It was another wild and wacky week with a bunch of movie news hitting the web. Now it's time to sift through the good and bad news from Hollywood with this week's Notables.
This guy just won't go away. He's one of the Sandler Regulars, appearing in damn near all of his flicks, and he is just a horrible actor. He was a college buddy of Sandler, back in the day, and apparently that opens doors to not only acting, but screenwriting as well. Who knew? Not only has he written Benchwarmers, which sounds astoundingly-stupid, but he wrote this project as well, about a middle-aged dude who lives with his grandma. Unreal, my friends, simply unreal. Sure, this guy is enough of a loser that I can picture him as a guy living with his grandma, but that still doesn't mean I want to see a movie about it. Connections are everything in Hollywood, but I just wish this one was severed. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
Well, I can't say I'm surprised about this project. High-stakes poker is all over TV these days, but that is real poker, not fictionalized. But with the players behind this one, I think this could be solid. Curtis Hanson is a wonderful director and Eric Roth is an A-list writer. I'm actually looking forward to Drew Barrymore in this one as well. Sure, she plays in a lot of dumb comedies, but after her great turn in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, I think she can turn on the drama as well. Best News of the Week Nominee.
After sticking to the same director for the first two Harry Potter flicks, it looks like they're going the Mission: Impossible route. David Yates joins Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) and Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) as the 3rd different director for the last three Potter books. While Cuaron and Leigh have been established, Yates, as far as for feature films, has not. Yates has been lauded in Britain for his TV series, but this is one hell of a feature-film debut. As far as I know, it's the longest of the 5 books and I'm wondering, with such a vastly successful franchise like this, why they would roll the dice with a TV director that practically no one on this side of the pond has even heard of. I'm just not sure about this one...Worst News of the Week Nominee.
Oh come on. Mel Brooks says there is "plenty of grist for our mill" with the numerous fantasy flicks out there. Great. Sounds like Scary Movie + fantasy flicks + Mel Brooks = God knows what...Hey, I'm as big a fan of Spaceballs as anyone else out there. But to take this idea, spin it around to spoof fantasies and, on top of all that, to put in on television, where material is dumbed down even more so than in the movies, well, that just sounds retarded to me. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
There aren't many directors out there of whom I can say that I own their entire collection, but Mr. Fincher is certainly one of them. Fincher is one of the best directors out there, and this Zodiac material sounds like another home run. Writer James Vanderbilt might be a bit of an X-factor, since his resume is O.K. at best (See: Basic, The Rundown, Darkness Falls) but we'll have to see about that. But Fincher at the helm is definitely a Best News of the Week Nominee.
You remember Wes Bentley, don't you? The creepy kid with the video camera from American Beauty? Yeah, that guy. He had that The Four Feathers flick a few years ago, but I think 9 people saw that, so yeah. Now he's getting back into the spotlight as the bad guy in Ghost Rider. First of all, this kid just has a great look for a bad guy. He wasn't really a bad guy in American Beauty, but he was just kind of scary. I think he'll fit in nicely to this role battling Nicolas Cage. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
A road trip movie arrived at the box office this weekend, and drove away with the top spot. Are We There Yet? took the number 1 spot at the box office, earning $18.5 million in its debut weekend. It was only shown in 2,709 theaters, but earned a respectable $6,856 per-screen average. While the Ice Cube flick didn't dominate the box office by any means, it still had a good showing in the movie doldrums of January, and there is a pretty good chance it will see a profit from its $32 million budget.
The only other new flick this week was Assault on Precinct 13, and it didn't fare nearly as well as the box office leader this weekend. The remake took the 6th spot this weekend, earning a paltry $6.5 million. The flick's total, after its Wednesday opener, stands at just over $8 million. This police actioner cost $30 million to make, so it might have to take some theaters by hostage if they plan on seeing a profit from this movie...
