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Saturday, May 28, 2011


Last weekend, the latest version of Pirates of the Caribbean ranked #1, with box office revenues of $90 million.  Two new films, which I just saw, will overtake Pirates this week: The Hangover Part II, and Kung Fu Panda 2

Hangover II, like I, is gross and entertaining, but instead of Las Vegas, takes place in Bangkok, one of my favorite cities.  I never saw the first Panda, but except for falling asleep twice, somewhat enjoyed the second.  I guess I'm not a big fan of cartoons.  

Rotten Tomatoes rates II at 94% and 2 at 87%.  The originals were 87% and 83%, respectively.  Which will be #1 this week?  Hangover II, I would guess, might reach $125 million (over 5 days), and Panda 2 (also 5 days) at something around $100 million (because kids will flock in with their parents over the weekend).  Why less for Panda?  I sat at the end of row one in II because the theater was filled at 12:30PM (and the last two showings that day were already sold out), and there might have been only 25 in the audience for 2, in a very large auditorium.  But this was a Friday.

Reviews for Hangover II have been mixed:  bad, neutral and almost good.  It's nearly impossible for anyone to get too carried away with a repeat of a scatological movie.  All said about Panda is good, maybe even better than the first one.

There will almost surely be a Kung Fu Panda 3, maybe with Chuck Norris.  Yes, there will also probably be a third Hangover, this one most probably in Rio, but, who knows, maybe Hawaii, New York City / D.C., Amsterdam or Mosow.  A spin-off with Ken Jeong (hosted the latest Billboard Awards) is being discussed.

I favored Hangover not because of any licentious quality, but maybe the appearance of Jeong (he's got to learn to relax), Mike Tyson (singing), and because one of the characters (Ang Lee's son, Mason) was a Stanford student.  Coincidentally, I am just now reading the May/June issue of Stanford, where I learned that:

1.  Japan is home to more Stanford alumni than any other foreign country.

2.  My chemical engineering department at this school used the latest X-ray flourescence technology to show that those marble Greek statues you see in museums were originally colored over to represent reality.  Did you know this???  There have been reports on this colorful surprise.

3.  34,348 applied this past year and 2,427 were accepted, an admission percentage of 7.1%.  Harvard was #1 with 6.2%, Columbia 6.9% and Yale 7.4%.

Oh well, anyway, it's a long weekend, so go to a movie.  Also new this week (though most probably won't show yet at your local theaters) are:

3.  The Tree of Life (Brad Pitt, Sean Penn)
4.  We are the Night (another vampire flick).
5.  The Wave (high school experiment in Palo Alto on totalitarianism that went haywire, updated to Germany today)
6.  How to Live Forever (sounds like my Chapter 2 in Simple Solutions for Humanity on eternal life).
7.  Tuesday, After Christmas (a Romanian film).
8.  Hello Lonesome (about lonesome people).
9.  Puzzle (Faye Dunaway, Roy Scheider...newly restored 1970 movie)
10.  The Abduction of Zack Butterfield (female sexual psychopath kidnaps a 14 year old boy).
11.  Tied to a Chair (how a near hopeless housewife saves a city).
12.  United Red Army (Japanese movie about the Red Army).
13.  Zindagi Na Milegi Donbara (from India, where three friends go to Spain and Egypt and...).

By the way, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris opened last week (not in Hawaii yet) with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, and is said to be his best in a long time.  However, Rotten Tomatoes only gave it a 75% rating.

Typhoon Songda (also known as Typhoon Chedang), has weakened to 85 MPH, and is just about making landfall over Miyakojima, the solar island of Japan. Sunday on to Kyushu and Monday over Tokyo and, maybe, Fukushima.  However the cooler waters will further reduce Songda into a tropical storm by then.



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