Another seven days has come and gone, and left us with another fresh batch of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. Before we get into all that, though, let's check out what I watched last week.
WHAT DID GALLAGHER WATCH LAST WEEK?
Above the Law:
I dubbed last week Kung Fu Week because the last DVD's I had to review were all releases from the Dragon Dynasty series. We didn't get off to a terrific start to the week with this disc, but it wasn't too bad, I guess. CLICK HERE for my full review.
Kung Fu Week takes it to the rails with this great Sammo Hung flick that he starred in and directed. You only need to look at the cover to see the influence this movie had on a certain Owen Wilson/Jackie Chan movie series. This is just an awesome flick with a bit of everything for your entertainment needs. CLICK HERE for the full review.
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin:
This is the first disc in the Dragon Dynasty's auxiliary series The Shaw Brothers Classic Collection, which features films from brothers Run Run Shaw and Run Me Shaw, pioneers of the martial arts movie genre. They start this collection off with a bang because this is honestly the best martial arts movie I've ever seen in my life! This Gordon Liu movie is just spectacular all across the board. A must-see, to say the least. CLICK HERE for my full review.
This was the first Hong Kong martial arts movie to be released in America and sparked the whole martial arts craze in the early 70s. The influences this had on future films can be easily seen here and this is another great classic to add to your collection. CLICK HERE for my full review.
One Armed Swordsman:
It looks like we closed the week how we started it... This wasn't one of my favorites of the week, as it was WAY too slow for a martial arts movie and I just really wasn't feeling this one nearly as much as the three movies prior to this one. It might be worth a look-see, but not worth a purchase. CLICK HERE for my full review.
I knew this would be good... but I didn't know it would be THIS DAMN GOOD! This amazing fantasy epic is now easily one of my favorite movies of the year. It's a little odd, since this movie almost never came to be in the first place. After languishing in development hell for years, author Neil Gaiman bought back the film rights to his fantasy novel and just decided to produce the damn thing himself. He hired Matthew Vaughn (who had to have looked bat-sh*& crazy for picking this over X-Men: The Last Stand) to direct and co-write with a first-timer Jane Goldman, a journalist and children's author.
On the strength of that script they secured a wonderfully-diverse cast including some scarce sightings from Michelle Phieffer and Robert DeNiro, both of whom are simply smashing as a wicked witch and an air pirate captain, along with nice turns from Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Sienna Miller, Kate Magowan and Ricky Gervais. This fantasy tale sets us on an incredible adventure where Tristan (Charlie Cox) will do anything for the lovely Victoria's (Miller) hand in marriage. After a shooting star falls far from them, he claims he'll bring back that star for her hand and she agrees, telling him he has a week. Tristan sets off for a journey in which many things aren't what they seem, and everything won't be the same afterwards.
Stardust is a wonderfully constructed fantasy tale from every aspect you can imagine. It's beautifully acted, directed, written and anything else you can think of. It's the best movie I've seen so far this year, bar none. 5 stars out of 5
I normally don't dish on much TV news, but I couldn't resist for this one. It definitely looks like this could be The Shield's replacement, since it was announced last year that the forthcoming 7th season of The Shield will be their last. This really sounds like a great show and they have some great talent behind the camera to get this started with scribe Sheldon Turner and director Peter Berg. The whole Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now setting in the modern world of the NYPD sounds like some fabulous television and I can't wait to hear about casting for this. Best News of the Week Nominee.
If you ask me, there aren't enough westerns being made anymore, but they might be turning that corner already. With the high-profile remake of 3:10 to Yuma hitting theaters this fall, it could spurn more movies in the genre if successful, and this Appaloosa could be the start of it. Along with toplining with Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger, Ed Harris will be directing from the script he co-wrote with Robert Knott. The story has Harris and Mortensen as some hired guns who try to bring peace to a sleepy town run over by a ruthless rancher. I'd be very interested to see who they bring on as the rancher, but they're off to a damn good start here, I'd say. Best News of the Week Nominee.
I don't think Joan Allen has ever been in a movie that had "Death" in the title before. I wonder if she's even said the word in a movie before. Hmm... Anyway, while the super-classy Joan Allen might sound like an odd choice for casting in a movie like this one, I just think it's pretty damn cool. She's even playing a prison warden! Ian McShane is a fine addition and Tyrese Gibson is a superb addition here as Machine Gun Joe all starring alongside topliner Jason Statham. This is gonna be just a LOT of really dark fun, folks and hopefully it will get Paul W.S. Anderson to stop making those damn Resident Evil movies from now on. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Great. A war movie set in Afghanistan... with vampires and zombies. Just what we need, right? John Moore is directing this, which isn't the greatest news either coming off of his dreadful flick The Omen and this is probably his stab at mixing horror with the action/war movie he's used to. This sounds utterly terrible and I hope it gets stopped by either the supposed actor's strike or perhaps the hand of God. Either way works for me, as long as I don't have to see this slop in the theaters. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
I'm kind of on the fence about this one, folks. One one hand, it's Enter the FREAKIN DRAGON! How dare they remake a classic like this! One the other hand, it really doesn't sound a whole lot like the original. Bruce Lee's Shaolin monk character doesn't cause any problems for law enforcement in the original and this seems to be centered on the FBI agent and not the monk. It almost sounds like more of a Bloodsport remake than an Enter the Dragon remake, but whatever. I think this will probably be a pretty solid flick, I've long been a fan of Sutter's smashing TV program The Shield and I'm interested to see what he can do with this. Best News of the Week Nominee.
