Tag Archives: southpaw

Time to Quit Those Spoiler-Filled Trailers

Unironic warning: there are some minor spoilers in this article for the following films:  Jurassic World, Terminator Genisys, X-Men: Apocalypse.

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Time to Quit Those Spoiler-Filled Trailers, Or: How studios are trying desperately to make it so that we don’t need to go to the movies anymore

Directors, producers, studios: we need to talk. I’ve had about enough of forcing myself to avoid your marketing because you are intent on spoiling the entire damn film, sometimes months before we’ve even been given the chance to see the bloody thing.

Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve lost count of the amount of times where I’ve gone into a movie knowing not just the plot and some of the best bits of dialogue, but I’ve actually known the mid-film twist, or the big action sequence that’s supposed to be a surprise. All sense of awe has selfishly been taken away from me.

I go to the cinema to be amazed, to escape the day-to-day shittiness of having to go to work and to give me an excuse to babble on about films. Whether that’s with my mates, or in one of those many reviews I’m allowed to keep writing here.

What I don’t go to the flicks to do, is to watch the gaps in between the plot points and spoilers that I’ve already seen in your bloody trailers and TV spots.

So, of course, from here on in there will be spoilers. Mostly of older films, but I will telegraph them all and hopefully give you the opportunity to skip those you want to.

There are definitely degrees of spoiled bits, I reckon. There’s that key moment in last year’s Jurassic World where Chris Pratt’s main character, Owen, has his little bad ass moment. Zipping through the jungle growth on a bike followed by a herd of dinosaurs; that should be this amazing, awe inspiring moment. But we all knew it was coming. It was in the damn ads.

From the first reveal, to the final trailer: we saw Owen “taming” these animals one second and running with them like Mowgli and the wolves the next. But this ain’t that bad…. OK, it is. But it’s one action scene in a two hour film full of them. It’s almost understandable that you’d need to show something to whet the audiences’ appetite. There are plenty of other scenes you could have used, but whatever.

It’s nothing – and I mean nothing – compared to the now infamous Terminator: Genisys trailers. An average-at-best film (on a good day) needed a good marketing campaign to get people excited for it. After Salvation, no one wanted this pointless half reboot, and a great trailer campaign would’ve got you some serious hype.

Instead, the imbeciles whose only job was to sell me the movie decided to put the film’s defining moment, its big twist, in the god damn trailer. And here’s where my biggest issue with these bloody trailers lies – I can’t avoid them! I was staring at a screen the size of the barn when someone revealed that John Connor was a poxy Terminator!

So many films have fallen foul of this egregious marketing bullshit. Recently, X-Men: Apocalypse had Quicksilver’s family tree and a super-clawed cameo thrown directly into the faces of film goers in its final trailer The latter of which was revealed in TV spots during the ad breaks for any show on after 6pm.

Imagine trying to avoid spoilers for your next big film, only for it to be ruined because you had the audacity to be watching Coronation Street!

Southpaw gave away a vital plot point/character death in its initial trailer. Star Trek Beyond not only gave away massive plot points in its final trailer, but ruined what should have been a head nodding “awwwwww SHIT!” moment from the first reveal trailer. One of those Twitter buddies I hold so dear even had a spoileriffic trailer for The Huntsman: Winter’s War played to him in the trailer segment just before the Snow White sequel was due to be played.

I know it’s not a new phenomenon, I do. I know that as long as trailers have been a thing, they’ve been spoiling what they’ve been advertising, but surely it’s time for something to be done. As I write this, I’m furious (and deeply thankful) that another Twitter acquaintance warned me off of the latest Suicide Squad trailer as it reveals a load of act three spoilers! What the fuck, Warner Brothers?

It’s time these idiots leaned how to market their films. Recently, 10 Cloverfield Lane managed to get the world flocking to see it, even after it looked like a sequel to a mediocre film that no one really asked for.  Marketed perfectly, we all went in clear-headed with no idea what we were letting ourselves in for. And made an excellent film from it, too.

Or you can go the other way. You can pound us with never-ending ads, trailers and TV spots if you want. Why not? Deadpool did it. But its genius is in the fact that after trailer one, we got no new footage shown to us. A load of new stuff made especially for its campaign kept the jokes coming in at ten to the dozen, without killing the comedic payoff once the film actually came out.

Just take a look at what Adam Wingard did last week. He got us all super excited for his amazing looking, insanely creepy The Woods. Then went and revealed that it’s actually a Blair Witch sequel! He managed to grab a franchise many didn’t care for and as many had forgotten – myself included – and made me all kinds of excited for it. I guarantee that trailer has barely scratched the surface of what we see when the film hits!

Come on guys, you can do so much better. Some of the greatest, most memorable films that stuck with us came with stellar marketing campaigns too. There’s no need to explain the film’s plot, beat-by-beat. or reveal twists and show all the best bits in the 2-4 minutes you get to advertise your film.

