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‘Grown Ups 2′: Is Adam Sandler getting worse with age?

- July 12th, 2013

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OK, no one was expecting Citizen Kane, but we’ve taken a look around at the reviews for Grown Ups 2 and it’s on track to become one of Adam Sandler’s worst reviewed films.

If you thought the notices for The Lone Ranger and After Earth were bad, the reviews for Grown Ups 2 are on a whole other level of awfulness.

The movie, which Sandler co-wrote, has only garnered 7% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. That is worse than Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger (27% positive) and Will Smith’s After Earth (11% positive).

It’s even worse than last year’s That’s My Boy (20% positive).

But perhaps the most glorious thing about a movie this bad is the many great zingers critics have come up with to slam it. We’ve assembled some of our favourites including some of the best barbs from Twitter.

From Bruce Kirkland at the Toronto Sun: “The interesting thing about Sandler’s career is that, as his comedy career spirals downwards, he seems determined to take all his friends with him into unfunny oblivion.”

From USA Today: “Even as temporary visitors, the audience can feel IQ points slipping away.”

From Screen Daily: “To paraphrase a previous, much funnier Sandler film: ‘What you’ve just given us is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever seen. At no point in your rambling, incoherent efforts were you even close to anything that could be considered genuine comedy. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having watched it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your souls.’”

From The Playlist: “This is the way our film culture ends: not with a whimper, but with a fart.”

From the Washington Post: “Grown Ups 2… seems to actually drain IQ points from its viewers while wasting a talented cast of “Saturday Night Live” alums, who are all capable of being much smarter and so much funnier.”

From Variety: “Grown Ups 2 is perhaps the closest Hollywood has yet come to making “Ow! My Balls!” seem like a plausible future project.”

From The Wrap: “Yes, it’s time for another visit to the Adam Sandler Death-of-Cinema Fun Factory, the big-screen version of a terrible sitcom where laugh tracks are replaced by the co-stars chuckling at their own awful material.”

From MLive: “The best thing I can say about Grown Ups 2 is that Rob Schneider is not in it.”

You’re probably wondering if anyone liked the film. It looks like Adam Sandler owes Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman a steak dinner.

He writes: “Sandler, working with his regular director, Dennis Dugan (the first Grown Ups, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, etc.), has figured out how to age his brand on screen in just the right way.”

If you do see Grown Ups 2, and I can’t see why anyone would, let us know what you think in the comments.


Will Smith talks ‘After Earth’s’ box office flop

- June 10th, 2013

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You have to give Will Smith a little credit. Instead of ducking out of site until the stench of his first giant-sized box office bomb dissipates, Smith went on Jimmy Kimmel Live talk about After Earth.

The sci-fi adventure had a disappointing third place opening in its debut weekend, getting clobbered by Fast & Furious 6 and Now You See Me. The film, which had a production budget of $130 million, has taken in a paltry $47 million domestically to date, and by this weekend will drop pretty much out of sight.

That’s a huge drop from last year’s MIB 3 and 2008′s Hancock.

“Here’s how I think about it Jimmy, let’s be honest. Three is the new one,” Smith said, putting his best PR spin on it. “You know how many ones it takes to make a three?”

Smith, who received a story credit on the film, said he was getting updates on After Earth’s poor box office performance hour-by-hour on opening weekend.

“I was like, ‘Uh oh,’” Smith said, laughing. “I felt like a fighter…it’s been almost two decades since I had a movie that wasn’t number one… Well, that’s over now, buddy, thanks!

“I felt like I was the champ… walking to the ring and it was like bam! It was a mess.”

It’s hard to know who to blame for the film’s dismal performance. M. Night Shyamalan has been on a cold streak with audiences for over a decade and After Earth’s advertising didn’t emphasize him as the director.

I’ve seen it, and to be honest it’s not nearly as bad as many critics made it out to be. There were flashes of visual brilliance and the premise was interesting. My big complaints were Jaden Smith’s wooden acting (that’s a hard one to get over since he’s the star), the cheesy CG creatures and the film’s hurried conclusion. Will’s accent was also unnecessarily distracting.

But when you hear news about how Will Smith came up with the story, and also turned down the starring role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, then you have to wonder if Smith is losing his mojo.

What do you think? Are you still a fan of Will Smith? Is M. Night to blame for After Earth? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

5 potential summer movie bombs of 2013

- May 14th, 2013

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Summer – at least as far as Hollywood is concerned – is here. Heck, with the number of blockbusters the bean counters try to sneak into multiplexes each year, it seems like the rush to get us into the theatres is starting earlier and earlier.

