Long Shot Movie Review

Charlize Theron deserves better. In Long Shot, I couldn’t fully escape the feeling that her character would be far more interesting outside of this familiar beauty and the beast rom com plot. The screenplay (from Dan Sterling and Liz Hannah) seems overly preoccupied with the idea that her U.S. Secretary of State Charlotte Field could fall in love with Seth Rogen’s schlubby journalist Fred Flarsky.

The Secretary of State is the one position in the federal government whose travel itinerary is similar to The Rolling Stones on a worldwide tour. Charlotte Field is an ambitious and bright politician with eyes on the Presidency and a focus on environmental issues. The current Commander in Chief (Bob Odenkirk) is in the Oval because he played the President on TV. He’s a dolt who sees his position as a springboard to breaking into movies (admittedly an amusing concept). She’s relying on his endorsement to bring her to highest office in the land.

At a swanky party, she comes into contact with Fred. He’s a recently fired journalist who is said to be a fine writer, but all we really see are his headlines filled with expletives. It turns out Charlotte was actually his babysitter in the early 90s where his early teenage hormones made an unfortunate impression. Charlotte’s staffers (June Diane Raphael and Ravi Patel) believe her one weakness is lack of humor and Fred is brought on to punch up the funny in her speeches.

The two end up falling for each other in between country hopping, terrorist attacks, and a night dancing and tripping on Molly where she also must negotiate a hostage situation. Theron does a fine job here as she’s proven before that she’s adept at comedy. The idea that she must navigate the perception of basically dating Seth Rogen could have been mined for perceptive insights about how we look at our leaders. Long Shot really isn’t that movie. Instead we get Rogen doing his predictable man child thing. He’s just not very interesting and it’s tricky to root for him. O’Shea Jackson Jr. has a couple funny moments as Fred’s successful and conservative best bud. There’s bodily secretion humor and I’ll just say that stuff peaked over twenty years ago in There’s Something About Mary.

Director Jonathan Levine first teamed with Rogen in the decent dramedy 50/50. Lately he’s been doing material that’s barely passable or less so (The Night Before, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Snatched). This falls in that category too despite Theron’s sincere efforts to elevate it.

** (out of four)

Long Shot Box Office Prediction

Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron headline the improbable rom com Long Shot, out in theaters next weekend. It marks the latest collaboration between Rogen and director Jonathan Levine after 50/50 and The Night Before (Levine’s latest was 2017’s Snatched). The film casts Theron as the U.S. Secretary of State who strikes up a romance with Rogen’s journalist. Costars include O’Shea Jackson Jr., June Diane Raphael, Andy Serkis, Alexander Skarsgard, and Lisa Kudrow.

Shot premiered in March at the South by Southwest Festival to favorable reviews and it stands at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. A comparison to The Night Before is tricky. That pic opened in November 2015 on the weekend before Thanksgiving and against the finale of The Hunger Games franchise. The result was just a $9.8 million start (it legged out well the following holiday weekend).

I believe Long Shot will top that number, but perhaps with low teens as it hopes for minimal drops in subsequent frames. If so, this could fall behind the debut grosses of its competition – The Intruder and UglyDolls.

Long Shot opening weekend prediction: $13.1 million

For my The Intruder prediction, click here:


For my UglyDolls prediction, click here:


I Feel Pretty Movie Review

I Feel Pretty offers an often amusing, if certainly not profound, twist on the mistaken identity comedy with a star who fully commits to her performance. That performer is Amy Schumer, who had a breakout role in 2015’s often inspired Trainwreck. She followed that up with the totally unimpressive mother/daughter pic Snatched. Considering those titles, I was a bit and often pleasantly surprised by its lack of reliance on the raunchy factor.

Schumer plays Renee, who works on the website for a high-end NYC based cosmetics company. Her works places her in a basement and she dreams of working at the headquarters on Fifth Avenue. Renee doesn’t even care if that means being the receptionist and taking less pay. In her mind, her inability to get that position is due to her non-model looks. However, when she bumps her noggin at a SoulCycle session, she wakes up thinking she looks exactly like those beauties.

