We're 7 days closer to Christmas and the New Year and all that jazz, and the week was full of news tidbits from Hollywood. Lets sort out the good and bad news of the week with this week's Notables.
This is a wonderful true-story premise here, although I am a bit concerned about who's writing it. This kind of a story doesn't exactly seem to be well suited for the guy who wrote the entire Air Bud series... Still, this is a very unique story, adapted from a non-fiction book, and this could make a very quirky/fun motion picture. Best News of the Week Nominee.
This flick is based off a Phillip K. Dick short story, and, while some of the adaptations of his have failed at the box office (See: Impostor, Paycheck), the stories have always been interesting. This one sound very interesting as well, with the always solid Moore joining the fold with Nicolas Cage, who can be great when he picks the right projects. Lee Tamahori sounds like a good fit in the direcotrs chair, and Gary Goldman, who used one of Dick's short story's as the inspiration for his adaptation ot Total Recall, is a pretty good fit as well. Best News of the Week Nominee.
This sounds like the same old fish-out-of-water/boy-meets-girl crap we've seen a trillion and 9 times. It's usually the simpleton girl meeting the sophisticated guy, but it's flip-flopped here, and I immediately thought of Woody Harrelson's character on Cheers when he goes out with a high-society gal. I don't care who they cast here, I doubt it will work. Originality, folks. Originality...Worst News of the Week Nominee.
It's been awhile since reading Charlotte's Web in kindergarten or whatever, but from what I remember, it could probably be turned into a good flick. Dakota Fanning being cast in the lead role should do nothing but increase those odds. She's an immensely talented young actress and she does well in everything she takes on, so I don't see it being any different here. Director Gary Winick (13 Going on 30) has a spotty resume, and it doesn't look like he's worked with CGI too much. But Fanning's casting is very good news indeed. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Ben Stiller has had quite a year. He will appear in his 6th, yes 6th movie in a little over a week when his sequel Meet the Fockers hits the theaters. His summer hit Dodgeball was probably the funniest movie of the year, but Envy was one of the worst movie's I've EVER seen, and Along Came Polly wasn't anything to write home about either. The phrase "hit-or-miss" could be fairly accurate in describing Stiller's career. This new project of his, Tropic Thunder definitely sounds like a hit. He's wearing many hats with this project as well, writing, directing and starring. The story sounds wonderful, surrounding the infamous Dale Dye's movie boot camp, and actors having to incorporate those skills in a real-life war situation. I don't know who else Stiller will be starring with, but there are so many great elements and different ways to go with to this story and I think it will turn out just great. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Schrader's firing, which led to the hiring of Renny Harlin and re-shooting virtually the whole movie over again, was incredibly controversial earlier this year. What's funny about the whole thing is if they would've stuck with Schrader's version, they would've seen a profit. Schrader's version cost an estimated $30 million, and Harlin's version cost $50 million. The movie made $41.8 million. I think it's great that Schrader is releasing his own version to see who will win the battle of the Excorsist:The Beginning's. Best News of the Week Nominee.
It's not really Spade I'm worried about here. I liked Joe Dirt and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star wasn't too bad. Rob Schnieder can be funny at times, and I think he will mesh fairly well with Spade. What really worries me here is that this was written by Allen Covert, who wrote the horrendously received Eight Crazy Nights. He's also one of the Sandler Regulars, appearing in practically all of his college buddy Adam Sandler's flicks. He was most recently seen as Ten Second Tom in 50 First Dates and the supposedly well-endowed Andrew in Anger Management. I don't know what Covert and the other Regulars did for Sandler back in the day, but they really don't deserve to be on screen, let alone in damn near all of his flicks. They're just annoying, and, apparently Covert's writing skills aren't anything to shout about either. This story sounds utterly worthless, and while Spade and Schneider could get some laughs out of it, I can't see it being a success. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
As far as I'm concerned, Alec Baldwin has been on a roll as of late...and yes, I'm excluding The Cat in the Hat. He was nominated for an Oscar for his magnificent performance in The Cooler, was just hilarious and the only reason to see the otherwise-crap Along Came Polly, had a voice role in The Spongebob Squarepants movie, and has roles in two big upcoming movies: Martin Scorcese's The Aviator and Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown. Now he has signed on to these two projects, and they both sound great for him as well. He's picking some great roles and he's just shining, and I don't see this to change. Best News of the Week Nominee.
