Ben Affleck's Live By Night, which is set largely in Ybor City, is bombing bad at the box office.
The movie opened in late December in just a handful of theaters, a tactic studios usually use to qualify films for awards nominations like the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. But Live By Night has generated about as much Oscar buzz as Batman v. Superman.
Movies that open in limited release in December typically pull in big crowds in those theaters, driving up their per-screen averages. Not Live by Night. It made a paltry $33,000 from four theaters when it opened Christmas weekend, a per-screen average of about $8,300. It's not uncommon for films in limited release to average five times that or more....
So THAT'S what a Chicago sunroof is! "Now we know!" AMC hit Better Call Saul wrapped up Season One on Monday with some of the sublime spinoff's best moments … and, alas, most disappointing. Your beloved team of feverish Saulers — Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Chris Tisch — have mixed emotions about the finale, titled "Marco," which didn't exactly pay off with a heavy cliffhanger (or a return to Omaha and Cinnabon) (or a nice tasty Breaking Bad reference to make us all pant). Herewith, the crew …
CHRIS: Well, guys, I'm not sure what to make of that last episode. Kind of meh, frankly. After building a lot of momentum up to this point, I thought this last episide just kind of treaded water. Jimmy goes back to old times, lives his old life for a bit, loses his friend and returns even a little bit more motivated than before. … I think we get it. Where was the kicker, the holy cow moment? I just didn't see it....
"Slippin' Jimmy with a law degree is like a chimp with a machine gun." And there we go: When Space Blanket Chuck absolutely nuked his brother with that icy dismissal, it certainly seemed like the final soul-crushing shove for our favorite legal anti-hero, Jimmy McGill, to finally cross-over into shady Saul Goodman territory. Last night's ep of AMC obsession Better Call Saul -- titled "Pimento" -- was a doozy. And to think: There's one more hour left in the debut season. Holy moly. Herewith, our fervent Saulers Sean Daly and Chris Tisch get all heavy & stuff in dissecting the best show on television.
CHRIS: "Hail, Satan. I submit to the dark side." Oh, Jimmy. How prophetic that statement will come to be. But Jimmy's transition to the dark required a betrayal -- and with last night's episode, Sean, we got it in a big way. Chuck sold his brother out. And Vince Gilligan and crew uraveled that betrayal with heavy foreshadowing and a brooding eventuality....
With only two episodes left in the debut season of Better Call Saul, University of American Samoa alums Sean Daly and Chris Tisch are in a frenzy. Surely something awful yet awesome (and holy-moly Breaking Bad-ish) will be cliffhung soon, right? Space Blanket Chuck doesn't seem long for this world. Saul loves Kim more than we thought -- but will that end in nookie or tragedy? And as for Mike -- our favorite fixer is about to go dark for the sake of his granddaughter. Herewith, the boys sound off on last night's installment, "Rico."
Chris: Well that was fun!
What a great episode, Mike's apple-chow-down break-in scene a highlight of the season so far, like something out of a Steven Soderbergh movie, complete with funky soundtrack and panache to burn.
I know this ep featured two things that haven't really struck your fancy so far, Michelle - the Kettlemans and Jimmy's relationship with Kim. But I think both storylines coalesced beautifully here, adding depth and nuance to Jimmy's character. Another little thing I noticed: While Jimmy was thumbing through his law books in search of embezzlement, he first flipped through the entry electricity - perhaps a reference to Chuck, his strange illness and his efforts to overcome it. Throw in Jimmy's clever little trick leaving the files behind for Chuck to review, and the show seems to be striking at the theme of pondering whether questionable means can justify the ends....
While Sean is off trying to make himself look more like Matlock, Chris and Michelle take on the latest episode of Better Call Saul, "Five-O," focused on the one and only Mike Ehrmantraut.
"He put me on a pedestal and I had to show him I was down in the gutter with the rest of them." - Mike
Michelle: Excuse me, Chris, while I continue to mop up the tears from last night's Better Call Saul. By far the show's most meaningful episode yet, "Five-O" is an excellent showcase for Jonathan Banks' Mike and a triumph for the show in terms of weaving the longtime Breaking Bad character's fascinating backstory into the Jimmy McGill-centric dramedy we've been watching so far. If this is an indication of what Saul can do as a TV show, I'm definitely all in....
Sex toilets aside, Episode 5 of Better Call Saul went to a very dark place at the end of its hour on Monday -- and that place is called Mike's House. Ooooh, Breaking Bad chills! Herewith, our resident weekly Saulers (Sean Daly, Michelle Stark, Chris Tisch) gush, debate and predict how the AMC hit show will unfurl as it creeps into the (hopefully twisted) second-half of its debut season...
