Howdy folks. Another seven days has come and gone, and brought with us another slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So let's get right into it with this week's Notables.
"Aaron Eckhart, Toni Collette and Maria Bello Set On Alan Ball's Drama" - Monday, August 7:
Great to have you back, Mr. Ball! After spending the past few years in TV land with his show Six Feet Under, Ball is finally returning to the silver screen with this untitled project, and it looks like he's getting some solid help in front of the camera. Eckhart, Collette and Bello have been fine actors for some time now, and they've been more visible in the past few years. This flick sounds... well, pretty weird. It's about a Lebanese-American teenage girl, living in Texas during the Gulf War. If that wasn't awkward enough, she's struggling with identity issues and sexual issues as well. This flick doesn't sound like an easy sell at all. But, then again, I'm sure it wasn't easy to sell his first script to studios either: a little flick called American Beauty, and that just happened to win the Best Picture Oscar. If Alan Ball is writing it, I'm sure I'll like it. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Paul Giamatti To Play Phillip K. Dick In Biopic" - Monday, August 7
OK, this makes a bit more sense than Bill Pullman playing the bizarre writer. Giamatti just sounds like a better fit here, and Tony Grissoni is a good choice to pen the script also. He has written some weird/awesome flicks in the past (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and his involvement also brings another dynamic to the table. Maybe if that first-time director/one-time one-hit wonder Matthew Wilder doesn't cut it at the helm, perhaps Grisoni could call up his old buddy Terry Gilliam to direct this flick, because that would be just an AWESOME fit for this movie, I think. But, even if that doesn't happen, Giamatti and Grisoni should team up nicely here. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Dimension to Release Feast, Winner of Project Greenlight - Season 3" - Tuesday, August 8:
I was starting to wonder about this one. It was supposed to be released in early January, and then just fell off the release schedule with seemingly no explanation. Now it's back, and this flick probably holds the future of the whole Project Greenlight contest on its shoulders. There hasn't been any info on a pending 4th PGL contest, and if Feast flops, then I think it's pretty safe to say that they won't hold another contest for filmmaking hopefuls. The previous two movies to come out of this contest, Stolen Summer and The Battle of Shaker Heights were both pretty damn good flicks... that no one saw. I hear this is getting some good buzz, though, so hopefully it gets a significant release, because after what I remember from the TV series, this looks like a pretty damn interesting horror flick, and I'm glad it's finally getting a release. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson Find Fool's Gold" - Tuesday, August 8:
OK, I think we're getting a little bit out of control with this whole treasure-hunting thing. While I do like those kind of movies, because of the tension and suspense it builds, now, to throw a married couple on the rocks into this genre is just pretty damn lame, folks. They've been trotting the globe, looking for clues or whatever for 8 years and now they're broke and the fire is gone from their marriage. So, they are about to be divorced when, out of the blue, a clue appears that could be the missing link to a treasue trove of some sort. What's even funnier about this dopey project is that someone actually had the idea back in 2001, since the WB has held on to this script since then. I just can't see this making a dent, really. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Maverick Pulls the Trigger on Shoot" - Tuesday, August 8:
Wow. And I thought I'd heard of it all, folks. Apparently, there are "contemporary gunslingers" out there in this world. Yeah, that's right, gunfighters. This flick will talk about this underground world of gunfighters and will feature a young man who seeks out the undefeated gunfighting king. Yeah. For one, isn't it a tad redundant to say that ANY gunfighter is undefeated? Don't you, umm, die if you lose? Damn. My head hurts... Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Neill Blomkamp To Direct Halo" - Wednesday, August 9:
Yes, that's right Halo fans. None other than the man himself NEILL BLOMKAMP will be directing Master Chief and his cronies in the Halo movie! Oh... you don't know who Neill Blomkamp is? Well you better recognize, fools, 'cause he did... umm, 3D animation on 3000 Miles to Graceland. I'm a tad surprised that they didn't go with a big, sexy, headline-grabbing name here, but apparently they like his CGI background and are confident in his directing abilities after seeing the documentary short that he did last year. I really don't know why they didn't get a bigger name here, since this is a rather high-profile project. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Columbia Has To Walk Hard With John C. Reilly" - Wednesday, August 9:
If this flick was done by spoof-meisters Aaron Seltzer and Jason Freidburg, I'd be singing a different tune here, but, as it were, I think this sounds pretty damn funny. Of course, if almost anyone but the insanely busy Judd Apatow was involved, I'd be singing a different tune as well. Apatow is teaming up with Jake Kasdan, who directed Orange County and will direct here as well. It's not being called a "spoof" but it almost sounds like one, in that Apatow sort of way. It's about a fictional music star whose life spins out of control, a la Ray and Walk the Line. It sounds like the way that the Apatow-produced Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby subtely made fun of Southern people. If Apatow is on board, so am I, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Philip Seymour Hoffman to Star in Synecdoche" - Friday, August 11:
I'm almost surprised that there wasn't a bigger deal made out of this. Screenwriter extraordinaire Charlie Kaufman is finally making his directorial debut here, and he has quite a fine actor toplining for him in Phillip Seymour Hoffman. We don't get a whole lot on the plot here, just about Hoffman playing a playwright's hard times with all the women in his life. But, Kaufman's flicks are normally so complex, that if we got a detailed explanation, I'd probably just be incredibly confused anyway, so perhaps this is for the best. Still, Kaufman directing (FINALLY!) and Hoffman starring is some great news indeed. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Even with a bunch of dancers and some brave Port Authority officers right on his heels, Ricky Bobby circled the competition once again with his second victory lap in a row. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby took the top spot at the box office once again this weekend, scoring $22.1 million in its second weekend. It only had a moderate drop of 53% and snagged a decent $5,811 per-screen average. The flick now stands at $90.3 million for its 10-day total, and, with a $72.5 million budget, Ricky Bobby and Co. can set it on cruise control from now and and just keep on collecting the profit. It's a good thing it was a fairly uncompetitive weekend, actually, since it probably won't be number 1 this weekend with that flick about serpents on a flying vessell. Still, it should have no problem getting to $100 million before the serpents hit the screen.
