It was yet another week in Hollywood that brought us another slew of movie news. So lets get right into it with this week's Notables.
"Dimension looks toward video games" - Monday, March 7
With almost every big-budget movie being turned into a video game, I'm surprised something like this hasn't happened sooner. I think this is a great idea, especially with some of the horrid choices for vid game movies lately (See: Alone in the Dark). Maybe a deal like this will ensure higher-quality video game flicks, and with the high-concept original games out there lately, there should be some great movies heading our way in the future. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Motely Crue goes claymation for Disaster! The Movie" - Tuesday, March 8
Wow. Motely Crue in claymation. As if them in real life isn't retarded enough, we have to see them in claymation? Give me a break. Sure, they're upcoming biopic might be interesting, but this just sounds like a claymation rip-off of the marionette flick Team America: World Police. Utterly stupid. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Billy Crystal and Aretha Franklin in talks for Hairspray" - Tuesday, March 8
What's going on with these damn remakes? Can you remember the last time Billy Crystal was actually funny? Has Aretha Franklin been in anything since Blues Brothers? I don't have the answers to any of these questions, and I don't think this project will answer them either. I hope this just fades away, kind of like Billy Crystal's career. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Timothy Olyphant set to star in Catch and Release" - Tuesday, March 8"Timothy Olyphant set to star in Catch and Release" - Tuesday, March 8
No, this isn't a movie about vegan fishermen, but this does sound pretty good. I'm a huge fan of Olyphant, who was solid in the otherwise-dull Dreamcatcher and he just shined in The Girl Next Door. He is a wonderful actor with some great range and I think he'll complement the gorgeous Jennifer Garner nicely. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Ryan Reynolds and The Rock set for the action-comedy Ride Along" - Wednesday, March 9
This is another great comic pairing for The Rock, who teamed up nicely with funnyman Seann William Scott in The Rundown. Ryan Reynolds is, in my humble opinion, the funniest actor working in Hollywood today. His timing and wonderful delivery should work very nicely with the professional wrestler-turned-actor. This should be one to keep an eye on. Best News of the Week.
"Jon Heder set to star in Benchwarmers" - Thursday, March 10
Heder was funnier than both David Spade and Rob Schneider's whole careers combined, in his star-making turn in Napoleon Dynamite, and I'm not sure if he'll be a right fit here. Everything about this movie, from the stars, except for Heder, to the writers and director just sounds horrible, and I don't even think that Heder can save it. I'll go see it now, just because Heder is in it, but I don't have my hopes up. You're hilarious, Jon, you just might have to start picking your projects better. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Anna Faris set to star in Scary Movie 4" - Friday, March 11
Mother of God! They just won't let this series go, will they? The last two had about the same amount of laughs as a Rob Schneider flick (i.e. none), Faris is without a shred of talent, and this news just makes me want to break something! Worst News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Well, I guess it took a bunch of robots to pacify The Pacifier. The animated flick Robots took the top spot this weekend, earning an estimated $36.5 million in its opening weekend. That gross was good for the 2nd best March opening of all time, falling well short of Ice Age and its $45.3 million opening weekend gross in 2002. It was also good for the 2nd highest opening weekend gross for 2005, behind Hitch which took in $43.1 million in its debut weekend. Robots took the top spot away from The Pacifier, which took 2nd place it its second weekend, with an estimated take of $18.06 million. Robots was featured in a robust 3,776 theaters, with a healthy per-screen average of $9,666. While it still does have to have some strong showings in the coming weeks, Robots, budgeted at $75 million should be able to squeak out a profit, at least.
The week's only other new widely-released flick, Hostage probably could've benefitted from taking some moviegoers by hostage. The Bruce Willis flick took the 4th spot in its debut weekend, grossing an estimated $9.8 million. It was in far fewer theaters than the top 3 flicks (2,123) and its 31% "Fresh" rating from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes probably didn't help much either. Budget figures weren't released for Hostage, but I doubt that Miramax execs are thrilled with this lackluster opening weekend.
I just think this last bit is funny, so I'm throwing it in here. The Passion Recut, Mel Gibson's retarded brainchild that cut out all the gory parts of The Passion of the Christ earned a meager $240,000 in its first weekend. It was shown in 954 theaters, but only averaged a miniscule $251 per screen. To give you an idea of the utmost failure of this edited re-release, Downfall, the Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Picture, was shown in only 46 theaters, and it grossed $120,000 MORE than The Passion Recut. Give me a break, Mel. Everybody and their minister saw this movie already, so just let it go, moron.