The 9 and 10 spots were fairly intersting this weekend, as one movie posted a decent increase from last weekend, and another posted a whopping decrease. The Phantom of the Opera took the ninth spot with a gross of $4.5 million. The flick was shown in 604 theaters more than last weekend, however, and posted a 24.2% increase from last weekend. The 10th spot wasn't so kind though. Elektra took a huge hit this weekend, as it fell from the 5th spot to the 10th spot this weekend, earning $3.9 million in its second weekend. While it was shown in only one less theater than last weekend, its gross dropped a massive 69% from its opening weekend.
OK, once you're in the main page here, if you wait for something to happen, you'll wait forever. But all you have to do is move your mouse around and you'll see the little white light is a flashlight. How quaint. After you're in the site, you get a weird little intro and there are some options for you there. When you click on Synopsis, they keep the flashlight thing intact, as you have to scroll over the screen with your flashlight to see the synopsis. Click on the Cast and you're taken to an elevator, with the each character name as a button on the elevator. Click on each name, and, yeah, the flashlight thing is back, as you have to scroll across the page to read the actor's credentials. On the Movie Stills page, there is no flashlight, just a bunch of photos tacked on a bulletin board and you click on each one to enlarge. You can also get the trailer, a wallpaper and even a slick game, yes, with the flashlight, but you use that and a gun to shoot these scurrying little mice that keep appearing. You have to scroll around pretty fast to find them, but it's a decent game. Overall, this is a very innovative site that informs, entertains, and most importantly, persuades you to see this flick. Creep is still searching for a release date.
If you have kids, and are planning on seeing this movie, this should be a pretty good site for your kids. The site's format is a map of the Hundred Acre Woods, and each of the little landmarks correspond to the items at the top of the page. They are Story, which is a brief synopsis, Characters, which offers brief character descriptions of all the characters, Videos, which right now is just the trailer, Cards are e-cards, Desktops are desktops and Games are...take a wild guess...Anyway, if you have a young whippersnapper that you'll be taking to this kids flick, there should be a lot of goodies here so that'll keep them busy until naptime...or whatever it is those kids do now. Pooh's Heffalump Movie opens February 11.
When you get on the main site, it says "Check back soon" and some other crap and then it cues to to play some game. I thought this would be it, but if you click on Menu on the lower left corner, there are some options here. "The Ensemble Line" (bad pun, idiots) is just a plain list of the cast and crew. "Nuts and Bolts" is a synopsis, "Upgrades" are downloadble desktops, screensavers and AIM Icons and "The Tinny Arcade" (another bad pun, morons) has a game you can play, although there are two more coming soon. There are two other sections under Menu that are coming soon as well: Media Station and Shots of Bots, and you can also view the trailer by clicking on the link on the far right side. The site looks fine, visually, but the stupid puns and lack of content make this a site to skip. Robots opens on March 11.
On the main site here, you have to select the language you prefer, and at the bottom, you can also see worldwide release dates (which I think is pretty cool) view the trailer and a brief synopsis. When you get in the site, there is a really cool intro and it loads into some links to each member of the Fantastic Four. The only thing that is slightly annoying is that the links keep floating around the 4 logo. Anyway, for each member, you can read a bio, download a wallpaper and look at photos and videos for each cast member. These are all done very well, with a lot of style and content. Once you get done with each of the foursome, click on Quick Links at the bottom of the page for some more goodies. Here, there is Fantastic Four news, a synopsis, wallpapers, trailers and a link to register for updates. The only drawback hee, is that the type size is very small and kind of hard to read. They try a lot of new stuff with the style of this site, and, a few minor annoyances aside, I think they pull it off wonderfully. This is a very nice site with tons of info to get you pumped for the movie, which hits theaters on July 1.
I wasn't excited for this site, when I saw it was a Sony Pictures site, which means this is a teaser site. However, they do offer you to preview the site, which is something I've never seen before. When I did preview the site, I did see something I've seen before, though. It looks like they almost totally stole the scrolling flashlight bit from Creep's site, although on this one the light is a guy's hand holding a Zippo lighter. Anyway, on this preview site, you get some teasing material and a link to register for updates, and on the main site, like all the Sony Picture sites, the trailer loads automatically. Not much here, folks. The Cave opens April 8.
