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Jewish World Review
July 12, 2012/ 22 Tamuz, 5772
Grading the summer movies . . . so far
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT)
When you're a kid, the learning stops when the summer vacation begins.
When you're an adult, the learning never stops.
For instance, I've been in school since the beginning of May.
My classroom is a darkened movie theater, but it is a place of learning nonetheless.
Here is what I have learned from this summer movie season ... so far. Obviously, there will be more knowledge gained by the end of the summer movie season, and I'll check back with you then.
You probably should take notes; there might be a pop quiz.
There are TWO Hemsworth brothers: I know this isn't going to make me seem very bright, but I thought there was one spectacular Australian stud who was in every big movie of the year. As it turns out, there are two distinct actors, Chris and Liam Hemsworth. I'm not quite as impressed now that I know one guy isn't doing all the work, but each brother has built an impressive portfolio in his own right. This year alone, Chris was in the horror flick "The Cabin in the Woods," reprised his Thor character in the third-biggest-movie of all time, "The Avengers," and now is in the big hit "Snow White and the Huntsman." His younger brother Liam got off to a monstrous start in "The Hunger Games," and next will be seen with Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis in "The Expendables 2." Both brothers have a long list of other movies lined up, but you can be assured of one thing the money has to be divided between TWO people so it won't be as impressive as you think.
Sometimes, a dumb-sounding idea really is a dumb idea: I don't know about you, but when I heard that someone was going to make a movie based on the board game "Battleship," I thought it was a joke. You know, like when people talk of a "Titanic" sequel or a musical version of "The Silence of the Lambs." I couldn't figure out how they were going to tie the game to a movie, and sure enough, they couldn't. While the movie made some money in other countries, it sunk in domestic waters.
Even Brooklyn Decker can't save bad movies: The Sports Illustrated swimsuit model might not be the next Meryl Streep, but she's certainly fun to look at, particularly if you are of the guy persuasion. Brooklyn appeared in two movies that opened on the same weekend the aforementioned "Battleship" and the painful "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and neither yielded impressive numbers. But neither failure was Brooklyn's fault, and I sincerely hope that Hollywood continues to cast her in movies. That is, unless a better-looking supermodel comes along.
Never underestimate the expanding Marvel universe: Did we mention that "The Avengers" hit the $1 billion mark in less than two weeks? Five years from now, I'll be saying the same thing about "The Avengers 3."
Two rights occasionally make a wrong: To be honest, I wasn't a big fan of the gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows" when it ran on TV in the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, when I heard that Johnny Depp was going to play vampire Barnabas Collins, and the weirdly original filmmaker Tim Burton was going to direct the movie, I got excited. It was going to open the second weekend of the summer, right after "The Avengers," and I thought it might have a chance to separate itself from the pack. I figured "The Avengers" would fade quickly (I also give stock tips for a small fee), and then "Dark Shadows" would take over the box office. I forgot lessons learned in previous summer movie schools never assume a hit. While the movie started off well, two hours later we were left with a bloodless corpse. It was disappointing in the end.
It's never too late to make money: It had been 10 years since the second "Men in Black" movie, and one would have been hard-pressed to find anyone who believed that a third film would ever be made. In 10 years, cast members scatter (or get too expensive), public tastes change and studios go bankrupt. "Men in Black 3" is underperforming compared to "The Hunger Games" and "The Avengers," but with receipts from the international box office, it should make a hefty profit.
There is room for Judi Dench in the summer: Everyone assumes that the summer movie season is just one loud kid movie after another, but filmmakers have dared to throw a few quieter, adult-themed films into the summer blender. And the strategy of "counter-programming" is working, most notably with the film "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," which is holding its own among the blockbusters. And Dench didn't once have to don a superhero costume.
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