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Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

1. Godzilla* (Warner Bros.)

2. Neighbors* (Universal)

3. Blended (Warner Bros.)

4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Disney)

5. Brick Mansions* (20th Century Fox)

6. The Fault in Our Stars* (20th Century Fox)

7. Think Like a Man Too (Sony)

8. The Signal* (Universal)

9. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony)

10. Moms' Night Out (Sony)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Godzilla* (Warner Bros.)

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Disney)

3. Blended* (Warner Bros.)

4. Brick Mansions* (20th Century Fox)

5. The Fault in Our Stars* (20th Century Fox)

6. Think Like a Man Too (Sony)

7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony)

8. The Other Woman (20th Century Fox)

9. Moms' Night Out (Sony)

10. Draft Day (Lionsgate)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Brick Mansions* (20th Century Fox)

2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Disney)

3. Blended* (Warner Bros.)

4. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony)

5. Moms' Night Out (Sony)

6. Oculus (20th Century Fox)

7. Need for Speed (Touchstone)

8. Divergent (Lionsgate)

9. Draft Day (Lionsgate)

10. A Good Man (Lionsgate)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Blended* (Warner Bros.)

2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony)

3. Oculus (20th Century Fox)

4. The Other Woman (20th Century Fox)

5. Need for Speed (Touchstone)

6. Draft Day (Lionsgate)

7. A Haunted House 2 (Universal)

8. Moms' Night Out (Sony)

9. Heaven Is for Real (Sony)

10. Divergent (Lionsgate)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. Blended* (Warner Bros.)

2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony)

3. The Other Woman (20th Century Fox)

4. Divergent (Lionsgate)

5. A Haunted House 2* (Universal)

6. Oculus (20th Century Fox)

7. Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return* (20th Century Fox)

8. The Quiet Ones (Lionsgate)

9. Rage (Image)

10. A Good Man (Lionsgate)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony)

2. The Other Woman (20th Century Fox)

3. A Haunted House 2* (Universal)

4. Divergent (Lionsgate)

5. Need for Speed (Disney)

6. God's Not Dead (Pure)

7. Noah (Paramount)

8. Rage (Image)

9. Oculus* (20th Century Fox)

10. The Quiet Ones (Lionsgate)

* Available for rental before Redbox and Netflix

Published in Video Top 10

The Summer of Too Much TV is nearly over and, besides Sharknado 2: The Second One and True Blood: The Finally Final Season, nothing has made much of a splash in ’Merica’s above-ground pool.

Even hyper-hyped new series like FX’s The Strain and TNT’s The Last Ship can barely keep up with the Kardashians’ ratings, even when the networks apply their convoluted “Live + 7” formulas (the audience watching the show as it airs is multiplied over seven days by DVR procrastinators, divided by a show’s hashtagged tweets and added to projected thought patterns of potential viewers squared by unicorn farts).

As far as The Only TV Column that Matters™ is concerned, the biggest disappointment of the summer is AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, the ’80s period piece about the dawn of the personal-computer boom that premiered with a sizzling pilot episode and decent ratings, only to get stuck in its own “We’re building computers! / No, we’re building dreams!” loop as star Lee Pace dismissed it on talk shows with hosts who only wanted to hear about his raccoon movie, anyway.

Despite the huge True Blood lead-in, HBO’s depresso-drama The Leftovers doesn’t exactly have viewers—wait for it—enraptured (thanks, I’ll be here all week … unless I suddenly disappear without a trace).

In addition to The Strain, FX has the second bizarro season of The Bridge this summer, as well as alleged new comedy Partners (unless the network has finally realized, “Wait, we put what on Monday nights?!”) and genuine new comedies Married and You’re the Worst (which get funnier every week—I hate the “You just have to stick with it” defense as much as you do, but I’m using my power of attorney), and a wacky little farce called Tyrant. For those unfamiliar—which the ratings indicate is all of you—Tyrant is about a murderous, psychopathic rapist of a Middle-Eastern dictator who somehow still hasn’t won the hearts of FX viewers. What does he need, a Harley and a SAMCRO patch?

And what the hell is going on with Extant? Viewers are fleeing CBS’ “event” series faster than Halle Berry can go through shapeless Target sweaters, either because it borrowed too many sci-fi themes to keep track of, or because it’s making less damned sense every week, or because, well, shapeless Target sweaters. The interest level in her alien baby and her Small Wonder A.I. son is now on par with “Hey, are those hicks and that Twilight chick still trapped Under the Dome?”

CBS also has a summer drama about sexy lawyers—no, really. It’s called Reckless, and it’s on Sunday nights. After Unforgettable. I’m not making these up!

Also swishing under the TV radar is The Quest, ABC’s Survivor-meets-LARPing reality-competition show that premiered to a resounding “Meh, verily” and still hasn’t attracted the fantasy crowd as well as, oh, fantasy, does. It’s like soccer: You might spend hours watching children play it out of parental obligation, but watching overpaid adults do it requires a special kind of dementia.