It used to be that the summer movie season started on Memorial Day weekend. This year, there were two big releases in March (Oz: The Great and Powerful, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and several in April (Oblivion, Pain & Gain). Iron Man 3 was released at the beginning of May, and it is already shaping up to be the biggest hit of the year. And despite poor reviews, fans turned out in droves for Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

With Star Trek Into Darkness due out this weekend, we’ll be seeing a big blockbuster hit the theatres every week from now until Labour Day. But not all those movies are going to be a success. Some are bound to become the laughing stock of Tinseltown.

Remember Jonah Hex? How ‘bout The Love Guru? I thought as much.
So, let’s take a look at what’s coming over the next few months. Iron Man 3 is already a hit. I think the Wolfpack are safe. Ditto Captain Kirk and company. Pacific Rim looks like it’s going to blow the roof off of every theatre it plays in. But there are at least five movies I think could potentially be saddled with the dubious distinction of being the biggest movie bomb of the summer.

I’m not saying this will for sure happen, or that these movies will be even bad, but here are five films, with a few wildcards, I think are in danger of box office failure.

Don’t like my picks, let me know what you think in the comments.

1. After Earth – In the past, Will Smith movies have been one of the easiest ways for Hollywood to print cash. But following 2008’s box-office dud Seven Pounds, the actor had to resurrect Men in Black, just to regain some of his mojo. Now, he’s teaming up with M. Night Shaymalan, who hasn’t had a hit since 2004. The movie looks interesting enough (if you haven’t already seen Oblivion), but it’s going up against The Hangover III and Fast & Furious 6. Will should have taken the Fresh Prince’s advice: “A good run is better than a bad stand any day.”

2. The Internship – Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson could have made this movie in 2006, and it probably would have been a runaway success. Well, we’re now in 2013 and neither of those two are such a big deal. Vaughn’s The Watch was a notable flop last summer, and Wilson has, er, Drillbit Taylor and Hall Pass under his belt. The Google product placement reeks and the trailer isn’t funny. Its June 7 release date could mean you’ll see this on iTunes before the August long weekend.

3. The Lone Ranger – Hollywood hasn’t been kind to the Western these past couple of years. Cowboys & Aliens tanked, as did the aforementioned Jonah Hex. Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger has had a tumultuous journey getting to the big screen. And it doesn’t help that he may have lost a bit of his box office muscle (Dark Shadows and The Rum Diary, both tanked). I could be wrong about this – Depp is reteaming with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and producer Jerry Bruckheimer – but with a budget pegged in $250 million, the film will have to be firing on all cylinders if it hopes to be a hit.

4. Red 2 – You may not realize this, but Bruce Willis has been riding a cold streak for quite some time. He has been relegated to a handful of straight-to-DVD features and the fifth instalment of his Die Hard series – A Good Day to Die Hard – was a box office disappointment. Oh, did I mention that John McClane wants to sue for character defamation? So now we are faced with the prospect of Willis trying to have lightning strike twice with Red 2 – the sequel to one of his only recent hits. I liked the first one fine, but I have four words for Bruce – The Whole Ten Yards.

5. Man of Steel – Don’t get me wrong. I want this movie to do well. A financially successful Superman movie will hopefully usher in a Justice League team up, and possibly a new slate of superhero films based on DC characters. So yeah, I’m excited. I am a wee bit worried, though. The last time Warner tried to reboot Superman, the film got a lacklustre reception at the box office. Director Zack Snyder is also cause for some concern; both his Watchmen adaptation and Sucker Punch underperformed. So, while I’m excited, I’m a little worried as well.

Films on the bubble:

World War Z – It’s had its release date shuffled around several times, which usually isn’t a good sign. Then again, so did Avatar.

Riddick – Just ‘cos Vin Diesel thinks he invented Facebook, doesn’t mean he can try and shove another Riddick movie down everyone’s throats. Oh wait a sec, yes it does.

Grown Ups 2 – I’m surprised as anyone that there’s a sequel. But this is what happens when you let Adam Sandler make That’s My Boy and Jack & Jill.

20 action movies that (might) blow your mind in 2013

- January 25th, 2013

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OK movie fans. Have you had enough of indie art-house seriousness? Even if you still need to see Lincoln and Argo to win big in your company Oscar pool, I know and you know that what you’re really jazzed about are the slew of action movies hitting the big screen in 2013.

And the first of this year’s impressive slate – the “big, LOUD and stupid” Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters – hits screens this weekend (to read the review, head on over to the Toronto Sun). So, if action is your thing, let’s take a look at some other flicks that’ll get your adrenaline pumping over the next 12 months.

The Old Guys
If you have a soft spot for aging heroes, vintage action stars will be all over the screen in 2013. Arnie and Sly are back for two solo adventures, before teaming up in their first full-length shoot ‘em up. Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand is in theatres now, with Stallone’s Bullet to the Head due out on Feb. 1. The pair will then join forces in The Tomb (Sept. 27). 50 Cent also stars so, hey, bring the kids.

