Another seven days has whipped past us and brought us a new slew of news bits, box office info new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets get right into it with this week's Notables.

NOTABLES

"Matthew Lillard and Efren Ramirez Have an American Summer" - Monday, February 12:

Tell me if this doesn't sound just a little enormous bit familiar. A pool boy (Lillard) and a gardener (Ramirez) team up to turn an empty mansion where Lillard works and turn it into a brothel and turning themselves into a pair of pimps. Hmm, a pool boy and an empty mansion and prostitution? Sounds a LOT like Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo to me, flipped around a little bit. It also said that Ramirez , who played the lovable Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite, will be the "muscle" of the operation. He looked about as muscular and/or menacing as a baby seal in Napoleon. While this odd comedic couple might be good for a few laughs, this project just sounds so doomed by unoriginality that it will surely fail. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"James Van Der Beek Training for Stone's War" - Tuesday, February 13:

This project is listed on IMDB as War of the Dead, but whatever title they go with here, it sounds pretty damn cool. It's a war flick with Van Der Beek playing an American captain leading American and Finnish soldiers. Outmanned, they retreat into the dense Russian forrest when they're suddenly attacked by the soldiers that they had just killed. As they flee further into the forrest, they learn some haunting truths about the enemy. Hells yeah! A zombie/war hybrid flick just sounds cool as is, and this could be the comeback project that Van Der Beek has needed for quite some time. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Leonardo DiCaprio Investigates a Conspiracy of Fools" - Tuesday, February 13:

Leo has been one of the hottest commodities in the biz these last few years, and if he keeps picking slick projects like this one, his status will just keep on rising. He'll star and produce here in this story about the fall of Enron, based on a book by New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald. They've also tapped the uber-hot scribe Sheldon Turner to adapt here, adding to his ever-growing list of projects in development. DiCaprio will play a newbie to the energy-trading firm who slowly discovers the corrupt practices that led to their bankrupcy in 2001. With Leo starring and producing and Turner writing, this has blockbuster written all over it, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller Gear Up for Hardy Men" - Tuesday, February 13:

I didn't write anything about this last week when it was rumored, because I thought it sounded too weird to be true. With the exception of his Mission: Impossible action franchise, Tommy has been diving into very serious, potentially Oscar-worthy roles for many a moon now. So to hear about him playing a grown-up Hardy Boy? Alongside Ben Stiller? It just didn't sound like a Tom Cruise move to me. Now that it's official, though, I think it sounds pretty damn cool. I thought it would've been cool before, but I guess I just didn't think it would actually happen. Although I'm not a big fan of director Shawn Levy, this actually sounds like a good fit for him, and he has a really slick story to work with as well. This is going to make some huge bank, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Universal Lip Syncing with Milli Vanilli" - Wednesday, February 14:

Anyone older than 27 probably remembers this duo's incredible rise up the pop charts and their tragic fall after it was revealed that it wasn't really them who sang on their breakthrough debut album, and that they lip-synced during live performances. While the music left much to be desired, this whole story has the makings to be a damn good movie, folks. We have deception, betrayal, sex drugs and rock 'n' roll, all rolled into a scandal that shocked the world. Nathanson seems to be pretty good at these true-story deals (See: Catch Me if You Can) as well, and I'm really looking forward into a new glimpse into one of the biggest scandals in entertainment history. Best News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

It may be the middle of winter, but a crazy motorcycle rider revved it up and peeled out of the weekend with a high-octane box office take. Ghost Rider was the overwhelming winner at the box office this weekend, taking in $51.5 million over the four-day holiday weekend, with just over $45 million coming in the three-day span. The Nicolas Cage flick took broke the President's Day weekend record, set by 50 First Dates's $45.1 million in 2004. This is obviously a good weekend for writer-director Mark Steven Johnson, since his last flick, Daredevil took in a then-record $45.03 million on the same weekend in 2003. Ghost Rider fended off a poor reception from the nation's critics, with just a 24% "Fresh" rating from the Rotten Tomatoes critics. The Marvel comic adaptation scored a very impressive $14,230 per-screen average, coming from a hefty 3,619 theater count. It's a little less than halfway home to a profit, with its $110 million budget, but, unless it makes a huge decline next weekend, I don't see why it won't hit that mark.

