Halt

AMC Shockingly Renews ‘Halt and Catch Fire’, More Renewals

I didn’t see this coming. Apparently the show has good DVR ratings. AMC has renewed Halt and Catch Fire for a second season, coming back next summer.

MTV has also picked up summer drama Finding Carter for a second season. FX has renewed The Strain for a second season. Hulu has picked up The Awesomes for a third season. Sundance has renewed Rectify for a third season. BBC has picked up Happy Valley for a second season.

The Killing

The Killing: Season 2

About two weeks ago, I announced the daunting task of binge watching all of the Killing, in an effort to get through the most recent fourth season. I finally finished Season 2, which is a bit more bumpy than Season 1, but ultimately provides an excellent partner to the first season, because it fleshed out characters, and allowed for even greater performances.

After 26 episodes, I can say I now have a newfound interest and respect in Brent Sexton as an actor. His season two role was handled even better than the first season, and we finally saw him mourn the loss of Rosie. I’m ashamed that his performance was overlooked. He stood out above the rest of the stellar cast, for me. Mirelle Enos and Joel Kinnaman are both terrific. I can’t believe Kinnaman decided to do Robocop… he’s so much better than that.

Michelle Forbes, Billy Campbell, Kristen Lehman, and Eric Ladin all had their moments in the sun. It might not have been the season of dynamic storytelling, but it was the season of excellent acting and compelling character development. Truly, I’ve never seen Billy Campbell deliver such a nuanced performance. I’ve always thought of him as a bit of a fluff piece, even on Once and Again. Here, he really puts all the naysayers to shame.

An uneven season bolstered by the work of the actors. I’m a little afraid to venture into the third season, knowing I won’t be seeing most of these faces again, though I hope maybe they’ll find a reason to check in on them again sometime before The Killing closes its doors for good.

And for what it’s worth, I did not see Rosie’s killer coming, and the reveal made it so much better having had to wait for it that long.

FINAL GRADE: B+

TMNT

Weekend Box Office: ‘Turtles’ and ‘Guardians’ Defeat All

Ninja Turtles led the weekend again dropping a predictable 56%. Guardians of the Galaxy held well, dropping only 41%. That helped both holdovers beat three newbies this weekend.

Lets Be Cops did the best, and had the best per screen average. However, it has the weakest cinemascore of the three new entries, which could signal a short lifespan. It only got a B, while The Expendables 3 got an A-, and The Giver got a B+.

Also, huge kudos to The Hundred Foot Journey which only dipped 35% in week 2. Boyhood almost cracked the Top 10, in only 771 screens. Calvary continues to do well, with a 3K PSA (higher than Into The Storm or Lucy), and What If disappointed in an expansion, failing to crack even the Top 15.

1) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- 28.4M Weekend, 117.6M Total

2) Guardians Of The Galaxy- 23.5M Weekend, 222.2M Total

3) Lets Be Cops- 17.7M Weekend, 26.1M Total

4) The Expendables 3- 16.2M Weekend, 16.2M Total

5) The Giver- 12.8M Weekend, 12.8M Total

6) Into The Storm- 7.7M Weekend, 31.3M Total

7) The Hundred Foot Journey- 7.1M Weekend, 23.6M Total

8) Lucy- 5.3M Weekend, 107.5M Total

9) Step Up All In- 2.4M Weekend, 11.5M Total

10) Hercules- 2M Weekend, 68.1M Total

11) Boyhood- 1.9M Weekend, 13.6M Total

12) Get On Up- 1.9M Weekend, 27M Total

13) Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes- 1.9M Weekend, 201.8M Total

14) Magic In The Moonlight- 1.8M Weekend, 4.7M Total

15) A Most Wanted Man- 1.2M Weekend, 12.6M Total

17) What If- 0.8M Weekend, 1M Total

??) Calvary- 0.4M Weekend, 0.8M Total

 

Uncle Buck

This Week’s Anniversaries

John Candy’s classic Uncle Buck turns 25 this week. The film opened in first place with 8.9M in 1989, and also helped to launch the careers of Macaulay Culkin and Gaby Hoffman. Uncle Buck went on to gross 66.7M and was the 18th highest grossing film of 1989. Critics give it a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences give it a 6.9 on IMDB. Even People did a retrospective in honor of its 25th Anniversary.

This is the 20th anniversary of The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert, which opened in limited release with a fantastic 31K per screen average. Priscilla went on to gross 11.2M at the box office, and won an Oscar for Costume Design. It helped to launch the careers of Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving, and Terence Stamp. Critics loved it, with a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences liked it with 7.5 on IMDB. The film would later be adapted into a Broadway musical.

