Howdy folks. Another seven days has come and gone, and brought with it another slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So lets get the party started with this week's Notables.
"Sean Connery Considering Returning for Indiana Jones 4" - Monday, January 22:
Now this is one old-school actor who I have no problem making a comeback. It's Sean frickin Connery, people! For one, I never knew that he officialy retired. I don't recall any retirement press conference or anything. The 76-year old will be reprising one of his most famous roles here, and I'd love to see him back as Indy's dad in this fourth installment. Besides, I'd hate to see that his last film performance ever was in the terrible The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen... I really hope he signs on and it will make this Indy flick even more anticipated than it already is. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"MGM Picks Up Myriam, Mother of the Christ" - Tuesday, January 23:
Well, apparently Bennedict Fitzgerald has a fever, and the only prescription is more religious flicks. If you're like, well, anyone, Bennedict Fitzgerald isn't a name you'd recognize. But he's the guy that Mel Gibson plucked from the depths of obscurity to help him write his little flick The Passion of the Christ. This time around, Fitzgerald will be focusing on Christ's mother and her journey from Egypt to Nazareth before she gave birth to, you know, Christ. It's a little odd too, actually, since the recently-released The Nativity Story chronicled Mary and Joseph's 100-mile journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem for His birth. It's almost like this is a prequel to Nativity Story, in a way. Weird. You know what would be great? Get all the Monty Python troupe members back together and do a movie race. Fitzgerald and whoever he gets to direct this can do a straight version, and Python can do a funny spoof. Who's game? Anyway, everyone wanted to see a movie about Christ's last hours, Bennedict. I doubt you'll find the same sort of audience about his moms. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"The 2007 Oscar Nominees!" - Tuesday, January 23:
It's become an annual tradition for me to watch this little telecast on E!, mainly just to see what the "pundits" think are shocking inclusions and exclusions and to hear the groggy voices on the phone at 5:30 a.m. Hollywood time. I think it's pretty funny that Dreamgirls led the way with 8 nominations, but none of those coming in the five major categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress. I was totally PSYCHED for all of Little Miss Sunshine's nods, including Best Picture, giving it the best chance for a comedy to win the Best Picture gold man since Annie Hall. The 5 noms for a href="/movies/film/11/2911/summary.php" class="film">The Departed were quite deserving as well, even though Nicholson's exclusion instead of Wahlberg's inclusion was a tad surprising. Still, it's my favorite to win Best Picture. What I like the best out of these nominees is that it's a wide open race for nearly everything except Best Actor (Forest Whitaker) and Best Actress (Helen Mirren), which have practically been decided upon already. I can't wait for the show on February 25, folks, even though Ellen Degeneres is hosting. Still, we had some wonderful noms here, thus I'm dubbing this a Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Maria Bello and Ray Liotta to Star in Downloading Nancy" - Wednesday, January 24:
This sounds like a weird reversed version of Leaving Las Vegas, without all the booze. You have the same basic principles: a depressed person wants to die, but takes an odd route to said demise and ends up in a relationship that might hinder the whole dying thing. In this one, it's the chick (Maria Bello) that wants to die, and she hires a hitman (Ray Liotta) to put her out of her misery, and then, the proverbial sparks start to fly between them. While Maria Bello's performances are somewhat hit-or-miss for me, I'm a big fan of Liotta, and they should make a decent downtrodden duo here. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Kate Bosworth Hits Down On 21" - Wednesday, January 24:
After bursting on the scene early in the century with roles in Remember the Titans, Blue Crush, The Rules Of Attraction and Wonderland, it might seem that the gorgeous Ms. Bosworth is on a downturn. After those flicks, she starred in the flops Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!, Beyond the Sea and the flick that managed to make over $200 million and STILL lose money, Superman Returns. But this flick could put her right back on track to the A-list. Her presence is magnetic on the screen, and with the right sort of project, like this hot property, she herself could be a hot property yet again. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Tim Hill To Direct Alvin and the Chipmunks" - Wednesday, January 24:
Get the f*&% outta here! Tim Hill is the guy that directed the horrid Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties flick and a few other flicks not even worth mentioning. Kids these days have no idea who Alvin and the Chipmunks are. Adults who remember them won't care about a live-action/CGI revival. Go away Tim Hill. Go far far away... Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The weekend after the Oscar nominations was dominated by a spoof and a gritty actioner. Who knew. Epic Movie took the top spot this weekend, taking in a solid estimated take of $19.2 million. The latest from spoofmeisters Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedburg bowed in a decent 2,801 theaters and took in an equally-decent $6,854 per-screen average. It appears that this flick might not have been screened for critics, since there were only 12 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, all of which getting a rotten rating, thus giving this flick a big fat 0%. But, for some reason, these flicks keep flourishing, so I doubt we'll see the end to the spoof after this latest success... sad as it may be.
