Tag Archives: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

US Box Office Report: 25/09/15 – 27/09/15

The public checks back into Hotel Transylvania, The Intern gets paid (unlike actual interns), Stonewall crumbled, The Green Inferno immolated, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Much like the first film before it, Hotel Transylvania 2 is officially your new Best September Opening Weekend Ever.  Yes, despite the first film exiting all of our collective memories almost as soon as it entered them – and it really pains me to say that because I love Genndy Tartakovsky so very, very much – it turns out that the Hotel Transylvania brand is strong with the audience that matters: kids and, even more importantly than that, the desperate parents who just want them to be quiet for 90 goddamn minutes.  They both helped power Transylvania 2 to an excellent $47.5 million haul, a good $5 mil more than the first one made… three years ago?!  Oh, GOD, time won’t stop getting away from me!

Kids weren’t the only underserved market being thrown a (possibly juicy it’s kinda hard to tell until I can see these films) bone this weekend, though, as Nancy Meyers finally returned from exile to provide yet another film that ITV2 can add to their schedules whenever they need to fill a spot and the Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift file is too worn out.  This one, The Intern, did the usual Nancy Meyers business, slotting comfortably into second place with $18 million, although that is a step down from what It’s Complicated made 6 years ago ($22 million).  Also returning from exile was Eli Roth with his evil-savage-cannibal-tribe movie The Green Inferno, but nobody gives a sh*t about Eli Roth so it barely made $3.4 million from 1,540 theatres for ninth place.

Meanwhile, the world of Limited Releases was just bursting with activity this week.  To start with, Sicario went up to 53 screens ahead of its nationwide expansion next weekend and managed to crack the Top 10 with an astonishing $30,000 per-screen average.  In terms of the weekend’s actual openers, though, the biggest success came from Lost In Hong Kong, the second feature from Xu Zheng and a massive hit in its native China, which rode a 28 screen opening to a very strong $558,900 and a per-screen average of $19,961.  Next up was Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, a film that features Michael Shannon yelling so I’m sold, which did a very strong $32,807 from 2 screens and a per-screen average of you can figure that out.  And, finally, Half Nelson writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck returned with Mississippi Grind which opened on just the one screen but managed a very respectable $14,335 nonetheless.

Bountiful weekend for the Limited Releases then!  Well, unless you’re Stonewall.  Yeah, Roland Emmerich’s apparently-thoroughly-misguided passion project crashed and burned on the 129 screens it opened on, taking an absolutely pitiful $112,414 for a per-screen average of $871.  Just goes to show: trying to turn one of the most important and diverse moments in LGBT history into a whitewashed Wizard of Oz-ification about a generic bland White guy because stories about events like these can’t just be for LGBT audiences, oh no, they must also provide easy “ins” for White straight audience members too, will just get you a tsunami of backlash, scathing reviews, and nobody will see your ‘accessible’ movie in the first place.  This almost feels like justice, it really does.


 

hotel transylvania 2

Oh, it’s been one hell of a week for me, so let’s crack on with this Full List.

Box Office Results: Friday 25th September 2015 – Sunday 27th September 2015

1] Hotel Transylvania 2

$47,500,000 / NEW

OK, Sony Animation.  Now, maybe, pretty please, can you let Genndy just make whatever he goddamn wants?  He’s given you two solid hits whilst tethered to the sinking Sandler brand, can you just let him off the leash and make his own damn films now?  Please?  I’m still bitter that you shoved that brilliant-looking Popeye movie he was developing back into the basement for this.

2] The Intern

$18,225,000 / NEW

This looks like hot garbage.  That said, I haven’t actually seen any Nancy Meyers films yet, although I want to try and find the time to get at least one watched before I sit down on Saturday and spend… 121 minutes?!  …how?

3] Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

$14,000,000 / $51,685,672

For those who missed it a couple of weeks back, here’s my review.  Still waiting for a point to appear in this franchise, some reason as to why I am spending this much time with these non-characters, but I will say that I would take this series over the Divergent films any day of the week.  For one, despite them having nothing going on so far, at least Maze Runner isn’t drop dead boring like Divergent is.  And for two, unlike Divergent, there are only going to be three of these things instead of four.  Hopefully.  Please.

4] Everest

$13,090,000 / $23,129,805

Oh, yeah, this one went to actual cinemas this week.  Think we can see that this genius release strategy hasn’t really worked at all.  Just because something worked for a Mission: Impossible movie, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for your film as well.  Your film doesn’t feature Tom Cruise, after all.

5] Black Mass

$11,510,000 / $42,608,179

A lot of my university friends are really, really excited about this one, for some reason.  In fact, if it weren’t for them, it’d probably have flown under my radar near-totally.  The fact that it’s not coming out in the UK until mid-November for some bizarre reason might have something to do with that.  Plus, I’m mega-excited for The Peanuts Movie whilst those heathens couldn’t give two sh*ts, so…

I don’t actually have a punchline for this entry, so we should probably just move on.

6] The Visit

$6,750,000 / $52,260,580

OK, I’m hearing from a lot of people that this is actually alright and that is very disconcerting to me.  Because, well, it sounds awful and it’s Shyamalan.  But it’s apparently alright?  I dunno, this sounds wrong to me.  Or, you know, maybe I’m just worried that it being OK and doing decent business will lead to him trying to make a second Avatar movie.  I know that that series will never hit cinema screens again, but he’s already ruined it once and I don’t much like going through the rest of my life being terrified that he may try again.

