It was the first week of 2005, and after a lull of news during the holidays, there was a slew of movie news to pick apart. So lets get right into the best and worst of the week, with 2005's first Notables.
"Kate Bosworth up for the 'Lois Lane role in Superman Returns?" - Monday, January 3
This little lady has been turning in some fine performances over the past few years. She was great in the little-seen Wonderland and even though the movie sucked, she performed nicely in Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, not to mention her role in the high profile Beyond the Sea. This role should really put her on the map, and she has the look and, more importantly, some wonderful range to pull this role off. She has taken on some very diverse characters in her short career, and I have no doubt that she can pull this off nicely. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Mario Lopez set to star in The Goal" - Tuesday, January 4
I never thought I'd ever hear the words "Mario Lopez" and "star" in the same sentence, but it's a new year and everything right? Yes, the same Mario Lopez from Saved by the Bell and the retarded TV show Pacific Blue. Sure, he has the look and physique to play a soccer star, but this sounds like it has some heavy dramatic tones to it. I'm not quite sure how Lopez's resume filled with teen dreck and riding a bike in spandex qualifies him for such a role. But hey, all these soccer guys have the solo name going on (ex. Ronaldo, Rivaldo) and I've got a perfect name for Lopez here: Retardo. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Natalie Portman to star in the Wachowski Brothers' V for Vendetta" - Wednesday, January 5
While her role is rather unclear in this upcoming flick, Natalie Portman teaming with the Wachowski's sounds like it will surely work. She is a very talented actress with some great range and this story, based off the DC Comics graphic novel, sounds a little like Equilibrium, one of my favorite movies of the past few years. This sounds like a great Matrix follow-up project for the Wachowski's, and with Portman on their side, this should be a winner. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Andre 3000 cast in Lorenzo di Bonaventura's untitled Mark Wahlberg project" - Thursday, January 6
Contrary to this article, this project is not Outkast's Andre 3000's first major studio project. He is in the ensemble cast of MGM's Be Cool. Anyway, we'll have to see how Be Cool turns out before we can talk about his acting chops, but this still sounds like a fine addition to this cast of Wahlberg, Tyrese and Garret Hedlund, who appeared in two great films last year, Troy and Friday Night Lights. The story sounds on point and this sounds like a nice project for John Singleton as well. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Paramount Pictures prepares teen Motocross movie" - Thursday, January 6
While I'm not sure that the sport of motocross has enough appeal to translate to the silver screen, this story does sound intriguing. This James "Bubba" Stewart's story could be a good one. There are some nice elements here, with his father teaching him to ride at an extremely young age, and his tendency to wait for other riders to catch up to him sounds pretty cool to me. It depends on who they cast here, and how much they try to over-dramatize this story, but if they keep it simple, it could be a winner. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Dennis Dugan set to helm Bench Warmers" - Friday, January 7
This is as predictable as they come. Dugan has directed two of Adam Sandler's best movies: Happy Gillmore and Big Daddy, as well as the equally funny Saving Silverman. But he has also directed the horrendous Beverly Hills Ninja and National Security. Bench Warmers, which is being produced under Sandler's Happy Madison flag, just sounds like a stupid idea, and while Dugan has had hits and flops, I think we can chalk this one under the flops. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Not even a bunch of static and lack of competition could stop the all-powerful Fockers at the box office. Meet the Fockers took the top spot for the 3rd consecutive week, taking in $24.8 million in its 3rd weekend in release. It only dropped 31.7% from last weekend. The Fockers have passed the $200 million mark this weekend, with an overall take of $204.2 million, well surpassing their budget of $80 million, as well as surpassing Meet the Parents $166.4 million take in 2000. I just hope these grosses don't get to their heads, and this leads to Meet the Lil Fockers, or something like that...
The week's only new release came in a close second to the Fockers. White Noise took the silver medal in its opening weekend, with a $24.1 million gross. This is still slightly impressive, since this flick was horrificly received by the nation's critics, earning a 11% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The numbers are also impressive because the horror flick was shown in nearly 1,300 less theaters than Meet the Fockers. White Noise earned a healthy $10,665 per-screen average for this weekend. But with a few high-profile releases this weekend in Coach Carter and Elektra, we should see White Noise suffer a massive drop next weekend.
Kingdom of Heaven: (www.kingdomofheavenmovie.com)
After a pretty slick little intro, on the main site there is some decent content here. Some medieval music plays in the background, as you can watch the trailer, click on About the Movie to get a brief synopsis, or sign up for updates. On the bottom of the pages, there are thumbnail pictures of each member of the cast that you can click on. Unfortunately, when you click on them nothing happens except in the middle of the page, new photos emerge of who you clicked on, and it doesn't even work for all the characters. This site could use a lot more content here, because they have the style thing down pretty good. Right now, this is a fairly dull site, but they should add more once we near its May 6 release date.
This site is about as dumb as the movie it's promoting looks. You can watch the trailer, read a very brief synopsis and, of course, register for updates. There just isn't much here folks, but there might be some updates here before the flick's April 15 release.
