Howdy folks. Another seven days has come and gone, and brought with us another slew of movie news, box office figures, new websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So lets get this party started with this week's notables.
"Michael Pena to Star Alongside Mark Wahlberg in Shooter" - Monday, April 24
As if The Sentinel wasn't enough of a In the Line of Fire rip-off enough, now we this flick Shooter. Here, Mark Wahlberg is to play a marksman who, shockingly, gets double-crossed and is framed for the assassination attempt he was trying to put the kibosh on. Sounds a tad familiar, eh? The Sentinel was a mix of In the Line of Fire The Negotiator, and this flick sounds like a mix of The Sentinel and The Negotiator. Blah! Of course, this is based on a novel, so they have that base covered, but this is getting way too overdone and screenwriter Jonathan Lemkin doesn't have the hottest resume (Red Planet, Lethal Weapon 4) doesn't give me a lot of confidence either. Even Antoine Fuqua, who I am a fan of, directing here doesn't save this project from a Worst News of the Week tag.
"2006 MTV Movie Awards Announced" - Monday, April 24
While I haven't watched this show in quite some time, mainly out of my total hatred of what MTV as a whole has become, it's always interesting to see the nominations. They're even shaking things up a bit, combining both male and female nominees in the same categories. I'm a little upset that they took away the Best Action Sequence category, probably because they thought the Best Fight category would suffice and Best Frightened Performance and Sexiest Performance are both fairly retarded categories. Still, it's nice to see some great films and actors that the upturned noses of the Academy fail to recognize, get their chance in the spotlight. I was pleasantly shocked that they gave Stephen Chow's fight against the Axe Gang a Best Fight nod, and Sin City's nod for Best Picture is right-on as well. While I'd still like to see the Oscars and these awards form into some sort of hybrid, I still think it's great that some of the best movies of last year get a chance to be recognized. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Infamous to be Released, Despite its Capote similarities" - Monday, April 24
Well, this shouldn't be too much of a shocker. Sure, they're about the same guy, doing the same book at the same time, but that doesn't mean it'll be exactly the same. Now, if it were based on the same book, then I could see there being more of a problem, but Capote was based on a book by Gerald Clarke, and this flick is based off a George Plimpton book that, apparently, goes into other aspects of the author's life. It's a double-edged sword, though. While the success of Capote could indeed crossover to this flick, it could also be panned as a rip-off. Still, this flick does have a fairly intriguing cast (Sandra Bullock, Daniel Craig, Gwenyth Paltrow, Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Daniels) with a solid filmmaker in Douglas McGrath writing and directing so, if they market this flick right, this indeed could be a winner. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Maria Menounos and Jamie Kennedy Are Kickin' It Old Skool" - Monday, April 24
How could one possibly be optimistic about a flick with the chick from Access Hollywood and the guy who brought us such rubbish as Malibu's Most Wanted and TV's The Jamie Kennedy Experiment? If that doesn't dissuade you enough, check out the story: a 12-year old breakdancer has an accident and slips into a coma for 20 years. He wakes up a grown man and tries to regain his breakdancing glory. Yeah. Shoot me now. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
" Sir Ben Kingsley, Tea Leoni and Luke Wilson Join You Kill Me" - Tuesday, April 25
The cast alone should be intriguing enough to plop some bucks down for, but the story sounds pretty slick too, centering on an alcoholic hitman sent out West to sober up. The only thing that sounds a little off here is that the hitman is from Buffalo. Hmm. I don't imagine Buffalo as being a center of organized crime and/or people needing to get whacked. Anyway, while out west, this hitman meets a woman who was related to one of his earlier hits. The cast here is pretty damn awesome, with the three new additions along with Dennis Farina, Phillip Baker Hall and relative unknown Marcus Thomas. I've been clammoring to see Farina in something meaningful for quite awhile now, so this sounds like just such an opportunity. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Columbia Pictures Grabs Jonathan Davis' Unsportsmanlike Conduct" - Wednesday, April 26
I love when these news bits use the term "in the vein of" or "in the same vein of" because it's basically foreshadowning that this flick could be a colossal rip-off. Not only is this flick "in the vein of" Bad News Bears, but it's basically a hybrid of that flick and Major League, a movie I could probably recite entirely. This Jonathan Davis dude who wrote this, assuming it's not the Korn frontman, only has one produced flick under his belt so far, The Dukes of Hazzard, and that doesn't inspire the greatest amount of confidence. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Traditionally, this is one of the worst weekends of the year at the box office, since it's a dumping ground for possible bombs as the studios get ready for the summer movie season. This weekend was really not too different, but the moviegoers did spread the wealth a little more than I thought they would.
