HOW HIGH WILL EAGLE FLY?

Keeping an eagle eye on the large numbers of theaters in which its opening, its PG rating, its lack of significant competition, and its popular young star, box office forecasters are predicting that Eagle Eye should be a slam-dunk winner at the box office this weekend. The Shia LaBeouf starrer is expected to earn between $25 million and $30 million. It faces a slew of newcomers, but only two whose theater count exceeds 1,000, Nights in Rodanthe, starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane, expected to earn $15-18 million, and the Spike Lee war drama Miracle at St. Anna, expected to earn $5-7 million.

MOVIE REVIEWS: EAGLE EYE

Eagle Eye is not as exciting as the trailers might lead moviegoers to believe, several critics have suggested. Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times writes, "This film contains not a single plausible moment after the opening sequence, and that's borderline. It's not an assault on intelligence. It's an assault on consciousness." Claudia Puig in USA Today makes the identical criticism: "Mostly, the plot is mind-numbingly preposterous, never stinting on overblown action." Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News suggests that the film "feels as if it were created, directed and acted, soup to nuts, by a computer program. See, everyone complains about humans in movies but no one does anything about it, so it fell to Eagle Eye to make everything laughably, ridiculously fake." Numerous critics make the point that the screenwriter "borrowed" plot devices and scenes directly from other films, most of them directed by Alfred Hitchcock. But Ty Burr in the Boston Globe concludes: "The borrowings from older, better movies are used the way you'd retrofit a classic engine into an assembly-line chassis. No one in the audience needs to know that's the Albert Hall climax from The Man Who Knew Too Much rumbling under the final scenes set in the US Capitol. But no one who's seen The Man Who Knew Too Much will think Eagle Eye does it remotely as well."

MOVIE REVIEWS: NIGHTS IN RODANTHE

The teaming of Richard Gere and Diane Lane in Nights in Rodanthe, their third movie together, has not charmed the critics who were previously charmed by The Cotton Club and Unfaithful. They also expected more from the illustrious theatrical director and playwright George C. Wolfe. But critics tend to be cold hearted. (When was the last time one admitted weeping during a film?) Take Manohla Dargis's review in the New York Times: "There's no joy and not even much cruel laughter to be had from the spectacle of sympathetic actors ... mouthing some of the most pitiful, platitudinous, risible dialogue in recent memory, particularly if you were suckered into watching this movie specifically because of its performers." Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel concludes his review this way: "It's a pity that a movie that begins with such simmering promise chills into a film of pretty people in a pretty place telling a pretty bland story." In the same tone, Roger Ebert writes in the Chicago Sun-Times, "The movie attempts to jerk tears with one clunky device after another, in a plot that is a perfect storm of cliché and contrivance." But Glenn Whipp in the Los Angeles Daily News predicts the Nights in Rodanthe won't be the last romantic novel by Nicholas Sparks to be adapted by Hollywood, "judging from the volume of sniffles I heard upon fleeing the screening room."

NOTE:

A summary of reviews for Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna will appear here on Monday.

ITALIAN JUDGE TOSSES OUT RULING AGAINST BITTORRENT SITE

The notorious BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay has won an appeal of an Italian judge's order to Internet Service Providers last month to block access to its site. The website successfully argued in the court of Bergamo that it should not be the focus of Italian prosecutors' action against copyright violators since it does not distribute infringing material itself. The website TorrentFreak reported Thursday that the same prosecutor who was responsible for shutting down The Pirate Bay last month was also able to block an Italian BitTorrent site, Colombo-BT. TorrentFreak claim that the action was "orchestrated" by an anti-piracy group, IFPA (The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), which then was able to learn the identity of the Colombo-BT users by redirecting traffic to its site after the crackdown.

Cinemark Movie Club