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Entries in zoology (75)

Sunday
Jul102016

Box Office: Dory Keeps Swimming as Other Pets Rise.

This weekend Dory swam easily past Captain America to become the biggest grossing US hero of the year. (Captain America still leads internationally by a lot, which is funny if you think about it). That's quite impressive for a forgetful blue tang who could have gone 'straight to video' -- Wait, are we still saying that? If not, what's the new phrase. I'm scared of what this means for the future with all those cheapie animated sequels but it is what happened. The current top ten of 2016 includes only two originals (Zootopia & Central Intelligence) but otherwise it's all brand extensions / revisions. It didn't use to be this way but it's been a slow erosion. Consider by comparison: 2006's top ten had 5 originals; 1996 had 6; 1986 had 7. Since we get less original hits every year how soon until we have none?

It should be noted that an original won the weekend but since The Secret Life of Pets famously steals so shamelessly from the Toy Story template, and since it's been promoting itself for what seems like YEARS already it feels like it's a sequel to itself so should it count? Animated films continue to be the safest box office bets.

Mike and Dave performed fairly well in its opening weekend and The Legend of Tarzan had a strong second weekend. In platform release Captain Fantastic had a decent debut with a teensy tiny theater count: not terrible, not great. Will it win strong word of mouth? We deserve more Viggo in our lives but if we don't support his movie we won't get it.

TOP WIDE
800+ screens. arrows indicate gaining or losing screens
πŸ”Ί01 Secret Life of Pets $103.1 NEW 
πŸ”»02 The Legend of Tarzan $20.6 (cum. $81.4) Review 
πŸ”Ί03 Finding Dory $20.3 (cum. $422.5) Review
πŸ”Ί04 Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates $16.6 NEW 
πŸ”Ί05 The Purge: Election Year $11.7 (cum. $58.1) 
πŸ”Ί06 Central Intelligence $8.1 (cum. $108.3)
πŸ”»07 Independence Day: Resurgence $7.7 (cum. $91.4)
πŸ”»08 The BFG $7.6 (cum. $38.7)  Review
πŸ”»09 The Shallows $4.8 (cum. $45.8) Costume Honors
πŸ”»10 The Conjuring 2 $1.7 (cum. $99.3) Heroes and Villains
πŸ”»11 Now You See Me 2 $1.3 (cum. $62.2)
πŸ”»12 Free State of Jones $1.3 (cum. $19.2)

TOP LIMITED
Less than 800 screens. Excluding previously wide. 
πŸ”Ί01 Sultan $2.2 (cum. $3.2) NEW
πŸ”Ί02 Our Kind of Traitor $731K ($2.2)
πŸ”»03
 Swiss Army Man $690K ($3.1) Best Actor

πŸ”Ί04 Hunt for the Wilderpeople $413K (cum. $754K)  Review 
πŸ”»05
Love & Friendship $326K (cum. $12.9) ReviewPodcast, Best Picture  
πŸ”»06 The Lobster $309K (cum. $8) ReviewishPodcast 
πŸ”»07
Maggie's Plan $180K (cum. $2.9) Review

πŸ”Ί08 Cold War 2 $165K NEW

πŸ”Ί09 The Music of Strangers $144K (cum. $566K)

πŸ”Ί10
 Weiner-Dog $105K (cum. $288K)
πŸ”Ί11
 Captain Fantastic $98K NEW Review
πŸ”»12
 Genius $80K (cum. $1.2) Review


What movies did you catch this week? Remember to watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on Netflix for Tuesday night's "Best Shot" party.

Monday
Jul042016

Review: The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

Editor's Note: This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. Our "Swing Tarzan Swing" column, investigating the shifting portrayals and quality of Tarzan films over pop culture history will resume next weekend. We'll circle back to Skarsgård at the end.

You know that antipiracy text that sometimes appears on movie screens now post-credits? "The making and legal distribution of this film supported over X-many thousands of jobs." This message kept bothering me the day after seeing The Legend of Tarzan (2016). Yes, piracy is bad but you know what else is terrible? That none of those jobs were for animal trainers! I swear that not a single real animal appears in the new film, which has to be a first for a Tarzan film. And hopefully a last. It's all computer generated imagery for this jungle adventure...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun202016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.6: Two Horny Simpletons Walk Into the Jungle...

As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we're ogling past screen incarnations of the ape man...

While there's plentiful competition for "Worst" Tarzan movie in the first 90 years of ape-man cinema, there's no competition whatsoever in the annals of Official Tarzan movies for "Least Tarzany" of all Tarzan Movies. That dubious honor belongs to the infamous 1981 Bo Derek film. Despite sharing a name with the original Weismuller film, Tarzan is, for the first time in history, a 100% bonafide Supporting Character. That's reflected in the credits where Miles O'Keeffe is third-billed and has not a single line of dialogue and in the poster, in which he doesn't appear at all! 

For younger readers explanation is definitely necessary this time. Some stars maintain name recognition after their heyday even if younger generations aren't exactly sure why they're so famous. Other names provoke blank stares. Bo Derek, still very much alive at 59, was once very famous but is surely the latter kind of star. Who?

