Review: Super Troopers 2

Broken Lizard is Back

Review: I Feel Pretty

Starring Amy Schumer

Review: Rampage

Starring Dwayne Johnson

Review: Beirut

Starring Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike

Review: Little Pink House

Starring Catherine Keener


Box Office: 'A Quiet Place' Returns To #1, 'I Feel Pretty' And 'Super Troopers 2' Defy Expectations

1. A Quiet Place- $22M/$132.3M
John Krasinski's A Quiet Place continues to make a lot of noise. The original horror dropped a scant 33% in its third week, which is just remarkable, and now has $132M domestic and $207M worldwide. We're looking at one of the most successful movies of the year and when 2018 wraps up I think we'll still be saying that.
2. Rampage- $21M/$66.6M
Dwayne Johnson's box office muscle was enough to power Rampage to a strong $21M in its second weekend and a 41% drop, suggesting audiences are rushing to see this one based on good word of mouth. To be honest, they also probably want to see it now because next week is Avengers: Infinity War and that's all that really matters. Rampage sits at $283M worldwide with $66M of that stateside.
3. I Feel Pretty (review)- $16.2M
Amy Schumer and STX should be pretty happy with the $16M debut of I Feel Pretty, her comedy that has been getting hammered from all sides. Actually, it's been the target of criticism based on trailers more than anything else, which could have had a negative impact on its opening weekend. So it's a credit to Schumer as a leading lady to get such a strong start, and I suspect it may do well next week as counter-programming to Infinity War. I had my problems with the film overall but feel its heart is in the right place and Schumer is great as always.
4. Super Troopers 2 (review)- $14.7M
Whoa! I had no idea so many people were this pumped for Super Troopers 2! The Broken Lizard sequel to 2002's dumb cop comedy earned a huge $14.7M at just over 2000 theaters. That's a massive $7K per site average, the best of any film in the top 10. I've never been a big fan of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe (Club Dread was it for me, and I kinda like that one) but I know they have a loyal fanbase who have been hoping for this one. They turned out in droves and apparently trekked out of the way to see it, as well they should. It was largely due to the support of fans that this movie became a reality, and it has paid off.
5. Truth Or Dare- $7.9M/$30.3M
Blumhouse won't shed a tear over the $38M worldwide haul for Truth Or Dare. The film only cost $3M and it's lucky to be doing so darn well with rival A Quiet Place tearing up the box office.
6. Ready Player One- $7.5M/$126.1M
7. Blockers- $6.9M/$48.2M
8. Black Panther- $4.6M/$681M
9. Traffik- $3.8M
Lionsgate's "black" division released Traffik into theaters. The small-budgeted thriller stars Paula Patton and Omar Epps as a vacationing couple terrorized by a gang of bikers who are part of a sex trafficking ring. They didn't screen it for us so I assume it's terrible, but can't say definitively.
10. Isle Of Dogs- $3.4M/$24.3M

Podcast: Cinema Royale Talks Amy Schumer's I FEEL PRETTY, THE RIDER, And More!

On this week's Cinema Royale, I'm joined by Hannah Buchdahl, one half of the Cinema Clash podcast on Critical: The Movie Critics Network. We'll take a look at Amy Schumer's new comedy I FEEL PRETTY and if it's deserving of all the backlash it's been getting. Plus, Hannah will talk about the acclaimed drama THE RIDER because I still haven't seen it for reasons I'll talk about later.
Plus, news on Vin Diesel developing XXX 4, a new BIRDS OF PREY movie starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Spielberg on another DCEU film with BLACKHAWKS, and Paramount's M.A.S.K. film! All this and so much more the show was over before I knew it!
Tune in and follow Cinema Royale here on Blogtalkradio as part of Critical: The Movie Critics Network!

'Gotham' Recap Season 4, Episode 19 - 'That’s Entertainment'

This week’s Gotham seemed like a bridge episode between the craziness of the recent Valeska family drama and the destruction that Joker will bring to Gotham in the coming weeks. We all needed to catch our collective breathes after what happened last week so it’s okay that this episode wasn’t as crazy as the last few (although there was essentially a zombie sighting!). Let’s get to it.