7] The Perfect Guy

$4,750,000 / $48,871,135

I got nothing.  In fact, to tell you the truth, I completely forgot this thing existed until I just typed in the words for this entry.  Remember when this was number 1 two weeks back?

8] War Room

$4,275,000 / $55,999,681

Oh, please, October.  Please hurry up and eject nonsense like this from the chart.  God, September is the worst.

9] The Green Inferno

$3,494,000 / NEW

Right, this won’t be sticking around next week so let me get both of my commentaries for this film out of the way in one go.  1] This film stars Sky Ferreira, who is primarily a pop singer and should be way bigger than she is (due to lots of bad luck, mainly).  If you haven’t listened to her 2013 debut Night Time, My Time, go do so.  2] American movie goers, it worryingly sounds like critics are going to give a passing grade to Knock Knock in a few weeks when that finally drops on your side of the pond.  Do not believe them, stay away from it.

10] Sicario

$1,770,000 / $2,350,594

Got to see this one early on Wednesday as part of an Unlimited Screening.  My review’s not up cos I can’t crack it – left it too long for various personal issues you don’t care about – although I may try it again after I see the film again when it properly comes out, but for now…  oh, you need to see Sicario.  You need to book your tickets in preparation for Sicario right now.  Right.  Now.

Dropped Out: A Walk in the Woods, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Straight Outta Compton, Grandma

Callum Petch can’t feel his face when he’s with you.  He now writes for his own site (callumpetch.com).  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

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US Box Office Report: 11/09/15 – 13/09/15

The Perfect Guy charms his way to the top, The Visit proves surprisingly prosperous, $2 million In Heaven is better than $1 million In Heaven, Sleeping With Other People is a rather lucrative past-time, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Ah, September.  That time of the year where nothing much of interest comes out, yet the box office does all kinds of weird things, regardless.  Specifically, it’s about time for a low-budget thriller of questionable value fronted by big name black actors and actresses to hold onto the top spot for a week.  Yes, following in the footsteps of last year’s No Good Deed and 2009’s Obsessed, The Perfect Guy fought its way to a hard-earned victory with $26 million in ticket sales from just over 2,000 theatres, making this the fifth straight week in a row that a film predominately starring black actors and actresses has taken the top spot – after Straight Outta Compton’s three-peat and War Room’s surprising victory last week – which is news that Hollywood should really pay attention to.

It wasn’t always so certain for The Perfect Guy, however.  Much like the movie industry itself, audiences decided to actually give M. Night Shyamalan one more shot – seriously, the fact that, despite everything post-Signs, this guy keeps getting funding for movies is proof that Hollywood is either incredibly forgiving or is just giving him more rope to embarrass himself with as a cruel joke – and turned up to see The Visit despite, y’know, it being a modern-day Shyamalan movie.  In any case, it did surprisingly decently, with $25 million in ticket sales, just barely losing to another crappy thriller.  Like, I said, interesting stuff happens on this chart in September, but that doesn’t mean that the films are actually any good.

Meanwhile, we have more terrible movies designed to suck money from devout Christians’ pockets, because there’s gotta be another God’s Not Dead sometime soon, right?  This month’s attempt to shamelessly shake down its target audience is 90 Minutes In Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen for reasons that are both incredibly self-explanatory and incredibly unclear.  Presumably because the audience still feels betrayed by the film’s lead actor having slaughtered the younglings all those years ago, this latest Lifetime-Movie-Disguised-As-Worthwhile-Entertainment did not take with moviegoers, and the film managed a pathetic 9th place and $2 million from 800 screens.

In Limited Release Land, the big story was the director of the criminally-underseen Bachelorette Leslye Headland’s second film, Sleeping With Other People.  Riding some strong press from those who like it, and opening in the always profitable New York/Los Angeles scenes, the rom-com managed an excellent $103,125 opening on 5 screens, for a per-screen average of $20,625.  It was not the only success story this weekend, mind.  Meet the Patels, a documentary about an Indian-American trying to use traditional Indian dating methods to find the woman of his dreams and it looks way more charming than that sounds trust me, had a similarly strong 5 screen opening, with $75,597 for a $15,119 per-screen average.  Finally, A Brilliant Young Mind – released in the UK as X+Y and which I have heard from a very trustworthy friend of mine is complete garbage – opened on 3 screens to a very respectable $36,000.


the perfect guy

This Full List is pretty baffling to me, so I’m not going to do a pun intro.  Just see for yourself.

Box Office Results: Friday 11th September 2015 – Sunday 13th September 2015

1] The Perfect Guy

$26,700,000 / NEW

This… seems to be becoming a thing.  Terrible mid/low-budget thrillers about men stalking women, usually with a non-white lead, I mean.  No Good Deed, The Boy Next Door, now this.  I’m all for diversity in films, but this… I’d prefer that this not become a trend.  Or, at least, I’d prefer that good versions of this movie become a trend, if they must become a trend.

2] The Visit

$25,690,000 / NEW

The words “rapping child” keep getting brought up around this movie, so absolutely no way am I ever seeing this.  White people rapping is often rather cringeworthy as is – non-professionally, I mean – I do not see how making said White rapper a young boy is supposed to improve this situation.

