Monday, December 28, 2009

What Did You See Over Christmas?

Spent the weekend with food, friends and a stack of DVDs. At the movie theater I tried to see Avatar a second time but failed (I'm holding out for the IMAX experience but it's eternally sold out... at least for people like me who don't plan things weeks in advance). We went to Sherlock Holmes since you have to see a movie with friends and family on Christmas day. It's tradition. And judging on the box office results (biggest Christmas weekend ever) I assume that's tradition for just about everyone.

  1. Avatar $75 (for a $212 total)
    It's already earned over $600 million worldwide so it looks like they won't lose their shirts, even with that unthinkably monstrous budget. The world's most important question [cough] right now is this: Will James Cameron make us wait 12 more years for his 9th film? And will it be a sequel to this one? He does like the number 2s. If I were him I'd be figuring out a way to speed up. You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time. How about mixing it up with one for the fans and one for yourself? His gap between films used to be only three years. Unsolicited advice for Cameron: Have dinner with Soderbergh, Allen and Eastwood and ask for tips on how to start filming your next movie before you've finished post on your current one while also writing the next next one.
  2. Sherlock Holmes $65.3
    I had a gay old time. But something was missing... just can't quite figure out what. It wasn't the chemistry between Jude & RDJ which was very much present. The score was also top notch, the best from Hans Zimmer in quite some time, yes?

  3. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel $50.2

  4. It's Complicated $22.1
    People aren't talking about this since the top two are hogging the attention but this is Meryl Streep's third best headliner opening ever. (After Mamma Mia and The Devil Wears Prada, her two biggest hits if you don't adjust for inflation). There's just no stopping her.


    I have this theory that you can tell how well a star is loved by how little they're defaced in the subways. Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts etcetera... their faces never last long without "cosmetic adjustments" from sharpie carrying haters. Meryl Streep on the other hand often goes untouched. Respect! I was surprised to see this billboard scribbled on but the jokesters are just dissing Alec Baldwin and making reference to his various wife/daughter troubles over the years. Doesn't it seem like a million years ago when people hated Alec Baldwin for being a jerk? 30 Rock sure changed public perceptions. The charming lived charmed lives, don't you think?
  5. Up in the Air $11.7 (for a $24.5 total)
  6. The Blind Side $11.7 (for a $184.3 total)
    My god. This film lost over 600 screens and it was still up 17% in its sixth week. Sandra is totally going to take this past $200 million. Unbelievable. Why on earth is this such a sensation?
  7. The Princess and the Frog $8.6 (for a $63.3 total)

  8. Nine $5.5 (for a $5.9 total)
    This film cost $80 million to make. I fear for the musical genre. Hollywood forgives action flops and flops from big male stars all the time. But I'm not sure they'll forgive this any more than they forgive flops from female stars. They like to draw immediate unpleasant and untrue conclusions in those instances so I imagine we'll hear a round of "no one likes musicals! we're not making any more musicals!" panic. I still adamantly believe that this would have made more money opening for Thanksgiving as originally intended when the competition wasn't so insane and the buzz was still fresh. But it's also a "problem" musical in terms of the difficulty of transferring it from stage to screen.
  9. Did You Hear About the Morgans? $5 (for a $15.5 total)
  10. Invictus $4.3 (for a $23.3 total)
    More on this one tomorrow.

What did you see?

Nine (my review)? Avatar (previous posts)? Morgan Freeman giving good speech in Invictus? Meryl getting high in It's Complicated? Or Jude & Robert flirtatiously bickering in Sherlock Holmes? If you saw the thing with the chipmunks instead of any of these, just lie about it in the comments. No one will ever now... it's the internet!
*

54 comments:

pomme said...

one of my cousin is in holiday in Chicago(i come next week,cousin!!),he saw "sherlock holmes" this week-end. It's an empty movie for him like "Wild Wild West "(remember Smith/Kline movie)

adelutza said...

I saw It's Complicated, Up In The Air and Nine. What's all this with Nine being a letdown? I enjoyed it a lot! Penélope Cruz was really sexy and even I have to admit I loved Marion Cotillard. Kidman was on the screen for a split second so I can't say much about her but all in all, everybody was great. Why isn't Judy Dench pushed more for a nom? I thought her Folies Bergère was extraordinary.

And as for It's Complicated... what cam I say? Long live Meryl!

