Another seven days have come and gone, and brought with us another slew of box office figures, new official sites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. But lets get things kicked off with this week's Notables.
I'm not gonna lie. The cast and crew here don't quite sound up to par. They have one of the flippin stars from Laguna Beach starring here in Cavallari for Christ's sake! The director and writers don't have much to show for themselves either, but this does sound like an intriguing story. This flick, set in a rural Texas town, surrounds a 50-year old urban legend, and a young girl who finds out the truth about it. Apparently, back in tha day, a bus full of kids is trapped over some railroad tracks and they're deadzo (sorry, I couldn't resist) when a train hits it. The ghosts of the kids still reside in the area, and, according to legend, if a car is put in neutral over some train tracks, these mighty ghosts will push the car off the tracks, leaving behind their ghost fingerprints, hence the title. Even with this shoddy cast and crew, this story sounds pretty damn cool, and that alone is worth a Best News of the Week Nominee...zo. Sorry, last one.
Wow. You expect to see Michael Madsen on the silver screen with either one of three things: a gun, a cigarette or a cocktail, maybe even all three at once. This doesn't hold true to all of his movies, but it's pretty damn close. Even so, him playing a skier, of all things, in this flick is about as unnatural as a snowstorm on the 4th of July... even here in Minnesota. Perhaps Madsen is getting sick of playing the scumbags and shady types. It's understandable, I guess, even though he plays them better than damn near anyone else in the biz. But even if he were trying to break out of that mold, this is such a weird project to break out of that typecast with. I mean, come on. A dude trying to ski an unchartered Alaskan peak? Baby steps, Michael. Baby steps. Madsen is one of my favorite actors, and it would be nice to see him take on a different type of character, but this is just way too much. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
Well, we all know that Luke Wilson really isn't that funny, so I guess a move to the horror genre might be just what the doctor ordered. While Wilson and Sarah Jessica Parker does sounds like an interesting on-screen couple, even though they both haven't done horror movies before, this story sounds pretty damn stupid. It's about a couple who checks into a seedy motel, only to discover there are hidden cameras all over the room. Creepy. Then, somehow, they discover that they're going to be unwilling participants in a snuff film, unless, of course, they manage to escape. Blah. Sounds like a stupid hybrid of 8MM and Psycho, with a first-time screenwriter doing the script, to boot. Hoo rah. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
As if Gondry's upcoming The Science of Sleep didn't sound weird enough, check this out out. Black will play a video clerk who starts having terrible headaches. Somehow, his brain becomes magnetized, which leads to the videos at his friend's video store he works at to be ruined. That leads to him and his friend to recreated classic movies from the store, in order to keep the store's sole regular customer. Wow. I will probably use The Science of Sleep as a litmus test for this flick, since that's the first feature he's written without the marvelous Charlie Kaufman. Still, this does sound like a quirky little flick that should broaden Jack Black's range and scope and could turn into a very interesting little flick. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Stop the presses! Breaking news here, folks! Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg are making a movie that's NOT, I repeat, NOT a spoof! They're whole filmography is all spoofs, with Spy Hard, Scary Movie (they got "character" credit on all the sequels) and this year's Date Movie. They've also sold a few other spoof flicks that will probably rot in development like "Raunchy Movie" and the football spoof "Remembering the Titans on Any Given Sunday Gives Me The Varsity Blues." I'm serious, that was the title. While we don't get much on the flick here, just that it's about four teens going on some adventure, I'm going to give it a Best News of the Week Nomination for only one reason: this could be the first sign of the spoof genre dying off for good. Spoof flicks were how these guys rolled. That's all they did, and now they're moving on, thankfully. If that's not good news, folks, then I don't know what is...
Meet Brian Gallagher (cue theme music). His boyhood memories (theme music). Watch them destroyed (theme music). See him angry (theme music). He destroy things (theme music). Even if Judy's hot... (theme music) I won't see this. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
I swear to you, I almost had a mild heart attack when I first saw the title here, and thought that these Blue Collar dipshits were remaking the Chuck Norris/Lee Marvin action classic The Delta Force. Even though they aren't, this still sounds rather retarded, with Mr. Cable Guy and Mr. Engvall playing moronic Army Reservists, who, on their way to Iraq, somehow get dropped off in Mexico, and help liberate some villagers from some baddies. Right. OK guys. We get it. You're some funny dudes, ok? We get the damn point, but it's going too far. I admit that I love both installments of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour movies, but you should just rest on your laurels. Nobody wants to see you guys as Army Reservists. Hell, I doubt anyone wants to see you as anything else besides stand-up comics, so just get back on the damn stage and leave the movie business alone. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
We have a lot of solid pieces in place here for a pretty solid flick. Peter Berg is becoming a pretty solid director, and although Matthew Michael Carnahan is unproven, we have a damn good cast here with Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper and the addition of the lovely Garner only helps out matters in front of the camera. The story sounds rather interesting, about an FBI team in the Middle East investigating a terrorist bombing. While it doesn't sound terribly original, I'm sure there's more than meets the eye here, and this could turn into a pretty solid flick. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
The opening flick of the summer season couldn't be more aptly titled. As 2006 dragged its way to summertime, it seemed an impossible mission, indeed, to get moviegoers into the theaters. Still, Mission: Impossible III didn't even snag the biggest opening weekend gross of the year, and the Tom Cruise flick fell well short of expectations. M:I3 nabbed $47.7 million in its opening weekend, easily the top flick of the weekend. But with the 4th widest opening weekend of all time, truckloads of hype, and even some pretty solid reviews (72% "Fresh" on Rotten Tomatoes), this is definitely a disappointment for Paramount. It did snag a solid $11,776 per-screen average, but admissions were fewer than both of its predecessors. Paramount better hope this mission has some legs as well, as they're not even a third of the way to their mammoth $150 million budget, and they don't have too much time either.
