I am of the boring opinion that the 1966 animated holiday classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" is a work of genius and the 2000 live-action take on the same story is an ugly, mean-spirited abomination. Is it any surprise that the new animated film "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch" falls somewhere in between? I suppose it might be a mild surprise that it's not as bad as the 2000 version, given the painful, obnoxious ad campaign for the film (The Grinch threw a sarcastic compliment at "The Emoji Movie," ha... ha?).
As far as biopic subjects go, Freddie Mercury has got to be one of the all-time hardest. The Queen frontman was a once-in-a-lifetime talent, complete with a powerful voice (thanks in part to extra teeth that made his mouth more spacious), a sixth sense for songwriting and production, and a persona that was at once both macho and glamorous. The role is a tall order, and portrayer Rami Malek can be forgiven for not getting Mercury's essence just right.
The soulless white mask of Michael Myers might be the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life. It was in 1997 that I read an article on slasher movies accompanied by a picture of Myers holding a huge knife. This happened to be right before I spent a week at my grandparents' eerily quiet farmhouse, and I spent four sleepless nights expecting The Shape to show up at any moment. It was only later that I came to respect John Carpenter and his 1978 horror classic "Halloween" for managing to scare me so effectively.
How is this movie losing to "Venom" at the box office? It barely made half the money of the subpar superhero movie last weekend, and early estimates for its second weekend have it trailing by $7 million. I'm not even talking about how "Venom" is creatively inferior to this film, because creatively inferior films beat out critical darlings all the time. I'm talking about how I saw "Venom" on opening day in a theater that was maybe a third full, while I tried on three separate occasions to see an early screening of this film, only to have it sold out on me every time.
"Venom" is based on a character from Marvel comics (best known as an enemy of Spider-Man), but his standalone film is not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's akin to that "Catwoman" movie from 2004 that had nothing to do with Batman. It's all part of a complicated rights issue between Disney (owners of the MCU), Marvel, and Sony (owners of this film). My guess is that the people at Disney could have gotten their hands on this movie if they really wanted to, but they decided that this was simply not a battle worth choosing.
"Night School" is the latest vehicle for Kevin Hart, who stars alongside red-hot comedic actress Tiffany Haddish. Haddish hasn't yet worn out her welcome with me, but Hart certainly has. I can't remember the last time I saw him in a live-action role where he wasn't insufferable. Part of the problem is that he's one of those actors who's constantly allowed to improvise his own dialogue, which means he gets to riff and ramble until he decides the scene is over. The result is usually a plodding, painful, unfunny film.
Kids need a movie right now. The last month or so has been dominated by adult fare, or at least PG-13 movies that target teens, but don't promise fun for the whole family. "Disney's Christopher Robin" is still playing on over 1,000 screens, but it's clearly on its way out. The release calendar has made it so that kids have to take what they can get, and what they're getting is "The House with a Clock in Its Walls". Fortunately this movie isn't a terrible thing to get, but it's not all that great either.
I never really got into the original "Predator" from 1987. I rented it to see future governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura together, and essentially tuned out once Ventura was eliminated after very little communication with Schwarzenegger (see "The Running Man", also from 1987, if you want to see the two interact in a meaningful way i.e., fight to the death). But I did retain that the Predator is a space alien that hunts humans for sport and has dreadlocks for some reason.
My last two roommates have complained about me having an annoying habit: walking around our apartment in my socks, not making a sound, and scaring the... let's say "daylights" out of them when I enter a shared room like the kitchen. There's no good reason for them to be scared - it's just little ol' me - and I'm in no way trying to time my entrance so that it scares them, but it's just human nature to jump a mile in their air when something pops up unexpectedly.
Labor Day weekend is notoriously bad for the box office. Not just bad in relation to other holiday weekends, but bad in relation to other weekends, period. Here were the top four movies this past weekend, in order: the third weekend of "Crazy Rich Asians", the fourth weekend of "The Meg", the sixth weekend of "Mission Impossible - Fallout", and then and only then did we get a new release in fourth place with "Operation Finale".