Howdy folks. Another week has come and gone and brought with it another slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets not make haste and get right into it with this week's Notables.

NOTABLES

"Star Trek XI Casting Scoop!" - Tuesday, February 27:

I have no idea when those famous Star Trek conferences are held, but this little news bit will surely be the talk around the intergallactic water cooler there. While it is probably still too early to get all riled up about, as nothing is official yet, it still is some interesting fodder for the Trekkies. I don't know a whole lot about Star Trek, and even less about this upcoming flick, but I do know that this just sounds really weird. Matt Damon? Adrien Brody? OK, Gary Sinise I can see here as the cranky doctor, but Damon as Kirk and Brody as Spock just sound... so damn weird. It's not that they aren't fine actors, because they are, but I'm having great difficulty picturing those two side-by-side running the Enterprise in those weird space suits. I think they went a little TOO Hollywood here, folks. They basically went with obscurity, for the most part, the first few times around with the cast, but now, it's just too much. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Blair Underwood to Direct The Bridge to Nowhere" - Tuesday, February 27:

The trend continues, my friends. It seems that nearly every column has some mention of a by-the-wayside actor/actress trying to revitalize his/her career by sitting in the directors chair. While Underwood has found work consistently since the days of L.A. Law have passed, he hasn't exactly made a big mark. Apparently, he had directed 5 music videos prior to this project, so I'm sure that'll be helpful... Even if Underwood DID have a decent story to work with here, which he doesn't, I just don't get this new career rejuvination trend of actors turning into directors. Every actor won't turn into Clooney once they take the helm. Ack! Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"William Monahan and Leonardo DiCaprio Reteaming for Confessions of Pain" - Tuesday, February 27:

It looks like Monahan and DiCaprio are adhering to that old addage about not fixing something if it ain't broken. They're taking another American crack at a Japanese flick with Confessions of Pain. This recent Japanese release was crafted by the same men who created Infernal Affairs, which is what Monahan adapted/re-imagined to give us the phenomenal reigning Best Picture The Departed. While a small part of me would like to see what Monahan can do in other genres, a much bigger part of me thinks he can probably do the same thing with this that he did with Infernal Affairs, so rock on. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Martin Scorsese and William Monahan Reteam for The Long Play" - Tuesday, February 27:

If it ain't broke... oh, no. Not this one. Monahan and his Departed director and proud Oscar owner Martin Scorcese are teaming up again and, unlike Monahan's new project with Leo, this will be MUCH different. This flick will be a long-sweeping look at two friends and their careers in the music industry, through 40 years of changes in the biz. Hmm, so I guess that little part of me that wants to see what Monahan can do in other genres will be satisfied, along with another Japanese remake. That sound you hear is me having my cake and eating the crap out of it too! Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Robert Downey Jr. and Jay Baruchel to Star in Tropic Thunder" - Tuesday, February 27:

This flick just keeps getting better and better. I've been looking forward to this for awhile now, because the story is just hilarious and, now, the cast looks to be shaping up very nicely. The flick is about a group of actors playing in a big-budget war flick who suddenly get thrown into a real-life war and have to try and rely on their minimal amount of training (through the infamous Dale Dye Boot Camp) to survive their latest "role." In addition to Ben Stiller, who's directing, starring and co-writing here, we get Downey Jr. and Baruchel, who you'll remember stealing many a scene in Million Dollar Baby as Danger. Downey Jr. will be playing the best actor of his time named Kirk Lazarus, a four-time Oscar winner, while Baruchel will play an unknown actor. This is gonna kick some major arse, folks. I can't wait! Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Retired Rebel Soldier Cast as the Lead Bad Guy in Rambo IV" - Thursday, March 1

So, not only is Stallone 60 years old and still going after bad guys, but he's going after a bad guy that has never acted before. Smashing. Sai Mawng, a 40-year-old retired rebel soldier, will be playing a Burmese higher-up officer with a penchant for the nastyness. OK Sly. I was wrong about Rocky Balboa, but you're sort of digging yourself a deeper hole with this one pal. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

One movie lived high on the hog this weekend, and left the rest of the field in a cloud of dust and smoke. Wild Hogs revved it up all weekend, easily taking the top spot at the box office this weekend with a $39.6 million gross. It was the third highest March gross ever, but it was the best gross for a movie that didn't have Ice Age in the title, with both of those flicks taking the top two March spots. It received a decent rollout of 3,287 theaters, and took in an impressive $12,077 per-screen average, all despite wiping out with the critics with its 18% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While the budget figures weren't released for this movie, it exceeded expectations by leaps and bounds, and this flick is off and running to a likely $150 million overall showing.