Cory Rivard said...

I went for a double-feature consisting of "Sherlock Holmes" and "Nine", and the only significant thought that I processed that entire time was how much Daniel Day-Lewis ACTUALLY ended up looking like Pete Postlethwaite.

Nicholas said...

I saw 'Up in the Air' and 'Nine', UITA was good, I particularly loved Anna Kendrick (she hasn't made me laugh since 'Camp' so I was glad to see her being funny again). And as for 'Nine', I LOVED Marion, I loved Penelope, I did not Love DDL. His Guido was whiny and annoying, I much much much prefer Marcello.

NATHANIEL R said...

Cory - ha!

Adelutza - i'm glad to have someone else say they enjoyed it. I'm not terribly surprised by the bad reviews (musicals are often shat upon... even moulin rouge got a ton of 'it stinks!'s reviews) but i am surprised by the amount of them.

Nicholas - i'm sad that i was right about DDL. I was hoping he would prove me wrong. (and it's really too bad that they didn't either wait for Bardem or go with Banderas post Broadway) DDL doesn't make very many movies so one hopes that each will be an event.

jbaker475 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jbaker475 said...

I saw three, and each one was better than the last. "Sherlock Holmes" was fun though McAdams felt out of place (hell, they should've just cast Paltrow in the role...that would have been a blast). A "B". "Nine" was flawed but very entertaining. Hudson's number didn't bother me, but I didn't like the way her story arc ended. The song ends and then BAM! we never hear from her again. I wish they'd made the Saraghina flashback more outrageous, too. The numbers were great though and Cotillard owned. The finale, like you said in your review, really was P-E-R-F-E-C-T. A "B+/B". Last was "Avatar". It's weird for me to judge, because I never really "felt" the characters that much; they were effective enough, but the spectacle of it all just took up all of the space. The story was derivative, but Cameron's telling wasn't, and Pandora itself is a gorgeous marvel. An "A-".

Anonymous said...

NINE, which I really liked. It definitely had flaws (why is "Cinema Italiano" there?- and I still kinda dug it), but I'm not getting the critical drubbing. Loved all the ladies, and while Marion deserves those best in show honors, I really loved what they did with Kidman. She's in the thing less than 10 minutes (is it even 5 without the overture?), and it's more about presence than performance, but what a presence.

Also took the niece and nephews to see THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. Loved the animation and the characters, but the songs (which I felt were just okay) kept it just a bit below those great Disney films of the 90s. I wish it were doing better. Pixar works wonders, but there's something really magical about hand-drawn animation.

-VAL

Robert said...

I saw "Avatar" and luckily caught "Fantastic Mr. Fox" as well.

"Avatar" was as mind-blowing as expected and I definitely loved it, if not as much as I thought I would. Something about the story sort of...alienated me (pardon the pun...). But it was still pretty amazing.

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" was brilliant and hysterical. Definitely lived up to expectations!

Anonymous said...

I saw Broken Embraces...mostly because it was the only thing not sold out. But no regrets! I loved it so much.

Carl said...

Also waiting for the IMAX experience for another dose of "Avatar". Instead, the missus and I caught "Sherlock Holmes" and, surprisingly, I liked it more than she did. I felt it delivered as advertised, while she was less than impressed (I enjoy the Holmes stories, while the missus adores Sir Arthur's work). I also saw "The Princess and the Frog", and I do not understand the critical response to this one. I thought the first half was as good as anything Disney has done in its hand-drawn division, while the second half was merely okay. The response to the screenplay was particularly surprising - I thought the whole was well-written (again, with the first half being significantly better). No accounting for taste, I suppose (especially my own).

crossoverman said...

Cameron has said that it makes sense to do an Avatar sequel because most of the heavy-lifting has already been done; the technology is there and the environments have already been generated. So we won't have to wait 12 years for that, in any case.

Danielhardy23@gmail.com said...

saw 'where the wild things are' which I LOVED! incredibly moved, on levels i still don't quite understand. 'a serious man', which i enjoyed, and still think about, but will no doubt need another viewing to really appreciate (had similar reaction to 'man who wasnt there').

on dvd, a billy wilder season: 'major and minor' and 'a foreign affair'. This is what romantic comedies used to be like. Entertainment for adults, male AND female, with subtext and wit galore, sizzling up from stunning black and white cinematography. god bless you billy.

