Howdy folks. Another seven days has come and gone and left us with a new slew of movie news, box office figures, new official websites for upcoming movies, and new trailers. But, this week has brought us something else as well. I've been meaning to expand the column for awhile now, but wasn't sure what I wanted to expand it with. Then not too long ago, whilst I was visiting the lovely MovieWeb Forums, I came across a thread that I started over three years ago and is still alive and kicking with 301 pages! I figured, since I originated said thread (here's proof), and since it has turned into one of the biggest threads on the Forums, it'd make a nice little addition to the column. So, here's the new addition to my column: What Did Gallagher Watch This Week? In this feature I'll just give a brief review for any movie I watched in the theater, on DVD or on cable. Some will be DVD's that I will have reviewed for the site here, so I'll post that link along with other elaborations and/or crap I forgot to put in those reviews. So, here's what I watched this week.
WHAT DID GALLAGHER WATCH THIS WEEK?
It's so weird how you can think a flick was so damn cool when you were younger, and then when you watch it years later, it just doesn't seem as cool anymore. I was 19 when The Rock came out in 1996, a few years before my full-blown obsession of movies took over. I didn't really know who this Cage guy was, but I had heard that he won an Oscar for playing a dude who drinks himself to death the year prior. I thought back then that this was one of the best action movies that I had ever seen, chocked full of great action, acting and a spine-tingling ending that you didn't see coming. Now, I know at least I was wrong about the acting. Watching it now, I guess I never realized how over-the-top Cage's eccentric performance was. He's pretty much bat-shit crazy in this movie, not necessarily in a good way, and I'm surprised now by how much I liked his performance then. I still do love the action and the story, however, and it's probably the least subtle direction (i.e. relying on story more than explosions) that we'll likely ever see from Michael Bay. I still do like this movie, but man. Nic Cage is just nutso here. 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Magnificent Seven:
Over the past few years, I've started to fall in love with the Western genre, and, while I haven't seen nearly as many as I'd like to have seen so far, this is easily one of the best Westerns I've ever seen, and probably one of the best of all-time. Yul Brynner stars here as a loner and a hired gun who rounds up six more of the same to protect a Mexican village from the ruthless Calvera (Eli Wallach). We get a phenomenal cast here with Brynner and Wallach along with Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Brad Dexter and Horst Bucholz rounding out the seven. We get superb performances from all (well, exept maybe Buchholz as the emotional, rookie gunman Chico), with a terrific story from William Roberts, loosely based off the Kurosawa classic The Seven Samurai, and marvelous direction from John Sturges. This is a MUST-own for any Western fan, of any age. 5 stars out of 5.
Man on the Moon:
It's been awhile since I've seen this bizarre movie, and it's nice to be reminded of a time when Jim Carrey could actually act. He hasn't quite been in the best stuff as of late, and this Andy Kaufman biopic was probably the last really good movie he's been in. While he was snubbed by the Academy for his Golden Globe-winning performance here (and in The Truman Show), he delivers an astounding performance here, totally immersing himself as Andy Kaufman. In fact, he insisted on only being called as his character name on the set, that's how immersed he was. Along with Carrey's wonderful performance, we get solid supporting turns from Courtney Love, Danny DeVito and the marvelous Paul Giamatti, along with a bevy of cameos and smaller performances from the likes of David Letterman, the stars of Taxi and, of course, Jerry The King Lawler. With superb scripting from Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski along with likewise direction from Milos Forman, this is a flick that shouldn't be missed if you're a fan of Carrey, Kaufman or just plain comedy itself. 4.5 stars out of 5.
Every January when the Oscar nominations roll around, there is at least one surprise nomination in one of the acting categories. A pick that most of the critics circle awards and all of the other pre-Oscar awards didn't quite pick up on. In 2004, that surprise was youngster Keisha Castle-Hughes' nod for her amazing lead performance in Whale Rider, making her among the youngest to ever be nominated for a little gold man. While it may have come as a surprise she was nominated, she certainly deserved it for her wonderful performance here as Paikea, the little girl who rose up to lead her Maori tribe out of the doldrums. It's a complex and powerful story about fate, tradition and superstition, and how those can all be overcome by sheer will alone. Niki Caro made her feature-film debut here, both writing and directing wonderfully here which led to her great sophomore film North Country. 4 stars out of 5.