Ra’s had a change of heart story arc: “…molding you into a Dark Knight of Gotham” –

This week’s episode starts with Barbara staring at the portrait of herself and Ra’s. A group of inconsiderate ninjas ambush her and she does manage to hold her own for a bit before they end up being too much for her to handle. The ninjas were actually members of the league of shadows trying to see if Barbara has fully accessed the powers of the Demon’s Head. Apparently the Demon’s Head can see the future and intense emotions are the catalyst to trigger this power. Barbara buys into this theory and tells them to step up the intensity next time. Tabitha has asked Selina to bring Bruce and meet her to discuss the situation with Barbara. Tabitha walks the two of them into a church where they get ambushed by the members of the league who have remained loyal to Ra’s. In the middle of the room is Ra’s decomposing body and the men force Bruce to go to it. They cut Bruce’s hand and pour his blood onto Ra’s body which reciting an incantation – bringing him back from the dead, in peak physical zombie form. Needless to say, Ra’s is not pleased about being woken from his planned slumber. The men beg him to reconsider his appointment of Barbara as his heir, claiming she will bring an end to the league. It turns out that Barbara must give the Demon’s Head back to Ra’s, he doesn’t automatically get it – however Ra’s isn’t too worried about that...he’ll just kill her and take it back if she refuses.

Ra’s goes to visit Barbara and asks her what she has done in his absence. Barbara is focused on using the power of the Demon’s Head to rule Gotham like a queen. Ra’s does not take too kindly to this plan and demands that Barbara gives the power back, which she refuses. This leads to a fight, but the members of the league who are loyal to Barbara attack Ra’s as Barbara escapes the room. Outside Bruce, Tabitha, and Selina pull up in Bruce’s car and drive Barbara to Wayne Manor. They realize that Ra’s must be killed again, which will require the dagger. Unfortunately, after killing Ra’s the first time, Bruce and Alfred had donated the dagger back to the Nanda Parbat embassy. Alfred and Tabitha go to the embassy to try and get the dagger back. Alfred simply tries to ask for it back, but his request is promptly denied. That is all part of the plan and Alfred turns on the theatrics, pretending to have a heart attack to distract the embassy security and employees. During this diversion Selina repels down from the ceiling and steals the dagger. Selina, Tabitha, and Alfred meet up with Bruce and Barbara who both demand that Selina give them the dagger. It seems like both of them really want to kill Ra’s. Selina is clearly torn between her mancrush and her loyalty to her crime trio. Barbara decides to make the decision easier for Selina and points a gun at Alfred. Selina gives the knife to Barbara and the crime trio drive back to Club Siren. The female members of the league who are still loyal to Barbara meet them there. Barbara lays out her plan: use her glowing hand to summon Ra’s and then stab him. Selina has major doubts about this clearly super sophisticated approach and refuses to sign up for a suicide mission.

Selina goes back to Wayne Manor and tells Bruce that she only gave Barbara the knife to try and spare Bruce from having to kill Ra’s again. While Selina is trying to get back in Bruce’s good graces, Ra’s and his men go to Club Siren. Barbara agrees to give Ra’s what he wants if he admits that they had a connection. She uses this moment to get close to Ra’s and stab him with the dagger, which does not kill him. Ra’s and Barbara get into a brawl and Ra’s ends up knocking Barbara down. He grabs her hand and begins stealing the Demon’s Head power back. At this very opportune moment Bruce runs out of nowhere and punches Ra’s, which stops him from continuing to recoup the power from Barbara. Ra’s picks up the dagger and stabs Barbara…or so we think. Barbara’s hand begins glowing and we see that the stabbing is actually a vision of the future that Barbara has seen. Barbara now knows Ra’s every move before he makes it and manages to counter all of his blows, getting the upper hand in the fight. Ra’s realizes this and in desperation grabs Tabitha and puts a knife to her throat. Ra’s demands that Barbara gives him the Demon’s Head or he will kill Tabitha. Barbara can’t bring herself to give up the power and Ra’s kills Tabitha in front of her. Once again we see that this is a vision of the future and instead, Barbara allows Ra’s to take the Demon’s Head from her. Absorbing this power causes Ra’s to become dezombified. Bruce demands the knife from Ra’s so he can kill him again, but Ra’s refuses and breaks the knife in half before disappearing.