Ask absolutely anyone. Blowing your load early like that is never pretty and people don’t come back for more.

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Failed Critics Podcast: Sports Triple Bill II

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Refusing to stay down on the mat and not allowing our coach to throw in the towel, the Failed Critics are steadily climbing to their feet for one final round of the sports triple bill. The first of which was concluded back in August 2012, in time for the London Olympics. This one, coincidentally, is being released just ahead of the Rio Olympics! Almost as if it were intentionally planned that way…

Hosts Steve Norman and Owen Hughes are joined by Andrew Brooker and – fresh from his local Richer Sounds with a brand new microphone – Brian Plank. Each Failed Critic chose their three favourite sports movies. Did Owen try and shoehorn in Brewster’s Millions again? Did Steve just list the three Mighty Ducks movies? Did Brooker choose a film featuring a sport that isn’t American Football? Is there a single book about sports that Brian hasn’t read? You’ll have to listen to find out.

Also this week, due to the quick turnaround in podcasts, with the last Star Trek Beyond episode only released a few days ago, not much has happened in the world of film that wasn’t discussed previously, so the team forgo the news section for a slightly extended Olympics-themed movie quiz and a chat about the Bourne franchise – including a review of this weekend’s big release, Jason Bourne.

Join us again in just over a week’s time as we get back to our regular recording schedule for a review of the hotly anticipated Suicide Squad.

LISTEN VIA ACAST FOR THE MOST INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE

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What I won’t be voting for in 2015

As today is the last opportunity for people to submit votes in our Failed Critics Awards 2015, I thought I might share a few of the movies that I won’t be voting for before midnight tonight.

Specifically, rather than just make a list of terrible releases from across the year (such as The Ridiculous 6, Transporter Refueled, Lost River etc), I’m going to pick those films that flattered to deceive. If you’d have asked me in January, I probably would have sworn blind that the following were guaranteed to make my final top 10 list. Unfortunately, as it happens, none of the following will be included because in their own different ways, they were either not actually that good, disappointingly average, or regrettably just plain bad.


Foxcatcher

steve_carell_foxcatcher1Going into Foxcatcher, it was hard not to be caught up in the Oscar-buzz for Steve Carell’s performance. In fact, on last year’s Awards podcast, James asked us all which films we were most looking forward to in 2015 and I actually picked Bennett Miller’s movie based on a true story about wealthy wrestling coach John E. du Pont (Carell) and his Olympic competitor Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum). Now, I haven’t chosen it for this list because I didn’t enjoy the film. I did! It’s just that the momentum it had built up for the performances was perhaps a little bit unrealistic. If anything, Mark Ruffalo – who I hadn’t heard anything about before going to see Foxcatcher in January – was the standout actor of the three. Mainly because he was so good, as I’ve come to expect from Ruffalo, but the other two just weren’t all they were hyped up to be. Similarly, although I did find the story interesting, it was rather disappointingly told in a somewhat sluggish manner. Lingering on scenes for longer than is necessary far too often slowed the pace down to a crawl and meant that overall, even away from the performances, it just wasn’t quite good enough to break my top 10. Probably not even my top 15 of the year, either.


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Andrew Brooker and I had talked to each other quite extensively about what we were hoping for from the latest glorified re-telling of the lives of notorious London gangsters the Kray twins. Perhaps it’s fair to say that even though I do like Tom Hardy, Brooker is an even bigger fan. Getting to see two Hardy’s for the price of one seemed like reason enough to cross my fingers in hope that this British crime drama would deliver a high quality, gritty, colourful story. Alas, it transpires that no amount of Hardy’s can make a tepid script with woeful narration into a good film.


Avengers: Age of Ultron

Age-of-Ultron-0003Such was the disturbingly low amount of hype for Joss Whedon’s follow up to the spectacular Avengers Assemble that we decided to spin some of our own by creating 10 Avengers Minisode podcasts earlier this year, reevaluating all of the MCU movies to date. Despite some nervous anticipation, I still expected big things from Age of Ultron but it failed to deliver on virtually every level. Firstly, it was far too long and bloated. The cast for the previous outing of our Marvel superheroes was already pretty large, but they balanced enough screen time and dialogue for each to have an integral part to play in developing the story. In this follow up, there are far too many characters who do absolutely nothing except bash each other about the head occasionally. Hardly any two characters have a conversation in this movie without eventually a bout of fisticuffs, or reminiscing about that time they had a fight. I hated the Hulk & Black Widow storyline. The apologetic attempt to give Hawkeye more screen time by shoe-horning in a half-arsed story about his secret family-man life was underwhelming and shallow – and to top it all off, the villain was barely used except for a three-hour long explosion and fight sequence in the final act. Maybe I’ll re-watch it in a year or two and find that it’s decent really and I had just been expecting too much? But right now, it comes across as a badly written set up film for the rest of the MCU yet to come and is one of the biggest let downs of the whole year.


