The Official Review Thread of 2012

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby rolotomasi99 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:28 pm

Of course, the era we’re in now is very different. International grosses provide a major cushion for a movie like John Carter — not just because the global market is huge and ever expanding, but because sizeable segments of the non-English-speaking world are even more receptive to movies that speak the international language of monosyllabic schlock spectacle than we are in the United States.


I know that most foreign countries dub their films and unlike U.S. dubbing the voice acting can be quite good. Perhaps the acting in the film is much better than what the English version offered (I have not seen the film, just going off reviews). Also, does anyone know if the dialogue is improved? Maybe these foreign language versions of stupid U.S. blockbusters are actually much better than what we hear. All the expensive visuals without any of the bad acting and dialogue.

Are there any folks who have seen both the dubbed and English version? Are there any noticeable improvements of the writing and performances?
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby rolotomasi99 » Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:16 pm

Precious Doll wrote:I read an article today regarding the international first week box office of The Hunger Games vs. the international first week box office of John Carter. I couldn't find the article but had a look at box-office Mojo with the following figures.

The Hunger Games take outside of the U.S./Canada was $59.3 million in 67 territories.

John Carter's take outside of the U.S./Canada in it's debut weekend was $70.6 million in 51 territories.

Funny how the media aren't reporting this very much.


Except JOHN CARTER was in 3D while THE HUNGER GAMES was not. While the love for 3D has cooled considerably in this country, it is still huge overseas. I bet THE HUNGER GAMES sold quite a few more tickets than JOHN CARTER, even if the latter made more money.

Also, not all territories are the same. The major territories where the majority of high grosses come from are Australia, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, Japan, South Korea, China, Mexico, and Brazil. On it first weekend, JOHN CARTER had opened in all the major markets except Japan, South Korea, and China while THE HUNGER GAMES also opened in all the majors except the aforementioned Asian markets as well as Italy and Spain. JOHN CARTER's combined grosses in Italy and Spain make up almost half the difference between the two films' opening grosses. The higher number of territories THE HUNGER GAMES was in could not compensate for missing out on those two countries.

I have no opinion on JOHN CARTER as a film, and I take no glee in its failure like some folks; however, if you are going to talk about the box-office, please be accurate. Particularly if you are going to spin these conspiracy theories.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby anonymous1980 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:26 pm

dws1982 wrote:The Grey
I tend to go easier on a movie if I only have to pay $1.50 for the ticket than full price, so adjust your expectations accordingly. I enjoyed it overall. If there's any justice, it'll be on the list next year for Sound Editing. The sound effects are great--the plane crash and the wolf attacks are obvious standouts, but the growls and heavy breathing of the wolves, the sounds of fires burning and branches breaking all really contribute to the success of the film. Very few movies use their sound effects to create moods and tension the way The Grey does. The movie itself is an efficient thriller, anchored by a very strong Liam Neeson performance. Carnahan and his editor play around too much towards the end with spatial relationships--once they cross the river, he makes so many greater-than-180-degree cuts that it was tough to keep track of whether they're headed this way or that way, or whether Liam Neeson crossed the river again at the end. But overall, like I said, it was a pretty solid thriller.


I heard the producers will re-release it in the fall and try to go for a Best Actor Oscar nom for Liam Neeson.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby criddic3 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:29 pm

Mister Tee wrote:To toot my own horn a bit: a number of years back, I wrote a piece here (you might even still find it buried in Other Film Discussions) I called The Gigli Syndrome. My basic thesis was, every once in a while a movie comes along that is not necessarily wildly worse than surrounding efforts, and not even necessarily a bigger bomb, but to which the powers that be seem to offer license to mock. Ishtar (which is not a completely godawful movie), Howard the Duck, Hudson Hawk, and, as I cited, Gigli...all these were singled out for vicious attacks well beyond their offenses or failures.


