Posts Tagged ‘wall*e

06
Jan
09

Ten Faves from ’08

I don’t know about you, but I was disappointed.

 

If the question is, “What did I expect from the films of 2008?” my answer would be, “A better film year than 2007.” Not to say that 2007 was bad; the tail-end of it made up for most of that year. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of 2008.

 

“Indiana Jones 4” (aka “Indy Gets an X-File”) was ludicrous if not insulting. And speaking of “X-Files” the return of Mulder and Scully to the screen was warranted, but the story wasn’t. “Speed Racer” could’ve been more fun, “Prince Caspian” could’ve used more characterization and plot. “Untraceable” was among those movies that couldn’t have been saved, period.

 

However, it wasn’t all bad. “Iron Man” and “The Dark Knight” proved that superheroes can rule the day, if not the box office (although “Hellboy 2” was underrated). Pixar pixel pixies made mechanics emotional with “Wall*E.” Robert Downey, Jr. didn’t just make “Iron Man,” he made “Tropic Thunder” as Kirk Lazarus, an Australian method-actor who undergoes pigmentation-surgery to portray a black Sergeant in Vietnam. And “City of Ember” was the best and most-overlooked kids’ movie.

 

In alphabetical order, here are my Ten Faves from ’08.

 

bank_job1“The Bank Job” – I caught this one on DVD. After I finished watching it, I kicked myself. This movie was interesting, fun, and a great throwback to the Seventies.

 

 

 

 

city_of_ember“City of Ember” – Thoughtful, well-made post-apocalyptic kids’ movie. I was surprised.

 

 

 

 

 

dark_knight“The Dark Knight” – This movie is entirely on a different plain of filmmaking. Kudos to Christopher Nolan on doing such a great job and to Heath Ledger, who gave one of his best performances ever (and his last).

 

 

 

 

hellboy_two“Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” – Fun fantasy film from Guillermo del Toro. I really enjoyed this one. “Hellboy” is beginning to grow on me.

 

 

 

 

iron_man“Iron Man” – A great popcorn blockbuster movie to begin the summer with. Robert Downey Jr. was nothing less than perfectly casted. Jeff Bridges had fun being the bad guy.

 

 

 

 

leatherheads“Leatherheads” – Another overlooked movie. George Clooney spent years trying to bring this one to light. It’s funny, quirky, zany, screwball… and made football interesting.

 

 

 

 

son_of_rambow“Son of Rambow” – British indie about kids who learn to make film, not war. Great fun and a tribute to filmmaking (moreso than “Zack and Miri”).

 

 

 

 

transsiberian“Transsiberian” – Emily Mortimer steals this movie from Woody Harrelson and Ben Kingsley. A great follow-up to “Session 9” and “The Machinist,” also directed by Brad Anderson.

 

 

 

 

tropic_thunder“Tropic Thunder” – I initially thought this was shallow at first, but repeated viewings on DVD make this one even better.”I’m the dude playin’ the dude, disguised as another dude!”

 

 

 

 

wall_e“Wall*E” – Wall*E is the story of the little robot that fell in love. Environmental and biological themes abound but don’t get too preachy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all, folks. See ya at the movies in 2009!

-Chas

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14
Aug
08

Predicting the Box Office, Part III

When we last left off, Big Willie-style Fourth o’ July was goin’ on, and “Hancock” had one of the largest opening weekends of the summer. Let’s see how other movies have fared…

 

The next weekend released one of the better movies of July: “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.” What shocked me were the differing opinions between the critics and the audience on the weekends. The critics hated “Hancock,” but loved “Hellboy 2”; conversely, the public went and saw “Hancock” and didn’t turn out for “Hellboy 2” like I had expected. Another release for that weekend was Brendan Fraser in “Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D,” which I was told you really DID need 3-D glasses for.

 

Eddie Murphy’s comedy “Meet Dave” opened at $5.2 million.

