Greetings from the Land of 10,000 Lakes… Minnesota, for the uninitiated.

Welcome to the first The Week in Review column. I will probably be adding more to the column in the near future, but if you have any comments or suggestions, or you just want to tell me that I suck, log on to the MovieWeb Forums and sound off under the Other Columns thread.

Well, as Joe Cabot said in Reservoir Dogs, “Lets go to work.”

The Oscars were last Sunday, and after a few unpredictable nominations, the results were somewhat predictable. Charlize won, Seabiscuit lost (thank God!) and Hollywood bowed down to the King, with Lord of the Rings: Return of the King sweeping the Oscars, winning all 11 awards it was nominated for, which was a historic first. One more Oscar, and it would’ve broken the award of 11 Oscar’s set by Ben-Hur and equalled by Titanic. It would’ve been cool if Johnny Depp would’ve won the Best Lead Actor award for his amazing performance in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, but Sean Penn definitely deserved the Oscar for his marvelous performance in Mystic River. If anyone but Penn or Depp won for this, I would’ve been insanely peeved. But the Oscars weren’t the only news of the week. Let’s check out the good and the bad of TinselTown in the past week.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

American is still swept up in The Passion of the Christ, with the movie staying on top at #1, pulling in an estimated $51.3 million in its second weekend. The Mel Gibson film has grossed an estimated $212 million, hitting the $200 million milestone in only 12 days, which is the sixth fastest to reach $200 million. But while it was a milestone weekend for huge grosses, it was also a milestone weekend for huge drops as well. Broken Lizard’s Club Dread dropped an estimated 76.3% in its second weekend, the 10th biggest second-weekend drop. The comedy basically dropped off the radar, coming in 16th place, grossing a meager $720,000. Sounds like we have this year’s Gigli already…

The week’s two new movies fared well also. Starsky and Hutch came in second place, taking in an estimated $29.05 million and Hidalgo took the bronze medal in third place, grossing an estimated $19.6 million. And, with this being the first weekend since the Oscar’s last Sunday, a few of the Oscar winners had some extra patrons at the theater. Monster, which features Charlize Theron’s magnificent Oscar-winning performance, came in 10th place, grossing an estimated $2.2 million. The gross itself isn’t highly impressive, but the movie’s weekend gross actually increased from last week, grossing an estimated 12.1 percent more than the last weekend. Mystic River, which has 2 Oscar-winning performances from Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, didn’t gross more than it did last weekend, but it didn’t drop much either. The Clint Eastwood drama only dropped an estimated 1.2%, finishing in 11th place at $2.06 million. And Best Picture winner Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which was shown in 791 more theaters than last weekend, came in 7th place, with $3.1 million, jumping 46% from last weekends gross. Like they really need to make more money off this movie…

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

Not a whole lot of good news this week, but the one thing that stands out is legendary bad-guy Gary Oldman coming onto Batman Begins.

The Batman prequel, written and directed by the wonderful Christopher Nolan (Memento, Insomnia) is one of the most highly anticipated movies in production. This cast just keeps getting greater, with The Last Samurai’s Ken Watanabe coming aboard last week. Oldman is the latest addition to an A-list cast that includes Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and my future wife, Katie Holmes. With this amazing cast and Nolan writing and helming, this looks to be one of the biggest blockbusters of 2005. If nothing else, Katie Holmes is in it…

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

There were quite a few news bits vying for this title this week. There’s America’s favorite dingbat, Jessica Simpson talking about some possible upcoming movies. She’d look hot as Daisy Duke, I guess, but I’d have to plug my ears every time she spoke so my brain wouldn’t shrivel. And then there’s the news of the title for Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses sequel. I’m sure the 12 people that saw the first movie will appreciate that. But the worst news of the week is the return of Chucky. Apparently, Billy Boyd, a.k.a. the hobbit Pippin in Lord of the Rings, is voicing the kid of the knife-wielding doll in The Seed of Chucky The bad part isn’t really that Boyd signed on for voice work, but that the project actually exists! Why Lord, why??!! Chucky has a kid now, eh? I suppose it’s the logical course of action, since he got “married” in the last movie. It’s logical until you take into account that, HE’S A FRICKIN DOLL, PEOPLE! I mean, come on. It was a cute series for awhile, now just let it go…

Well, that’s it for this week’s edition, folks. So, as Stan Lee said in Mallrats, “You keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them.”

From the flip side, this is your Movie Freak, signing off...