I only wish that this is a real-life article about the Jackass dude following his dreams of becoming a male stripper. Alas, it's not. It's about him being a male stripper in a movie. It gets worse. Pontius will star as a regular dude who falls in love with his dream girl and, for some odd reason, he's convinced to become a male stripper... by the girl's father. Interesting note of irony: the script was written by a guy named Jason Nutt. I can't make this stuff up, folks. I wish the guys who made this stuff up would just shrivel away... Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Even though it wasn't that congested of a weekend, it was all about the rush hour at the box office this weekend. Rush Hour 3 sped past the competition this weekend, although last weekend's top earner gave significant chase. The Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker sequel took home $49.1 million in its opening weekend, with Matt Damon's The Bourne Ultimatum dropping a decent 52.5% from last weekend to take in a nifty $32.8 million for its second week in release. The Rush Hour boys took in significantly less than their predecessor's opening of $67.4 million. You also have to take into account that take was from seven years ago, and the movie bowed in about 600 fewer theaters than Rush Hour 3. It didn't get any help from the critics either, as Rush Hour 3 scored just a 20% "Fresh" rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes and, even though it posted a decent per-screen average ($12,996 from 3,778 theaters), it will be highly unlikely that this movie will profit from its $140 million budget, or, if it does, it will be a minimal gain. I guess this will be the last of that "you go this way, I'll go that way" bit...
The other two newbies to bow this weekend are in just as bad of financial dire straights than the box office leader. Stardust couldn't capitalize on some stellar reviews to make much of a dent this weekend. The ensemble fantasy flick could only eke out a 4th place finish good for $9.1 million. The critics praised the movie, with an impressive 74% "Fresh" rating on RT, but the marketing campaign just didn't pan out with moviegoers, apparently. The movie received a semi-wide rollout of 2,540 theaters but could only scrape up a $3,610 per-screen average. To make matters worse, the movie was budgeted at $70 million and they better start wishing on every shooting star they can if they want to make that budget back. The other rookie this weekend was another unwanted sequel, Daddy Day Camp, which came in 10th place with a paltry $3.4 million. It even opened on Wednesday and still only has $4.8 million total to show for 5 days. Sad. When you can't even bring in a million bucks a day, that is NOT a good sign...
We get a nice style here, with a messy apartment full of stuff to click on as a setup (there is a menu at the top as well, if you're lazy), but we really don't get a ton of stuff here. Mythology is first and it gives us a brief Synopsis of the movie along with some material about "Jumping" "Jumpers" and "Paladins" that's pretty damn interesting. Downloads just has one wallpaper to snag, Characters gives us some very nice insight into the main players, the Gallery has all of four photos and The Books has a link to the three books in this series. It'd be nice to have more here, but they do get us started nicely with this movie that looks rather intriguing. Jumper opens on February 15, 2008.
This one is a REALLY simple site, folks. We get the very odd Trailer, an equally odd Synopsis, some bios in the Cast and Filmmakers menus along with some reviews and related links in Media/News and some Contact info. The movie looks somewhat intriguing, but this website could use a lot more. Music Within opens on October 26 in limited release.
This looks like an outstanding movie, folks. We get an all-star cast with Joaquin Phoneix, Mark Wahlberg, Robert Duvall and the luscious Eva Mendes in a story about the two sides of the law, and how fine the line is that crosses it. Duvall plays the New York City police chief and his two sons' very different lives, with Wahlberg a cop and Phoneix on the other side of the law, running a shady nightclub that funnels drugs throughout the city. Based on a true story, this looks like some surefire award fodder, and one hell of a ride. We Own the Night opens on October 12.
Screenwriter John August makes his directorial debut here, and this looks like a creepy little flick with intersecting lives that might all be the same life, maybe. It just looks really really weird, folks and something totally new for August, almost venturing into Charlie Kaufman territory here. Ryan Reynolds, Hope Davis and Mellisa McCarthy all play three characters apiece here and... well, I really don't know what else to tell you about this. You're just going to have to see it for yourself, which is exactly what I plan to do when this film is released on August 31, in limited release.
Chalk up another winner for writer-director Michel Gondry in this bizarre tale starring Jack Black, Mos Def, Danny Glover and Mia Farrow. Mos Def owns an old VHS video rental store and his business is in ruins when they learn that his buddy Jack Black's brain had somehow become magnetized, thus ruining all of the videos in his store. Desperate, instead of getting new tapes, they set out to remake these movies to appease their one loyal customer (Farrow)... and the tapes become huge hits. This just sounds damn wonderful, folks. It's a real quirky story with some great talent behind and in front of the camera and I just can't wait to see it. Be Kind Rewind opens on January 25, 2008, in limited release.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Some great news bits this week, but I'm going with Ed Harris, Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger bringing western back... yeeeeah for my Best News of the Week. I'm not only pumped about another great western being developed, but Ed Harris writing and directing here is sweet news to me as well. I've always been a big fan of his work and it'll be nice to see him directing again, the first time since his first time with Pollock. Bring on the gunfights!
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Only two options this week, but it was still a tough choice. Still, I'm going with Chris Pontius bringing idiotic back... nooooo for my Worst News of the Week. The one good thing that might come of this is they're doing this project for some company called Fortress Features that I've never heard of, so maybe this will just go straight to DVD. Just the prospect of Chris Pontius starring in a theatrical picture with him as a male stripper just scares the shite out of me. Just because Knoxville became an actor after Jackass doesn't mean you have to, Pontius...
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. Peace in. Gallagher out!