SEAN: You guys are gonna eye-roll at me again (or maybe you never stopped), but I realized my affections for Better Call Saul were approaching Breaking Bad-ish intensity last night when I kept peeking at my clock to see how much time was left. I wanted more, to cram two hours into one. But I also felt that giddy-nervous stir when it blinked to 10:50 p.m. That's Vince Gilligan's magic window, always has been. All inventive, never-saw-it-coming hell would break loose on BB in the closing ticks; it does with Saul & Co. too. And Ep 5 finally, thankfully took us into a dark storm cloud, with fixer Mike (who loves his granddaughter -- and considers killing everyone else) finally seeing his story arc creak open. We might be happy about it -- but he sure isn't. Actor Jonathan Banks is the master of the deadpan deathstare; so much going on in that smooth-pated terrifying dome. The ex-cop is casing someone (hey Michelle, is that his daughter?) and the cops don't like it. Presumably, Mike is gonna call on Saul, and that's how America's Bittersweethearts will start doing business together....
Chris: So I've been more down on Better Call Saul than most for the first three episodes, but I feel like the show hit a bit of a stride with its fourth installment - "Hero." What's grabbing me the most is the relationship - both present and past - between Jimmy and his lawyer friend Kim, played by Rhea Seehorn. I loved how she smirked at Saul's efforts to undermine Hamlin; she is the most compelling supporting player in the show so far.
Oh, and what about her invitation to go see - of all things - John Carpenter's 1982 remake The Thing? Some "Kurt Russell action," she said. How about some Wilford Brimley as a bad guy action? What's next week's feature, The Firm? (Really, Tisch? Michelle and Sean invite you to join them on this and you give them Wilford Brimley jokes?)...
The Feed vets Michelle Stark (new Food Editor) and Sean Daly (biz whiz) couldn't stay away from TV forever. For the former Mad Men debaters, the allure of another AMC show proved too strong. And this time, they're bringing Business Editor Chris Tisch, a Breaking Bad fanboy who once paid homage to Walter White's love of tighty-whities at a Halloween party, along for the ride. After drooling over the first two episodes of could-have-been-terrible Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, the trio take it to the Feed to discuss this week's third installment, "Nacho."...
02/27/11 Human Interest
You know that guy, the one two cubicles over who blows papers off his desk when he sneezes, then lets out a WHEW!!!! and looks around to make sure everyone heard him.
Then there's the woman down the hall who practically retreats under her desk to uncork a couple of baby mouse sneezes — achew, achew — then apologizes if anyone noticed.
Allergy season is upon us, and we're about to hear a lot more sneezing around the home and office. ...
12/26/10 Human Interest
Ever watch the show Hoarders and see a bit of yourself?
Yeah, me too. I let stuff accumulate. I struggle to throw things out.
It hasn't become as severe as, say, fossilized cats under couch cushions or soiled newspaper stacks on the bed. But I recently realized I needed to declutter before it got to that point. ...
Seventeen years ago, David Simon, a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, spent a year shadowing a homicide squad to write Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets. • The book became a crime classic, was the basis for a critically acclaimed NBC series and launched a new career for Simon (HBO's The Wire, The Corner, Treme). Homicide was street-level and gritty in a time when a homicide detective could count on one hand how many of his cases were solved in the crime lab. Cases then were solved on the streets and in the interrogation room. • Solving crimes has changed significantly since that year in Baltimore, as forensic science and psychological profiling emerged and the search for killers became much more brainy. • What Homicide was to that era, The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo is to modern murder solving. It's an exhilarating read with complex characters, devastating cases and breathtaking breaks and turns. Don't be surprised if it also becomes the basis of a TV show or film....
07/25/10 Human Interest
A little more than two years from now, the national spotlight will focus on Tampa Bay like it rarely has before. About 15,000 journalists will arrive as the Republican National Convention comes to Tampa. The convention will dominate the daily news cycle. The nightly speeches — including the acceptance speech from the party's presidential nominee — will be carried on national television. In 2008, about 40 million people a night watched the three-day GOP convention in St. Paul, Minn. This got us thinking: What other events have put Tampa Bay in the national spotlight in the last several years? So, here's a sampling of some of the more high-profile events that have temporarily swung the nation's attention to the Tampa Bay area over the last 10 years:...
11/27/09 Human Interest
Chuck de Vlaming lost 18 friends in the war but never cried.
That was how you survived the skies above Vietnam. You shut everything out. Stress. Pain. Guilt. Pilots who lost control got shot down.
It was a difficult philosophy to apply to life after the war. Three failed marriages and arm's-length friendships attest to de Vlaming's emotional absence. Even those who got close described him as aloof, cold even. ...
04/16/09 Human Interest
Chicago crime boss Al Capone had many connections — some rumored, some confirmed — to the Tampa Bay area.
He owned property in St. Petersburg and is reported to have built a house for his mother here in 1925 while he was wanted for murder in Chicago.
The 2,350-square-foot, 10-room home in Shore Acres — which has a fireplace decorated with fish, supposedly to signify the mob term "sleeps with the fishes" — was sold in 1931, the same year Capone was sentenced to prison. ...