3] War Room

$7,400,000 / $39,188,327

This is what made it to number 1 last weekend?  This?  This looks awful!  In fact, no, it looks worse than awful, it looks absolutely incompetent.  Look, American members of the Christian faith: I realise that you’re not well-served by the film industry, but hold yourselves up to higher standards, for crying out loud!  If you tell the film industry that you’re going to turn up to any old crap, they’re going to keep making absolute crap.

4] A Walk In The Woods

$4,620,099 / $19,877,024

This looks… pleasant.  I really got nothing else, folks.  Not until I get to see it this weekend, I mean.

5] Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

$4,150,000 / $188,172,518

Wait, what?!  This is still here?  And this highWHY?!  I mean, it was OK, I guess, but it wasn’t particularly brilliant and certainly not “Hell yes, Week 7 showing!” material.  Why are you all still seeing this movie and, more importantly, where the fuck were all of you when Edge of Tomorrow was flopping painfully towards a way-too-low $100 million domestic?

6] Straight Outta Compton

$4,090,000 / $155,712,600

Thanks to this sudden frustratingly crippling inability to write whilst I’m at home, I never did get around to properly reviewing Straight Outta Compton [Owen: although Brooker did for Failed Critics].  So, Short Version: as a film, it’s brilliant – exceptionally acted, well-directed, very decently paced, only occasionally lapses into Walk Hard self-parody, glad that it had a socially relevant message instead of just “N.W.A. were great”.  Outside of that, though, it’s deeply problematic – it feels rather whitewashed, the misogyny is uncommented on, and the homophobia is suspiciously almost non-existent.  In a way, I get the intention – if it depicted something like Dre’s woman-beating tendencies, then that risks dragging the audience’s attention and discussion away from the issue of institutionalised racism – but it still feels disingenuous and wrong, especially for this story.

In other words, it feels like a film version of N.W.A.’s work and of rap music and culture in general, something deeply problematic yet at the same time amazing and a force for some kind of good.  And, therefore, I love it in the same way I love rap music.

7] No Escape

$2,879,000 / $24,155,935

This bullshit is racist.  Just wanted to remind you of that.

8] The Transporter Refueled

$2,700,000 / $13,343,496

You can hear more in-depth thoughts on last week’s Screen 1 – which also includes my going nuclear on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl for those of you who like that sort of thing – but I surprisingly had fun with this one.  Ed Skrein’s ‘tough guy’ voice is really grating, and the film really misses Statham’s effortless charisma, but I still had some fun regardless.  Nothing great, nothing special, but some decent fun nonetheless.

9] 90 Minutes In Heaven

$2,160,911 / NEW

Remember when Hollywood tried to make Hayden Christensen a star?  Fun times, fun times…

10] Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos

$1,900,000 / $6,667,352

…you know what, I’m just going to embed the trailer for this one and let you be the judge.  I genuinely can’t decide whether this looks charming and somewhat fun, or the worst animated thing that has ever happened.

Dropped Out: The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Sinister 2, Inside Out

Callum Petch is gonna find out, he’s gonna get low.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 14/08/15 – 16/08/15

Audiences head straight into Compton, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’s cover is blown, Mistress America takes home a Participation Award, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Surprising absolutely nobody who is at least somewhat aware of popular culture, Straight Outta Compton is your new box office number 1.  Having said that, though, I don’t think anybody was prepared for just how much of a success the thing would be.  You see, Straight Outta Compton didn’t just take first place with ease, it did so with $56 million, almost $40 million more than the second place film managed.  That’s an absolute domination, a ridiculous opening for a non-sequel/franchise movie, and an utterly sensational opening for a film in August which is typically a complete dead zone at the box office.  I’d sit here and make terrible N.W.A, “Forgot About Dre”, and “It Was A Good Day” puns but, honestly, I’m too gobsmacked at the ridiculous success to make puns.  That’s just amazing.

Similarly surprising was the complete non-performance of The Man From U.N.C.L.E..  Perhaps due to a combination of an off-putting marketing campaign, that I really liked if nothing else, and tepid reviews, which are mostly wrong as you’ll find out in my own review later in the week, Guy Ritchie’s latest adventure in Hollywoodland face-planted right out of the gate.  Losing the battle for second place to Mission: Impossible quite handily, The Man cried U.N.C.L.E. – eh? Eh? EH?! – and bowed out for the weekend with only $13.5 million.  Nice to see that the Warner Bros. “funding off-beat and often great blockbusters with loads of money only to see bugger-all people turn up to watch” streak is still intact, if nothing else.

Whilst we’re still affixing our eye to the Top 10, let’s briefly check back in with everyone’s favourite complete and total catastrophic failure, Fantastic 4.  After failing to achieve the number 1 slot last week and earning roughly half of what it was projected to, the film continued its magnificent spiral of humiliation with a near 70% drop between this past weekend and opening weekend.  Enjoy looking at this one, folks.  This is the kind of old-school catastrophe that modern Hollywood was supposedly designed to completely avoid.  It’s a beautiful sight, like a unicorn grazing underneath a double rainbow.