While Ghost Rider did run away with the crown this weekend, it was still a very busy weekend overall, with the top 6 flicks reaching 8-figure grosses, and all but one of those was new this weekend. Bridge to Terabithia came in second this weekend, with an impressive four-day take of $29 million. It received a decent rollout of 3,139 theaters and posted a very healthy per-screen average of $9,238. Norbit somehow continued to impress, dropping just 39.4% for a four-day take of $20.7 million. The rest of the top six were fairly close to each other, though.

Music and Lyrics took 4th place with just over $16 million followed closely by Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls in 5th place with $14.3 and Breach in 6th place with $12.3 million. Breach had easily the best weekend of these three. For some reason, it reeeived a terrible rollout of just 1,489 theaters, but it made the best out of them with a smashing $8,290 per-screen average. I was quite surprised that this true-story flick was shafted in the theaters, but hopefully these numbers will be cause for expansion next weekend... so I can actually see it.

GOING LIVE

Away From Her: (LionsGate.com/AwayFromHer)

Another damn teaser site. All we get here is the schmaltzy trailer and a Forum on the LionsGate site. Blah. Away From Her opens on May 4... alongside Spider-Man 3. Good luck with that one, Sarah Polley...

In the Land of Women: (MySpace.com/ITLOW)

I'm not sure if this will serve as the actual official page for the flick, but it might as well because it has everything you're used to finding on one of those sites, and then some. The top of the site has a few graphics and a small synopsis about the flick and below that is the Trailer with an exclusive intro from the flick's star, and MySpace organizer Adam Brody. You can also enter your celly number for showtimes and updates to be sent to you. Below all that is a small Gallery of pictures, along with some downloadable AIM Buddy Icons, Wallpapers and Badges. You can also read his Blog to the right of all that and lastly there's something quite unique here: you can leave Adam Brody a voicemail message. They give you this free number to call where you can leave your own voicemail message for Brody, and a link to his Snapvine page. There is also a little player that enables you to listen to all of these messages left for him. The whole thing is pretty cool because he's being very accessible to the fans. And, like any MySpace page, you can add this page to your friends, or leave a comment or all the other little things you can do. It's a pretty slick site, and I wouldn't be surprised if more movies went this route instead of an regular official website. In the Land of Women opens on April 20.

Good Luck Chuck: (http://lionsgate.com/goodluckchuck/)

ARGH! We get a funny little intro here, with certain phrases flashing across the screen with the word "Chuck" replacing another word that it rhymes with. After that, absolutely nothing. We get the three main cast members, the title, the names of the screenwriter and director, and a big Coming Soon. THAT'S IT! Damn idiots. What's the point of putting up a damn website if there's nothing on it but the title? I'll never understand the need for these stupid teaser sites. Ever. Good Luck Chuck opens on August 24.

Resident Evil: Extinction: (SonyPictures.com)

Lame! All we get is a Synopsis and a link where you can "apply for a job" with the Umbrella Corporation, which is a just a link to register for updates. Stupid teaser sites! Resident Evil: Extinction opens on September 21.

TRAILER PARK

Away From Her: (LionsGate.com/AwayFromHer)

Another damn teaser site. All we get here is the schmaltzy trailer and a Forum on the LionsGate site. Blah. Away From Her opens on May 4... alongside Spider-Man 3. Good luck with that one, Sarah Polley...

