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About Webslinger

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    Box Office Gold

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  1. I'm a day later than I had planned, but I've begun a straight run-through of the James Bond series. I've only seen the first three Connerys, the first and last Brosnans, and all the Craigs all the way through heading in. Dr. No was more fun than I remembered it being when I caught it on Hulu a few years back. It takes some adjustment to remember that the tropes that feel tired thanks to further development and parody (especially from the first Austin Powers movie, which I watched about a billion times in middle school) were just being established in this film. Sean Connery is so damn good as Bond; he approaches the role with such assurance and swagger that it's no wonder the character caught on with audiences. But more importantly, I'm also re-watching all the Transformers films this week, and I'm now into the Stanley Tucci portion of everyone's favorite destruction porn saga.
  2. They did at least make an effort by bringing it back into wide release in September, when its total was in the low 90s. However, they were also working at pushing George of the Jungle past $100 million at the same time (and I remember the two films playing on the same screen at one of my local theaters that weekend). The weekend tracking for it on BOM ends after the September 12 weekend, so it’s unclear when exactly they gave up on pushing it over the top.
  3. I finally watched The Goonies for the first time. Really fun stuff. And for my next first time viewing, I have the 2004 masterpiece Catwoman all queued up. My claws are nice, sharp, and ready for this mess.
  4. According to Baseball-Reference, y'all already got him and he's put up 10 homers in 63 games. I'm still shocked at how well my Mariners have been faring in their OOTP 21 simulation. The M's are at a .590 winning percentage, somehow; I guess it thinks our youngsters are really as good as hoped! But I'm guessing the program knows well enough to account for their traditional second half collapse. That said, looking at how the Dodgers are faring there - .786 at the moment - reminds me that as horrible as it is that we've been without baseball this year (to say nothing of, y'know, everything else happening around it), there is still a little part of me that's taking solace in knowing that the real Dodgers didn't get to make a run at the 2001 Mariners' single season win record. We may not have a title (or even a pennant), but at least we still have that record! (In all seriousness, though: the Dodgers will be damn fun to watch when this season finally gets started.)
  5. A Da 5 Bloods A- Never Rarely Sometimes Always B+ Birds of Prey Emma. The Half of It The Invisible Man The King of Staten Island B The Gentlemen The Hunt Onward The Photograph B- Bad Boys for Life The Way Back C Spenser Confidential D+ Artemis Fowl
  6. After months of controversy and an eventual release stymied by the coronavirus pandemic, it is almost a little disappointing to say that The Hunt is merely a serviceable thriller with some clever ideas and solid moments of dark comedy. The script, co-authored by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof, takes the South Park approach of skewering both sides of its established political divide, painting the liberal elites conducting the hunt as a sort of aloof thought police intent on extreme political correctness, and the dyed in the wool conservatives they are hunting as backwoods bigots who still cling to conspiracy theories and xenophobia even as their lives are in danger. By attacking both sides so relentlessly, the satire never seems like it is driving at a specific point about either one. There are also some twists toward the end that undercut the effectiveness of this “bothsidesism” to some degree. But where the satire turns out messy, the action sequences are consistently engaging and feature several heightened, fist pump-worthy moments that would have been fun to watch in a packed auditorium. These sequences also get an assist from well-utilized macabre humor, which helps the film to avoid the pitfall of taking itself too seriously a la fellow low budget Blumhouse horror thrillers in the Purge franchise. As the heroine, Betty Gilpin is surprisingly effective; I have greatly enjoyed her work in GLOW, but I could not have predicted how well she slips into action heroine mode here. Gilpin carries most of the film, as other actors are largely on hand just for brief appearances to allow her character’s story to advance in one way or another; the highlight of these small parts is Hilary Swank, who sinks her teeth into her role as the big bad and makes the most of her limited screentime. By the end of The Hunt, I found myself surprised by just how much the film’s premise and messaging has been blown out of proportion; it is ultimately not saying much about either side that a viewer could not already surmise from well-known stereotypes (and though it treats the conservative prey more sympathetically, it also does not shy away from acknowledging their less savory perspectives), and it is never nearly as interested in advancing a message as it is in making a mockery of its characters. Taken at face value, it’s an enjoyable film – even if its attempts to venture outside the box are not as sharp as they could be. B Stray Thoughts (here be the spoilers): - I know the quick deaths of recognizable stars like Emma Roberts and Ike Barinholtz are supposed to be shocking, but the fact that they're only in a sliver of any of the film's promotional material spells out the fact that they're not going to last long. - While it's cool to see Betty Gilpin put Hilary Swank's Athena in her place for getting the wrong Crystal, that twist also somewhat undercuts possible nuances in political messaging. Making Crystal a presumably neutral person is a bit of a cop-out, especially when it seems like the film *could* be going an interesting direction when we only hear a snippet of the other Crystal's post; the fact that it's cut-off mid-sentence suggested the possibility that perhaps Crystal was making a valid call-out of Athena for indirectly killing people through her line of work (which I don't recall being identified outside of a vague business veneer), but of course that's not ultimately the direction the film opts to follow. Athena still selects Crystal out of a sense of hurt pride, but it would have been a more interesting narrative choice to have a measured conservative issue valid criticism of a liberal who sees her every action being above reproach because of her perceived moral compass on other issues. Alas, the film just has the real Crystal say something dumb and our two enemies then duke it out to the death, but said dukeing to the death is a lot of fun to watch.