In the realm of limited releases, Noah Baumbach’s second film this year, Mistress America, did surprisingly poorly.  I mean, sure, we’re talking very relatively when I say that $94,000 from 4 theatres is poor.  But Baumbach usually has much better openings than this.  Hell, he already had one such opening earlier this year when While We’re Young opened to $227,688 from 4 screens, whilst his last collaboration with Greta Gerwig, 2013’s Frances Ha, opened to $137,398 from 4 screens.  Maybe, just maybe, audiences are getting sick of movies about annoying self-obsessed New Yorkers.  Wouldn’t that be something?  Meanwhile, the Jemaine Clement-starring People Places Things Nouns got off to a poor start on 19 screens with just $31,000 for a per-screen average of $1,632.


straight outta compton

The jury has found this Full List guilty of being a redneck, white bread, chickensh*t motherf*cker.

Box Office Results: Friday 14th August 2015 – Sunday 16th August 2015

1] Straight Outta Compton

$56,100,000 / NEW

Man, I really cannot wait for this!  That’s literally all I’ve got for this one, since I haven’t managed to listen to Dre’s “Compton” yet – that’s a job for tonight, before anyone asks.  I will note, however, that an opening like this is yet another sign that mid-budget stories about non-White protagonists, starring a non-White cast and aimed at predominately-non-White audiences are a lucrative and untapped market.  A sign that, as per usual, will most likely go stringently ignored by Hollywood.

2] Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

$17,000,000 / $138,137,000

Man From U.N.C.L.E. outclasses this movie in every respect.  Just thought I’d let you know that.

3] The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

$13,535,000 / NEW

Saw this on Friday and the review will be up on my site tomorrow – in the meanwhile, Brooker’s got a good review of it up here.  Short version: probably the best non-Fury Road blockbuster I’ve seen all year.  Lot of fun, lots going on under the hood, and impeccably acted with Alicia Vikander nearly running away with the film from everyone else.  It’s the first time that “Guy Ritchie, Hollywood Director” has made sense to me, and not coincidentally is the first time he was allowed a crack at the script, so it’s a shame that the film’s box office failure sadly guarantees that we’ll be getting “Hired Gun, Guy Ritchie” for the next few years.

4] Fantastic 4

$8,000,000 / $41,961,000

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (*continues like so for another 15 minutes*)

5] The Gift

$6,500,000 / $23,577,000

Don’t even talk to me about the ending of this.  Seriously, it’s been well over a week and I still can’t make up my mind on it.  Or, more specifically, I can’t stop trying to rationalise an objectively disgusting and too-far ending as honestly kind of brilliant.  Jackson noted that I basically already summed it up when I described the whole film as “very Fincher”, but I still can’t let this go.  If nothing else, at least The Gift has stuck with me a week later, unlike the very vast majority of films that have been released so far this year.

6] Ant-Man

$5,517,000 / $157,568,000

Emily Blunt for Carol Danvers, please!  Seriously, it’s perfect casting.  She’s got the acting chops, Edge of Tomorrow proved that she can be a walking badass when required, she’s more than willing to dye her hair blonde if that’s necessary, she was already going to be Black Widow until Fox forced her to do Gulliver’s Travels instead, and she’s English which continues the superhero movie tradition of casting British leads in American hero roles!  Come on, it’s a no-brainer!

I mean, unless the Bond producers do the right thing and cast her as the next Bond.  Either of these two things happening will satisfy me.

7] Vacation

$5,330,000 / $46,852,000

Once I’ve finished my Man From U.N.C.L.E. review after this, I’ll be sitting down to watch the original National Lampoon’s Vacation in preparation for Friday.  Not Tuesday, what’s the point of going to a Cineworld Unlimited Screening for a film that’s out about 48 hours later and looks terrible?  Ugh, Unlimited screenings have been going down the drain recently…

Hmm?  “The next one’s Sicario, two weeks before its UK release”?  Oh, Cineworld!  Have I ever told you how much I love you?

8] Minions

$5,200,000 / $312,969,000

A round of applause for Universal Studios for becoming the fastest studio to break $2 billion domestic in a single year, besting Warner Bros.’ previous record by a good 4 months!  That’s what happens when you release a whole load of good films that people want to see… and are also part of really successful franchises.  OK, I guess we should probably temper that applause slightly, this was basically already predetermined by merely looking at that release schedule.

9] Ricki and the Flash

$4,570,000 / $14,656,000

Oh.  Well, err, bye Ricki, I guess.

10] Trainwreck

$3,800,000 / $97,919,000

Review will be up on my site on Wednesday.  Gonna keep my opinion under-wraps until then, in a failed attempt to build up suspense and intrigue.  I will, though, let slip that I can now happily count the number of good comedies released this year on 3 fingers.  That is also a sentence that looks incredibly depressing typed out like that.  This goddamn year…

Dropped Out: Pixels, Southpaw

Callum Petch is nine exits north of Las Vegas.  He now writes for his own website (callumpetch.com).  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

US Box Office Report: 07/08/15 – 09/08/15

The Fantastic 4 are dead, audiences tentatively accept The Gift, Ricki and the Flash got booed off-stage, motherfuckers didn’t go and see Shaun the Sheep Movie, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

We’re probably never going to get another Fantastic 4 movie again.  Not only is the one that was dropped into theatres this past weekend a complete steaming abomination, so venomously destroyed by critics it makes Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 look like Schindler’s List, and dogged by so many rumours of troubled and failed production that the thing more resembled a turd that is being swarmed by hungry flies – hope you’re enjoying your breakfast this morning – even the public wanted nothing to do with it.  Most stayed away, smelling a stinker, and even those $26 million worth of people who chose to brave the cinema anyway despised it, giving it an atrocious C- Cinemascore.  This franchise is done.  Even if Marvel get their toys back, it’s done.  There is no coming back from a bomb like this, the brand has been tainted irreparably, it is done.

