Posts Tagged ‘box office flop’

The Bronze is Golden

Sundance movies have a “feel good” factor about them, and this is clearly visible in every aspect and every moment in the reel of pretty much every movie they show. The Bronze is no different in this regard.

The Bronze is the story is about a former Olympic medalist (not a true life story) who is struggling to move on with her life. Hope Ann Gregory (Melissa Rauch, or better known as Bernadette from the Big Bang Theory), is an extremely crass and bad mouthed ex-Olympic gymnast who hasn’t’ really moved on from her 15 minutes of fame. A decade ago, Hope landed a flawless beam dismount despite having an injury in her Achilles heel and till date gets off on it! (Literally!) She parades around her small, podunk town of Amherst, Ohio in her USA outfit owning her celebrity status, as she is a regular at a local mall and the diner where she never pays for anything and has drink and food specials in her honor.

As a result of her foul mouth and pretty horrible attitude towards everyone around her, she still lives with her father Stan (played by the often under-appreciated Gary Cole), who is trying hard to tread the fine line between being a responsible father and slapping the teeth off his obnoxious daughter. In an effort to get her out of the house, he fakes a letter from Hope’s Olympic coach who has committed suicide and claims that she has left a will, stipulating Hope could receive $500 million so as long as she sets her ego aside, and trains the town’s up-and-coming gymnastics star, Maggie Townsend (the vivacious Haley Lu Richardson).

Tossed up between her want to milk her fame in her small town versus the possibility of losing her fame in exchange for 500 big ones, Hope has to decide and strategize her next steps. Will she train the new incumbent and step aside from her fame or will she burn the youngster? (It’s not a tough decision is it? J )

The film is satirical but not comic satire per se and this isn’t a movie like Office Space and obviously it won’t win any awards either, however it does have what you call a high level of ‘re-watchability’ and some of its one liners are absolute gems. The opening scene for one sets the outrageous tone and hats off to Melissa and her partner in crime (and life) Winston Rauch for writing something silly and intangibly wonderful.

The cast isn’t stellar but they are somehow apt for this low budget indie film. Melissa is the heart and soul of the movie and is competently backed up by Cole, Richardson and the rest of the cast. Special mention to Twitchy Ben (Thomas Middleditch of Silicon Valley fame) who plays the sweet guy and burgeoning love interest of Hope and does his best to pull her away from the dark side.

Bryan Buckley (of Asad fame) has done a decent job in his direction of this R rated comedy. However, if truth be told, the movie is carried on the petite yet powerful Melissa Rauch and her impeccable dialogue delivery with her poker face profanity-spewing-tongue.

If you break the story down to its basic elements, you will realize that there is nothing new in it. Evil ogre turns into village saving hero. But what really works for the movie is how it has been handled. A basic concept directed well and a script written funnily enough to ensure the audience does get its money’s worth of laughs. Throw in the aforementioned talent who all enact their parts to perfection and you somehow have a mix that breathes life into a resuscitated storyline making it entertaining and a reliable ‘sports’ movie.

The only downside of the movie is something I haven’t been able to pin so far. The movie is worth a watch, but the more you think about it, the more you realize, that the movie had the potential to be a Gold, but falls short …agonizingly so and thus gets a Bronze. (My sense of humor needs work, I know!)

It could be the lack of a stronger story or maybe the screen presence of someone more iconic, but the movie falls short at a certain level and maybe that is why it isn’t up there with Office Space or even Dodgeball or Blades of Glory.

With dialogues that would make a sailor blush and a scenes that will burn hysterically disturbing imagery in your mind for life, I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who is easily offended. But, if you’ve got the skin for it, I can’t recommend this comedy more.

 

Thoughts: Enders Game Couldn’t End Soon Enough!

I recently had the good pleasure of some free time on my project, so I picked up my hard drive and decided to while away my time. I scanned through my existing repertoire  of movies and finally selected Ender’s Game. Now I had no idea about this movie apart from that fact that it had Harrison Ford and was science fiction. You know the types, human race on the edge of extinction and our hero fights off the entire species saying some iconic line like, “Get off my plane” and socks the creepy ant/lizard/moose type creature off the plane into the deep dark abyss.