  7. May 2007 was insane. There was so much hype surrounding all three of the big threequels that month, then they all opened huge (when you throw in the preview numbers for Pirates as we would today, all three would have surpassed the first Spider-Man’s previous May record), and then they all bottomed out when each of them let audiences down in one way or another. Memorial Day weekend that year was basically “these three movies... and then everything else competing for scraps” at many theaters. The look back on 2003 was a lot of fun! It was my first year of close box office tracking, and it was quite a time to pick it up with so many interesting stories to follow.
  8. I totally forgot that the Rangers have that brand new stadium still just sitting there waiting for games. Of course, I’m laughing now, but I won’t be when the Mariners get their asses kicked there on a regular basis through at least the end of next season.
  9. It’s not just the politicians, honestly; it’s a certain segment of the general population too. There are plenty of people out there who just can’t be compelled to give a damn about something they don’t think (or don’t know) affects them personally and stubbornly refuse to do anything that might also mitigate the risk for others.
  10. Disney's animated output through most of the 2000s - the first half of the decade in particular - is just weird. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Lilo & Stitch has such a big following among late millennial/early Gen Z kids considering it was the only unqualified success they had in the early '00s. I guess that just makes it even weirder that I saw Atlantis theatrically in the summer of 2001, but didn't see Shrek until it hit video that November.
  11. I’m kinda surprised to see that they haven’t done that with Pocahontas yet, if only to cover their asses.
  12. I still find it hilarious that the general consensus at Disney at the time of their productions was that Pocahontas was the prestige film and The Lion King was this other, lesser project they had going on.
  13. It turns out that all the speculation about the quality of Artemis Fowl in lights of its long development history, its troubled production, and its release date shifts was more than justified. The film, as it exists on the Disney+ platform, is a mess that rarely makes much sense nor gives viewers many compelling reasons to care about any of the events occurring onscreen. The development of characters and themes is minimal and mostly fails to get viewers invested in the setting. The problems begin with the titular character, a boy genius so irritatingly smug that one couldn’t be blamed for hoping someone will punch him in the face. His character traits basically boil down to being a genius who is really good at just about everything; while this decision is not bad unto itself – after all, a villain protagonist could make for an interesting film – the filmmakers bungle it because they cannot quite decide whether they are okay with committing to such an unsympathetic protagonist. As such, we’re left with an unlikable protagonist whose growth over the course of the film feels entirely plot-driven. What’s more, the plot is also so uninteresting that it requires a tacked-on framing device to constantly explain what the stakes are supposed to be. The acting mostly matches the dullness of the script (and it’s easy to forget that numerous characters and plot threads even exist for significant stretches of the running time), though I have to cut Josh Gad some slack for at least trying to do something with a character who feels like an attempt to craft a weird cross between Hagrid and the Jason Momoa Aquaman. It’s not a good performance, but at least it’s weird and committed enough that stands out when very little else does, and it’s one of precious few things in front of the camera where anyone appears to be demonstrating noticeable effort. There are some competently directed scenes that hint at what Kenneth Branagh could have done with significantly better material, and Patrick Doyle also does reliably nice work on the original score. Taken as a whole, though, Artemis Fowl is an aggressively uninteresting misfire. D+
  14. I finally watched My Neighbor Totoro for the first time (I had seen Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke). Man, what a lovely film.
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