to the movies. It'll surely generate some sales with the powerhouse that is Disney promoting the movie on so many mediums.

That being said, it won't do what they're expecting and hoping it to do.

The Mortal Engines
Prediction: Bomb

It's like so many other novels turned movies in the past several years. You can't just up and capture the success of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.

While this concept is different, it's a little too different. Harry Potter's land of wizards and Katniss Everdeen's teenage death battles are 'out there' concepts too, but they're based in reality more than a movie like this.

It's unique, so I'll give them that, but entire cities doing battle on giant machines like an episode of Robot Wars? I don't see many people clamoring to see it.

As soon as I saw Washington, D.C. rolling around on a giant tank, I knew it wasn't going to be good.

Prediction: Hit

I'm kind of surprised by my prediction. Originally I thought it'd be the nail in the coffin for the Transformers franchise (which I've enjoyed more than not). After seeing the trailer, however, I think it could be a fresh start. They got away from Mark Wahlberg and the original trilogy and are focusing on the main drawing point: the Transformers themselves.

It won't be a big explosion fest, which most people tired of. I think it'll be interesting to see the origin of Bumblebee and some of the other Transformers and Decepticons.

I don't know that John Cena is going to be that impressive with his acting, but the young actress -- Hailee Steinfeld -- seems authentic enough to draw people in. It's not going to be massive, but it'll surpass expectations.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Prediction: Bomb

I don't see this movie having much wide appeal.

Number one: it's a somewhat involved Spider-Man storyline. Most people are familiar with Spider-Man, but not multiple Spider-verses.

Number two: it's an animated movie. It's not Lego Batman and it's not a Pixar guaranteed hit. It's not a regular superhero movie. It's got a niche audience and I don't think it'll be able to compete with the busy December schedule.

The storyline may have worked as a live action movie, but I see it having limited potential as an animated movie.

The Spider-Man universe is cool, so I hope it does do well in a way. I just don't have any faith that it'll happen.

Related Content:
• Will Hollywood outplay its hand on female superheroes?
• Tomb Raider - reviewed.
• Venom - reviewed.
• Ant-Man and The Wasp - reviewed.
• The Avengers: Infinity War - reviewed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Will Hollywood outplay its hand on female superheroes?

There was a recent article on Deadline that mentioned the wave of female superheroes that aren't only appearing in upcoming movies, but getting lead booking.

It talks about Harley Quinn, Black Widow, Capt. Marvel and, of course, Wonder Woman.

It's an interesting read.

My question, which the article also asked, is: will the supply exceed the demand.

One woman they spoke to said she didn't think so.  She was a biased source because she's currently involved in a female superhero project herself.

My answer is: it depends.  It all depends on how Hollywood handles it.

There's a misconception that the comic book genre is a boys club.  Supergirl, Elektra and Catwoman all got solo movies.  Supergirl came out in the 1980s.

True, the reception to those movies was poor.

The poor reviews and box office for SupergirlElektra and Catwoman were well-deserved.  Those were three of the worst superhero movies of all time.

I think Elektra was a little better than the other two, but not by much.  They should've utilized Ben Affleck for the movie that was essentially a sequel to Daredevil.

That movie, too, earned bad reviews.  Daredevil was leaps and bounds better than Elektra though.  It doesn't have anything to do with women not being a box office draw either.

I think comic book fans are very open to seeing females in a lead role.

We've been asking for a Black Widow movie for years now.  Only after the success of Wonder Woman did Marvel give it real consideration.

That's the mistake Hollywood can't make.  Fans won't accept a female superhero simply because she has female parts.

They need a good story.  They need a good actress.  They need good action sequences (visual and creative).

If Hollywood throws out movie after movie with females directing and leading in the movie just because they are females, it's not going to work.

The product needs to have high quality.

That's what worked with Wonder Woman.  A lot of people are probably eager to cash in on that success, but it'll take more than some rip-offs to make it work.

Supergirl doesn't get better ratings than The Flash because it's not as good of a show.  It's not because she's a female.

Supergirl gets better ratings than Arrow because Arrow has jumped the shark.  It doesn't have anything to do with gender.

I'm excited that we may see a focus on some characters who don't always get a spotlight. 

I'd like to see more of Harley Quinn, some Black Cat and a proper depiction of Rogue, but I'd also be thrilled if Nightcrawler, Beast, Mr. Sinister, Robin and Martian Manhunter had projects centered around them. 
That's because I like those characters.

It's all about the quality of the character and the story.

As long as Hollywood remembers that when making these movies, they'll be fine and the superhero movies will continue to profit.

They've definitely got to be careful on timing.  You don't want Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel movies coming out in the same month, just as you wouldn't want Thor and Superman movies coming out at the same time.

I just hope they focus on telling good stories.  As soon as they start trying to specifically cater to one audience and focus on that alone, it'll be a very fast downward spiral.

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Christmas Chronicles - reviewed.

Thanksgiving is the official start to the Christmas season, right? So why not watch a Christmas movie?