Because of Winn-Dixie: (www.becauseofwinndixiemovie.com)
This is a fairly creative little site, although the background music is annoying. The site is basically a little map of Naomi, Florida, which is apprently where the flick takes place. You can click on each of the buildings for some different content. In "Gloria's Dump House/Make a Friend" you can get an e-card and some downloads, which include wallpapers and AIM buddy icons but you can also get party invitations, party ideas and recipes. How quaint. Under Herman W. Block Memorial Library/Educators, if you're an educator, you can get information on how to get a free screening exclusively for educators, as well as some other educator-related links. Gertrude's Pet Shop just has the same downloads as before and in the Litmus Lozenge Factory/Photo Gallery you can get some production photos and the movie's trailer. Finally, in the Open Arms Baptist Church/About the Film you get a synopsis, links to the characters, production notes, cast and crew and about the book. This is a very thorough site, with a lot of content and a style relative to the movie. It might be a bit too cute for me, but still, as an overall website, this is a pretty damn good one.
Dot the I: (www.dottheithemovie.com)
After a very slick intro, there is a decent amount of stuff here. You can watch the trailer, and although there appears to be nothing under Media, in Bios you can get a fairly detailed bio on each of the main actors and the movie's director. In Gallery you get a rather large photo gallery and in Showing, you can check out a release schedule for what cities you can see this movie in. Overall, this is an OK site, that could use some more content, but does have a nice style to it. Dot the I opens March 11 in limited release.
Adam Sandler looks like he has another winner here with this remake. He has a wonderful cast around him, with Chris Rock, James Cromwell and Burt Reynolds around him. This movie looks highly entertaining, with a lot of humor and hard-hitting football action. Rapper Nelly might be an X-factor, but with all these other guys around him, him and his stupid Band-Aid shouldn't matter too much. The Longest Yard looks like some great summer fun and you can check out the action on May 27.
This looks absolutely incredible. We get a knockout ensemble cast and Robert Rodriguez writing and directing with the Sin City comic creator Frank Miller. This garnered some controversy when Robert Rodriguez left the Directors Guild of America so Frank Miller could co-direct with him, and then more controversy when Rodriguez's buddy Quentin Tarantino was paid $1 to direct one scene. But controversy aside, this movie looks like a great, gritty crime drama, set in a highly original little world. I simply can't wait for this one, folks. Sin City opens April 1.
You've got to hand it to Russell Crowe. The man simply doesn't appear in anything unless there's a chance he can pick up an Oscar for his performance. While we'll have to see how this movie plays out, as well as the rest of the year, from the trailer, you surely can't count Crowe out of the Oscar race at all. This adaptation of boxer Jim Braddock's true story looks to be a wonderful drama, with another moving performance from Crowe. With Ron Howard directing, and Oscar winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman handling the script, this movie will definitely be a contender, in more ways than one. Cinderella Man opens June 3.
The Ballad of Jack and Rose:
This looks rather interesting, but I'm not quite sure what to make of it. The cast is solid, with Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis and Catherine Keener but the story seems a little off, with Lewis dying and Keener and her kids coming to live with Lewis and his young daughter. It seems from the trailer that they're not sure if this is a drama or a thriller, but it could be good. I'm just not sure, though. The Ballad of Jack and Rose opens on March 25 in limited release.
If you saw White Noise this weekend, you most likely saw this trailer. The trailer is pretty creepy and it looks like they found a feasible way to keep the story from the wonderful original movie. Naomi Watts and her kid are back, and we get a few new faces, most notably Sissy Spacek. The director, Hideo Nakata, is new also but the wonderful screenwriter, Ehren Kruger is the same, so all looks well for this sequel. This looks like a very good sequel to me. The Ring Two opens March 18.
I guess this is based off a British fantasy novel, and the story doesn't sound too bad, but I've never seen such a poorly done trailer in all my life. It's fairly confusing, the sound is horrible and they introduce these characters to us with big sweeping graphics like we're supposed to be familiar with them. Right. If you read the synopsis, you'll probably think this sounds all right. If you watch the trailer, you'll probably think otherwise. This movie is still searching for a release date, so maybe they can buy some new boom mic's while they wait...
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a fairly tough choice this week, but I'm going with Kate Bosworth's super new role for Best News of the Week. She has teased us in Rules of Attraction and Blue Crush and amazed us in Wonderland. I don't know what she'll do to us in Beyond the Sea or this movie, but I'm sure it will be great. She has some incredible range for her age (she just turned 21 last week) and experience and this flick will surely make her a household name, which is something she surely deserves.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
This pick was very easy, and that is the choice of Mario Lopez to keep acting. This role sounds way too dramatic for anything close to what Lopez has shown us he can do. A supporting role? Sure. Hell, give him the role of a menacing soccer bad guy. Shave his head and have him diving at people's knees. That would work. But if you want A.C. Slater to be the lead in a drama, you might have some brain damage from those huge Zach Morris cell phones from Saved by the Bell...
That's all for this week, folks. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, websites, trailers and the best and worst news of the week. Take care, 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.