Another seven days has come and gone and left with us another slew of movie news, box office figures, new official sites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So let's get this party started with this week's Notables.
"Wilmer Valderrama Set for Paul Feig's Unaccompanied Minors" - Monday, February 13
This sounds like a cool little project from Paul Feig, who brought us the wonderful but short-lived TV show Freaks and Geeks. He hasn't done much on the silver screen, but this flick sounds right up his alley. It centers on a group of adolescent kids who get stranded at an airport and make up their own holidy to celebrate while they're stuck together. Feig is pretty good at capturing the essence of the youngin's, so this should be a fairly interesting project. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Lenny Kravitz Set to Star in Iced" - Monday, February 13
Now, I think Kravitz is a wonderful musician, but there is absolutely nothing about him that tells me he can be an actor. If you've ever seen an interview or any other non-performing material with him, he's about as charismatic as my big toe. True, it's not a big stretch that he's playing a musician here, but he becomes addicted to crack, which will surely have plently of scenes where he's flipping out. Now, if his character was addicted to heroin, that might be a better scenario for him, but I can't see this working at all. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff Set for White Noise 2: The Light" - Tuesday, February 14
Argh. The first flick was one of the most dissapointing flicks of last year, and this sequel sounds more of a sequel to Final Destination than a White Noise sequel. Apparently they're not too worried about star power here either, signing up some scrubs from sci-fi TV shows who don't have a ton of experience on the silver screen. Horrible premise, horrible cast, horrible movie. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Ridley Scott in Talks to Direct Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington in American Gangster" - Tuesday, February 14
Hah! I knew this project was way too good to go down like it did. This project was first set up with director Antoine Fuqua and with Denzel Washington and Benecio Del Toro, before New Line pulled the plug over a budget that was thought to escalate. Now they have wonderful helmer Ridley Scott here, working from a re-written script by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), they still kept Washington and replaced Del Toro with the enigmatic Russell Crowe! I can't see this scenario working out any better for this flick, which sounds like a true winner, about a Harlem drug lord who smuggles heroin in the coffins of dead American soliders from Vietnam. This sounds like a flippin awesome flick, and they have all the right pieces to the puzzle to make it so. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Christopher Walken and Eva Mendes Join We Own the Night" - Thursday, February 16
This cast just keeps getting better and better. This cop drama already has Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg, who are both coming off pretty damn good years, although Phoenix surely has the edge here. Now we have Walken and Mendes aboard. Walken brings grit, talent and experience to the table while Mendes brings some spice, talent and, oh yeah, immense sex appeal. Mendes is one of the sexiest women in the biz, and, although she hasn't always picked her projects too well (See: Stuck on You), she's been doing a better job of that lately, and she could get a pretty decent push with this flick, and I can't wait to see her here, in more ways than one. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Three 6 Mafia to Perform at 78th Academy Awards" - Friday, Februray 17
While it's very cool that their song, "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" from the amazing flick Hustle and Flow, will be the first rap song ever to be performed at the Oscars, I have one simple question: Where the flip is Terrence Howard? I know that Three 6 Mafia wrote the music and lyrics for that song, but why isn't Howard singing it? We remember the song for Howard's wonderful vocalization of that song, not Three 6 Mafia writing it. And then they even got Taraji Henson, who played Sug in the movie and sung the hook for the song, to reprise her role, so why not have Howard reprise his? This song won't even be close to being the same without Howard performing it, and I think they should get him on stage and sing this awesome song. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
How fitting that a movie set in the Arctic Circle was the top flick during a week where the East Coast was hammered with snow. Eight Below took the top spot this weekend, taking in an estimated $19.8 million in its debut weekend ($23.2 million prediction). It scored a healthy $6,474 per-screen average, showing in a solid 3,066 theaters. There weren't any budget figures released for this flick, but these are some pretty solid numbers. There were solid numbers throughout the box office this weekend, with the top 5 flicks taking in 8-digit grosses, and one of them right on the winner's heels.
Date Movie finished in a very close second place this weekend, grabbing an estimated $19 million in its debut weekend ($14.6 million prediction). Since these flicks were so close in the estimated figures, these top 2 spots could end up flip-flopping when the actual numbers are released. Still, it was a pretty good showing for the spoof flick, with a better per-screen average than Eight Below with $6,560, showing in almost 200 fewer theaters than this week's winner. The flick is also positioned very well for a profit, needing just a cool million bucks to profit from its $20 million budget. The Pink Panther had a surprisingly good weekend, finishing in third place with an estimated $16.8 million, only 16.9% less than its first-place total last weekend. But there was another new flick this weekend that could've only wished for a gross so high.