[More, but mostly NSFW, after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun192016

Review: Finding Dory

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

One of the best things about breakout supporting characters is that the fandom surrounding them comes honestly. Scene-stealers aren't handed their movies, but earn them. So it went with Dory, Ellen DeGeneres's forgetful blue tang who swam circles around every other character in Finding Nemo (2003), figuratively speaking, though she did sometimes swim in actual circles since she couldn't remember where she was going.

Thirteen years later, though Finding Dory takes place just after Finding Nemo ends, we're swimming in circles again with Dory, via a suspiciously similar movie. Let us count the ways...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun192016

Finding Treasure (with Pixar's Dory)

It will surprise you less than Dory, that she's the new queen of the box office. Finding Dory, the sequel to Pixar's most beloved non-Toy based title with mainstream audiences (not with us though - we're WALL•E / Incredibles people round these parts), broke records when it swam into theaters Thursday night. The bankability of a little Hart (Kevin) and a Big Johnson (Dwayne "The Rock") made an impact in second position, as well, though it's worth noting that pairing them didn't remotely result in twice their usual opening weekend grosses (these are fairly typical for either of them. Maybe their fanbases are too similar?) Between those two movies requiring nearly 8,000 screens between them it was a rough weekend for other movies with most big and small releases losing a ton of movie houses (yes even Love and Friendship and The Lobster which both had strong momentum until they lost theaters. *sniffle*). There's a lot of summer left but there's only one last tidal wave of box office as we move towards the July 4th holiday and Independence Day, The BFG, and Tarzan soon battle for dominance.

TOP WIDE
arrows indicate gaining or losing screens
πŸ”Ί01 Finding Dory $136.1 NEW Review
πŸ”Ί02 Central Intelligence $34.5 NEW
πŸ”Ί03 The Conjuring 2 $15.5 (cum. $71.7) 
▫️04 Now You See Me 2 $9.6 (cum. $41.3) 
πŸ”Ί05 Warcraft $6.5 (cum. $37.7) Six Questions

Jude Law & Colin Firth in GENIUSTOP  LIMITED
Under 1000 screens. Excluding previously wide. 
πŸ”»01 Love & Friendship $797K (cum. $10.9) ReviewPodcast
πŸ”»02 The Lobster $647K (cum. $6.3)  ReviewishPodcast
πŸ”Ί03
 Maggie's Plan $471K (cum. $1.8)  Review

πŸ”Ί04 Genius $306K (cum. $442K) Review 
πŸ”Ί05
Weiner $144K (cum. $1) Review 

 

WHAT DID YOU SEE THIS WEEKEND? 
I caught Neon Demon (ooh boy. that's going to be tough to write about) and rewatched Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966) - our 50th anniversary celebration of that classic begins tomorrow!

Saturday
Jun112016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.5: Mike Henry gets his 007 on in the "Valley of Gold"

As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we're ogling past screen incarnations of the Lord of the Apes...

Tarzan aficianados will cry foul that I've skipped ahead to 1966 in this retrospective but the awesomely named actor Jock Mahoney wouldn't mind. He only made two Tarzan films in the mid sixties... and barely finished those. He got deathly ill on the second, lost 40 lbs during the picture, and couldn't get out of the jungle fast enough. The first of those pictures lost money, too.

You see, in the wake of the phenomenal success of Dr. No (1962), From Russia With Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964), James Bond was the new #1 adventure hero and Tarzan was old news. The Tarzan franchise took note and tried to combine the two with Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966), introducing the closest thing they could find to Sean Connery's swarthy dimpled masculinity: Mike Henry.

Mike Henry was a professional football player with the Los Angeles Rams but he left sports for the actor's life and donned the Tarzan's loincloth.

...Or, should we say his suit.

In addition to introducing Tarzan as a jet-setting perpetually-endangered looker in a suit, this new 007 style adventure also begins with a kitschy mod score over colorful credits, an opening action sequence that's somewhat disconnected from the movie that follows, and an intelligent international criminal with a taste for booby-trapped gifts. So, you know, we're definitely in Bond territory...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May292016

Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.3: Lex Barker... and Queen Dorothy Dandridge?

As we approach the release of The Legend of Tarzan (2016) we're ogling past screen incarnations of the Lord of the Apes...

After Buster Crabbe filled a loincloth beautifully and Johnny Weissmuller & Maureen O'Sullivan gave us the deservedly definitive Golden Age Tarzan and Jane, the franchise had to recast or close shop. O'Sullivan left first and by the late 40s Weissmuller was feeling too old for the role and also called it quits. The producer Sol Lesser wasn't about to let the profitable franchise go, though, and led a search for a replacement. The winner was Lex Barker, a then little known blue blood actor from New York who had been disowned by his family for choosing an acting career (!) and he took up the loincloth in 1949 for Tarzan's Magic Fountain.

I opted to watch Barker's third go at the character in Tarzan's Peril (sometimes called Tarzan and the Jungle Queen) because it was the first Tarzan film to actually shoot some scenes in Africa (Kenya to be exact) and six actors down the call list was the curio factor of a young Dorothy Dandridge as "Melmedi, Queen of The Ashuba".

Dorothy & Lex after the jump...

Click to read more ...