In the Land of Women: (MySpace.com/ITLOW)

I'm not sure if this will serve as the actual official page for the flick, but it might as well because it has everything you're used to finding on one of those sites, and then some. The top of the site has a few graphics and a small synopsis about the flick and below that is the Trailer with an exclusive intro from the flick's star, and MySpace organizer Adam Brody. You can also enter your celly number for showtimes and updates to be sent to you. Below all that is a small Gallery of pictures, along with some downloadable AIM Buddy Icons, Wallpapers and Badges. You can also read his Blog to the right of all that and lastly there's something quite unique here: you can leave Adam Brody a voicemail message. They give you this free number to call where you can leave your own voicemail message for Brody, and a link to his Snapvine page. There is also a little player that enables you to listen to all of these messages left for him. The whole thing is pretty cool because he's being very accessible to the fans. And, like any MySpace page, you can add this page to your friends, or leave a comment or all the other little things you can do. It's a pretty slick site, and I wouldn't be surprised if more movies went this route instead of an regular official website. In the Land of Women opens on April 20.

Good Luck Chuck: (http://lionsgate.com/goodluckchuck/)

ARGH! We get a funny little intro here, with certain phrases flashing across the screen with the word "Chuck" replacing another word that it rhymes with. After that, absolutely nothing. We get the three main cast members, the title, the names of the screenwriter and director, and a big Coming Soon. THAT'S IT! Damn idiots. What's the point of putting up a damn website if there's nothing on it but the title? I'll never understand the need for these stupid teaser sites. Ever. Good Luck Chuck opens on August 24.

Resident Evil: Extinction: (SonyPictures.com)

Lame! All we get is a Synopsis and a link where you can "apply for a job" with the Umbrella Corporation, which is a just a link to register for updates. Stupid teaser sites! Resident Evil: Extinction opens on September 21.

TRAILER PARK

The Nanny Diaries

This actually might be pretty good. We have the writing directing team behind the marvelous American Splendor, a super cast with Scarlett Johansson Chris Evans, Laura Linney, Alicia Keys and Splendor's star Paul Giamatti. While the fare is lighter than I'm used to enjoying, this tale about a nanny (Johansson) working for a crazed woman (Linney) and trying to do her job while being distracted by a neighbor (Evans) who is, you know, hot and stuff. The trailer is pretty damn funny, and it looks like it's written and directed quite nicely here. I know, I'm surprised too... The Nanny Diaries opens on April 20.

In the Land of Women

This is another chick flick that benefits from a pretty decent cast, but I'm not too sure about yet. The aforementioned decent cast is Adam Brody, Meg Ryan, Kristen Stewart and Olympia Dukakis. The story though, seems a lot like Garden State though. Brody plays a screenwriter who decides to leave his hectic life for a little while and goes to Michigan to be with his grandmother. While tending to her, he meets a mother (Ryan) and her daughter (Stewart) who seem to be going through some downward times of their own, and they help each other out and blah blah blah. I'm a very big fan of Adam Brody, and I'll probably see this just because he's in it, but I'm not sure if I'll like it or not. In the Land of Women opens on April 20.

Grindhouse

Well, finally we get one for tha fellas! We finally get a full trailer for this flick that's really two flicks, and it's gonna kick so much ass, I can't even wait! We get two hour-long features, with three faux movie trailers in between, serving as an intermission; one by Eli Roth, one by Rob Zombie and one by Edgar Wright. This... wow. I just have to see this as soon as humanly possible. Grindhouse opens on April 6.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

I had a lot to choose from this week, but I'm going with James Van Der Beek's potential comeback flick. I mean, I loved the dude in a href="/movies/film/01/101/summary.php" class="film">The Rules Of Attraction, but that was 5 years ago, and he hasn't done jack since then, really. This sounds like a really broad project that will hit you at many different levels. It also helps that this just sounds cool as hell to me. Godspeed, James Van Der Beek. Godspeed.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

I had not a lot to choose from this week, and I have to go with Pedro and Shaggy's stupid American Summer flick for my Worst News of the Week. Even if this wasn't such an amazingly blatant rip-off of the first Deuce Bigalow flick, it'd be marred by this incredibly odd couple of a cast. Matthew Lillard and Efren Ramirez. Wow. These aren't exactly beacons of the A-list here. This story is so damn unoriginal that the fact it actually attracted anyone is a shock to me. Then again, it is Pedro and Shaggy...

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!

Cinemark Movie Club