I should've known better, really. I KNEW this was going to be bad, even trashing it in my Gigantic Summer Movie Preview and, still, I'm a glutton for punishment and saw it anyway. For some reason the critics loved it, with a 70% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I have no idea why. Sure, we get some slick direction from Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, in some places, but that's a big part of the problem. The movie's pace as a whole is like that part in Meet the Parents where Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro are "racing" each other, peeling out and gunning the car between stop lights. They switch gears so often and so randomly that it feels you're in the midst of a kooky commute, with lead-foot idiots not aware there's a stop sign ever hundred yards. Along with this inconsistent pace, really, nothing much happens that you can't already gather from the trailer. The virus is gone. They find a lady who might be infected. The virus is back. Chaos ensues. Blah blah blah. From the way that Fox's new genre wing, Fox Atomic, has handled this movie and their first flick, another poorly-conceived sequel The Hills Have Eyes 2, I'm actually going to break out an Open Letter column to these dolts. Keep an eye out for that, folks, but close your eyes and run away if you're thinking of seeing this waste of celluloid. 1 star out of 5
"Robert Forster to Star in Fire Bay" - Monday, May 7:
This sounds intriguing. I've been a fan of Robert Forster since Tarantino gave him his comeback shot in Jackie Brown, which he was nominated for an Oscar for. He hasn't had much high-profile stuff since then, but has worked steadily and now he looks to take the reins on a fairly large-scale war movie, which is great news to me. I'll be interested to see who they add on to support Forster, and this sounds like a great historical project. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Rodgers/Miller Productions to Make The Unlikely's" - Monday, May 7:
Yeah. This sounds completely retarded. The flick surrounds a downtrodden director who gets assigned to him the "world's worst screenplay" and must make it into a hit. If that didn't sound bad enough, it's being written, produced and directed by this guy named Nick G. Miller, who was previously known as "The Godfather of Speed Boats" since he used to manufacture and supply his boats to high-profile movies and TV shows. Wow. There's so much wrong with this project that I don't know where to start, except just to slap a Worst News of the Week Nominee on it and hope it fades away.
"Armageddagain: The Day Before Tomorrow Finds a Home at Screen Gems" - Wednesday, May 9:
Oh goody. Another spoof flick. Surprisingly, spoofmeisters Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, the "brains" behind the Scary Movie franchise and most of the other spoofs on the market, have nothing to do with this one. This one is from Robert Monoit, who directs and co-writes here with Travis Oates a.k.a. two guys you likely haven't heard of and likely shouldn't. The spoof genre is dying off, yet studios still keep putting these into production, with people that have terrible resumes to boot. For example, Monoit directed a short dubbed "Pearl Harbor II: Pearlmageddon." Insane. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Eddie Murphy Will Star in Fantasy Island" - Wednesday, May 9:
Did some sort of stupidity chemical get laced in the L.A. drinking water this week or something? Wow. Eddie to play both Mr. Roarke AND Tatoo? What's the frickin world coming to, people. If this wasn't bad enough, the writers of Norbit and many other duds Jay Scherick and David Ronn are on board as the scribes here. Great. Smashing. Eddie will play 23 different roles and Scherick and Ronn will deliver another moronic script, like they've done consistently in their short screenwriting careers. Unreal. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"South Park Guys to Make Giant Monsters Attack Japan!" - Thursday, May 10:
Trey and Matt haven't quite found the mainstream niche with their films like they've done with their glorious TV program South Park. While this project might not change that, it certainly gives it the best chance of mainstream success than their previous silver-screen affairs such as Orgazmo, BASEketball and Team America: World Police. They're going G on us here, or perhaps PG, with a family-ish story that has a young boy moving to Tokyo, only to discover that ninjas and big green monsters are just a part of normal life there. This sounds pretty damn cool, folks, almost a Gilliam-esque modern-day fantasy deal. I'm down for anything Trey and Matt come up with, honestly, and this is going in a different direction and still sounds cool. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Man, I love being right. I said last week that Spider-Man 3 will drop at least 60% in its second weekend, mainly because, well, everyone and their moms saw it last weekend. I also said that it would still easily be the top flick of the weekend. Two for two, baby.
Spidey certainly did take a tumble in its second weekend, falling 61.5% from it's record-breaking debut weekend, but still finishing atop the box office heap, by a lot. It took in $58.1 million this weekend, a figure that was more than the rest of the top 12 combined. Their record-breaking theater count held intact at 4,252 theaters and it posted a solid per-screen average of $13,679. Spidey now stands at $240.2 million after just 10 days, which is quite impressive except when you factor in this thing cost frickin $258 million to make. There's no way it'll be number 1 for three weeks in a row, with that green ogre coming to town this weekend, and I'm very curious to see the final tally of this third Spider-Man flick. Oh yeah, there were other new flicks this weekend as well.
