Archive for the ‘Box Office History’ Category
In 2008\'s MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA, the endearing New York City zoo animals of the original hit movie return for another zany round of CGI adventures abroad. Leaving the island of the title by way of a ramshackle penguin-designed aircraft, the quartet of Alex the Lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), along with unlikely friends such as King Julien the Lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen), crash-land on the African savannah, setting in motion a whole new series of exploits, involving Alex\'s long-lost parents (Bernie Mac and Sherri Shepherd) and a stranded group of tenacious NYC human tourists.<br><br>Reuniting directors Tom McGrath and Eric Darnell, as well as all the principal cast members of the first film, MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA takes full advantage of its sweeping setting, making room for beautifully expansive landscapes amidst the mammal mayhem. While the leads are in fine form, they are ably assisted by series newcomers, including the late Mac, Shepherd, and Alec Baldwin, who plays a scheming rival lion. Though various plotlines get increasingly ridiculous as the movie goes on (see the return of MADAGASCAR\'s aggressive Grand Central Station granny), the good-natured main characters and their silly support players (particularly lemurs and penguins) keep ESCAPE 2 AFRICA entertaining no matter how far the story strays off the wildlife reserve.
Combining Western-style car chases and Hong Kong-inspired fight sequences choreographed by martial arts legend Cory Yuen, the Luc Besson-created TRANSPORTER films have found international success as a sort of working-class James Bond series. Jason Statham, who has become the go-to guy for big-budget B-movie thrills, returns once again as Frank Martin, the driver-for-hire for whom no job is too risky. Brimming with the usual jaw-dropping stunts, this is another crowd-pleasing entry in the saga, delivered at a brisk and flashy clip by director Olivier Megaton. Following the coercion of Ukrainian environmental official Leonid Vasilev (Jeroen Krabbe) into signing papers permitting the shipping of toxic materials into a harbor by criminal mastermind Johnson (Robert Knepper), Frank Martin is forced into accepting the job of driving Vasilev\'s kidnapped daughter, Valentina (Natalya Rudakova)--acting as human collateral--from Marseilles to the Black Sea coastal city of Odessa. On the chance the Martin should attempt to flee, Johnson has rigged him with a bracelet that will detonate if he strays more than 75 feet from his car. When Valentina is intercepted by a rival group, Martin will have to push his Audi M8 to the limit to complete his mission and ensure his own survival. <br><br>The TRANSPORTER films require copious amounts of suspension of disbelief, but then again, one doesn\'t hope they will strictly adhere to the laws of physics. The third volume provides ample thrills, not the least of which is the sight of a car driving off a bridge onto a moving train. Plenty of screen time is also given to Statham\'s superhumanly chiseled torso, while freckled Rudakova\'s unconventional beauty balances out the sex appeal. In the end, Statham\'s undeniable likeability propels the film, and his chemistry in a handful of scenes with François Berleand, returning as Inspector Tarconi, provides some nice comic moments.
John Leguizamo and Freddy Rodriguez star in this moving comedy about a holiday gathering that reunites a family in Chicago. NOTHING LIKE THE HOLIDAYS is directed by Alfredo de Villa (WASHINGTON HEIGHTS), and it also features Debra Messing, Alfred Molina, Jay Hernandez, Melonie Diaz, and Luis Guzman.
After an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm of the fantastic is broken, hell on Earth is ready to erupt. A ruthless leader who treads the world above and the one below defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army of creatures. Now, it's up to the planet's toughest, roughest superhero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders. He may be red. He may be horned. He may be misunderstood. But when you need the job done right, it's time to call in Hellboy.
There are heroes... there are superheroes... and then there's Hancock. With great power comes great responsibility -- everyone knows that -- everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock's well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough -- as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock isn't the kind of man who cares what other people think -- until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey, and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock's greatest challenge yet -- and a task that may prove impossible as Ray's wife, Mary, insists that he's a lost cause.
Jules Vernes\'s classic novel gets a high-tech update thanks to star Brendan Fraser and special-effects-supervisor-turned-director Eric Brevig. This action-filled family film takes full advantage of the 3-D format, making all the adventure larger than life.
