Another seven days has come and gone, leaving another slew of movie news, box office figures, new websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets get right into it with this week's Notables.
A quick gander at Bruce Nash's IMDB page reveals a lot. For one, he has a slew of TV shows under his belt, many of them short-lived and even more of them in the reality vein, though lesser known ones like "For the Love of Money". But, if you look at the top of this page, it appears that Senor Nash is treading into movie waters, as the exec producer of the Ice Cube project Teacher of the Year and also producing Sherlock's Secretary, which actually sounds pretty cool. Apparently he thinks he can pitch stories now too, though, and this is where his luck might be running out. This sounds like a dreadfully stupid story, an animated tale of a regular dog who somehow hitches a ride aboard Santa's sleigh. There's a lump of coal in your stocking this year, Senor Nash, because this just sounds retarded. Worst News of the Year Nominee.
Damn, talk about a cast here! While it does lack blockbuster, A-list stars, it's still a heavy-hitting cast full of solid performers that all bring something different to the cinematic table. I'm a HUGE fan of both Ribisi and Lee, and the rest are all great actors as well, and this story, about a scientist on a bizzare island who helps solve an ancient mystery, sounds interesting as well. I'm really looking forward to seeing what this great ensemble cast can put together. Best News of the Week Nominee.
I didn't have too much hope for Ray Romano's film career after seeing his dreadfully boring turn in Welcome to Mooseport, but this flick looks like it has some promise. Romano will play a single father who gets entered into a Father of the Year contest by his son. His son, however, fudges a few facts about dear old dad to get him to win, and when he does win, he vows to tell the truth... until he meets the beatiful woman who runs the contest and continues the charade a bit longer. This could be a pretty good family flick, with the possibilities for both some entertaining parts where he tries to keep up his fictitious life, and that whole "moral of the story" thing where lying is wrong and crap. This could very well extend Romano's romance with the silver screen, if done well. Best News of the Week Nominee.
True, this does sound a little like Misery meets Silence Of The Lambs, but it's also true that this is a true story. This flick will be largely based on courtroom transcripts, recounting the story of a woman (Keener), who basically imprisons a young girl (Page) that has been left in her care, in the basement of her Indiana home. Both Keener and Page are coming off recent success, Keener with Capote and newcomer Page getting raves for her turn in the indie thriller Hard Candy. This will be very different roles for both of them as well, and it should be nice to see what they can do together. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Hmm, a flick about women ruling the world, and men are cloned and sold like cars? While this sounds like a sci-fi horror flick (just kidding...kinda) it's really a comedy (I'm leaving that alone), and they've got some great comedic talent on both sides of the camera. Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller will star as a couple of dudes who are returned to the dealer, or whatever, and start to search for the lost meaning of manhood. Then Emily Mortimer's character, one of the few women alive who don't agree with this novel concept, reluctantly buys Stiller's character and they fall in love and crap. It's kind of weird that it looks like Jim Carrey is playing second fiddle to Ben Stiller here, but then again, Carrey's latest flicks haven't been doing so hot, so there you go. On top of all that you have the maestro of comedic helmers Jay Roach, who's responsible for two of the biggest comedy franchises as of late, Austin Powers and Meet the Parents/Fockers. It sounds like everything is in place here for another big comic hit for Roach, with this original story and pretty slick cast. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Mike White hasn't done me wrong so far, and, even though this flick sounds a little dry, even for him, I don't expect him to stop anytime soon. This flick revolves around a single woman (Molly Shannon) who lives alone with her beloved dog, Pencil, which is just an awesome name. Anyway, the little Pencil suddenly dies, and the woman undergoes some serious life adjustments. The rest of the cast here hasn't really ever done me wrong either, with the wonderful yet highly underrated Sarsgaard, King, Reilly and Dern. White is actually making his directorial debut here as well, so that alone would merit an admission for me, but this cast and his great writing only help out the cause. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Moviegoers chose to accept the mission for one more week, and let the big ship sink lower than expected. Mission: Impossible III took the top spot for the second week in a row this weekend, ending this Mother's Day weekend with just over $25 million, fending off newcomer Poseidon, which took second place with a dissapointing $22.1 million. M:I3 took only a modest hit this weekend, dropping a decent 47.6%, but it actually added 5 theaters to bring the total theater count to a whopping 4,059. It held steady with a $6,161 per-screen average and now stands at $85.1 million overall, just over half its $150 million production budget. While it could've stood for a smaller drop this weekend, they should be able to come away with a profit. The same, however, probably can't be said of Poseidon.