Southpaw

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I’ve already summed up my opinion back in August on Antoine Fuqua’s drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a boxer who has a spectacular fall from grace. From the trailer alone, I thought Southpaw would be one of the standout films for 2015, with Jake Gyllenhaal still riding high on the crest of his incredible performance in Nightcrawler last year. And just like I mentioned when discussing Foxcatcher further up the page, it was a film that in the end was just “all right”. It was a good performance, it had a good story, it was well directed and well paced, but it lacked a certain element to propel it into greatness. Rather than feeling happy to have seen a good film, instead I left the cinema not ruing the fact I’d spent over two hours watching it, which itself is an indicator that something wasn’t quite right. A big part of the problem is that it doesn’t do anything particularly new or exciting. It felt like I’d seen it all done perfectly well before. Gyllenhaal put on a lot of muscle, his character has a fall and then a rise, there’s a strained home life, he’s a father and a champion etc. Regardless of how well structured it is, it’s hardly groundbreaking material. In the end, it was just another mildly entertaining sports drama.


SPECTRE

spectre-daniel-craigThis might be considered something of a spoiler for the results of the Failed Critics Awards that will be announced early this week (or maybe we should think of it as an exclusive instead) but only one person has voted SPECTRE into their top 10 of the year. One person. To you and I, who have seen 007’s latest outing, it probably isn’t a surprise, given how by-the-numbers it was. However, compared to Skyfall (Eon’s 23rd Bond film that celebrated 50 years of Britain’s worst-kept secret spy) which only narrowly missed out on winning top spot in our awards back in 2012, that’s pretty shocking. Admittedly, I’ve never been that big a fan of the Bond movies, as I discussed with Steve Norman, Tony Black and Brian Plank on our podcast back in October, but even I loved Skyfall. Sam Mendes was the perfect director to blend his visual flair with some good old-fashioned and exciting story-telling. It was for that reason alone that I was really looking forward to SPECTRE, despite being put off by the fact that it was to be the longest Bond film ever at 2 hours 28 minutes. “Starring Christoph Waltz” is as good a reason as any to get me interested in any movie. With the Day of the Dead opening scene in Mexico, the film started off already in about third gear and just plateaued from there. I don’t remember it really ramping up tension or suspense, or taking its foot off the peddle at any point. It just drifted along at an even and enjoyable pace, never feeling like it was dragging at all, but without building to something bigger. It tootled along from point A to point B, to point C, to point D and so on until reaching its destination calmly … and then blowing up £20m worth of Aston Martin. A bit like Age of Ultron, it does suffer from the hangover of its predecessor and will no doubt improve on a rewatch, but to be quite honest about it, I just can’t be bothered with it. I can see why for that one person it might have been in their top 10, but it definitely won’t be in mine.

Owen’s 2015 in Film: Part 8 – August, You Slice

Another month on in his year in review series, Owen takes a look at some of the films that he’s seen this past August. As with each of the previous articles in the series, the month will be broken down by week, with a review of one arbitrarily chosen film seen during each period.

by Owen Hughes (@ohughes86)

these final hours 2015Anyone who has been following the website and podcast over the past few months might have noticed that for a little while now, we’ve been going a bit Danny Dyer crazy. Not, like, mugging off slaaaags as per his persona. I mean, we’ve been covering a lot of Danny Dyer stuff.

In last month’s article, for example, I talked about how his tweet at the Failed Critics meet up in July played a part in cheering me up after some rather gutting news. We then had our most popular individual episode since 2012 when we inducted Dyer into our Corridor of Praise. Basically, we haven’t shut up about him. Throughout August, particularly in the couple of weeks leading up to that particular podcast, I watched a boat load of his movies. I’ll try not to talk about them all here [if you really want you can read my short reviews of them all over on Letterboxd] to spare you from being subjected to the same material over and over again.

Instead, I’m going to kick off this month’s article by talking about something completely original for this series: a b-movie sci-fi horror…

…What?


