Tag Archives: The Lone Ranger

Wednesday Round-Up: Is Woody Allen America’s Most Secretive Filmmaker? Plus, a Month of Truffaut on TCM

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I love the secrecy that surrounds every Woody Allen project, the way a film would be mentioned as “Woody Allen Fall Project 2002” or “Woody Allen Summer Project 2008.” That is still the case; sometimes little is known about his latest film until just weeks before it opens.

Take “Blue Jasmine,” which opens later this month. I’m not sure if anyone was certain that it was a drama until the first trailer dropped. After all, this is a cast that includes Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay (!). Surely, we could expect laughs, correct? Perhaps not, as the trailer seems quite dark — darkly comical, perhaps, but dark all the same. I think? This IFC.com post summed it up nicely:

“The tone of this trailer is all over the place, making it difficult to tell if ‘Blue Jasmine’ is meant to be funny or sad. The story, the music, the fact that we see two comedians who don’t actually do anything funny — everything could be taken both ways.”

We’ll find out in just a few weeks. Until then, let’s start our round-up with some nicely vague details on Woody’s NEXT film, set to star Colin Firth and Emma Stone. (It looks like this level of secrecy is nothing new; check out this article from 1982.)

Photo: Left to right: Director Woody Allen, Cate Blanchett, and Alden Ehrenreich
Photo by Jessica Miglio © 2013 Gravier Productions, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Weekend Preview: In Which Minions Seem Infinitely More Appealing Than Johnny Depp

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Well, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. In my weekend preview last week, I predicted “White House Down” to come in at No. 1 at the box office: “‘White House Down’ should have no trouble coming in at number one, although I would expect it to open below last week’s number two film, ‘World War Z.’ ‘The Heat’ should follow in the second spot, with ‘Monsters University’ up next.”

I was … a bit off. “Monsters” had no problem coming in first with $46 million, an indicator that parents have been waiting for some kid-friendly summer fare. And No. 2? “The Heat,” which I always felt would do well. Melissa McCarthy is on a helluva role at the box office, Sandra Bullock is as well-liked as any actress in Hollywood, and what other female-centric films are in wide release at the moment?

The big surprises were what came next: “World War Z” in third, and THEN “White House Down,” with only $25 million. When your big summer release hits fourth, you’ve got a problem, and clearly Roland Emmerich’s film does. I think this is a case of a release date that just did not work. It is a crowded marketplace, Channing Tatum fans likely opted for “The Heat,” “World War Z” has proved surprisingly muscular, and, of course, there is “Olympus Has Fallen,” the similarly-themed spring hit that will likely end up having taken in more than “White House.”

Prepare for more animated success, because this holiday weekend is certain to be topped by Gru and his minions: “Despicable Me 2” opened on Wednesday, and it’s already huge. I reviewed the sequel for the Buffalo News, and found it winner: “[It] qualifies as a true crossover success, a film that should prove as pleasing to both 4- and 40-year-olds.” I had a much better time than I did at “Iron Man 3” or “Man of Steel” — although I liked both — and I think there is a serious chance that Gru’s gang ends up finishing its run with more dollars than “Monsters U.”

While “Despicable” has arrived with strong buzz, Disney’s “The Lone Ranger” seems to be moving in the opposite direction. From the get-go, the Armie Hammer-Johnny Depp-starrer seemed an unsafe bet, and the result, according to early reviews, is bloated, overlong, ugly, and disappointing on just about every level. Depp has a following, to be sure, and a PG-13 rating will help, but I think this could end up as Depp’s second critical and commercial summertime disappointment in a row, after “Dark Shadows.”

We shall see — the film could rally. But I’ve found it unappealing from the very first trailer, and I’ve seen nothing to change my opinion.

The week’s only other major release is the stand-up film “Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain,” which finds the comic playing Madison Square Garden. The trailer is a hoot, and Hart’s fans might make this a solid little earner.

On the other end of the spectrum is a trio of new smaller releases: “Lootera,” a 50s-set Bollywood romance playing the Elmwood Regal; “Midnight’s Children, Deepa Mehta’s somewhat poorly-received adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s beloved novel (at the Amherst Dipson); and “The Attack,” a drama about an Arab surgeon who discovers a dark secret about his wife after a suicide bombing.

Note that “Stories We Tell” is still playing at Amherst, and “Copperhead” and “Love is All You Need” are still playing at Eastern Hills.

The Screening Room will please many by showing “Grease” at 7:30 p.m. on July 5–7, and July 9, while next Thursday, July 11, features two very different sci-fi films: “Equilibrium” and “Forbidden Plant.” Author Mark Malkasian hosts this special event, also featuring sci-fi trivia.

Bacchus returns with “Anchorman” on Thursday (July 10), while the UB North Campus shows the late Tony Scott’s “Top Gun” on Friday (July 5) and “42” on Tuesday (July 9), both at 9:15, and the UB South Campus offers “42” at 9:15 on Wednesday (July 10).

One last note: Some of this summer’s crop is already hitting the cheapies: “The Bling Ring, “After Earth,” “Epic,” “Fast & Furious 6,” and “The Hangover Part III” are now playing McKinley. That doesn’t mean summer’s almost over … right?

 

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment Copyright: © 2013 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.