Maybe it was some webmaster's holiday this week, or something, because I couldn't find a single site that went live this week. Hopefully there will be a bunch of new sites next week to make up for this week. Sorry kids, but I don't create the sites, I just review them.
I'll admit that this does sort of look like a darker version of Magnolia, but I still can't wait for this. Written and directed by Paul Haggis, who wrote the phenomenal Million Dollar Baby, this looks like a very complex flick, with a wonderfully diverse cast. The only thing that I'm wondering about is its May 6 release date. This is pretty much the start of the summer movie season, and it's going up against potential blockbuster Kingdom of Heaven. This really has more of a December Oscar-bait feel to it, than a summer flick, but this does look great so I hope it can hold its own.
Matthew Vaughn has previously paid his bills as a producer (See: Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) but now he's making his first foray into directing with Layer Cake. Any fan of Guy Ritchie can see the influence of Ritchie on Vaughn, as Layer Cake does look like Ritchie's flicks. But it looks like Vaughn might be a bit darker and it looks like it works here, and the cast looks solid as well. This should be a winner, blokes. Layer Cake opens on May 13 in limited release.
Adapted from the Chris Van Allsburg (author of Jumanji and The Polar Express), this looks like a great fantasy movie. In this flick, a couple of kids find this board game, and through playing it, their house is somehow thrust into outer space. This actually reminds me of the wonderful Terry Gilliam fantasy flick Time Bandits, because the kids being thrown into this unbelieveable scenario is similar to the plot of Time Bandits. This looks like a great flick for the whole family, with a great writer in David Koepp doing the script, and Jon Favreau directing. Zathura opens on November 23.
We don't really get a good grasp of what this weird little flick is about from the trailer, but I'm still intrigued. Actor Scott Caan writes and directs here, and that alone should be worth the price of admission, just to see what he can do. I've enjoyed his acting in the past, and I' curious to see his writing style, as well as how he can do at the helm. Dallas 362 opens on March 25 in limited release.
I love adaptations from the late futuristic writer Phillip K. Dick, and his latest here looks just as cool. It looks like writer-director Richard Linklater employed the same technique he used in Waking Life, where he shot the actors and then animated over them. For this type of flick, I think this will work perfectly and with this story, the solid cast and Linklater's direction, this should be a winner. A Scanner Darkly opens on February 28, 2006 in limited release.
God damn do those guys at LucasFilm know how to make a trailer! As all of their other trailers, this one is simply phenomenal, giving us what we need and making us beg for more. This should be a movie event for the ages, folks, I'm not joking. I just can't wait! May 19, folks. You know where I'll be...
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with the new comic team of The Rock and Ryan Reynolds for my Best News of the Week. Hell, they could even give them a wrestling-style nickname, if they pull this off: Triple R. Wait, that one is taken, sort of...Anyway, the story does sound a little weak, sure, but I think this pairing is just golden. Reynolds has been in a lot of stuff in the past few years, but a role this big, with just as big a co-star should really propel him into the celebrity stratosphere. Wrestling fans might be getting pissed off because The Great One has been in more movies than matchhes lately, but he's getting pretty damn good at it. Besides, if he came back now, there would be all those wrestlers making fun of him on TV for playing a gay bodyguard in Be Cool. The Rock is here to stay in Hollywood, along with Ryan Reynolds and I am really looking forward to seeing them on screen together.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a tough pick this week, but I'm going with the Scary Movie series reaching Police Academy status for my Worst News of the Week. You remember the first few Police Academy flicks, right? They were fairly funny...Michael Winslow's motormouth of special effects was usually good for a few laughs. But then came the 3rd, and the 4th, 5th 6th... yeah, you get the point. They just didn't know when to stop, and this Scary Movie franchise is doing the same thing. The first Scary Movie was actually quite funny, I thought, but then the downward spiral started with the 2nd and 3rd ones. What do they have left to make fun of? Spoofs are dead, Wayans clan, and besides, Anna Faris can't act her way out of the unemployment line, which is exactly where she'd be if you didn't keep this retarded series going.
That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, websites (hopefully!), 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.