The "winner" of these new movies was 28 Weeks Later, which came in a very distant second place, taking in $9.8 million in its debut weekend. The zombie sequel received a modest rollout of 2,303, and posted a barely-average per-screen average of $4,258. Of course, budget figures weren't released for this one, but surely they couldn't have expected anything huge in the wake of Spidey. I'm actually surprised there were this many new flicks this weekend, but I'm not surprised at how badly they tanked.
Georgia Rule took the bronze this weekend, taking in $6.7 million in its opening weekend. The chick flick rolled out a bit wider than the zombies, opening in 2,523 theaters, which enabled its per-screen average to be that much worse, with a terrible $2,684, and, of course, budget figures weren't released for this one either. And, bringing up the rear for the newbies in wide release are the dorks from Delta Farce, taking 5th place and taking in a dismal $3.4 million. It's rollout was actually borderline wide, opening in just 1,931 theaters, and posting a simply horrible per-screen average of $1,771. Those terrible numbers shouldn't surprise anyone, really...
Knocked Up: (KnockedUpMovie.com)
On the opening page to this site we get the wonderful Trailer and this weird little Babymaker deal where you can upload photos and make a baby, and such. Yeah. Also they have the link to the movie's MySpace page and a link to the Soundtrack. The main site is done rather nicely, with the whole set-up done on a fridge with those weird word magnet things. There is even some songs from the soundtrack that you can scroll through and listen to while you're surfing. About the Film gives us a nice Synopsis, but the Cast and Crew and Production Notes links are Coming Soon. We also get a decent Photo Gallery, some nice videos in Media, including a nice little A Look Inside deal. There is also a Downloads menu with AIM Icons, Wallpapers and a Screensaver to snag, Links and Music with some MySpace pages and other links along with music clips, music videos and other notes. Lastly we have a few gimmicks with the Baby Conversion Quiz, which puts into either "mommy" or "daddy" terms how much a baby really costs. It's quite staggering, actually. And the last thing we get here is something I've never seen before. The Edit Bay gives us a bunch of stuff that was cut from the movie, which is odd since the movie isn't even released yet. We get some great stuff here, some stuff we don't usually see on these websites. This is an all-around great site with plenty of stuff to get you psyched for the movie on June 1.
Sadly we don't get much here, but if you've never heard of this project like me, it's well worth a visit. All they have here is the synopsis and the wonderful trailer, but both should get you pumped for this gritty flick. I doubt we'll get more here, since the movie opens on May 18 in limited release, but this certainly looks like another winner from the Yari Film Group.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Not a whole lot on the positivity front, but I'm going with Trey and Matt toning it down a notch or nine for my Best News of the Week. We all know that Trey and Matt can do raunchy jokes or fart jokes or any other brand of filthy humor as good or better than anyone else in the biz. This project though should actually be their first real challenge as filmmakers, basically going against type. While I'm sure there will be plenty of adult humor to cultivate here, this will be the cleanest work Trey and Matt have ever done, and the story, about a boy who moves to Japan and finds out that there really are samurais and ninjas and big green monsters in the Land of the Rising Sun. I really hope this moves forward swiftly because I can't wait to see with they can do, all squeaky-clean-like.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
It's a pretty damn hard choice this week, with a few high-grade stinkers, but I'm going with Eddie Murphy taking his schtick WAY too far. Yeah Eddie. We get it. That's your bag, baby. You like to be 74 characters in the same film. We understand, man. Here's the thing, though. Tyler Perry is MUCH better at it than you are now. I was surprised that Norbit did as well as it did, almost surpassing $100 million, but you're pushing your luck big-time here, Murph. I think that Oscar nod might have went to your head... or your balls, because I wouldn't think anyone would have the sack to play BOTH Dr. Roark and Tatoo. Oh man, I can't wait to see how big of an ass you're going to make yourself look like. Hmm, wait a minute. Eddie making an ass out of himself here, Eddie voicing an ass in a hugely successful franchise. Hmm. Discuss...
That's all for this week folks. Surf on by next week for more of the flicks I watched, box office goodies, new official sites 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. Gallagher out!