Monday, May 13, 2019

The Breakdown of the Atypical Blockbuster - 'The Departed', 'Kramer vs. Kramer', 'Unforgiven', 'Good Will Hunting' and 'Psycho'


It is a huge show this week that we are calling The Breakdown of the Atypical Blockbuster. When you think box office powerhouse, you usually picture big special effects adventure movies, but sometimes other type of movies can connect with an audience and make the same kind of money. The is a week we will review the master Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece in the original slasher movie, Psycho. We have another legendary filmmaker in Martin Scorsese with the movie that finally landed him Best Director recognition in The Departed. We also have a western by a legend from that genre in Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven. We also discuss the number one grossing movie of 1979 in the drama about a child custody battle in Kramer vs. Kramer. We will also review the break-out movie for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in the Boston set drama, Good Will Hunting. We have some powerhouse movies and we go in-depth on each one and it turns out to be a super-sized episode. As always, we had an amazing time and we really hope you love it too. If you do, then show your appreciation by spreading the word on social media or tell a friend who is a movie fan.

Reminder that you can subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Four Star Movie Rating:

The Departed **** (CS & SM)
Kramer vs. Kramer **** (CS & SM)
Unforgiven **** (CS & SM)
Good Will Hunting ***½ (CS & SM)
Psycho **** (CS & SM)

The Summer Box Office Challenge Draft Picks:

Scott:

1. The Lion King
2. Hobbs and Shaw
3. Detective Pikachu - $54 365 242
4. The Secret Life of Pets 2
5. Men in Black International 
6. Annabelle Comes Home
7. Angry Birds 2
8. Shaft
9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
10. Long Shot $9 740 064
Total: $64 105 306

Christopher:

1. Toy Story 4
2. Spider-Man Far from Home
3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
4. Aladdin
5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
6. Rocketman
7. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
9. Child's Play (replaced Artemis Fowl)
10. Ma
Total: $0

Monday, May 06, 2019

The Breakdown of Marvel Magic, Plus Remembering John Singleton and Peter Mayhew


This week we look at one of the most successful film franchises of all-time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We analyze why it became such a hit and what elements made it so revolutionary. We also look at the things that other movie studios tried to copy and why they got it wrong. Endgame is on its way to be the highest grossing movie of all-time, so it is the perfect time to look at what has made Marvel Studios so successful.

Then we pay tribute to director John Singleton and actor Peter Mayhew. Both men played a big part in our move going experiences. Singleton broke into the movie industry with the classic Boyz n the Hood and Mayhew was one of the most beloved movie characters ever in Chewbacca. As always, we had a great time recording the show and we hope you love it. If you do, please spread the word on social media so other movie fans can check us out.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



The Summer Box Office Challenge Draft Picks:

Scott:

1. The Lion King
2. Hobbs and Shaw
3. Detective Pikachu
4. The Secret Life of Pets 2
5. Men in Black International 
6. Annabelle Comes Home
7. Angry Birds 2
8. Shaft
9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
10. Long Shot - $9 740 064
Total: $9 740 064

Christopher:

1. Toy Story 4
2. Spider-Man Far from Home
3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
4. Aladdin
5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
6. Rocketman
7. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
9. Artemis Fowl
10. Ma
Total: $0

Friday, May 03, 2019

A 'Marvel'ous Movie Review Series Exploding on the Blog


Ever since the release of the epic Avengers: Endgame, most film writers have been ranking the 22 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. I totally understand the reason since the most recent movie was a conclusion to a massive 10 year-plus series. It all started with Iron Man, an at the time surprise box office mega-hit. Even then, Marvel Studios was planting the seeds for an ambitious collection of movies, but we didn't know then how it would reshape cinema. I'm intrigued to find out how far ahead plans were for the future when they started filming that movie and if Endgame was a realization of the original vision.

I love the idea of raking each of the movies, but to be honest, some I haven't seen for almost 10 years. I don't feel like a ranking right now would be honest without revisiting each of the movies and see how they resonate with me now. What I'm going to do over the next several months (probably over the remaining year), is in order of release review each picture from this sweeping series (Spider-Man Far From Home will be out of order due to being released while I'm doing this series but will also be the 23rd).

The plan will be to review each as a separate movie, but also analyze their contribution to the bigger picture of the universe. I think, it would be really cool to track how the movies evolved over time and where the shift in potential plans or creative ideas occurred. This is without a doubt the biggest series of movies in modern pop culture, and so my hope is to dive deep into how this happened. Then after I finish this ambitious project, I will rank the movies.

I only think, there were maybe two movies that I didn't ever recommend in the series the first time I saw them. I also have very little memory of Iron Man 2, Thor: Dark World and The Incredible Hulk, so I am excited to revisit those. I'm interested to see if movies I was a bit flatter on like Thor, Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron have improved with age.

