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MTV Movie Awards: a night of titillation, tears and tons of trailers

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vin diesel sings mtv movie awards movie spoon

amy schumer fire mtv movie awards movie spoonThis year’s MTV Movie Awards were a real mixed bag of popcorn. Amy Schumer’s jokes were great, but her sketches lacked laughs. It was a night of “premiere clips” and “sneak peeks”, but the guest list seemed more elusive than exclusive – unlike MTV’s Video Music Awards, nominees who didn’t win weren’t in attendance. Sure, Zac Efron got his abs out, but what was going on with Channing Tatum’s hat? These are the highlights (and lowlights) of this year’s MTV Movie Awards.

Amy Schumer had an uneven night

From an archery malfunction during the intro to a more successful bit involving “flying for no reason”, Schumer was a peppy but imperfect host. While her opening monologue – which featured bits of her standup as well as new jokes tailored to the occasion – was funny and fearless, the sketches in between presenters failed to keep up the energy of the show.

Some of her better moments included jokes about herself (“Half of you don’t know who I am, and half of you think I’m Meaghan Trainor”) and other celebrity guests in attendance (“Kevin Hart’s been in a million movies this year. He was the baby in American Sniper”), but making out with Amber Rose seemed a bit desperate (not to mention tokenizing for bisexual Rose), and a racist bit about Gone Girl and “crazy Latinas” already has her in hot water on Twitter.

Schumer’s signature raunch seemed to pervade the entire affair, with Jessie J and Mark Wahlberg dropping butt-sex jokes, and Rebel Wilson introducing a sneak peek of Pitch Perfect 2 as a “super exclusive clit”. Efron and Dave Franco groped each other like teens after gym class, and one of the most successful sketches of the night was a delightfully dirty movie theater bit featuring Schumer, Rose and comedian Nikki Glaser all headed to see Magic Mike XXL and Fifty Shades of Grey, purses bursting with “personal massage devices”. Actually, Glaser just brought her Sonicare toothbrush and her shower head. Later, Bridget Everett skulked by, chained to her washing machine. Ahhh, cinema.

vin diesel sings mtv movie awards movie spoonVin Diesel commemorated Paul Walker through song

The first presenter of the night said the evening was bittersweet, because the last time he’d been on the MTV stage was as co-presenter with “my little brother Pablo”, a reference to his late Fast and Furious co-star Paul Walker. Diesel then, not for the first time, sang a few lines from the Furious 7 soundtrack in homage. It was weird but well-meaning, a sweet tribute if bizarre way to present Shailene Woodley with an award for best female performance.

J. Lo got a lap dance

What’s a girl to do when the cast of Magic Mike XXL is presenting your award (for “Best Scared as Shit Performance” in The Boy Next Door)? When Tatum, in costume as an extra from 2 Fast 2 Furious, tried to get a reciprocal shimmy from La Lopez, he was rebuffed: “Maybe next time.”

It was all about Shailene Woodley

One thing is certain: teens love Shailene Woodley. The 23-year-old, wearing perhaps the world’s highest-waisted pants, accepted the best female performance, best kiss and best movie awards for her role in The Fault in Our Stars. Woodley also won the Trailblazer award, given out every year to rising movie stars like Emma Stone and Emma Watson. This year’s winner and non-Emma dedicated her award to John Green, the author of The Fault in Our Stars, who was in the audience crying like a teen at a cancer drama. Woodley’s speech kind of got away from her at the end – to the point that even she realized she had no idea where it was going. She quickly wrapped it up by encouraging teens out there to “blaze on … I don’t know if I can say that … trailblaze on!”

Robert Downey Jr was a grownup

Hey – a grownup who matched his tie to his sunglasses is still a grownup. RDJ got some love from the Avengers: Age of Ultron cast, who joined forces to present him with the Generation award. During a speech which outed him as old enough to remember a time before MTV, Downey Jr said: “I’ve grown up, I’ve struggled, I’ve failed. I’ve partied way too much. I’ve squandered, resisted, repented … I begged for second chances, and literally clawed my way to the top.” It was a touching and honest moment amid a night of mostly movie trailers, and ended with some great advice for Hollywood’s young stars: “Dream big, work hard, keep your nose clean.”

