Another seven days has come and gone and has brought us a fresh batch of news bits, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets not make haste and get right into it with this week's Notables.
"Martin Scorcese and Leonardo DiCaprio Team Up on The Wolf of Wall Street" - Monday, March 26:
Still no word if they'll both just produce this or if Marty will direct and Leo will star, but it sounds quite interesting. It almost sounds like a financial version of The Insider, with this Long Island stockbroker who refusesl to participate in a wide-sweeping fraud case involving Wall Street, the banking community and possibly the mob. It sounds like good fodder for Marty and Leo, going back to their biopic ways but still keeping a rougher edge to it. We'll have to wait to hear more about this one, but it sounds like a Best News of the Week Nominee to me.
"Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear Move to the Ghost Town" - Monday, March 26:
While Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear both do fine work, it is not their involvement in this picture that has me psyched the most. I'm psyched because David Koepp is back. Koepp is one of the best writers in the biz, with a string of blockbusters on his resume, and he can certainly hold his own in the director's chair as well. While his War of the Worlds was technically a financial hit, it was certainly not his best work and with the lackluster box office performance of Secret Window before that and Zathura after, Mr. Koepp is in need for a comeback. This sounds right up his alley too, with this weird little flick about a dentist who briefly dies and is revived, only to become a conduit of communication between the dead and the living. Welcome back Mr. Koepp! Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Darren Aronofsky Steps Into the Ring on The Fighter" - Tuesday, March 27:
If getting Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon back together after their marvelous performances in The Departed wasn't good enough, it's just gotten better with the addition of a damn good director. While Darren Aronofsky has had an odd run of things for most of this century, his first two films, Pi and Requiem for a Dream, are proof enough that he is certainly a fine filmmaker. This wil easily be the closest Aronofsky has come to making a "mainstream" picture, but he sure does have a doozy of a story with the Irish boxer/trainer combo of Mickey Ward and Dick Eklund and their rise and fall. This one looks like a sure winner to me. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Niki Caro Writing and Directing The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky" - Tuesday, March 27:
This one sounds right up Niki Caro's alley. She's proven that she's pretty damn good at these inspirational-type movies with her first two major movies, Whale Rider and North Country. This one will tell the tale of a man whose brother was one of the 270 people who died on the tragic Pan Am Flight 103 terrorist bombing. Based on Ken Dornstein's memoir, it will tell both Ken's story and that of his brother, David, and how much Ken discovered about his brother through his unfinished writings. Casting will remain key, but this sounds like a very interesting movie from a very talented filmmaker. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Marco Schnabel to Direct Mike Myers' The Love Guru" - Tuesday, March 27:
Not quite sure about this one. Marco Schnabel just seems to be the kind of guy who wants to do it all. He has credits as a screenwriter, associate producer, second unit A.D., visual effects consultant and production associate, most of them on Jay Roach flicks like Meet the Parents/Fockers or the Austin Powers series. So sure, why not direct too? He's been on successful movies so far, but now this one he's taking the reigns on sounds fairly dull. Myers, who is also co-writing, will star as Pitka who is called on to solve relationship woes. Ugh. I've got a bad feeling about this one. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Rod Lurie Finds Straw Dogs" - Thursday, March 29:
After a few stints with the small screen, it looks like Lurie is ready to come back to the silver screen. Lurie wrote and directed the phenomenal film The Contender and directed The Last Castle before creating the short-lived TV shows Line of Fire and Commander in Chief. Now he has a flick awaiting release with Resurrecting the Champ and this remake of the 1971 Sam Peckinpah/Dustin Hoffman collaboration. Lurie is an incredibly talented filmmaker and I'm glad he's finally back making movies instead of messing around with television. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
I guess that in/out lamb/lion thing for March doesn't really apply to box office grosses. The month went out just like it went in, with a solid $30 million plus performer taking the top spot. Blades of Glory took the gold medal this weekend, taking in just over $33 million. The flick was bolstered by some shining reviews from the nation's critics, scoring an impressive 70% "Fresh" rating from the Rotten Tomatoes critics. Blades was screened in 3,372 theaters and posted an impressive $9,790 per-screen average. That opening weekend take was just over half its $61 million budget and, with the very positive response from the critics, I doubt this flick will drop much next weekend, although I doubt it will be #1, and it should be profitable by next weekend's end.
Another newbie this week wasn't too far behind, with the animated Meet the Robinsons taking the silver medal with a solid $25.1 million. The Disney flick was screened in 41 more theaters than Blades, and was received fairly well at RT with a 64% "Fresh" rating, but it still wasn't enough to overtake Will Ferrell and Jon Heder's skating skills. It did post an above-average per-screen average of $7,361, and, although budget figures weren't released, it should end up doing some decent business, provided it doesn't drop off huge next weekend.
The only other newbie this weekend received a very limited rollout and it didn't seem to make the most of it either. The Lookout finished just out of the top 10 this weekend in 11th place, taking in just over $2 million. The Scott Frank-helmed flick did receive heaps of praise, with a wonderful 84% "Fresh" rating at RT, but the limited rollout (and marketing campaign) seemed to do most of the damage. The movie was only screened in 955 theaters, and it only could muster a $2,112 per-screen average from those few theaters. I would love to see this movie expand (mainly so I could frickin see it!), but with these paltry numbers, I'm not sure that will happen quite yet. And, lastly and humorously, TMNT's reign was incredibly short-lived at the top, as it fell from first last weekend to fourth this weekend, dropping a massive 61.9% from its opening weekend to earn just $9.2 million. See, some things shouldn't be brought back after all...