The goal is to kick it off with Iron Man in the coming weeks. Let me know if you want these to be spoiler-free or for me to talk in-depth about major plot points.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

One Big Movie Event is Enough to Declare April a Winner


2019 isn't quite shaping up to be what I'd call the best movie year since I started professionally reviewing movies in 2012. But some of the hotly anticipated movies have been the hits that we were hoping to see. Last month, we had the great horror-thriller from a second-time director Jordan Peele with Us.

April had the biggest movie event of the year in the accumulation of 22 movies leading to the grand 'finale' (yes, there will be more but what they've been building towards was paid off), Avengers: Endgame. It is quite the achievement that a movie that created this much buzz and had this much hype was able to deliver. It was a satisfying and emotional conclusion to a series that has captured the cinematic zeitgiest for over a decade. It was full of fun call-backs and tributes to the past movies and making all that came before seems more important.  It gave closure to major characters that we've spent many years watching. It is a good movie even if this is your first Marvel Cinematic Universe film but is something truly special for those who have seen every single movie. It has some very emotional performances that give a lot of weight to the characters, but also has one of the most fist-pumping and crowd-pleasing big action finales in any special effects epic. This should be mentioned on The Breakdown of the Best of 2019, and if it doesn't, we got an amazing second half coming our way.

Nothing was as epic as the Marvel offering but I'd say the theatre experience of this past month was largely satisfying. Shazam! kept the DC quality movie streak going with a movie that was bouncy and light and actually fun. It has some dark bits that kept it from being the family movie that it was being sold as, but it also made it feel a bit like a 1980s version of a kid's film that always had a few scary or inappropriate bits (that is why adults are so messed up now). Zachary Levi is fantastic as a boy in a grown man's body and has a great chemistry with Jack Dylan Grazer where they feel like two friends freaking out over newfound super-powers. I also loved how they handled the foster family and there was a nice message about how a bond is more than just blood.

The Stephen King quality streak was also extended with Pet Sematary. It made enough changes to justify a second adaptation and it keeps the creepy atmosphere and chills of the book. It is a really dark story and I was rattled by the end of it. A movie like this is setting out to disturb and shake you, and it is really effective at that. It also is Amy Seimetz's biggest stage and proves what an incredible talent she is. If you want something that will give you nightmares, then this is your road to a sleepless night or two.

Maybe I should have made the theme of this month 'streaks.' Because Laika has delivered a great animated adventure every single time and Missing Link keeps that rule alive. This screening was extra special because I got to share it with Danika who adored the movie. The animation is always gorgeous, but the story is sweet about the importance of acceptance and like Shazam!, family can come from many places. I love the imagination of this one and I really cared about the characters' journey and discoveries. It was under-seen, and your family should definitely track it down.

Now, for those that want my in-depth thoughts, you can check out my past month worth of reviews on 'The Movie Breakdown podcast. Here they are for your convenience.

The Breakdown of Dumbo, The Dirt, Budapest, River's Edge and Your Son

The Breakdown of Shazam!, Pet Sematary, The Highwaymen, and Walk. Ride. Rodeo.

The Breakdown of Missing Link, Unicorn Store, Burn Out and Girl

The Breakdown of the Underdog: Billy Elliot, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Walking Out, Cliffhanger and The Benchwarmers

The Breakdown of Avengers: Endgame, Someone Great, The Perfect Date and The Summer Box Office Challenge


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Soft Reboot


Over the next several months, I'm going to start doing a gradual 'rebranding' of the site. I've got a few cosmetic changes planned and after over ten years, I intend to change the title of the site to better reflect my visions and content on here. I may eventually change the URL but that will be even longer term than what I will be rolling out over the rest of the year.

There won't be a drastic change in the actual stuff that I'm writing but will be more focused on my long-term intentions for the site, which is to be a movie/pop culture site with a personal spin from a dad of two. The changes are all designed to make the site become more professional and hopefully get things in a place where I am comfortable launching a Patreon.

The plan is to attract a broader audience and so I will also be more aggressive in my marketing and looking at things like starting a mailing list. I want to do things right, which is why it will be gradual as I take some advice and weigh some different options. A few things will likely be experimental and may not stick. The most important thing is that for this to work, I need to write way more things on here, and since you are currently reading this, I assume that is a thing you will enjoy.

I'd also love some feedback on things you'd love to see on the site including the look and features as well as the actual type of articles written. As always, I really appreciate your support and readership.

Five Years of The Summer Box Office Challenge AKA The Competition Christopher Always Wins


The fifth annual Summer Box Office Challenge is completed, and the pick Scott drafted last comes out this weekend. Long Shot. The draft as always was a lot of fun even if I always end up doubting half my picks (this year is one where I am most confident in my choices, which may be my final undoing). You can listen to this year's draft on Monday's episode of The Movie Breakdown.

