Another seven days has come and gone, and left another slew of movie news, box office info, new websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So let's get right into it with this week's Notables.
"Katherine Heigl Gets Knocked Up" - Monday, April 17
I'm not surprised that Katherine Heigl, who I enjoyed in probably her two biggest flicks, 100 Girls and The Ringer, is replacing Anne Hathaway here. I'm surprised that the pristine Hathaway, who supposedly charmed people in Ella Enchanted and The Princess Diaries series, was even going to be in a Judd Apatow flick. With the roles Hathaway has had, this casting almost seemed like casting a virgin in a porn flick. It just doesn't work. This flick, about the consequences of a one-night stand, should be much better with Heigl. She has a more alluring look and demeanor about her, and I think she'll work out great with Seth Rogen and Apatow. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Matthew Perry Goes Numb" - Monday, April 17
Why can't they ever make screenwriters seem just normal in movies? They're either drunk and depressed (Leaving Las Vegas), neurotic (Adaptation) or just plaid nerdy (State and Main). They're going the depressed route here with Matthew Perry's new role here. Of course, it's a little funny that it's screenwriters themselves who make these characters, but I've written a few scripts myself and it'd be nice to see just a normal screenwriter on the silver screen. What worries me even more is that this particular writer, Harris Goldberg, has written Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo and perhaps one of the worst movies of all time, The Master Of Disguise. I guess I can imagine why he's depressed, but that doesn't mean I'll give a rats ass about it. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Thandie Newton, Cuba Gooding Jr, Eddie Griffin and Terry Crews Join the Cast of Norbit" - Monday, April 17
This doesn't sound half-bad, actually, for an Eddie Murphy flick that is. Murphy's brother, Charlie, who wrote and acted in the hilarious Chappelle's Show, gets a story credit here, but the main writers worry me a bit. David Ronn and Jay Scherick have a sketchy resume (Serving Sara, National Security), but maybe Charlie Murphy's original script was good enough a start for them. Besides that, we have here probably the best cast for an Eddie Murphy movie in many many years, and the story, about a twerp who is about to marry a ginormous woman and then meets his dream girl, doesn't sound too bad at all. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Yuri Zeltser and Cary Bickley To Write Texas Hold 'Em Tourney" - Tuesday, April 18
I knew it had to happen sooner or later. While the "poker boom" that started 3 years ago has spawned Hollywood into action with a slate of films about the game and some of its legendary players, I was just hoping that they would never ever make a family movie about Texas Hold 'Em. While I am an avid player (this story will get a few laughs at my weekly game)and watch a good amount of the game on TV, there's no way in Hades that I'd be caught dead seeing a flick like this. For one, it's basically Vegas Vacation with Hold 'Em, and the fact that a family in crisis would go to Vegas for a high-stakes Hold 'Em game to basically save their family isn't so much absurd as it's the worst frickin idea I've heard in quite awhile. Poker is not a family game, no matter how much they're trying to make it these days, and, unless the game drops off the face of the earth in the next few years, it's almost certain that this will be in the theaters, because the game is so popular. Unreal. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Rogue Pictures Takes the Wheel On Driver" - Thursday, April 20
This shouldn't be confused with the new Hugh Jackman project Drive, but it's pretty damn close. This adaptation of the popular vidgame about an undercover cop who becomes a getaway driver for the mob should have a slick look and feel to it with Roger Avary writing and directing. It was really an awesome game with a cool story to it, and I'm a little pissed off that I can't find the game now so I can brush up on it. Oh well. I think Avary is a very underrated filmmaker, and hopefully this will be the big hit he needs to elevate his status as a top-notch auteur. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
After a completely one-sided weekend last weekend, moviegoers shared the wealth a bit more this weekend. Silent Hill took home the most wealth this weekend though, nabbing the top spot with $20.1 million in its opening weekend. The vidgame adaptation, while failing to impress critics with a 24% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, took in a healthy $6,887 per-screen average, showing in 2,926 theaters. While there were 3 other flicks that posted 8-digit grosses, Silent Hill turned in a solid performance against some decent competition. But with the summer season just around the corner, and a $50 million budget to make back, they might be cutting this pretty close, as far as making a profit. Scary Movie 4 took a huge hit this weekend, dropping 58.2% in its second weekend, but its $16.8 million take was still good for 2nd place this weekend.
