Howdy folks. Another seven days has come and gone and left us with another slew of fresh movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So, lets not make haste and get right into it with this week's Notables.
Holy retardation, Batman! If you click on the little Click Here! icon you'll see two different posters, the one on the right being the one that was banned and the one on the left, I'm assuming is the lovely alternative. For one, there really isn't a whole lot of difference here and for two, the banned poster really isn't that bad. They just have this gruesome hand hanging out of a body bag, dragging along in the sand. Big frickin deal! The MPAA is slowly turning into the PTA it seems, trying to keep these ghastly images out of the sights of the eons of children that are dragging their parents to Happy Feet or any other kiddie flick that seems to be dominating the entire market. Perhaps they think that if these kiddies see these images they'll be haunted for life and then some deep-pocket parents will sue the balls of the MPAA for allowing such a one-sheet. Lunacy. If it's a horror flick, it should be a scary poster, case closed. God damn impressionable kids. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
For someone who swore that they had just recently acted in their last martial arts epic-type flick, Jet Li certainly seems to be finding his way around similarly-themed projects. First it was announced that he will finally be making a movie alongside fellow international star Jackie Chan for the first time, and now he's signed on to this Ci Ma flick. While both flicks don't sound as martial-arts-centered as others in his repitoire, I'd be rather shocked if I sat through both of these flicks and DIDN'T see some of the fighting stylings of Jet Li. Ci Ma has him as one of three "blood brothers" fighting for politics in the Qing Dynasty. If it's anything like Hero, I'll be sound as a pound. Best News of the Week Nominee.
This sounds like a slick little flick. We have the gorgeous Minneapolis import Kelly Carlson alongside two underrated favorites of mine, Ethan Embry and Christopher McDonald in this Vegas-based drama. McDonald will play a bookie trying to track down an indebtted client in Embry, with Carlson playing McDonald's main squeeze. He's tried to shelter her from the hard-knock side of the business, but when she's exposed to it it becomes clear how right she is for the biz. I haven't really heard much from either of these guys lately, and this sounds like vastly different roles than we're used to seeing them in. This just sounds pretty solid all around, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Yeah. I'm failing to see how "male-driven" this flick can possibly be after reading the plot description. Patrick Dempsey will star as a dude who is pining after his dream girl who is about to get married. For some incredibly incredulous reason, the girl asks HIM to be her "maid of honor," even though he's, you know, a dude. Of course, his dream girl is getting married, so he becomes a man of desperation and, even more incredulously, says yes, using the time he has left to get close to her and try to win her heart. I feel the urge to shoot something right now. If these schleprocks are going to try to market this flick at males, they best thinkg a-fricking-gain! Unreal, people. Simply unreal. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
I was hoping to hear more on the status of this flick sometime soon... but this wasn't quite what I had in mind. Just by stature and demeanor alone, Vin Diesel was a marvelous choice to play Agent 47. For whatever the reason we might have a new hitman, and while he's vastly different than Diesel, he's a pretty damn good choice. Olyphant is another of my underrated favorites who we haven't seen much of because of his role on HBO's Deadwood. He does have a lot of projects on his slate, but if he picks up this Hitman flick, it'll likely be a nice little 1-2 punch with his role in the 4th Die Hard flick, Live Free or Die Hard. Olyphant is a marvelous actor and I think he's a great choice for this unique role. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Normally, I wouldn't be down for letting any more spoof flicks on the silver screen. Usually these flicks come from the one-track spoof minds of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, or those "two of the six writers from Scary Movie." But this Walk Hard, a spoof of the recent musician biopics, is not from those two, or even from the Wayans clan. It's from the interesting team of Jake Kasdan and Judd Apatow. Kasdan will direct from a script they both wrote and John C. Reilly will star as a fictional music legend. Kasdan has a decent filmography behind him (and genes; Lawrence Kasdan is his father) with Orange County and the upcoming The TV Set. Apatow has been all frickin over the place since his comedic masterpiece The 40 Year Old Virgin, producing, writing and directing a number of projects. I'm not a terribly huge fan of spoofs, but when you have talent like this in front of and behind the camera, I can't help but be psyched for it. Best News of the Week Nominee.
I've heard of a few poker pro biopics in the works in the past few years like Nicolas Cage's Amarillo Slim biopic. This one sounds like a real interesting one because of its unique subject in Phil Hellmuth Jr. Phil made history in 1989 when he became the youngest person to win the World Series of Poker Main Event. He even beat Johnn Chan heads-up for the title, who had won the title the previous two years in a row. At 24, Hellmuth's age record still hasn't been broken, and it still stands as one of poker's greatest feats. Now, it's good that they're focusing on this part of Hellmuth's career, since the volatile pro can come off any number of different ways nowadays. Hayden Christensen hasn't been seen around too much after going to the dark side of The Force in Episode III, but he sounds like a pretty good choice to play the brash Hellmuth. Best News of the Week Nominee.
