Howdy folks. Another seven days has come and gone and left us another batch of movie news, box office figures, new websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So lets get this party started with this week's Notables.

NOTABLES

"Mike White Making His Feature Film Directing Debut with Year of the Dog" - Monday, January 23

This is some excellent news, folks. Mike White is just a wonderful writer (See: The Good Girl, School of Rock among others) and while it seems he's at his best with buddy Jack Black at his side, like we'll see this summer with Nacho Libre, but he can write for anyone else just fine. He does truely deserve a shot at the helm, and this quirky project, about a woman who's life changes in odd ways after her dog dies, sounds right up his alley. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Matt Nix Tapped to Rewrite The Giants of Groil" - Tuesday, January 24

Well, a few weeks ago I ripped Matt Nix's other sale to shreds, that stupid flick about a boss who moves in with a junior exec dumbed...I mean dubbed, Boss Go Home. This week... I'm going to do the same for this other project The Giants of Groil, where some kids find a beanstalk in their backyard that leads to some place called Groil where they hook up with Jack from the Jack and the Beanstalk story. Argh. I'd rather go find a beanstalk and throw myself off of it than see these moronic movies. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Mickey Rooney, Dick Van Dyke and Bill Cobbs Join Night at the Museum" - Tuesday, January 24

This title could be aptly used for just hanging out with Rooney and Van Dyke, but, geriactric jokes aside, these guys sounds like a good fit for the scheming security guards in this Ben Stiller flick. It's been quite awhile since we've seen either of these actors up on the silver screen, but this sounds like a pretty cool project to make their return. It's kind of like old-school meets new-school with Stiller and these guys together and it'll be interesting to see how they vibe off each other. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Big Screen Magnum PI Adaptation Coming" - Tuesday, January 24

Well, this is probably the last of the shows that I grew up watching to make it to the cineplex, with the possible exception of Airwolf. While there are way too many of these 70s-80s TV show adaptations out there, this one might be in pretty good shape with Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) writing and directing. I hope Thurber doesn't try to make this too light, but he has a very interesting style of dialogue and can mix comedy and drama fairly well. We'll have to see how he can handle the chase scenes with the Ferrari, but I think this might be a pretty solid adaptations. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Taryn Manning and Wes Bently to Star in Weirdsville" - Tuesday, January 24

This flick could have "cult classic" written all over it, and they have just the right guy at the helm for it: Allan Moyle. This director is hardly a household name, but perhaps you're familiar with some of his work, most notably Empire Records and Pump Up the Volume. This sounds just like the title, Weirdsville. A couple of dudes freak out when one of their girlfriends OD's on their weed and stash her at the drive-in theater, only for her to wake up, prompting people to think they brought her back from the dead, which draws interest from a Satanist group. Yeah, Weirdsville USA. Taryn Manning, who shined this year in Hustle and Flow and Wes Bentley (American Beauty) sound like great choices here, and I hope they do just as good a job in casting the other dude. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Jay Roach Directing an Untitled Film About W. Mark Felt AKA 'Deep Throat'" - Wednesday, January 25

One of the biggest American mysteries of all-time was solved last year when W. Mark Felt revealed himself to be the shady source known as Deep Throat. Tom Hanks' company Playtone and Universal snatched up the rights, but it's a tad surprising that Jay Roach was tapped to direct here. Roach is surely an accomplished director, with two major franchises in Austin Powers and the Meet the Parents/Fockers series under his belt. But I guess Roach is looking to move away from the laffers, and this is a huge step in the right direction. He's a very good director, tackling other genres just as well as comedy (See: Mystery, Alaska). This is a big piece of history, folks, and this project should give him an even bigger push into the Hollywood A-list. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Jon Heder Playing a Sumo Wrestler in An Upcoming Fox Comedy" - Friday, January 27

Napoleon just keeps on getting bigger, but this time, he'll be playing a small fish in a small pond with much much bigger fish. Heder will be playing the smallest person ever to compete in the US Sumo Open, based on the true story of a 134-pound Joshua Davis. I don't think there can be a better choice for this than the scrawny but talented Heder. He continues to pile projects onto his slate, all of which sound like sure winners, and it's almost certain we'll be hearing from Heder for years to come. Best News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