So, whilst 20th Century Fox was dragging Marvel’s original super-team through the mud one more time out of seemingly nothing more than spite, Joel Edgerton was making his directorial debut with the surprisingly great The Gift.  Having been promised a horror/thriller in the vein of producer Jason Blum’s other works – namely: Damn Near Every Single Horror Movie of the Last 3 Years – audiences arrived in a somewhat healthy amount and were instead presented with a drama with thriller elements.  Whether or not they were happy about this is still up to debate, but it led to a strong $12 million opening, one of the few unqualified successes of this miserable weekend, and people actually seeing The Gift, so mission accomplished!

Yeah, this was one really bad weekend at the box office.  In Wide-ish releases, Jonathan Demme’s return to directing films for a somewhat mainstream audience, Ricki and the Flash, was unceremoniously shrugged to death by audiences, raking in a paltry $7 million for seventh place despite featuring Meryl Streep as an aging rocker.  You’d think that that’d be something that people would be dying to see!  But at least it wasn’t Shaun the Sheep Movie.  Despite being one of the year’s best films, having rave reviews from critics, and me being on your case about seeing it for the last several months, the film didn’t even crack the Top 10 despite opening on well over 2,000 screens.  For fucksake, America!  It’s Aardman!  What do you people have against Aardman, you cretins!?

Things improved slightly in the world of limited releases, though.  Whilst The End of the Tour expanded to 36 locations and flailed about for dear life with only $253,000, The Diary of a Teenage Girl was making a pretty decent $55,000 from 4 screens considering the whole “underage sex” part and everything.  Jon Watts’ sophomore feature, the pretty decent-looking thriller Cop Car, managed a strong $27,000 from 3 screens, whilst Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, an animated adaptation of exactly what it says, managed an excellent $26,000 from two screens because FUCKING LOOK AT HOW GORGEOUS THIS THING IS!

Also worthy of note is Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’.  The film’s been out since Tuesday and has been blowing people away by posting strong numbers during the week – nearly $2 million on the first day and $1.5 million on the second.  Now, I can’t report anything about its weekend for certain, cos FUNimation have been playing weird “now it’s here, now it’s not” games with it, but Dragon Ball is on course to have earned well over $5 million in its first 6 days, whilst remaining in limited release the entire time, never breaking more than 1,000 theatres.  Considering that Anime doesn’t do well in Western cinemas, that is majorly impressive.


MIRN

“It’s Full List time!” is what my older brother used to say before he beat the sh*t out of me.  I’m just kidding, I only have a younger brother.

Box Office Results: Friday 7th August 2015 – Sunday 9th August 2015

1] Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

$29,400,000 / $108,654,000

Forgot to mention this at all last week, but this movie has one of the most blatant examples of Fridging – the art of brutally murdering a character, typically a wife and almost always a woman, for cheap heat/motivation – that I have seen in a Hollywood film in ages.  Like, good lord, even Tak3n was less blatant about it!  But, despite these things usually riling me up to no end, this one did nothing for me.  I just sorta sighed resignedly.  It’s like when a bratty kid tries to microwave the family hamster; you’re not angry, you just sigh because you know they’re just doing it for the attention.

2] Fantastic 4

$26,200,000 / NEW

I’m done.  I’m not going to waste any more words on this.  Here’s my review, go read that.  I’m not going to waste any more column inches on this thing because, as I detailed extensively in my review, this is not a film.  This is 100 minutes of 20th Century Fox mooning Marvel Studios over the fact that they can’t have their toys back.  You could shoot and release bowel movements of mine and they’d be closer to being actual f*cking movies than this piece of sh*t is!  So, no, I’m done.  Let’s move on.

3] The Gift

$12,007,000 / NEW

Review will be up on my site on Tuesday, but I will say that I really enjoyed this one.  I’m even coming around to its ending, which initially rubbed me up the wrong way for a number of reasons but is growing on me as time goes on.  Make sure you give this a shot, even if you’re averse to thrillers since it’s actually mainly a drama.

4] Vacation

$9,145,000 / $37,325,000

Not too bad of a slide, only 37%, but there also wasn’t much to slide from, so let’s maybe not bust out any party poppers or anything, OK?

5] Ant-Man

$7,826,000 / $147,436,000

Oh, man, I really hope that Fantastic 4’s utter abysmalness doesn’t have a knock-on effect to the good comic book movies.  For one, the last thing we need are people believing that the only way to make successful versions of these are to have white male leads, because you know some arsehole pillock studio head is going to correlate the Johnny Storm race-lift to the film’s total box office failure.  Plus, my brother, who is way more down the Marvel rabbit hole than I am, thought that this was a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was therefore planning on seeing this until I corrected him.  Just saying, some people are just going to see the Marvel logo and assume they make all of these movies, even the terrible ones, and that’s the last thing they want.