This sounds like a real interesting project. Co-written by super-producer Brian Grazer's wife, Gigi Levangie Grazer, it starts out simply with an L.A. woman who's set up on a blind date. She meets the guy, a compassionate carpenter for Ikea and finds out that he just happens to be Jesus Christ, who is in L.A. for the impending armageddon. Wow. Grazer's wife Gigi does have some writing gigs to her credit, and from the sound of this, I'm surprised she doesn't have more. This sounds like a really really cool idea, and I hope it doesn't get bogged down in too much mushy stuff with Christ and his new squeeze. Still, it's, if anything else, original as hell, so this gets a Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
With four new flicks at the box office this weekend, the top three flicks for the past three weeks are finally scattered about the standings this week, and we have a new #1 flick in the country... and it doesn't speak English. Mel Gibson's Apocalypto became the first flick to dethrone Happy Feet in its month of release. The Mayans didn't beat out the penguins by much, though. Apocalypto took in just over $15 million in its debut weekend, beating out Happy Feet's $12.9 million take by just a few million bones. While a $15 million debut isn't quite earth-shattering, it's rather impressive due to the vast theater-count disadvantage the Mayan-language flick was up against. Apocalypto bowed in 2,465 theaters, which was 1,195 theaters LESS than Happy Feet was shown in. Apocalypto turned in a very solid per-screen average of $6,087, which could either mean that people forgive Mel Gibson for his drunk-driving escapade, or they're curious about the Mayan language or maybe even both. Who knows. Still, Mel has some more work to do, as he's not even halfway to his $40 million budget, but if the flick expands to a 3,000-theater wide rollout, or if the per-screen averages stay up during this competitive time, Mel and the Mayans could end up seeing a profit after all.
The Holiday took home the bronze with a solid take of $12.7 million, only a few hundred thousand bucks shy of the second-place spot. The new Nancy Meyers flick took in a somewhat-decent $4,896 per-screen average, but it has even more work to do to make its money back. The star-studded flick came in with an $85 million budget and with a packed release schedule in the coming weeks, things do not look so good for Nancy Meyers and company. Mr. Bond was in 4th place this weekend with Daniel Craig's Casino Royale taking in $8.9 million. It's at $129 million so far, still a little shy of its tubby $150 million budget.
Blood Diamond: took the 5th spot this weekend, with a dissapointing $8.6 million. I have no idea why, because this looked like sure-fire Oscar material here, but the flick had a pretty weak rollout, bowing in 1,910 theaters this weekend. Unless this does some exponential expansion, this flick will end up bombing, with its hefty $100 million budget. Deja Vu took the 6th place this weekend with just over $6 million and the last newbie of the weekend, Unaccompanied Minors took 7th with $5.8 million. What, you mean nobody wanted to see a bunch of kids pick on Lewis Black and Wilmer Valderrama? Weird...
Yeah. First we get the Trailer which is lame. Then we get the Synopsis, which is lame. Then, hold on, we get the Gallery... which is lame and finally we get the very lame Updates page. So, to sum up, this site is LAME, which is fitting because it will probably match the movie quite well. Epic Movie opens on January 26.
We get a pretty cool site for this flick, although some links are a bit unnecessary. On the main site at the bottom, you can select a character with all the main characters from the flick available. For each character there is a tiny character description, some downloadable AIM Icons and Wallpapers and a Gallery. But they have all these items up on the menu at the top of the screen, so it's a bit redundant. At the menu on top there is also a really lame Synopsis, the Trailer (which you already see on the first page of the site) and some Games. There are two games here, Hellfire and Demon Duel. Hellfire is a motorcycle race game that takes way too long to play, even though it's pretty cool, and Demon Duel is pretty much the exact same game they had with their The Hills Have Eyes website, only changed up a slight bit. Rip-off. While this is a decent site with lots of style and some stuff to do, there are some redundancies that aren't needed and it'd be nice if Sony didn't recycle their games. Ghost Rider opens on February 16.
Simple and boring site here. We get the Trailer and exclusive Video Clip, a brief synopsis in Story, some desktops and AIM Icons in Downloads and Cast gives you some background on the main actors in the flick. Nothing outstanding here, but the same will probably be said about the movie itself. Black Christmas opens on, well, Christmas Day.