Were you aware that The CW aired shows called Famous in 12, Backpackers and Seed this summer? More than once? True. One was about TMZ trying to spin fame out of nothing; one was about a pair of bros backpacking across Europe; and one was about a sperm donor—none of which clicked with the network’s audience like previous summers’ programming, a screensaver of a CW logo bouncing from corner to corner two hours a night.

But they still attracted more eyeballs than Miley Cyrus: The Bangerz Tour, a July NBC concert special that now has a verified viewership of four frustrated housewives, since all them have filed “indecency” complaints with the Federal Communications Commission. So Miley simulated a BJ on Abraham Lincoln—what have you done for your country lately?


DVD ROUNDUP FOR AUG. 19!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Spidey (Andrew Garfield) swings back into action to battle Electro (Jamie Foxx) and protect his girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone). He’s successful on at least one front—oh, don’t spoiler-whine; that comic came out, like, 40 years ago. (Sony)

Fading Gigolo

Fioravante (John Turturro, who also directs) becomes a professional man ’ho to help out his broke pal Murray (Woody Allen), who in turn acts as his manager/pimp. The best Jewish-themed porno flick since Kosher Salamis. (Millennium)

Gilligan’s Planet: The Complete Series

This cartoon actually happened in 1982: Gilligan and the castaways (the original voice cast, minus Ginger) build a rocket to get off the island, only to  overshoot and land on another planet. Saturday mornings were weird back then. (Warner Archive; released July 22)

A Good Man

An obese former special-ops agent (Steven Seagal) who goes off the grid and becomes an apartment manager is forced back into action when Russian mobsters threaten his tenants. Hey, tubby’s gotta eat, and dead tenants don’t pay rent. (Lionsgate)

Live Nude Girls

After inheriting his uncle’s Hollywood strip club, Shane (Mike Hatton) discovers that the joint is a dump run by a drunk (Dave Foley) and crazy strippers (Bree Olson, Asa Akira and Tera Patrick). Not really seeing a problem here. (Screen Media)

More New DVD/VOD Releases (Aug. 19)

Boardwalk Empire: Season 4, A Brony Tale, The Good Wife: Season 5, Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, The Millers: Season 1, The Mindy Project: Season 2, Once Upon a Time: Season 3, Only Lovers Left Alive, Parenthood: Season 5, Parks & Recreation: Season 6, Revolution: Season 2, Rosemary’s Baby.

Published in TV

In my review of The Amazing Spider-Man two years ago, I suggested that director Marc Webb was not a good choice to helm a big-budget blockbuster.

After seeing The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which Webb also directed, I can say he’s a truly bad choice to direct a blockbuster.

Webb mucks it up big-time with this second film featuring Andrew Garfield cracking wise in Spandex. While Webb proves adept at drama and romance—Garfield and Emma Stone, as Gwen Stacey, are adorable—he botches the action elements and tries to juggle too many bad guys.

This movie features a goofy villain called Electro (Jamie Foxx), the Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) and the robotic Rhino (Paul Giamatti). Electro gets the majority of the villain screen time—an unfortunate circumstance, given that he’s the most uninteresting of the three bad guys.

Electro starts off as Max Dillon, a geeky electrical engineer who gets transformed into a bluish, see-through monstrosity after electrocuting himself and falling into a tank of electric eels. He has the ability to move and stop things with electricity (which makes no sense), and disappear into wires and sockets (which also makes no sense). Yes, this is a comic-book movie in which impossible things are routine, but this stuff is just stupid.

Foxx is clearly trying to break out and do something memorable with this character. Given the sheer magnitude of characters vying for time in this mess, he’s winds up underdeveloped and uninteresting.

DeHaan, an actor I can’t stand at this point, makes me really, really miss James Franco as Harry Osborn. DeHaan speaks as if he just digs his own voice, even if it sounds like he has a sinus infection.

However, he is not completely to blame for this film’s mishandling of the Green Goblin. The blame mostly lies with Webb and his makeup folks, who come up with something tragically bad for Goblin’s looks. He basically has oily hair, like he hasn’t showered in a while, and a horrific skin problem.

Here’s something else that annoyed me: Harry, who has inherited Oscorp from his father Norman (Chris Cooper), is dying because he is slowly becoming a lizard, or something like that. He goes into some secret chamber at Oscorp to discover a possible cure using spider venom. He has a major reaction to the injection, and saves himself by crawling into the Goblin suit, which he is seeing for the very first time. Harry then takes to the skies, expertly, to battle Spider-Man, without reading a training manual or doing some practice flights. Again, I know I’m supposed to accept the outlandish with these movies, but come on!

Garfield and Stone annoyed me in the first movie, but I liked them this time out. Had the movie focused more on their relationship, and perhaps jettisoned a villain or two, this might’ve been something.

A big, dramatic occurrence happens deep in this film. That sequence is the best thing in the movie, and the film certainly should’ve ended directly after it. Instead, Webb and his writers forced a terrible, final battle with Rhino that destroyed any of the dramatic tension that was building. After a big shocker, Garfield just goes back to cracking jokes and fighting villains.

More bad news: Webb will be back as director of the next installment. All seems to be lost when it comes to Spider-Man for the foreseeable future.

Published in Reviews