Another seven days has come and gone, and it has brought us a new slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. But first, lets check out what I watched last week.

WHAT DID GALLAGHER WATCH LAST WEEK?

Music and Lyrics:

You can check out my full review here. A pretty good flick. I expected a lot worse, and got a pretty decent flick in return. Not too shabby.

The Cincinnati Kid:

I'm becoming quite a big Steve McQueen fan lately and, since I've been a poker fan for awhile, when I came across this 1965 flick while visiting my mom, I had to check it out. Actually, if you're one of the few that have seen the poker/con man flick Shade, you'll notice that it was almost a remake of The Cincinnati Kid, with a few lines and characters pilfered from the movie. This McQueen movie is a dandy, with a stellar cast around McQueen like Edward G. Robinson, Karl Malden, Joan Blondell, Rip Torn, Tuesday Weld and the alluring Ann-Margret. We get a lot of talent behind the camera as well with a script from Ring Lardner Jr. (MASH) and Terry Southern (Dr. Strangelove) with Norman Jewison (In The Heat Of The Night, The Hurricane). It's a very well-balanced flick with equal parts of drama and poker with some colorful characters, fitting dialogue, a slick ending and a revealing look at a young and sexy Ann-Margret. A great flick if you're a fan of poker or Steve McQueen. 4 stars out of 5

A Streetcar Named Desire:

This is another one I came across at moms crib. I'm slowly but surely catching up on my classics, and this one was way up on the list for awhile... and now I can see why. This 1951 classic was nominated for 12 Oscars, and although it only won four (Karl Malden and Tuesday Weld's supporting turns, Vivien Leigh's lead performance and Best Art Direction, B&W), it will be remembered for years to come for Marlon Brando's extraoridinary Oscar=nominated performance (he lost out to African Queen's Humphrey Bogart) along with the rest of the award-winning performances, Elia Kazan's direction and one of the most famous lines in cinematic history: "STELLA! STELLA!" This is the movie that made Brando a star, in only his SECOND movie role! Based off the Tennessee Williams play of the same name, this is one of the all-time greats, with memorable performances aplenty, a deep, layered story with direction from one of the best ever. A must-see for any movie freak. 5 stars out of 5

Hostel: Part II:

So, you heard that this is supposed to have one of the sickest endings ever, or something like that, right? Well, yeah, pretty much, folks. It's been quite some time since I've heard an audience vocally and physically react to something on the silver screen, probably since the painful-to-watch Jackass Number Two. But all that stuff was real, and you'd expect that sort of reaction because you know it's real. This was a fictional movie and, for something like this, I've never seen that sort of reaction. It's way WAY out there, folks. I'll just leave it at that. Anyway, it is a pretty decent follow-up to Eli Roth's surprise horror hit. We get a little deeper into the whole "business" side of the torture deal and instead of the college dudes being stalked, we have a few college chicks being stalked with Lauren German, Heather Matarazzo and the tasty Bijou Phillips. The acting really isn't the greatest, but Phillips gives a spunky performance and we get an interesting turn from Roger Bart as a first-timer, being led through this whole thing by a colleague. If you liked the first one, then you'll certainly like this one and even if you haven't seen the first one, this is worth seeing, at least, to see what all the commotion is about. 3.5 stars out of 5

NOTABLES

"Clifton Collins Jr. to Play The Perfect Game" - Monday, June 4:

I've been a very big Clifton Collins Jr. fan for about 5 years now, and as much as I like seeing him steal some scenes in supporting work like he's done, I've really REALLY wanted to see him topline a movie, and now it looks like I'll get to see that. It's an interesting story here, with Collins to play a Mexican baseballer in the late 50s who makes it to the majors but quits because of the racial tension, returning to his homeland to coach Little Leauge. His team went on to become the first non-American team to win the Little League World Series. This sounds like a great story and a wonderful opportunity for the immensely talented Collins to break into the mainstream. Just for that alone, I'm giving this a Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Mark Ruffalo Is Starring in Blindness" - Monday, June 4:

This is the latest flick from Fernando Meirelles, who has brought us some brilliant films in the past few years (See: City Of God, The Constant Gardener) and this one sounds just as intriguing, involving a town in which almost all of the inhabitants have mysteriously gone blind. Ruffalo will play a doctor whose wife (Julianne Moore) is one of the few people in town that can still see. Merielles is pretty damn good at blending drama with suspense, mystery and intrigue and it sounds like this should be right up his alley. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Savage Steve Holland Returns to the Director's Chair" - Tuesday, June 5:

Umm, OK. The guy that came seemingly out of nowhere to write and direct the 80s Cusack classics Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer and then vanished to the small screen before the 90s is back. Umm, OK. Yeah, I grew up in the 80s and I loved those flicks as much as the next guy, but this new one he's doing sounds rather 80s-ish as well, and I'm not so sure that's a good thing at all. The story revolves around a father who's trying to make his son's 13th birthday party the best in the world. Yeah. That aside, though, they should change the title or throw a hyphen in there or something so people don't think it's some weird sequel to Michael Moore's corporate America documentary. I think it's great that Holland is coming back to direct, but I would hope for something better than this for his comeback. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Anna Faris to Become a Playboy Bunny" - Tuesday, June 5:

If you're thinking this sounds a little odd, the kinda-hot chick playing a Playboy bunny, then I'm with you. Farris has gotten better since her Scary Movie days, sure. There was a time when I thought those were the only roles she'd ever get, honestly. But still... this might be a stretch. She just doesn't look like a Playboy model and if that wasn't bad enough, the story is rather lame, with Farris moving into the worst sorority to up its popularity. No, I have no idea why she'd do that either... You know it'll be fairly corny with a script from Karen McCullah and Kristen Smith, who've written 10 Things I Hate About You and most recently the bombs 10 Things I Hate About You and She's the Man. Blah. I can't imagine this being any good. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

While those scurvy pirates didn't sail into the top spot this weekend, the weekend was still water-based... sort of. Ocean's Thirteen took the top spot away from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, taking in a solid $36.1 million. It received a nice rollout of 3,565 theaters and posted an impressive $10,135 per-screen average. Although it opened lower than its first two predecessors (likely because of the lackluster second installment), it scored some decent reviews (68% "Fresh" at Rotten Tomatoes) and it should be able to snag some decent bank between now and the 4th of July, when the next really big blockbuster bows (no offense to the Fantastic Four people, who should have an opening weekend similar to Ocean's 13; $45 million tops.) The Pirates took 2nd place with $21.1 million and Knocked Up took third place, dropping just 36% to take in $19.6 million in its second weekend.

Surf's Up took 4th place this weekend, taking in $17.6 million, thus giving us more proof that the glut of animation isn't always a cash cow. The numbers aren't really that bad: $5,000 per-screen average from 3,528 theaters and a spiffy 76% "Fresh" rating from the critics at RT. Still, there have been so many damn animated movies lately that they must think cute animals and celebrity voices will bring in at least $200 million every time. Wrong. Budget figures weren't released for this one, but I'd have to imagine it'd be at the very least, $60 million and, even though there won't be any animated works for a little while, I can't imagine this doing too great in the coming weeks.

Eli Roth's Hostel: Part II took the sixth spot in its debut, falling way behind its predecessor. The first flick took in $19.5 million in its opening weekend last year... in JANUARY! With that kind of a gross in the usually-dormant month, you'd imagine the sequel, with a nice summer release date, would only improve. Well, it didn't. The sequel took in just $8.2 million, a number that shows there probably wasn't as much interest in this as expected. It bowed in just 2,350 theaters and could only amass a paltry $3,490 per-screen average. The only good news from this flick's opening weekend is that they only have a $10.2 million budget to make back, so they should be able to accomplish that... but not by much.

GOING LIVE

Halloween: (Halloween-TheMovie.com)

Umm, OK. I've never seen a site that has placed a TIME restriction on when the trailer is to be aired. The trailer is only available between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. Weird. Sadly, we get nothing else except the theme which may be revamped. I'm not sure. It's been awhile since I've seen the original. Anyway, you can register for updates here, but that's it, sadly. Hopefully there's more to this site before it hits the theaters on August 31.