Well, it looks like Big Momma is here to stay, for some odd reason. Big Momma's House 2 took the top spot this weekend, taking in an estimated $28 million in its opening weekend ($14.6 million prediction). The Martin Lawrence sequel scored an impressive $8,586 per-screen average, showing in a healthy 3,261 theaters. It's now in pretty good shape to profit off it's modest $40 million budget, even after a drubbing from critics, receiving just 3 positive reviews out of 29 from the Rotten Tomatoes critics, which is just a 6% "Fresh" rating. This series seems to be fairly critic-proof though, with the first flick garnering just a 30% "Fresh" rating but still making over $117 million, and despite the even worse rating for the sequel, it seems that, somehow, it'll do just fine at the box office.

Another newcomer fared well also, with Nanny McPhee taking the 2nd spot with an estimated take of just over $14 million. The nanny took in a solid $7,060 per-screen average in just 1,995 theaters, and fared much better with the critics than this week's winner, although that's not really saying a whole lot. The critics loved the nanny, with an impressive 73% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This is also in good shape to profit, with a smallish $25 million budget to make back and it's over halfway there after week 1. There were 2 other newcomers though that didn't fare quite so well in their first week.

Annapolis could only fire up a 4th place finish with an estimated $7.7 million ($12.4 million prediction). The Naval Academy flick could only muster a $4,802 per-screen average, showing in a meager 1,605 theaters. Budget figures weren't released for this movie, but this rough showing can't be too good for Buena Vista's bottom line. The other new flick represents the massive failure of a cross-releasing experiment, as Steven Soderbergh's Bubble blew up in everyone's face. The flick, which premeired on DVD, TV and in the theater simultaneously, could only scrounge up an estimated $72,000 for its first weekend. It only showed in 32 theaters and posted a $2,250 per-screen average. The good news for Bubble, though, is they don't have a whole lot to make back. The budget was very low, at $1.6 million, which would probably explain why they'd take on such a risky experiment since they, really, don't have a whole lot to lose. Still, they're going to have to sell the crap out of that DVD or do a significant theatrical expansion if they have any hopes of even breaking even.

Box Office Predictions

My predictions sucked this week, but I just want to point out that I was EXACTLY right with Brokeback Mountain's $6.3 million prediction, even though it was 6th place instead of 5th like I predicted. At least I got something right...

Predictions for 2/3=2/5

1) When a Stranger Calls: $23.6 million

2) Big Momma's House 2: $15.5 million

3) Nanny McPhee: $8.8 million

4) Underworld: Evolution: $5.3 million

5) Something New: $4.2 million

GOING LIVE

Pan's Labyrinth: (www.panslabyrinth.com)

Another teaser sites folks. The trailer loads up automatically and below that you can click on About the Film for a brief synopsis and a link to the official press release. There is also a Message Board and a link to register for updates. Not too much here, folks. Pan's Labyrinth opens sometime in October.

Duck Season: (www.duckseasonmovie.com)

This is a weird little site with a goofy intro and just as goofy music in the background and towards the bottom is the menus you can choose from. In Cast and Crew you get some fairly detailed bios on the main players of the cast and crew. There is a nice slideshow in Gallery, and in About the Production there is a fairly detailed synopsis and a Q and A with the director, Fernando Eimbcke. There is also a Message Board and the flick's Trailer. This is a fairly average site, with a touch of style and the normal content. Duck Season opens on March 10 in limited release.

Aquamarine: (www.aquamarinemovie.com)

Oh goody. Another teaser site. We get a very brief Synopsis, a just-as-brief photo Gallery with all of 7 photos, the trailer and a link to register for updates. Yeah, that's all folks. Aquamarine opens on March 3.