Alex said...

Took in Avatar, Precious, Up in the Air, and a double feature with Nine and It's Complicated.

No matter how mind-blowing Avatar's special effects were (and they were most certainly that) nothing will overcome the fact that the screenplay and acting (with an exception provided for the great Sigourney Weaver) totally sucked.

Up in the Air is now my 2nd favorite of the year so far (behind Where the Wild Things Are).

Mo'Nique was great in Precious, though I still don't like the performance as much as Marion Cotillard in Nine or Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air.

It's Complicated was soooo much fun. I don't care if it was good or not, it was FUN. I just love watching Meryl Streep enjoying herself.

Marsha Mason said...

I think the sharpie test is more about who has the least amoung of hate, not the most amount of love. Zellweger, Aniston, Roberts, etc. really rub some people the wrong way, but I don't think anyone hates Meryl w/ a passion.

I mean, if you put ole Marsha's face up there, people wouldn't recognize me and would assume I was some sort of child-abducting lady or something, and so they wouldn't deface me, but not really out of love.

NATHANIEL R said...

Marsha -- good points all. Including about yourself!

Arlo said...

I arrived at the theater around 630 for the 7 o'clock showing of Avatar in 3D. On a Saturday night. What was I thinking? I ended up going to the 1030 showing since that was sold out. What an experience! I need to see it a few more times. I don't see how anyone could have disliked it. I don't think I've been as thrilled watching a movie before, certainly for the chase scene towards the beginning and the last portion of the film.

I was amazed up until the very end when the title "Avatar" appeared.

I find it bizarre that people say the acting was terrible. Zoe Saldana and Stephen Lang were fantastic.

Liv. said...

i've seen Avatar, Nine, and Precious since friday. loved them all (in that order).
also had a musical marathon sunday that featured Easter Parade, West Side Story, and Cabaret.
oh, and watched I've Loved You So Long this morning.
it's been a good few days.

Glenn said...

I saw Sherlock Holmes on the annual Boxing Day pilgrimage to the cinema (Boxing Day is our Christmas Day where about 50 films get released at once). I agree with you about it missing something, but not sure what. Then on Monday I saw Did You Hear About the Morgans?. Such is this time of year when you go with friends to see anything. Tonight I'm seeing Where the Wild Things Are, finally! And then hopefully on Saturday I will get to Bright Star, another Boxing Day release.

City_Of_Lights said...

During my break I've seen Fantastic Mr. Fox and Nine. Will be seeing Crazy Heart tomorrow.

Fox was good times, but definitely not better than Rushmore or Tennenbaums.

Nine was wonderful. I do agree with you Nathaniel we will once again be reading about the death of the musical. And in a couple of years another one will be made. Unless times change, the musical won't be a solid dependable genre for box office success. There's been hits and misses with the public and we still see one every few years.

Just a sidenote, while we were in line to get tickets for Nine, an employee behind the ticket counter announced the sell-out of the 5:00 pm showing for Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. I told my friend this may be my version of hell on earth.

P.S. waiting for Bright Star and Adam to be released on DVD.

Daniel Armour said...

Saw "Crazy Heart" on Saturday and thought it was pretty decent. Admittedly, there's nothing very new about it but it was endearing nevertheless.

I saw "Nine" today and enjoyed it. I don't think I'll EVER love the musical genre, so I don't know how much weight this comment has, but this is probably my second favorite musical of the decade (if not the first).

Anonymous said...

I dont get it. Mamma Mia had only one "big star" (that the public would go see), and had worst reviews that Nine, yet it was a hit at the box office. Nine has one of the best casts ever, and people are not showing up? Why is that? Because it looks more "serious" and less "fun"?

crossoverman said...

Anon, one has ABBA songs (and actually, more than one star) and NINE is an actual Broadway musical about a tortured director. Can you really not see why Mama Mia was more successful? Sucks, but tis the way it is.

NATHANIEL R said...

daniel -- your reaction to Crazy Heart seems to be the norm. One of my friends actually told me i must have been taking 'bad mood pills' the day i saw it. I just thought it was SO dull and uninspired.

maybe i should give it another go.

NoNo said...

I think we went to the same theater in Manhattan except I went the day after Christmas. Argh, sold out for a week! I saw Sherlock instead and I agree with your assessment. I think it might have been the screenplay that was the weak link. The actors carried the film.