While Poseidon poses a minor threat this coming weekend, it's the weekend after that they have to worry about, when the surefire blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code opens. No movie will stand a chance that weekend and I think that the adaptation of Dan Brown's enormously popular book will finally break Spider-Man's opening weekend record of $114.8 million, and probably a few other records as well. M:I3 better scoop up as much business as possible from now until May 19 in order to have any hope of making a profit.
Another newcomer this weekend, An American Haunting was in 3rd place, but it hardly seemed like it. The horror flick took in $5.7 million in its debut weekend, behind RV's decent $11 million. But they were basically the best of the losers, with only $2.4 million separating 3rd through 10th places. Speaking of 10th place, another newcomer resided there, in record-breaking fashion, but not one to brag about.
Hoot took the 10th spot this weekend, earning a meager $3.3 million, which is the lowest gross ever for a movie that bowed in more than 3,000 theaters. It posted a dreadful $1,116 per-screen average and even though it only has a $15 million budget to make back, I doubt it will even come close to that. Let's face it. No one gives a hoot about Hoot...
Sorry folks. I couldn't find any new websites that went live this week. Hopefully we have a big crop next weekend.
M:I3 viewers likely saw this trailer at the theater this weekend, and I must say, I was mighty impressed. The cast looks like it's in great shape with newbie Brandon Routh aptly taking over the super reins and Kate Bosworth taking over Lois Lane wonderfully as well. But, for me, this movie marks not only the return of Superman, but the return of Kevin Spacey. The two-time Oscar winner hasn't been at the top of his form since the turn of the century, but it looks like he's finally back on track here with what looks like a simply wonderful turn as Lex Luthor. While this flick looks just great from every possible aspect, I'll be going for Spacey more than anything else. Superman Returns opens on June 30.
Wow. Now THAT'S how you make a trailer, folks. Very simple, very creepy, very effective. This flick revolves around 6 girls who take an annual cave-dwelling trip, only this time they make some haunting discoveries. This is probably one of the best trailers I've seen all year, and I'm a little peeved that they don't have a release date slated for this yet, supposedly sometime in August, because I just really want to see this flick after this great trailer.
From one of the best trailers this year, to one of the worst. What a segue, eh? I honestly don't know how this became a TV show in the first place, and I have even less of an idea of how this became a feature film that will actually be released in theaters. Sure, there are some clever little lines here and there, but Amy Sedaris' Jerri Blank character just bothers me. He facial expressions alone make me want to look away from the screen, and usually you want people, you know, watching the screen. If this is a hit, it will be a sign of the apocalypse, as far as I'm concerned. Strangers With Candy opens on June 28 in NYC.
This looks like a great way to close out the summer season. This is the amazing true story of Vince Papale, a bartender in Philadelphia who is also a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan, even though they were cellar dwellers in the NFL at the time. When new head coach Dick Vermeil takes the Eagles reins, he shakes things up by having open tryouts, where Papale ended up being invited to camp, and eventually making the team. Mark Wahlberg, as Papale and Greg Kinnear, as Vermeil, both look to give some great performances, in what looks like a great, inspiring tale to bring the summer to a close. Invincible opens on August 25.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It was a tough choice this week, but I'm going with the oddball pairing of Jack Black and director Michel Gondry as my Best News of the Week. Gondry seems to be moving on from his work with scribe extraordinaire Charlie Kaufman (who's doing his next film with his previous collaborator Spike Jonze), and writing and directing himself. He couldn't have gotten a better star here in Jack Black, who's stock has been constantly rising in the past few years. He's shown some great range in past years, and has that everyman look that enables him to play a variety of roles. This should be a great role for him, as a video clerk who gets some mysterious headaches that ruin the tapes at his friend's video store, and I'm really looking forward to see how Gondry and Black work together.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I had a hard time with this one, but I'm giving this one to the Blue Collar Comedy dorks for my Worst News of the Week Nominee. They obviously didn't learn from Larry's movie debacle a few months ago, and think they can make some scratch here. When I first read this article I kept having this retarded visions of Larry teaching these Mexican villagers the "pull my finger" joke and Engvall doing "Here's Your Sign" about 150 times. Ugh. I've got an idea. How about this failure just goes straight to video and spares theatergoers of all the pain that will ensue? Or just scrap it now and save the shred of dignity you might possess. Your gravy train is running out, boys, and you can either go away gracefully, or go down in flames. Your choice...
That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new websites for upcoming flicks (hopefully) 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.