6] Minions

$7,400,000 / $302,754,000

Despicable Me 2 is now on UK Netflix for those of you who have yet to see it.  I recommend giving it a shot, it’s really crazy and funny but it’s also legitimately sweet…

Look, I’m going to keep working my arse off to ensure you all realise that you don’t hate the Minions because of their films.  You hate them because of advertising oversaturation and appropriation by the kind of evil, heartless, mindless drones who force Facebook memes into existence.  *shudders*

7] Ricki and the Flash

$7,000,000 / NEW

Having watched the trailer for the first time whilst writing this piece, I now understand why this face-planted right out of the gate.  This looks awful, like a Lifetime movie inexplicably granted cinema space.  I’m still optimistic, because it’s Jonathan Demme and Diablo Cody and I know that trailers are oftentimes just dreadful, but I get why nobody really turned up to it.

8] Trainwreck

$6,300,000 / $91,102,000

Four more days!  Oh, thank the Maker for this weekend!  This, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and Absolutely Anything back-to-back-to-back!  It’s like the Movie Gods looked down on me and went, “Callum.  Buddy, old pal.  Sorry for the last few weeks, and sorry for pushing Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 out of your Bottom 5 Films of 2015 list.  But you’ve made it through with your love and enthusiasm for this medium still intact, so here’s a week of nothing but good-looking films you’re excited for as a reward!  Good show!”

9] Pixels

$5,430,000 / $57,645,000

Oh, yeah, that spoiler piece on Pixels that I was supposed to write.  I haven’t forgotten, I’ve just been busy.  And my interest in doing it has gone.  Heh.  OK, here’s the deal, if it’s not up on my site by Thursday, it ain’t coming and y’all will just have to deal with it.  Sound good to everyone?  Bully for you if it doesn’t.

10] Southpaw

$4,764,000 / $40,726,000

You people watched this again instead of Shaun the Sheep?  You’re all a disgrace to humanity.

Dropped Out: Paper Towns, Inside Out, Jurassic World

Callum Petch weathered the storm.  He now writes for his own website (callumpetch.com).  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Failed Critics Podcast: Mission Impossible Triple Bill Special

mission impossible RNThis week’s episode of the Failed Critics Podcast will first require a pass key to access. You can find said pass key by looking in the sole of your left shoe for a microchip which can then be inserted into the back of your phone. It will beam holographic cryptic instructions on the whereabouts of the access code before self-destructing in 5… 4… 3… 2…

Only joking. Why make the podcast more of a challenge to listen to than it already is, right? There’s no secret combination required to listen to the returning Steve Norman, Owen Hughes and Andrew Brooker talk all things Mission: Impossible on our latest episode.

We start as ever with a tightly poised quiz, before the team swiftly move onto discussing the Tom Cruise led action franchise in a bit more detail. We discuss the overall quality of the movies as well as the ever-popular topic of whether or not Cruise is the last remaining true movie star. There’s even a special M:I themed triple bill as well as a full review of the fifth entry to the series, Rogue Nation, to follow on this episode. Clearly we spared no expense.

Join us again next week as we invite Brian Plank and Carole Petts on to talk about Josh Trank’s latest superhero flick, Fantastic Four.

LISTEN VIA ACAST FOR THE MOST INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE

DIRECT LINK

US Box Office Report: 31/07/15 – 02/08/15

Mission: Impossible doesn’t self-destruct, nobody wanted to go on Vacation cos they’d reached The End of the Tour, you should all Listen To Me Marlon, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Good morning, readers.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find out all of the latest Box Office happenings as relayed to you by a tired British hack who has spent way too much time staring at open Word and WordPress documents these past few weeks.  The mission will be perilous, as he makes hacky jokes and the occasional generalisation about films that he hasn’t seen, and he may be acting on false information, since the actuals don’t come in until this afternoon, but if there is anyone who can survive this task it is you, and if there was anybody more qualified to run one simple gag into the ground in an attempt to disguise the fact that he has next-to-no material this week then they’d be doing this instead of me.  I mean, him.  I, err… This message will self-destruct in 10 seconds.

OK, with that nonsense out of the way, let’s do this properly.  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, the latest in the series that I’ve never quite gotten and whose sequel naming is officially the enemy of the English language, managed to continue the series rise back from the brink of failure with an easy number one opening of $56 million, the second-biggest opening of the entire series barring Mission: Impossible II’s $57.8 million.  I’d say that the film “Cruise-d” its way to victory, but I’m full enough of self-loathing so let’s pretend that never happened and move on.

Not that it had much of a challenge.  The only other wide-release of the weekend came from somebody at Warner Bros.’ New Line Cinema division insisting that we needed a Vacation sequel/reboot/thing – probably the same person who greenlit the Hot Pursuit shooting script – and so one was dumped into our laps even though we already had plans, full of people we didn’t want to spend time with (with apologies to Christina Applegate), and we didn’t want it.  Much like a real family vacation.  Unlike a real family vacation, however, attending Vacation wasn’t compulsory, so most Americans opted out and the film finished the weekend in a distant second with just under $15 million.

In limited release news, The End of the Tour, the controversial semi-biopic about David Foster Wallace directed by the criminally underrated James Ponsoldt, was the roaring success managing to nab $126,000 from 4 screens for a fantastic per-screen average of $31,500 and me sat here wondering in a very irritated fashion as to why it doesn’t have a UK distributor, dammit!  Less successful, but also doing pretty decently, was the Marlon Brando documentary Listen To Me Marlon which picked up $29,000 from 2 screens for a per-screen average of you do the math.  Falling flat on its face, by comparison, was the glorified informercial A LEGO Brickumentary which could only sucker in $92,000 worth of people from 93 screens for a per-screen average of $452.  I guess the dulcet tones of Jason Bateman are nothing compared to those of Marlon Brando when he’s talking about himself.  Although, in fairness, that could also be said about most things.


mi5

This Full List is running running and running running and running running.  That was both a Mission: Impossible gag and a Black Eyed Peas reference because this is that joke that is my life.

