Another seven days has come and gone, and left us a new slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. But before we get into all that, lets check out what I watched this week.
WHAT DID GALLAGHER WATCH THIS WEEK?
A wonderful little gem of an indie, filmed and set in my old stomping grounds of the Twin Cities area. It's almost a more docile, Minnesota version of Good Will Hunting, in some ways. We get a stellar cast (Joshua Jackson, Donald Sutherland, Juliette Lewis and Louise Fletcher) and a marvelous script by Brett Boyd that's simple and powerful. CLICK HERE for the full review.
They've assembled a pretty damn good cast here (Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore, Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo, Tom Everett Scott, Gabriel Macht) for a story that starts out to be a fairly original look at dating... but turns out to be like everything else. Diane Keaton shines as a meddling mother trying to get her youngest daughter of four married. She takes out an Internet ad on the sly and, as a result of this ad and odd consequences, the daughter (Mandy Moore) has TWO suitors beckoning. Starts off solid, ends up liquid mushy goo that these movies always turn into. Gag. CLICK HERE for the full review.
The last time I checked, shelling out $175 million for a 95-minute COMEDY was pretty damn rare. They must have been thinking that if a semi-washed up Jim Carrey can rake in $241 million (from an $81 million budget) with this premise, then the uber-hot Steve Carell, reprising his lesser character from the first movie, can bring in, oh, twice that. Either that scenario had to have unfolded or the Universal folks were on some pretty good drugs to think that they could recoup $175 million from this. It wasn't Carell's fault at all that this failed. He fought and acted valiantly with some nice supporting help from the luscious Lauren Graham as his wife, Morgan Freeman as God, Jonah Hill as a young Capitol Hill assistant, John Michael Higgins as Evan's assistant, Wanda Sykes as Evan's secretary and even John Goodman, who I haven't seen in seemingly ages, in a decent turn as a robust Congressman/committee chairman. The problem, of course, is the terrible script from Steve Oedenkerk, who's had some big hits (The Nutty Professor, Patch Adams) and some terrible misses (Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist) in his career. It's just a really flat comedy the relies on CGI and corny jokes a LOT and barely on the talents of the enormously-talented cast. There will be some people at Universal looking for jobs after this tanks. 2 stars out of 5
"Bryan Singer Signs Three More Actors for Valkyrie" - Monday, June 18:
It looks like Tom Cruise is getting some great supporting help in this one, with the additions of Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy and Eddie Izzard for This WWII flick. This should help director Bryan Singer get over the big-budget debacle that was Superman Returns by doing a period piece for the first time: a period war epic at that. This really sounds like a wonderful flick for all involved and should help Cruise and Singer get past their past. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"The $40,000 Man to Make His Debut on the Big Screen" - Monday, June 18:
This sounds pretty damn awesome to me, folks. John Frances Daley, of Freaks and Geeks and Waiting fame, has written this script along with Jonathan Goldstein. It revolves around a famous astronaut who is near death after a horrific car accident. A team of scientists are assembled to re-assemble the astronaut with robotics... only they discover their budget for the job is only $40,000. This sounds like a frickin riot, folks. I can't wait to see who they'll cast here, but this has some real potential to be just hilarious. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Jack Black and Todd Phillips Team for Man-Witch!" - Monday, June 18:
I'm just not so sure about this, folks. Jack Black hasn't really been that hot lately, commercially anyway (Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny rules, but I'm in the minority on that opinion, according to the grosses...) and Todd Phillips hasn't been setting the world on fire either. It's almost funny. I wonder if this story would have had more buzz now if he actually stayed on to direct Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan instead of parting over creative differences. At any rate, this flick about a dude (Black) who discovers he has witch powers and taken to a witch school where, alas, he's the only dude... just doesn't sound like it will work too well. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Marc Forster to Direct the Next James Bond Film" - Tuesday, June 19:
This is quite a find here, folks. This is one talented director, folks, who can glide across genres seemingly with ease. He's doing his first action flick here and nothing in his short-but-successful filmography would indicate that he won't do well on a larger scale. Forster is certainly an actor's director. With the tremendously-deserved fanfare and hoopla for the new Bond, Daniel Craig, I can only begin to wonder how much more Forster will improve upon the actor and the previous movie, both of which have been said to be the best Bond actor/movie in ages. I simply can't wait. Bring on BOND! Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Morgan Freeman Becomes Mandela" - Thursday, June 21:
Can you say, Oscar? This role, this announcement, has that little gold man all over it. A movie about South African leader Nelson Mandela's life will undoubtedly be a surefire hit and garner Oscar nominations for the writer, director and, naturally, Freeman. I don't know when this movie will come out, but the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences might as well start etching that little gold man now. A bold statement, I know, but with Freeman's outstanding credentials, and the worldwide adoration of Nelson Mandela, I don't think it's that bold at all. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
A man named Evan took down a powerful foursome, but he wasn't as almighty as he needed to be. Evan Almighty took the top spot at the box office this weekend, with a below-average summertime gross of $31.1 million, well WELL below the opening weekend take of its predecessor, Bruce Almighty, which (somehow) bowed with a $67.9 million take four years ago. The sequel bowed in a hefty 3,604 theaters and did post a solid per-screen average of $8,654, but the good news ends right about there. The flick tanked with the critics (22% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes), which won't help its cause of making back the absolutely insane budget (for a comedy...) of $175 million. There is absolutely no way this will make a profit and is on track to become one of the biggest flops of the year. It will probably level out around $60 or $70 million, and will leave Universal execs reeling with a $100 million-plus loss and wondering who to fire. Good luck with that.
