Glass Movie Review

If nothing else, M. Night Shyamalan is audacious and I have always admired that. He likes to swing away at the cinematic fences and in Glass, he melds two of his pictures into a new universe. It’s ultimately not a very satisfying one, but the guy tries hard.

At the end of 2017’s Split, which returned the filmmaker to box office prominence, it was revealed that what we watched existed in the same realm of 2000’s Unbreakable. It did so by bringing in David Dunn (Bruce Willis). As you may recall, Dunn was the lone survivor of a train derailment who came to realize he was impervious to pain. Comic book store owner Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), suffering from a disease that cause his bones to break easily, surmised that David was a superhero. And Elijah was the arch nemesis as the 2000 flick revealed he was the evil mastermind behind the train going off the track.

In Split, we were introduced to James McAvoy’s Kevin and almost two dozen other characters that lived inside his head while he tormented teen girls that he kidnapped. From an annoying nine-year old boy to a OCD monster to a proper British dame, his personalities culminated with The Beast, who also possessed super human strength. The surprise ending suggested David will battle The Beast and low and behold – Split made more than enough money for that to occur.

This brings us to Glass. The first act allows this trio of characters to end up in the same mental institution with a psychiatrist (Sarah Paulson) attempting to dissuade them of their perceived powers. Dunn is sensitive to the possibility. The many voices of Kevin has his moments of doubt. Elijah, aka Mr. Glass, is so doped up that we’re not sure he knows what’s going on. However, fans of Unbreakable know the dude is a mastermind.

Glass brings back other characters from its double source material. Charlayne Woodard returns as Elijah’s supportive to a troubling degree mother. Spencer Treat Clark is back as David’s now grown son (Robin Wright skipped out as his wife). And Anya-Taylor Joy reprises her Split role as Kevin’s surviving kidnap victim. Her story arch here is easily the most inexplicable one in a movie filled with often strange choices.

My feelings with Unbreakable and Split are a bit against the grain from many others. I actually dug the former 19 years ago while many found out it to be a disappointing follow-up to The Sixth Sense. As for the latter, I enjoyed McAvoy’s bonkers performance greatly but found it as a whole to be a mixed bag. The melding of the two worlds also fits that description. It’s got everything we expect from Shyamalan, including a twist ending or two. This time around, they land with less impact than earlier efforts.

McAvoy is still impressive, but we’ve seen this show before. Unbreakable set itself up perfectly for a world building sequel. Quite frankly, Glass made me realize I wish it hadn’t taken Split for us to get it. More of the Dunn/Elijah dynamic could have been rewarding without these other personalities in the way. Shyamalan’s personality shines through as always as he tries to overwhelm us with style and suspense. Like Split, the result is some memorable sequences amid numerous questionable ones and not the more cohesive whole that I found Unbreakable to be.

**1/2 (out of four)

Top Ten Beyoncé Songs of All Time

For the past two decades with Destiny’s Child and as a massive solo star, Beyoncé has remained a relevant force in the music industry. Today she’s released Homecoming on Netflix. This concert documentary chronicles her already iconic pair of shows at Coachella last year.

I’m a fan and today’s attention centered on Queen Bey got me thinking… what’s my all-time favorite tracks from her solo career? The choices span from six albums and they’re all represented here.

So here we are with my personal top 10 fiercest songs from Beyoncé…

10. “Sorry” from Lemonade (2016)

9. “Freakum Dress” from BDay (2006)

8. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” from I AmSasha Fierce (2008)

7. “Hold Up” from Lemonade (2016)

6. “Drunk in Love” featuring Jay-Z from Beyoncé (2013)

5. “Me, Myself, and I” from Dangerously in Love (2003)

4. “Flawless” from Beyoncé (2013)

3. “Irreplaceable” from BDay (2006)

2. “Love on Top” from 4 (2011)

1. “Crazy in Love” featuring Jay-Z from Dangerously in Love (2003)

Avengers: Endgame Box Office Prediction

This current massively successful phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe draws to a close next weekend with the release of Avengers: Endgame. There’s an excellent chance that it achieves the largest opening weekend gross of all time with the grand finale. Endgame follows up directly with last summer’s Avengers: Infinity War, which is the current record holder with $257 million.