Box Office Results: Friday 31st July 2015 – Sunday 2nd August 2015

1] Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

$56,000,000 / NEW

Saw this Saturday, but there won’t be a review because it would just consist of something close to 2,000 words of me trying and failing to identify the reason(s) why this series does nothing for me besides “these are technically strong action movies”.  Seriously, this fact bugs the hell out of me.  The Mission: Impossible series presses so many of my personal Things I Love buttons – practical effects action sequences, spy stuff, writing characters into tight impossible situations and seeing how they get out, gambits in spades – but the films themselves just leave me somewhat cold.  Answers on a postcard, please.

2] Vacation

$14,850,000 / NEW

This reminds me, I need to actually watch the old Vacation movies before I get subjected to this in two weeks.  Yeah, the trailer did nothing to me except make my eyes glaze over.  In fairness, I could say that about nearly any comedy trailer, but we are in a f*cking nadir for feature-length comedies with this year’s offerings, and I really doubt that this is going to be the thing that pulls us out.

3] Ant-Man

$12,619,000 / $132,148,000

Oi, you!  Have you watched Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp yet?  If not, go do that!  Actually, wait.  Have you watched Wet Hot American Summer first?  If no, go and do that and then go watch First Day of Camp.  Seriously, you’ll thank me later.  I basically spent my Friday doing nothing but watch First Day of Camp and it was SO WORTH IT!

4] Minions

$12,200,000 / $287,391,000

This appeared at no. 10 on Mark Kermode’s Mid-Term Best Of list this week, which was a surprise.  A pleasant one, because Minions is great, but a surprise nonetheless.  Relatedly, I have only seen 3 of the films on his list and would put none of them on mine because I am a tasteless heathen.

5] Pixels

$10,400,000 / $45,611,000

So, last week, somebody on Twitter, not gonna name any names and they’re not in trouble don’t worry, made the perfectly reasonable statement that we shouldn’t lambast films that we haven’t seen yet.  I actually agree with him, both in the article itself (with my worry about dogpiling) and here, which is why I keep my slams based on what I’ve managed to see and have heard about the film, saving any proper slams and such for when I have actually seen the film.  Open mind, and all that!

I tell you this because it turns out that I should never have given this utterly reprehensible piece of turd shit any benefits of any doubts.  God, I hate this movie.

6] Trainwreck

$9,700,000 / $79,709,000

So, I was in a screening of Hot Pursuit on Saturday and an advert for Trainwreck comes on.  It’s funny, everybody laughs, and then Amy Schumer on screen says “Make sure to come back and see my new movie when it hits theatres on August 14th.”  To which I overhear this old lady, who just seconds earlier had been audibly laughing at the advert, say in a voice that is loud enough for other people to hear whilst still in theory only talking to her friend, “I don’t think so!”

This woman also found Hot Pursuit utterly hysterical so I don’t know what to believe.

7] Southpaw

$7,519,000 / $31,577,000

Wake me up when Creed comes out, OK?

8] Paper Towns

$4,600,000 / $23,816,000

Saw this on Saturday at a nice early screening.  Review will be along on my site on Tuesday, but I really enjoyed this one.  It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s sweet heart-warming viewing for myself.  Man, I might actually be a John Green fan, which is especially weird since the edited Q&A highlights I was forced to sit through prior to the start of the film didn’t make him look like a particularly tolerable guy.  Still, at least he wasn’t Dan & Phil who I’m still not convinced aren’t just the mannequins from the first series of new Doctor Who attempting to pass themselves off as regular human beings.

9] Inside Out

$4,517,000 / $329,594,000

Gonna go see this again this weekend, will probably cry profusely again.  As I’ve said before, I can’t separate myself emotionally from this movie, not enough to offer up a proper objective critical review.  It hits too close to home and is way too personal to me for me to be able to do that.  On the bright side, I guess we now know what a film that is Fury Road’s equal/possible better for me looks like!

10] Jurassic World

$3,800,000 / $631,500,000

IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT TO ALL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Shaun The Sheep Movie is finally getting a nationwide cinema release in your country next week.  Go and see it.  That is an order.  Go and see it.  Go and see it multiple times over, it’s one of the best animated features released in the last few years.  Go and see it instead of Fantastic 4, please.  Don’t let me down, folks!  I wanna be reporting strong numbers this time next week!

Dropped Out: Mr. Holmes, Terminator: Amiga

Callum Petch’s red hat gets a rap from the critics.  He now writes for his own website (callumpetch.com)!  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)

rogue nation“Join the IMF.  See the world. On a monitor. In a closet.”

Silly spy stuff; it’s one of my favourite things to watch. Alias, Blacklist, Bond and definitely Mission: Impossible. It’s one of those genres that, when it’s done well, is almost timeless.  Just take a look at the old Mission: Impossible TV show; it’s daft, it’s completely implausible but it’s a shed load of fun to watch. It was also my first experience of thinking “oh god why are they making a film of this?”, it was 1996, I was 14 and I was mortified when they made Jim Phelps (the IMF team’s leader in the TV show) the bad guy. I felt every ounce of the betrayal Tom Cruise did on screen as that bastard Brian De Palma ruined my show! After that, I started to discover films like Hard Target and Face/Off, which led to a long-time adoration of director John Woo and thus the only reason I gave Mission: Impossible 2 the time of day and I loved it (yes, I’m very aware it’s the weakest of the franchise, a testament to how good the others are).

