It’s problematic seeing comparisons with last year box office stats vs. this year. There are so many mitigating factors, the biggest of which is The Thing That Should Not Be Named. We remain believers that moviegoers will return to theaters when the following things happen:
Theaters nearby are reopened
They feel it’s safe in their area to do so
There are new movies they want to see
#1 is out of moviegoer’s control. If your favorite movie theater hasn’t opened yet and doesn’t plan to do so any time soon, then you’re not likely to return. #2 is more challenging to calculate because it involves multiple factors. #3 after #1 is the most important. If new movies are out that people want to see, very little else is going to matter. You know, build it and they will come. Sure, #2 will be a factor, but I think a bigger factor for most moviegoers — I’m talking the people who actually watch at least the average of 3-4 movies in theaters per year — is whether or not there is a movie they want to see.
The biggest movies people want to see, Tenet aside, just keep getting delayed and pushed back. Black Widow has dropped out and it’s up to No Time To Die (Bond #25) coming in November — maybe.
Back to the box office stats today. Why the numbers are wildly skewed?
We look around and see how many theaters, just in our local area, are still closed. Not just a few theaters, we’re talking like 25+ movie theaters dark and doing $0 business.
Factor in all that revenue, whatever it would be, if these theaters were open. None of that money is or can be reflected in the stats this year.
Over the weekend, North American ticket sales were an estimated $13.2 million, according to data from Comscore. For comparison, the U.S. and Canadian box offices hauled in $125.4 million during the same weekend last year thanks to the openings of “Downton Abbey,” “Ad Astra” and “Rambo: Last Blood.”
We remember seeing the movies quoted above a year ago. Rambo: Last Blood was our first 4DX movie ever seen at the Red Rock Regal Cinema in Las Vegas. That theater is reopened and running, but we don’t live in Vegas. We haven’t been back to Vegas since March. We’re planning on going there again after the first of the year. Probably January, Feb or March, but it all depends on what’s going on in the world.
In the meantime, we’re adding our revenue to box office stats. We’re seeing all new wide release movies being released, which is a total of 7 movies since the theater opened south of us.
The Last Shift – R – 1 hr 30 min NO SPOILERS Movie Review Watched in theater Friday September 25, 2020 Regal 16 Cinemas – Lacey, Washington #35new movie seen in theater in 2020
Stanley (Richard Jenkins) has been working at Oscar’s Chicken & Fish for 38 years. He works the graveyard shift, giving great care and concern to how he makes Oscar’s signature chicken and beef burgers for late night drunk customers and the occasional friendly customer that, of course, recognize the seasoned employee. It’s his last week of work before he finally retires and new employee Javon (Shane Paul McGhie) is training to take over.
From literally the opening scene, this movie nails the art of the pregnant pause — but not in a good way. Every scene, including the opening one is dragged out until the viewer is suffocated by the silence. Music, sound, we don’t need any of that apparently. We’re in a dark theater and silence works at times, but not throughout almost entirely 90 minutes of run time.
The hardest films not to spoil in a no-spoiler review are the ones that suck the most. This film sucks more than a brand new industrial vacuum cleaner. Like if you put your face within five feet, you’ll be violently yanked into a void of depression and anger.
We didn’t know this movie was a comedy until I sat to write this review. Leaving the theater in our video review below, warning, warning, warning, you’ll hear both our disgust at what a monumental failure of a movie this turned out to be.
It’s a LIMITED release, so maybe the good news is it probably isn’t available in one of the few domestic theaters that are open in the United States.
Let me distill some of the important bits, trying not to ruin the film review fast food equivalent of a round hamburger disc that’s dropped on the floor and used to play shuffleboard by the employees. This, incidentally is a scene in the film — seriously! Viewers must ask themselves in horror, did they go ahead and cook those burgers and serve them to some hapless customers? O-M-G.
In 1971 Stanley and his friends witnessed a black student being attacked. They fled the scene, but ultimately it was a case of a bunch of racist white students (just a guess though, we’re never actually shown or told their race), probably in a school that was almost entirely white (again, left open to viewer interpretation), lynching a black student. Stanley is supposed to be like your typical racist old white guy, because he’s tried to put this terrible lack of doing the right thing out of his mind all these years. Viewers will immediately hate this guy. At least sane ones will.
There’s no sympathy for a coward that doesn’t stick up for another human being, either during the incident or summoning authorities or, when there is a trial, not standing up and calling out everybody involved in the murder. So, Stanley is someone viewers dislike pretty much instantly. We can’t pity Stanley for working 38 years in a seemingly dead end job. We don’t worry about his sick mother that he saves up money to get out of the nursing home. We don’t care that he can’t drive. We don’t like Stanley.
