Howdy folks. After a nice little holiday sabbatical, I'm back to look at the past seven days of movie goodness. So lets get this party started with this week's Notables.

NOTABLES

"Hank Azaria Making His Directorial Debut On Outsourced" - Tuesday, January 2, 2007:

Well, one part of this story sounds pretty cool, but I'm not sure about another aspect of it. The main part of the story sounds pretty good, with Hank Azaria, the voice of many beloved characters on The Simpsons and a fine human actor as well, making his directorial debut here. The bad news is the possibility of the two stars who were to be attached to this flick, possibly not starring now. This flick first came across my computer screen a year or so ago, perhaps even longer than that, with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson set to star here as two factory workers whose factory gets shut down and shipped out to Mexico. Vaughn and Wilson, unemployed, then venture south of the border to get their jobs back. I'm actually surprised this project was dormant for so long, especially with Vaughn and Wilson attached and the enormous success of that one Wedding Crashers flick that all the kids (including me) loved. I'm hoping that they secure Vaughn and Wilson for this flick, because with them, this wonderful story and Azaria at the helm, this could be a damn good flick, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Corben Bernsen Taking a 3 Day Test" - Wednesday, January 3 2007:

Hey look everybody. It's Corbin Bernsen. Remember him? The primadonna third baseman from Major League and that dude from L.A. Law. Remember? Way back in the day? Yeah, that guy. Sure, he's had some work since then, but nothing that would eclipse those previous roles I just mentioned. So what does he do, eh? He does what is seemingly en vogue these days for actors that have seemed to outstay their welcome: they become filmmakers. Bernsen is no newbie to the filmmaking gig though. He did direct a flick in 2005 called Carpool Guy. I know, I've never heard of it either. But he's not only directing this one, but he's writing this one too, making his feature debut as a hyphenate, writer-director. Oh yeah, it sounds ultimately retarded also, about a guy trying to win back his family, and to do so, he shuts off all electricity, water, telephones to the house for three days to test the mettle of his precious family. Balls. Just because George Clooney can act and write and direct all marvelously doesn't mean that EVERY actor can. Corbin, this flick sounds dreadful, absolutely dreadful. Just go back to doing your bit work and wait for Quentin Tarantino to cast you in one of his patented career-ressurecting roles. Hey, it worked for everyone else he's done it for, why not you, eh? Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"George Clooney and Robert De Niro to Star in 36" - Wednesday, January 3 2007:

This sounds pretty cool, but mainly just for the prospect of George Clooney and Robert De Niro on-screen together, sharing the top line. Clooney has developed into one of the most all-around talented men in Hollywood, and you can see the proof in last year's Oscar nominations. He was up for three Oscars last year, all in different categories: Best Supporting Actor, which he won for Syriana and Best Adapated Screenplay and Best Director both for Good Night, And Good Luck.. And De Niro, well, I don't need to go through his resume now, do I? Add in Dean Georgaris, who did a marvelous job with The Manchurian Candidate remake, adapting/translating this remake of a French flick, and we've got a pretty damn good start to a movie here, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"New Line Picks Up Les Firestein's Comedy Pitch" - Thursday, January 4, 2007:

Umm yeah. So, remember the flick Indecent Proposal? OK. This one is the exact same thing, except the rich guy wants to pay a vast sum of scratch for a night of eroitca with the guy. I wonder if they'll have that Crying Game song on the soundtrack somewhere... Utterly retarded, folks. Go to hell, Les Firestein! Worst News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

The holidays were apparently all about a wacky museum and Big Willy Style getting all inspirational on us. The trend held over into the new year as both those flicks kept their respective 1-2 punch for a third straight weekend. Night at the Museum and The Pursuit of Happyness kept going strong and only decreasing a minimal amount. Night at the Museum, which has been the #1 flick for its entire run thus far, took in $23.7 million this weekend, only decreasing 35.4%. Pursuit of Happyness was a fairly distant second place, but still took in a decent $12.8 million in its fourth week in release. Both flicks made sure that 2006 went out with a bang, putting up impressive numbers throughout the last days of '06. Night at the Museum has taken in $163.8 million in its first 17 days and Pursuit of Happyness has brought in just over $124 million in its first 24 days. While these two flicks have been mainstays in their 1-2 spots, the bronze winner this weekend made a very big leap to get there.

Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men sprang all the way from 22nd place last weekend to 3rd this weekend, taking in a very impressive $10.1 million. The flick was only in 1,209 theaters, but must've done good by a marvelous 92% "Fresh" rating from the Rotten Tomatoes critics, scoring a splendid $8,434 per-screen average. While these numbers are fairly impressive, they'll need to keep it up, along with some more expansion if this flick intends to profit off its $76 million budget. There were also some new flicks to come out this weekend, but, like most flicks that debut the first weekend of the new year, it wasn't pretty.