Later that night the women from the league go to Barbara and tell her that she is worthy to lead them and they reaffirm their allegiance to her. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce is with Selina trying to plan how he can kill Ra’s. Selina tells him he needs to take a night off and they lean in to kiss. Ra’s appears and rudely interrupts the moment. He tells Bruce that he respects who he will become. Ra’s came to give Bruce an explanation as to why he chose to live. Ra’s tells Bruce that he saw a vision of a cataclysmic event that will plague Gotham. It will be a cleansing fire that will be used by Ra’s to forge Bruce into the Dark Knight of Gotham. We see Ra’s turn away from Bruce with visions of Gotham in flames in his eyes.

My thoughts: 

Well…Ra’s is back. I knew that Barbara being the head of the League of Shadows wasn’t sustainable. The power to see the future is a neat little trick and it was pretty cool to see the power of the Demon’s Head in action. Ra’s vision of Gotham’s future was interesting and matches up with Jerome’s words to Jeremiah – to make them all burn. Anything to speed up the process of Bruce becoming the Dark Knight is good for me, so if this storyline will help move that along – all the power to it!

The narrows story arc: “Ed Nygma, you are a riddle” –

While all of the craziness is going on with Ra’s and the league, Lee and Riddler are moving their plan along. When we last saw Lee and Riddler, she challenged him to break his record of robbing 3 banks in one evening. At the GCPD, Jim and Harvey are discussing robbers who robbed 5 banks in one night - turns out Riddler and Lee crushed that record. Jim and Harvey feel like the person who robbed all of the banks did it to prove how smart they were – which leads Riddler to becoming their primary suspect.

In the narrows everyone is buzzing about all of the money that Lee and Riddler have brought in. Lee distributes the money to the people of the narrows – sort of like a dark and twisted Robin Hood. Riddler questions what their relationship is, but Lee manages to avoid answering the question. Riddler and Lee are planning to continue the bank robbing fun the next night. Penguin and Butch happen to have chosen this moment to visit the two of them and overhear the plans. Lee is not jumping for joy at the idea of splitting the money with Penguin and Butch. Penguin can see that Lee is using Riddler’s feelings for her to her advantage and warns Riddler to be careful.

Jim goes to visit Lee and asks about Riddler. He tries to convince Lee to give him up, but as the conversation progresses he begins to suspect that Lee may have had a larger role in the robberies than he initially thought. We see Riddler in the back room being tormented by visions of Ed mocking him, just like he did to Ed. Riddler goes to visit Penguin and tell him that he knows that Lee is using him. He wants Penguin to help him get rid of Ed’s personality. In exchange, he will split the score from that night’s robberies with Penguin – which should be about 100 million each.

Jim and Harvey are desperately trying to find out where Lee and Riddler’s next robbery will take place. They question an executive from the Gotham bank branch that has been targeted by the robbers. She lets them know that the money from all the branches has been transported to one secure location. Riddler and Lee are already at this location and quickly take care of the guards. Riddler however has ulterior plans with Penguin and Grundy and he betrays Lee. In the vault, the Riddler accuses Lee of taking advantage of him which she denies. Riddler tells Penguin to take the money but leave the property deeds to the narrows because they are worthless. Butch and Penguin go into the vault to take care of his request. While the two of them are preoccupied, Riddler makes a Molotov cocktail and throws it in the vault with them – causing them to be trapped in the vault. Riddler warns Penguin to not come after Lee again and the two of them head upstairs. Lee asks Riddler why he did what he did and Riddler lets Lee know that the virus she had has awoken something within her that he loves. He forecasts that one day she will love him back the way he loves her. Jim arrives and Lee tells Ed to take the money to the narrows while she takes care of Jim. Lee walks outside and Jim immediately arrests her.

My thoughts:

It is still unclear about the relationship that Lee and Riddler have. I believe Lee is internally conflicted which is not helping provide any clarity for her in her other relationships. Jim is clearly going through a hard time dealing with the criminal version of Lee. He’ll have to get used to it sooner rather than later, because it doesn’t look like she is going to become a law abiding citizen any time soon.