We get a pretty slick-looking Flash site with this site for Next. Sadly, it just looks slick, with barely enough content to justify a website at this point. Under The Film menu we get a bunch of different options. The Movie just has a brief Synopsis with the Production Notes coming soon. The whole Cast and Crew menu is coming soon as well. Ugh. The Gallery gives us 18 shots from the flick, Videos has the two Trailers with TV Spots, Clips and Featurettes all coming soon, Downloads has some wallpapers, AIM Icons, the one-sheet, and IPod and PSP videos. The Soundtrack menu is also coming soon. The next big menu is Experience and guess what? That's right, coming soon too. The only other menu we get here is Games and we get one game, with another coming soon. The one you can play is an ESP test where you have to guess the symbols on the back of these cards. It's only semi-interesting though. They have the look down pretty nicely for this site and once they have all the coming soon's filled in, this might be a pretty decent site. But now, it's just a step or two above a teaser site. Next opens on April 27.
Extremely simple site here, folks. We get a shot of Kevin James carrying Adam Sandler across some invisible threshhold and a small menu of items. We get a nice synopsis under Story, but a whopping five pictures in Photos. There are also two AIM Icons and a wallpaper in Downloads and the Trailer. Yeah, that's all folks. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry opens on July 20.
This is certainly a busy site folks. The trailer plays automatically when you bring the site up and then there'a a LOT more to do, folks. On the top of the site we have some menu items to peruse first. Movies just has links for you to buy the first two movies and soundtracks, along to the official sites to the first two flicks. Downloads has a plethora of goodies for your downloading pleasure, with plenty of AIM Icons, wallpapers, printables, screensavers, ecards and stuff for your IPod or PSP to keep your modem busy for awhile. Videos gives you the trailers for all three flicks along with a few featurettes as well. The Store menu brings up a link to another page where you can buy Shrek swag, but the site isn't active yet and you can enter your email address to get updates. Games gives you a neat Sudoku game and a Shrek's Memory Game and History gives you a slick little timeline over the three films.
From there you can explore VirtualLand with Shrek and see his ogre home and plenty of other goodies in this crazy world. There is also a Trivia Challenge and enough links to keep you busy for a very long time. This is a wonderful site with plenty to do, probably enough to keep you occupied until the movie hits the theaters on May 18.
A nice little site here. The Film menu gives us a brief synopsis, although it says "production notes." Cast and Crew gives us a list of the cast and crew, just a list and a picture for each one. Lame. Video gives us the two trailers, with TV Spots and Clips coming soon, Downloads gives us AIM Icons and Desktops to snag and the Photo Gallery gives us some nice shots from the movie. Between each menu we get a clip from the movie and each time you're brought back to the home page, Steve Carell transforms a little bit more each time. There's also a game called Noah It All (with another Round Up coming soon) where you have to answer environmental question, with each correct answer building part of an ark and stuff. All in all, it's a nice little site here that could use a bit more content, but has the style down nicely. Evan Almighty opens on June 22.
Another decent site here. The Film menu gives us some nice info on the inception of the movie with quotes from writer Alex Garland and director Danny Boyle amongst others, and Cast and Crew gives us some nice character and actor info, along with some tidbits on how they were found/chosen for their roles. Video just gives us the interesting trailer, Photos gives us a small gallery, Downloads has some desktops and AIM Icons to grab and Explore takes you around on this freaky little interactive tour of the space station they're on. Below these main menus are a lot of other info like video diaries, links to the stars' IMDB pages and many other links, some of environmental nature. There's plenty to keep you busy here before Sunshine hits theaters on September 14.
Yeah. Another Fast and the Furious rip-off with this big underground world of fast cars and fast women and blah blah blah. This one has Angus McFayden, Eddie Griffin and a bunch of other schlubs you probably won't recognize before or after this is released. I might see it if someone pays for me. If not, I'll likely be ignoring this when it hits the theaters on April 13.
Umm ok. It's an animated movie that is jokingly (I hope) "based on a true story" about penguin surfers. The whole trailer is weird, with it starting out with this mockumentary thing on the first penguin surfer and then leading into this kid penguin surfer who wants to be just like him. Wow. These animated flicks are getting out of control. Surf's Up opens on June 8.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
A lot to choose from this week, but I'm going with Darren Aronofsky's new project for my Best News of the Week. I have yet to see Aronofsky's latest flick, The Fountain since it wasn't quite embraced positively enough to warrant an expansion, but I think that this simpler project will do Aronofsky some good. Even though it will be simpler than his previous flicks, this should bring him some mainstream cred, and working with Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon, both back in their hometown again for this movie, is just icing on the cake. If this takes off like I think it will, I doubt Aronofsky will have to wait another six years before he can take on his next project.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Only one to pick from here and that's Mike Myers being a love guru as my Worst News of the Week. For one, Myers hasn't done a live-action flick in four years, and his last two were absolute bombs with Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat and View From the Top. Sure, his voice of that big green ogre has made billions worldwide, but he really hasn't been on the top of his game, in non-voice acting for quite some time. It doesn't help that this story sounds moronic, with Myers to be some love guru helping couples out with their relationships. I'd love to see Myers do something like he did in 54 again, because he was wonderful there. But, I guess he thinks his funnyman thing will keep going on forever. I've got news for you Mike. If you keep picking inane projects like this, forever will come a lot sooner than you think.
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!