We think Stanley’s an idiot for carrying around his life savings in an old backpack around a bad part of town. We don’t care that Stanley didn’t finish high school and that he’s portrayed as uneducated and feeble-minded. We just can’t like this character — at all.
Enter Javon, the new employee. He’s hired by Chaz (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), the black woman manager who might possibly be the most likable character of the trio — unfortunately, we only get bits and pieces of her in the movie. I wouldn’t call out her skin color in this review, except it’s relevant in that the movie is not so thinly disguised to show the juxtaposition of stereotypes, racial inequality and lopsided power. It’s a story that’s been being told for umpteen years now and keeps getting repeated.
The problem is Javon is about as cliched a character as we’ll ever see on screen. He’s young, black, on probation, a father who must either stay employed or go back to jail. It’s not Javon’s legal troubles that we dislike as viewers, it’s his bad attitude and choices. He has a baby child and a beautiful girlfriend and doesn’t spend time with them, he’d rather be outside with his bad influence friends smoking weed.
So Stanley trains Javon into a job he doesn’t want, but has to have because it’s better than jail. Javon’s constant bashing of how much the job sucks is neither funny, entertaining or enjoyable while Stanley’s loyal employee foundation crumbling is supposed to pull viewers through this miserable 90 minute slog of a film.
Yes, we hated this film. I don’t mean disliked it a little. Hated it. There are so many positive stories that can be told in these already dark times that we don’t need another not so cleverly disguised movie about a racist and oppressed reforming criminal dressed up as a fast food worker and his protégé in their last week together.
The movie’s title is bogus, too. It’s about a week’s worth of “last” shifts. What happens on the very last shift is what we’re leading up to, so credit an extremely tiny amount of suspense, but by then most viewers will not care. They will have given up on this aborted comedy. I mean, what is funny about any of this story? It’s sad, depressing and frankly will just make both races angry. Yeah, that’s what we need in these times, a comedy to incite further controversy that nobody needs for entertainment.
Earlier in the day I listened to an interview with the former Seattle Police Chief who quit abruptly. If you haven’t seen the craziness going on in downtown Seattle on the news, it involves a 10-block downtown section of the city taken over by an angry group of people. The police response to this was to do almost nothing. It’s literally an example of a gang of lawless people taking it to the streets. One can only feel sorry for any business or property owner inside this renegade ring. Our idiotic City Council wants to reduce the police budget by laying off 100 police officers, part of the moronic “defund the police” movement. That sure will help, right? Wrong.
So, after a morning listening to the former police chief making almost $300,000 a year and now retiring to a pension that will pay her six figures after working some 30 years on the force, reciting how she quit because she couldn’t do the job on the ham-string budget she was given. After this, my wife and I go out to be entertained watching a movie that is billed incorrectly as a comedy — because there isn’t anything remotely funny about it — we pay to watch a film that is the textbook example of unwatchable. The popcorn was old and terrible, the soda tasted like the syrup lines hadn’t been cleaned in the last week. Employees looked like zombies behind the counters waiting for somebody to come through to serve. Argh, what a horrible cinematic experience.
Other moviegoers were smart. Friday night at 8pm, where to be? Not at the movie theater for trash films like this. It was a ghost town, barely a few other people in the theater. Maybe a scattered few were rewatching Tenet for the second or third time, trying to understand that glorious spectacle.
An awful night at the movies. If this is what it’s going to be like the next two months until No Time To Die James Bond tries to save the cinematic day, just shut it all down — again.
Bottom line: avoid this fast food greasy dumpster fire abomination, unless you want to see a poorly told story of black = bad, white = worse than bad, both together = miserably bad. Hopelessly depressing, devoid of almost any redeeming, watchable character, save for the barely attempting to reform criminal young adult who isn’t even remotely likeable except maybe, perhaps, debatable five minutes of the movie.
The gang is on a fishing trip, but not having much luck. Scooby is fishing in a pail in the back of the mystery machine. Fred takes a detour through a creepy swamp and they think they might be lost. They meet a zombie on the side of the road. They drive away to some nearby dwellings. A fisherman tells them that the zombie was created by a witch using voodoo magic.
The witch showed up about six months ago and the two fisherman were scared away from the swamp by the witch. Others in the town are scared as well, leaving the gang a mystery to solve.
Scooby, with his neverending appetite mistakenly eats some jumping beans. Shortly thereafter, Scoob and Shaggy go searching out clues at the second fisherman, Zeb’s place.
A furry swamp creature and Scooby have a cute encounter. The swamp thing doesn’t find Scoob’s licking his face very inviting.
