Sunday, August 30, 2009

Box Office Report: "The Final Destination" rakes in over $28 million; Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock" opens weak

The reviews have not been particularly favourable for Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, which most likely contributed to its poor performance at the box-office in the film's opening weekend. The film is based on Elliot Tiber's Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life. In her review for The Village Voice, Melissa Anderson criticizes the film for its "borderline offensive portrayals of Jews, performance artists, trannies, Vietnam vets, squares, and freaks."

In this further excerpt from Melissa Anderson's review of Taking Woodstock, she writes:

To its credit, Taking Woodstock—based on Elliot Tiber’s 2007 memoir, Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life, and written by Lee’s frequent collaborator James Schamus—features no actors pantomiming Janis Joplin, Ravi Shankar, or Sha-Na-Na; in fact, little music from the concert itself is heard. On display instead are inane, occasionally borderline offensive portrayals of Jews, performance artists, trannies, Vietnam vets, squares, and freaks.

According to his memoir, Tiber was present at another sacrosanct revolution two months earlier: Stonewall. Elliot’s gayness becomes Lee’s tenuous overarching theme, awkwardly shoehorned in; Elliot and a butch construction worker he later makes out with meet-cute over a Judy Garland record. But Elliot’s Uranian tendencies must be kept hidden from his Jewish-√©migr√© parents, Jake and Sonia (Henry Goodman and Imelda Staunton, the latter of whom is seen passed out on a pile of cash, clutching tens and twenties), who run El Monaco, a decrepit motel in upstate Bethel. The good, closeted, budding-entrepreneur son leaves Manhattan to help them, and, after reading that neighboring Wallkill says no to hosting a bunch of long hairs grooving out to some hard rock, sets the wheels in motion for Michael Lang (Jonathan Groff) and associates to have the concert in his Catskills hamlet.

Beyond Elliot’s marginally interesting homo conflict—he’s given a push to come out by Liev Schreiber’s ridiculous drag queen, Vilma, who shows up to provide security—Taking Woodstock does nothing more than recycle the same late-’60s tropes seen countless times since the Carter administration. READ MORE

Weekend Box-Office:
1. "The Final Destination," $28.3 million.
2. "Inglourious Basterds," $20 million.
3. "Halloween II," $17.4 million.
4. "District 9," $10.7 million.
5. "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," $8 million.
6. "Julie & Julia," $7.4 million.
7. "The Time Traveler's Wife," $6.7 million.
8. "Shorts," $4.9 million.
9. "Taking Woodstock," $3.7 million.
10. "G-Force," $2.8 million.

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Liev Schreiber 'giddy' over dressing in drag
Elliot Tiber: The gay guy 'who saved Woodstock'

'Final Destination' arrives at No. 1 with $28.3M

AP reports:
Movie fans have made fear their top destination at the weekend box office. The horror tale "The Final Destination" debuted as the No. 1 movie with $28.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Warner Bros. sequel is the latest installment in the franchise about people stalked by death after a premonition saves them from their destined demise. "Final Destination" took over the top spot from Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt's World War II saga "Inglourious Basterds," which slipped to second place with $20 million. "Final Destination" continued Hollywood's streak of 3-D successes. The 3-D component accounted for 70 percent of the movie's revenues, even though only 54 percent of the 3,121 theaters where it played offered the movie in 3D.