Howdy folks. Another seven days has come and gone, and brought with it a new slew of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets get right into it with this week's Notables.
"Dan Aykroyd Developing an Animated Ghostbusters III" - Monday, February 5:
Wow. I really can't say I'm surprised here. While Bill Murray, who has apparently agreed to voice his old Peter Venkman character, has had some recent success, the same can't really be said for Aykroyd. We see him in some bit parts here and there, but probably the biggest thing he's done in the last five years was that ad campaign for Charter Cable. It's really sad that they have to desecrate this 80s classic by bringing it back for another go-around, animated too, nonetheless. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Tobin Bell Joins the Cast of Boogeyman 2" - Monday, February 5:
Hmm. This could be both good and bad news here. It could be good news because, with Bell's involvement that could mean we won't see him in Saw IV, which means that Saw IV either won't happen or it will be a prequel, which would be the only way I'd want to see another Saw flick. The bad news, however, is the fact that there is another Boogeyman movie coming out. The first one was just dreadful and it's whopping domestic take of $46 million is a little shy of sequel-worthy money. It's also a little sad that Bell, the cornerstone of one of the most ingenious horror franchises of all-time is stooping so incredibly low for work. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Adrien Brody and Rinko Kikuchi Meet The Brothers Bloom" - Monday, February 5:
This could be a very interesting project. We have a great cast in place with Rachel Weisz, Brody and the hot import Rinko Kikuchi who was astounding in Babel. The story doesn't sound too original here from Brick writer-director Rian Johnson, with a con man who falls for the wrong girl. It sounds a little bit like Matchstick Men to me, but with this cast I'll give it a shot. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Columbia Pictures Picks Up You Don't Mess with the Zohan" - Tuesday, February 6:
Riiiiight. I normally love Judd Apatow's stuff, but this one just doesn't sound like it'll fly with me. The flick, written by Apatow, Adam Sandler and Robert Smigel, centers around a Mossad agent who fakes his own death... so he can move to New York City and become a hairdresser. Yeah. It says Sandler will star here, but it didn't say if he's going to be this Mossad/hair stylist dude or someone else. This just sounds like one hell of an unfunny project and I hope it gets dumped or shelved before shooting begins. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Winona Ryder Gets The Last Word" - Wednesday, February 7:
This is bad for two reasons. One, it sounds like an underhanded ripoff of certain aspects of Chuck Pahlaniuk's second novel, Survivor. This flick is about this "writer" who makes his living composing other people's suicide notes and whose life gets even more complicated when he strikes up a relationship with a woman who happens to be the sister of one of his "clients." The second reason this is bad is just the notion that this guy makes a LIVING off of writing other people's suicide notes is just insane. This cast is just too weird with oddball Wes Bentley, Winona Ryder and Ray Romano, who just doesn't seem right for life on the silver screen, from what I've seen of him so far in his post-Everybody Loves Raymond forays. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Warner Bros. Preparing Spies Like Us Remake?" - Thursday, February 8:
Unreal. So now not one but TWO Dan Aykroyd 80s classics are being tarnished in one week! The balls on these people, I tell you. Everybody knows that remakes work best when you remake cult classics or obscure flicks that will translate over into modern day life. Spies Like Us is definitely NOT a cult classic and it's not obscure since you can see it on Comedy Central all the time. Just knock it off. Leave these damn flicks alone and concentrate on new original projects, why don't ya. I could almost understand if New Line would pull something like this, but not Warner. Bastards. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
It was certainly a fat weekend for Eddie Murphy as his last oversized comedy took the top spot at the box office. Fresh off the heels of his first Oscar nomination for Dreamgirls, Murphy was back up to his old tricks and, somehow, winning over American moviegoers with Norbit. The comedy took in a surprising $33.7 million in its first weekend, drowning out the incredibly negative responses from the nation's critics. Norbit received a measley 9% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but apparently those horrible reviews weren't enough to keep people away from Norbit. It snagged an impressive $10,758 per-screen average, screening in a decent 3,136 theaters. Eddie and Co. are already more than halfway to a profit from its $60 million budget. $60 million, for this flick? I guess latex must be more spendy than I thought...
The only other newbie this weekend came in a very distant second place this weekend. Hannibal Rising took the silver medal this weekend, taking in $13.3 million. The Lecter prequel was shown in less theaters than Norbit with a theater count of 3,003, but it fell way short in per-screen average, taking home a unimpressive $4,445. The nation's critics liked this Gaspard Ulliel flick better than Norbit, but not by much. Hannibal Rising only scored a 17% "Fresh" rating on RT, and while budget figures weren't released for Hannibal Rising, I'm sure this isn't quite the opening they envisioned for this prequel.