I gave the original another shot, with fresh eyes and a growing respect for films and De Palma; and really enjoyed it.  Even today; OK, four days ago, the original still holds up as a brilliantly made espionage thriller.  A thriller that spawned three sequels; a host of top-shelf actors and directors; and showed the world just how much Tom Cruise is willing to put in to make his films look as good as they possibly can.  Today, almost 20 years since Ethan Hunt’s first outing with the IMF, I sat and watched the fourth sequel in one of the most bankable action franchises ever created.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, wastes no time in filling your screen with action.  Within a couple of minutes, Hunt and his team are frantically trying to stop a shipment of chemical weapons from falling into the control of someone other than them! Turning to desperate measures to stop what turns out to be VX gas (Remember that? It’s the one that melts faces in The Rock) from being used by a suspiciously invisible terrorist group by throwing it out the back of a plane! Yeah, all that hanging off a plane shit? All in the first few minutes of Rogue Nation.  If ever there was a way to start a film, it’s to put the thing advertised the most, that’s generated a metric tonne of interest because the film’s star is batshit crazy and is really hanging off of a plane as the bloody thing takes off, right at the start of the film! And it’s all go from there.

Heading for a debrief, Cruise’s Ethan Hunt is captured by the shady “Syndicate”, a group of former intelligence agents who are working extremely hard to bring about the end of the world and are, as we all saw in the trailer, “an anti-IMF”, quite possibly the guys to bring Hunt and his group to their knees.  About to be tortured, Ethan gets help escaping from Syndicate hench… Err… Woman? Iisa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson) and sets about getting hold of his colleagues to get him home and debriefed. But as Mr. Cruise is galavanting about in Europe, his friends are being punished for the sins of his past and have been brought to task for the reckless events of the last few M:I films.  Closed down and stopped from operating, the guys have been redeployed in dark little corners of the CIA to be forgotten about while William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) has been forced to help Agency higher-up Alec Baldwin track down and capture the now rogue Ethan Hunt.

And this is all just the first 20 minutes of the film! It’s all go from there as Hunt treks across the world chasing this seemingly all-powerful group that always seems to be one step ahead of him causing untold chaos and getting away clean.  Hunt must battle against increasingly hopeless odds as he fights to prove him and his team aren’t just still relevant, but aren’t the reckless Mavericks, no pun intended, their government is accusing them of being.  You know? With a crap load of car chases, explosions and gunfights!

I’ll be honest, at this point I’m struggling to work out what to say about Mission: Impossible that you don’t know already.  I mean, it’s the fourth sequel in an action/spy franchise. You’ll get thrills, spills and betrayal a plenty. You’ll get action, you’ll get suspense and you’ll get an awesome baddie for the good guys to chase down.  But until the Academy get their shit together and introduce an Oscar for awesome stunt work, M:I isn’t winning any awards. Luckily, that’s not what we watch these films for, is it?  Absolutely not. We came here for the dude hanging off the side of a plane, the breath stealing bike chases and enough hand-to-hand combat to fill a good sized UFC event.

All that great on-screen action wouldn’t be worth the paper your cinema ticket is printed on though, if the guys in front of the camera weren’t doing a good job and as always, Mission: Impossible brings out the best from everyone involved. Ethan gets to spend more time with Ving Rhames’ charismatic techno-wiz Luther Sticklle and Simon Pegg’s geeky field agent Benji Dunn as they chase Syndicate leader Soloman Lane (not a typo, honest) in an amazing turn from Sean Harris. I’ve been wanting to see Harris, one of my favourite homegrown talents that hardly anyone knows, get himself a role that he can sink his teeth into.  Since his turn as Micheletto in The Borgias, I’ve been a huge fan and to see him get a bad guy roll like this and run with it was simply outstanding.  In my opinion, the only casting misstep was with Rebecca Ferguson.  I’m not taking anything away from her performance, not at all.  In fact, I thought she was fantastic. Ferguson done a splendid job in her preparation and those endless hours of stunt and fight training definitely paid off. But every time she was on the screen, I couldn’t help but think that maybe the role should have gone to Gina Carano. I’m certain it would have pushed her 100% into the limelight, something that Haywire and Fast and Furious 6 inexplicably couldn’t do. She would have been perfect, in my humble opinion.

Here’s the thing;  Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is another one of those films that you already know if you’re going to enjoy it. You liked the other four? You’ll like this one. You didn’t? Why are you bothering? Essentially, my job is to tell you that Tom Cruise is still Tom Cruise and hasn’t turned into Tropic Thunder‘s Les Grossman; Rhames is still amazing and Renner is still quite brilliant. The action is top notch and the direction superb.

To say that Mission: Impossible is a great movie to sit in front of and disengage your brain for a couple of hours, while pretty accurate, does the film, and indeed the entire franchise, a bit of a disservice. But if you’re looking for smartly written, well directed, adrenaline fuelled escapism, Rogue Nation is best in show and well worth your time.