 

“Mamma Mia!” had an impressive opening as it could have hoped: $27,751,240. Why? Because of its competition: “The Dark Knight.” “TDK” kicked “Iron Man” and “Indy 4”’s opening weekends, raking in $158 million. It has since set box office records the least of which was biggest weekend box office opening. Whether it was the fact that it was a sequel to “Batman Begins,” or Heath Ledger’s last movie, or simply people who enjoy the work of Christopher Nolan, “The Dark Knight” has held the number one spot at the box office for the last month.

 

Believe it or not, I really DID want to believe, but the new “X-Files” movie let me down. With an opening of $10 million for the weekend, it was beaten out by the Will Ferrell/ John C. Reilly comedy “Step Brothers.” Whether it was the plot of “X-Files,” the fact that it’s been years since the series has been on the air, or maybe there are that many more fans for Ferrell and company as opposed to “The X-Files.”

 

We got a third “Mummy” movie, which was a slight disappointment at the B.O., only taking in $40 million. Its competition, “Swing Vote,” had one of the lowest openings for the summer as well. Was it the reviews of “Mummy 3” that kept people away, or are we already done with the franchise?

 

Batman continued his grip on the number one spot and if any movie could thwart him, it was “Pineapple Express.” However, Judd Apatow and company couldn’t pull that off, but did take in $23 mil for the weekend. Their competition, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2,” brought in $10 mil.

 

Will anything break Batman’s stranglehold on the number one spot? This week we have the premiere of “Tropic Thunder.” If “Pineapple Express” couldn’t do it, this is the last chance.

 

Here are the rundown of the numbers for the summer:

 

Biggest Openings of the Summer:

 

“The Dark Knight”                    $158,411,483

“Indy 4”                                   $126,917,373

“Iron Man”                               $102,118,668

“Wall*E”                                  $63,087,526

“Hancock”                               $62,603,879

“”Kung Fu Panda”                    $60,239,130

“Sex and the City”                    $56,848,056

“The Incredible Hulk”               $55,414,050

“Narnia: Prince Caspian”          $55,034,805

“Wanted”                                 $50,927,085

 

 

And the Top Ten Cumulative for the Summer:

 

“The Dark Knight”                    $448,886,084

“Iron Man”                               $316,590,841

“Indy 4”                                   $314,819,219

“Hancock”                               $222,625,918

“Kung Fu Panda”                     $211,507,723

“Wall*E”                                  $211,332,152

“Sex and the City”                    $151,838,609

“Narnia: Prince Caspian”          $140,117,978

“The Incredible Hulk”               $133,932,430

“Wanted”                                 $132,802,780

10
Jul
08

Movie Review: Wall*E

 

 

More serious than I thought…

 

Starring the voices of Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, and Sigourney Weaver. Directed by Andrew Stanton

 

The Future. Planet Earth. The world is now skyscrapers made of cubes of trash (in between still-standing high rises) and dilapidated highways; it’s the remains of humanity after the Buy N Large Corporation conquered humanity and took everyone into space, leaving behind garbage and toxicity. The last working robot Wall*E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter-Earth-class) compacts the trash into cubes and is responsible for creating the trash-scrapers.

 

Over the past 700 years that mankind has abandoned the Earth Wall*E has diligently done his job and gained a personality. His “home” (a giant garbage truck) holds objects of his curiosity as well as replacement parts and an iPod that he uses to watch, “Holly Dolly!” on VHS. Apart from a cockroach, Wall*E has no friends.

 

When a giant spaceship lands and drops off another robot called Eve (Extraterrestial Vegetation Evaluator) Wall*E becomes fascinated with her; Eve, not so much. Immediately Eve goes to searching the planet for any vegetation and Wall*E tries shadowing her, instantly finding out that Eve has a trigger-happy arm and a quick temper. When Wall*E gives her a plant he put in a shoe and faster than you can say “Mission Accomplished,” Eve calls for the ship to return and goes into a comatose state. Once the ship picks up Eve, Wall*E goes on an adventure.

