February 28, 2011

BOX OFFICE WRAP-UP: Feature Flicks Failed!

Gnomeo and Juliet won a very meager box office weekend.
The top five in the box office from this weekend is really no surprise. Nicolas Cage’s latest film Drive Angry (in 3D to just hope for that extra money) made an icy debut at number nine with a sputtering $5.1 million. It was an equal failure for Hall Pass, with only $13.4 million, it was not enough to claim the top spot. Was everyone checking out the Oscar nominees to have an opinion for this weekend's big event? All in all, the open releases were a crying shame and are soon to melt away with the winter’s snow.

With $14.2 million, coming in first was the animated Gnomeo and Juliet, who's storyline derives from that of Shakespeare’s great Romeo and Juliet, and is a great adoption for any young audience member to experience. The flick has amassed a total gross of $75.1 million, though we feel this film will only stick around until another animated flick appears.

Hall Pass, a humorous humiliation of Owen Wilson, claimed the second slot with $13.4 million. About two best friends who are given a "hall pass" of freedom from their wives for a week to do anything they desired, the film's jokes are trying and the storyline is just unrealistic. Though barely grazing into the second spot; this film is likely to falter by next weekend.

With $12.4 million, the third spot was taken by reverend actor Liam Neeson’s Unknown. Just as the title goes, a man awakens from a coma literally unknown; his wife, his friends, everyone seems to have forgotten his existence. With surprisingly strong acclaims, this may not become a classic film, though it has successfully made a dent in the box office with a total gross of $42.8 million, so far.

Just Go With It took the fourth slot with $11.1 million. The Aniston-Sandler mash up has seen on big love on Twitter and across the blogs, for its genuine humor and strong acting. People really love this flick, and in its third weekend after it’s release, it's already nearing a hot $80 million in gross.

The fifth spot was taken by cutie-pie Alex Pettyfer’s I Am Number Four, with $11 million for the weekend. An action-packed film, the audience of this drama chose this over the horrid Drive Angry, which might drive Nicolas Cage’s career right to Hell.

We'll see Pettyfer again with next week's Beastly, starring Vanessa Hudgens (whatever) and one of the Olsen twins (we really cannot tell the difference). However, Damon’s latest thriller, The Adjustment Bureau, and Johnny Depp's animated Rango, will likely come out on top. And, let's not forget the '80s retro re-tred, Take Me Home Tonight, which might debut somewhere in the middle.

Box Office Top Ten (Feb. 25 - Feb. 27):
  1. Gnomeo and Juliet (MRQE Metric: 56) - $14.2 million
  2. Hall Pass (MRQE Metric: 47) - $13.4 million
  3. Unknown (MRQE Metric: 59) - $12.4 million
  4. Just Go With It (MRQE Metric: 37) - $11.1 million
  5. I Am Number Four (MRQE Metric: 49) - $11 million
  6. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (MRQE Metric: 61) - $9.2 million
  7. The King's Speech (MRQE Metric: 85) - $7.6 million
  8. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (MRQE Metric: 25) - $7.6 million
  9. Drive Angry 3D (MRQE Metric: 56) - $5.1 million
  10. The Roommate (MRQE Metric: 35) - $2.1 million

February 27, 2011

83rd Academy Award Winners Live!



The King's Speech wins top honors, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay. Natalie Portman wins Best Actress for Black Swan. Christian Bale and Melissa Leo take home supporting Oscars for their roles in The Fighter. The Social Network picks up Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Film Editing. Here are all the award winners.


Best Picture - The King's Speech
Best Performance by an Actor - Colin Firth for The King's Speech
Best Performance by an Actress - Natalie Portman for Black Swan 
Best Director - Tom Hooper for The King's Speech
Best Original Song - "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3. Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
Best Achievement in Film Editing - The Social Network 
Best Achievement in Visual Effects - Inception 
Best Documentary Feature - Inside Job
Best Live Action Short Film - God of Love
Best Documentary Short Subject - Strangers No More
Best Achievement in Costume Design - Alice in Wonderland
Best Achievement in Makeup - The Wolfman
Best Achievement in Sound Editing - Inception
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing - Inception
Best Original Score - The Social Network
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role - Christian Bale for The Fighter
Best Foreign Language Film - In a Better World
Best Original Screenplay - The King's Speech
Best Adapted Screenplay - The Social Network
Best Animated Feature Film - Toy Story 3
Best Animated Short Film - The Lost Thing 
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role - Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Best Achievement in Cinematography - Inception
Best Achievement in Art Direction - Alice in Wonderland

February 24, 2011

MRQE Rewind: 15 Classic Cinematic Car Chases


Car chases are usually the most suspenseful, exciting, and enthralling part of a movie; and in some instances, the cars become characters in and of themselves. Whether these scenes make you want to become a stunt driver yourself or clutch the seat cushion in fear, the explosions, the revving engines, and the full throttle of these cars will surely mesmerize you. So, with Drive Angry 3D coming out this weekend, in which Nic Cage basically takes us on a two-hour-long car chase, we took a look in our rear-view mirror and compiled a list of cinema's most thrilling car chases that will truly make your heart race.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977) - MRQE Metric: n/a
Imagine Bonnie and Clyde meets Joe Dirt meets James Bond. That is what Smokey and the Bandit is all about--that, and Smokey's hot '77 Pontiac Trans-Am. The full second-half of the flick is pure care chase, involving Burt Reynolds as "Bandit" and Sally Reed as "Frog" avoiding, running from, and persuading both, state and local police across many state lines. Prior to release, the film was subject to be just a simple "B-list" hit, but once Burt Reynolds signed on it became a box office smash, grossing over $126 million and coming up in second, behind Star Wars, as one of the most successful films of the 1970's. The film went on to spawn two sequels.



Bad Boys II (2003) - MRQE Metric: 43
Two detectives, two bad boys, a $200 million gross, and the second flick of the Bad Boys series; no matter how you look at it, this film is a double dose of bad (and, in more ways than one). But, one awesome car chase solidifies this flick's placement on this list. Will Smith and Martin Lawrence play the role of notorious Miami drug cops driving around the streets in a classic V-12 Ferrari. The car chase begins between them and a ring of dealers shooting across the Miami MacArthur Causeway. There's a Ferrari, a Chevy Suburban, a few '70s muscle cars, and even a Trans Am for good measure . . . this is just pure testosterone as only Michael Bay can deliver. To film the scene, the strip had to be shut down for weeks, probably causing some real-life road rage.



The Cannonball Run (1981) - MRQE Metric: n/a
Burt Reynolds must really know how to drive. The 1981 comedic action and adventure film, The Cannonball Run, stars Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, and Farrah Fawcett, running a race based on the actual Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash--a cross-country outlaw drive. Reynolds trades his Trans Am for a heavily modified Dodge ambulance (an actual vehicle used in the real race). Rat Packers Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. ride a Ferrari. Roger Moore spoofs James Bond and races in an Aston Martin. You can even spot a young Jackie Chan rocking a rocket-powered Subaru. Beginning in New York City at the Red Ball Garage on 31st Street, and ending in Redonde Beach, California (just south of Los Angeles), the real-life drive only happened four times in history due to the strict automotive laws established in the 1970s.



The Bourne Identity (2002) - MRQE Metric: 68
Matt Damon plays that good ol’ action character exceptionally well. His role as Jason Bourne has lead him to become a box office megastar. In the film, suffering from retrograde amnesia, Bourne cannot remember a thing about his past, though his skills and talents as a spy become natural instinct to him. The car chase that occurs in this film gives great personality to a little red "old-school" Mini Cooper. This car finds itself trapped in the streets of Paris, dodging police officers and pedestrians, while all being driven by steel-toed, action boy Bourne.



Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) - MRQE Metric: n/a
Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry is considered a cult car chase film. This film, which was directed by John Hough in 1974, stars Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke, and Vic Morrow. Everything from trains, planes, and automobiles were used in attempt to stop two NASCAR hopefuls in their high-speed chase. This crew was on a mad dash to the border after extorting $150K from a supermarket manager, while having the police right on their toes.



Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) - MRQE Metric: 62
In all James Bond films, automobiles are some of the most important characters. Everything from classic Bentleys, to miniature Lotuses, to the signature Aston Martin have been on display crashing, weaving, exploding, zooming, and sifting throughout some of the world's most populated cities. 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies, has one of the most thrilling car chases to ever be included in the James Bond canon, involving an automatic BMW and Bond in the backseat simply using a remote control. This car, along with Bond's underground submarine Lotus in The Spy Who Loved Me, and the $4 million Aston Martin DB5 (the most iconic of all of Bond's Aston Martins, as featured in Goldfinger), all add to a collection of completely renovated and gadgeted-out James Bond cars.



Death Proof (2007) - MRQE Metric: 73
What happens when you put a little Quentin Tarantino action in with a little Robert Rodriquez emotion? You get the 2007 dangerous and deficient film Death Proof. A film considered a tribute to the exploitation/muscle car/slasher film genres of the '70s, Death Proof is literally the name of the Chevy Nova SS imprinted with a skull on the hood, the car that Mike (Kurt Russell) uses to kill people. A true car chase thriller dealing with everything from escape, to lust, to speed, Death Proof is one of those films no one wants to see alone in the dark.



Mad Max 2 (1982) - MRQE Metric: 81
Back before Mel Gibson was a notorious celebrity, he was known for his post-apocalyptic adventures through the Australian Outback. Mad Max 2 remains as a cult film packed with a whole lot of testosterone, and big, bold, and brutal car chases complete with a biker-inspired style and violent battles, all across the beautiful portrayal of the Australian landscape.



Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) - MRQE Metric: n/a
This film is not about one car. It is about four dozen cars and what needs to be done to steal them. The original Gone in 60 Seconds, produced in 1974 and starring H.B. "Toby" Halicki, is famed for an extensive 34-minute car chase where over one-hundred cars were demolished. Toby Halicki was later killed filming a stunt for the 1989 sequel. Yet, the later, equally successful 2000 remake, starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie, included just as many high-speed intense car chases as the original.



The Italian Job (1969) - MRQE Metric: 77
The Italian Job, the old and the new, are two fabulous driving films. The older 1969 British version, starring Michael Caine, possesses a similar plot to that of the 2003 remake (starring Mark Wahlberg), dealing with Italians, mobsters, car chases, and a whole boat load of cash. The first film featured Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, and Jaguars. The remake chose just one crown jewel, the 2003 Mini Cooper. Almost a joke at first--the way the writers incorporated such an understated car in a smooth, witty way--really gave the second version a unique edge.



Duel (1971) - MRQE Metric: 78
Steven Spielberg's first feature film, Duel, is an action-packed car chase across a lonely, winding road. Duel is a film about a lone, terrified motorist being followed by a massive 1955 Peterbilt 281 tanker truck; a position no one wants to be in. Not being sure why he is chased, David Mann (Denis Weaver)--our lonely little driver--continues to drive on and run away in the hopes that he can lose this powerful menace. Originally a simple screenplay published in Playboy Magazine, this thriller later became a made-for-TV movie receiving much positive attention for both Spielberg and Weaver.



The Matrix Reloaded (2003) - MRQE Metric: 66
Say what you will about the Matrix Trilogy by the Wachowski brothers, each Matrix film are loaded with action. The Matrix Reloaded, the second installment, deals with cloning, destruction, battleships, and most of all an epic car chase battle where duel semi-trucks fully smash head on. Unlike the original Gone in 60 Seconds, which had nearly 100 cars destroyed, The Matrix Reloaded's post-production recycled 97% of all materials used on set, included sending wood to Mexico to build homes for the under privileged.




The French Connection (1971) - MRQE Metric: 90
An archetypal film based off two NYPD detectives who try to stop narcotics smuggling between France and America, The French Connection won five Academy Awards in 1971, including Best Picture. The climax of this film is the famed car chase that involved the physical smuggling of drugs right into New York City. This legendary scene involved chasing a freight train down on the New York subway system. No permission was given from the city of New York to produce such dangerous scenes, and the only precaution taken was to strap a mattress to the roof of the car, as lead Gene Hackman blared his horn. Going over 90 mph throughout the streets of Manhattan in a dirty brown Pontiac LeMans, one cannot believe the producers and directors didn’t get in any trouble for these risky stunts!




The Blues Brothers (1980) - MRQE Metric: 81
No one would expect an R&B musical comedy film like The Blues Brothers to have such intense chase scenes. The simple plot to get an old blues band back together to raise money for a Catholic orphanage that's going bankrupt fails when the police catch hold of the Blues Brothers, and John Belushi's character, "Joilet" Jake Blues, driving with a suspended license. This is where a gripping car chase through a mall begins ("This place has everything!"), and the "Bluesmobile" is birthed--a retired 1974 Mount Prospect, Illinois Dodge Monaco patrol car. There were 13 cars used throughout the filming, all bought at a California Highway Patrol auction. Then, an additional 60 police cars purchased, were all demolished throughout the shooting of the final chase scene. Staff had to build a 24/7 auto body shop on set to keep the cars repaired and running. That’s a lot of muscle for one flick!




Bullitt (1968) - MRQE Metric: 74
Steve McQueen and a 1968 Ford Mustang GT come together for one of the best chase scenes ever filmed in Bullitt. In this film, Lieutenant Frank Bullitt, (Steve McQueen) takes his Mustang out on the streets of San Francisco and makes the city his. He swerves recklessly throughout the streets to chase down two Mafia related hit-men, regardless of the direction or interferences in his way; not that the Mafia guys are any better. And, as if that wasn't enough, there is another epic car chase! This time at the San Francisco International Airport. There are planes flying by overhead and down the runway, as well as, the cars weaving and drifting in and out of the strip. Critics rave about the originality, realism, and enchantment of the cars and characters in this film.

February 21, 2011

Box Office Wrap-Up: Unknown Numbers

Liam Neeson comforts Diane Kruger in Unknown.
It was a warm weekend across the country with temperatures heating up and the snow finally melting away, though a cold weekend for the box office numbers. Three new wide releases premiered this weekend, though only two made a marginal dent. Unknown and I Am Number Four, barely made an impression among viewers, though did grab the top spots. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, took in just enough to make the Top Five. Although, on the parallel, most of the Academy Award nominees’ crushed numbers again at the box office with a good handful of them breaking the $100 million mark and continuing to rise.

Coming in the top spot was Liam Neeson’s Unknown with $21.8 million. This dramatic, suspense/thriller begins in Berlin and ends in mysterious ways. A great addition to the box office line up for a unique rendition of a tale of assassins and crime, this film will likely be sticking around the box office for a while.

I Am Number Four came in at number two. The sci-fi suspense/thriller attempted to give audiences a true action, adventure flick, though deeply failed only nabbing $19.5 million. Alex Pettyfer’s latest film will probably only be around for a few more weeks.

The third premiere this weekend, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, took the fifth place with a solid $17 million. The third flick in the Big Momma franchise, with it's cheap laughs, will probably not hold a long run at the box office.

Hold-overs from last week, Gnomeo and Juliet and Just Go With It, rounded out the Top Five. The Shakespeare-inspired animated flick, Gnomeo and Juliet, took the third slot with $19.4 million. And, at fourth, the Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler smash hit--which has already made a gross of $60 million in two weeks--made another $18.2 million this weekend.

Oscar contender, The King’s Speech, made another $6.6 million this weekend; just enough to grab the seventh spot. These numbers pushed the film over the $100 million gross mark, adding to the bucket of Academy Award nominees that grossed the nine-figure mark. We here at MRQE cannot wait to see what this film wins Sunday night at the awards.

Next weekend we have auto-action with Drive Angry 3D, Nic Cage's second film of this year, and bachelor-comedy Hall Pass, the newest flick from the Farrelly brothers, starring Owen Wilson and SNL's Jason Sudeikis. How do you think these films will do at next week's box office? Tell us in the comments.

Box Office Top Ten (Feb. 18 - Feb. 20):
  1. Unknown (MRQE Metric: 57) - $21.8 million
  2. I Am Number Four (MRQE Metric: 49) - $19.5 million
  3. Gnomeo and Juliet (MRQE Metric: 58) - $19.4 million
  4. Just Go With It (MRQE Metric: 37) - $18.2 million
  5. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (MRQE Metric: 23) - $17 million
  6. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (MRQE Metric: 62) - $13.6 million
  7. The King's Speech (MRQE Metric: 86) - $6.6 million
  8. The Roommate (MRQE Metric: 35) - $4.1 million
  9. The Eagle (MRQE Metric: 53) - $3.6 million
  10. No Strings Attached (MRQE Metric: 53) - $3.1 million

February 16, 2011

Honoring Fashion Week with Cinema's Most Fashionable Films

Fashion Week, from Paris to New York and every city in between, is the bi-annual event, market, and celebration of the world’s most cutting edge fashions of tomorrow. It is a time when editors, stylists, designers, and trendsetters from every angle of the globe come together to define what will be chic and in vogue for the upcoming season. In honor of one of the greatest weeks of the year, we here at MRQE have compiled a list of the most à la mode films of all time--from Carrie Bradshaw to Cher Horowitz, our list of these leading ladies and gentlemen illustrates what defined great fashion.

10. Goodfellas (1990) / The Godfather (1972)


From the cufflinks to the silk ties, high-class gangsters always seem to have the best style. Martin Scorsese’s 1990 classic film Goodfellas embodies true "Mob" fashion. Ray Liotta’s character’s Henry Hill is based off a true American mobster and Lucchese crime family member who turned FBI informant and later entered the Witness Protection Program. In this cinematic classic, Henry’s mother sees Henry walking into their home with, as the script calls for, "grey lizard shoes, grey pinstriped trousers, grey silk shirt, Billy Ecksteon collar, yellow silk tie, and double-breasted jacket," and although Henry is beaming, she proclaims "My God! You look like a gangster!" This scene is the epitome of gangster dress--slick, chic, and yet far too tacky. The Godfather can also compete in this category. The way these men dress in this film is the definition of an Italian mobster. These men are smooth talking, smooth dressing, and smooth to pull out their gun. They intimidate others through how they act and dress. Every man wants to be like them and everyone woman wants to be with them.


9. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)


Anna Wintour will disagree with this next selection due to its honest depiction of her "devilish" ways. Yet, The Devil Wears Prada, which is based off of Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 novel, renders what the true New York City editorial world is like. Anne Hathaway stars as Andy Sachs, the once-frumpy writer who desires to write for a big-name publishing house, paper, or magazine. Sachs, eventually takes on an assistant role for a power fashion magazine editor, leading her to become basically a fashion Barbie--she loses weight, finds her fashion sense, and burns almost every friend she ever had just to "make it" in the fashion world. Aside from the "bitchy" undertone, the fashions in this film are incredible. Patricia Field, the Sex and the City costume designer was asked to present this film. She used a $1 million fashion budget--one-tenth of what she was given for Sex and the City--yet still made this film one of the most expensive fashion productions in cinematic history, scoring every designer from Prada to Chanel to Calvin Klein. With a $35 million budget, and a box office gross revenue of over $326 million, this film was not only wildly success for rendering fashion; it was a fabulous cinematic production as well.

8. Zoolander (2001)


Ben Stiller’s role in the 2001 film Zoolander was both hilarious and quite fashion-forward. Derek Zoolander, played by Stiller, is one of the world’s top male supermodels, though; he is in deep competition with Owen Wilson’s modeling character, Hansel. Famous for his poses from "Blue Steel" to "Le Tigre," Zoolander’s fashions throughout the film are quite eccentric, modish, and distinctive. There are also over 40 cameos of famed fashion designers from Tom Ford to Victoria Beckham to Karl Lagerfeld.

7. Clueless (1995)


Oh, Cher! As a girl growing up in the 1990’s, I personally have to save this as one of the most defining fashionable films I have ever seen. Every girl at my age at some point wanted to be one of the girls in this 1995 flick. Played by Alicia Silverstone, spoiled Valley girl Cher--with her bags that match her nails, to her miniskirts and downright I-know-what-fashion-is-so-get-out-of-my-way persona--is more of a fashion staple than a role model. This girl had it all and got everything that she wanted. She knew how to dress, talk, walk, and act, and was a true fashion inspiration for any girl growing up in the mid-1990s. Clueless truly has gone down as the icon of 1990’s cinematic fashion.

6. The Seven Year Itch (1955)


But how can Cher compete with Helen Sherman, Marilyn Monroe’s character in 1955's The Seven Year Itch? Whether you have, or have not seen this film, everyone knows the classic scene of Monroe standing on a subway grate, holding her haltered white dress down, as a subway passes, blowing her dress over her knees. Indeed, this scene was far too scandalous for its time; and the same can be said of Monroe. She not only was a sex icon, she was a confident, fashion forward woman both in this film, and in life. The screen-shot taken from this film has become one of the most famed images from a film to ever be taken.

5. Annie Hall (1977)


Considered by Roger Ebert to be "just about everyone’s favorite Woody Allen movie," Annie Hall is not only a fabulous film, but also one that defined fashion in the mid-to-late '70s. Diane Keaton’s Annie Hall inspired a more masculine dress; woman’s trousers were introduced, as were over sized blazers, and billowing blouses and boots. It was a unique adaption of men's and women's styles. Believe it or not, Keaton actually personally dressed herself for this role, using her own clothes! She did not need a fashion budget because she was certain enough that her Ralph Lauren inspired style was perfect for the character; oh, and was she right.

4. Pretty in Pink (1986)


Caring on into the next decade, Pretty in Pink is a film that breaks into true 1980's fashion. From Jon Cryer's hat to Molly Ringwald's pink prom dress, every moment of this film reeks of '80s fashion. There is that taste of "tucked-in fashion," with the men’s blazers and tight khakis, as well as woman's conservative, yet seductive kneed dresses and crop-cut hair. Pretty in Pink produced the same reaction for 80's babies as Clueless did in the '90s, and Annie Hall in the '70s--everyone wanted to be like the characters of this film.

3. Saturday Night Fever (1977)


When you think of '70s disco, you're surely to think of Saturday Night Fever, and John Travolta's famous white suit. The film follows Travolta's sleek moves as a Brooklyn boy looking for a way out to "blow off some steam." Sure, this New York City discotheque-inspired film seems corny now, but it was a cult classic in its time. Travolta's style in this film is characterized by both the Italian-American inspiration, as well as that trendy, underground night-life style. Travolta finds the cool center between these two paradoxes and plays the role of a dance floor king exceptionally well.

2. Sex and the City (2008)


With a $10 million fashion budget alone, the first Sex and the City film was the icing on the Sex and the City crowned cake. After six television seasons and 94 episodes on HBO, executive producer Michael Patrick King, thought it was time to produce a final film (too bad it wasn't so final). With over 300 outfits between the four women in only 145 minutes of tape, executive fashion director Patricia Field rose to fame through her definition of how the modern New York woman dressed. This film has been praised by fashion critics for its glamorous storytelling of what New York women are truly like.

1. Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)


Audrey Hepburn is a role model for any fashion-forward thinker. From her sleek black jeans, to her tight black, pearled dress, Hepburn's performance in Breakfast at Tiffany’s puts her at the top of this list as a fashion icon. This film--and Audrey Hepburn, herself--defined elegance in the early 1960’s. It is astonishing that 50 years later, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is still seen as a staple in the fashion world. Every woman who watches this film wants to embody a similar elegance to what Hepburn exudes.

Honorable Mentions:

Atonement (2007)
American Gigolo (1980)
How to Steal a Million (1966)
Factory Girl (2006)
Funny Face (1957)
(1963)
Marie Antoinette (2006)
Pandora’s Box (1929)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
And God Created Woman (1988)
A Single Man (2009)

February 14, 2011

Box Office Wrap Up: Jennifer and Justin, Box Office Jewels

Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, and Brooklyn Decker in Just Go With It.
With the opening of two big-name films this weekend, rom-com Just Go With It (staring Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler) and Justin Bieber's biographical rockumentary, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, star-power proved that it can make fans flock. Both films produced over $60 million in total revenue alone over the weekend, proving that a dedicated fan base can really make the numbers soar. That said, it wasn't exactly a solid gold weekend for Bieber. Not only did he go home empty handed at last night's Grammy's, his rock-doc failed to grab the top box office slot; falling second to Just Go With It.

So, no surprise here that Jennifer Aniston can make millions. Her newest film Just Go With It with co-star Adam Sandler made a strong $31 million this weekend proving that names really do matter at the box office. Just Go With It is a romantic comedy about a powerful executive, his assistant, and a very sticky relationship position. From laughter to love, this film defines romantic-comedies and will probably continue to make millions in the weeks to come.

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, the rockumentary chronicling the overnight success of teen idol Justin Bieber, brought in mass audiences over the weekend. With a fan-base in the millions it is not a surprise that this flick made $30.3 million this weekend; but it is a shock that the film failed to hit #1. Critics have (surprisingly) praised this film saying it can make a fan out of anyone. Bieber Fever, in both 3D and IMAX, is likely going to last for many weeks to come, with potential to gross over $100 million over the next few weeks.

Coming in third is Gnomeo and Juliet, the animated version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, made a strong impression amongst the youth, making $25.5 million. With a unique interpretation of the classic story, and music from Elton John, it's not surprising how audiences around the country are interested in this film. Gnomeo and Juliet, with no other competition in the Top Ten, will likely to continue to make an impression in the weeks to come.

At the fourth slot is The Eagle, Channing Tatum’s Roman epic adventure; a far cry from his Step Up days, though he still managed to make an $8.6 million impression at the box office. No one seems to be running to see this film; probably since most audiences are used to seeing Tatum in trainers, spinning his more-beautiful-than-talented female co-stars around.

Gossip Girl Leighton Meester is still attracting audiences with her latest thriller The Roommate, which made a small impact in the fifth slot, with $8.4 million over the weekend. Aside from a quite predictable plot, The Roommate has been bringing in high-school kids and Gossip Girl fanatics consistently in its last two weeks at the box office. We predict the potential to thrill will slowly wane, as The Roommate would be lucky to remain in the top ten at the box office as March approaches.

One of the best films of the year, The King’s Speech, still remains in the Top Ten, with $7.4 million over the three-day span. Now with twelve weeks under its belt, the top Oscar contender will likely hit a gross revenue of over $100 million dollars in the next week. The film, and it's exceptional cast and crew, is up for twelve Oscars, more than any other nominated film.

Rounding out the Top Ten, at the seventh slot with $5.6 million is No Strings Attached; one of three Natalie Portman helmed films out right now along with Black Swan and The Other Woman. James Cameron produced Sanctum, took in $5.1 million claiming the eighth slot. Western remake, True Grit, nabbed the ninth slot, making $3.7 million, and grossing a total of $160 million in its 8-week span. At ten is Seth Rogan's actioner The Green Hornet, with a cool $3.6 million in its fifth week at the box office.

With the Valentine’s Day post-weekend approaching, there will be latest in the Big Momma franchise with Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (starring Martin Lawrence and Brandon T. Jackson). Also coming out is sci-fi actioner, I Am Number Four (starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant) and Liam Neeson's gritty Unknown.

Box Office Top Ten (Feb. 11 - Feb. 13)
  1. Just Go With It (MRQE Metric: 38) - $31 million
  2. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (MRQE Metric: 63) - $30.3 million
  3. Gnomeo and Juliet (MRQE Metric: 59) - $25.5 million
  4. The Eagle (MRQE Metric: 53) - $8.6 million
  5. The Roommate (MRQE Metric: 36) - $8.4 million
  6. The King's Speech (MRQE Metric: 86) - $7.4 million
  7. No String's Attached (MRQE Metric: 53) - $5.6 million
  8. Sanctum (MRQE Metric: 43) - $5.1 million
  9. True Grit (MRQE Metric: 83) - $3.8 million
  10. The Green Hornet (MRQE Metric: 52) - $3.6 million

February 11, 2011

Watch the Oscar Nominees!


No, we're not promoting some illegal way to watch movies. But, if you're feeling a little left out because you still haven't seen The Social Network or Winter's Bone, then we're at your service! We have compiled a handy guide that will help you not only find showtimes, but also see where all the top nominees are playing across the Internet. Instead of having to search through Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Redbox, and even Xbox LIVE, we aggregated all that information in one handy place, complete with pricing info and one-click access. Head over to oscars.mrqe.com to check it out. You can also sign up to receive alerts for movies that may not already be on your preferred movie watching service. Enjoy!

February 10, 2011

MRQE Rewind: 10 Iconic Rock-Docs


With the world premier of Justin Bieber’s 3D documentary, Never Say Never, coming out on Friday, we here at MRQE thought it would be appropriate to compile a list of some of the best iconic rockumentaries ever. Justin Bieber is literally an overnight success making millions of girls (and boys) cry, scream, obsess, and become fanatic over his every move; though, Bieber is a pop-singer who seems quite cookie-cutter. Below we recount some of the most legendary artists and performances ever. From Madonna to the Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin, each of their respective documentaries remains as iconic in exploring the true music legends that they were (and still are), and their sometime notorious, yet still renowned performances.


Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991) - MRQE Metric: n/a

Madonna is known for her scandalous and infamous ways. Truth or Dare--or on the international markets known as In Bed with Madonna--is a documentary about Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour. The film takes the audience everywhere, as the original working title boasts, “On the road, behind the scenes, and in bed with Madonna.” Critics and audiences loved this film because it is one of the most honest glimpses ever into Madonna’s most personal, erotic, and scandalous. She truly is a crazy women and her madness speaks volumes reel after reel. The doc was famously spoofed by SNL, and by comedienne Julie Brown. And, of course, a year later she came out with Sex.




The Song Remains the Same (1976) - MRQE Metric: n/a

Led Zeppelin's concert-rockumentary, The Song Remains the Same--filmed at Madison Square Garden in 1973--gave everyone a front row seat into Zepp’s three-night concert series with the potential to hit millions of viewers. The band was required to wear the same clothes during all three nights of their performances so the editing would seem more seamless; ironically--but it is still evident throughout the film--are the nights where Jimmy Page did not think about this, and is caught wearing a different dragon suit in two of the songs. Regardless, this film has still been praised for its honest portrayal of who this band was and the magic they were capable of producing on stage. And, the fantasy sequences interlaced with the concert footage only added to the mysticism of the band.




This Is It (2009) - MRQE Metric: 72

This Is It, both beautiful and heartbreaking, chronicles Michael Jackson's preparations for his final tour that was abruptly cut short just weeks before opening night due to his sudden, mysterious death in his California home. The doc trails Jackson from beginning to end of his tour preparations--from anticipation to anxiety to acceleration--and plays out almost as the concert that never was, as we see the King of Pop perform his hits during sound checks. Audiences members, for the first time, were given a glimpse into Jackson’s true emotional side. This Is It will forever stand as a hedge stone in Jackson’s record shattering career.




Don't Look Back (1967) - MRQE Metric: n/a

Bob Dylan is a man of his word. He is outspoken, controversial, and also charismatic and charming. Filmed by D.A. Pennebaker, Don’t Look Back follows Dylan on tour across the United Kingdom. This film portrays his most provocative side, as well as, his genuine character, and captures some of Dylan's cynicism towards the press. Don't Look Back also features one of the first music videos, as the opening scene has Dylan flipping note cards in tune with "Subterranean Homesick Blues." A classic in its own realm, Don’t Look Back was selected in 1998 to be submitted into the United States National Film Registry by the Library for Congress.




Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) - MRQE Metric: 76

Motown defined R&B music, and Standing in the Shadows of Motown captures every bit of that definition. Released in 2002, this film documents the session musicians featured on the popular Motown-produced music all the way from 1959, and showcases what it meant to be apart of the thriving Detroit music scene. Starring everyone from Chaka Khan, to the Funk Brothers, to Ben Harper, this film illuminates their untold story, and how American R&B began to spread across the globe.




Gimme Shelter (1970) - MRQE Metric: 86

"The Nightmare at Altamont," Gimme Shelter documents the Rolling Stones fateful call to the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival. Produced in 1970, the Stones played a deadly free concert at Altamont Speedway in Northern California. Captured on film is the infamous moment when a Hell’s Angel member stabbed to death young Meredith Hunter, just eighteen years old. Another irony of the film is that famed Star Wars creator George Lucas was one of the producers on set at the concert, though his camera jammed and no footage was ever salvaged for the final cut. A historic film, Gimme Shelter is a stunning realization about the madness that followed the Rolling Stones everywhere.




The Last Waltz (1978) - MRQE Metric: 80

There have been many exceptional concert films, though The Last Waltz directed by Martin Scorsese in 1976 is probably the best. A captivating film about The Band’s last performance, the concert/film feauters guest stars and contemporaries--everyone one from Eric Clapton, to Bob Dylan, to Van Morrison, to Neil Young, and Ringo Starr. It has been rumored that the amount of drug use that occurred during the filming of this rockumentary almost made the film impossible, so much so to the point that there was a supposed backstage room painted white with large plastic noses and an audio track of sniffing noises. While Clapton was at the show, the remaining members of Cream were nowhere to be seen, but oh, the white room!




This Is Spinal Tap (1984) - MRQE Metric: 86

Who says documentaries have to be non-fiction? This is Spinal Tap is "mockumentary" chronicling the fictional account of "one of England's loudest bands." The mock-doc follows the few highs, and much lows of the heavy metal band, Spinal Tap, as we see their career change from their early pop-folk days, to their psychedelic phase, and finally their turn to metal during the mid-to-late '70s. We follow Spinal Tap, as their career takes a large plummet; though the band hardly understands what's going on. Directed by Rob Reiner, This is Spinal Tap takes the audience on a bizarre, yet seemingly realistic look, at small town kids coming into fame in the rock n' roll generation; all the while delivering some of the most iconic scenes and quotes, that, in many cases, rang true with real-life musicians.




Woodstock (1970) - MRQE Metric: 85

Woodstock is one of the best rockumentaries of all time. With its split-screen direction, this film gives a beautiful and enchanting glimpse into the legendary Woodstock Festival of 1969. From Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, to Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and the classic performance of Joe Crocker and the Grease Band singing “With a Little Help from My Friends.” For anyone who was unable to physically be at the Woodstock festival, this film makes you believe and feel as if you were there.




Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008) - MRQE Metric: 87

You may cry or you may laugh. Anvil! The Story of Anvil is a rockumentary that plays out like This Is Spinal Tap; but this is real. Released in 2008 about Canadian heavy metal band Anvil, this film is a heart-wrenching tale of passion; a band that never really broke into the brink of success, but never quit. Anvil! makes you wonder what they did wrong. The band has the praise of great artists like Metallica's Lars Ulrich and Slash, though the collaborative step and support was never truly present. However, following the film's release, the band finally got some breaks. They toured with AC/DC, performed on The Tonight Show (during the Conan O'Brien era), and hit the road in 2010 on a European tour; they even filmed a cameo appearance in The Green Hornet. The film itself won two festival awards.


February 7, 2011

Box Office Wrap-Up: A thrilling, yet not-so-super weekend

Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly in The Roommate.
Thrillers reigned during the Super Bowl weekend, yet all the money seemed to be spent on wings and pizza for the big game. Regardless, the biggest films this weekend were two new releases both with a true thriller feel. The Roommate and Sanctum, both of far different story-lines and backdrops, kept audiences at the edge of their seats wondering what would happen next. Neither of these films were big budget productions or starring top actors, though, the numbers don’t lie; and together making almost $30 million over the weekend, while meager, it does prove that maybe these films could stay on top for a while.

First off, Leighton Meester brought in box office gold this weekend; grossing a chilling $15.6 million for her newest flick The Roommate. Pretty far off from her role in Gossip Girl, this physco-thriller is attracting not only Meester’s die-hard fan base, but also thriller fans as well.

Sanctum, another thriller--and director Alister Grierson’s latest endeavor--made just over $9 million, taking the second place spot. A true underwater adventure, Sanctum--based on co-writer Andrew Wight's true near-death experiences--answers the question, what would happen if you were stuck in an aquatic deep cave with no way out?

A great Hollywood gem this film season, Natalie Portman is still making the cash box click with her latest film No Strings Attached. At third place, the rom-com took in $8.4 million. Audiences love Portman's and Ashton Kutcher's flick for its witty comedic feel, as well as, friendship turned romantic trap. Portman now has three films in the box office including The Other Woman, which barely made a ripple in its weekend limited release, and Black Swan, an award season top pick.

Just edged out of third was The King's Speech, one of the best films out of 2010--and a sure Oscar bet--which brought in $8.3 million over the weekend. Colin Firth plays King George VI exceptionally well, and his supporting cast of Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, truly illuminate the struggles this great king once had.

At fifth, is The Green Hornet, a big budget film of $120 million, which made only $6.1 million over the weekend. The Green Hornet is still making the green paper in the cash boxes, but will probably only last until another super-hero based film comes out.

Rounding out the Top Ten is Anthony Hopkins' thriller, The Rite, at $5.6 million. The Mechanic came in close behind with $5.4 million. Followed by true country-Western tale True Grit, with $4.8 million, which seems to hold some longevity. Comedy, The Dilemma, earned $3.4 million. At tenth is Black Swan, which, with $3.4 million over the weekend, has now been reigning in the box office for ten weeks.

Next weekend is the big release of teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber’s 3D rock-doc; Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. We are sure young girls (and boys) will be running to the theaters to see how their newest obsession made it to the top of billboard charts.

Box Office Top Ten (Feb. 4 - Feb. 6):
  1. The Roommate - MRQE Metric: 34 - $15.6 million
  2. Sanctum - MRQE Metric: 43 - $9.2 million
  3. No Strings Attached - MRQE Metric: 53 - $8.4 million
  4. The King's Speech - MRQE Metric: 86 - $8.3 million
  5. The Green Hornet - MRQE Metric: 53 - $6.1 million
  6. The Rite - MRQE Metric: 46 - $5.6 million
  7. The Mechanic - MRQE Metric: 55 - $5.4 million
  8. True Grit - MRQE Metric: 83 - $4.8 million
  9. The Dilemma - MRQE Metric: 39 - $3.4 million
  10. Black Swan - MRQE Metric: 80 - $3.4 million

February 3, 2011

MRQE Rewind: Cinema's Best College Roommate Films

With the opening of Leighton Meester’s newest flick this weekend, The Roommate, we here at MRQE thought we would compile a list of our favorite scary college films. We then discovered that there actually are no “best” scary college films, other than maybe Scream 2 or Urban Legend. Most films about college are over-worked, not funny, and far too cliche. So how about college roommate films? Almost everyone has had an infamous college roommate, or two. And those that have, know just how many stories and tales we could blackmail each other with. From late night rendezvous and hugging the porcelain, to despicable walks of shame, college roommates hide these moments, along with their drinking caps, far off in some closet corner never to be spoken of again. But in cinema, surely there must be a few great college movies to explore this life, and these are the ones we truly love below.

10. The House Bunny (2008) - MRQE Metric: 52
At number ten, we have The House Bunny. One of the few top college roommate films about sorority sisters, this film follows Shelley Darlington played by Anna Faris as she leaves the Playboy Mansion for a college life at a sorority house. Between extreme makeovers, extremely trashy outfits, and an exceptional amount of partying, this film stays true to any college flick – all you need is a little bit of humor, a lot of leg, and then a keg of beer to bring audiences in to see something depicted about some of the best years of their lives.




9. PCU (1994) - MRQE Metric: n/a
Ari Gold? No, James “Droz” Andrews, that’s who calls the shots in the 1994 Jeremy Piven featured film. PCU is a flick about college freshmen fitting in and the relationship (and rivalry) between frat brothers and houses. With from a much exaggerated view of college life, Roger Ebert shuts this film down in his review stating it “begins with a fantastic premise, but [I] immediately lose faith in it.”



8. Old School (2003) - MRQE Metric: 56
Old School is, hands-down, a hilarious film. Super laugh-out-loud funny, we all wish we could do this in our thirties–head back to school and start a fraternity, simply to party. Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Will Ferrell play the frat boy role exceptionally well, and the way their humor bounces off each other is what makes this film really memorable.



7. Back to School (1986) - MRQE Metric: n/a
In this 1986 comedy, Rodney Dangerfield heads, ironically, "back to school" to teach his son a lesson about education and happiness. Though, neither of these are lessons learned. Between conflict, attraction, bribery, passing, and failing, this film takes the audience on a roller-coaster of a ride through the academic field. Rodney even goes so far as to hire Kurt Vonnegut to write a paper about Vonnegut's novels, though the professor dismisses the paper, telling Rodney, "Whoever did write this doesn't know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut." True to the partying lifestyle of college, Back to School, makes any student question, what would happen if my parents really came to college and they were your roommate? Wow, not fun.



6. Animal House (1978) - MRQE Metric: 68
Next is a truly classic college roommate flick, probably involving one of the most infamous frat houses ever, National Lampoon’s Animal House. Based off director, Chris Miller’s experience at his Dartmouth College frat house Alpha Delta Phi, this late-1970's comedy follows a bunch of frat boys living under one house and their mischievous partying ways. Animal House was highly successful--on only a $3 million budget, it made $141 million is sales--not bad for just a bunch of college boys.



5. Revenge of the Nerds (1984) - MRQE Metric: 69
Even nerds can find their own roommates. 1984's Revenge of the Nerds follows a fraternity of nerds desperately desiring to fit into the party, social, and sexual lifestyles of college. Revolving around the typical battle of "jock vs. nerd," this flick has been rated by the Bravo Channel as one of the “Top 100 Funniest Films” of all time. Though, it should have stopped at this--in the following decade three more Revenge of the Nerds films were produced, all each failing more and more at the box office, proving that sometimes producers should just stop at the original.



4. Real Genius (1985) - MRQE Metric: 73
Speaking of a house of angry nerds, coming in next is Real Genius starring Val Kilmer. Produced in 1985, this film spins the tale of college freshman roommates and their genius level intelligence to create a profound laser. Eventually their laser is stolen by a professor for military reasons, and this is when the film spins from a basic geniuses’ tale into a witty comedy about how nerds find revenge.



3. The Paper Chase (1973) - MRQE Metric: n/a
 
The Paper Chase is a 1973 film about first year law students living together, and their basic academia struggles. The plot turns as the main character James T. Hart (Timothy Bottoms) discovers that he is dating the daughter of his strict, stern, and challenging professor, of whom seems out to ruin his life. The tagline of this film sums of this Harvard student’s most challenging decision: "You have to choose between the girl you love and the diploma you've worked for all your life. You have 30 seconds." The film was later turned into a moderately successful TV show.


2. A Beautiful Mind (2001) - MRQE Metric: 81
Ranking in number two is one of Russell Crowe’s greatest works and 2001 Best Picture winner, A Beautiful Mind. True, Crowe does not have an actual roommate in this film, though he does have schizophrenia, through which he has an invisible “friend” that is technically his roommate. A heartbreaking, yet inspiring tale of the Nobel Peace Prize Winner, John Forbes Nash Jr., this film does not have the humor of Van Wilder or the mischief of How High, but it does give an exceptional glimpse into the life of a profound mathematical genius and his struggle with those he “lives with.”



1. The Social Network (2010) - MRQE Metric: 86
Coming out on top the bio-pic everyone is talking about, The Social Network, about two roommates and the $50 billion website they created out of their dormroom. Audiences love this film not only because it involves a social media site that almost everyone and their mother is apart of, but also because it brings forth the scandal, betrayal, allure, and excitement of creating said social media site. Winning awards across the globe, and a likely candidate for Best Picture this year, this bio-pic about Mark Zuckerberg and his best friend and roommate Eduardo Saverin, proves that the power of two is better than one.

 
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