Basic Instinct 2: (www.sonypictures.com/movies/basicinstinct2)

God dammit! They just keep getting worse, folks. If you couldn't guess from my tone, this is yet another teaser site. But there is nothing here, folks. NOTHING! We get a look at what is probably the one-sheet, and a link to register for updates. That's flippin it, folks, so, unless you wanna see Sharon Stone look older than she's ever looked in her life, there is no reason to click on the link above. Basic Instinct 2 opens on March 31.

The Notorious Bettie Page: (www.thenotoriousbettiepage.com)

They're doing this on purpose, aren't they? They're trying to drive me mad. All of them. They all know I hate teaser sites, so they throw me 4 in one week, and one just above a teaser in hopes it will throw me in a straight jacket. Well... they're getting there, bastards. At least this site has the trailer and you can sign up for Picturehouse's newsletter. Stil... bastards. The Notorious Bettie Page opens on April 14 in limited release.

The Tenants: (www.thetenantsfilm.com)

Finally! Redemption...sorta. This isn't a teaser site, and while this site could be Site of the Year compared to the rest of this week's crop, it's still not phenomenal. There is a look at the probable one-sheet in the middle, and the menus are on both sides. In Cast we just get pictures of the six main cast members. Unlike most sites, where you click on the pictures to get bios or something, you just get the pictures and the names here and no other links. Filmmakers has some nice bios on most of the crew, Gallery has 8 pictures to view and News has some information about some upcoming festival screenings for the movie. On the right side, Story gives us a nice synopsis, and there is also the Trailer, some Links to related sites, and, in a very bold move, an Awards section. It's not that this doesn't look like a good movie, because it does, actually, but the fact that the Awards section is "coming soon" I thought was pretty funny. Anyway, this is a pretty decent site, with most of the "usual suspects" for content and a little bit of style. The Tenants opens on February 3 in New York City.

TRAILER PARK

The Beach Party at the Threshold of Hell:

Now, I've seen some weird movies in my movie-seeing days, but wow. This one looks like it might crack the top 5. This flick takes place almost a 100 years into the future, and 20 years after a nuclear war eliminated most of America. Some people living underground unite to try and take America back from... well, I'm really not sure what they're taking it from. Wow. I really just don't know what to say, folks. Well, for one, this is a really long trailer and it kind of seemed like they didn't know what to keep and leave out and it doesn't really feel like a trailer most of the time. Still, this might be just weird enough to check out when it hits the theaters sometime this year.

The Tenants:

This looks like a really good movie, folks. Dylan McDermott is a novelist, living and working alone on his book. But his peace is interrupted when a squatter (Snoop Dogg) moves in on the same floor and is also working on a book. They strike up an odd relationship that gets thrown into turmoil with race relations and tensions over McDermott moving in on Snoop's girl (Rose Byrne). This is based off a Bernard Malamund novel, and it looks like a great, gritty drama that could give both McDermott and Snoop D-O-double-G a big push. The Tenants opens on February 3 in New York City.

Aquamarine:

If you thought the trailer was dumb, well the trailer lives up to those expectations. This is a weird teen version of Splash, and I'm sure girls all across the country will be squealing in delight, or some crap. But I won't be. This looks like a cookie-cutter teen comedy that just has a mermaid dropped in the middle. Argh. Aquamarine opens on March 3.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

I'm going with Mike White taking the helm for my Best News of the Week this week. He is a very talented writer, who can write comedy as good as anyone in the biz these days, even though it's more dry than most. This flick about a woman's life changing drastically after her dog dies just sounds like something quirky enough for White to undertake and I really can't wait to see his chops in the director's chair.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

Not much here this week, so it looks like it's Matt Nix and his moronic movies for my Worst News of the Week. To be kind of fair, this is an adaptation of a book, but it still sounds retarded. I know that these fantasy flicks are all the jazz these days, but still. For one, I doubt they got these beanstalk seeds at a store, and people walking around selling "seeds" are normally met with more suspicion than usual these days. Or, if they go with the "a beanstalk just appeared in my backyard" scenario, well, that's even more moronic and unbelieveable. God I hate Hollywood sometimes...

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.