This week marks the worst movie box office in 15 years

Box Office graphic (MGN Online)

Facts are FACTS, folks. No way to sugarcoat the truth. The combined revenue from the "Top Twelve" films of this past week failed to total $50 million. According to those that track the numbers, this has not happened over a period of an August week in over 20 years! And with the absence of any new major wide release opening this weekend, the same horrible financial report is expected to be repeated seven days from now.

Most Las Vegas film critics pretty much feel the same way as I do -- that 2017 has not been the best year for introducing a lot of great movies. Unfortunately, I had missed reviewing what is perhaps "the sleeper of the summer." BABY DRIVER has been in the theaters for 65 days. The latest report as of today is this action-thriller has earned $194 million (when combining the domestic and foreign box office.) That is blockbuster business. I am excited to now share my review of the film that achieved an "A-" from CinemaScore. I was fortunate enough to see this blockbuster earlier this week at AMC Town Square in Dolby Vision and 35 mm, as well as those comfortable reclining leather seats.



Score: A-

Rated R -- 113 minutes

"The absolute art of the car chase!"

Remember the name of Ansel Elgort (as Baby). This 23-year-old New Yorker has come of age in his eighth feature film. He has only been acting professionally for five years. He already has completed two additional films now in post-production which will be released in 2018.

According to Wikipedia, his father is a 30-year fashion photographer for Vogue magazine and his mother is an opera director. His maternal grandmother was in the Norwegian Resistance during World War II. As a result of saving Norwegian children, she was eventually arrested and sent to a concentration camp. And, as a result of his family lineage, Mr. Elgort seems to possess a rich charismatic style of acting. He truly draws us into this story and never lets us go. In BABY DRIVER, Mr. Elgort plays a young, troubled getaway driver who relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack. He is the best in his game. And he is about to fall in love.

To challenge someone as handsome as Mr. Elgort, the screenplay has to include his meeting the girl of his dreams (played by Lily James as Deborah). He now has a purpose for one last drive -- a chance to ditch his criminal life and make a clean getaway. I don't want to give away any more plot.

The film is rich in acting performances led by Kevin Spacey (as Doc), Jon Bernthal (as Griff), Eliza Gonzalez (as Darling), Jon Hamm (as Buddy), and Jamie Foxx (as Bats).

The film is written and directed by Edgar Wright. This is a crowning achievement for him. He brings his "A" game of crime and old-fashioned action, as well as modern music and sound. Mr. Wright has extensive screenplay experience and credits. The success of BABY DRIVER is really due to the complex and intricate screenplay. This may be one of those films to rent and watch again to see all of the details that you may have missed. For example, Baby records conversations -- never his own -- and then mixes the conversations into songs. Wow! Did you catch every melody? Did you catch every lyric? This is the soundtrack of Baby's life! It could be the soundtrack of your life.

Kudos also to Bill Pope for his brilliant cinematography, Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos for their incredible film editing, and especially composer Steven Price. Rarely has music played as important of a role in the success of a major Hollywood film as you will find in BABY DRIVER. Mr. Price and his colleagues are all deserving of Oscar nominations.

Bottom line: brilliant direction, screenplay, cinematography, editing, and music. Outstanding acting --(Jamie Foxx has never been better). High energy from start to finish. And most important of all: it is a lot of fun.

See you at the movies!


QUESTION: What do the following motion picture legends all have in common?

  • Mae West
  • W.C. Fields
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Clark Gable
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Mickey Rooney
  • Abbott and Costello
  • Martin and Lewis
  • Doris Day
  • Jimmy Durante
  • Henry Fonda
  • John Wayne
  • Cary Grant
  • Tony Curtis
  • Burt Lancaster

"Circus life is a natural for motion pictures. Old movies have given us the rare glimpses of long-gone circus performers and their lifestyle." Those two sentences and the above names of actors and actresses are found online in Wikipedia. The Ringling Bros. Circus had its last performance just three months ago. And yet, it seems that the Circus has just come to town.

(Please note: THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH is the name of Cecil B. DeMille's directed 1952 Best Picture of the Year Academy Award Winner.)

Words do not adequately describe the thrills, laughter, and applause you will experience at CIRCUS 1903, currently performing at the Paris Theater on the Las Vegas Strip. The show indeed captures the "Golden Age of Circus".

Be prepared, because there will be moments when you will actually hold your breath. The most dangerous acts are done without a safety net or a large foam mattress. This is the only show in town where adults and children of all ages can sit together, eat some popcorn, and cheer the performers on.

CIRCUS 1903 is an absolutely first class production -- including sound, lighting, music, and audience participation. Not to be missed!

Program note: Spend the money and purchase the Souvenir Programme. This is one souvenir to read cover-to-cover and hold onto.

To get a feeling for Circus 1903, what follows is a video clip from last week's show stopping performance on NBC's AMERICA'S GOT TALENT.