Rachel did a good job. Now I really wish she played Pepper Pots. Her character sticks out like a sore thumb though because she's sooooo American compared to everyone else.

Kevin P Durkim said...

I saw "Nine" on Christmas night, and I really enjoyed it. Not as much as "Chicago", but still had a great time at the movies.

kent said...

finally seen AVATAR. best movie of the year by far. and even saw NINE twice. first time was so enjoyable. second time was all about marion cotillard. i just had to see her again. she was so excellent. i actually might prefer her than monique. maybe? her performance is leaps and bounds ahead of LA VIE EN ROSE.

Daniel Armour said...

Crazy Hearts was decent, sure, but I can easily see why it wouldn't be entertaining to others. If anything, the music was better than the movie (I've been singing "The Weary Kind" in my head for days now. I guess now it'll be replaced by "Be Italian").

Deborah said...

I saw Sherlock. Absolutely MAGNIFICENT score, great chemistry, terrific cast, but it was so purely popcorn, without an iota of there there.

Ryan T. said...

Saw It's Complicated, Sherlock Holmes, and Avatar.

Liked It's Complicated and laughed more than a few times. Sherlock Holmes was fine. As you say the chemistry between RDJ and Law was there and that was good enough for me.

And finally, I really loved Avatar. The latter I wanted to happen, but I feared the movie was too overhyped. Thank goodness I was wrong.

Julian Stark said...

Saw Sherlock Holmes and loved it

Hayden said...

I actually wouldn't mind if Nine marked the end of Broadway musicals being adapted for the screen. Sometimes a genre needs to know when it's on its last legs. Imagine if a big flop let the superhero movie know it was time to cut bowstrings?

Sure, the "(don't) give the people what they (don't) want" trend tends to favor men, but instead of saving girlie genres, stars, etc, maybe men should know when it's time to call it quits, too.

Tom said...

I saw The Young Victoria. It was sentimental and predictable but it was beautiful to look at and the performances were uniformly wonderful, especially those of Emily Blunt, Miranda Richardson (what has she been doing all these years?), Mark Strong, and Paul Bettany.

Rebecca said...

I saw 'The Road', I'm totally behind the times! I felt the same way I did when I read the book - I was not overly impressed while experiencing it, but afterwards I could not get it out of my head. I think the most memorable thing for me was The Boy leaving a can of food for people he doesn't know.

Alex said...

Hayden, by that logic we should've killed the Superhero genre after the flick where George Clooney got upstaged by his own bat-nipples and Uma and Ahnold's hambone villians...but then came THE DARK KNIGHT. I can only hope musicals get better. And I'm not really ready to kill the genre so soon after CHICAGO and SWEENEY TODD.

NATHANIEL R said...

i hope someone other than Marshall rises up and starts making them. I think we need a director who trusts and loves the form and who wants to work with actual singers and dancers.

and anne hathaway and hugh jackman gotta star in one before we call it quits ;)

Alex said...

Mike Nichols and Sam Mendes have both done incredible stage work? I wonder why they haven't tried to do any movie musicals...

GreyDog said...

Saw three really good films this weekend.

Up in the Air - well made, funny, great performances. Farmiga is best in show for me.

Invictus -- thought I would hate this and didn't. Freeman is really good and deserving of a nom. Its not a great film but interesting and moving for what it is.

A Single Man -- may be my favorite film of the year. Really moved me. Had my stomach in knots and the adrenaline kicking in. Very erotic and heartbreaking.

Rick said...

I saw It's Complicated today... I wanted to love it because I am a huge Streep fan... Both Streep and Baldwin were excellent and proved great stars and acting can rise a mediocre movie to another level.

Glenn said...

I actually think the most seemlessly done musical has been Hairspray. Surprising as it may be that Adam Shankman is responsible, but it's kinda true. No musical - even Moulin Rouge!, despite it being a better film - felt so organically like a "MUSICAL!" with actors breaking out into song and such.

Lara said...

Avatar.
The visual effects - OUTSTANDING!
But the storyline, the dialogue, those cliché characters and the acting from almost everyone, I didn't even know what to think in the beginning since the special effects outshone them, but the more time passes the more I think the the rest was just really bad.

Peggy Sue said...