Anthony and Joe Russo return in the directors chairs with a core group of familiar heroes battling Josh Brolin’s Thanos. They include Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. That’s just scratching the surface, by the way. The events (spoiler alert if you’ve been in a year-long coma) of Infinity War dissolved numerous other beloved characters into dust including Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange and the majority of the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista) save for Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket. It’s quite likely you’ll see them again. And also in the roles we’ve seen them in before… there’s Gwyneth Paltrow, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Tessa Thompson, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, and Evangeline Lilly. Oh… and Letitia Wright and Sebastian Stan and Tom Hiddleston.

Whew. Back to the numbers crunching. When early tickets went on sale a couple of weeks ago, Endgame smashed every record in sight. Its YouTube trailer views are off the charts. Audiences know this is the culmination of what we’ve paid billions of dollars for over the past decade plus. Yes, there’s a three-hour runtime which is unprecedented for the MCU.

I have a feeling that won’t matter when it comes to reaching a premiere level we’ve yet to witness. No other movie is daring to compete against it and most holdovers will be earning $10 million and less. In other words, multiplexes will clear a ton of real estate for this.

Initial estimates put Endgame around $250 million, but the buzz has this inching upwards. I believe that’s a correct assumption. While I don’t believe this will hit $300 million (as the rosiest projections suggest), a gross just north of $275 million seems feasible. If it achieves that mark, the endgame here will indeed set records.

Avengers: Endgame opening weekend prediction: $279.6 million

April 19-21 Box Office Predictions

It’s Easter weekend at the box office and we have three new pictures opening. There’s The Darkness (The Curse of La Llorona), The Light (Breakthrough), and The Penguins (Penguins). Two of them will attempt to dislodge Shazam! from its two-week perch in the top spot. Yet this holiday frame will likely be known as “the one before Avengers: Endgame opened”. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on the newcomers here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/09/the-curse-of-la-llorona-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/09/breakthrough-box-office-prediction/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/10/penguins-box-office-prediction/

The Curse of La Llorona takes place in the Conjuring Cinematic Universe, but it hasn’t really been marketed heavily as such. Therefore I believe it will easily have the lowest debut of the franchise, but still manage to top the charts.

Breakthrough has the potential to do just that with faith-based crowds. I do question whether it can manage to achieve what Heaven Is for Real accomplished five Easter’s ago ($29 million for its five-day gross). Debuting on Wednesday, I’ll say mid teens for the traditional weekend and low 20s when factoring in the extra days.

Penguins is the latest DisneyNature venture. The latest efforts in the series have earned between $4-$5 million for their starts. This opens on Wednesday as well, so I’ll put it a touch under. My $3.5 million Friday to Sunday projection ($5 million five-day) puts this outside my top five.

Shazam! should slide to third after two weeks in first position with Little coming in fourth. As for the five-spot, I’m saying Captain Marvel. It should experience a smaller percentage decline than Hellboy and Dumbo. That could be good enough to take it from sixth to fifth before she joins her superhero pals next weekend in Endgame.

And with that, my take on the holiday weekend:

1. The Curse of La Llorona

Predicted Gross: $20.1 million

2. Breakthrough

Predicted Gross: $16.9 million (Friday to Sunday); $22 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

3. Shazam!

Predicted Gross: $14 million

4. Little

Predicted Gross: $7.8 million

5. Captain Marvel

Predicted Gross: $6 million

Box Office Results (April 1214)

As expected, Shazam! retained its perch on top with $24.4 million, a bit lower than my $28.2 million prediction. The DC tale is sniffing the century mark after ten days with $94 million.

The Regina Hall comedy Little led four newcomers in second with $15.4 million, managing to exceed my $14 million projection.

The story of the weekend was the pitiful performance of Hellboy. The comic book based reboot bombed with just $12 million in third, under my $17.4 million take. This potential franchise pretty much ended before it began.

Pet Sematary was fourth in its sophomore outing with $9.7 million (I said $10.5 million). Total is $40 million.

I incorrectly had Dumbo outside the top five and it made $9.4 million to bring its tally to $90 million.

College romance After was eighth and topped most estimates with $6 million. I was much lower at $3.7 million.

Finally, Laika Animation has its worst opening by a lot. Missing Link, despite positive reviews, couldn’t find an audience. It took in just $5.9 million for ninth. I was considerably higher at $11.7 million.

And that does it for now, folks! Until next time…

The Depths of Hellboy

Over the past year and change, the superhero genre has been flush with massive successes such as Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Aquaman, Captain Marvel, and current box office champ Shazam!, which has dutifully met expectations. The upcoming Avengers: Endgame is looking to set the all time opening record in two weeks. Something was bound to eventually get lost in the shuffle and that turned out to be Hellboy this weekend.