The top newbie was Hillary Swank's Freedom Writers, which took 4th places with a measley $9.4 million take. It actually screened in more theaters than Children of Men, with 1,360. Its per-screen average of $6,915 isn't really that bad, but I guess they should've put it in more theaters, perhaps. But, I suppose if they put it in more theaters, more people would've thought it a rip-off of Dangerous Minds, but maybe that's just me... Anyway, with a $21 million budget, they might actually see a profit off of this, but it depends on how much it drops next weekend.

The other newbies to take to the theaters this weekend were the Lionsgate animated flick Happily N'Ever After, which took 6th place with $6.6 million (creepy...) and Code Name: The Cleaner which couldn't even make it into the top 10, finishing in 12th place with a dismal $4.2 million. Damn, Cedric the Entertainer. You sure can't pick your roles very well, can you...

GOING LIVE

Surf's Up: (' target='_blank'>SonyPictures.com

This site is dressed up like a fancy little site, but there's really nothing to it besides the unmistakable Mario Cantone's annoying voice. The main site is a big map of the world, with all these little flags stuck in various locales. You click on each, and when you click on one, Mario Cantone, as this stork thing, will rattle off some seemingly-funny quip about the place. It's really lame, folks. And, on top of that, if you don't click one within, oh, 30 seconds, he keeps rattling off seemingly-funny things like he's waiting for you to pick something, and it gets extremely irritating. Besides that little map thing, we get a brief synopsis under Story (the menu items are at the bottom of the screen), the Trailer, one little desktop in Downloads and a link to Register for updates. But, the most important feature on this site is in the upper-right corner... where you can turn the sound off. Trust me. You'll want to do this right away... This is a pretty lame excuse for a site, with very little content and an annoying attempt at style. Surf's Up opens on June 8.

Seraphim Falls: (SonyPictures.com)

Not much to this site either, but at least they don't disguise it. We get the decent trailer on the main page, and above it are the menus. Under About, we get a brief synopsis and pictures of the four main cast members: Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Angelica Huston and Angie Harmon. Of course, those pictures aren't linked to anything, so that's all you get... Weird. Photo Gallery only gives us 8 production photos, the Theater Locations menu is coming soon and the only other thing is you can register for more updates on the last link. Pretty dull stuff, folks, although the movie looks fairly decent. Seraphim Falls opens on January 26.

TRAILER PARK

The Hills Have Eyes 2

This is really just a little teaser, folks, with some creepy footage of the Hillsmen, or whatever they're called, dragging some bodies across the desert and such. It still does look pretty cool, even though it's done by a totally different set of filmmakers and actors. But, one cool thing is that Wes Craven, who wrote and directed the original 1977 flick, is writing this one alongside his son, Jonathan. I'll have to wait to pass judgment on this until I can see a little more footage, though. The Hills Have Eyes 2 opens on March 2.

Reno 911!: Miami

If you're a fan of the show Reno 911! then I'm sure you'll love this new flick of theirs. It doesn't look like they changed the format up from the show at all, actually, which is a very good thing. The whole deal revolves around the whole gang getting invited to Miami to attend a national police convention of some sort. Of course, while their down there, their own brand of law enforcement gets them in a spot of trouble or two and hilarity naturally ensues. I think the show is brilliant, and I'm glad their bringing their flair for comedy onto the big screen at last. Reno 911!: Miami opens on February 23.

The Messangers

This looks like a creepy little flick. I've never seen a Pang Brothers' flick before, but this sounds like it might be my first. They didn't write this flick, so I can't blame them for it not sounding too terribly original. The flick surrounds a family that moves into a house that is supposedly haunted and the only one that can really see the hauntings are a young lad who can't even talk yet. It does look slick enough for me to take a look at, but I might end up regretting it. The Messangers opens on February 2.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

I'm going with the teaming of two marvelous actors in George Clooney and Robert De Niro for my Best News of the Week. Clooney has really been a force on the big screen since the turn of the century, and he shows no sign of slowing up either. He has box-office clout, an Academy Award, two marvelous directorial efforts and a marvelous writing debut as well. While I can't wait to see his next flick, Leatherheads, him starring alongside a legend like Robert De Niro will be a welcome sight as well. De Niro himself has a marvelous directorial debut under his belt as well with the fabulous spy flick The Good Shepherd. Who knows. Maybe one of them will end up directing this flick. If that happens, either way is fine with me, because their both on the top of their game and this should be one fun flick to watch, folks.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

It was actually a tough choice here, but I'm going with Les Firestein's retarded "comedic" flick for my Worst News of the Week. So, it's Indecent Proposal, but the rich guy wants to sleep with the guy, instead of the girl. Oh, my sides are killing me. I'm laughing so god damn hard over here I might just keel over and die. I'm sure you're the first dolt to ever think of that idea, aren't you Les Firestien? Ever see the movie Kingpin you ape? Chris Elliot? Remember? It works as a 2-minute spoof bit that's already inside of an actually funny movie. It won't work as a full-length feature spoof movie, because spoof's are everywhere now, and Kingpin already beat your idea to the punch 11 years ago, you moron.

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.