Aug 7, 2016

WIWTW #58

With the critic and box office results coming in for Suicide Squad, it's very clear that Warner Bros. has to do something drastic. Anything! Unless of course they want to just halt their accelerated cinematic universe before it even begins.

If we take a look at the comic book adaptations they've put out since The Dark Knight, here's what WB has released:

The Losers: $29.4m worldwide ($25m budget) and a 44 metascore (not a superhero movie)
Jonah Hex: $10.9m ($47m budget) and a 33 metascore

Green Lantern: $219.9m worldwide ($200m budget) and a 39 metascore
The Dark Knight Rises: $1.1b worldwide ($250m budget) and a 78 metascore
Man of Steel: $668m worldwide ($225m budget) and a 55 metascore
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: $872.7m worldwide ($250m budget) and a 44 metascore

Outside of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, it's almost as if Warner Bros. doesn't know how to do comic book movies. Sure, $668 million worldwide for Man of Steel sounds good, and so does $872.7 million for BvS. That's a lot of money but it's not THAT much for what should be billion dollar earners in this day and age (This is Batman and Superman for crying out loud!). That's clearly what WB was aiming for and they haven't been able to achieve that since The Dark Knight Rises.

Suicide Squad is sitting on a 41 metascore right now and word of mouth from what I'm hearing isn't good. Like Batman v Superman, it's looking like the opening weekend will be huge before quickly returning to earth during the rest of its run. There is now a lot on the line for Wonder Woman after two huge disappointments for Warner Bros.

Now on to this week's WIWTW.

But first...
 

Some News (That I Actually Care About)

  • Very cool to me seeing a guy like Jeremy Smits having a small role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Glad that Disney isn't pretending like the prequels don't exist. @EW
  • Box office report: Like we've seen with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, critic reviews don't always get in the way of opening weekends and that's how things have shaped up for Suicide Squad which opened up to a record-breaking $135.1 million, becoming the largest opening for a movie debuting in August (Guardians of the Galaxy had it before with $94.3 million). Critic reviews and the negative word of mouth that's already started will most likely have a big effect on next weekend, but we'll have to see. BvS dropped 70% in its second week. Is SS destined to repeat? Moving on, Jason Bourne earned $22 million in its second weekend which represents a drop of 62%. While that's not necessarily terrific, JB will certainly be profitable as its domestic total is not far from matching the budget costs. Bad Moms added another $14.2 million and that's a big success of margins for STX. The other newcomer of the weekend? Sorry, easy to forget as Nine Lives quietly earned a mere $6.5 million.
  • Screenwriter Simon Barrett (You're Next, The Guest) seems to have a very strange fascination with men-turned-animal comedies. @The Talkhouse
  • Suicide Squad is unlikely to get a release in China which is only going to hurt its worldwide earnings @The Hollywood Reporter
Video of the week:Cool video explaining how Pixar is so good at making people cry

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Number of movies watched: 8

Average rating: 6.63
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July 31st

 

Tremors II: Aftershocks (1996)

Rating: 5/10

What is it: Direct-to-video sequel to the cult hit Tremors

Tremors is very good for what it is, which made a sequel just seem natural. When Tremors II first came out in '96, it was hailed as one of the greatest direct-to-video movies ever. While the special effects are a lot better than they deserve to be, Tremors II doesn't really offer much else. Sure it's nice that Fred Ward agreed to come back, but his new sidekick who's played by Chris Gartin is irritating. There's no worthwhile female character this time and the jokes fall flat for the most part. It's very easy to see where corners were cut for Tremors II. While there are worse non-theatrical movies out there, Tremors II hasn't aged well.

August 1st

 

L'homme qui plantait des arbres [The Man Who Planted Trees] (1987): Best Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 8.5/10

What is it: One of Canada's greatest short films of all time

The Man Who Planted Trees is truly an experience. Narrated through the perspective of one of the characters, it tells the story of a solitary man who spends his life planting trees. While it might not seem it, his actions have an enormous effect and it serves as a message of the good that each person is capable of. The animation is a beautiful hand-drawn work of art and the sound design is rich and full of life. The narrated dialogue is also very moving. I watched the French version of the 30-minute short, but no doubt that the Christopher Plummer-voiced English version is just as powerful.