It was a fairly close race for 2nd place this weekend, as Step Up just edged out World Trade Center for the silver medal. The dancing flick took in $20.6 million while the Port Authority guys took in $18.7 million over the weekend, and made $26.5 million since its Wednesday opening. The dancing flick was actually in almost 500 fewer theaters, bowing in 2,467 as opposed to World Trade Center's theater count of 2,957. The dancers overtook the cops in per-screen average as well, with a solid $8,734 average and the cops taking in a decent $6,334 per-screen average. The two flicks also differ in profit margins as well, as Step Up is already making money from its $18 million budget, and the World Trade Center folks have some work to do with a $65 million budget. They've made almost half their budget back so far, so there's a chance they could make it all back, but they surely have a better chance than the other two new flicks this weekend.
Pulse came in 5th place with just $8.2 million and Zoom could only fly to 9th place this weekend and a paltry $4.5 million opening weekend take. Pulse scored a per-screen average of $3,533 from 2,323 screens, while Zoom performed horribly, with a per-screen average of just $1,803 from 2,501 theaters. They didn't release budget figures on Zoom, but this is shaping up to be one of the biggest busts of the year, by far.
Well, this is certainly a weird little site. The site has this weird landscape of a winter forrest or something, with a woman standing there with her back turned, and this weird sun at the top. All we get here is the trailer, a brief synopsis and a few desktops and screensavers to download. The photos are coming soon. Weird little site, folks, and not much on it either. The Fountain opens on November 22.
The Marine: (TheMarineMovie.com)
Another simple little site here. We get the Trailer, another brief Synopsis, all of six Photos and a link to register for updates. Yeah, hoo rah indeed... The Marine opens on October 13.
Not too bad of a site here. In About the Film we get a very short Synopsis, with Cast and Crew and Production Notes coming soon. Video has the trailer and some cool clips of some streetballers doing some pretty damn sick ball tricks. Downloads has some AIM Icons and Wallpapers to snag, Photo Gallery has, well, photos and Features has a Can I Dunk link where you can send in a video of your dunk to be rated on, but the rest is coming soon here. Below the main screen are a few other options as well. They have this little dunk Flash game where you have to beat a computer dunker, and this nice map that has the lowdown on the best streetball courts in the whole country. All in all, this is a decent site with some cool content and style. Crossover opens on September 1.
Sorry folks. Having some video problems yet again. I'll hopefully have it fixed next week.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a tough choice this week, but I'm going with Charlie Kaufman and Phillip Seymour Hoffman teaming up for my Best News of the Week. While Kaufman doesn't work as much as I and probably a lot of other people would probably like, he remains one of the most original screenwriters in the biz today or possibly of all time. Hoffman is coming off an amazing last few years, so he's as hot as ever, and one helluva talented actor. Hoffman also has experience playing writers on film, and specifically playwrights like he'll be playing here, with his great turn in the David Mamet flick State and Main. I'm looking for some marvelous things from this flick, folks.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Easy one this week, with this idiotic Shoot flick. I just don't get this at all. Sure, and underground Fight Club sounds plausible enough, but an underground GunFight Club? What the hell is going on? Not only does it sound like every other flick, with a young hot-shot going after the champ in... well, whatever the sport/game/showdown may be, but it's about F*%^IN GUNFIGHTERS! Gunfighters don't exist anymore. We don't live in one-horse towns, pan for gold and gather 'round town for a showdown at high noon. This is the 21st Century you dolts! If you want to make a 1900s Western or something, sure. That's fine. But stop pissing on the great tradition of the Western genre by trying to modernize it in terribly retarded ways.
That's all I have 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 the 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.