Another week has past with a whole new slew of movie news for you. Let’s check out the high’s and low’s of the week with Notables.

NOTABLES

"Your first close-up look at Michael Chiklis as ‘The Thing’ in The Fantastic Four”- Monday, September 20

I’m not familiar with the comic book at all, and I don’t know if this is a decent portrayal of the comic book character, but I must say this looks pretty cool. It’s nice to see that the character is all old-school costume and no new-school CGI, and with Chiklis (“The Shield”) in the body suit, this should be awesome. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"More talk about the Silent Hill adaptation” – Tuesday, September 21

I was surprised to see that Roger Avary and Christophe Gans were taking this project on. I just loved Avary’s The Rules of Attraction and Gans’ The Brotherhood of the Wolf was very good as well. As for the video game, I have no idea what it’s about (I have a Genesis and N64...I buy too many DVD’s...) but with these two filmmakers on board, this sounds pretty damn good to me. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Nick Lachey to star in heist film, The Hard Easy” – Thursday, September 23

Apparently, the less-annoying half of The Newlyweds, has acted on Charmed, which stars his wife, Jessica Simpson’s kid sister Ashlee Simpson. Hmm I wonder how that worked itself out? I bet the audition was grueling...So now he’s going to play an accountant, who, get this, comes from the other side of the tracks? Yeah, he really has that hardened look going for him, doesn’t he? Maybe he should gear up for this by getting the crap kicked out of him on his show. Now that’s one episode I’d definitely tune in for...Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Usher to star in Dimension Films untitled drama” – Thursday, September 23

An R&B version of 8 Mile, eh? Well, at least it’s not a country version of 8 Mile...From the hard streets of Nashville...Anyway, this sounds just as dumb, with Usher toplining. Sure, the guy has acted before, but not in that big of roles, not to mention he’s not that good anyway. If they try to incorporate any gritty street stuff with R&B music, it just won’t work at all. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Columbia set to pick up Last One In” – Thursday, September 23

The story here sounds very intriguing, about a male gossip columnist who mistakenly gets sent to cover the war in Iraq and comes out a hero. I don’t know how someone can mistakenly get sent to Iraq, though, but this could be a winner. Most flicks about journalists don’t exactly paint a flattering picture of the trade (except for probably All the Presidents Men) so this one could be a welcome sight. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Alan Ball to make his directorial debut with Towelhead” – Thursday, September 23

I didn’t think it would take this long for the Oscar-winning screenwriter Ball to make his directorial debut. But, then again, after American Beauty, he created the critically acclaimed TV show Six Feet Under. This sounds like a very interesting project and this announcement should garner even more buzz for the novel when it hits the stands in April, and with Ball writing and directing the project, the buzz will surely increase. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Ashlee Simpson to star in Wannabe” – Thursday, September 23

The most surprising part about this item is that Lions Gate Films is doing this project. This doesn’t sound like something that LGF would get involved in. I mean, Ashlee Simpson in a Lions Gate film? Unless she gets killed in the flick, which from her gloriously stupid description, doesn’t sound like the case, I can’t imagine this project existing at Lions Gate. But, stranger things have happened...Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Scott Frank to direct The Lookout” – Friday, September 24

It’s a very good week for screenwriters, with another top-notch scribe in Scott Frank finally getting his directorial debut. Frank, who has some great flicks under his belt such as Minority Report and the Elmore Leonard adaptations Out of Sight and Get Shorty, is one of the best writers out there today, and The Lookout, which he also wrote, looks dandy as well. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"The latest on The Terminator 4 production” – Friday, September 24

They’re still not sure if they can use The Governator a.k.a. Arnold Schwarzenneger, but the way they set up the ending of the 3rd flick, I’m not totally sure they need him. Still, having a new Terminator flick without Arnold just doesn’t seem right. I’m still very interested to see where they go with the story, and apparently they’re introducing a new model of Terminator, obviously, so this could work out. But, then again, if they don’t get Nick Stahl and Claire Danes back, which they really should, this might not work at all. I’m really on the fence with this one, and it could go both ways, but for now, I’m neutral on this one.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

Movie goers obviously did not forget to hit the theaters this weekend, at least for one of the new releases. The Forgotten absolutely shattered all competition on its way to the top spot at the box office this weekend. The Forgotten took in an estimated $22 million in its debut weekend. It took in just over half of its $42 million budget, and had nearly an $16 million lead over the 2nd place finisher, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, which took the silver medal with $6.7 million in its 2nd weekend in release. The flick dropped 56.8% from its opening weekend.

The other 2 new releases were just hoping for a share of the wealth, and didn’t get that much at all. First Daughter, a.k.a. Chasing Liberty with my future wife Katie Holmes, could only muster a 4th place finish with an estimated $4 million gross. The only other new flick, Shaun of the Dead finished in 8th place with an estimated gross of $3.2 million. This is rather impressive, though, since the British zombie flick was shown in a paltry 607 theaters over the weekend, good for a $5,367 per screen average. This decent showing should make for an increase in theater counts for Shaun of the Dead, and probably a higher take of the box office loot.

GOING LIVE

The Ringer: (www.foxsearchlight.com/theringer)

A trailer, synopsis and brief list of the cast and crew is all you get from this lame website. Oh, and a picture of Johnny Knoxville and Brian Cox looking thoroughly confused. Maybe they’re wondering why this stupid website with barely anything to offer the user was put up in the first place? The Ringer will be in theaters sometime next year.

The Grudge: (www.sonypictures.com/movies/thegrudge)

If you’re jumpy at all, be warned that when you run your mouse over the Enter Site link, a frickin loud sound effect might spook you a bit. Anyway, when you get inside, they get you involved right away, with some nice interactivity. It’s kind of like the Bourne Supremacy site, where you have to click on different things and proceed through the story. This one is a lot creepier though, and this is a great site if you’re pumped for the movie and have some time to kill. The Grudge opens on October 22.

The House of Flying Daggers: (www.sonyclassics.com/houseofflyingdaggers)

This flick might have a cool title, but the website really isn’t that cool. The background of the site is kind of cool, but all we have here is a press kit, which is kind of unique, and some production stills. That’s about it, but there might be more when this flick opens December 3 in limited release.

TRAILER PARK

The Dust Factory:

If you’re over the age of 13, this probably won’t be for you. It looks like an odd different world, loosely based on the premise of Peter Pan. It could be good, but I’m not familiar with any of these kid actors, and I probably won’t be any more familiar with them after this comes out. But, if this looks like it’s for you, The Dust Factory opens on October 8 in limited release.

Woman Thou Art Loosed:

You don’t get a real idea of what this movie is really about from the trailer, or even what the stupid title means. The performances don’t look too bad here, but I’m just not sure about this flick. Woman Thou Art Loosed opens on October 1 in limited release.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

It was a tough decision this week, but my pick for best news of the week goes to screenwriter Scott Frank getting his first crack at the helm. Frank’s script for this project sounds great: revolving around a janitor who used to be a hockey player trying to foil a robbery. Frank’s dialogue is usually incredibly witty, and he has a great feel for a story line. I hope his work in the directors chair is just as good as is writing work, because if that’s the case, this should be a wonderful movie.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

It was an equally tough decision for this category, but I’m going to have to pick Nick Lachey ‘s film debut just barely over Ashlee Simpson’s film debut. They both sound equally stupid, but I can’t see them try to pull off Lachey coming from the bad side of town. I missed his acting debut on Charmed, because, well, I’m a guy...but I still can’t see him as an actor at all, let alone in this role. This just doesn’t sound like it will work at all. Stick to what you’re good at, Nick...oh wait. Is there something he’s good at?