Another seven days has come and gone, and brought with it a new slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. So lets get right into it with this week's Notables.

NOTABLES

"Magnolia Pictures Picks Up Tears of the Black Tiger" - Tuesday, November 28:

I'm pretty sure I've never heard of a spaghetti Western done in Thai before, but apparently this 2000 flick Tears of the Black Tiger is. While I've also heard of flicks that were picked up in America many years after their initial release outside of the US, most of the time, they feature stars that Americans know and want to see. This flick has nary a name that any American would recognize and the story sounds rather retarded to boot. I'm not sure about a lot of things concerning this picture, including why Magnolia wants to pick it up, but I am sure that this is a Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Tagline Producing The Worst Hard Time" - Tuesday, November 28:

I'm not quite sure about this one either. For one, it's such an incredibly dopey title that will likely drive moviegoers away on its own. For two, even if they get past the moronic title, and actually into the theater, I can't imagine they'd have much cause to stay. This flick, based off a non-fiction book by Timothy Egan, is about these 1930s settlers in the Great Plains who stayed put when the great storms of the Dust Bowl drove almost everyone out. These select few people stayed on the land because they believed the land was fertile farming ground, which it wasn't. Wow. Real edge-of-your-seat stuff here. I'm surprised Magnolia didn't snatch this one up... Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Noah Wyle Making His Directorial Debut On Prince Test" - Tuesday, November 28:

Apparently Noah Wyle wants to be known as more than the dude on ER, so he's doing what a lot of actors seem to be doing: he's taking up directing. And, like most projects actors get involved with their directorial debuts, it sounds fairly decent. The flick will center on a female private investigator who uses some outside-the-box methods to determine if husbands are practicing infidelity. What's even more interesting is that the flick was originally written by a USC grad student, Rachel Weinhaus, and a rewrite was done by J.P. Manoux. J.P. Manoux is an actor, with a few appearances on E.R. of course, and no film writing credits. Inexperience aside, it still does sound rather interesting, and I'll have to keep my eyes peeled to see who they cast as this chick dick... I mean, chick P.I. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Lionsgate Picks Up The Escape Artists" - Tuesday, November 28:

I was starting to get worried about LionsGate Films. They were one of my favorite studios a few years ago, putting out lots of real hip, edgy flicks. It started to seem that they were falling off a touch, but it looks like that notion might be a touch premature after picking up this flick. It just sounds really god damn cool, folks. It is basically the antithesis of Hitch, with a relationship counselor who gets paid to break couples up. Well, I guess he's not much of a "counselor" is he? Still, this sounds really damn cool, folks, from brothers/filmmakers Jim and Brian Kehoe. They're newcomers, with only one other flick, The Hand Job, that hasn't been released yet, but also sounds pretty damn cool. These both sound frickin awesome, and these Brothers Kehoe sound like some edgy new filmmakers to look out for. You heard it here first, people. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Amy Smart and Patrick Wilson Have A Life in Flight" - Wednesday, November 29:

The headliners might be quite solid, but the story just sounds quite flimsy. I've always liked Amy Smart, and I've heard amazing things about Wilson from the indie hit Hard Candy. This story that their in just sounds like some incredibly old news. They could do a whole frickin genre about this movie. It's the "Guy has perfect life/wife/kids, but reevaluates after meeting a new hottie." genre. Give me a flippin break. Grow some originality, morons. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Edward Neumeier To Direct Starship Troopers 3" - Wednesday, November 29:

I haven't seen the second flick which went straight-to-video, but I have to admit that I love the first one. It's one of those guilty pleasure sort of flicks, that, for reasons that I can't fully explain, I just love it. So, I guess I'm going to have to check out the second one now, since they're making a third one and bringing back Casper Van Dien, who I haven't seen since The Omega Code, as Johnny Rico. They have Ed Neumeier to write and direct here, which sounds like a good movie since he's written the first two. I have to admit I'm pretty damn excited about this. I also have to admit that I'm really not sure why, but I just am. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Eddie Murphy Bringing Back Beverly Hills Cop IV" - Wednesday, November 29:

I know what you're thinking, Eddie Murphy, I just know it. You were probably sitting wherever you sit these days, thinking that Sly Stallone and Bruce Willis are reprising old characters. You were probably also thinking that your movies have been sucking balls lately, except for that donkey voice you do. You were probably also thinking that Tyler Perry has been stealing your six-characters-in-one-movie motif, and doing it much better to boot. So, you were probably sitting there, thinking about your future and then you had a notion that there hasn't been a new Beverly Hills Cop movie in 12 years. You thought that everyone loved that character back in the day, so they'll naturally love him now too, 12 years later. Perhaps, Eddie, perhaps. And even though I'd rather see another Axel Foley flick instead of you're retarded Norbit flick that will probably make 18 dollars, it's just sad that you have to dig that deep into the well to try and resurrect your faltering career. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

The top three flicks stayed put, keeping their respective spots atop the box office once again. Happy Feet and Casino Royale have maintained the same 1-2 punch for its first three weeks now, taking in $17.5 million and $15.1 million this weekend respectively, while third-place Deja Vu has held fast for a second straight weekend, grossing $10.9 million this weekend. Happy Feet and Casino Royale's three-peat in the top two was the first duo to pull the trifecta since Black Hawk Down and Snow Dogs did it in February of 2002. While this feat is impressive, nonetheless it came against less-than-stiff competition this weekend. Of the three newcomers this weekend, only one came close to ousting the top three from their spots... and it wasn't even really that close.

The Nativity Story: took fourth place at the box office this weekend with a fairly weak take of $7.8 million. It received a decent rollout of 3,183 theaters, but could only muster a paltry $2,466 per-screen average. The critics didn't really dig the baby Jesus tale, scoring just a 41% "Fresh" rating from the Rotten Tomatoes critics. Even though it only was made for $35 million, chances are slim that this flick will make its money back. Still, it's in better shape than the other two newcomers this week.