Fairly basic site here, folks. We get the schmaltzy Trailer, a brief list of accomplishments for the main actors in Cast, a Blog with some thoughts about the movie from writer-director Steve Stockman, a very large Gallery of both black and white and color shots, a link to the movie's MovieFone page and a nifty little PDF press kit in Press. Not much to the site here, but maybe they'll throw more up here before Two Weeks opens on March 2 in limited release.
Smiley Face: (FirstLookStudios.com/Smiley/)
There is absolutely NOTHING on this site. There is a shot of the yellow smiley face with a joint in its mouth, and a thing that says "website coming soon." Ugh. Stop putting these damn teaser sites up!! Smiley Face opens on April 20... yeah, 4/20.
This doesn't look like anything spectacular, really. We see these flicks all the time about a death in the family bringing the rest of the family together and blah blah blah blah. In this one, the death hasn't happened yet, with family matriarch Sally Field on her last days, with the whole family coming together. It looks pretty syrupy, but we dont' see Sally Field in too much these days so it might be worth a look just for that. The underrated and surprisingly reclusive Clea Duvall also co-stars here as well. Still, I don't know if just those two actresses will be enough to get me in the theater. Two Weeks opens on March 2 in limited release.
This looks so damn weird and so damn funny that I can't possibly pass it up. The flick takes place in a serene little town called Willard in the 50s. Everything looks like Leave it to Beaver with one little exception: people have zombies for servants. I really wish they'd give us more footage here, because this looks just marvelous. Hopefully they give us a few trailers soon before the flick opens on June 15, because I doubt I can wait that long!
The main thing that surprises me about this flick is that it received such a crappy release date. With a cast this hot (Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Chris Cooper, Jason Bateman, Jeremy Piven) and a hot-button storyline about the dangers of Americans living in the Middle East, I wonder why this didn't get a summer release date. Perhaps the politics behind the whole thing might have slid this out of a summer slot to make way for explosions and gunfire without any party affiliation. Who knows. But this should manage to take in some decent bank with this cast and a script from Joe Carnahan's brother, Matthew, and direction from a top-notch action helmer, Peter Berg. The Kingdom opens on September 28.
This trailer was attached to the Hannibal Rising flick this weekend, and it looks pretty damn good. We haven't seen Kevin Costner play such a creepo before, and it looks like he does a pretty damn good job at it too. Costner plays the title character here, a man with two personalities: one that is a successful businessman with a loving family, and one (played by William Hurt) that is addicted to killing. But after his last kill, he gets spotted by a nosy neighbor (Dane Cook) and with a nosy detective (Demi Moore) still on the trail, the ante is upped even further. This looks like a damn good flick, one that should be good for everyone involved. Mr. Brooks opens on June 1.
Shrek the Third:
I think we might be seeing the end to our good buddy Shrek after this flick hits the theaters, because it just doesn't look that good... at all. Like the rest of the free world, I did indeed like Shrek and Shrek 2 and found them to be very entertaining. This one, it looks like they're biting off more than they can chew. We get subplots aplenty here and I really don't see how any of them are really connected. We don't really get a solid feel for what this movie is actually about, as if the mere prospect of all these characters together for another movie would be sufficient enough for us to plop down our money for. It looks pretty flimsy right now, and unless they come out with another trailer to try and convince me, I don't think I'll be seeing this when it hits theaters on May 18.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It wasn't the best week for optimism here, as I found only one decent news bit this week. So, I guess I'll have to make Adrien Brody and Rinko Kikuchi joining on to The Brothers Bloom my Best News of the Week. For one, I just like saying Rinko Kikuchi's name. It just sounds so cool. Say it out loud, seriously. Rinko Kikuchi. Anyway, nifty nomenclature aside, Kikuchi turned in a spectacular performance in Babel, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if she upset Jennifer Hudson to take home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. She'll be performing with some top-flight talent in this new one too with Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody and Rian Johnson at the helm. This should be a dandy, folks.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I had plenty to choose from here this week, and I'm going with Winona Ryder joining this ridiculous project The Last Word for my Worst News of the Week. I'm having a BIG frickin problem with the fact that this Wes Bentley's character makes a living on writing suicide notes for other people. I don't have as much of a problem with the moral issues of this occupation, but the logistics of it. I mean it's not like you can list a business like this in the damn Yellow Pages or anything. Then, lets say I do manage to get over this ridiculousness, then there's the fact that the rest of the movie is, partially, a rip-off of the marvelous Chuck Pahlaniuk's book, Survivor. The whole thing is just giving me a damn headache, and I just hope this whole project gets a suicide note written for it, and it languishes on the shlef for an eternity.
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.