Week 1 – Saturday 1 – Sunday 2 August 2015

Saturday – HARDWARE (1990); Sunday – [absolutely nothing]

hardware 1990In my July In Review article, the very last film I talked about was a documentary called Lost Soul. It follows director Richard Stanley’s doomed attempt to bring HG Wells’s novella The Island of Doctor Moreau to the silver screen back in 1996. It led to me immediately afterwards searching frantically online for a copy of said film to stream with no luck whatsoever. However, I did find Stanley’s two previous feature length movies available on Netflix, starting with his futuristic, dystopian, science fiction thriller Hardware. As you may have already ascertained from the title, the plot can essentially be boiled down to “cyborg gone bad”. It has the claustrophobic paranoia of Alien crossed with the relentlessness of The Terminator, made for a fraction of the cost of either film. Anyone who has been following these articles will know that during the past eight months, despite already having some degree of fondness for b-movies, one particular director, Albert Pyun, has really grabbed my attention of late. Richard Stanley’s Hardware is very reminiscent of Pyun’s style, with a nuclear ravaged world and killer-robot running rampage in an apartment, although it is somewhat smaller in scale. Where Pyun’s ambition is to always tell as epic an adventure as is possible, it maybe stretches him further than his budgets would sometimes allow. When he pulls it off, I love it. When he’s been a bit too ambitious, obviously it leaves his films rather painful to watch. Stanley seems as aware of his restrictions and tries to utilise them as much as possible. Hardware isn’t a perfect movie; indeed the last 20 minutes seem very repetitive and ends rather tamely. There are so many different ideas all crammed into an hour and a half that it convolutes things slightly too. But there’s a lot to admire here. Visually, I absolutely adored it. From the design of the robot to the red and orange tint across the picture, it is beautiful to look at all the way through. The world building is great to start with but kind of gets thrown out of the window at the mid-way point to turn it into a more close-knit horror, but is interesting all the same. All in all, despite knowing what happened to Stanley’s Island of Dr Moreau, Hardware just made me all the more keen to find it and question the reputation of it being one of the worst films ever made!


Week 2 – Monday 3 – Sunday 9 August 2015

Monday – Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)SOUTHPAW (2015)Tuesday – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015), Fantastic Four (2015); Wednesday – Dust Devil (1992); Thursday – Top Gun (1986); Friday – Ginger Snaps (2000); Saturday – [absolutely nothing]; Sunday – [absolutely nothing]

southpawI could continue this Richard Stanley theme and talk about Dust Devil, his next feature after Hardware, but I won’t say any more than simply: I didn’t enjoy it as much. I could also discuss the two Mission: Impossible films that I enjoyed – alas, I found them largely forgettable and, as such, have… er… forgotten most of what they’re about beyond Cruise-gon’-Cruise. Instead, I want to explain why Southpaw was the film I was most looking forward to seeing this August and why it didn’t actually live up to my expectations. I actually picked Southpaw on our Summer Preview Podcast back in May, mostly because I was excited to see if Jake Gyllenhaal could improve on his performance in Nightcrawler last year. (Spoiler: it doesn’t.) The fact is, his performance is good enough to warrant a film like this; the way he transforms himself so he’s hardly recognisable in each role is thoroughly impressive. But Southpaw as a whole simply turned out to be a film that is just good enough. It keeps coming back to me. It’s just good enough. Good enough for me to have not felt like I’d wasted two hours in the cinema. Good enough for me to say it wasn’t disappointing. Good enough for me to have liked a lot about it. But it’s not great and I can’t quite put my finger on why that is. Perhaps the story is little more than OK, with a Rocky-meets-Raging-Bull quality to it? Boxing films do seem to follow a pretty standard pattern, whatever culture they’re from. It doesn’t matter if it’s South Korea’s Crying Fist or a very Clint Eastwood Million Dollar Baby; they are typically about a character falling on hard times, facing adversity and then redeeming themselves. Maybe the lack of anything new or original is why I’m struggling to think of any reason that this would be anywhere near my top 10 of the year so far list, despite not actually disliking it? It’s just good enough. Nothing more and that’s a real shame.


Week 3 – Monday 10 – Sunday 16 August 2015

Monday – Apocalypse Now (1979); Tuesday – [absolutely nothing]; Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – The All Together (2007); Friday – Devil’s Playground (2010); Saturday – The Other Half (2006); Sunday – Next Goal Wins (2014), WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER (2001)

wet hot american summerLike a lot of other people, I have since found out, I too was tricked by the pretty terrible TV advert for the new Netflix prequel series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. It didn’t appeal to me at all, despite Callum raving about it on our podcast not too long back. The cast looked impressive, but it had something off-puttingly Scary Movie / Epic MovieMeet The Spartans / other-shit-parody-movie about it. However, I knew it had cult status and I fancied watching a comedy film – something that The All Together and The Other Half had failed to deliver earlier in the week! So, despite going into Wet Hot American Summer with some degree of trepidation, it actually delivered a very smart, mostly laugh out loud comedy full of self-parody, fantastic comic-performances and made me re-think how I’d interpreted that TV ad for the Netflix series. I’m certainly glad that I watched the film first as even though the show is a prequel (made 15 years after the first film – something hilarious in itself) it does have a heck of a lot of call backs and set ups for the movie that have great pay-offs that I otherwise would have missed out on. Also, I’m aware that they very rarely all appear on screen together, but to get some of this cast back on board is simply amazing. Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper etc are all so much more well known now compared to back in 2001, yet still fit together like they’ve been planning a prequel show all this time. I highly recommend it for some quick consistent giggles and advise against letting that fucking advert put you off.