What follows is a mistaken identity movie where only the lead is mistaken about her identity. Her confidence (as she perceives from her outward appearance) gets her moving up the corporate  ladder and developing a rapport with boss Avery (Michelle Williams, trying a rare hand at comedy with a Kardashian-esque high voice). Renee also begins dating the sweet Ethan (Rory Scovel), who’s attracted to her self-assurance.

Renee’s newfound outlook on life puts her in bikini contests, but it also negatively affects her dynamic with her two besties (Busy Philips and Aidy Bryant). Emily Ratajkowski turns up as Renee’s definition of the perfect girl. Surprise… we find out stunning women have issues too.

The blurred lines of our protagonist’s perception leads to some rather obvious developments in a screenplay from Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, who also direct. Schumer does her darndest to elevate the material by giving it her all. Watching her false reactions to those around her provides a number of chuckles, though the script struggles to keep it fresh after a while. It’s no Trainwreck or the near train wreck that Snatched was, but I feel it reminded me of the qualities of its lead.

**1/2 (out of four)

I Feel Pretty Box Office Prediction

Nearly three years ago, comedian Amy Schumer broke through on the big screen in a major way with Trainwreck. Last summer, she hit a bit of a sophomore slump with Snatched. Will the third time be a charm or a disappointment with next weekend’s I Feel Pretty?

Schumer stars as an ordinary gal who hits her head and wakes up thinking she’s attained supermodel looks. The pic comes from directors Abby Kohn and Mark Silverstein, making their directorial debut after writing features including Never Been Kissed, The Vow, and How to Be Single. Costars include Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski, Rory Scovel, Aidy Bryant, Busy Philips, and real supermodels Naomi Campbell and Lauren Hutton.

As mentioned, Schumer’s Trainwreck debuted in the summer of 2015 to $30 million and an eventual $110 million domestic gross. Two years later, her collaboration with Goldie Hawn, Snatched, grabbed a lesser $19 million out of the gate and then petered out with just $45 million overall.

I Feel Pretty was originally scheduled to open in June of this year before being pushed up to April 27. It was recently moved up a week due to The Avengers staking claim on that release date. Reviews are not out yet and that could both help or hinder its prospects. For instance, Blockers managed to premiere to over $20 million just last weekend and the positive word-of-mouth helped. Snatched, on the other hand, probably wasn’t assisted by its mediocre reaction.

I’ll say Pretty doesn’t reach the $20 million mark and its prospects are more likely in the mid to high teens teens range.

I Feel Pretty opening weekend prediction: $16.2 million

For my Super Troopers 2 prediction, click here:


For my Traffik prediction, click here:


Snatched Movie Review

Amy Schumer burst onto the film scene two summers ago with Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck. It was a solid vehicle to showcase the comedienne’s raunchy yet intelligent humor. Snatched is the follow-up. It’s occasionally raunchy, but it’s rarely intelligent and it struggles to even fill the 90 minute runtime with memorable material.

The pic also marks Goldie Hawn’s return to the silver screen after a decade and a half. She looks great, but it’s a shame she’s saddled with the overprotective mother role and given little chance to expand it. Schumer is Emily and she’s recently single after her rocker boyfriend dumps her when he realizes the fringe benefits of success. Emily is also unemployed and holding onto two non-refundable tickets to Ecuador for what was to be a romantic getaway with her departed beau. Enter Linda (Hawn), Emily’s mom who lives a quiet life with her cats and agoraphobic son (Ike Barinholtz). Despite her reluctance, mom joins daughter in South America.

While Linda is content to read her magazines and novellas in the hotel room, Emily is looking for some wild vacation times. She thinks she’s found it with a hunky dude who takes her to a rave and then agrees to show her and Linda around the next day. That’s when the pair are indeed snatched.

What follows is a rather surprisingly laugh free experience that is over in about an hour (it takes a third of the 90 minutes to get to the actual snatching). Some familiar faces pop up including Wanda Sykes and a mute yet deadly Joan Cusack as vacationers who assist the nabbed duo. Christopher Meloni turns up as a very poor man’s Indiana Jones.  Barinholtz has a couple funny moments as the bizarre shut-in son.