In two weeks on Gotham:

There are only 3 episodes left of this crazy season of Gotham. I know these next few episodes are going to be crazy, but I am sure as hell sad to know that the season is winding down. Next episode it is looking like Bruce and Jeremiah will have a reunion, of course Jeremiah is now a victim of Jerome’s special batch of laughing gas. At the very end of the preview for next week it looks like Jim is being held at gunpoint by…Harley Quinn!!! This is getting real folks!


'Puzzle' Trailer: Kelly Macdonald And Irrfan Khan Piece Together A New Passion

Hey, you want to watch a movie about putting jigsaw puzzles together? Nah, not like a life-or-death jigsaw puzzle like in some adventure movie or something, just a typical puzzle you might piece together on a lazy night in. Well, you might want to after watching the trailer for Puzzle, a film which earned top marks at Sundance earlier this year for the lead performance by Kelly Macdonald, who is pretty much good in everything.

Directed by Marc Turtletaub  and co-starring the great Irrfan Khan, Puzzle finds Macdonald as a sheltered suburban housewife who finds a new passion when she receiveds a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle as a gift. Turns out she's REALLY good at puzzles, and it helps her piece together the fragments of her life. Khan plays a puzzle champion in need of a partner for an upcoming competition.

Turtletaub is a longtime producer (Jack Goes Boating, Safety Not Guaranteed) directing only his second feature. His first, an adaptation of the satirical novel Gods Behaving Badly, was never released despite a star-studded cast. Not the kind of background that inspires at ton of confidence but the reviews for this have been through the roof. And this looks like such a perfect role for the understated Macdonald, who has been a gift in everything from Trainspotting to Intermission to No Country for Old Men and many more.

Puzzle opens on July 13th.

Bruce Banner Has A Dire Warning In New 'Avengers: Infinity War' Clip

While we've heard rumblings about it, the first Avengers to have a run-in with Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War are likely to be Thor and Hulk, following from the events of Thor: Ragnarok. In the aftermath we've seen images of Loki, still in possession of the Tesseract, in the grip of the Black Order. We've also seen Thor knocked comatose until he encounters the Guardians of the Galaxy. Bruce Banner somehow makes his way to Earth, though, where he connects with Doctor Strange, Wong, and Tony Stark.

In this extended version of the clip we recently posted, Banner issues a dire warning about Thanos' arrival and how important it is that he not get his hands on the final Infinity Stone.

I'll continue to note that we haven't seen Banner as Hulk in any of the footage, which makes me think he somehow gets depowered by Thanos or his Black Order.

Watch the clip below, followed by an extended version of the fight scene between Cap, Black Widow, Falcon, Corvus Glaive, and Proxima Midnight. Avengers: Infinity War opens April 27th.

‘Arrow’ S6E19 Recap: “The Dragon”

Last week on Arrow, Oliver got hopped up on Vertigo and went through an extreme hallucination where he came to the realization that he needed to “get back to basics,” meaning that he has to continue his mission of “saving the city” by himself, without the help of Team Arrow.  He also got impeached because of his recent political activities.  So now Oliver has a lot of free time to take his fight against Diaz on and save the city.  He no longer has Team Arrow to work with, and Oliver also made the decision that he would do things going forward without Felicity operating as “Overwatch” either, disappointing his wife.

This week on Arrow, however, we take a detour from Oliver and his new solo mission to “save the city” and instead focus totally on bad guy Ricardo Diaz, AKA “The Dragon”, hence the title of the episode and even the into logo being different.  This episode is so villain-centric, that there’s only one scene with Oliver as we spend a lot of time with Diaz as he tries to negotiate yet another way to the top of the food chain in the criminal world.

The flashbacks are back this week as well (something we haven’t seen in a while) as we go back more than 30 years to when Diaz was a young boy at an orphanage, showing that the man running a city-wide criminal empire had humble beginnings.  He also wasn’t the big shot either, being bullied by another kid at the orphanage, who even burns up a photo of Diaz’s father, which serves to be the motivating factor of his life as shown later on in the episode.   Fast forward to today, Diaz (with Laurel from Earth-2 as his muscle) takes a trip out of Star City to Blüdhaven (another city in the DC universe) to make a sales pitch to the criminal organization called “The Quadrant” as he wants a “seat at the table.”  The Quadrant seems to be at the top of the food chain as they run thing across the country.  Having taken over all aspects of Star City, Diaz’s ambitions are now growing and he wants them to help, but first, he has to convince them.