The film rebooted the Dark Horse Comics franchise that debuted in 2004 with Guillermo del Toro behind the camera and Ron Perlman as the horn clad anti-hero. A 2008 sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, built on the grosses of its predecessor.

Neil Marshall took over directorial duties for the new Hellboy with David Harbour of “Stranger Things” cast as the title character. All along the way, the marketing campaign seemed curiously muted. It was as if Lionsgate might have known they had a dog on their hands. And they did. The review embargo didn’t lift until late this week. Rotten Tomatoes has been ripe with bad critical reaction with a 15% score. CinemaScore audiences haven’t been kind either with a lowly C rating.

On Sunday, the initial results have Hellboy in third place with just $12 million. Not only is that behind the second frame of Shazam!, it’s after the debut of the Regina Hall comedy Little. To put that in perspective, the 2004 Hellboy made $23 million out of the gate. The Golden Army took in $34 million. For both of those films, the opening weekends represented a hefty chunk of the overall earnings. In the case of the second installment, it fell hard in its sophomore frame due to another comic boom sequel premiering called The Dark Knight. With its toxic word of mouth, I expect this version to tumble at least 60% in weekend #2 and probably more.

If there’s any silver lining for the studio, it’s that the reboot cost a reported $50 million. That’s certainly low on the scale for this genre. Yet we can be sure this iteration of the character is a one-off. And we’ve found out what the depths of Hellboy are on a financial level and it’s not pretty.

Green Book Movie Review

Green Book does represent Driving Miss Daisy in reverse with its story. Like that 1989 film, it also has a Best Picture Oscar and an unexpected one at that. This isn’t in the top-tier of movies to receive that honor, but it is an often effective and very well-acted tale of an unlikely friendship.

Viggo Mortensen is Tony “Lip” Vallelonga, a bouncer at the famed Copacabana in New York City circa 1962. The club is closing for renovations over the holidays. Hungry for work (and literally hungry all the time), he accepts a job as chauffeur for notable concert pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali). Doctor Shirley lives above another Big Apple landmark – Carnegie Hall.

This union of an unrefined Italian-American and erudite African-American brings them to the Deep South. The era often puts the boss in Colored Only hotels and the employee in nicer ones. The title refers to an actual book which instructed black travelers where they could stay.

Tony and Shirley are real life figures as well. As portrayed by Mortensen and Ali, the actors form a genuine chemistry. The eight week tour is scheduled to end just before Christmas and Tony is determined to make it home for the holiday with his wife (Linda Cardellini) and large brood. Shirley is a loner with loose connections to family. In this sense, the plot actually resembles Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – albeit with less comedic overtones.

Green Book is directed by Peter Farrelly, who’s only known for material meant to make you laugh (Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary are the best of them). There are light moments, especially in the first half. The screenplay grows gradually more serious as the duo’s trek takes them to Alabama for the finale and the racist traditions become more pronounced.

This picture doesn’t break any new ground with its subject matter. It’s more of an amiable concentration on this alliance with two fine performers playing them. Those looking for something more weighty might be disappointed, but I felt the leads cause this to be a ride worth taking.

*** (out of four)

Penguins Box Office Prediction

The DisneyNature brand marches into theaters next week with the release of Penguins. It continues the franchise’s environmentally conscious documentaries timed for release just prior to Earth Day. As the title suggests, this Antarctic set coming of age tale focuses on a young penguin finding his way in the frozen tundra. Ed Helms narrates with Alastair Fothergill (who co-directed 2014’s Bears) and Jeff Wilson sharing filming duties.

Over the past decade, opening weekend grosses for DisneyNature has been quite consistent. The aforementioned Bears took in $4.7 million. The following year’s Monkey Kingdom made $4.5 million. In 2017, Born in China earned $4.7 million. That’s well under the studio’s high mark in 2012 achieved by Chimpanzee at $10.6 million.

Penguins is the first in the series since 2010’s Oceans to premiere on a Wednesday. Based on recent performances, that could mean it makes less than $4 million over the traditional weekend since it gets a two-day jump-start. I’ll predict that happens.

Penguins opening weekend prediction: $3.5 million (Friday to Sunday); $5 million (Wednesday to Sunday)

For my The Curse of La Llorona prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/09/the-curse-of-la-llorona-box-office-prediction/

For my Breakthrough prediction, click here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2019/04/09/breakthrough-box-office-prediction/