August 2nd

 

Unaware (2010): Worst Movie of the Week Award

Rating: 4/10

What is it: A found-footage horror film set in rural Texas

I'm always ready to give found-footage horror movies a chance, but Unaware was one of those times I wish I didn't. The biggest problem it has is that it takes what feels like forever to build up to something. I don't usually mind movies that take their time, but directors Sean Bardin and Robert Cooley do a poor job at manufacturing tension for the first 60 minutes or so. In particular, the opening segment with the couple driving to a relative's house goes on for way too long. While I didn't mind the tired subject that Unaware covers, the acting of the featured couple isn't that great and I couldn't help but dislike the male character who just struck me as an obnoxious simpleton. Unaware could've been so much better than it is.

August 3rd

 

Superman (1978)

Rating: 7.5/10

What is it: The first true big-screen adaptation of a superhero comic book

Superman represents a significant piece of Hollywood history. Its Star Wars influence shows, but it manages to be its own picture and successfully put one of the greatest characters of all time on the big screen. Christopher Reeve IS Superman and he's Clark Kent and no one has been able to match his interpretations yet. Sure, some of the special effects haven't aged perfectly, but there is a lot to be impressed with. Superman still has the ability to wow you today. While most people describe the '78 Superman as cheesy, I like to see it as earnest. My only complaint is that I do feel like that at almost 2 hours and a half, the film is a bit long-winded. Beyond that, Superman is one of the best superhero movies ever.


 

Kingpin (1996)

Rating: 5.5/10

What is it: A Farrelly brothers comedy about the underbelly of the bowling world

I don't think anyone could make the mistake of calling Kingpin a masterpiece. It's childish and it's full of the typical Farrelly brothers gross-out humour. Those parts really bother me, like really really bother me. But at the same time, I couldn't help but be totally charmed by Woody Harrelson and obviously by Bill Murray. Those two make Kingpin worth seeing and are enough to raise it up to almost-respectability. Even Randy Quaid has the odd moment. Just imagine a sunset you're trying to watch being blocked by a landfill. That's kind of the same situation as watching Kingpin. You have to look beyond the garbage if you want to enjoy it and I was able to.

August 4th

 

Superman II (1980)

Rating: 8/10

What is it: Sequel to Superman where Kal-El faces a new threat

Superman II represents an improvement over Superman due to the fact that it's a much tighter production and it succeeds magnificently at raising the stakes. Not only does Superman have to face the three most dangerous Kryptonians of all time, but he has Lois Lane mercilessly trying to unmask him. Not to mention the greatest criminal mind on Earth is up to his usual antics. Christopher Reeve continues his mastery of Superman and Terence Stamp does very well as General Zod. Zod is an interesting mix of intimidation and humour and he leaves you wishing there were more scenes with him. If only more sequels were like Superman II which does bigger is better right.

August 5th

 

Creature Comforts (1989)

Rating: 7.5/10

What is it: One of 2 Aardman Animations to be up for Best Animated Short in the same year

Creature Comforts beat A Grand Day Out for Best Animated Short and I personally can't really agree with that. That's not to say Creature Comforts is a bad movie, far from it. Has a claymation mockumentary ever been done before? Probably not and just for that, CC is pretty unique. It's also very funny. I mean, what's funnier than clay animals answering questions about what it's like to live in a zoo compared to being in the wild? The animation really is impressive and the non-actor voice actors lend an honest feel to the whole thing. I just happen to like A Grand Day Out better.

August 6th

 

King of California (2007)

Rating: 7/10

What is it: The story of a 16 year-old girl and her gold obsessed, mentally unstable father

King of California (Mike Cahill's debut as screenwriter and director) is one of the rare movies able to properly balance humour and drama in almost perfect harmony. A big reason for that is Michael Douglas' measured performance as Charlie who's just gotten out of an institution. Charlie is responsible for most of the film's comedy, but there's a sadness that he carries inside as he knows that his mental issues are out of his control. Evan Rachel Wood as his daughter Miranda is also very good and she takes on a pretty heavy load as she's responsible for narrating the film from start to finish. With a fun and quirky storyline, King of California is not what you'd expect.