I saw It's Complicated and unfortunately I didn't like it.
By the way, marvelous Mary Kay Place was totally underused in that one.

And about Nine. How on Earth did they cast DDL? I can't think of anyone more british for such an "italian" role if you know what I mean..

John said...

I hit both It's Complicated and Nine this past weekend, and then Sherlock Holmes last night. Tonight it's A Serious Man, and later this week it'll be The Blind Side, Up in the Air, and Broken Embraces-man, I love movies, but may I once again state that this marathon December run is exhausting. On the plus side, most of these movies are enjoyable (unlike, say, the Oscar run I had to do in 2006).

Derreck said...

I saw NINE. I liked it, but overall, kind of disappointing.

DDL singing? FAIL.

Seriously, there were a couple of people getting up to leave when he started. I could barely understand him and there wasn't much of a singing effort. Honestly, the women eclipsed him in so many different ways. Plus, he was such a dick, you had to wonder why people found him so interesting.

I'm not too sure of the Cinema Italiano hate though. I generally liked it. It was fun and energetic, Hudson seemed to be enjoying herself and the song is catchy. What a throwaway character though!

I wanted more Kidman, but i was happy with what i got. There was some dude who decided to leave when she started to sing and i really wanted to punch him in a very unusual way.

and I'm totally on the Cotillard bandwagon. She has no chance in hell of winning in either category, but she did a fantastic job. I loved seeing and hearing Take It All.

Chris Na Taraja said...

NOTHING YET!!!!! I can't believe how far behind I'm getting with the oscar noms. it's always like this in Dec/Jan!!!!!

NATHANIEL R said...

Glenn -- agreed in a way. Hairspray was good enough that you have to wonder what else Shankman has in him. I hope he stops making bad movies and tries something else like it. Musical comedy suits him.

Peggy Sue -- yep.

Peggy Sue said...

I think Hairspray should have been more... bitchy?

Chris Na Taraja said...

Was the buzz ever fresh on 9? I can't remember.

jimmy said...

"nine" is not doing well, because it's self-indulgent & awful. Give us a great musical - like Jersey Boys (hopefully) or an undated "Damn Yankees" & you'll have people flooding in. I finally saw "The Blind Side" - which I thought was terrific & touching. Hope she wins BA - but she won't. seeing "Julie / Julia" tonite.

NATHANIEL R said...

Chris -- it was yes. a couple months ago

Jimmy -- but first weekend grosses never have anything to do with quality. obviously the marketing or something else was wrong. But to my mind NINE (the stage version) is a better musical than Damn Yankees ...so blame the adaptation not the musical! ;)

Paul Outlaw said...

But to my mind NINE (the stage version) is a better musical than Damn Yankees...

You're blind, ump
You're blind, ump
You must be outta your mind, ump
;-)

adri said...

Avatar at IMAX. Lots of fun, epic spectacle. It was like being at "Star Wars" when it first came out.

The next day, though, I remembered all the Navi as if I'd seen a cartoon. Cameron said when he saw Gollum in LOTR that he knew the character motion capture could now be done. But - Andy Serkis (Gollum) is actually an extremely clever character actor creating a distinctive role, with set pieces that really work. But- in Avatar, good actors doing generic characters aren't enough. It's like a non-comedian doing a comedic bit.

Also saw:
- Damned United. Michael Sheen is very good, but Timothy Spall is great.
- New Moon. At Christmas, you have to go to movies others want to see. It's part of the Christmas spirit, to see it without complaining before or afterwards, or ever.
- Christmas DVD set: MI5: Season One. Michael Mcfayden of Pride and Prejudice without the hairpiece or makeup to hide the pockmarks. Lively, full of action, and ruthless with it's characters. You never know who will die.

jimmy said...

i agree - i may have not explained what a meant properly. yes - NINE is a much much better stage musical. I saw NINE in NY & loved it. However, I thought the movie was just awful. Kate Hudso - augh. Judy Dench's number - ick. The general masses don't want to see Judy Dench being sexy - it's a big turn off. Even Penelope Cruz's big number was awful / overdone. I think - if they re-made a film version of "Damn Yankees" - with a great cast it could be a big hit. I also think if "Jersey Boys" is done right - a movie version could also be a big hit. Film musicals will never die - thank allah....they just have to be done right.

Anonymous said...

What did the scribbling on the poster say?