American Gangster: (AmericanGangster.net)

We have a teaser site here, but we get a little bit more than most teaser sites. We get a great synopsis in Story, a quick little six-photo gallery in Images and stellar Trailer. The trailer is WELL worth a visit to this site, but that's really about it for now. Hopefully they'll have more up on this site before it hits theaters on November 2.

Speed Racer: (http://www.speedracerthemovie.com/)

It's not really a teaser site, but it might as well be with this dull design. We get a decent Synopsis, some detailed Bios of cast and crew members, some dull Photos from a Berlin press conference and some Video of that press conference along with a 40-minute Podcast of, yes, that press conference and a Transcript of, oh just guess... yeah, that Berlin press conference! Putting all our eggs in one Berlin basket, eh? Blah. Speed Race opens on May 9, 2008.

TRAILER PARK

Hot Rod:

Oh you silly Andy Samberg. You've taken the nation by storm with your very funny SNL Digital Shorts "Lazy Sunday" and D*%k in a Box"... well, at least you've taken YouTube by storm anyway. Still, I'm sure those two videos alone could've gotten the deal for this movie. While it doesn't seem quite as funny as those vids, it does look rather entertaining and should secure some non-SNL work for Samberg in the years to come. It might even make some decent bank to close out the summer. Who knows. Stranger things have happened... like a song called "D&*%k in a Box" becoming a huge hit. Hot Rod opens on August 3.

I Am Legend:

Very very nice, folks. They say that Will Smith is the heir to the throne for the most bankable actor in the biz after the dethroning of Tom Cruise. I say, with the savvy way he picks his projects, they're damn right, folks. This looks to make some noise come Oscar time, and it looks like it could've easily found a home in these summer months as well. It's an intriguing flick, with a great premise that's summed up eerily well in the tagline: "The last man on Earth is not alone." Bam. With Will Smith headlining and Akiva Goldsman and Mark Protosevich writing with Francis Lawrence (Constantine) directing, this should easily make some waves at the box office when it opens on December 14.

The Invasion:

This slick trailer was attached to prints of Hostel: Part II this past weekend, so if you're one of the few who saw it, then you likely saw this trailer for this slick remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There's plenty to get excited about here with a stellar cast of Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Jeremy Northam, or the revamped modernized storyline. Those things excite me about this movie, yes, but I'm most excited about the English-language/Hollywood debut of masterful German director Oliver Hirschbiegel. There were rumors abound that he was so dissatisfied with this film that he wanted his name taken off, but, his name remains so they must have been rumors... or they must have been worked out. Still, I'm a HUGE fan of Hirschbiegel and his two primary films Das Experiment and Downfall and I just can't wait to see what he can do with the top-flight talent here. I just can't wait, folks, but I, along with everyone else, will have to wait until August 17.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

It was a tough choice for me this week, but I'm going with Clifton Collins Jr. FINALLY getting a lead acting gig. This man has some immense acting talent, folks, and you can just go down the line on his IMDB page and see how diverse his roles are all the way through his filmography. He really can play it all, folks, and he's today's version of what Paul Giamatti was a few years ago: a great actor who never got a chance to headline... until now. Honestly, if I see Clifton Collins Jr.'s name on ANYTHING, I'll go see it. I even watched the dreadful Dirty because of him. It didn't matter, really, because he was still good in it, but now those types of roles, hopefully, can be passed over now if he succeeds with this role. I know he can, and I can't wait!

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

I'm going with Anna Faris being a Playboy Bunny... for my Worst News of the Week. OK, let's think for a second. She's blonde and can "act" ditzy pretty damn good, so she's got that going for her. Sure, she's pretty cute, I guess, but does anyone honestly think she can pass as a Playboy Bunny? Even if you get past that, you have this horrible story to deal with, with Faris as this Bunny who, for reasons not explained and way beyond me, moves into the most unpopular sorority house to give their popularity a big boost. Ugh. It really hurts me to say this, but I'd rather see her in another Scary Movie than in this one. At least it's something familiar to her...

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!

Cinemark Movie Club