The musical performances fell flat

Where was Vin for the encore when we needed him? Fall Out Boy performed Centuries and it felt like even they weren’t completely buying this comeback. Charli XCX fared a little better, donning a one-armed catsuit and rocking a giant inflatable guitar to perform her new single Famous with gusto. This second performance had more promise, but Ty Dolla Sign and Tinashe got about 30 seconds to add their bit of Drop That Kitty before the whole thing was over.

It was the night of a thousand trailers

These events are always, at best, advertising hidden in punchy packaging. But with less punch than previous years, the sheer number of trailers and preview clips in last night’s show felt ridiculous. Most presenters went straight to the promo of their newest project, without even the pretense of some good old-fashioned celebrity banter. Over the course of the night there were previews or promo clips from Pitch Perfect 2, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scream, San Andreas and Paper Towns. Schumer even ended the night with “if we’ve learned anything from tonight it’s … to go see my movie, Trainwreck, in theatres this summer!” Can’t we at least pretend tonight is about honoring the voting choices of teens aged 13 and up?

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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Review: “Captain Marvel” is a Solidly Sensational Sci-Fi Adventure

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Captain Marvel joins the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a much different way. She slides into the MCU via a twisty sci-fi adventure of the 1990s, before the Avengers were formed. And though the film does serve as a strong bridge picture that answers a few more questions about the Marvel universe, the film quickly becomes its own thing and gives its hero a real identity as the powerful addition to the superhero ensemble.

Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a woman not sure if she’s a human pilot of Earth or a soldier of the Kree empire’s Starforce. There’s little time to explore these conflicting visions she’s having when there’s special energy powers to control and a war being waged against the shape-shifting Skrull alien creatures. A detour to 1990s Earth gives her a bit of time to find out more while also hunting down some more Skrulls, leading to some interesting scenarios when combatting aliens that could look like old ladies.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) ..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

Carol’s landing on Earth leads to treading down familiar Marvel timeline territory as well as evoking plenty of dated 1990s bits. What started drawing me into the picture was how the film holds itself back from the obvious. The 1990s setting is used for some gags of video stores and Windows 95, sure, but never goes the extra mile of becoming an aggravating reference fest, keeping a certain vibe the way Guardians of the Galaxy embraced the 1970s and 1980s. And just like that film, there’s a nostalgic soundtrack to boot, with choice tracks for just the right cue.

Samuel L. Jackson pops up in the film as a younger Nick Fury with his two eyes still intact. He teams up with Carol in her intergalactic spy adventure and thankfully never goes to the booming lengths he was known for that decade. And the filmmakers could have easily made this younger Fury go full Die Hard 3 or Pulp Fiction but he never does, always keeping that cool persona he has been known for in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL..L to R: Att-Lass (Algenis Perez Soto), Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Minn-Erva (Gemma Chan)..Photo: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2019

But the one aspect that is never shunned and built up grandly is the aspect of female empowerment. Danvers is established as a woman who doesn’t have a clear identity or mindful nature of galactic politics and has to build herself up when she realizes she may be a very powerful pawn in a big game of intergalactic chess. Her memories are that of always being told to back off from non-traditional activities for girls and, sure enough, she rises up to become the smirking and energy-shooting hero when the final piece of her character puzzle is pieced together. It’s just unfortunate that the film spends so much time doing the building amid a twisty sci-fi spy story that Brie never gets a moment to shine as brightly as she could, despite a very enthusiastic third-act closer.

If we’re being blunt, no, Captain Marvel doesn’t quite have the same gravity to be a cultural milestone of a comic book movie. Where others have pointed to Black Panther as not the first the most insightful and cultural of black-led superhero movies, I doubt many will look towards Captain Marvel as the grandest of female-led comic book movies, making its motives known with the power and subtlety of a supernova. But, in terms of what the film is aiming towards, it doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone and that’s perhaps the point. I just wish that Captain Marvel’s astounding powers to destroy starships and aliens had a much bigger punch for a picture that wants to obliterate the glass ceiling and merely cuts a narrow hole within the MCU. It’s a nice hole, mind you, and still weaves a capable and compelling sci-fi adventure with a surprisingly more engaging finale than most Marvel solos.

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