Another seven days has come and gone, leaving us with a fresh batch of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailres. Before we get into all that, let's check out what I watched this week.
WHAT DID GALLAGHER WATCH THIS WEEK?
Mind of Mencia: Uncensored Season 2:
Take a very weird and oten very funny journey with the audacious comedian Carlos Mencia in the second season of his hit Comedy Central show, Mind of Mencia. Mencia pulls no punches when it comes to... well, damn-near anything really and you can hear and see him without those annoying bleeps and blurry images with this uncensored DVD. CLICK HERE for my full review.
Ugh. Hopefully this movie's failure will mark the end of the entire spoof genre. Terrible. Utterly terrible. CLICK HERE for my full review.
Highlander: The Search for Vengeance:
I'm not sure why they're trying to bring back this series, even in anime form, since it's been doornail-dead for quite some time. This new incarnation doesn't do much to revive the series, with the Highlander now in 2137 New York in a downtrodden society trying to avenge his lover's death from centuries ago. Blah. CLICK HERE for my full review.
This movie was nominated for the most Oscars last year, even though it was a major omission in most of the big Oscars like Best Picture. It still is easily one of the best films of last year and perhaps one of the best musicals ever. An extraordinary effort from writer-director Bill Condon and every piece of this all-star cast with a few breakthrough performances from Keith Robinson and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. It's certainly a must-see, if you haven't already seen it. CLICK HERE for my full review.
Happy Tree Friends, Vol. 2:
If you think that the marvelous animated show South Park is sick and twisted and hilarious... you'll see that the South Park guys have NOTHING on the Happy Tree Friends and their outlandish animated humor. To be fair, South Park is a better show than this, I believe, but this Happy Tree Friends, a former Internet sensation-turned-TV show, is right up there. It's something you really have to see to believe, folks. CLICK HERE.
In a summer full of blockbuster sequels, this one seems to stand out very near the top. Bruce Willis is still atop his game as the crafty detective John McClane, although it was kind of weird because, I think, we never EVER see him smoke in the movie. The rest of the cast is rounded out superbly by the young witty Justin Long playing a hacker helping McClane, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as McLane's daughter along with terrific turns from baddies Timothy Olyphant and Maggie Q and, last but not least, a superb smaller performance from filmmaker Kevin Smith as Long's hacker buddy Warlock. It's a entertaining romp of a movie with some stunning (if not incredibly unrealistic at times) action sequence and at just over two hours (unlike most of the blockbusters this year), it's just a terrific popcorn flick and a great way to say goodbye to one of cinema's most unforgettable characters. 4 stars out of 5
It's not just this quintet of additions to this movie that's some damn good news. The news of Guy Ritchie writing and directing another caper flick set in the London underworld is equally wonderful news. He did do another movie dubbed Revolver, released in the UK years ago but still hasn't found a home in America yet. This one sounds right up Guy's old alley, with a Russian mobster pulling off a crooked land deal and every dirty hand in the London underworld trying to get into this cookie jar. The additions are just as great though, with Gerard Butler playing a mobster scheming off both sides of the law, Tom Wilkinson, now with some baddie experience from Batman Begins playing a head London mobster along with the tasty Thandie Newton, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges and someone named Idris Elba. This just sounds awesome, folks. I can't wait. Best News of the Week Nominee.
While both De Niro AND Pacino starring in a movie together is the big headline-grabbing news, there is also more to be excited about here. This project was written by Russell Gerwitz, whose first produced script was last year's marvelous heist flick Inside Man. This one will match Pacino and De Niro against each other as investigators trying to solve the same murder. Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson might also star here, with Jon Avnet directing. De Niro, Pacino, Fitty AND the writer of Inside Man? Sign me up, baby! Best News of the Week Nominee.