That's exactly what I decided to do this weekend. I've watched a few of Netflix's cheesy Christmas movies, mostly just to have some sound in my house as I go about chores here and there.

Most of them have a facepalm moment or two, but The Christmas Chronicles had multiple facepalm moments.

What a horrible movie! I'm typically fairly lenient on the Christmas movies, but it seemed like the writers didn't even try with this movie.

It wasn't really bad enough to be funny. It certainly wasn't funny enough to be funny. It was like a bowling shoe: just plain ugly.

I was somewhat surprised because with Kurt Russell and Kimberly Williams-Paisley on board, I figured it may be decent.

It started off with a heartwarming video montage that made it easy to predict exactly what was going to happen to one of the characters who was in that montage.

The movie seemed to take a more serious tone as Kate (Darby Camp) spots her older brother Teddy (Judah Lewis) stealing a car in the grocery parking lot.

Some of their acting seemed to be on-point and other times it seemed like even they didn't fully get invested into the characters they played.

Hardworking Claire (Williams-Paisley) wishes that her children would get along with each other. That Christmas wish sets into motion the rest of the movie.

Minor spoiler alert!! (but who cares, really??) --- Teddy and Kate catch the actual Santa Claus (Russell) as he's delivering presents in their neighborhood.

How'd they do this? They did what every kid has done for ages: tried to stay awake all night long.  Not just that -- they come up with the oh-so-clever plan to record Santa Claus on video!

There is never an explanation given as to why they were able to spot Santa and nobody else was, so one has to assume it's all due to their mom's Christmas wish.

Does Santa know about this wish? Is he just a pawn in the wish or does he knowingly grant this wish? Questions that are too deep for this movie.

Santa's sleigh ends up crashing and Teddy and Kate have to work together to overcome a series of obstacles, keep each other safe and save Christmas all in the span of a few hours.

In the meantime, there's a car chase involving Santa and the police, the introduction of some Gremlin-like elves (one of whom wields a chainsaw) and a jailhouse concert that involves Santa performing a suggestive Elvis Christmas song (with three apparent Hoe Hoe Hoes playing backup singers).

The police just don't believe it's actually Santa and want an explanation for all his 'tricks.' This is after they saw reindeer fly away with two children.

It's also after he called each cop by their name. It's after he revealed what they wanted for Christmas when they were kids and what they want this Christmas.

Why would the cops believe him? The people in an earlier restaurant scene didn't believe him either. He knew everyone's name and knew what gifts they got for Christmas years and years ago.

Clearly, just an imposter who found all of this information online, right? He just happens to be able to produce toys out of his coat pocket at will.

Why believe it's the real Santa??

Oh, yeah. at the end of the movie, Mrs. Claus is revealed to be the overly botoxed Goldie Hawn.

It's all too over-the-top. It's too cheesy. There are too many plot holes. This is no instant Christmas classic.

You may find yourself laughing at the movie, but not with it.

If you want to watch a good movie, go watch The Santa Clause instead.

I'm kind of bummed about this negative review because Kurt Russell seemed like he'd make a good Santa, despite the fact that he ended up looking somewhat like a hobo in his Santa Claus gear.

The one good thing I'll say about the movie is that they had some impressive computer-generated imagery. I'm not sure how much they spent on CGI, but at least they got that part right.

Related Content:
Tomb Raider - reviewed.
Venom - reviewed.
Ant-Man and The Wasp - reviewed.
The Avengers: Infinity War - reviewed.
The Black Panther - reviewed.
My most anticipated movies of 2018

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tomb Raider (2018) - reviewed.

It took me a while to check out this movie, mostly because it was another unneeded reboot of a popular franchise that wasn’t even that old yet.

Angelina Jolie was the face of that character for so long that it felt strange seeing someone else do it (though I think Alicia Vikander may have done a better job).

I kind of avoided it out of protest. But I saw it for free recently (that’s always the best price). It was ok.

It was a nice set-up for a franchise — the ‘how Lara Croft became Lara Croft’ tale. That would’ve worked well had anyone wanted a new franchise or had Tomb Raider been successful enough to warrant a second film.

Unfortunately these days, writers are always planning on trilogies and franchises. They don’t put enough effort into the beginning movie.

That’s kind of how this movie played out.

It wasn’t bad. Alicia Vikander did a great job actually. Her obvious dedication to the role and believability made the movie much better than it otherwise would have been with a different lead actress.

She was in great shape and appeared to have done at least some of her own stunts.

I first saw her in Man from U.N.C.L.E. (a movie I wanted a sequel of!) and was very impressed. Vikander also delivered on Tomb Raider.

She really looked like a daughter who desperately wanted to find her believed-to-be-dead father. She seemed to have that pain in her eyes that says ‘it’s unrealistic to expect that he’s alive’ with just an ounce of hope that he could be. The movie was a little too much.