Now if the faith of humanity rests on Harrison Ford, then I say “BRING IT ON”. I mean at this stage you want Indiana-friggin-Jones on your side. This guy outwits the entire Nazi forces and beat Amrish Puri!! And he’ll be dammed if someone steps on HIS plane and if you think THAT was a joke, he took on Darth Vader with just a gorilla for company. CASE CLOSED!

So if you want your future secure, you hand him a whip, a plane, a light saber and a gorilla and go to bed peacefully.

BUT, if my future rests on snot nosed, 4 feet 4 inches, pigeon chested, tooth-pick sized, sneeze and he breaks a rib, probably asthmatic, two bit nerd who is Vitamin D deficient and who’s only credence is his ability to play “video games”….uuuhh…we might as well bend over and wait chanting LONG LIVE OH ANT-MAN!

Anyway, trying to stay on track, I will attempt to tell you what this ‘movie’ is about. (Sigh!)

A few years from now, when all is lost and mankind is now averaging in single digit IQs, our good ‘ol planet Earth is ravaged by the Formics (Code for Big Ants). The first time these Formics try to take over, some dumb jock runs his plane into the mother ship (Independence Day reloaded) and saves the day. Hooray right?

But wait, it’s not the end. Decade’s years later, some brain dead politician/stoner/Twilight fan (??) decides “Let’s kill them all off before they try to destroy us again!” So now, they come up with a plan which would make the cast of Pacific Rim say “DUDE!! THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!!”

So the premise is that kids have faster reflexes than adults …uuhh…and thus they are trained from the age of 12 (or maybe 11) to become combat specialists and the best among them will be given control of our  Planet’s complete Defense systems, which allows them to quite literally send an army of planes anywhere they want, by just flicking their wrist. Now for a kid who has just hit puberty, it’s not the brightest idea, no? They tend to ‘flick their wrists’ quite often I would imagine. Anyway, enter our hero, Ender Wiggin, (Asa Butterfield) a quiet but brilliant boy, who obviously is a loner (read loser). It is already established that he is the special one who will save us all (the movie does try to explain why, but frankly they fail so miserably that its really not worth getting into). Ender Wiggin is taken from his family and put in training center, in space where he experiences zero gravity for the first time and his training is based on him wining some game which I think is the ‘Unreal Tournament’ PG10 version. (For those less informed, it’s a computer game from the late 90’s and early 2000’s). Anyway he completes his entire training in like 18 minutes or something and is then sent straight to the border, where he sees the ant planet.

Will he save us? Will he be able to defend humanity? Or will he wet his bed and suck on his thumb while lying in the fetal position? (Smart money would be on fetal position)

 

The only reason I think the movie did half as well was due to the cast. I honestly feel Asa Butterfield has some potential. He already has two pretty decent hits under his belt (Hugo and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas; do watch the second one first). But after seeing him here, I could think of anything other than flushing his face in a toilet. There are FOUR, count ‘em FOUR Oscar winners/nominees in this cast. Starting with, Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff (no relation to Steffi Graff), the battle hardened, win at all costs army man who in this role quite frankly is a sad let down, then there is Oscar Winner Ben Kingsley and God knows what they promised him to sign up for this. The female cast too is filled with Oscar nominees. There is Abigail Breslin (as Valentine Wiggin the loving caring sister of Ender; or as I remember her, the dorky girl from Little Miss Sunshine) and Hailee Steinfeld (as Ender’s love interest, Petra Arkanian). With 4 Oscar nominated/winning actors you really would expect something better wouldn’t you?

The rest of the cast is neither here nor there kind of bunch and they ensure they are…neither here, nor there!