15 years ago, Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin teamed up for Bowfinger, which launched in second place with 18M. It went on to make 66.3M. Critics liked it, with an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences didn’t quite get it, with a 6.4 on IMDB. Adjusted for inflation, this would be a 100M hit.

This is the 10th Anniversary of Alien Vs Predator, which topped the charts with 38.2M. AVP didn’t have legs, however, and left theatres with only 80M domestic, and 92M foreign. A sequel was made, but it didn’t come close to even the first one. It remains the highest grossing Predator entry, but only the 3rd highest Alien. Critics hated it, with 21% on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences give it a 5.5 on IMDB.

This is the 5th Anniversary of District 9 (Already five years old. Shocking, right?). The sci-fi epic launched to 37.3M in 1st place, on its way to 115M domestic, and 210M worldwide. Even with that box office, it was only the 27th highest grossing film of 2009. District 9 managed a Best Picture nomination, as well as Adapted Screenplay, Editing, and Visual Effects. Critics give it a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences give it an 8.0 on IMDB.

And for you anime fans, this is also the 5th Anniversary of the American release of Ponyo, which didn’t translate well here. It opened in 9th place with 3.5M, on its way to a disappointing gross of 15M domestic. However, it should be noted that Ponyo did extremely well overseas, and has a worldwide gross of 201M. Ponyo was adored by critics at 92%, and audiences enjoyed it to with a 7.7 on IMDB.

 

Lets Be Cops

Box Office Predictions: ‘Expendables’, ‘Cops’, or ‘Turtles’ in 1st?

1) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- 28M Weekend, 122M Total

Even if you buy into a large tumble for the Ninja Turtles, they’re gonna win the weekend. I know, I made it sound like this was a weekend where anyone could sneak in, but it’s not. The Turtles are most likely going to win this race, but competition for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th is going to be really tight.

2) The Expendables 3- 24M Weekend, 24M Total

The first one opened to 34M, the second opened to 28M, and another dip is likely. There’s still a good amount of hype around this, helped by the addition of several well known actors, including Antonio Banderas and Wesley Snipes. Reviews won’t matter, as this is not the type of film that reviews well anyway.

3) Lets Be Cops- 22M Weekend, 30M Total

With strong late night grosses on Tuesday, and a decent Wednesday, Lets Be Cops could be a sleeper hit this summer. It’ll be neck and neck with Guardians though.

4) Guardians Of The Galaxy- 21M Weekend, 221M Total

Another 50% drop is likely, but Guardians is probably hitting 200M today, so that’s another milestone gone.

5) The Giver- 18M Weekend, 18M Total

The Giver has the best reviews of the three new releases, which could translate into some money for the underdog of the bunch. Hopefully it won’t be left out in the cold like The Mortal Instruments was last year.

6) Into The Storm- 8M Weekend, 33M Total

Look for a 60% dive. Expendables, Lets Be Cops, and The Giver could all pull from this audience.

7) The Hundred Foot Journey- 6M Weekend, 24M Total

None of the new releases could be considered direct competition. It might only drop 45% this week.

8) Lucy- 4.5M Weekend, 107.5M Total

Lucy will drop another 50%.

9) Step Up All In- 3M Weekend, 13M Total

Step Up will likely drop over 50%, but might stay in the Top 10.

10) What If- 3M Weekend, 3.2M Total

I’m going to make a bold prediction, and say that What If does well in its expansion, and somehow cracks the Top 10. There are a bunch of movies that are going to do about 3M this weekend, including Hercules and Get On Up, either of which could swap in for this 10th place spot if it doesn’t go well for What If.

Humphrey Bogart And Lauren Bacall In The Big Sleep

RIP Lauren Bacall

Another screen legend has left us. Lauren Bacall has passed away at 89 years old. Her legacy spanned 70 years. The first thing I saw her in was The Mirror Has Two Faces, after being forced to follow my mom into her choice of film. I’m only familiar with most of her later work, including roles in My Fellow Americans, Misery, and most recently the awful The Forger.

She won an honorary Oscar in 2010, and was nominated in 1997 for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces. She also won the Cecil B Demille award in 1993 from the Hollywood Foreign Press.

 

Robin Williams

Hook

Starring: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott, Dante Basco

Directed By: Steven Spielberg

This isn’t really a review. I can’t really review one of my favorite films from my childhood, that remains one of my favorite films to watch on a cloudy day. It is always rewatchable.

It’s also incredibly heartbreaking to watch now that both Robin Williams and Bob Hoskins have passed.I’m watching the film, of course, because Williams passed yesterday.