Week 4 – Monday 17 – Sunday 23 August 2015

Monday – The Island of Dr Moreau (1996); Tuesday – The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (2015); Wednesday – The Wraith (1986); Thursday – VENDETTA (2013)Friday – Dead Man Running (2009); Saturday – Soldier (1998), Piranha 3DD (2012); Sunday – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)

VendettaIf I’m going to pick any Danny Dyer film to talk about in this month’s article, it’s got to be the revenge thriller Vendetta, featuring an appearance from James Mullinger and produced by Jonathan Sothcott, both of whom appeared on that Corridor of Praise podcast I mentioned at the top of the page. The plot is very straight forward as British soldier (Danny Dyer) goes AWOL, returning to the UK to catch the scumbags who have burned his parents alive. It’s very nicely shot, there’s a lot of violent revenge enacted on people who “deserve their comeuppance” (described by The Guardian as revenge-porn) and it’s entirely unapologetic about it. If that’s your thing, then you are quite likely to love Vendetta. It’s probably the most grown-up performance from Dyer who, although having the reputation as a geezer and/or gangster, is usually playing the likeable, fallible, boy-ish good looking fellow in a group, not the rampaging murderer. In this, he properly is the hardened cold-killer and nails the role. Paul Field basically pressured me into buying this on blu-ray and it turned out to be a good decision as it’s an entertaining low-budget British thriller. It’s actually a shame that there’s no sign of a sequel just yet as they can’t “get Danny out of Walford” for the foreseeable future.


Week 5 – Monday 24 – Monday 31 August 2015

Monday – The Business (2005), The Football Factory (2004); Tuesday – Outlaw (2007); Wednesday – [absolutely nothing]; Thursday – White Chicks (2004); Friday – THESE FINAL HOURS (2015)Saturday – The Guvnors (2014); Sunday – American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987), Sinister 2 (2015); Monday – [absolutely nothing]

these final hoursWe’ve talked about this Australian pre-post-apocalyptic (a genre term I’m pretty sure I coined) on the podcast in recent weeks, particularly as it was shown at FrightFest this year – although I actually found it on US Netflix. Written and directed by Zak Hilditch, starring Nathan Phillips (Wolf Creek), Sarah Snook (Predestination) and Jessica De Gouw (Arrow, Dracula), as mentioned on the pdocast it does start off a bit like a music video. You’re not really invited to connect to the story nor the characters as a series of expositional dialogue sets things up alongside a show of bright, shallow visuals. It’s safe to say that it didn’t grab me straight away and I immediately thought it’d be a tediously dull wasted concept. However, once I got past the opening credits and the first five minutes, things suddenly get very dark. Whilst on the surface it appears to be as bleak as hell about humanity when facing a crisis – hey, let’s all get pissed, do a load of drugs and party until our skin is burnt from our bodies in 12 hours time – it does showcase some brightness in how we interact with each other. That there’s good in some of us. As the protagonist James stumbles across a young girl who has been separated from her family (played brilliantly by Angourie Rice), he decides to help her find her dad; at first reluctantly, but eventually it takes him on a course to see visit his mother, make peace with some friends and discover something about himself (albeit a little bit too late!) As far as these stories go, it never quite gets as distressing as something like The Road, but if you’re into an apocalyptic story that doesn’t feature either vampires or zombies, this might just be for you.


And that’s it! I’ll be back next month to recap what I’ve been watching throughout September. Until then, leave a comment if you’d like or just ignore the entire article completely. Your call.

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)!

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)!

US Box Office Report: 24/07/15 – 26/07/15

Pixels has insufficient quarters, Southpaw goes down in the fifth, Paper Towns exposes the flimsy construction of the John Green empire, nobody wanted to see what The Vatican Tapes didn’t want us to see, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Folks, you did it.  You kept Pixels from the number 1 slot.  And you kept it from making any decent amount of money, as it closed the weekend in second place with just $24 million.  You did it, gang!  You really did it!  You proved that you are over Adam Sandler.  His scurrying away to the darkest bowels of Netflix with the rest of Happy Madison is like when the exploited villagers of a cynical, money-grubbing dicksh*t finally rise up against him and drive him out of town with pitchforks and torches!  You did it, folks!  Admittedly, it was a close call, since Ant-Man is currently only sitting pretty at the top by $750,000, but you did it anyway!  And that’s what counts!