I think there's a difference between being unfair and a person having fun watching a bad movie. It's not that those movies were good and unfairly dismissed as bad, after all. Many movies fall under this category, including Mars Attacks and Jaws the Revenge. You may debate their value as entertainment, but a bad movie is a bad movie. When a movie is bad enough, it is reflected at the box-office and in the reviews simultaneously. It is actually fairly rare to obtain a reputation for this when you think about it. A movie can be really bad and be a hit at the box-office, or be really good and tank. I know this is an obvious observation for those on this board, but one I feel is worth pointing out. However, I don't know if you can really label this type of circumstance as being unfair, which seems to be what you are saying.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Reza » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:55 am

dws1982 wrote:The Grey
I tend to go easier on a movie if I only have to pay $1.50 for the ticket than full price, so adjust your expectations accordingly. I enjoyed it overall. If there's any justice, it'll be on the list next year for Sound Editing. The sound effects are great--the plane crash and the wolf attacks are obvious standouts, but the growls and heavy breathing of the wolves, the sounds of fires burning and branches breaking all really contribute to the success of the film. Very few movies use their sound effects to create moods and tension the way The Grey does. The movie itself is an efficient thriller, anchored by a very strong Liam Neeson performance. Carnahan and his editor play around too much towards the end with spatial relationships--once they cross the river, he makes so many greater-than-180-degree cuts that it was tough to keep track of whether they're headed this way or that way, or whether Liam Neeson crossed the river again at the end. But overall, like I said, it was a pretty solid thriller.


Yes solid certainly, but mid-point onwards I started to root for the wolves. The Neeson character's angst about the woman in his life bordered too much on the real events that took place in this poor actor's life and that particular plot line is layered on a bit too thick.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby dws1982 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:59 pm

The Grey
I tend to go easier on a movie if I only have to pay $1.50 for the ticket than full price, so adjust your expectations accordingly. I enjoyed it overall. If there's any justice, it'll be on the list next year for Sound Editing. The sound effects are great--the plane crash and the wolf attacks are obvious standouts, but the growls and heavy breathing of the wolves, the sounds of fires burning and branches breaking all really contribute to the success of the film. Very few movies use their sound effects to create moods and tension the way The Grey does. The movie itself is an efficient thriller, anchored by a very strong Liam Neeson performance. Carnahan and his editor play around too much towards the end with spatial relationships--once they cross the river, he makes so many greater-than-180-degree cuts that it was tough to keep track of whether they're headed this way or that way, or whether Liam Neeson crossed the river again at the end. But overall, like I said, it was a pretty solid thriller.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Precious Doll » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:15 am

I read an article today regarding the international first week box office of The Hunger Games vs. the international first week box office of John Carter. I couldn't find the article but had a look at box-office Mojo with the following figures.

The Hunger Games take outside of the U.S./Canada was $59.3 million in 67 territories.

John Carter's take outside of the U.S./Canada in it's debut weekend was $70.6 million in 51 territories.

Funny how the media aren't reporting this very much.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Okri » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:10 pm

Tee, I recall you talking about that when Sex and the City 2 was released. Whenever that was.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sonic Youth » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:59 pm

The media doesn't like it when hugely expensive movies go far over budget and end up not justifying the cost. Titanic also had terrible buzz, which stopped the second it was screened and released. Frankly, I can't say I'm too distraught if an extremely pricey mediocre film is unfairly tarnished as a turkey.

In this case, I doubt John Carter would have caught on anyway. The ready-made audience probably wasn't all that large to begin with, and it really is a movie whose time has long gone. I see it's a hit in Russia. Bollywood musicals have also been very popular in Russia, and John Carter has the same sort of cheesy sensibility that has only captured a niche audience here.

PS: Gigli sucked.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Mister Tee » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:02 pm

To toot my own horn a bit: a number of years back, I wrote a piece here (you might even still find it buried in Other Film Discussions) I called The Gigli Syndrome. My basic thesis was, every once in a while a movie comes along that is not necessarily wildly worse than surrounding efforts, and not even necessarily a bigger bomb, but to which the powers that be seem to offer license to mock. Ishtar (which is not a completely godawful movie), Howard the Duck, Hudson Hawk, and, as I cited, Gigli...all these were singled out for vicious attacks well beyond their offenses or failures. My view was (and remains) that entertainment reporters use these occasional events as scapegoats for all the dreck they're forced to endure year-in year-out, and the studios in effect allow this as an escape valve -- so their own projects are given a semi-pass despite often being in roughly the same ballpark. John Carter is just the latest to suffer that fate; actual facts about the film don't much matter.