I thought it might be good to post how we did in the past competitions. Some years it was really tight and other years it was a bit of a blow-out. I am doing this partly because some people might find this interesting and mostly, because it gives me another chance to show off how I am undefeated.

I will also repost the draft picks from this year. Who do you think will win? Who landed the biggest sleeper hit? Who made this silliest pick? Do you think it will be close or a blow-out? Give your Monday quarterbacking thoughts in the comments.

Oh, I am not going to post our picks from the first year. The format was a convoluted mess and we were trying to be too complicated. Plus, we didn't have a prize the first year. 2016 is when we implemented the winner gets to pick three movies the loser must watch and review. You can ask Scott how well that works.

2016 Summer Box Office Challenge Final Scores:

Christopher - WINNER

1. Captain America: Civil War $181 790 000.00
2. X-Men: Apocalypse $65 000 000.00
3. Ghostbusters $46 0000 0000.00

4. Ice Age: Collision Course $21 000 000.00
5. Suicide Squad $135 105 000.00
6. Central Intelligence $35 535 250.00
7. BFG 
$19 584 969. 00
8. The Secret Life of Pets 
$103 170 000.00
9. Warcraft $24, 356, 000.00 
10. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates $16 600 000.00
Total: $648 141 219

Scott: 

1. Finding Dory $135 060 273.00
2. Star Trek Beyond $59 6000 000.00
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $35 250 000.00
4. Alice in the Looking Glass $28 112 000.00
5. Independence Day: Resurgence $41, 600 000.00
6. The Conjuring 2 $40, 350, 000.00
7. Angry Birds $39 000 000.00
8. Jason Bourne $60 0000 000.00
9. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rises 
$21 790 000.00
10. The Purge: Election Day 
$30 870 000.00
Total: $492 032 273.00

2017 Summer Box Office Challenge:

Christopher's Picks: WINNER

1. Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2$145 049 000 
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming $117 015 000
3. Wonder Woman $100, 505 000
4. Transformers: The First Knight $45 300 000
5. War of the Planet of the Apes $56 50 000
6. Baywatch: $18 100 000
7. The Mummy: $32 246 120
8. The House: $9 000 000
9. Atomic Blonde $18 286 420
10. Captain Underpants $23 500 000
Total: $564 937 540

Scott's Picks:

1. The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: $62 179 000
2. Despicable Me 3: $75 410 275
3. Alien: Covenant $36 000 000
4. Cars 3 $53 547 000
5. Dunkirk $50 500 000
6. Annabelle: Creation $35 040 000
7. Snatched $17 500 000
8. All Eyez on Me $27 050 000
9. The Emoji Movie $24 531 923
10. The Hitman's Bodyguard $21 600 000
Total: $403 358 198

2018 Summer Box Office Challenge:

Christopher's Picks: WINNER

1.
 Solo: A Star Wars Story $84 420 489
2. Incredibles 2 $182 687 905
3. Mission Impossible: Fallout $61 236 534
4. Ocean’s 8 $41 607 378
5. Equalizer 2 $36 011 640
6. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again $34 952 180
7. Crazy Rich Asians $26 510 140
8. The Meg $45 402 195
9.  The Spy Who Dumped Me $12 103 043
10. Teen Titans Go to the Movies $10 411 189
Total: $535 342 693

Scott's Picks:

1. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom $148 024 610
2. Deadpool 2 $125 507 153
3. Ant-Man and the Wasp $75 812 205
4. Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation $44 076 225
5. Skyscraper $24 905 015
6. First Purge $17 374 280
7. Disney’s Christopher Robin $24 585 139
8. Uncle Drew $15 242 781
9. Mile 22 $13 710 825
10. Life of the Party $17 886 075
Total: $507 124 308

2019 Summer Box Office Challenge Draft Picks:

Christopher:

1. Toy Story 4
2. Spider-Man Far from Home
3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
4. Aladdin
5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
6. Rocketman
7. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
9. Artemis Fowl
10. Ma

Scott:

1. The Lion King
2. Hobbs and Shaw
3. Detective Pikachu
4. The Secret Life of Pets 2
5. Men in Black International 
6. Annabelle Comes Home
7. Angry Birds 2
8. Shaft
9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
10. Long Shot

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Breakdown of 'Avengers: Endgame', 'Someone Great'. 'The Perfect Date', and the Summer Box Office Challenge Draft


It is one of the biggest episodes of the year. We discuss the massive movie event and the accumulation of a series that has run for over a decade in the hotly anticipated, Avengers: Endgame. We then have two Netflix romantic comedies in the Gina Rodriguez starring Someone Great and the teen romance, The Perfect Date. We also discuss the future of movie ticket subscription services and what they need to do to be successful. Then it is what we've all been waiting for, the kick-off to our big three-month long competition with the The Summer Box Office Challenge Draft. Will Scott ever win? It all get determined with the picks we make on this show. As always, we had a blast recording this show for you and we really hope you love it too. If love is the emotion you feel, then please show it by spreading the word on social media.