I saw a piece on SportsCenter awhile back that showed Snoop coaching his son's team, and it was really cool. It showed a different side of Snoop, and how serious he is about coaching. His playbook was just huge, and these are like 8-year old kids, or something like that. I think this would've worked better as a documentary, but if they don't over-dramatize it too much, this should work out just fine. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
It took a bunch of con men to overtake the treasure hunting trifecta of the movie world. Ocean's 12 took the top spot away from National Treasure, which had been at the top spot for three weeks in a row. The sequel took in $39.1 million in its opening weekend. The flick averaged a huge $11,900 per screen, showing in just under 3,300 theaters. If you compare this to Ocean's 11, they have nearly identical results, with Ocean's 11 taking in $38.1 million in its opening weekend 3 years ago. 11 took in $183 million from an $85 million budget. Ocean's 12 has a $110 million budget, and it will need to perform similarly to its predecessor, with minimal decreases throughout the rest of the year, for the sequel to achieve the same success as Ocean's 11. With a lot of high-profile releases in the coming weeks, I have my doubts if it can do so.
Coming in a distant second was another newcomer and, fittingly, another sequel. Blade: Trinity took the silver medal at the box office, taking in just over $16 million for the weekend, and $24.4 million since it's opening that Wednesday. This one has an outside shot for some profit as well, with a $65 million budget to make back and some collectively bad reviews (25% "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes) to contend with as well. If it doesn't see some profit, the franchise itself might be the next to fall under the blade...
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou also opened this week and it finished in 27th place with a $113,085. Why is this noteworthy? Because it was only shown in 2 theaters! If your math isn't so hot, that's a per-screen average of $56,542, and what we would call, "good" in the movie business. How big are these damn theaters anyway? Anyway, I doubt they can keep that average so high when it's released wide on Christmas Day, but if they can keep it up fairly high, this movie should perform fairly well.
Son of the Mask: (http://www.sonofthemask.com/)
When you first log on to this site, it appears to be under construction, with a big green block covering most of the site. But there are a few figures popping out of the top, and if you click on each, you get a bio/filmography of each actor as well as a desktop and AIM Icon for each actor. Below the whole green screen, you can also watch the trailer, look at a photo gallery, some background on the story and the downloads section just features the same stuff you can download in the individual bio pages. There is also some voice commentary from Ben Stein, who appears in the film, as well. There is some decent content on this site, but it's thrown together rather oddly. Son of the Mask arrives in theaters February 18
Assault on Precinct 13: (http://www.ap13movie.com/)
This site is the opposite of the Son of the Mask website: plenty of style, barely any substance. The main page a.k.a. the only page, looks very cool and I hope they use that graphic for the one-sheet. However, all that's here is you can watch the trailer, and sign up for updates. The official site is "coming soon" along with the movie which opens on January 21. Hopefully we get a full website before January 21.
The Amityville Horror: (http://www.amityvillehorrormovie.com/)
Another style-over-substance site here. The site opens with a creepy little intro, but once it all loads up, we just get a little background on the true story that the movie is based on, and you can watch the trailer. That's all folks, but the background info is worth a read. The Amityville Horror opens on April 15. Hey, a scary movie on income tax day. What are the odds?
The New World: (http://www.thenewworldmovie.com/)
If you saw Ocean's 12 this weekend, you probably saw this trailer...but you won't want to see the website, not yet at least. They have the trailer...and that's it. Not even a link to register for updates. What a rip-off...The New World opens November 9, so at least they have some time to put something worthwhile up on this site.
The Weather Man: (http://www.weathermanmovie.com/)
I thought this was the one this week. I thought this would be the site with both style and substance. I was wrong. The site starts off great, with a slick intro with footage and a voice-over from the flick's star Nicolas Cage. But when you get to the main site, there isn't a whole lot of substance, but I still thought it would be fairly good. Once again, i was wrong. The Synopsis is as brief as you could possibly expect, the Cast and Filmmakers link is just a cut-and-paste version of what you'd probably see at the end of the trailer. And there's a link for the trailer too. Is it there? Of course not. It's "coming soon." At least the Register for Updates link is valid. The site keeps your attention long enough to realize you've just wasted your time, which is even more of a rip-off than nothing on the site at all. Hopefully there is more to the site before the movie opens on April 1.
Wedding Crashers: (http://www.theweddingcrashers.com/)
God dammit New Line! It is EXACTLY the same as the site for The New World, except with the big title card different, and, hopefully a different link to the trailer, which was also attatched to Ocean's 12. In fact, on the very top of your browser, instead of it saying Wedding Crashers, it says The New World! What kind of hacks do they have putting these websites together for New Line? In case you were wondering, I did check the trailer link, it is a trailer for Wedding Crashers, so hoo rah for them. Frickin idiots... Wedding Crashers opens July 22.
xXx: State of the Union: (http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/triplex2/)
Style over substance, yet again. There is a cool graphic on the only page of the site, and the trailer loads automatically when you log on. Yeah, that's it... xXx: State of the Union opens April 29.