In fact, it was a rather miserable and underwhelming week all around, to be honest.  Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama Southpaw, for example, was released this weekend.  Remember how excited we all were for that movie?  When we saw Jake Gyllenhaal all scary-jacked up, and how amazing Rocky was, and how this was going to be this big awards season contender that one time and that finally Jake Gyllenhaal would have to be recognised in all Best Actor races after being bewilderingly shut out last year?  You know, until that trailer came out and… yeah, there’s a reason this one was dumped mid-Summer.  Audiences agreed, and so the film opened in fifth place with $16.5 million.  On the bright side, I got to make a Snatch reference in the headline, so this whole thing wasn’t a total waste!

Meanwhile, the John Green Empire took a critical hit in its formative stages thanks to Paper Towns.  Compared to the runaway smash success of The Fault In Our Stars from last year – of a $48 million first place kind – Paper Towns struggled to reach $12.5 million and sixth place.  Is this because teenagers are fickle as f*ck?  Is it because everyone had places to be this weekend?  Or is it just because a subpar adaptation of an author’s inferior-to-his-much-better-work novel wasn’t going to make any money anyway?  It’s probably the last one.  After all, people weren’t exactly tripping over themselves to race to the box office to see that 2013 adaptation of Stephanie Meyer’s The Host, were they?  Just goes to show that not every novel by an author is worth adapting just because one of them was good and/or popular.  If somebody could pass that message along for me to the people who keep pumping out insufferable Nicholas Sparks movies, that’d be just swell.

In The Land Of Really Stretching The Term Limited Releases, Mark Neveldine – of Neveldine/Taylor of Crank 2: High Voltage more commonly known as THE GREATEST ACTION MOVIE RELEASED THIS CENTURY – decided that he was going to try and be the Shawn Michaels to Bryan Taylor’s Marty Jannetty and split off to direct the found-footage exorcism flick The Vatican Tapes.  As karma for this act of betrayal/insolence, the film sat on the shelf for a good year and a bit before finally getting dumped in 427 theatres, trashed by critics, and managing a pathetic $850,000 for a sub-$2,000 per-screen average.  Hopefully now he and Taylor – whom I was just reminded was supposed to direct and release a Twisted Metal movie this year, which caused me to laugh for a solid minute – will recognise that they are stronger together and go back to making movies as a cohesive unit!  Daddy needs Crank 3D, dammit.

Also, the best performing film of the weekend was Woody Allen’s Irrational Man, which added 21 screens (for a total of 28), and took home $261,000 for a $9,321 per-screen average.  Once again, you all do know that you don’t have to give him money for everything he does, right?


ant man

A winner is you with this Full List.

Box Office Results: Friday 24th July 2015 – Sunday 26th July 2015

1] Ant-Man

$24,765,000 / $106,075,000

Again, this is currently real tight, so things may switch when the actuals come in, but everything’s great for now!  Also, allow me to highlight this well-argued piece by Umberto Gonzalez about how he was offended by the character of Luis in Ant-Man.  I personally don’t agree with the piece – as I mention in my review, I feel that the film’s commitment to ensuring that everyone gets enough development to be a character keeps characters like Luis from being just a racist stereotype – and most of the article’s (mostly Latino) commenters don’t seem to agree either, but it’s well-written and I have huge respect for him bringing the issue forward.  Even when it seems like we’re being too sensitive, it’s still important to call out these things and have these discussions.

2] Pixels

$24,000,000 / NEW

Seeing this on Tuesday for an Unlimited Screening and a review will be along the following day, so I’m restraining any sick burns or easy jokes until then.  Hell, I’m even going to flush them out of my mind completely!  With films like Pixels, I worry that we all take a little too much pleasure in dumping on easy targets, that we get a little carried away and just devolve into strings of (often admittedly) hilarious insults because we can be united in attacking a common low-effort target.  That’s why I try really hard to avoid doing that in my reviews of such films – my Paul Blart and Entourage reviews do have the occasional funny lines, but mostly stick to explaining the legitimate genuine faults those movies have instead of going for comedy gold.

What I’m saying is that I like the middle-part of Moviebob’s Pixels review, where he breaks down in detail why the film sucks, but that review blew up for all of the wrong reasons and that makes me sad and/or mad.

3] Minions

$22,100,000 / $261,620,000

Look, you all like to insult the Minions and claim that their kind and their movies are abominations and the downfall of civilisation.  OK, whatever.  But, have the Minions ever made an allegedly videogame-themed theme song for their movie by Waka Flocka Flame (featuring two people from Good Charlotte who I am not 100% convinced aren’t just clones of one another), where the lyrics barely reference videogames, barely rhyme, and are performed on a beat that sounds like Maroon 5 covering a Panic! At The Disco cover of a 2015 Fall Out Boy song?  I rest my case.