The second-place finisher probably had a much better week than the first-place winner. 1408 took the silver medal this weekend, with an impressive take of $20.6 million. It scored some very positive reviews, with a healthy 75% "Fresh" rating over at RT and posted a competitive per-screen average of $7,698, even though it bowed in almost 1,000 theaters less than Evan did, with a 2,678-theater rollout. The best news for this thriller is that it's just a few days away from making its money back from the comparitively-paltry $25 million budget and since there really aren't any other horror flicks out there, it can probably keep plugging away and secure a solid chunk of profit.
Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer, last weekend's winner, dropped a whopping 65.5% falling to third place just BARELY, taking in a smidge over $20 million. If the movie keeps bleeding like this, it might even fall short of its modest $130 million budget, even though it's at $97.4 million after 10 days. Still, a few more 60% dump-jobs in a row, and it's possible. The only other newbie in wide release this weekend was the Angelina Jolie fact-based drama A Mighty Heart which could only muster a 10th place finish with $3.9 million. But there was another new flick released this weekend, and it made a big splash in a very very very small pond. Michael Moore's new documentary Sicko took in $68,969 this weekend... on ONE SCREEN! Yes, that is a very healthy per-screen average, and when the movie expands this weekend, I'd expect a very large opening weekend, at least 8 figures.
The opening page of the site has a very brief Synopsis and a link called More on the Big Secret which is a blog about the Loch Ness Monster and even a video from YouTube that is apparently authentic footage of the monster. Once we get in the site, it's pretty damn lame and upsetting. Most sites don't have an "Enter the Site" thing on the front page unless there's a lot of stuff in the site. Here, there's barely anything. We get the Synopsis again, but with a full cast/crew list as well. Yawn. We get that More on the Big Secret link too and the only two new features are the Trailer, which is a tad intriguing and a Legend of the Deep link. OK, the Legend of the Deep link is really the same as the More on the Big Secret link on the front site and the More on the Big Secret link on the main site is a link to register for updates. Confused? I know. It doesn't matter. There's nothing worth going here for anway. The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep opens on Christmas Day, 2007.
Ugh. All we get here is this LAME trailer that isn't even really a trailer. That's it. Boring. Wall-E opens on June 27, 2008.
I just can't WAIT for this one! I've been really getting into the Western genre over the last few years, and the genre seems to have nearly died in recent years. Open Range tried, but couldn't bring the Western back to the mainstream. This movie certainly can, my friends. We get an astounding cast, headlined by Christian Bale and Russell Crowe and supported by Ben Foster, Alan Tudyk, Vinessa Shaw, Peter Fonda and Gretchen Mol. This is just going to kick SO much arse it's not even funny. 3:10 to Yuma opens on October 5.
I've never heard of this flick before, but it looks like a small but very powerful movie. We get a brilliant cast of Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Robin Williams and Terrence Howard in this story of a young boy lost in the shuffle between a one-night stand between two contrasting musicians. It certainly has the star power with the cast and this could easily put Kristen Sheridan on par with her father/director Jim Sheridan (In America). This looks like a masterful drama about the will of the human spirit and all that jazz. August Rush opens on October 19.
Two words: F*&$ YEAH!!!!! For one, this is just a masterpiece of a trailer and whoever put this trailer together should get a three-picture deal just for this trailer. For two... damn, just LOOK at the thing, man! This is going to be so insanely awesome. Timothy Olyphant looks to give a wonderful performance as Agent 47, and it looks like Vin Diesel's services really weren't needed after all. I don't really know who else is in the movie, Dougray Scott I believe, but who cares. This is about Olyphant and Agent 47 and his mystical ways of murder. I'm just really upset that I have to wait until frickin October 12 before I finally get to see this.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Damn. This is a very tough choice this week. I think I'll go with Marc Forster going all double-0 on us for my Best News of the Week, just BARELY over the Mandela/Freeman project. I'm picking this one over Mandela/Freeman because this has BOTH an accomplished actor and director attached, while the other project has just the star and an unknown writer. I'm very excited to see how Forster will adapt to this fast-paced world of 007. He's never directed a movie that will be as swift as this, used to the slower pacing of dramas and dramedies, but I'm sure Forster can and will adapt to the change swimmingly and I can't wait to see what he comes up with for Daniel Craig's 007.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Only one choice here, and that's this dreadful Man-Witch deal. I think Jack Black is going a little too far here, folks. I also think that Todd Phillips is desperate for a hit, after School for Scoundrels tanked. I also think they're both out of their flipping minds if they think this project sounds appealing at all. I have these weird visions of Black in a cave or something, using the wrong potions and causing havoc in the coven. Ugh. Jack used to be so good at picking roles and Todd used to be a pretty damn good comic helmer. I don't think the "used to be" will be removed from their stigma anytime soon.
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. Gallagher out!