Well, hi there folks. It certainly has been way too long since I've done one of these columns, but there's been good reason. I've been brought on full-time by MovieWeb and now I do all the DVD news and interviews and a bunch of other stuff including DVD reviews. The job also required me to move from my home state of Minnesota to Los Angeles, and it's taken me a little while to get settled in this new non-frigid metropolis. But I'm all cozied into my new place, and I finally have the time and energy to write one of these columns. So, enough jibber-jabber. Lets kick things off with Notables.
"Guillermo Del Toro in Talks to Direct The Hobbit" - Monday, January 28:
This is just such a fantastic choice, folks. Like Peter Jackson before hiim, del Toro has a solid grasp on the mythology around the book and a grasp on the burdgeoning fanboy culture that will surely pounce all over this long-awaited project. I think it's pretty rad also that they're making this one book into two movies. It will practically be guaranteed that del Toro will be a household name if the film hits big. With this great director at the helm, I can't see why it wouldn't. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Charles Durning Will Join Burt Reynolds in A Bunch of Amateurs" - Monday, January 28:
This sounds like a pretty cool project. We don't see Charles Durning in much these days, in anything major anyway, and Burt Reynolds playing a washed-up actor could give him a pretty decent push, similar to Bill Murray after playing a washed-up actor in Lost In Translation. Aside from all that, just the teaming of Durning, as Reynolds low-life agent, and Reynolds is marvelous news to me, and this could be a very entertaining flick. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Julia Roberts Heats Up to Star in Hothouse Flowers" - Monday, January 28:
Is it just me, or does this sound like something more up Reese Witherspoon's or Catherine Zeta-Jones's or Diane Lane's alley? Julia doesn't normally take on these more typical sorts of "recently-divorced woman" roles. It just doesn't sound like a Julia Roberts sort of role. Maybe I'm just used to having her dazzling us for so long that now, playing a divorced woman who goes on an adventure just sounds like such a let-down. I think she should produce and get someone else to star, not because she won't be great, because it just doesn't seem like her kind of role. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Dennis Quaid and Channing Tatum Join G.I. Joe!" - Tuesday, January 29:
They've been casting this flick up a storm, with Arnold Vosloo recently signing on as Zartan, and shortly after this story ran, we put up another with theater actor David Murray signing up for Destro, who will be the main villain in the flick. Now we have two of the biggest roles set with Dennis Quaid as General Hawk and young rising star Channing Tatum to play Duke, the leader of the G.I. Joe's. Tatum has just a slew of roles lined up already, and he could easily be a household name before this movie comes out next year. Quaid is a marvelous choice as well, and I really can't wait for this one. Now you know... and knowing is half the battle. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Kevin Nealon Joins the Cast of They Came from Upstairs" - Tuesday, January 29:
What? Kevin Nealon in an alien flick? I guess it's supposed to be an adventure comedy, but I don't really see a whole lot of humor in a family trying to fend off aliens from the upstairs of the house. Call me crazy, but yeah... I wonder when the last time Kevin Nealon's name was on a headline for anything, anyway. Weird. The movie doesn't sound that good, and Kevin Nealon signing on doesn't change a thing. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Paramount Has Plans for a Cloverfield Sequel!" - Thursday, January 31:
I think my stance on this movie is pretty clear by now. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
If Miley Cyrus and her character Hannah Montana's popularity was ever in question, it surely won't be now after an astounding performance at the box office this weekend. Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour was the overwhelming winner at the box office this past weekend, taking in an amazing $31.1 million from just 683 theaters. The concert flick's per-screen average was the best for a "wide release," which is a little sketchy since it's hardly a wide release, but the $45,560 per-screen average bested the previous winner in the wide-release category, Spider-Man 3, by a whopping $10,020. This record-setting performance is unlike anything I've seen at the box office in quite some time.