I got slightly excited when it said "Click to Launch" on the main page. A pop-up launches and, eventually, some nice graphics come up, with some space-like music in the background. On the site, though there isn't a whole lot, but enough to be considered good for this week. There is a lot of style here, and everything is set up very nicely. There is Story, where you get a synopsis (click on "Mysterious Game" in yellow, also), a small photo gallery, and Downloads where you can get a cool-looking desktop. There isn't a ton of content here, but the main page does say the full site is coming soon, so there will be more to come, and with this stylish layout, it should be a very good site to visit. Zathura opens on December 21, 2005.
I'm a very big fan of author Elmore Leonard's work. He wrote the novels that Jackie Brown, Out of Sight and Get Shorty are based on, along with The Big Bounce, the upcoming Tishomingo Blues (which is an awesome book) and many many other works that were adapted to the silver screen. His latest work to be adapted, Be Cool, is a sequel to Get Shorty, and it looks just as great as the original. The cast here is just masterful, for this type of movie. Of course, John Travolta is back as Chili Palmer and he's joined by Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Christina Milian, Harvey Keitel, Outkast's Andre 3000 and, in the weirdest/coolest one of all, The Rock, playing a gay bodyguard. With a Leonard-based story, this great cast and the talented F. Gary Gray directing, this should be a great spring movie. Be Cool opens March 4.
How can you not love Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka? His irreverance and pure zest for performing in the most unique of manners will cement his place in cinematic history. This is a teaser trailer, so we just get a broad feel for what the flick will be like. With Tim Burton at the helm, you probably thought it would be fairly zany...well, it is, and rightfully so. Burton, Depp along with Depp's Finding Neverland chum Freddie Highmore should make this a great movie for everyone. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opens July 15.
It looks like they're getting more serious with the sequel then they were with the original xXx. Besides Samuel L. Jackson's character Augustus Gibbons, it looks and feels like a totally different type of movie. That's a good thing. No corny jokes and a lot more drama. Sure, there will be some stylized action here, but I don't think it will be the centerpiece of the movie like the first one was. Ice Cube seems to fit the bill just fine as the new xXx, they upgraded the rest of the cast with Willem Dafoe and talented newcomer Scott Speedman, and with Lee Tamahori (Die Another Day) at the helm instead of Rob Cohen, this could be a pretty damn good movie. Honestly, before seeing this trailer, that was the last thing I envisioned myself saying about this movie. xXx: State of the Union opens April 29.
The original Amityville Horror is one of the older films I haven't caught up with yet, but after seeing this trailer, it won't be for long. This remake of the 1979 flick looks to be a fabulous horror movie, based on a startlingly true story. Although Ryan Reynolds hasn't done any horror flicks yet, he is immensely talented and I'm positive he can pull this off. He has some nice back-up with Philip Baker Hall as well. This should be a winner, folks. The Amityville Horror opens April 15.
This looks like a very interesting movie, from acclaimed director Terrence Malick. It has a solid cast, with Colin Farrell, Christian Bale and Christopher Plummer and a surprisingly original premise. We haven't really seen a movie dealing with this time period in America, at least in this sort of scope. I think this will do very well, because it is something, pardon the pun, unchartered in, at least, fairly recent cinema. With all of the talent in front of and behind the camera, I think this will surely be a winner. The New World arrives in theaters November 9.
I'm not sure if this will scare the nation like Orson Welles did in his radio rendition back in the day, but this sure does look good. We don't get a lot of footage here, but Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins and Dakota Fanning with Steven Speilberg at the helm? This will probably make a trillion and 9 dollars, and it'll probably deserve every penny. I'm just mad that I have to wait longer for a full trailer...War of the Worlds opens June 29.
Damn next summer is going to just rock! This is just another teaser trailer, but tease us it does. This film has a great look, great cast, great writers, great director so it should be...hell yeah, great! Batman Begins hits theaters on June 17.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
There was a lot to choose from in both categories this week, but for Best News of the Week, I'm going with Alec Baldwin's two new projects. He hasn't been getting as much press as Johnny Depp and his phenomenal resurgence in the past few years, but if anyone deserves a silver medal to Depp, Baldwin has to be a front-runner. He's displayed some amazing range, going from a gritty casino owner in The Cooler to a quirky office boss in Along Came Polly. These new projects, playing Boss in Fun With Dick and Jane and a basketball coach in Street might not be tailor-made for him, but I think he's more than proved he has the chops to pull it off.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It wasn't an easy choice here either, but I'm going with the Spade-Schneider baseball thing for Worst News of the Week. One of the Sandler Regulars, Allen Covert writing a non-Sandler flick. He shouldn't have written even a Sandler flick. I have no idea what's going on with these guys. It's like they're blackmailing him or something. If they were funny or talented, I could see bringing them on, but they really aren't. So, now Covert is writing, and from what we have of the story, it sounds just retarded. 3 grown men taking on a full youth baseball team beacause they didn't have athletic childhoods? What the holy hell is that? I just don't see the point, or the humor, or the sense of wasting good film in capturing this pointless, humorless piece of dreck.