This is a very interesting site, with eons of useful info if you haven't read the His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman... but there's not much here if you have read them, I'm assuming. It seemed like they set this site up for a start-off point for people to get interested in both the books and the movies. They do a pretty damn good job too, because I'm tempted to buy that trilogy now. They start out with Lyra's World, which introduces you to a great many characters and different groups of people and things in this odd world. The next section is The Alethiometer a.k.a. The Golden Compass. They have this compass thing with all these dials and you're supposed to ask a question in your head and move the dials and such to try and get answers. They encourage this by hiding exclusive content within certain combinations, so there you go. The only other thing we get is About the Film, where they have a selection of production notes under the heading News and a full cast list under Cast. This is a very intriguing site and, with a year to go before this hits theaters, I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot more added onto this site. The Golden Compass opens on December 7, 2007.
The Secret Life of Words
It's been quite awhile since I've seen a trailer this absolutely idiotic. We get just a tiny glimpse into this story with Sarah Polley as a nurse on an oil rig, caring for Tim Robbins who was badly burned on the rig. Other than that... your guess is as good as mine. They try to get all artsy with us by splicing different random words into the cast members name, and the whole thing just gives me a headache. Bah! The Secret Life of Words opens on December 15 in limited release.
This looks like a pretty good spring fling of a flick. We get some A-listers in Bruce Willis and Halle Berry and another one of my underrated favorites in Giovanni Ribisi and a pretty slick story about secrets and what people do to keep them. Willis plays a big-shot owner of an ad agency and Berry plays a reporter whose friend went missing after having a fling with Hill over the weekend. Ribisi, underused as always, looks to play a tech-geek who helps dig into Willis' online activity, where Willis and Berry's friend met. It looks like a pretty slick thriller with a great cast a solid director in James Foley (Confidence) and a slick story of secrets and suspicion. Perfect Stranger opens on April 13.
Wow. The heroes in a half-shell are back... and they haven't changed a bit, according to this uber-lame trailer. It sounds like the same old turtles who fight like ninjas, talk like surfers and eat like stoners. Oh sure, there are new villains for them to face off against, but this looks like the same old song and dance without even the slightest attempt to revamp this franchise for the 21st Century. Unless there are a country-load of people my age who are crazy-nostalgic for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I can't see this making any serious dough whatsoever. TMNT opens on March 23, 2007.
Oh great. Another one of those biblical plague movies. God, they're a dime a dozen these days... oh, wait. Yeah, imagine you live in a town where one day the town's little creek hath runneth over with blood. Yeah. Real blood. You might think something is amiss, I'd say, so you'd call up a woman like Hillary Swank's character who's basically a miracle-buster. She hasn't come across a miracle she can't explain yet, but when she gets to this town, it does appear that those pesky Biblical plagues are coming to life in this little town in Louisiana. Weird, eh? While it does have a certain amount of originality going for it and Hillary Swank, it just looks like it might be too weird for its own good. Who knows though. Maybe they just did a bad job on the trailer, but it looks a little wishy-washy to me. The Reaping opens on March 30, 2007.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a tough choice this week, but I'm going with Timothy Olyphant going for the killshot as Agent 47 for my Best News of the Week. I actually own Hitman 2 for my PC and, in looking at the cover of that game as I type, Olyphant might just make a bitter Hitman anyway. As he's depicted on the cover and in the game, he's not a hulking and imposing guy like Diesel is, which makes sense because guys that size draw attention to themselves and if you draw attention to yourself, you're probably not going to do so well as an assassin. So, that being said, Olyphant fits the bill almost to perfection. He's not too tall at 6 feet, has the right kind of physique and all they need to do is Bic his dome, give him some piano wire and an arsenal of guns and he's picture-ready. This should be a great move for this flick, and I hope they finally get this up and running this time.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with Patrick Dempsey in a role that might just make him the biggest puss-bag in the world. Come on Patrick. I know Grey's Anatomy has made you a big star and crap, but just because every girl/woman in the country watches that show, it doesn't mean that you have to do EVERY project for the ladies. I can't honestly believe this is going to be a movie. A girl asking a guy to be her MAID OF HONOR is one thing. Catty feminine hypnotic powers, is what I like to call that thing. But the guy actually ACCEPTING this... this thing in order to be an even bigger douchebag and try to win said girl's heart before she marries another guy, is just that much more sick and wrong. If this actually gets made, and I actually hear about one straight male getting talked into something ridiculous like this because of your movie, well, I just might have to borrow the piano wire from Mr. Olyphant...
That's all I've got 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 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.