Turistas finished in 8th place this weekend while the Van Wilder "sequel" National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj finished in the 10-spot. Turistas only took in $3.5 million while The Rise of Taj could only scrape by with $2.3 million. Both flicks were giving weak rollouts, with Turistas showing in just 1,570 theaters and The Rise of Taj screening in 1,979 theaters, which makes way for absolutely horrid per-screen averages of $2,281 for Turistas and a horrifying $1,168 average for The Rise of Taj. Turistas was made for only $10 million, but even that should be a challenge to make back now, and, even though The Rise of Taj didn't release a budget, I'd say they're WAY short of any sort of profit whatsoever. I don't think Taj will be rising much more, if any at all, after this weekend.

GOING LIVE

The Hitcher: (TheHitchermovie.net)

Not much here folks. You can download the movie's poster and you can watch the slick little trailer too. The trailer also has a little intro from one of the flick's tasty stars Sophia Bush. Sadly, we don't get more of Bush, or anything else on this website, but hopefully they slap some more goodies on there before the flick opens on January 19.

Music and Lyrics: (MusicandLyrics.com)

Umm ok. The entire website, and I mean ENTIRE website, is a huge slideshow, chocked full of, umm, seven pictures. Below that is a link to view a two-paragraph synopsis. That's IT, folks. What a lame attempt at a website. Sure, pictures are fine, just fine, but it might be a thought to not have the whole website revolve around them. Idiots. Music and Lyrics opens on February 14.

TRAILER PARK

Pride

This is another one that looks like is turning into its own genre. These save-the-ghetto-kids-through-sports/activities flicks are starting to sprout up everywhere lately. None of them look like terrible flicks, per se, but the underlying theme is virtually identical in all of these flicks. It's like the theme is a manequin, and each new movie they come out with is a new outfit they throw on there, just to differentiate between this growing number of flicks. Now, I'm a big fan of both Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac so I'll probably see this movie for them, even though I doubt I'll need to see the movie to watch anything new. Pride opens on March 23, 2007.

Smokin' Aces

God dammit, Joe Carnahan, where have you been??!! After just astounding me and a lot of people with your marvelous debut NARC, you were supposed to do the whole Mission: Impossible III thing until you dropped out due to creative differences. Well, it's been about four long long years since you astounded us last, and your follow-up looks just as wonderful as the first flick. We get a smashingly diverse cast of Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds, Jeremy Piven, Alicia Keys, Ray Liotta, Taraji Henson and Common in this crazy crazy flick. Piven plays a Vegas magician with a contract on his life by seven hitmen, and with the feds hunting him down to try and protect him as well. This just looks frickin AWESOME, people! I'm a little bummed that it got a January release, because this could really clean up in December with all the mushy dramas and other assorted lighter fare. But we'll have to wait until January 26th to see the latest from an extremely talented filmmaker in Joe Carnahan.

Wild Hogs

I thought this sounded funny from the get-go, and it's almost eerie how this cast matches their characters. John Travolta, William H. Macy, Martin Lawrence and Tim Allen all star as guys who have gotten too complacent with their lives. They are all getting bogged down with families and mid-life crises when they find an outlet in the adventure of the open road and a quartet of Harley-Davidson's. Of course, the plot thickens when they meet up with a real biker gang who wants to do them severe bodily harm. This foursome is so perfect it's not even funny, because, in many ways, their showbiz careers could easily mirror the lives and careers of their characters. Neither of these four have really had a stand-out hit in many a moon, so, what better defense to that than to all band together and all try something different, together. This looks like a pretty damn entertaining flick, but I'm more curious to see what comes of it afterward. These four actors all have loads of talent in different respective areas, and, if this flick flies for them, it'll be quite interesting to see how the rest of their careers pan out. Wild Hogs opens on March 2nd, 2007.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

It was a pretty tough call, one of the toughest in a while, actually, but I'm going with Lionsgate getting edgy again with The Escape Artist. This just sounds like a really hip and original flick here, an antidote to Hitch and, perhaps even to love stories everywhere. This flick about a person (didn't say if it was a guy or a chick) who gets paid to break up relationships just sounds like an awesome idea for a movie, almost like a anti-Cupid hitman assassin or something. I'm hoping and praying that they don't turn it into something where this person has this whole life... until he meets the person of his dreams and blah blah blah. I doubt they'll do that, though, because this concept is just too damn cool to ruin with Vermont sap like that. They better not, anyway, because this is one of the coolest ideas I've heard in awhile, and I don't want to see Lionsgate, of all studios, ruin it for me.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

I'm going to have to roll with Eddie Murphy pulling an old character out of his bag since he can't come up with any decent ones anymore for my Worst News of the Week. If you've seen the trailer for Norbit then you're well aware of just how far downhill Eddie Murphy's non-animated career has tumbled. It looks simply attrocious, and he probably knows it himself, so he's being prepared and trying to dig up some nostalgia and bring Axel Foley and that Detroit Lions jacket back out of the woodwork. I guess I can't blame the guy, really. He's got nothing else really going for him except the eons of sequels that he'll likely do with his donkey character from Shrek. His whole game is just played out, so I guess he thinks it'd be best to go back to a character he had when his game wasn't played out. Sure, that makes sense, even though Beverly Hills Cop III actually LOST money, taking in only $42 million from a $50 million budget. But, sure, Eddie. Put that Lions jacket back on and do that silly laugh that we used to love back in the 80s. See if you can bring back that nostalgia in all of us because, frankly, it's probably the last shot you have at doing anything noteworthy.

That's all I've got 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.

Cinemark Movie Club