Even for Pixar, this might be a first: an animated film that contains not only a fully realized world as photorealistic as it is full of wonder, but also the Gargantuan themes and visuals of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, the stripped-down sad-clown pathos found in classic Buster Keaton comedies, and one of the most moving and simply unique love stories in a long time. Director Andrew Stanton kicked up the visual acuity of an already-stellar Pixar Animation Studios in 2003 with a reflective, refractive, color-shimmery realization of the oceanic world of FINDING NEMO, which genuinely felt as though it spanned the entire earth. With WALL-E, Stanton replaces an apprehensively fishy estranged journeyer with a love-struck and curious robotic one, allowing the quest for eternal love to expand from a desolate, dust-covered, palpably polluted future Earth and into an even more mysterious abyss: the far reaches of outer space. With virtually no dialogue, WALL-E's neatly contained vaudevillian first act eerily and tragically introduces the robot of the title as the last living thing on Earth (aside from a little cockroach friend) amidst dilapidated skyscrapers and equally tall compacted trash heaps. WALL-E has developed a tender and inquisitive personality doing what he was built to do day in and day out for the past 700 years--allocate and dispose of human waste--simply because no one turned him off when the human race left the hostile polluted planet. When the directive-oriented Eve robot comes crashing into his life from above, WALL-E immediately becomes infatuated with her, and is willing to follow her to back into dangerous outer space, where two robots gliding through the ether, dancing via fire-extinguisher propulsion, are among the many memorable and grandly romantic moments of an expansively beautiful, deceptively simple story.
Loosely based on the comic book miniseries of the same by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones, WANTED, directed by Timur Bekmambetov, follows anxiety-prone office drone Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) as he is inducted into the Fraternity, a clan of powerful killers that counted his father as a member. Pursued by rogue agent Cross (Thomas Kretschmann), Wesley is trained by the sleek, sexy Fox (Angelina Jolie) and the charismatic Sloan (Morgan Freeman), among others, to be just as proficient and deadly as his father. Once Wesley becomes a master assassin, he must confront Cross, and contend with the stunning ramifications of that encounter.<br><br>Straying rather far from the WANTED comic\'s supervillain-centric premise, WANTED runs with the edgy Eastern European aesthetic of Russian helmer Bekmambetov, who garnered international recognition with the stylish vampire epic NIGHT WATCH. While Jolie is a gleefully destructive presence in her action-heavy scenes, the film belongs to McAvoy, who transforms from milquetoast to manhunter with verve and charm. And like the similarly themed THE MATRIX before it, WANTED also showcases some eye-catching special effects, most notably in the loopy concept of "curving bullets." Though devotees of the WANTED comic may be dismayed with the many liberties taken with the story, the movie is undeniably energetic and entertaining, making it fun summer blockbuster fare.
Though it features nostalgic nods to its classic TV inspiration, GET SMART is fun for both devoted fans and those who might mistake the cone of silence for a less-crunchy dessert dish. Steve Carell (THE OFFICE) takes over the role Don Adams originated as Maxwell Smart, a desk-bound analyst at spy agency CONTROL. When the evildoers at KAOS discover the identities of all of CONTROL's agents, it's finally time for Max to shine in the field. Paired with the sexy Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA), the bumbling Max leads a crusade against KAOS with a variety of high-tech gadgets. Naysayers might have suggested that a movie based on the show GET SMART might have become another Cold War casualty, but the strong cast makes this action-comedy a success. Though the ?60s series' Adams can't be replaced, Carell ably steps into his predecessor's phone-bearing shoes. As KAOS kingpin Siegfried, Terence Stamp is just as deliciously evil as he was as SUPERMAN II's General Zod. But Dwayne Johnson (THE GAME PLAN) especially deserves kudos for his comic chops in a supporting turn as Agent 23. The part may be smaller than the lead roles audiences are used to seeing him play, but it's a perfect opportunity for him to display his action and comedic muscles. Behind the scenes, series creators Mel Brooks and Buck Henry serve as creative consultants on the film, and this version of GET SMART shows a loving devotion to its source material.