THE HORROR! THE HORROR!
In an unusual scheduling alignment, two horror movies are hitting the nation's multiplexes at the same time this weekend, and analysts suggested that each could bloody the other, giving Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds a fighting chance to repeat as the top film. The Final Destination has 3D going for it, while Halloween II has greater title recognition. Each film is opening in around 3,200 theaters and is expected to take in around $15-20 million. While neither has been shown in advance to critics, Kansas City Star critic Robert W. Butler says that based on seeing the original Final Destination, he believes that there are good reasons both for seeing the new one and avoiding it altogether: "Why we'd see it: The action sequences - these teens die in some of the most outlandish "accidents" imaginable - are off the charts ... and they ought to be cool in 3-D. We also appreciate the series' sick sense of humor. Why we wouldn't: They're all the same movie with interchangeable (not to mention disposable) cast members." Also debuting this weekend -- following an early start on Wednesday in New York and Los Angeles -- is Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock, which opens in half as many theaters. The film's early take has been impressive in the two cities, where it averaged $5,900 per theater on Wednesday and Thursday. It is expected to earn $8-10 million over the weekend. Several smaller films are expanding today but in a relative handful of markets.
MOVIE REVIEWS: WORLD'S GREATEST DAD
If you were expecting the collaboration of Robin Williams and Bobcat Goldthwait to produce a screwball comedy, you'd be wrong, critics are suggesting. Screwy, yes. Comedy, maybe. Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News marvels at the result. "Who'd have thought that Williams could be kept in check by ... Bobcat Goldthwait," who directs World's Greatest Dad, Neumaier remarks. The film deals with what Stephen Holden in the New York Times describes as "the grotesque sentimentality that often attaches to the death of a teenager." It makes an ideal film for cynics, he suggests. But Glenn Whipp in the Los Angeles Times concludes that "for all of its cutting cynicism, Dad proves unexpectedly moving." Claudia Puig in USA Today notes that after starting off "as the most uncomfortable and unsettling movie to sit through of any this year," the film takes a critical turn "and shifts from distasteful and off-putting to darkly funny."
MOVIE REVIEWS: MY ONE AND ONLY
My One and Only, starring Renée Zellweger and Kevin Bacon, is reportedly based on actor George Hamilton's memories of his youth. In this film his name is George, and he's played by Logan Lerman. "But for all its light-hearted charm," writes Stephen Holden in the New York Times, this road film "is less an inquiry into the soul of America than an affectionate period piece set in economically leaner times, decades before communications technology revolutionized the concept of personal space." Claudia Puig in USA Today praises the performances of the cast and the "quick-witted dialogue" of screenwriter Charlie Peters and concludes that the film is "pleasantly diverting." Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times finds the movie something of a relief from the season's blockbusters. "Just when you think nothing will break the summer heat," she writes, "in blows a cool breeze." Joanne Kaufman in the Wall Street Journal suggests that she was pleasantly surprised by the movie. She then adds, "Maybe the subject matter -- a George Hamilton biopic -- all but guarantees low expectations and ensures an excess of enthusiasm for a job even moderately well-done." But Kyle Smith in the New York Post says that Zellweger's performance makes the film "a fabulous bore." And for him the question, as he phrases it, "Would a random scattering of anecdotes from the early life of George Hamilton make a decent movie?" is clearly ... no.