4] Trainwreck

$17,300,000 / $61,545,000

I hate to bring the mood down, but let’s all just take a moment to mourn those killed at The Grand 16 Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana this past weekend.  I could use this space to get incredibly angry – at the lax gun control laws, to the fact that the media keeps painting the cause of the shooting as a mystery despite the fact that it took place during a feminist film by a feminist movie star and that the victims were women who were shot by a man with a history of abusive behaviour towards female members of his family – but I’m honestly just kinda numb to all of this by this point.  It’s clear that nothing’s going to change – not gun control laws, and certainly not the toxic sexism that has been ingrained into our society – and I just can’t muster up any emotions about this anymore.  Like, seriously, what is it going to take to get something to change?

OK, sorry for springing that on you folks in what is supposed to be a fun and silly space.  Back to our regularly scheduled programme.

5] Southpaw

$16,500,000 / NEW

Saw this Friday and a review will be along tomorrow – it got held up by the length of time it took for me to write about Inside Out – but I will tell you that this one was incredibly disappointing.  A film that actively steers itself away from anything remotely interesting or new in favour of yet another tale about male masculinity and fatherly redemption, but this time with extra excess melodrama.  It’s fine for what it is, but I’m tired of seeing films like Southpaw.  Tell me something new!

Also, I do kinda have to agree with my friend Matt: making a non-Rocky-related boxing movie over an MMA movie in 2015 is pure wankery.

6] Paper Towns

$12,500,000 / NEW

So, question: who, what, where, why, and how Cara Delevingne?  Seriously, I go to bed one night, and then wake up the next morning to find people incapable of not talking about her and that she’s appearing in the something like 7 films over the next 12 months.  What gives?  I mean no disrespect for her or anything, she might be a fine actress and a perfectly upstanding human being, I’m just naturally cautious about anybody who blows up overnight and is in everything.  Last time this happened, we got The Walking Embodiment of Beige, commonly known as Jai Courtney.  Just saying.

7] Inside Out

$7,356,000 / $320,335,000

Here is my attempt to offer up a straight review, where I only talk about the film and why it’s brilliant and I love it on its own merits.  That took 8 hours to write.  Here is my in-depth, personal, and spoiler-y piece on why Inside Out is so emotionally attached to me in ways that I really can’t separate it from.  That took about 3 hours to write.  Writing, everybody!

8] Jurassic World

$6,900,000 / $623,803,000

Ladies, gentlemen, and others… your third highest grossing film domestically AND worldwide of all-time.  I’ll leave the thinkpieces to you folks, I really don’t care either way about this.

9] Mr. Holmes

$2,849,000 / $6,432,000

Hey!  This actually broke into the chart!  Yay and stuff!

10] Terminator: Game Gear

$2,400,000 / $85,666,000

On the one hand: YIPPEE!  This piece of dog sh*t is bidding us adieu!  We might be spared a sequel after all!  On the other hand: dammit!  I had all of these videogame console name substitutions lined up for usage, and now they’re all going to go to waste!  What good is a once-slightly-clever gag escalation if I don’t get to run it into the ground?!  Life is the worst!

This is a situation with no clear-cut answer, so I’m just going to embed the unquestionably godawful Pixels theme song below and call it for the week.

Dropped Out: Magic Mike XXL, The Gallows, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Ted 2

Callum Petch won’t be around.  He now mainly writes for his own website (callumpetch.com).  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Southpaw

by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)

southpaw 2015She’s hurting too. You’ve got to let her hate you, so she can get better.

I got hit by a southpaw guy once. I honestly thought he’d broken or popped something the second that his foot hit my unguarded and unprepared ribs. As the pain of the hit went through me, I thought I was going to die! I wheezed, I hit the deck and I called time on what was nothing more than a typical Tuesday night training session. To fight “southpaw” is, for want of a better description, to fight lefty. To switch your stance in such a way that punches (and kicks) are thrown from the wrong direction for your opponent. It provides a tactical advantage over the guy in front of you, fighting what is essentially a mirror image of yourself isn’t easy to combat. It’s harder still when a well trained fighter switches stance halfway through a fight, suddenly changing how you have to fight and defend and opening you up for a world of hurt.

Now, my little story is from an MMA point of view, and no matter the discipline, the term “southpaw” always means the same thing, but it’s primarily a boxing term and boxing is where we find ourselves with Jake Gyllenhaal’s latest drama, a film about a man who suddenly loses everything and simply doesn’t know how to cope without the things most precious to him.

Gyllenhaal is Billy Hope, a champion boxer with 43 wins and no losses under that huge championship belt. Nicknamed “The Great”, Billy’s strengths lie in his ability to take a beating, to get hit over and over again and still have the strength in him, in his arms to throw enough punches to get the win. Always moving forwards, always getting in close is Billy’s key to success. A man impossible to beat into submission, a rabid dog who knows only how to bite and keep biting until he’s pulled off of his victim. But, on the flipside of that coin, once Billy is outside of the ring, he’s a doting family man; living only for his wife Maureen, his childhood sweetheart who came through the fostering system with him, and his daughter Leila, a headstrong kid who adores her fighter dad.