They find a voodoo doll of Zeb.
Shaggy and Scoob share their finding with the rest of the gang, which head into the swamp. They find more voodoo dolls of all of them. The witch is trying to scare them from figuring out what she’s up to in the swamp.
Will the gang ignore the alleged voodoo curse and figure out what the witch is up to in the swamp? What’s the story behind the zombie? These questions and more are answered by the end of this busy episode.
Another episode where the creators think we needed two different monsters. Either the witch or the zombie would have been scary enough for a 20 minute episode, but instead we get both. And why would a witch create a zombie to do her bidding? There is an explanation, although thin. They could have parlayed these two monsters into two separate episodes.
The zombie is not drawn very scary looking. Probably intentional, but he doesn’t invoke the scares of other baddies in the series.
The actual mystery behind what’s going on in the swamp is pretty good. This show set the standard for how much can be packed in a 20 odd minute episode: the mystery gang, a mystery to solve, Scooby and Shaggy’s zany antics and spooky bad guys trying to scare the gang away. It’s easy to see why this show was warmly received by audiences upon release. Great writing, voice acting and stories. Another easy to recommend episode.
in a recent study from tech company Flixed, when participants were asked to rate their satisfaction with each service’s interface, Apple TV+ didn’t just rank badly, it was dead last behind Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and even cable TV.
Am not familiar with Flixed (https://flixed.io/). It looks like a service that helps match up cord cutters with service. An affiliate code gateway, if you will, with some helpful looking articles and a fairly clean website interface.
The omission of Quibi from the ranking for a tech company is curious. Why not include Quibi?
We’ve tried all the main streaming services and are currently subscribed to the main ones (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock), and a few of the secondary and/or niche streamers (CBS All Access, Shudder). Quibi and AppleTV+ we do not have subscriptions to at the moment, but at last check, we were (very) underwhelmed.
Greyhound starring Tom Hanks premiered on AppleTV+ in 2020. That is one of their high points. They had some TV shows (The Morning Show starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon) that generated some buzz and there have been a few other movies they’ve cherry picked. My main criticism for their service is not enough content. Sure, they “only” charge $4.99/month, but they need more to justify charging even that.
Quibi has more content, but it’s the way they released it, in small 10 minute or less chunks and the fact that they wanted to force us to watch it on our cell phones that raises the most concern. They’ve repeatedly said they were going to enable cast to TV, but to date they still aren’t on Roku or Amazon Fire, only Chromecast. Yes, they share that in common with HBO Max, but the difference is WarnerMedia has wanted to work a deal since day one where Quibi launched with no interest in enabling cast to TV as an option. In fact, they specifically blocked this functionality.
We don’t need a study from Flixed or anybody else to declare Quibi the bottom of the streaming barrel, followed quite a bit higher by AppleTV+.
Parents protecting their children is an innate trait, but how far can this be taken? How far would you go to protect the actions of your child? A parental psychological thriller, if you will.
A remake of a 2015 German film titled We Monsters, the film stars Joey King (The Kissing Booth 2, The Act) as a teen girl who confesses to killing her best friend. Her parents, played by Mireille Enos (The Killing) and Peter Sarsgaard (An Education), decide to help cover up the crime, setting off a chain of spiralling events.
Some exciting horror-related news dropped 9/24 concerning the anthology Creepshow series at Shudder. The announcement came originally via a Shudder tweet which was promptly picked up by various news sources, including Bloody-disgusting further below.
While we knew that Creepshow Season 2 filming was delayed due to the pandemic (it has since started filming in Atlanta), we didn’t know they were secretly working on a fully animated Creepshow TV special that will contain two stories from the Stephen King family in time for Halloween 2020!
Shudder details. “Though Greg Nicotero and his team are hard at work shooting season 2 (coming in 2021), they’ve crafted a fully animated Creepshow special for us just in time for Halloween, featuring two tales to die for: “Survivor Type,” based on the short story by Stephen King and adapted by Nicotero, stars Kiefer Sutherland (24, Designated Survivor) as a man determined to stay alive alone on a deserted island no matter what the cost. “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead,” based on the short story by Joe Hill and adapted by Melanie Dale, stars Joey King (The Kissing Booth, The Act) as a teen whose family road trip includes a visit to the gravest show on earth. (Also available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK and Shudder ANZ).”
Am not familiar with Joe Hill’s story, but am very familiar with “Survivor Type” from King’s collection, Skeleton Crew (an awesome name for a horror short story collection, btw).
Creeepshow showrunner Greg Nicotero has been trying to figure out how to adapt King’s “Survivor Type” on a budget for quite some time. This was the very first story King and Nicotero discussed being adapted. As it turns out King’s story “Gray Matter” was used instead for season one.