Right on the spoof's tail was Joe Carnahan's spectacular action extravaganza Smokin' Aces, which took second place with an estimated $14.2 million. It had a smaller rollout than Epic Movie, with a theater count of 2,218, but still managed a solid $6,430 per-screen average. This one fared slightly better with the critics, but not by much, garnering just a 28% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, sadly. The good news for Carnahan and Co., is that with a $17 million budget, they'll make some profit here, although I thought it should make a lot more. Night at the Museum, the only flick this weekend in more than 3,000 theaters (3,241), took third place with $9.4 million. It only dropped 21% in its sixth weekend, and continues to impress (at the box office at least...)with a $216 million total so far.
The last newbie to make a dent was Catch and Release, which took fourth place with an estimated $8 million. It was only in 1,622 theaters and took in a barely-average $4,932 per-screen average. It's about a third of the way from making a profit from its $25 million budget. If the flick shows some endurance it might get there, but if it has a 50% or more drop next weekend, chances of a profit for Jennifer Garner and Co. seem unlikely.
There was one other newbie of note, but it's only of note because of its futility. Blood and Chocolate, probably one of the worst titles in movie history, could only muster a 15th place finish in its debut weekend, taking in a pitiful $2.1 million. Sure, it did receive a terrible rollout at only 1,200 theaters, but before you start blaming that, the 12% "Fresh" rating from RT didn't help much, and neither did the horrendous $1,752 per-screen average. Not surprisingly, budget figures weren't released for this bomb-in-the-making. I'm a big fan of the flick's writer, Ehren Kruger, but it looks like he might've gone astray here... way astray...
Across the Universe: (SonyPictures.com)
Yeah, smashing. Two links on this site. We get a brief synopsis with the Story link and the Register For Updates link is, well, self-explanitory. Wow. As Al Pacino said in Heat, "I'm over-f&%*in-whelmed." Put some damn content on these sites or stop wasting our time, you dolts. Across the Universe is looking for a 2007 release date.
I've never heard of this before, but it actually sounds pretty damn cool. Sadly, we don't get much on the site for the flick. We get the very entertaining Trailer, a brief synopsis in Story, and some wallpapers and AIM Icons to snag in Downloads. I wish there'd be more here, but hopefully they add more before this flick hits the theaters on March 2 in limited release.
Hmm. When you think Luc Besson, you think of action, flicks like The Professional and the many others he's just written. You certainly don't think of flicks like his latest, Angel-A, which looks like it could've easily been done by his fellow Frenchman Michel Gondry. It involves a beautiful woman (Rie Rasmussen) helping out a lowly con artist (Jamel Debbouze) figure out life, and such. It almost looks like a weird mix between Albert Brooks' The Muse and the classic Midnight Cowboy. It looks weird enough to be intriguing, but we'll have to wait until March 23 to see if it's that good kind of weird.