No Toby, no Kirsten, no Sam. What's a Sony to do? Even after bringing back the opening weekend box office crown back to the franchise, taking in $151.1 million in its first weekend, it has only just barely doubled that tally in the following 8 weeks, now standing at $333.6 million overall. While it's clear that a lot of people wanted to see it right away, they didn't necessarily want to see it again after that, perhaps. Now the future of the franchise is in doubt, and if these three don't return, I'd hate to see what happens if Sony still tries to plod along with this series. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
Unreal. Just when I was talking about Epic Movie and the death of spoofs, here comes this display in idiocracy from the other perpetrator of spoofs besides Seltzer and Friedberg: National Lampoon. This one will spoof all the epic "swords-and-sandals" flicks like Gladiator, Troy and the recent smash hit, 300. Great. This will probably be just painful to watch. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
This could be very very interesting, folks. Cameron Diaz in her first horror movie, with a script and direction from cult filmmaker Richard Kelly of Donnie Darko fame. The movie will revolve around Diaz receiving a mysterious box from a stranger and is told that certain things will happen when certain buttons are pressed. Diaz hasn't really done anything too risky in the last few years, so it looks like she's finally rolling the dice with something here, and Richard Kelly is a pretty damn good guy to roll the dice with. Sound like a project to keep an eye on to me. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The race to this week's box office crown turned into a rat race by the end of the weekend, with the latest from animation powerhouse Pixar notching another #1 movie. Ratatouille took the top spot at the box office this weekend, with a solid take of just over $47 million. The animated Parisian tale bowed in a hefty 3,940 theaters, taking in a spiffy $11,935 per-screen avcrage. The movie was a glorious success in the critic's eyes, with an astounding 95% "Fresh" rating from the nation's critics at Rotten Tomatoes, which is, I believe, the highest rating for a major release this year. While there aren't any other animated flicks in release as of now or in the near future, it's highly unlikely that this will be the top flick for two weeks in a row because of that little Transformers flick that comes out. Still, with lack of animated competition, it should perform nicely enough.
Live Free or Die Hard came in second in its opening weekend, but it still put up impressive numbers, taking in $33.3 million for the weekend and $48.3 million since the flick's Wednesday premiere. This fourth McClane flick scored nicely with the critics as well, with a 77% "Fresh" rating from the critics at RT. Although its rollout was almost 500 theaters fewer than the rat flick, it still scored a fairly-hefty per-screen average of $9,791. With a modest $110 million budget, they're just short of the halfway point after five days of release, so this should make a pretty decent profit and send the franchise out on a pretty good note.
It was another good weekend for Michael Moore's new doc SiCKO as well. The health-care flick jumped from 31st last week to crack the top 10 in 9th place this weekend, taking in $4.5 million. It jumped from 1 theater to 441, and, while its per-screen average wasn't as impressive as last weekend's $70,000 haul, it still pulled off a solid $10,207 per-screen average. This will be an interesting movie to track, just to see if the rollout keeps inflating along with the grosses. The only other new flick in release was Evening, which took the 10th spot taking in $3.5 million and a $3,584 per-screen average from a paltry 977 theaters.
Argh! I was so pumped because I loved the trailer and figured since that the trailer was already launched, they'd go and give us some goodies with the website. No. They gave us the trailer (awesome as it may be) and a link to register for updates and that's IT! Damn teaser sites. If you haven't seen the trailer, though, it's well worth checking out. Hitman opens on October 12.
Another lame teaser site with only the Trailer to show on the site. There isn't even an updates link! Morons. The trailer is neat... in a Toys 'R' Us sort of way, but whatever. Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium opens on November 16.
This is the latest from director David Cronenberg that reteams him with the star of his last work, A History of Violence: Viggo Mortensen. Viggo plays a Russian mobster in this one, who has been tracking down a pestering midwife (Naomi Watts) who keeps digging into a murder she shouldn't be digging into. It looks like Cronenberg has another dark success on his hands, and who knew that Viggo could do Russian so damn well! Eastern Promises opens on September 14 in limited release.
This sounds a tad weird to me. It's basically a sequel to the critically acclaimed 1998 flick Elizabeth, with both Cate Blanchett and Geoffery Rush reprising their roles and with Clive Owen starring as Sir Walter Raleigh and the marvelously talented Samantha Morton playing Mary Queen of Scots. While this looks to be a fairly solid movie, I'm almost tempted to question the motives of director Shekhar Kapur, who directed Elizabeth. He only has one other film between these two movies, the well-made bomb The Four Feathers and I wonder if he's just not going back onto familiar ground to secure his career or what. Still, this could be a very good film, with Blanchett and Owen both seemingly atop their game. The Golden Age opens on October 12.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a very close call, but I'm going with Guy Ritchie teaming up with a talented quintet for my Best News of the Week. This sounds right up the Ritchie alley, with the dark underworld of London and crime and all that jazz, and his newfound quintet of stars should help bring him back to the top of his game. Welcome back Guy. We missed you!
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Easy pick here, and that's the lame spoof of swords and sandals for my Worst News of the Week. Why can't they just let good movies be? They're going to assemble some crude cast of 80s has-beens or 21st Century wannabes in this retarded flick to try and make fun of these great epics like Gladiator and Troy. What's the point? This movie will never make anywhere CLOSE to the kind of money any of those great flicks made... on their opening weekend, and they should just focus on making, you know, ORIGINAL movies from now on, instead of trying to make fun of something that was successful.
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. Gallagher out!