Another newcomer this weekend could only come home with the bronze this weekend. The Sentinel took third place with $14.3 million in it debut weekend. The Michael Douglas thriller did a little better with critics (30% "Fresh on RT), but still posted a decent $5,096 per-screen average, showing in 2,819 theaters. Budget figures weren't released for this flick, but I doubt this was the start they had envisioned.
The good news for The Sentinel was it didn't do nearly as bad as the last newcomer this weekend, American Dreamz. The Hugh Grant flick could only scrape together a 9th place finish this weekend, taking in a dismal $3.6 million in its opening weekend. The flick was only in 1,500 theaters this weekend, taking in a horrible $2,444 per-screen average. Even though this flick only cost $17 million to make, with a heavy slate of competition coming up, I doubt this flick will see a profit at all.
X-Men: The Last Stand: (x-menthelaststand.com)
This is a very busy little site, with an interface that I've really never seen before. The Flash site is really a snazzy web browser, and you can even do a search for mutant connections. When you do a search on any of the X-Men or villains, it brings up profile info on them, but when you do a search of other, real people like celebrities or politicians, you get a generalized thing of how these people tie in to the mutant phenomena, which I thought was pretty cool. The middle of the site has the main menus here. About the Film has The Cast, The Filmmakers, which are both pretty boring, and Production Notes, which is even more worthless since it's just a glorified synopsis. Gallery has a bunch of profile pics of the characters and a nice amount of production photos as well. Downloads has a nice selection of wallpapers and AIM Icons to grab, and some cell phone downloads are coming soon. You can also watch the trailer and sign up for updates. The only other thing on the site is on the far left side, a tab called Mutants. For each mutant you get a nice profile of background info, a listing of each mutant's powers, some photos under Surveilance and each mutant's downloadable goodies in Download Data. This is a really slick site, with tons of style and an adequate amount of content that ought to get you rather pumped for the flick that comes out on May 26.
Sketches of Frank Gehry: (www.sketchesoffrankgehry.com)
This is a simple/effective little site to what looks to be a simple/effective little documentary about architecht Frank Gehry. Under About the Film, we get a nice, fairly long synopsis, discussing director Sydney Pollack's methods of filming his first documentary. In the Sydney Pollack and the Frank Gehry menus, we get some nice bios on the two men and Participants lists the people and places they shot for this doc, and Crew just is a simple crew list. Gallery has a nice mix of both Gehry's sketches and the buildings that spawned from them. The Trailer is the only other thing active here, but Reviews and Links are coming soon. Not too shabby. Sketches of Frank Gehry opens on May 12, in New York City.
If you saw Silent Hill this weekend, you likely saw this trailer, which looks like Boyz N the Hood meets the And 1 street ball team or something. Yes, it's another coming of age story about getting out of the 'hood and all that, but with basketball as their way out. It's not that original, the acting doesn't look that great, and it'll probably just come off as another rip-off. Crossover opens on August 25.
Unreal. As if I didn't lose enough respect for Bill Murray when the first one came out 2 years ago, but the respect gets knocked down a few more notches now. I never had any respect for Breckin Meyer or Jennifer Love Hewitt anyway, so I guess that works out... But, somehow the first one made $75 million off a %50 million budget, so I guess this was inevitable. But, since this trailer didn't get a single chuckle from me, I hope it will be the same for the rest of America, and we won't have to see the fat cat on the big screen ever again, God willing. Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties opens on June 16.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Easy pick this week, as I have to go with Roger Avary getting behind the wheel with Driver. Avary is really slick with dialogue and uses some masterful camera techniques. Although he's never done an action movie before, I definitely think he's due, and this darker tale of this underworld getaway driver is right up his alley. I'm really curious to see who they'll cast as Tanner, the undercover cop who goes behind the wheel to infiltrate this crime syndicate, but with Avary on board, I'm sure he'll make a great choice.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Another easy pick here with the poker boom going way too far. It's funny how they point out that Zeltser has played in a number of professional poker tournaments, as if to add all this credibility to the flick. What they obviously don't understand is that anyone who plays poker seriously will see this as just a huge joke. I have all these pictures running through my head about this, when the dad of the family is heads-up in the tourney, and his family spots all these tells on his opponent, and telling him between hands, thus them all bonding together and saving their family. Half the damn country loves poker these days, but those of us who do don't want to see a family rallying around the game. Give me a flippin break!
That's all for this week. Surf on by for more box office goodies, new official websites for upcoming flicks, new trailers, and, of course, the best and worst news of the week. Take care folks, and, always remember: if it looks like a good time, sounds like a good time and feels like a good time... it probably isn't free.