Nicotero says he realized very quickly that they couldn’t shoot the script in a way that would do it justice. “We couldn’t go to the beach to shoot, because we didn’t have the cash to do it,” he reveals. “So after a little bit of struggling back and forth, I went to my production team and just said, ‘Guys, we’re not going to be able to make this script right. I don’t want to shoot it on a lake and then digitally erase all of the trees, or shoot it in a parking lot with a blue screen behind it.’”
Apparently the animated route was the way to get this project completed. No idea what the quality of the animation will be like (the first season animation segments received mixed reviews), but I remember reading the original graphic novel of the first movie. Great stuff. You can still find that out there on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions (recommended!).
Speaking of books, there is a new young adult paperback just released this month called Creepshow: The Taker. It’s not aimed at adults, so keep that in mind. Not sure if it a graphic novel either, so adult buyers beware. You can search Amazon and other booksellers to find if interested.
Back to the animated special we’re spotlighting in this post.
Also announced, Kiefer Sutherland, who’s last role in anything by Stephen King was playing Ace in Stand By Me, is the voice actor for the shipwrecked doctor in “Survivor Type.” Jack Bauer meets Stephen King, oh yeah. Joey King (no relation to Stephen King), the actress will be the voice actor for Joe Hill’s story.
If this special episode goes over well, maybe we’ll get a full season order of a Creepshow animated series from Shudder? I’d be interested in a full series. They can make animated episodes on a lower budget than live action, so why not? I remember reading that each episode of Star Trek The Animated Series (1973) were created on a budget of $75,000 per episode — and that included the voice actor fees. They can’t do it that inexpensively in 2020, but it shows the budgetary requirements, not to mention pandemic restrictions, favor animated productions.
Creepshow: The Animated TV Special will stream exclusively on Shudder on October 26, 2020.
Raging Bull’s Jake LaMotta would make a cool grandpa. Unless, perhaps he took over your room.
These adult vs. kids family movies come along here and there, seems like at least one notable one every year. In 2020, we’re getting Robert De Niro facing off against the child who took his room. An unfriendly roommate dispute, we might say.
Based on the classic children’s novel by author Robert Kimmel Smith, The War with Grandpa looks pretty damned silly, but that’s what makes the movie actually look like it could be a fun time out with the kids. Strangely enough, Robert De Niro looks like he’s having fun in The War with Grandpa, and quite frankly, so do his co-stars. Given the source material, there’s a chance that De Niro and Oakes Fegley’s cinematic war for the ages could be something that kids and adults alike will enjoy.
The trailer looks fun enough. October at the theaters is looking pretty lean with this and Honest Thief, the Liam Neeson vehicle leading at least the number of advance previews shown at the start of other movies.
The War with Grandpa opens wide in theaters on October 9, 2020.
As this pandemic simmers down, bringing audiences back to the movie theater experience will help by trying out new and innovative technologies. Experiences that you can’t easily achieve at home.
Here’s what TEMPING is about:
Sarah Jane Tully, a 53-year-old actuary, is taking her first vacation in years, and you’ve been hired to cover for her. TEMPING, the strange and comic tale of an employee’s inner life, is performed for an audience of one by a Windows PC, a corporate phone, a laser printer, and the Microsoft Office Suite. Filling in at Sarah Jane’s cubicle, you’ll update client records, send emails, and eavesdrop on intra-office romance. Each performance is unique, depending on which tasks you accomplish and which of your co-workers you decide to trust. Congratulations, you’re the new temp! Get ready to work.
Check out what this innovative experience involves:
With no live performers, the piece interacts with the single audience member and challenges them with themes of human interaction through technology, isolation, and death. Contrasting the anonymity of an Excel spreadsheet with furtive moments of human intimacy, TEMPING brings you deep into the heart of corporate America.
DutchKillsTheater, where TEMPING is showing, has even more details how this works. It’s a one person at a time experience (emphasis below is mine):
TEMPING will be performed in the gallery space at The Wild Project by appointment only, and for only one patron at a time. There is an allotted 30 minutes in between the end of one performance and the beginning of the next, to allow the HVAC air circulation system time for proper ventilation. A mask or face covering is required of each audience member and hand sanitizer will be provided. There will be no personal face to face contact with any member of the staff and the set and props will be sanitized after each performance.
There is a 30 minute gap between performances for cleaning. This is COVID-19 sanitized friendly experience. Yes, masks are required.
Before you say, this would never work at a traditional movie theater, expand your mind a bit.
Where would something like this fit in a movie theater? How about taking out the arcade in the lobby and setting up there? Those arcades are social distancing nightmares right now anyway — and out of commission in many areas.
(I know, what will the kids do? But we’re talking about getting adult moviegoers back to theaters first, you know, the people with the $$$ to spend)
Put this Immersive Show facing the concessions, your major money maker in the theater. Theater owners, you need to think, think, think about alternative ways to bring us back. It’s going to require more than $5 classic movies. If TEMPING was showing locally, we’d definitely check this out.
Don’t listen to me, theater owners, you know what you’re doing. Or do listen, if you want to stay in business. The point is thinking outside the box is more likely to bring customers to YOUR theater then doing nothing new, having very few new movies from studios to screen. That’s the environment coming in October 2020 and possibly further beyond. Think about it.
Would this type of experience draw you back to the theaters?
Where is the Dutch Kills Theater? Good question. It’s at The Wild Project in New York City:
TEMPING opens and runs from October 23 – November 22, 2020 at The Wild Project in New York City with tickets ranging from $10-45 USD. See DutchKillsTheater.com for tickets.
Certainly by now most of you’ve heard of the new rules to be adopted by the Academy for Best Picture to take effect for movies in 2024. Best film nominees will be required to represent diversity both in front of the camera and the crew behind or they cannot be nominated and, subsequently, have any chance of winning an Oscar.
Of course my initial reaction — and the one I still have — is this is an absurd, unnecessary quota on creativity.
In the eyes of winning an Oscar for best picture, a creative artist being, well, creative are under assault. New rules will attach importance over diversity both behind the camera and in front. This, essentially now will require looking at the cast and crew and abiding by a diversity checklist.
Bill Maher isn’t impressed and blasts the Academy.
He also said, “We are talking about a world where if you want to make the next ‘Schindler’s List,’ the first thing you’ll need to do is give a racial breakdown of all your employees. Does anyone see the irony in that?… Some of the best movies ever made were by refugees from communist and fascist countries who got out because they didn’t like being told what art was acceptable.”
I do agree with more diversity being represented behind the camera, but then that’s what’s called equal opportunity employment. We’re supposed to already have that in America, yes/no? I realize Hollywood might be late getting to the party, but we’ve seen a ton of new movies representing social justice causes and many of have been weak. Especially the ones as remakes and sequels like, cough, the most unnecessary Terminator: Dark Fate and Charlie’s Angels.
There can be some really great stories told about characters we don’t normally see on the big screen. Stories with main characters that are disabled, LGBTQ+ and minorities. I’d like to see these movies.
At the same time, I don’t want to see these characters inserted into stories that make no sense just to satisfy and Academy quota. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s likely to happen for films that want to earn Best Picture in 2024.
The reason the word “OBVIOUS” is capitalized in the title is that none of the people who made this new diversity rule seem to live on our planet. The planet where the majority of people are understanding, reasonable, fair, tolerant and loving to fellow human beings. People that believe it’s possible for a creative work to be good without having to be advancing some blatant cause, message or agenda.
Just entertain us by telling a good story. If your story contains characters — logically — that fit these diversity requirements, great. If not, don’t shoehorn them in to make some group “accept” you. It’s not worth whoring your work out that way.
Weekend #39 of 53 (9/25 – 9/27/2020) for 2020 Picks By Streaming Service
Netflix – Enola Holmes follow Sherlock Holmes sister, Enola, solving a mystery involving the disappearance of her mother
Amazon Prime Video / Hulu – Judy if you haven’t seen Renee Zellweger’s Oscar-winning Best Actress performance playing the incomparable Judy Garland, this weekend on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu is your chance. Might just have to rewatch this one!
Shudder – Verotika Glen Danzig’s directorial debut is an erotic horror anthology? Sign me up.
Netflix – The Good Place – Season 4 The last season of the life after death comedy series, The Good Place available for binging starting 9/26
Amazon Prime Video – Utopia – Season 1 (9 episodes) Drama, virus … this one may have potential. check out the trailer in the Amazon
*Title with asterisk – newly released Title is linked and has star rating – already watched, rated and reviewed Title bolded – on our schedule to watch/rewatch, rate and review (or in progress)
NOTE: If you’re coming to these posts weeks or months later, some and/or all of the picks listed below may no longer be on the streaming services indicated. Anything marked as “Original” typically doesn’t expire on the streaming services.
*Enola Holmes – Original
Sneakerheads (Sept 25)
A Perfect Crime – Documentary (Sept 25)
Country-ish – Season 1 (Sept 25)
The School Nurse Files – Season 1 (Sept 25)
*The Good Place – Season 4 (Sept 26) — FINAL SEASON