“The Great” Hope’s life is turned upside down when a charity dinner turns bloody and Maureen is the victim of a stray bullet fired in the heat of the moment. As Billy is forced to watch the life drain from the love of his life as she dies in his arms, as the light leaves her eyes, it begins to leave Billy’s too. With the woman that anchors his life suddenly gone, Billy spirals out of control and, try as he might, he can’t drag himself up from the hole he has found himself in and his daughter is beginning to feel the consequences of her dad’s actions.

After Billy is pushed into his next fight by his manager, uncaring of Billy’s situation and only smelling the money, the once proud, undefeated warrior lets himself take a beating in the ring hoping for some kind of deliverance in the hits he’s taking. Not defending himself, not fighting back, after the fight is stopped, events quickly take a turn for the worse and a rash decision on the boxer’s part quickly snowball and leave him without a home, without an income and with the State of New York taking Leila into care subject to Hope getting his act together and proving that he’s a man worthy of the title of “Father”.

At rock bottom and needing help clawing his way back up, Hope turns to Forest Whitaker’s Tick Willis. A former pro coach turned gym owner who spends his time training the neighbourhood kids and keeping them out of trouble. In a last-ditch attempt to get back his pride, his dignity and his little girl, Billy puts his trust in Tick to lead him down the right path to find some form of salvation from the road that he’s found himself on.

Southpaw comes to us from a pretty heavy hitting team-up. Starting with a great turn from Jake Gyllenhaal, a man who was robbed of an Oscar nomination for last year’s Nightcrawler, puts in an outstanding performance as the broken and beaten Billy Hope. A man who couldn’t be beaten in the ring but couldn’t hold it together outside of it. Direction duties come courtesy of one of my favourite directors working at the moment, Antoine Fuqua. Apart from the fact that he made Training Day, one of my all-time favourite films, he’s turned his hand to a few different genres with a few well known actors and has always been able to make an enjoyable film with what he’s given and that trend absolutely continues with Southpaw. But maybe my biggest surprise was when I discovered that it had been written by Kurt Sutter. A man not everyone knows, but those that do, know that his work is outstanding. Most famous for creating motorcycle drama Sons of Anarchy and being on long-term writing duty for The Shield, Sutter has put together a powerful film with enough emotional pull to get the heart straining at what you’re seeing on screen.

But, outshining all of them, even Gyllenhaal’s impressive change into Billy Hope and his spectacular performance, is (at the time of writing) twelve year old Oona Laurence’s performance as Leila Hope. As Billy’s heart, soul and reason for living, she stole every scene from Gyllenhaal and put in an award worthy show as the distraught little girl who’s lost her mum and is being wrenched from her dad. As one half of Billy’s “fighter” and “father” moniker tattooed along his arms, her fight is almost as great as his as she has to grieve and try to be a grown up for her dad. All of the magic of Southpaw comes from her performance. Every look of anger and disappointment from her will make your heart sink and every glimmer of pride for her old man will make all but the soulless weep for her.

The bottom line, is that Southpaw doesn’t really break any new ground. It’s a redemption story that has been told a hundred times before. Jake Gyllenhaal’s transformation to Billy Hope is a spectacular one and a testament to how hard he worked to make his fights look as painful as they do with Fuqua’s direction making every hit hurt and every quiet moment tense. The film’s Oscar worthy performances, its strangely under-stated direction and its great script make it shine above other similar films. Fuqua and Sutter do an amazing job of subtly playing to the fears of every guy wanting to be a dad to their kids and NEEDING to be a man to their daughters. By the time I left the film last night, I was suitably emotionally drained and desperate to get home and hug my little girl, that’s praise enough for me.

You already know if you’re Southpaw‘s audience. Those that are, will love the little over two hours you’ll spend with Billy Hope on his journey for salvation. Those that aren’t, well, I’m sure there’s a talking animal film on for you somewhere.

Failed Critics Podcast: Here Comes The Summer

jurassic worldWelcome to this week’s Failed Critics Podcast with Steve Norman once again returning to hosting duties. He’s joined as ever by Owen Hughes, with guests Callum Petch and Mike Shawcross.

Unlike the British summer time, we’re bringing you a podcast that seems to go on forever as the team not only review new releases Princess Kaguya, Spongebob Squarepants: A Sponge Out of Water, The Gunman, The Voices AND Divergent Series: Insurgent (or Divergent 2) (or Divergent: Insurgent) (…or just Insurgent…) but also look ahead to those due for release between June and September with a summer 2015 preview triple bill.

Join us again next as we reach our 150th episode!

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