If those two are a little too leathery for you, Bruce Willis will be back as John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard. It opens on Valentine’s, so fellas start strategizing now. It’s the fifth instalment in Willis’ long-running McClane series and they never disappoint.

Bruce will also star in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Red 2, so I’m just going to go ahead and crown him action star of the year.

Comic Books
Comics and graphic novels are always a great source for action aficionados, and this year a whole slew of costumed heroes will be vying for your cash. After letting Marvel rule the celluloid hero-verse (The Dark Knight notwithstanding), DC Comics is flying into action in a big way with Man of Steel (July 14). Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot will not only try to resuscitate the moribund franchise, it will be setting up a future all-star Justice League film skedded for 2015.

But Marvel doesn’t back down from a film fight, and they have Iron Man 3 (May 3), Kick-Ass 2 (June 28) and The Wolverine (July 24) due this summer. Thor: The Dark World will also be smashing into theatres Nov. 8.

Still, I’m betting on Superman to top them all. After 2006’s Superman Returns underperformed, DC knows they can’t miss and they’ve scored a visual virtuoso in Snyder and producer Chris Nolan to boot.

Sequels
In addition to the ones already mentioned, we will see amped-up sequels to Frank Miller’s Sin City (Oct. 2) and 300 (Aug. 2), Vin Diesel and The Rock will be battling it out in Fast & Furious 6 (May 24) and 3D re-releases for Star Wars Episode II and III will be blasting on to screens this fall.

But the sequel that will be on everyone’s must-see list is Star Trek: Into Darkness. Shrouded in secrecy (we still don’t know who the villain is yet), Kirk, Spock and friends battle an “unstoppable force of terror.” If there’s one director who consistently exceeds expectations, though, it’s J.J. Abrams. Trek 2 will also be hitting theatres in 3D and Imax.

With the recent announcement that Abrams’ will be directing Star Wars Episode VII, the sequel might also end up being the last great Trek movie for a while.

Best of the rest
Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise and Big Willy will also be vying for your popcorn munching time in 2013. In an odd coincidence, two of the three will be starring in sci-fi films. First up is Cruise in Oblivion (April 19), followed by Will Smith in the M. Night Shyamalan-directed After Earth (June 7). Pitt is also going against type in his first foray into the zombie genre, World War Z (June 21).

Thanks to The Walking Dead, the walking dead are all the rage, but Pitt’s film has been plagued by delays (it still looks cool, though).

Johnny Depp will try and regain his mojo with The Lone Ranger (July 3). He’s reteaming with Pirates director Gore Verbinski, so his odds are good.

But predict Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim (July 11) will blow all of them out of the water. The shot-in-Toronto sci-fi film is robots versus monsters; humans are attacked and we fight back. Cue the awesomeness.

If none of these tickle your fancy, there’s also R.I.P.D. (July 19), Riddick (Sept. 6), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Nov. 22), Chris Pine’s Jack Ryan reboot (Dec. 25) and Keanu Reeves’ long-delayed 47 Ronin (Nov. 21).

When it’s all said and done, which do you think will stand head-and-shoulders above the rest? Let us know in the comments.

New images from ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘Oblivion,’ ‘World War Z’ and ‘After Earth’

- January 4th, 2013

We’ve covered the most anticipated films of 2013 in an extensive preview, but USA Today has just dropped some new images for this year’s most anticipated flicks. So, we thought we’d share.

First up, is a new shot of Henry Cavill from Man of Steel. It appears to be a still from a scene glimpsed in the trailer in which military helicopters descend on Big Blue. It doesn’t look like Supes will be welcomed with open arms in this new origin tale.

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If you’ve missed the trailer, check it out below.

Next up is a snap from Tom Cruise’s next film. Cruise is still kicking ass in Jack Reacher, but in a mere four months he’ll be starring in Oblivion, the first of two back-to-back sci-fi flicks he has in the can.

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Even if you’re kinda of meh on Cruise, the trailer is intriguing.

We also get a look at Pitt in World War Z (sans zombies). The film has had its release date moved several times, but the trailer looks promising. Note: If you haven’t read the book, pick it up. I guarantee it will be vastly different from the film.

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Finally, we get a still from M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth. Personally, I liked The Happening, but I think we can all agree that The Last Airbender was a monumental waste of time. Well, in this outing, M. Night has Will Smith in his corner in a story about a father and son who crash-land on a planet that has been abandoned by humanity. Can Big Willy resurrect Shyamalan’s flagging career? Stay tuned.

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What film are you most excited about in the coming months? Let us know in the comments.