The Chumscrubber: (www.newmarketfilms.com)
While this flick might have a cool title, a cool site, it does not have. All this is is a NewMarket Films bare-bones site with some cast and crew listings and a link to a synopsis and a trailer. It looks like something done on Microsoft Word or Excel. But there is a link to the "official website" only on that site, there is even LESS! There is just some stupid Flash logo here and that is it, folks. Don't even waste the few seconds on either of these sites.
Another crappy Sony site here. At least this one tells you the site is coming soon. Anyway, all there is to do here is download a press kit, which is the only good thing about this site, and look at some photos. That's all folks...Layer Cake opens April 15 in limited release.
Well, judging from the font alone, this definitely looks like a Tim Burton movie...Anyway, there isn't jack crap to do here except look at the internet trailer. There should be more up here before this flick's September 23 release date.
This could be a very provocative flick, that almost looks like a European take on teenage American violence. It looks likeElephant, only interesting and non-stupid (sorry, but that was probably the worst award-winning movie I've ever seen). The direction, screenwriting and acting all look very well done, and this will be one to look out for this year. Dear Wendy is still looking for a release date.
This could be one of the most original non-Charlie Kaufman movies in quite awhile. The story, about women from both heaven and hell sent for the same man, sounds terrific, and the international cast is very solid, with the likes of Penelope Cruz and Gael García Bernal, among others. Everything looks to be in place here for this to be one romp of a comedy. Bendito Infierno opens on February 4 in limited release.
Schultze Gets the Blues:
Schultze's character, and the whole movie in fact, could very well be the German equivilant of a Christopher Guest character/movie. It looks like a simple, dry comedy that doesn't need much to be effective: just some good old-fashioned writing and directing, with no strings attatched. From all the awards the trailer shows us it has garnered, there is no doubt this is an international hit. We'll have to see if Schultze can make a splash in America now. From what I've seen here, though, I think it's definitely possible. Schultze Get's the Blues arrives in theaters on February 11 in limited release.
The tagline here is, "There are some places man was never meant to go." One of those places, was to see this trailer, and this movie. Mother of God! It looks like a foul mix of The Blair Witch Project, Pitch Black (fittingly enough, since Cole Hauser is in this flick) and Alien vs. Predator. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since they stole Creep's website idea...morons. I'm just stunned into silence how unoriginal and retarded this should be. Originality, folks. It's a good thing to have...The Cave opens April 8.
Wow. This is weird, folks. Very weird...I guess I'm kind of on the fence about this one. On one hand, it looks bizarre and cool, but on the other hand, it looks like that kind of flick that tends to confuse bizarre and cool with each other. I'm just not sure about this one, but I'm sure I'll give it a look-see when it arrives on September 23.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a fairly tough choice this week, but I'm going with David Fincher's Zodiac for Best News of the Week. I think David Fincher and my favorite author Chuck Pahlanuik have a lot in common. They're both highly respected within the film and fiction communities, but when you ask anyone in the general public who each of them is, you probably have to say "He did Fight Club" for anyone to vaguely recognize either of their works. Fincher directed the adaptation of Pahlaniuk's first novel "Fight Club", for anyone who didn't get that last remark. Fincher's films are all masterfully done, but he hasn't quite acheived blockbuster director status...even with Fight Club and Se7en under his belt. I hope this Zodiac project brings him to the prominence that he deserves, and maybe will get him to work more.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was another tough choice this week, but I'm picking the idiotic Allen Covert's new project for Worst News of the Week. He's just one of those guys that I just can't stand. I don't even really have a reason for this. Sure, he's a crappy actor, but it's something more than that. Maybe it's the fact that the only reason this guy is acting and writing is because he knows Adam Sandler. Maybe...I don't know. Maybe he beat me up in a former life or something? Who knows. But my hatred of this douchebag aside, can you honestly tell me that this script of his, and even the Benchwarmers script sounds like something that will be worthwhile or, God forbid, even funny? I'm just befuddled here. I need a nap...