 

Now I’m definitely a fan of sci-fi though it does take a lot to impress me, Star Wars…yes, Matrix …hell yea…but, After Earth or Oblivion…boooo. So it is a risky business. Thus, if you are taking up the challenge to make a movie on a genre which most definitely depends upon the graphics AND the story, you better bring your ‘A’ Game to the table. Sadly, on a scale of ‘Inception’ to ‘Santa Claus Conquers The Martians’ (yes this is a movie) Enders Game rates somewhere around “I wanna claw my eyes out” to “AAAaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggh”

The movie is something of a love child between Gamer and Starship Troopers, with the wardrobe from Daft Punk’s closet and Uday Chopra’s dialogue delivery.

DO NOT waste your time on this movie.

Read a book people, read a book!

 

Thoughts: Ke-Mo-Sah-Lead –> The Wrong Actor

Now yes I know it’s been over a week since the movie released and thus this ‘review’ doesn’t really seem to say much more than what most of us might already have judged for ourselves. Nevertheless, for those of you who have not yet seen this flick and do not have an interest in seeing an over beefed up Farhan Akthar run faster than Usain Bolt and are still contemplating if this movie is worth your time, for you…I write!

The Lone Range was a very popular radio show conceived by WXYZ Radio way back in 1933. The radio show was a huge hit, and that led to comic books which later gave way to a very ‘healthy’ Clayton Moore showing himself as the Lone Ranger on our television sets as he galloped away into the sunset after of course beating the baddies. The catch phrases (“Ke-mo sah-bee”, “Hi-Yo Silver, Away”), his trademark silver bullet and the eternal theme music all have led to this becoming the eternal icon of the American culture.

So why shouldn’t someone cash in on it?? Thus we now have The Lone Ranger!

John Reid (Armie Hammer; the lesser we speak about him, the better…its just how he was in the movie) is an idealistic lawyer who comes home to his Texas Ranger brother Dan Reid (James Badge Dale, who was ok for the few minutes he took up on screen) and his brother’s wife Rebecca Reid (Ruth Wilson, who again apart from sharing the same date of birth as me doesn’t have anything more exciting about her). Rebecca and John also loved each other, which makes you ponder on why would the elder brother want to marry her anyway?

John has come to town to help his brother and the other Rangers track down the horribly disfigured and psychopathic Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner, for those confused, he is agent Alex Mahone from Prison Break). The Rangers follow his trail and invariably end up in an ambush where all of them are killed. All but one….

John is rescued by an apostate Comanche Tonto (The very talented Johnny Depp). Tonto at the insistence of the white horse (which he considers sacred) and nurses him back to life and brings him back from the dead. Tonto has his own reasons to bring Cavendish to justice and both of them join forces, John Reid becomes The Lone Ranger and begins his pursuit of justice only he know how. Throw in a few laughs, some funny scenes and some banter between the two unlikely partners and you have this….movie!

Gore Verbinski loves Depp and for good reason too. He shot The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and Rango with him, and these movies got him roughly $1 billion dollars and an Oscar (yup, billion with a ‘b’). So was it a smart move to try Depp again? Most definitely! For if anything, Depp saves this movie from the colossal crap fest that it was going to become. In a very lame manner of explaining this movie, just try and imagine the Pirates of the Caribbean, remove the water and add sand. The rest remains the same.

Now I wouldn’t go and agree whole heartedly with the critiques that have smashed the movie, for there are enough reasons and good points in the movie – Johnny Depp, Tonto and the white horse (Silver). The rest of the cast could actually blend into the background and you wouldn’t feel the difference. If 95% of your casts names are followed by hushed questions of “who is that?” in the movie hall, you better have a brilliant storyline and a fantastic direction to make your movie a success. But all that was not exactly up to par and the movie somehow drags ahead in bits and pieces. The story was a little stretched and so was a few of the dialogues. I don’t see a sequel being made of this and I hope if they do, they bring in someone with more charisma for the role of The Lone Ranger.

The Lone Ranger presents a new take on the classic characters. This film is pretty much how a summer movie ought to be. Good clean fun for the family. (Personally that isn’t something I would really look forward to).

In the end, if you are a really big Depp fan you will see him as good as ever in this and thus must watch it; the rest of you who have something better planned can skip it.