I’m on the fence about the nature of the box office this weekend. It seems Expendables 2 has fended off its place at the top against the pair of newcomers Premium Rush and The Apparition. Clearly this means audiences recognized the latter as substandard, and yet, fully funded Sly’s latest machismo outing. Hmm. Is this good?

I’m leaning towards that none of it is, really. Let’s start with an observation of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who, looking boyish and young, has become quite popular. But it was his die-hard, literally perfect chemistry with Zooey in (500) Days of Summer that had a lot to do with it too, of course, and we all sincerely miss that Joseph.

Since that incredible performance that began his career, he has ranged from such dull cinema as G.I. Joe to the dead-eyed supporting man in Inception, that merger between Blade Runner’s final cut and The Matrix. His only stray away from everyman types was Hesher, which wasn’t altogether watched or celebrated by those that watched it.

Now he’s succumbed to action yarns the like of Premium Rush, which is not only silly, but quite absurd, and lacks a climax. Audiences have put Koepp in his place. Please, David—I’m such a fan. Write another intrigue like Panic Room or Mission: Impossible for us.

And then there’s Looper coming up that Joseph will head. Maybe he’ll have great chemistry with Bruce Willis and find an actual character the way Val Kilmer suddenly became Doc Holliday in Tombstone, but for now, all we can hope for is a return to form by Joseph, and maybe, just maybe, that owed sequel to (500) Days of Summer will rejuvenate something if he stars in it.

The Apparition has all the marks of a filmmaker’s debut, particularly in its weaknesses in plot, camera, and overall quality. But don’t give up on Todd Lincoln. He’s just started the journey to finding his niche, and so long as he goes somewhere radically different for his next endeavor, give him another shot.

 

Weekend Results

1.) Expendables 2 (LGF): Second weekend, with $13.5 million.

2.) The Bourne Legacy (Uni.): Third weekend, with $9.3 million.

3.) ParaNorman (Focus): Second weekend, with $8.5 million.

4.) The Campaign (WB): Third weekend, with $7.4 million.

5.) The Dark Knight Rises (WB): Sixth weekend, with $7.15 million.

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