RV took the top spot this weekend, taking in $16.4 million in its opening weekend. While Robin Williams has another #1 movie to blab about, I wouldn't be too excited about it. RV drove into a mammoth 3,639 theaters this weekend, only mustering $4,510 per-screen average. If that bleak figure weren't enough to get their hopes down, their reviews were pretty bad (25% "Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), they have a $50 million budget to make back, a blockbuster this weekend in Mission: Impossible III that should take away all their steam, and many more blockbusters to follow. Sorry RV. Looks like you might be parked in No Profit Land for awhile...
Although it took second place this weekend, United 93 was definitely the big winner this weekend, taking in $11.4 million in its opening weekend. Their take was impressive due to the drastically lower theater count (1,795) but posted a very nice $6,394 per-screen average. They're in much better shape for the long run as well, with an astounding 91% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and they're a few days away from breaking even from their meager $15 million budget. Another newcomer, Stick It took the bronze medal in third place, with $10.8 million, posting a solid $5,301 per-screen average from 2,038 theaters.
The last newcomer didn't fare quite so well though. Akeelah and the Bee took 8th place this weekend with just over $6 million. The Lions Gate flick couldn't capitalize on some great reviews (84% "Fresh" on RT), posting a weak $2,738 per-screen average from 2,195 theaters. While budget figures weren't released for this flick, I'm sure this wasn't the opening the Bee crew was hoping for. I guess spelling bee's aren't that compelling after all...
Wow. This is site is one crazy trip, kids. It's a full interactive experience, even fitted with fake IM's set to help you through the site. In the middle of the site you can mess around with Target of Surveilance, which gives you info on Keanu Reeves' character Bob Arctor, Substance D Source and Known Acquaintances, which gives you some character profiles and a few downloadable goodies. The top and bottom of this site also have different menus.
At the top, Surveilance has the trailer and a clip, the Substance D menu has a bunch of downloadable desktops, a screensaver, AIM Buddy Icons and Ecards. New Path is a fan art section where you can view fan art, or even submit your own. Room 203 is a weird little "game" where they show you these images that morph and you have to pick which one you see and then they diagnose you. Weird. Recovery is the last one on the top, and they have an Ecard you can send and a little film clip. On the bottom they have Cast and Crew, which gives you nice bios on the main players in both departments, About the Production which gives you some nice behind-the-scenes insight on location and the graphic novel, and finally there is a Gallery and Trailer. This certainly looks like one trippy movie, and the site mirrors that in highly creative way that makes this the best site I've been too this year. A Scanner Darkly opens on July 7 in limited release.
There is also a teaser site for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (http://jessejamesmovie.warnerbros.com/) that just has a trailer, synopsis and photos and an even worse site for a href="/movies/film/02/3702/summary.php" class="film">Jackass 2 (http://www.jackassmovie.com/) which just has this modified skull and crossbones. Weird.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with the awesome cast of You Kill Me for my Best News of the Week. Tea Leoni and Luke Wilson might not have had the most stellar roles as of late, but they should be fine with Ben Kingsley and two wonderful actors I haven't seen enough of lately, Phillip Baker Hall and the incomparable Dennis Farina. They could cast frickin Carrot Top in this movie next and I'd still go see it just for these two. It also helps that this story sounds like a darker Grosse Pointe Blank and I really think this great ensemble should mesh rather nicely together.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a tough choice this week, but I'm going with the moronic pairing of Jamie Kennedy and Maria Menounos for my Worst News of the Week. If the title of Kickin' it Old Skool wasn't enough to want to murder someone, the pairing of Menounos, last seen on the big screen as "Sexy Nurse" in Fantastic Four and Jamie Kennedy, last seen on the big screen in Son of the Mask should be mind-numbing enough. They say it's all about connections in Hollywood, and I wish I could sever the hell out of this one...
That's all for this week. Surf on by for more box office goodies, new official websites for upcoming flicks, new trailer 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.