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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Greg » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:21 pm

Sabin wrote:I thought they took less than that, like 30%.


Theater percentages might have been dropping a lot in recent years. That probably has something to do with how popcorn, etc. prices have exploded.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sabin » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:17 pm

I thought they took less than that, like 30%. That's the domestic take. I don't know how the breakdown is around the world. It might be even less than that. Considering how much foreign audiences clamor for our expensive blockbusters, I doubt our studios would put up with a higher split if not an even one.

In that case, sure. It might lose some money. In an age where everything costs everything, where every movie must cost a shit load in order to break even, it's a disappointment.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Greg » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:13 pm

Sabin wrote:Let's say the whole shebang cost $350 just to be generous. It should make that back within a month.


That would be total ticket sales. Don't the theaters themselves get something like a 40% cut? Theat woold mean John Carter would still be down about $100 million. Of course, it would still have some more worldwide theatrical business left; and, there would be more money to make from vidoes/DVDs/Internet-pay-per-view. Still, it could lose some money even if it is nowhere near an all-time flop.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby Sabin » Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:27 pm

The media likes a whipping boy. Something indefensible. John Carter looks indefensible. It broke records in Russia. It's been playing just fine around the world. I don't know how much they spent on P&A, probably somewhere between $50 and $75. Let's say the whole shebang cost $350 just to be generous. It should make that back within a month.

Now, the real disaster is the toy sales and video games that are doubtlessly out there. Those all have a date with a landfill.

Is John Carter a disaster? Only here.

Owen Gleiberman's essays on EW.com are incredibly well-written, insightful reads. It's a shame his tastes are so middlebrow, but here's his take on it and the ongoing meltdown of Eddie Murphy.

Box office disasters: The real lesson of 'John Carter,' and has Eddie Murphy finally run out of words?
by Owen Gleiberman


The chattering classes of the infotainment-sphere love to kick a movie debacle in the shins. But from the moment that John Carter opened, the perceptions of how big — or maybe not quite so big — a disaster it was were a tad hazy, and they trickled in slowly. A dry dust storm of digital effects, corny fetishized machismo, and bad acting out of the loincloth-and-galactic-tiara school, John Carter, as just about everyone in the solar system had predicted, underperformed in a dramatic way. But was it merely a “disappointment,” or a major flop, or, in fact, a good old-fashioned game-changing heads-will-roll executives-will-commit-seppuku debacle? What did the $30 million opening-weekend gross stacked up against the movie’s $250 million price tag really mean?

It wasn’t until Monday, in a front page story in The New York Times Business section, that perception of catastrophe became reality. “Ishtar Lands on Mars,” read the headline, and talk about a headline that’s worth a thousand words! (And a dozen executive heart attacks.) The Times article, by Brooks Barnes, pulled no punches in adding John Carter to the mythical dishonor roll of classic movie bombs, right up there with Howard the Duck and Ishtar. Of course, the era we’re in now is very different. International grosses provide a major cushion for a movie like John Carter — not just because the global market is huge and ever expanding, but because sizeable segments of the non-English-speaking world are even more receptive to movies that speak the international language of monosyllabic schlock spectacle than we are in the United States. Taylor Kitsch’s John Carter, a long-haired beefcake hippie Christ with a personality as thin as his backstory is garbled, is exactly the kind of blank-slate superhero that people from every culture can project themselves onto. He’s like the Harlequin version of a Joseph Campbell figure — the hero with a thousand “Blue Steel” poses. Movies like Ishtar used to crawl out of the theaters after a few weeks, curl up on the isle of roundly ridiculed trash, and die. You’d better believe, though, that John Carter is one fanboy bomb that will have an ancillary life.

