Yo ho ho, fellow readers. Been awhile, hasn't it? A couple of months, by my count, but I'm back! It's been crazy busy on my end of the MovieWeb world, but I've finally devised a method where I can bring back the good ol' Week in Review column and still keep up with everything else. Strategery. So, without further ado, lets get crackin' with this week's Notables.
"Moon Bloodgood Is the Female Lead in Terminator 4" - Monday, April 21:
This is the first time I've heard of Moon Bloodgood and when I first saw the name, I thought it was an adopted Zappa kid or something. I'll say this though: she CERTAINLY doesn't look like anything related to Zappa though. This beauty has that brand of gorgeous tenacity that should make her perfect for this new Terminator 4. She might not have a boatload of acting experience, but, for one, neither did the uber-hot Kristanna Loken in Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (which I thought was just fine... the movie too) and it does look like Bloodgood has been rising through the ranks quite quickly and could be a rising star. I'm down. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Isaiah Washington Signs on for Patriots" - Monday, April 21:
To be honest, the title is the only thing that I'm not jazzed about here. These kids who were all displaced from five different schools after Katrina and set aside their differences to win at basketball are survivors, sure, but patriots? That is a bit of a stretch, but with that damn TV show still on it'd be a tad bit awkward to name a movie Survivors. At any rate, I'm glad Washington got a chance with this film. So the guy might not have the most tact in public. So what. He's a pretty damn good actor and I think this will be a pretty good thing for him, especially around this great cast of Forest Whitaker, Tariji P. Henson and the rising comic J.B. Smoove. This should be a great move for Washington. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"James Schamus and Ang Lee Reunite for Taking Woodstock" - Tuesday, April 22:
Please tell me that someone else thinks this is just a little weird. The writer and director behind such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain and the recent Lust, Caution are doing a movie about the bizarre inception of Woodstock? That sounds like Tarantino going right from Grindhouse to directing an episode of Sesame Street. Look, I'm all for filmmakers switching things up from time to time, but there is such a thing as easing your way into it. Let's face it. Despite all his critical raves, Lee's flicks don't exactly hit it big on this side of the pond. Even Hulk lost money, domestically. This seems like a very odd way for Lee to try and tap into American sensibilities, by telling the story of how an historic event - one that is hardly relevant anymore - came to be. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Nick Stoller and Judd Apatow Reteam for Get Him to the Greek" - Wednesday, April 23:
I haven't seen Stoller's directorial debut, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but from all the raves I keep hearing about it, I'm sure I'll set it in the very near future. It sounds like the comedic genius of Judd Apatow has struck yet again, and the man, whether he's producing and finding amazing young talents to write and direct, or whether he's producing, writing and directing himself, his track record over the last three or four years is borders on the unthinkable. We don't get much from the plot description here, with Jonah Hill to play an accountant accompanying a British rock star played by Russell Brand from London to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Still, my rule of thumb these days is simple: if Apatow is on board, I'm on board. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Ayelet Zurer Cast as Vittoria Vetra in Angels and Demons" - Thursday, April 24:
Holy balls! I forgot all about this one after the writers strike made this film one of the first non-TV victims. While this Israeli beauty might not have the name recognition we'd expect for this role of the leggy blonde scientist Vittoria Vetra in Dan Brown's phenomenal novel, she certainly has that exotic thing going on for her. Although she is still a relative unknown, she has some chops and proved it in both Munich and the intriguing Vantage Point (intriguing doesn't mean great, for the record...). I think she's a damn good fit for this role and I can't wait to see what she looks like in those running shorts... Best News of the Week Nominee.
"UPDATED: The Dark Knight's Joker Makes a House Call!" - Friday, April 25
Seriously, this marketing campaign will certainly go down in history as the most insane, widespread and probably spendiest movie marketing campaigns of all time. One word: AWESOME! They keep upping the ante with every new stunt they pull, which is a little humorous since the movie would probably do at least $200 million with no marketing at all, just beacause. Still, crazy, silly, super good stuff. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The weekend before the summer movie season kicks off is traditionally not a solid cash-cow sort of weekend, but with three new releases in theaters, the weekend wasn't too terribly bad, led by a few SNL cohorts. Baby Mama was the top film at the box office this weekend, taking in an estimated $18.2 million. The Tina Fey/Amy Poehler topliner did some decent biz, with a $7,184 per-screen average from just 2,543 theaters, the widest rollout of the weekend. The flick was received with a barely-"Fresh" 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and they're a little past the halfway profit mark with the $30 million budget and I'm sure they can scrape up enough for a small profit.
Baby Mama just beat out another comedic newcomer in Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo, which took second place with $14.5 million. This one did all right with the critics as well, with a barely-"Rotten" 57% on RT and, biz-wise, they're in much better shape. They've already turned a profit from this $12 million flick and they should end up with about $40 million, or so, I'd surmise. The other two newbie of the week didn't fare quite so well, though.
Deception finished in the 10-spot this weekend, with a paltry $2.2 million opening weekend. The Hugh Jackman/Ewan McGregor film took in an eerie $1,111 per-screen average from 2,001 theaters. The flick was drubbed critically as well, with just a 12% "Rotten" rating on RT. It looks like they certainly weren't fooling anybody...
Sure, my first week back on the column and there isn't a single new movie website that went live. Typical. Sorry folks, but hopefully we get some good sites next week.
What's funny about this one is they'll probably try to justify the horrid August 29th release date by saying that's when everyone is going back to school and they'll be in the mood to see a college flick. The reality is it's the last weekend in August, Labor Day weekend, and it's traditionally the worst movie weekend of the year. What they also don't realize is that young college kids that go back to campus spend at least the first few weeks boozing and catching up with friends and doing practically anything and everything else BUT going to the movies. The fact that this is basically one aspect of PCU modernized for today's youth, featuring a slew of no-namers that doesn't look too damn funny at all, only makes matters worse. If they would bow this a few weekends earlier, it might, possibly, barely have a decent shot at making some money, but with this release date and crappy trailer, I doubt this will make any noise at all.
I know that first look video isn't really a trailer, but it's so damn friggin cool I just had to talk about it. I never really knew much about this flick at all before seeing that video, and I have to say I really dug what I saw. Big Willy Style is so accustomed to playing the straight-up hero, it's pretty cool that in this one he's playing an anti-hero and, well, a guy that's basically a prick. Of course, Smith is almost always at his best on the Fourth of July weekend that he's called movie home for the past 12 years since Independence Day, and I don't see that streak stopping at all with this new flick. Hancock flies into theaters on July 2.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Lots of goodies to pick from this week, but I'm going with Team Apatow going Greek for my Best News of the Week. Apatow is simply a friggin comic genius and anything he becomes attached to these days has the buzz of just his name-drop factor. Sure, he's not perfect, but his amazing filmography really speaks for itself. It's the easiest decision in the world now. Show me the name Apatow, and I'll show you 14 bucks for a ticket. It's as simple as that.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Not a lot of baddies to pick from this week, so I'm going with Ang Lee going to Woodstock for my Worst News of the Week. This whole silly story just doesn't stand out as something that is begging to be made. No one really gives a shit about Woodstock anymore. It was almost 40 years ago and I just don't see the relevance in telling a story about the series of events that led to the birth of this concert. The movie won't have anything to do with the concert itself, just how the whole thing was put together. It sounds like more of a documentary than a fictional feature. I just really see no interest here whatsoever. I doubt even the hippies would take the time to see a movie about how the damn thing was started. Whoop-de-doo!
Well that's all for this week folks. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new official sites for upcoming flicks (hopefully...), 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. Peace in. Gallagher out!