Another newbie this weekend, Zodiac, took the second spot... but barely. The David Fincher flick took in a disappointing $13.3 million this weekend, especially considering the heaps of critical praise this movie received. Zodiac received a lofty 85% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the flick just didn't seem to take hold of moviegoers. Zodiac did receive a much weaker rollout, however, bowing in about 900 theaters fewer than Wild Hogs. But it still managed a respectable $5,671 per-screen average. Still, this weekend gross isn't quite what the execs ordered, with its $65 million budget to earn back. Unless this serial killer flick has some serious legs, I can't see it earning its budget back. Ghost Rider couldn't make it a hat-trick of #1 finishes, taking the third spot this weekend with $11.5 million to take its total to $94.8 million in three weeks.

The only other new movie this weekend was Black Snake Moan, and it barely slithered into the top 10. The Samuel L. Jackson/Christina Ricci flick took 8th place this weekend, taking in $4.1 million. The latest from writer-director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) received a terrible rollout of 1,252 theaters and it didn't exactly bring people into those limited theaters with a $3,309 per-screen average. The flick did score pretty good reviews, though, with a 64% "Fresh" rating on RT, so if this flick does expand in the coming weeks, it might have a sporting change at making some decent money, especially with a very modest $15 million budget. I don't know what it is about Samuel L. Jackson and snakes, folks...

GOING LIVE

Fido: (FidoTheMovie.com)

We don't get a whole lot from this weird/cool-looking flick. We get the quirky Trailer, a brief Synopsis, a Photo Gallery with all of six photos, some critical praise in Awards/Reviews, some nice background info on the key players in Cast/Crew and a couple of wallpapers to snag in Downloads. Also, on the first page, there is a link to ZomCom, which will give you some more background info on this flick. Not much here, but if you've never heard of this flick, it'll be worth the short visit to find out more about this possible indie hit. Fido opens on June 15.

Dead Silence: (DeadSilencemovie.net)

On the front site we get the wonderful trailer and a link to the "red-band" trailer, which has naughty stuff in it and you must verify that you're over 18 to watch it. In the main site we get a slick little layout with the menus at the top. In the Film menu we get some Photos and Restricted Photos, which again are naughty and have to do the age verifying thing. Here we also get a nice Synopsis, but the Cast Bios, Crew Bios and Production Notes are all coming soon. In Video we get the both the trailers again, along with six TV Spots with the Clips coming soon. The Downloads menu gives us some Wallpapers, AIM Icons, a Screensaver and a new one I haven't seen, an Animated EMail Signature for your Outlook, to grab. To finish out the site we get a cool little Game where you have to shoot the dolls' spirits, and then probably the coolest feature of all. There is a Dumm-E-Mail where you can customize an animated email, with voice, to send to someone, using a few of the doll characters. You can choose from some pre-recorded sayings, use your own voice by phone or you can even do a text-to-speech, where you type out what you want the doll to say, and it does. It's really damn cool people! All in all, this site could've used a bit more, but the stuff they have here is just great and gets you super-psyched for the movie. Dead Silence opens on March 16.

TRAILER PARK

Year of the Dog

This flick marks the directorial debut of the fabulous writer Mike White, in what looks like a just a very real sort of comedy. The movie centers on Molly Shannon, a secretary who basically lives for her beloved dog Pencil... until Pencil suddenly dies. This is incredibly traumatic to Shannon, who is urged to get on with her life by her human friends. While White has written some wonderful comedies in the past (See: School of Rock, The Good Girl) we finally get to see him at the helm here, and I just can't wait, folks. Year of the Dog opens on April 13.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

It was a fairly even week between the good and the bad, but this week I'm going with some great new additions to Tropic Thunder for my Best News of the Week. OK, fine. I'm just picking that because I can't decide which is the coolest of the Monahan stories. Sue me. Still though, this is a damn good bit of news with some marvelously underrated talent coming into the jungle fold. Downey Jr. really doesn't get the credit he deserves as an actor, although that might change with his marvelous performances in this past week's Zodiac. And Jay Baruchel will be a guy to keep an eye on. He delivered such an important and spectacular performance in the Best Picture winner Million Dollar Baby that was extremely overlooked, in the whole scheme of the movie. With his new foray into comedy with the upcoming Knocked Up, which looks simply hilarious, and this new project, he could be onto bigger things fairly soon. I love these two for what should be a very original comic property.

That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new official websites 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!