Watching his performance, as a boring father who risks everything to save his kids, and transforms back into the child everyone fell in love with, is everything. It’s also very sad, because you realize that he learns that through happy thoughts you can do the impossible. For a man so incredibly depressed, he certainly had no problem creating the most happy moments in film, and making us all laugh.

I could never properly review this film, because it holds a very special place in my heart. I love Rufio. I love Dustin Hoffman’s glorious performance as Hook. Johnny Depp owes a lot to Hoffman, who really deserved an Oscar nomination for his role (he did get nominated for a Golden Globe, so I’m not entirely crazy).

I’ve used Dustin Hoffman’s mini-monologue to Maggie in auditions before.

I don’t know how I would feel about this movie if I was an adult watching it, but I’d like to think that even then it would bring out the kid in me. And the score is incredible. Absolutely beautiful music.

Up next? Jumanji. Robin Williams left behind so many great films.

FINAL GRADE: A+

Robin Williams

RIP Robin Williams

Sometimes, I hate being a blogger. I hate feeling like I have to write something immediately when someone dies, so that my readers can have access.

Robin Williams’s death at the age of 63 feels oddly personal to me, perhaps because I’ve spent my entire life enjoying his work in films.

I shouldn’t need to run down his body of work. He’s Robin freaking Williams. If you don’t know who he is, you’ve been living under a rock. I’ve seen 35 of his films, and they’ve largely defined how I see films today.

Hook, for what its worth, is one of my favorite films of all time. It’s one of those movies that I pop in when I’m feeling down, and need a pick me up. A lot of people turn their noses up at Hook, but I absolutely love it. Today, I lost my happy thought.

Williams was an actor. He could do the funny slapstick as well as he could do the intense serious work. He proved himself early on with Good Morning Vietnam, and continued to redefine himself with Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting, One Hour Photo, and Insomnia among others. Even though Hollywood had largely abandoned him as a bankable actor, Williams continued to turn in great performances in small films like World’s Greatest Dad.

I kept hoping Williams’s career would turn around, which is why I blasted The Angriest Man In Brooklyn a week ago. It was beneath him, and beneath his talent. He deserved better.

He’s publicly been battling depression for years, as well as his addiction to alcohol and drugs.

My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I know people say this a lot, and they want to mean it, but it becomes more of a formality. Today, I mean it in the deepest sense possible. When I read “Robin Williams Commits Suicide”, I felt a deep blow to my gut, like I’d lost a part of me, or someone close to me. I realized that it was knowing that Williams never got the comeback he so rightly deserved, and never got a second chance to show everyone how incredibly talented we all knew he could be.

Through his work, I felt like I knew Robin. Like we all knew Robin. Somehow, if we ever met him, he’d chat with us about the good old days, even though there weren’t any memories between us. I feel like I lost a friend today, even though we’d never spoken or met.

I think that feeling speaks volumes about how deeply his work transcended the screen, and how his legacy will remain always. I will show my kids Hook, and Aladdin, and Mrs Doubtfire. When they’re ready, they can watch Dead Poets Society, and Good Will Hunting. They’ll come to know the Robin Williams I knew.

Bangarang, Mr Williams. Bangarang.

The Expendables

The Expendables 2

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Jean Claude Van Damme, Nan Yu, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, Charisma Carpenter

Directed By: Simon West

After watching this for a second time, after watching the first one, I actually enjoy the sequel more… plot wise. There’s a more definable plot here, even if “nuclear weapons” is overused in action films.

We all know that Hemsworth is a goner. I didn’t like that Jet Li disappeared for most of the movie, but it was nice to see that Nan Yu could hold her own, and wasn’t a damsel in distress. Van Damme was an excellent villain choice. Norris, Willis, and Schwarzenegger are good in expanded cameos.

The rapport between the guys is the reason to watch the movie, plus the explosive action. This film doesn’t skimp on explosive action. I enjoyed the film a second time.

Yeah, it’s mindless action. It’s easy to call this film crap, but we all enjoy candy and cookies, we just recognize that it’s not good for you. The Expendables franchise is a bunch of candy and cookies. Just eat it, enjoy it, and hate yourself later.

FINAL GRADE: B

Suits

USA Renews ‘Suits’ For A Fifth Season

USA has started the renewal cycle of its summer series by picking up its safest bet, Suits, which averages over 4 million viewers an episode. Suits is the first of the group of summer shows, which includes Royal Pains, Graceland, Covert Affairs, Rush, and Satisfaction. Both new shows, Rush and Satisfaction are struggling. Suits was the only one that was a 100% obvious renewal.

Too Cool For Comic-Con

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