 

I’ll stop the story there with the exception of saying that the human race lives on a spaceship called the Axiom where they fly/bump around on “hover” chairs and weigh about 300 pounds on average. Seriously.

 

What I didn’t expect from this movie was how lonely an atmosphere Pixar could create. Desolation, trash, toxicity, dirt; it takes hard work to make it all believable and to give a “possible” future based on mankind’s current “rate of expansion” (there’s more than a double-entendre in that). This movie is full of messages and might turn away audiences looking for a “cutesy” movie. But then again, don’t most Pixar films?

 

Aside from the “human consumerism leading to obesity” (we’ve proved that) there is the “love conquers all” theme which is where “Wall*E” is the most endearing. Whereas Eve is temperamental and trigger-happy, Wall*E is shy and carries himself in a Charlie Chaplin/Buster Keaton sort of way.

And the movie does have its comical moments, a lot more than you’ve seen in the previews and trailers. Added to that are the references to “2001,” “Star Trek,” “Flight of the Navigator,” and Atari. Oh yeah, and watch for John Ratzenberger’s cameo.

 

My grade: B+

29
May
08

June 2008 Movie Releases

 

 

 

“Kung Fu Panda” – Animated adventure about a panda who is the “Chosen One” and must defeat a Tiger of ancient evil. Voices by Jack Black and Angelina Jolie. Opens June 6, 2008

 

“Miss Conception” – Heather Graham plays “beat the biological clock” as she goes through myriads of men, just to get a donor. Was there a line for this? Opens June 6, 2008

 

“The Promotion” – Seann William Scott and John C. Reilly are supermarket managers vying for a managerial position at a new location. Will this inspire other like-wise films? Maybe competition among Wal-Mart employees? Whatever. Opens June 6, 2008.

 

“You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” – Adam Sandler is Israeli counter-terrorist who move to America to be hair stylist. I not make this up. Opens June 6, 2008

 

“The Happening” – M. Night Shamma-Lamma-Ding-Dong’s next movie. A sci-fi “plants are taking over” story with Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, and John Leguizamo. Opens June 13, 2008

 

“The Incredible Hulk” – Dr. David Bruce Banner / Hulk is back, this time played by Ed Norton. Complications arise when he’s taken on by Abomination, a creature that matches his size and strength. Reportedly, their fight scene is 26 minutes long. Opening June 13, 2008

 

“Quid Pro Quo” – Nick Stahl is a guy who is paralyzed and is investigating a world where people get their kicks from becoming disabled. He’s led into this world by none other than Vera Farmiga. It could be worse… Opens June 13, 2008

 

“Get Smart” – Steve Carell is Agent Maxwell Smart. Anna Hathaway is Agent 99. Alan Arkin is the Chief. The Rock is in on it as well. Opens June 20, 2008

 

“Kit Kittredge: An American Girl” – Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”) plays the title character (based on the American Girl stories) about a girl who wants to be a reporter during the Depression. When a murder is committed, she takes the job of investigating. Maybe she can get some help from Nancy Drew… Also stars Joan Cusack. Opening June 20, 2008

 

“The Love Guru” – Mike Myers, Justin Timberlake, and Jessica Alba in a story of a man brought up in India who comes to the U.S. trying to break into the self-help business. Opens June 20, 2008

 

“Finding Amanda” – Matthew Broderick is a compulsive gambler sent to Las Vegas to find his 20-year-old niece Amanda (Britney Snow), who is now a hooker, and take her to rehab. No, no, no. Opening June 27, 2008

 

“Wall*E” – A lonely robot left on a planet finally gets a friend after 700 years, only for her to be taken away. Pixar’s latest venture. The trailer is great! Opening June 27, 2008

 

“Wanted” – James MacAvoy becomes the latest drama-turned-action star in a story about a young man who finds out that his dad was an assassin and now, HE’S part of the fraternity. It also includes Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie. Opening June 27, 2008