Poseidon's $22.1 million opening weekend take is more than dissapointing for the folks behind this remake. They didn't get much help from the critics either, garnering only a 30% "Fresh" rating from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes, and its 3,555 theater count is pretty hefty, but still far shy of M:I3's count. If I were a guessing man, I'd guess that this flick's utter failure in such a prime release date could possibly be from the marketing campaign that made it look a little too much like Titanic, and/or the unfamiliarity of the original flick, The Poseidon Adventures. From what I've heard, there is practically nothing in common from the original and this movie, so that could be a part of it as well. But the folks at Warner Bros. will have to ponder these issues in the coming weeks, and try to rebound from this Titanic-like loss. Poseidon cost $160 million to make, and it looks like there will have to be some miraculous results for them to even make a quarter of that budget back, so staying afloat, so to speak, will be easier for a Swiss cheese canoe than it will be for this flick...
Say Uncle: (http://www.sayunclefilm.com/)
This is a very simple little site that could've been afforded a little more style. First we get About the Film, which is a basic synopsis and then Director's Vision is basically a little interpretation by the director, Peter Paige who also writes and stars here. Cast and Crew has some nice bios of the main players here, Cities and Dates has the few places you can see this flick in the near future, with more to come soon, Trailer and Images is self-explanatory and Production Notes, which offer some insight on how this came to be, and also lets us know that this, and I think the entire site, was made by Paige, which isn't a bad thing at all, just not really the norm. The Production Notes are the best part of this simple little site, but the rest of it is pretty good, though more content and style could've been beneficial. Still, this looks like a very interesting movie, that opens on June 23 in limited release.
a/k/a Tommy Chong: (http://www.akatommychong.com/)
This is another interesting little site to a flick I hadn't heard of. This site to the documentary about Tommy Chong's legal troubles, has a little more site than the previous site, but some pretty useful info here. The main site has a catchy little tune in the background and an animated pic of Chong being surrounded by a bevy of guns and tanks and stuff like that. Coming out from some of the guns are the menus. The About menu offers a decent synopsis, Promo features what looks like the trailer, Media has a bunch of articles on Chong's jailing and the film itself, Store is coming soon, but you can sign up for updates to when you can buy some Chong and film merch, and Contact is a pretty rare thing on a movie website. Here they have the email addresses for the director/producer Josh Gilbert, executive producer A.D. Sinha and another email addy for general information. It's pretty cool that they're so hands on with the fans that they let you email the director himself, something that I've never seen before and would love to see more of. It'd be nice to see a little more on this site, but there is plenty of stuff here to get you at least intrigued for this flick's June 14 limited release.
This is based on the Emmy-winning TV documentary from the 90s, and while it does look like Remember the Titans meets Hardball (or Dangerous Minds, or Take the Lead...) this could be a decent flick. The Rock has proven fairly rock-solid in his turns lately and usually does a good job at drawing a crowd to the theater. While we won't see him in the action-packed roles we're used to seeing him in, he brings the same tenacity to his role here and this could turn out to be a decent flick. Gridiron Gang opens on September 15.
This looks like a pretty intriguing documentary about the editor of the world-famous New York Times crossword puzzle and the breadth of people who play with his words. We don't get a big look at Will Shortz's life in the trailer, which is apparently a big part of the film, we do get a look at the massive variety of people who play his puzzle. We get everyone from Jon Stewart, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton, New York Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina and other celebrities along with the competitors of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which Shortz founded, and get a glimpse into both Shortz's process in creating the game, and the players process in solving it. I'm a crossword freak myself, so I'll definitely be checking this out, partly because it just looks cool, and partly to see if I can get some clues to solve the infamous Sunday NY Times puzzle that always seems to baffle me. Wordplay opens on June 16 in NYC, June 23 in L.A. and nationally on June 30.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
We've got a lot of good casting news this week, but I'm going with the combination of cast AND crew in The Year of the Dog. I'm just a huge fan of Mike White's flicks, and I'm just psyched that he's finally getting a shot at directing here. He's assembled a wonderful cast here in Peter Sarsgaard, Regina King, John C. Reilly and Laura Dern along with Molly Shannon who was already on board. White's flicks always have this dry but endearing quality to them, and while this one looks more arid than the other flicks he's done, you can't go wrong with this cast, and I can't wait to see what he can do at the helm as well.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Only one thing this week and that is the moronic Santa's Paws. We've had a bit of a glut of Santa flicks as of late, and I think this one is taking it a little too far. In the animated movie world, sure it's feasible that a regular Joe of a dog could possibly hitch a ride on the magic sleigh, but, honestly, who really cares? We've already seen what happens when a kid gets up to the North Pole (The Polar Express) so where is the interest in seeing a dog getting up there? If there is any, I hope it's minimal, and I also hope they film it up in the North Pole and the reels get frozen in a block of ice. That would be fitting, I think...
That's all I've got this week. Surf on by 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.