of November 2, 2014

Creepy member’s only jacket Gyllenhaal barely beats Ouija to a slow Nightcrawl, while John Wick got 86’ed out the Top 5.

Halloween was upon the box office this past weekend, marking death upon any opening film that isn’t a shitty horror remake to get stabbed numbly in the bloody heart any credible movie that feels it can overcome the predetermined of box office failure. Nightcrawler confidently knew it could perpetrate Halloween’s tightly gripped pumpkin box office, with a semi-creepy premise, anchored by a semi-creepy character that video tapes provocative L.A. news at night presented theatrically under the guise of a sneaky snuff film idea. Audiences accepted it, but not for the reasons you think. The movie won with an opening tally of 10.91 million, beating powerpuff girl Ouija, the slumber party from hell movie’s total of 10.9. Gyllenhaal won the popular vote, but there is still the electoral of the general pop culture consciences, and you, my sir, were about to get snuffed out of your own pseudo snuff movie promise. Apparently, the young kids (tweens in some tribal circles) had nothing to do this weekend that was short of asking mom or dad for the car. Can’t go to a party - you’re underage, can’t go trick or treating - you’re too old. So where do dumbass middle schoolers and high schoolers go to celebrate? That’s right, to the movies. And what movies do they actually see? Ones where Ouija is on a dish best served idiotic, that’s where.

Last week Ouija and its supernatural market tested studio forces, beat out a very smart, very cool, John Wick. It wasn’t even close. Here again this weekend, another lauded subversive thriller of a movie, with an out of mind performance from a guy who needed it (Gyllenhaal) was about to get syllabized to death by mall girls that play spiritual demonic board games in the 21st century (Is Mall Madness still a thing?). Movies in North America, and in particular in the United States aren’t hamstrung by box office grosses, for certain types of films, and to Nightcrawler’s credit it’s one of them. It’s not accessible in a traditional sense. It showcases a handsome lead that we are accustomed to seeing manufactured, but dapper, while also affable, in a non-threatening way. He convincingly portrays his role overzealously as a recluse dungeon and dragon’s burnout, with an attraction to homicidal street portraits: when it comes to getting off other peoples macabre. General audiences don’t want to see Gyllenhaal do that, but then again, general audiences don’t know what they want to see him as. They just know, this ain’t that movie. But it is! They just won’t let down their guard for a fear of betrayal of wanting to keep Gyllenhaal on their wall to preen over. And he is fine with that, with this particular piece, it’s apparent he goes all in, while never seeming to want to be pulled out. Gyllenhaal is getting rave reviews for his work on the role, with Variety magazine stating that he could be a possible dark horse best actor nomination and probably more than deserves it with this latest effort. Ouija on the other hand is the movie that will be playing on Cinemax at 2:00 in the morning on a Saturday sandwiched between soft core porn that will be its claim to buffer tired, tawdry cable misfit fame where it belongs. Don’t worry, we will get more Ouijas and it will be a franchise, but it cannot in no way shape or campy form, touch the creative leering power behind Nightcrawler. People will try to tell you otherwise out of their own ignorance because we all grew up with a Ouija board, or the idea of it, therefore it lends to familiarity and thus it’s a good movie. Whereas Nightcrawler isn’t even invited to the cocktail party. That is what is making Oujia competitive, it's child barren harmless familiarity that actually harms good film. To me that is not a good enough excuse to place a viability name tag on Ouija.

So then how did John Wick lose out to Ouija where Nightcrawler won? It’s because of atypical paint by action numbers marketing strategy and the fallibility of another seemingly generic action film hand delivered not shortly after the lessor intellectual granddaddy Denzel won. Sorry Wick, action triumphed two weeks early with the dumb as stolen hammers The Equalizer. Wick, like your movie’s plot, came out of retirement too late to make a good action film. You still got it done in the movie, and quite convincingly I must add, but we are talking about the box office here, where you were dead like the eventual puppy found on your doorstep. Nightcrawler had less pressures financially: of course movies are in the business of making money, but some films don’t cling to that monetary notion. The film was made for 8 million dollars, and grossed almost 11 million, while coming in first with little to no marketing or advertising, so Nightcrawler slyly won big this weekend, even if the difference between it and Ouija is small.

Coming in third at 8.8 million with a total cume of (60 million) was David Ayer’s World War 2 Space Opera laser tank Film “Tank Wars: A New Hope” starring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman and a pissed/crying emotive Shia LaBeouf. Regardless of the TIE Fighter lasers throughout the film, and its choppy structure, Fury is holding strong and further cements the “Frat-dude cinematic” genre that Ayer always finds himself inhabiting. 4th is “Not-so” Gone Girl holding strong deserving its notoriety as a good film, not just a woman’s book - becoming Fincher’s highest grossing film. Rounding out the Top 5, The Book of Life,the children's movie with all of the Mexican cardboard box charm starring Zoe Saldana, Ice Cube and Channing Tatum at 8.3 million. 

Lastly, I’m pouring a 40 oz. for my falling homey Jonathan Aloysius Wick III. This movie is where Keanu Reeve’s recent film choices (Man of Tai Chi and the live anime masturbation 47 Ronin) failed him and by a larger extent the film itself. This was the action movie in which it needed people with the right amount of insight to know that the film, on one hand celebrates action films while also parodying itself in a simple understated way. Like Tom Cruise with Edge of Tomorrow, audiences didn’t turn out not just because he is box office pariah, but also Edge looks, feels, sounds like a typical sci-fi action like Starship Troopers, or Cruise’s previous movie Oblivion. That is why John Wick got beat out by the Instagram generation. Wick looks, feels and sounds like any old action film, stereotypically highlighted in a moody off-Pablo picassoian blue matte, intertwined with a lifeless taupe that are all too familiar in its essence. Foolishly presented as a hard, thick as ice, skull basher of an action film that is pretty much expected to look to the untrained, savvy movie going eye, no matter how well it’s really delivered. Wick is supposed to be familiar, but to its credit, no one will know that its intent was to strip what’s familiar while holding down action movie codes in a different, irreverent way. Thank goodness, Nightcrawler beat Ouija because when the Hulk-Buster of a Mecha-Godzillian Nolan Golum monster - Interstellar comes out, all of the aforementioned movies will lie petrified in its trashy pop cultured tasted wake like an Ashton Kutcher trucker hat hangover. But for right now, kudos to Gyllenhaal, and Dan Gilroy for carving out a little box office slice behind the little movie train that barely could. 

Top five films of the weekend:
  1. Nightcrawler — $10.91 million
  2. Ouija — $10.9 million ($35 million domestic total)
  3. Fury – $9.1 million ($60.4 million domestic total)
  4. Gone Girl – $8.8 million ($136.6 domestic total)    
  5. The Book of Life – $8.3 million ($40.5 domestic total)

Source: Entertainment Weekly ew.com 


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