Diaz and Laurel meet up with Eric, the son of one of the heads of The Quadrant for his sales pitch.  The son, born of privilege, sees Diaz as “beneath” him and tells him in order to even get a meeting with his father, he has to do something for him.  Turns out, The Quadrant has a snitch currently in government custody that they need to find out about so they can deal with him.  Diaz decides to go forward and help them retrieve their former associate.  Laurel rides him as she feels he’s being taken advantage of by The Quadrant.  Diaz reassures her that he has everything under control.  After Diaz locates the person in custody, he tells Eric where he is.  They tell Diaz to retrieve them from custody.  Diaz and Laurel storm the safehouse, murder all the federal agents (in an impressively choreographed gun-fu fight sequence) and capture The Quadrant’s guy, predictably, The Quadrant shows up and not only kills their former associate, they gun down Diaz as well.  He’s no fool and was wearing bulletproof armor, suspecting a trap.

Meanwhile, in Star City, Felicity is going crazy not knowing where Oliver his.  She sees news reports of the Green Arrow dealing with bad guys in The Glades, but buildings are blowing up.  With Oliver cutting off all communication with her, there’s no way she can know if he’s dead or not.  Felicity meets up with Curtis.  While their vigilante activities have ceased with each other after his group split from Team Arrow, they still have a company that the two run together, and they are trying to get back into each other’s good graces and continue working on their tech company.

Having been betrayed, Laurel thinks she and Diaz should pack it up and head back to Star City.  Diaz remains focused.  She comments that he’s showing behavior similar to the guy who brought her over from Earth-2 (Hunter Zoloman/Zoom), with his extreme dedication that could lead to him destroying himself.  Nevertheless, he continues.  He storms the nightclub that Eric works out of and takes the young man hostage.  He knows that after torturing Eric, he learns that The Quadrant was never going to give him a seat at the table and their plan was to kill him and take over his Star City operations.  Diaz has other things in mind.  Heading to The Quadrant’s headquarters, he delivers Eric to them, however, Eric had a bomb strapped to his body which explodes and kills many of The Quadrant’s foot soldiers.  The remaining ones, Diaz and Laurel defeat while entering their headquarters.  Like a video game, they make it in and deal with the big bosses, The Quadrant as they are sitting in a boardroom surrounded by trigger-happy goons.  Eric’s father, disgusted with Diaz, says they have no open seats at the table, and will not do business with someone of Diaz’s quality.  Diaz promptly shoots him dead, remarking that now there’s an open seat at the table.  The other members of The Quadrant decide to entertain him and see what plans he has.

Felicity realizes that she’s fearful of Oliver possibly dying since he now has no support.  Just then, Oliver shows up at her home and reassures her that he will always come home to her.  Oliver is almost Zen in his thought process.  This could backfire because, like she said, there’s no guarantee.

Diaz seems to have everything he’s been fighting for: a seat at the table, and his criminal empire expanding even more.  However, he’s not satisfied.  He has one thing he still needs to do.  He tells Laurel of “The Dragon,” his one fear, the bully who told him that he was a loser and would not amount to anything in life.  He feels he’s finally ready to conquer his fear as he and Laurel take a trip to the bully’s house.  Naturally, the bully is now just a regular guy with a wife and kids who drives a truck.  Diaz finally takes his revenge against the guy.  After telling him that he burned his arm saving the picture of his dead father, and now it’s payback time.  He douses the man in lighter fluid and proceeds to set him on fire.  Laurel looks on in disgust, thinking that maybe she’s with a guy just as bad as Zoom.

Next week, Oliver and Diaz face off.


Nicolas Cage Teases Transition To Directing In Three Or Four Years

Nicolas Cage's near 40-year career may be winding down. Or at least that's what he wants us to think. The actor, who has become a punchline over the last few years, spoke to Complex about his new film, Primal, and says he'll be transitioning away from acting in the future...

“Directing is something I look forward to down the road. Right now, I’m primarily a film performer and I’m gonna continue doing that for three or four more years and I’d like to focus more on directing.”