Freedomland could only salvage a 7th place finish, grossing an estimated $6 million in its opening weekend ($19.4 million prediction...oops). The Samuel L. Jackson flick just couldn't get going, with a severe theater count disadvantage (2,361) and only averaged $2,541 per screen. There are no budget figures released for this flick, but I'm sure this paltry opening weekend wasn't what Joe Roth, the head of Revolution Studios and also this flick's director, had in mind. Maybe you should stick to the board room and leave the director's chair to, you know, directors.
Basic Instinct 2: (http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/basicinstinct2/index.html)
On the first page of this site, you get the flick's trailer, and when you get inside the site, there are a few things to do. First of all, the site opens up like an official site for Sharon Stone's character, Catherine Tramell. If you click anywhere on the site, it brings you to the movie's site, so it's a little worthless. On the movie's site, you get a brief Synopsis, a bare-bones list of the crew with no links or bios in Filmmakers, and in Downloads you get some Wallpapers, Desktops, AIM Icons and, a new one as far as I've seen, some PlayStation Portable(PSP) Wallpapers. There is another thing here called Word Association, but, of course, it's just coming soon. Not much here, but there's a lot more than before, even though that isn't saying a whole lot. Basic Instinct 2 opens on March 31.
Another teaser site here folks. All we get is the trailer, a very brief synopsis and a link to find out the flick's showtimes. However, there is a link at the very bottom, where you can play some game and possibly win some Doogal prizes. How quaint. That's all though, folks, and that's probably all there will ever be for this site, since Doogal opens on February 24.
Snakes on a Plane: (http://www.snakesonaplanemovie.com/)
Unreal. I'm going to type out the entire content of this site right now. Don't blink, sneeze or change your socks because you'll miss it. "Snakes on a Plane Coming in 2006" in grey type against all black background. God damn teaser sites! Snakes on a Plane opens on August 16.
This might be based off a bestselling book or some crap like that, but we've seen this story before in flicks like Seabiscuit and Dreamer, with Alison Lohman, Tim McGraw and Maria Bello starring as the spunky kid and her parents. There just doesn't look like anything I'd want to see, or even hear here, since McGraw will probably do some corny country song for the soundtrack and I like country music about as much as I like taking a bullet. Flicka opens on July 28.
This looks pretty damn cool, kids. Phillip K. Dick adaptations almost always make some great movies, and this Dick adaptation doesn't look to buck that trend. For those who aren't familiar with this flick's writer/director Richard Linklater, and his 2001 indie Waking Life, this might look a bit bizarre to you. Linklater basically invented this style with that movie, and it looks like it has evolved a lot since then. What is basically done is Linklater shoots the flick just like he'd shoot any other movie, and then, in post production, uses animation technology that overlaps the actors and sets and creates a really weird/cool look. Anyway, this looks like a really freaky flick, with a great cast (Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrellson, Winona Ryder, etc.), a cool, futuristic story and a look that will certainly be unparalelled. A Scanner Darkly opens on July 7 in limited release.
OK, someone really needs to show these guys how to make a trailer, because this is really a horrible trailer. There is no music, and it just seems like random clips thrown together, intercut with a bunch of quotes insanely praising this French flick, that won the coveted Palm D'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. The flick does look rather compelling, I must say, but, as far as trailers go, this is one of the worst I've ever seen, and they better hire someone else to make a new one before this flick comes out on March 24 in limited release.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Easy pick this week in the American Gangster finally getting back on track for my Best News of the Week. The downfall of this flick almost made my Worst News of the Year last year, but I couldn't overlook Rob Schnieder directing a movie for that distinction. Anyway, I'm very excited that this project is back on track, and is actully in better shape than it was before. I'm not dissing Benecio Del Toro at all, but Russell Crowe brings a lot more to the table than Del Toro does. Now this flick looks just amazing with Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer producing, Terry George writing, Ridley Scott directing along with Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington toplining. Wow. That's one beefy lineup, folks, and I just can't wait to see what these great artists can do with this flick.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a tough choice this week, but I'm going with the utterly stupid White Noise 2 getting back on track for my Worst News of the Week. I think what pissed me off so much about the first movie was that the trailer looked so flippin cool, and the movie just turned out horrendously. They had a golden premise, and used it horribly, but it still ended up making money, so here we are talking about a sequel. Here, the premise won't be golden because it's already been done... thrice. This flick sounds JUST LIKE any of the movies in the Final Destination series, but I'm sure they'll incorporate the creepy white noise phenomena in there somehow. If this one doesn't go straight to video, with the casting of B-leauger's Nathan Fillion and Katee Sackhoff, I'll be insanely surprised, not to mention insanely irritated.
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 look like a good time, sounds like a good time and feels like a good time... it probably isn't free.