Howdy folks. Last week I had to take a break from this column so I could write up my Gigantic Summer Movie Preview. And then yesterday, when I normally write the column, I was caught up in the awesomeness that is MovieWeb's sweet new Online Community! But I'm here today to give you the lowdown on the past week, so let's get crackin' with this week's Notables.

NOTABLES

"Mike Binder to Write The Friday Night Knitting Club" - Monday, April 9:

Mike Binder certainly has had an odd career. He keeps on making these movies, in which he gets just superb casts, but they all just flop when it the final reel has been played. They're usually well-received from the critics as well, but the guy just can't seem to find a crowd to watch these flicks. So, what does he do to get out of this funk? He takes a job writing a movie about a knitting club. Smashing. Of course, it's about womanhood and bonding and all that, and Julia Roberts' involvement here is interesting as well, since she's made herself rather scarce lately. Honestly, I haven't seen any of Binder's movies, and they don't say if he's slated to direct, so I don't know if it's his writing or directing or both. But, just him (or anyone for that matter) writing a syrupy flick like this deserves a Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Universal Picks Up A Whole New Hugh" - Monday, April 9:

Sure, Judd Apatow is producing here, but I only really stick to projects of his that he writes and directs himself. While we barely get enough of a plotline to be worried or elated about ("three guys who try to boost their friend's confidence by making him appear to be successful.") but I've never heard of the other two co-writers (which their IMDB pages indicate why) and, honestly, I don't think of Ed Helms as a big-time comic actor at all. It doesn't help that their story sounds flatter than pre-Columbus Earth either. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Todd Phillips Meets The Chadster" - Tuesday, April 10:

Now, I've never really been hugely into drama and plays and that stuff, but this sounds like this play I saw once (local theater) called The Nerd by Larry Shue. This flick is a little different, with this nuissance showing up at a wedding instead of just dropping in on this guy's life for awhile, but it sounds rather similar. The good news is, it's just a fantastic play and this sounds like a good fit for Phillips. The bad news is this might have a Wedding Crashers-rip off sort of feel to it. Still, I'm intrigued enough to give this a Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Lyriq Bent and Justin Louis Join the Cast of Saw IV" - Wednesday, April 11:

OK, what the crap is going on with this thing? If you read a certain letter of mine from late last year, then you know my shaky feelings on this project. Well, they just got shakier. If the Arrow in the Head article is true, then they're centering a movie on a guy who's had just a handful of meaningless lines in the last two flicks. But, if you take a look at the http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0890870/IMDB page, we get a much different plot summary. This whole thing just gives me a headache. They had such a slick ending with the trilogy, but they're going forward and the big news is that the cop who barely says anything and a dude from Dawn Of The Dead have been cast. Color me disturbed. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Sony Pictures Classics Picks Up David Mamet's Redbelt" - Thursday, April 12:

Wow. David Mamet is one guy I'd have never thought would make an action movie, let alone a martial arts movie. Still, we haven't heard from him for awhile. He created the TV show The Unit after his last few flicks were well made but suffered financially (See: State and Main, Heist, Spartan). It looks like they're going ahead with this one rather swiftly, which should likely push back his quirky-sounding Joan of Bark: The Dog that Saved France, but this sounds much much more interesting. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in a typical story about scarred honor, with Ejiofor playing an ex-fighter who returns to the ring. It looks like we get many different elements to this fighting underground as well, and, with Mamet's unique flair for dialogue and characters, I think this could actually be a mainstream success for the playwright/filmmaker. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Tony Scott to Direct and Produce Pat Dollard's War on Hollywood" - Thursday, April 12:

Tony Scott hasn't exactly had a string of hits lately. His films haven't been doing terribly (except for Domino which totally bombed), but he hasn't been cranking out blockbusters either. He's shifting into some interesting territory here with this Pat Dollard project. For one, movies about the movie business never really make any money. But for two, this just seems really... weird. This Dollard was a Hollywood agent and then for some reason he decideds he wants to make a documentary about Marines in Iraq, and then coming back to Hollywood to try and sell it. Yeah. While I do have a morbid curiosity to know more about this thing, I'm not really sold on it as a movie. Sorry Tony. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

It took a little bit of suburban sneakiness to dethrone the 1-2 combo for the past two weeks. Disturbia took the top spot this weekend, with a solid $22.2 million debut take. The movie received the highest rollout for the six new movies in theaters this weekend, even though only two of those opened in more than 2,000 theaters. Disturbia was shown in a decent 2,925 theatears, taking in a nifty $7,598 per-screen average. The Shia LaBeouf movie also scored with the critics, with its 67% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. They've already profited from the slim $20 million budget and it should be able to take about $40 to $60 million before the summer starts up. The 1-2 punch for the last two weeks, Blades of Glory and Meet the Robinsons each slipped down a rung, with Blades taking second place with $13.8 million and Robinsons just behind in third with $12.4.