Yet it’s not encouraging when the bit that made me chuckle hardest involved a tapeworm and is a sight gag that lasts about a minute. Schumer’s stand-up work and her Trainwreck role showcases a refreshing honesty and sexuality that used to be reserved for just the boys onstage and onscreen. There’s nothing about Snatched where the word refreshing is warranted. It’s not necessarily bad, but it is often excruciatingly ordinary and these leads deserve better.

** (out of four)

Girls Trip Box Office Prediction

Bloggers Note (07/19/17): I have revised my number from original post below to $27.3 million as the film’s breakout potential continues to grow.

It’s been a rather rough go for comedies in the summer of 2017 as Snatched, Baywatch, Rough Night, and The House have all performed under expectations. That could change next weekend as Malcolm D. Lee’s Girls Trip may have some breakout potential.

The raunchy comedy, shot for a rather meager $28 million, stars Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith (reuniting after appearing over 20 years ago together in Set It Off) as well as Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish. The quarter play a group of friends on vacation together in New Orleans. Larenz Tate, Kate Walsh, and Mike Colter are among the supporting cast.

Early reviews have been quite positive with critics noting it could be a sleeper. They’re probably right. Estimates for Girls Trip have put it around $15-$17 million for the opening weekend, but I expect word-of-mouth will push it around $20 million. That would actually put it above my estimate for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which premieres the same day.

Girls Trip opening weekend prediction: $27.3 million

For my Dunkirk prediction, click here:


For my Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, click here:


Box Office Predictions: May 26-29

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us and there’s two potential heavy hitters making their way to the multiplex: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth entry in the Disney franchise and Baywatch, the action comedy reboot of the 90s syndicated TV show. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each of them here:



Pirates should easily place first, though my prediction puts it under the debuts of the three previous series entries. Baywatch should place second barring a majorly disappointing opening.

I’m estimating that current #1 Alien: Covenant will slip to fourth with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 displaying a better hold in third. YA romance Everything, Everything should round out the top five.

And with that, here’s my holiday weekend Friday to Monday projections!

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Predicted Gross: $78.6 million

2. Baywatch

Predicted Gross: $32.8 million ($39.4 million projected Thursday to Monday debut)

3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Predicted Gross: $25.3 million (representing a drop of 24%)

4. Alien: Covenant

Predicted Gross: $19.9 million (representing a drop of 45%)

5. Everything, Everything

Predicted Gross: $6.8 million (representing a drop of 42%)

Box Office Results (May 19-21) 

In a tight battle for #1, Alien: Covenant just managed to eek out a victory with $36.1 million. Despite mostly solid reviews, the sixth feature in the nearly 40 year-old franchise came in a bit on the lower end of expectations and under my $44.6M prediction.

Following close behind was Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in its third frame. The Marvel hit dropped to second with $34.6 million (a tad above my $32.2M projection) for a grand total of $301 million.

Everything, Everything posted a decent third place showing with $11.7 million, right in line with my $12.3M estimate.

Snatched was fourth in its ho-hum run with $7.8 million (I said $9M) for a tally of just $33 million.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is still a bomb, but it was in the top 5 in its sophomore weekend and I didn’t predict it would be there. It grossed $7.1 million to bring its meager gross to $27 million.

I had Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul debuting in the five spot, but it was sixth with $7.1 million (just below my $8.1M estimate). This is a franchise worst debut for the series.

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

Box Office Predictions: May 19-21

Summer 2017 keeps rolling along as three new titles populate the marketplace this weekend. They are Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant (the sixth film in the nearly 40 year-old franchise), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul (the fourth film in the seven year-old franchise), and YA romance Everything, Everything. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:




As I see it, Covenant should manage a mid 40s debut. That’s under what its direct predecessor Prometheus accomplished five years ago, but it should be good enough to nab the #1 spot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The Marvel hit should end its two-week reign atop the charts.

I’m predicting a third place showing for Everything, Everything with Snatched nabbing fourth in its sophomore frame and Wimpy Kid rounding out the top five. As for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, it should plummet out of the top five in its second weekend after a terrible debut (more on that below).

And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend:

1. Alien: Covenant

Predicted Gross: $44.6 million

2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Predicted Gross: $32.2 million (representing a drop of 50%)

3. Everything, Everything

Predicted Gross: $12.3 million

4. Snatched 

Predicted Gross: $9 million (representing a drop of 54%)

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul 

Predicted Gross: $8.1 million

Box Office Results (May 12-14) 

As expected, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 easily dominated the box office in weekend #2 with $65.2 million, right in line with my $64.3M projection. The sequel has grossed $248 million thus far.

The Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn comedy did just OK in second place with $19.5 million, a bit shy of my $21.1M estimate. Not a bad opening for a $42 million budget, but this is well below the $30M achieved by Schumer’s Trainwreck two summers ago.

It took until the second weekend of summer to have a flop of epic proportions and that honor belongs to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. The Guy Ritchie pic took in an embarrassing $15.3 million, well under my $24.4M prediction. Considering its reported $175 million budget, Warner Bros looks to lose a lot of cash on this ill-advised investment.

Holdovers populated spots 4-6. The Fate of the Furious was fourth with $5.4 million (I said $5.7M) for a $215M total. I incorrectly had The Boss Baby in fifth, but it was sixth with $4.4 million (I said $4.9M) for an overall tally of $162M. Instead, Beauty and the Beast rounded out the top five with $4.8 million to bring its massive cume to $494M. It is currently the 8th highest domestic earner of all time.

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

Box Office Predictions: May 12-14

We have now entered the second weekend of summer 2017 at the box office and there’s two high-profile releases opening wide. They are: Guy Ritchie directed retelling of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Amy Schumer/Goldie Hawn comedy Snatched. 

You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on both here:



One things seems certain and it’s that neither of these newcomers will come close to dislodging Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 from a sophomore weekend on top (more on its opening below).

The real competition will indeed be for the runner-up spot. I expect a close race for the #2 spot, with Arthur managing to edge out Snatched. 

The rest of the top five should be filled by spring holdovers The Fate of the Furious and The Boss Baby.

And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend:

1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Predicted Gross: $64.3 million (representing a drop of 56%)

2. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Predicted Gross: $24.4 million

3. Snatched

Predicted Gross: $21.1 million

4. The Fate of the Furious

Predicted Gross: $5.7 million (representing a drop of 34%)

5. The Boss Baby

Predicted Gross: $4.9 million (representing a drop of 18%)

Box Office Results (May 5-7)

The summer season got off to a solid start as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 debuted to $146.5 million. That’s good for the 17th largest domestic opening of all time. The Marvel/Disney sequel met, but did not exceed expectations, including my own. I had it pegged higher at $166.4M. Even though my estimate was nearly $20 million higher, this premiere still ensures more of Star-Lord and a growing Groot in the future.

Holdovers populated the rest of the top five as nothing else dared open wide against the Guardians. In second was The Fate of the Furious with $8.5 million (I said $7.7M) for an overall gross of $207M.

The Boss Baby was third with $5.9 million (a bit above my $4.8M prediction) for a $156M total.

How to Be a Latin Lover, despite a significant screen expansion, dropped pretty hard to fourth with $5.1 million (below my $6.9M forecast) for a $20M total.

Beauty and the Beast rounded out the top five with $5 million (I said $4.7M) to bring its haul to $487M.

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

Snatched Box Office Prediction

Nearly two years after she broke through on the silver screen in a major way, Amy Schumer is back with Snatched next weekend. The action comedy teams the comedienne with Goldie Hawn, making her first film appearance in almost 15 years. This duo play a mother/daughter (which was the working title of the pic) on a vacation that goes all wrong. Jonathan Levine (who made 50/50 and The Night Before) directs and the supporting cast includes Ike Barinholtz, Joan Cusack, Wanda Sykes, and Christopher Meloni.

In the summer of 2015, Schumer’s Trainwreck rode a wave of great buzz to a $30 million debut and $110 million overall domestic gross. The fact that this is her follow-up should automatically get a substantial number of her fans out there. It also doesn’t hurt that Snatched is being unveiled on Mother’s Day weekend and it should serve as decent counter programming to the second weekend of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (in which Hawn’s longtime beau Kurt Russell costars).

Even with those clear pluses, I don’t feel the anticipation for this as there was for Trainwreck. I expect Snatched to grab a high teens to low 20s beginning.

Snatched opening weekend prediction: $21.1 million

For my King Arthur: Legend of the Sword prediction, click here: