By Ygal Kaufman
As surely as Marvel owns the Cineplex with its box office incinerating titles like X-Men, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the seemingly endless barrage of pretty solid and continuously money making properties, so its main rival, Detective Comics is owning on the small screen.
Smallville was a lone survivor of a fleet of failed comic-to-TV adaptations that started in the late 90s and stretched on through the first comics film boom. Now DC has 4 titles in various states of success: Arrow (about Green Arrow), Gotham (a Batman prequel show that focuses on young Commissioner Gordon), The Flash (I hope that doesn’t need explanation…) and Constantine (based on the series Hellblazer). And there’s more on the way with Preacher (one of the best and gnarliest comics of the 2000s) and of course a copy of Gotham’s massive success that takes the pre-quality to Planet Krypton for presumably a gritty mystery show starring Superman’s dad, both due out in 2015.
Homeland is Back
No, I know it actually came back more than a month ago. But it really took a minute for this season to get rolling. Finally, after some serious show loyalty being checked for 4 boring episodes, the last two weeks of the heir to 24 have been back in that face-melting zone that the first 3 seasons were. And once again, Claire Danes is starting to become really emotional and unhinged, which she’ll someday be remembered for much in the same way Chris Farley is remembered for being the guy who lives in a van down by the river. My lip is angry/sad/crazily quivering with anticipation.
Box Office Rumblings
Well, it happened. I hope you’re proud of yourselves. A movie based on a board game was the top film at the box office this weekend.
For the second week in a row.
Ouija, based on… okay let’s skip it, has made $35 million and counting. On a $5 million dollar budget, which basically means multiple Hollywood guys are buying an enormous amount of cocaine right now celebrating this. And if you think this is going to mean Hasbro will follow up with Hungry Hungry Hippos: the Movie you’re unfortunately probably correct.
Meanwhile John Wick, the surprise strong finish last week, about a hit man who (gasp/yawn) wants to go straight after this last job (starring Keanu Reeves, obviously) fell off precipitously in its second week. Presumably because it’s as boring as it looks.
Nightcrawler, starring Jake Gyllenhaal in what he no doubt presumes will be his Raging Bull moment- because he looks grotesque- actually looks really interesting and had a strong showing in it’s first week of wide release with $10.4 million dollars.
The Two Faces of January at the Darkside
Hossein Amini is the brilliant writer responsible for Drive (2011) and Killshot (2008), two of the most underrated films of the last 20 years. Now his feature directorial debut, Two Faces of January comes to the big screen and does not disappoint a bit.
Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith (Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train), it’s an atmospheric thriller set in Greece in the early 60s. Oscar Isaac (who stood out in Drive) stars alongside Kirsten Dunst and Viggo Mortensen in this rather lush production. The story follows an American conman (Mortensen) and his wife (Dunst) who befriend a young American drifter (Isaac) while on the run across Europe. Jealousies and accidental mayhem ensues.
Like a lot of Highsmith’s work, it’s less a mystery than a straight thriller, and a lot of the action is related to the proverbial heat of the moment.
Amini’s sure handed direction carries the picture deftly and the performances will hold you in a story that at times threatens to become uninteresting.
January is playing at the Darkside Cinema opening Thursday, November 6th.