In an incredibly-distant second place, The Eye mustered up $12.4 million. The Jessica Alba horror movie was the widest new release this weekend with 2,436 theaters and it managed a semi-solid $5,100 per-screen average. The top three from last weekend followed, with 27 Dresses staying in third place, only dropping 36% with $8.5 million, but the two top flicks last weekend dropped off significantly. Meet the Spartans dropped 60.4%, and went from first to fourth with just $7.3 million, while Rambo dropped 60.9% from second to fifth, taking in $7.1 million.
The site starts off with a nice little intro from the film's stars Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone, but there really isn't a ton of other stuff here. The Film menu gives us a decent synopsis under Story, but the Cast, Filmmakers and Production Notes menus are all coming soon. Figures. The Photo Gallery has a whopping two pictures in it and Video has the Trailer, but the Clips and Behind-the-Scenes are coming soon, of course. Downloads has two Wallpapers, an Ultimate Desktop, a Poster and some AIM Icons to snag, and Games only has one game, with another coming soon. The game is Pig Out where you have to get the family pig to jump up and eat all these coffee beans. Yeah. Well, the site might not be too bad when they add everything to it, but for now, there's not a whole lot here. Still, if you've never heard of this movie, and you're into family flicks, you might want to check this out. College Road Trip opens on March 7.
Pretty lame site. About the Film has a Synopsis, Photos has 10 different pictures from the movie and Theaters shows you the four theaters this is opening at. That's all, folks. Romulus, My Father opens on February 29, in limited release.
Ugh. All we get is the really really lame trailer and nothing else. Of course, the full site is "coming soon" so get ready for that... Superhero Movie hits theaters on March 28.
Iron Man: (IronManMovie.com)
Finally, a decent site today! Like most sites for soon-to-be blockbusters, they put some time and effort into this one and they've got a great style to this site. They even have their MySpace, Facebook and a link to Fan Art on the opening page. The main menu is basically the center chest plate of our title character, and it gives us a few options. Story gives us a decent synopsis, Characters gives us a brief run-down on the character, the Gallery has 19 solid images to look at. Video has the original trailer and the new Super Bowl TV spot. The Downloads section gives you a couple of AIM Icons and Desktops to snag, but the Experience menu is still coming soon. There isn't really a whole lot on here, I guess, but the style makes up for some of it and when they get some more stuff on here this should be a pretty good site. Iron Man opens on May 2.
While poker isn't nearly as big as it used to be, I think a lot of non-poker fans alike would get a kick out of this comedy. We have an awesome cast with Woody Harrelson, Cheryl Hines, David Cross, Ray Romano, Jason Alexander, Dennis Farina, Chris Parnell, Richard Kind and Werner Herzog.
I know there aren't a bunch of HUGE stars here, but there is a ton of talent here and it looks like Zak Penn delivers with his script and direction. I'll be going all-in when this hits the theaters on March 21, in limited release.
I guess John Woo wanted a Chinese epic all his own, after seeing so many hit the theaters in America. This one looks to deliver the goods, blending Woo's amazing action directorial style with warfare and drama. Starring Tony Leung, Chang Chen and Takeshi Kaneshiro, this looks like an all-around wonderful international movie. The film doesn't have a domestic release date as of yet.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with Dennis Quaid and Channing Tatum becoming real American heroes for my Best News of the Week. While I couldn't remember for the life of me who Zartan was when I heard about Arnold Vosloo being cast as him, I of course remember Hawk and Duke, and these sound like two amazing fits here. Quaid brings presence and experience, and while Tatum doesn't have much experience yet, he certainly has risen through the ranks quickly. I think Tatum will be a great fit as Hawk and this will give him just a huge push. This movie is gonna ROCK!
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I just have to pick a Cloverfield sequel over something with Julia Roberts (no matter how dopey it sounds) or even something like Kevin Nealon's inane project. I know, you've all heard my rants on this movie enough, but I just think it's odd that they choose the week AFTER it dropped 69% in its second weekend to have talk about a sequel. You made your money back. Be happy with that, now leave us alone and take that damn monster back to the toy room you got it from.
That's all for this week. Damn it was good to be back! Make sure to 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. Peace in. Gallagher out!