Cage will be turning his energies towards directing and producing through his Saturn Films label, so even if does step away from acting he'll be plenty busy. That's not going to be good enough for me. While I've taken my share of shots at some of his choices there is absolutely nobody who entertains like Cage. Whether he's in a good or bad movie Cage always brings his best, and he works his ass off in sometimes three or four movies annually. My joke is that the first movie I see every single year is a lousy Nicolas Cage movie and that is almost always true. 

When Cage finds the right material he can be as good as any actor. I'll put his Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans up there with some of the best gonzo performances ever, and I don't even need to talk about Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas, Face/Off and others. His recent turns in Mom & Dad and Mandy show that Cage has learned to embrace this latest career phase as a B-movie icon ala Bruce Campbell. He can roll with the punches.

Plus, now that I've interviewed him and we are such good friends he can't go. There are too many years and too many movies left for it to end.

Pop! Obsession: Funko's 'Ant-Man And The Wasp' Figures Are Here

We only just started getting Marvel and Funko's wave of Avengers: Infinity War Pop figures, and already it's time to look ahead towards Ant-Man And The Wasp. The Marvel sequel features Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly as the diminutive crime-fighting duo as they venture into the Quantum Zone. But you won't need to go so far to get these Pops, and even if you did someone would still find a way to buy them all up for resale.

Not bitter, nope.

Anyway, the first wave of figures is mercifully small, no pun intended. We have two versions of Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, one helmeted and one without. Honestly they aren't too different from earlier versions of Ant-Man's figure. We also have two types of Wasp figures, and like Ant-Man's the rare "Chase" version features her without a helmet. The film's mysterious villain, the Ghost (played by Hannah John-Kamen), also gets two figures including an "invisible" Walmart variant.

These figures are expected to ship in July, but you can get them right now from our friends at Entertainment Earth. When you click on any of our below links and make a purchase we get a small commission that helps us keep the lights on, at no cost to you at all. Every little bit helps, and we thank all of you continue to support us and our sponsors. Thanks!

Order Ant-Man & The Wasp Wasp Pop! Vinyl Figure #341 from Entertainment Earth!

Order Ant-Man & The Wasp Ant-Man Pop! Vinyl Figure #340 from Entertainment Earth!

Order Ant-Man & The Wasp Ghost Pop! Vinyl Figure #342 from Entertainment Earth!

'Anon' Trailer: Clive Owen Gets Hacked In Andrew Niccol's New Sci-Fi Film

Andrew Niccol is a filmmaker with big social ideas, which we've seen him explore successfully in films like Gattaca and Lord of War, and not quite as well in Good Kill or About Time. No matter what he's always thought-provoking, and his latest film Anon is about as timely as they come since it deals with privacy in a world where technology has made that impossible. Hope he sends a copy to Mark Zuckerberg.

Starring Clive Owen and Amanda Seyfried, Anon is a Netflix film set in a world where privacy and anonymity no longer exist. Owen, looking more hangdog than ever, plays a detective on the hunt for a murderer, only to discover a woman with no identity, no past, and is invisible to the cops.

Niccol always seems to latch on to whatever the hot button issue of the moment is, and in this case it's the impact of social media on our privacy rights. Whether he can combine that with sci-fi elements he favors remains to be seen, but this looks kinda corny to me. I'm a bigger fan of Niccol's than most and will always give him the benefit of the doubt. He's surprised me too many times not to.

Anon hits Netflix on May 4th.

Michelle Williams Joins 'After The Wedding' Remake With Julianne Moore

Michelle Williams' dramatic performance have earned her four Oscar nominations, but lately she's been taking it pretty light by appearing in musical The Greatest Showman and this weekend's Amy Schumer comedy I Feel Pretty. But she's back to showing her serious side, as Variety reports she'll join Julianne Moore in the remake of Susanne Bier's After The Wedding.

Moore's husband writer/director Bart Freundlich will reimagine Bier's Oscar-nominated drama, tweaking it to make it a story with two female leads.  Williams plays the bankrupt owner of an orphanage in India who travels to New York City to receive a large charitable donation from a wealthy American businesswoman (Moore), only to be faced with deep secrets from her past.  Diane Kruger was previously reported for Williams' role but that appears to have fallen through or a mistake.

Bier's film starred Mads Mikkelsen and was nominated for Best Foreign Language film at the Oscars. You can bet this updated take will be positioned as an awards season contender, as well.