Reminder that you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes (if you enjoy the show, please help us by giving us a five star review).



Four Star Rating:

Someone Great *** (CS & SM)
Avengers: Endgame **** (CS)
The Perfect Date *** (CS) & **½ (SM)

The Summer Box Office Challenge Draft Picks:

Scott:

1. The Lion King
2. Hobbs and Shaw
3. Detective Pikachu
4. The Secret Life of Pets 2
5. Men in Black International 
6. Annabelle Comes Home
7. Angry Birds 2
8. Shaft
9. Dora and the Lost City of Gold
10. Long Shot

Christopher:

1. Toy Story 4
2. Spider-Man Far from Home
3. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
4. Aladdin
5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix
6. Rocketman
7. John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
8. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
9. Artemis Fowl
10. Ma

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Biggest MCU Movie Looks for the Biggest Opening Weekend Ever


It is the biggest movie event of the year and maybe even of the last several years with the 22nd Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Avengers: Endgame. It is the conclusion to one of the most successful and longest movie series ever. Well, except it isn't really the conclusion as we will have 50 billion more Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, but this is the pay-off to what was started all the way back with 2008's Iron Man. Scott is back to offer up his thought on how big he thinks the grand movie event will open this weekend.

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This weekend only has one film opening wide in theatres, and there is a good reason for that. The film is Disney’s Avengers: Endgame, and every studio knows that releasing a film opposite it would be a waste of time and money. I was trying to figure out whether to best compare the size of this film to either Star Wars: The Force Awakens or Avengers: Infinity War, but honestly I think we are in uncharted territory at this point.

The law of diminishing returns is very real, and almost every franchise faces it. It is a rare event to have a sequel outperform the original film, but it has happened with films that concluded their stories in Return of the King and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. A really safe bet would be to say that it is going to happen with Endgame. While it isn’t the end of Marvel movies, it is the conclusion of an ongoing saga of films that started in 2008.

When the second Avengers film came out, Age of Ultron, it looked like Disney would be unable to repeat the power of the first Avengers, which was a movie on a scale that had never been seen before. Incredibly, by the time Avengers: Infinity War came around it was the event film that Ultron seemed to fall a bit shy of. More remarkably, they are doing it again. The entire idea of studios having a ‘shared universe’ came from the success of Avengers, and nobody has been able to come close. The fact that Avengers was a hit wasn’t because it linked movies together, but rather because Disney is brilliant in how it has built these stories. With twenty one films that have managed to feel unique, they have amassed a large number of fans.

When Infinity War came out last year, it was entering into more theatres than any other film, at 4,474. Endgame is besting that with 4,662 theatres, which is a lot and quite needed. Ticket selling website fandango.com is saying that at the time of writing this (Thursday evening) over 8,000 showtimes have been sold out on their site. Endgame is now the biggest movie on Fandango when it comes to pre-sales, not only beating The Force Awakens, but selling five times more tickets than Infinity War did last year.

One possible negative against Endgame is the runtime of three hours and one minute, which means it will be harder for theatres to have as many screenings for it. This doesn’t seem as though it’s going to slow the movie down, as there are going to be many screenings offered for the opening weekend. The demand is so high that AMC Theatres has some locations running the film for twenty four hours straight for the entire weekend.

When The Force Awakens came out, I may have seen its opening weekend being bested at some point, but I was certain that its overall domestic take of $936 million was untouchable. I very well could be wrong, and Avengers: Endgame looks to take a swing at that record. The remarkable thing about any records they may break is not just overcoming the run time, but the fact that apparently it is going to be skewing more towards 2D screenings than Infinity War. Less 3D means lower ticket costs. If Endgame becomes the overall champion, it will do so with those two serious factors against it.

Predicting what this film will make isn’t easy. Yes, there are those numbers about pre-sales, but that could indicate the excitement of hardcore fans and may not be completely representative of general audiences. However, I think there is so much more to this than just the fans. Many people have popped in for a Marvel film or two over the past eleven years, and this weekend marks the end of the cumulative story of all of those films. Whether people were fans of Thor or Ant-Man, this is the film to see because it could have serious stakes for all involved. With an outrageous 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, we may be witnessing a perfect storm that changes movie history.

Avengers: Endgame Opening Weekend Prediction - $305 million