It was filled with action-packed scenes, no doubt, but sometimes less is more

We saw a MMA training session, a bicycle race through the streets of London, a creative pursuit of thieves on a Chinese oceanside dock, and a scene where a boat gets tossed around in the stormy water.

That was all before we met the villain of the movie — Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins) — who runs a slave island because his boss (who he communicates with on a mysterious cell phone) won’t let him leave until he finds a specific fabled tomb.

Then we get a chase through the forest, a fall over a waterfall, a jungle fight to the death, a major discovery for Lara Croft, a rise up and bow-and-arrow fight on the part of Croft and, finally, the scene with the actual tomb.

The scenes were all well-done really. They were definitely action-packed. It was all just a little too much.

The story just didn't resonate.  It was too unbelievable.  It was too much.

Lots of flash but not enough substance to make it worthwhile. There were a couple of head shaking / facepalm moments.

The script was too silly to be taken seriously, even if you want to support the character

The ending foreshadowed a sequel we’ll never get to see, which may be for the best.

Vikander is awesome and the writers delivered on a movie full of action, but if this is the best story they could come up with, then a sequel isn’t really warranted

Related Content:
• Venom - reviewed.
• Ant-Man and The Wasp - reviewed.
• The Avengers: Infinity War - reviewed.
• The Black Panther - reviewed.
• My most anticipated movies of 2018

Pet peeve: why do you have to tweet the same thing again ... and again ... and again?

UPDATE: Nov. 15, 2018

As you can see by these two tweets to the right, CNN does the same thing.  This one is an analysis on the Florida race between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson.

It's not just one news outlet that does this.  It's not for or against any party.  It's not just on politics.

They (meaning any prominent company with a Twitter account) do this all the time with all kinds of content.

It's so annoying if you're someone who is on Twitter or social media on a regular basis.

These two tweets aren't even 3 hours apart.  Why are we seeing it again?  I'm sure I'll be seeing it for a third time in a couple of more hours.

It'd be nice to see fresh content instead of repeating the same thing, especially when it's about controversial topics in politics.

It may seem trivial to complain about multiple tweets, but I think it furthers the divide between us when it comes to multiple political tweets. 

It triggers the emotions people have (either reinforcing something they agree with or angering them on something they don't agree with) when they see something several times a day.

I could mute these social media channels, but then how do I get the latest news?  You almost need to follow all of these social media platforms to get a clear and well-rounded picture of what's happening.

Hopefully this practice will change, but I doubt it.


Nov. 13, 2018

I recently blogged about one pet peeve of mine in regards to headlines on Twitter and Facebook: the fact that they overuse the phrase 'you need to know.'

Today, I have another pet peeve: media organizations (or organizations, in general) that tweet the same thing several times a day at different hours of the day.

The example in my blog is NBC News.  They tweeted a fact check regarding President Trump and his claims about fraudulent voting activities in Florida.

Fine.  Great.  Tweet away.  But then several hours later, I noticed another tweet that read the same.  3 hours later?  Another tweet.  No changes or corrections in the headline.  Just the same tweet.  Again.

Take a look at the photos on the right hand side of this blog.  They tweeted the same thing just a few hours apart.  For someone who missed one of the tweets, it doesn't matter.

But for someone who follows NBC News and has already seen the first and the second, the third is definitely overkill.

This example is regarding politics, but I've seen the same thing on a variety of topics.  From box office success or failures to Kardashian news to a bombing in the Middle East.

It seems like news organizations tweet things over the weekend and then, come Monday morning, tweet the same things again.  I assume the thought is that people may have missed it over the weekend, so they'd better catch us up on Monday morning.

That I could almost accept.  I understand that goal.  That being said, it gets annoying if you did see their original tweet(s) over the weekend.  Then it's just regurgitating the same information again.

Now I get tired of seeing a variety of topics in my feed or timeline, but I especially dislike this practice when it comes to politics.

Right now, politics are so divisive.  It doesn't help people trying to escape that constant negativity to see the same tweets posted just a few hours apart.

It's a barrage of of politics.  I don't care if it's pro-Republican or anti-Republican or pro-Democrat or anti-Democrat (or anti-Green Party).  If I see you tweeting or posting the same content 3 times in the same day, hours apart, it gets old.

It makes me want to unfollow your account.  It makes me want to escape into a Mighty Ducks marathon or a Candy Crush coma.

I don't just follow NBC News.  I follow CNN and MSNBC and Fox News and the Washington Post and a dozen other news outlets.  If you're tweeting a fact check, chances are they are too.

So I'm seeing their 12 individual tweets.  Then your tweet 3 times in the same day -- in less than a full work day?

It's excessive.  It's exhausting to see, whether the topic is about Fall leaves changing colors, how Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election or Donald Trump's random (and possibly offensive) tweet of the day.

If you don't have anything to tweet, then maybe don't tweet.  If  there's no news, don't regurgitate it.

I'd prefer that pandas playing on jungle gyms take over my Twitter feed if there's no hard news
happening.  Don't deprive me of that, please.