The most revealing aspect of the Times story is that no one at Disney, the studio that produced the movie, would point a finger at anyone else, from the filmmaker on down. On some level, this was clearly a matter of decorum: The person who’s most obviously to blame for John Carter being such a lugubrious piece of space junk is Andrew Stanton, the brilliant director of WALL-E and Finding Nemo, who in this movie never figured out a way to animate live human beings the way he does digital characters: from within. To me, though, there’s a deep sincerity — almost a kind of Hollywood business poetry — to the fact that no one at Disney is hanging this fiasco on any obvious culprit. And that’s because no one actually did anything wrong.

Sure, John Carter is a terrible movie, but in contrast to a self-destructively expensive desert-comedy fluke like Ishtar, everything about it was made according to rules that work just fine in Hollywood about 90 percent of the time. You say that the movie lacked a major star? Tell that to the creators of last summer’s Captain America and Thor. It relied on an abundance of digital clutter to decorate an overly busy mess of a story line? You must mean in contrast to the marvelously uncluttered visuals and impeccable narrative coherence of every Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, and National Treasure sequel. It was based on a stodgy old serial written by Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 years ago? Well, okay, now there’s a point — but in a movie universe where Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones can still be heroes, I’m not sure that attempting to update one of the original genetic strains of the sci-fi superhero genre was so very wrong. Andrew Stanton’s real mistake was in treating his source material with too much reverence, as if it were a sacred text rather than pulp Silly Putty to be stretched and fiddled with. The trouble with John Carter isn’t that it broke any of the blockbuster rules. It’s that it played by them so slavishly that the rules were all you saw.

* * * *

What, exactly, is the deal with Eddie Murphy? Or maybe I should ask: What does Eddie Murphy want? He failed to win the Oscar for Dreamgirls (2006) — in fact, the conventional wisdom is that he torpedoed his chances by arrogantly refusing to curry favor on the awards circuit — but his dynamic performance in that movie still opened doors for him, and no one seemed more eager to slam those doors in his own face than Murphy himself. Apart from a couple of Shrek sequels, here are the movies he chose to make after Dreamgirls: Norbit (2007), Meet Dave (2008), Imagine That (2009), and the new A Thousand Words — in case you haven’t seen them, they are all Standard Eddie Murphy Movies That Suck — in addition to last year’s Tower Heist, a Brett Ratner block party that was his one token bid to play the “old” Eddie for R-rated adults instead of PG-rated families. Here’s the thing, though: The old Eddie is gone, never to return. And no one knows that better than Murphy himself. In one sense, he’s still a working movie star, and in another, he’s in retirement: a celebrity who no longer truly interacts with the world, who makes movies to keep his hand in and to support his lifestyle, but not out of any organic desire to appear in them. That’s why the pain of seeing almost any new Eddie Murphy movie is the agony of watching a performer who once approached comic genius not just go through the motions but turn going through the motions into a way of being.

He’s a comedy robot now. When he puts on the big smile, or does the big laugh and tries to pretend that he’s having fun on camera, the pretense is cringe-worthy; you can almost touch how false it is. A Thousand Words sat on the shelf for a couple of years, so maybe it doesn’t represent where Murphy is at right now, but where is he at? And what should he do? I say: He should come out of retirement — out of the megaplex limbo of glorified bad kiddie movies — and do something different, something bold, something that reflects the human being who Eddie Murphy now is. The fast-talking manic hustler Eddie is a 30-year-old persona that he puts on like a tattered clown costume. What’s beneath it, I think, is a far more reflective, cutting, and serious person — and, just maybe, a potentially powerful actor. Oliver Stone once seriously considered casting Murphy as Martin Luther King Jr. in a conspiracy biopic, and I think that would have been an inspired move. I’d love to see Murphy in a drama about Hollywood, drawing on his intimate knowledge of the Faustian bargains of fame. It’s up to him. At this point, though, he should do something that surprises us, and himself. Because the image of Eddie Murphy going through the motions is now looking unsurprising enough to be called unhealthy.
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Re: The Official Review Thread of 2012

Postby ksrymy » Mon Mar 26, 2012 10:40 am

Sabin wrote:Worldwide, it has taken in $234 million against a $250 million budget (before P&A) after two weeks.


That's really weird, because this was front page news on another website I visit, as well as confirmed on the source Wikipedia gave.
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