The only other newbie this weekend that fared somewhat respectably was Perfect Stranger. The Kevin Costner flick took fourth place this weekend, taking in $11.2 million. While that figure isn't exactly write-home-about material, the fact that it made that much after getting a horrid 12% "Fresh" lashing from the RT critics, makes it slightly more impressive. It bowed in 2,661 theaters, taking in an average per-screen average of $4,211. While budget figures weren't released, they should just count their lucky stars they got that much with such a chilly critical reception. The other four newbies only wished they were as lucky.

Pathfinder took the 6th spot, taking in just over $5 million, avearaging a dismal $2,907 per screen through 1,720 theaters. The rest of the newbies couldn't even crack the top 10, some not even close. Redline fell just short in 11th place earning $3.9 million. The flick, which displays the personal car collection of "producer" Daniel Sadek, received a 0% "Fresh" rating on RT (out of only 14 reviews, though) and the flick will be lucky to break $6 million, only $20 million shy of what Sadek put up out of his own money to finance the picture. Falling much farther we come to Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (one of the coolest titles of the year, just the title anyway) which only bowed in 877 theaters and made just over $3 million. I thought Adult Swim was supposed to be sooooo popular... And last and certainly least we have Slow Burn which could only muster up a 20th place finish. The movie made $778,123 and was shown in 1,163 theaters. If you're not a calculator-head, that's a per-screen average of $669. Wow. It even got a better rating than Redline on RT though... of 9%. Wow. Maybe these 6-movie weekends aren't such a good idea after all.

GOING LIVE

Nancy Drew: (WarnerBros.com)

Simple little site here. About the Film gives us a decent synopsis with Story, but the Cast, Filmmakers and Production Notes segments are coming soon. Let's see if this is a trend, shall we? Yeah, Video is coming soon, as is Emma's Blog. All that's left is the Photos with 16 to look at and Downloads with some Wallapapers, AIM Icons and the Poster to download... and the Screensaver coming soon. There is also a big link on the front page to Enter the Daycott Mansion, but guess what? Yup, coming soon. It's weird how once you see one thing is coming soon, you automatically know many more things are coming soon, which will lead to less people coming soon to the site. Get on the ball kids! Nancy Drew opens on June 15.

TRAILER PARK

Hatchet:

This is just a teaser with very very little footage here. But it's one of those word-teasers, and I don't mean a puzzle. This is a trailer that teases you with words from critics who tell you shining glorious things about this movie. Naturally, some of the names of these critics, the more obscure ones, don't appear as big as the bigger ones, and they tease us by leaving the big guns for last. All we get from this teaser trailer is that this is an American horror movie, supposedly done in the old-style slasher motif. We might want to wait for another trailer with, you know, footage, to pass judgment, but, for all it's worth, it got me intrigued. Hatchet opens on September 7 in limited release.

Heckler:

I wonder if this one will be screened for critics... This does look pretty damn cool, actually. This isn't just a movie about stand-up comic hecklers, though. With interviews with a wide-range of celebrities and athletes, it looks like it shows both sides of being a critic and being the criticized. They have so many people on here that they interview there are a lot on here that I'm a fan of and there are also a lot on here that I could do without, forever. I can't find a release date for this anywhere, but I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for it.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

I'm going with David Mamet doing an ACTION flick for my Best News of the Week. I'm not really a big TV guy, but if I would've known that Mamet created that TV show The Unit, I probably would've checked it out. Nonetheless, I think this is a great new step for Mamet. He just has such a wonderful quality of writing that has such an indellible stamp on it, lines of dialogue you just know are Mamet. It's quite similar to Aaron Sorkin's style, actually, but more deliberate, not as snappy-fast as Sorkin, but still, similarities are there. But for Mamet to take on an action movie about the underground fight world is such an uncharacteristic move for him, so out of the realm of his normal work... that it just might work.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

Lots of bad stuff this week, but I'm going with Saw IV sillyness for my Worst News of the Week. Another interesting thing that I noted, when I saw Saw IV's IMDB page was that they hired Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton of Feast and Project Greenlight fame. Umm, OK. I heard that Feast was pretty good, but I wasn't among the 63 people who saw the damn thing, so yeah. I'm not sure if they even have full credit, or just a story credit because on that site the "screenwriter" is listed as Thomas H. Fenton, who has worked on horror films in a number of capacities and had also wrote, directed and edited some cheesy B-flick called Striking Point. Wow. They're just pulling out all the big guns for this fourth Saw flick, aren't they? On that Arrow in the Head article, director Darren Lynn Bousman was saying how psyched he is because "basically everyone" is back working on this. Sure. Right on. Bascially everyone is back... except the ones who really made this series something special like James Wan, Leigh Whannell and everyone else they killed off already.

That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new official sites 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. Gallagher out!