This one looks pretty damn good, folks. It's about a young boy (Ryan Pinkston) trying to adjust to a new school. He doesn't quite fit in, so he resorts to lying his arse off to impress his classmates. But, instead of his lies catching up with him, his lies start to come true, which starts to win the hearts of a few of the chicks, but causes some weird moral dillema, or something. This looks like a very fresh take on the dishonesties of high school life, with a slick cast of Pinkston, Teri Polo, Craig Kilborn and even Carmen Electra. I'll have to check this out when it hits the theaters on March 2 in limited release.
Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to see Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy in military fatigues, getting into a mess of trouble? Well, if you're that one person, then this is the movie for you. The Blue Collar dudes head off for a shooting range for kicks, you know, to relax, and, somehow, they end up being shipped off to war. But, somehow, they get dropped off in Mexico instead of Iraq. Yeah, I can see how you could mistake those two... Along for the ride is a guy who I used to like before signing up with these numskulls, DJ Qualls, who plays the skinny white dude in flicks like Hustle & Flow and a href="/movies/film/85/1585/summary.php" class="film">Road Trip and now in here, but with a silly moustache. My head hurts. I have no idea how they pulled this off, but somehow this retarded-looking flick was blessed with a prime May 11 release date. Unreal. My head hurts even more...
Another Christian Bale flick, another surefire success. Ho-hum. This guy is so damn good, and makes it look so damn easy that it's almost not even fair. Rescue Dawn looks to be the next in a long line of fantastic performances from Bale along with a marvelous war/survival true story. We even get the smashing Steve Zahn up on the topline with him, a nice little unexpected surprise. With acclaimed director Werner Herzog writing and directing, this could be a fabulous film in all aspects. Rescue Dawn opens on March 30, in limited release.
Riiiiiight. If anything, this trailer is the first actual proof we've seen in some years that Chris Tucker is actually alive. It's also proof that we didn't miss him much. I wonder how many of those French jokes from the first Chris Tucker/Bret Ratner flick Money Talks they'll gank for this one? If I see this flick, I'll have to load up with earplugs and Advil to get through it alive. Rush Hour 3 opens on August 10.
Hells yeah! This marks the return of a few things. For one, it should mark the return of one of my favorites John Cusack starring in decent movies. For two, it marks the return of some great screenwriters, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, and, last but not least, it marks the return of a great Stephen King adaptation. Well, at least it looks this way from the awesome trailer. Cusack plays a man obsessed with the paranormal after his daughter's death, and finds a hotel room that is supposedly all fudged up, room number 1408. There have been 56 deaths in that room, and he's warned not to enter it, but there wouldn't be much of a movie if he didn't enter it, right? It looks pretty damn creepy and pretty damn cool, folks, in what should be a nice horror treat for the summer. 1408 opens on July 13.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with Kate Bosworth taking no gamble with 21. This flick has been picking up steam lately, adding on Laurence Fishburne and Bosworth to a cast that already includes Kevin Spacey. It's the kind of slick, fun-loving criminal kind of flick that moviegoers have been digging lately, along with book lovers since Ben Mezrich's book has long been a best-seller. The gorgeous Bosworth has the talent and definitely the looks to be one of Hollywood's elite actresses. Hopefully starting with this flick, she'll start choosing her projects better.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Easy pick here with Tim Hill continuing to make a mockery of my childhood with Alvin and the Chipmunks. As if it wasn't bad enough that he butchered Garfield..., well butchered it more anyway, he's going to swing his cleaver at another popular 80s cartoon in Alvin and the Chipmunks. They said a comic actor will likely be hired to play Dave Seville, the chipmunks caretaker or whatever. Hopefully that rules out Breckin Meyer... I don't know if the cartoon is still on the air anymore, because I'm 30. Still, even if it is on the air, I doubt it's a huge hit or anything, and the people who dug the show as a kid, like me, will likely cringe at seeing the red-shirted troublemakers in a modern version. Some things should be left alone, Tim Hill, and you'll be one of those things if you keep making these dopey retreads of classic cartoons that fail to gain any interest.
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.