Another seven days has come and gone, and brought us a new slew of movie news, box office info, new official sites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. So lets get right into it with this week's Notables.
"Sylvester Stallone Has a Death Wish" - Monday, November 5:
I thought there had to be a string of successful films in order for there to be a trend... After two recent vigilante films have floundered through the theaters (See: Death Sentence, The Brave One), it looks like MGM is going back to the source of both of those flicks, with a remake of Death Wish. The 1974 Charles Bronson classic was an obvious basis for both of the new flicks, but I don't think a remake is such a good idea since, well, we've basically already had two of them. Writers Michael Ferris and John Brancato have a very spotty filmography and, while I admit I would be curious to see how Sly does in Bronson's shoes, I think they might be too big for him. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
"Jennifer Connelly Joins The Day the Earth Stood Still" - Monday, November 5:
One of the general theories I've heard, and agreed with, is that lesser-known films or cult classics usually make the best remakes. I think the crux of that theory is that, basically, most people haven't seen the original, and will judge the remake solely on the merits of the new movie. That being said, I think this will be a wonderful remake. I know, I'm not that pumped about Connelly joining the cast here either, but she's had her moments before. She does have one of those Oscar things, you know... I'm mainly in favor of this remake because this sounds like such a wonderful story that is so chillingly ripe for an update. The story revolves around aliens coming to Earth with a warning that the planet must live in peace... or be destroyed. This could be a wonderful flick, if done right in lieu of everything going on in the world. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Billy Bob Thornton Joins the Cast of Eagle Eye" - Wednesday, November 7:
This is looking like one very solid cast here, folks. Billy Bob Thornton adds the cagey veteran aspect to this young cast of Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan and Rosario Dawson. The flick revolves around LaBeouf and Monaghan's characters being framed as terrorists and forced to join a cell that is planning a major assassination. Thornton will play a Homeland Security agent trying to track them down. We also get the slick directing style of D.J. Caruso, who is most noted for his team-up with LaBeouf in Disturbia, but he also has some slick flicks like The Salton Sea and Two For the Money under his belt as well. This should be a damn good one, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Roman Polanski to Direct The Ghost" - Wednesday, November 7:
This sounds like a decent thriller from Polanski. He has never really moved to the political realm like this before, but he does have some experience in the thriller genre. We don't have a cast yet, but this is based on a newly-published novel by Robert Harris, who will also adapt the screenplay with Polanski, and it sounds like a solid story. The ghost in question is a ghostwriter who is hired to complete the memoirs of a former British Prime Minister, and, in doing so, reveals some truths about his subject that put his life in danger. Sounds pretty sweet to me. Best News of the Week Nominee.
"Mark Wahlberg Is Max Payne" - Thursday, November 8:
This is some awesome news, folks. Although I'm not much of a gamer, this game created quite a buzz amongst my gamer friends, and I actually enjoyed just watching this game being played, because of the revolutionary bullet-time technology they employed in the game, a la The Matrix. I've never heard of screenwriter Beau Thorne, but Wahlberg as Max and John Moore, a talented action director (Behind Enemy Lines, Flight of the Phoenix) sounds like a great fit as well. This should be pretty big, folks. Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Not even Santa's brother or some lions or lambs could topple last weekends two holdovers... even though they flip-flopped in a bizarre weekend at the box office. Bee Movie proved the usefulness of a hefty theater count as it moved up to first place from second last weekend, taking in $25.5 million. American Gangster dropped to second place, right on the bee's tail, though, taking in just over $24 million. While the Bee's massive 3,944 theater count (up 16 theaters from last weekend) surely played a part in rebounding from a silver-medal start, the fact that it only dropped 32.8% from last weekend was probably just as big of a factor also. Gangster gained only 5 theaters, up to 3,059, but it dropped 44.8% from last weekend, which is still respectable, but still enough of a gap from the Bee to let it buzz into the lead. Gangster still retained the edge in per-screen average, though, with $7,855, compared to Bee's $6,482. Oh yeah. There were some new movies this weekend too.
Fred Claus led the way for the trio of wide-released newbies, in third place, with $18.5 million. The holiday flick garnered a hefty rollout (3,603), but only put up a slightly above-average per-screen average of $5,138. Coming in a distant fourth place was the political thriller Lions for Lambs, which came out like a lamb with just $6.7 million. It had a much smaller rollout (2,215) and didn't make the best of it either with a paltry $3,025 per-screen average. The last wide newcomer was the horror flick P2, which came in 9th with just over $2 million, from a 2,131 theater count and a absolutely putrid $977 per-screen average. The critics didn't help this collective of rookies, with Fred Claus getting a 23% "Fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, Lions for Lambs with a 26% "Fresh" rating and P2 with a 39% "Fresh" rating. There was one other film in limited release that made quite a splash, though.
No Country for Old Men came in 15th place this weekend with a very impressive $1.2 million from just 15 theaters! That's a whopping per-screen average of $43,797. With astounding numbers like that, I wouldn't be surprised with a 2,000 or so theater count for this new Coen Brothers film this weekend.
The Life of Reilly: (CharlesNelsonReilly.com)
This pretty thorough site is broken down into three main areas: The Film, Media and Production. The Film menu offers the Trailer, Reviews, which just offers snippets from the reviews, My CNR Story, which is a contest where you submit some story about Reilly and you, a Synopsis, which is really a synopsis of Reilly's career, and a link for Showtimes. Media offers us some Downloads, which is a one-sheet, the logo and a bunch of regular pictures (weird), some Webisodes which offer a unique look at the making of this movie, and some links for Updates and Merchandise. The Production menu starts out with some nice Production Notes that give us some insight into how this project was started, a Director's Statement which also includes other interviews with him and we cap off the site with some Biographies and Contact info for the media. It's a pretty damn good site with some great info and a nice touch of style. The Life of Reilly is in theaters now in New York City and comes to Los Angeles on November 16.
Umm OK. I could say that we don't get much out of this trailer, but that would be a bold-faced lie. We get virtually NOTHING from this trailer. Here's all I know from the trailer: a soldier is back from war and a little girl asked him if he killed a lot of people. That's the only thing we get. This might be a good movie, but it's one of the lamest trailers I've ever seen. Blah. Badland is still looking for a release date.
This looks simply awesome, folks. Sure, you can be all pissy that it seems no one in this movie has any sort of German accent, at least, but this just looks amazing. This movie is based off the true story of the secret mission of a group of German's who try to kill Adolf Hitler, and it has a powerhouse cast with Tom Cruise, Tom Wilkinson (who seems to be on quite a roll lately), Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Izzard. We get a smashing team behind the camera as well with director Bryan Singer and writer Christopher McQuarrie hooking back up after their smashing debut with The Usual Suspects. Should be one hell of a movie, folks. Valkyrie opens on June 27, 2008.
Well it's about friggin time! For anyone who's "across the pond" reading this, you probably saw this movie about three years ago or so, but, for some reason, we haven't gotten it here until now. This looks AWESOME! Guy Ritchie is back in all of his British violent splendor with an old friend (Jason Statham) and some new ones (Ray Liotta, Andre Benjamin, Vincent Pastore) and I just simply can't wait for this one, folks. If you're a fan of Ritchie's first two movies that put him on the map, Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, I'm pretty sure you'll love this trailer as much as I did. Revolver opens on December 7, in New York and Los Angeles.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
We had some good ones this week, but I'm going with Thornton joining up with the wonderful Eagle Eye cast and crew for my Best News of the Week. Thornton adds a powerful presence to this cast of youngsters and it sounds like this role will be a departure to the smart-ass sort of roles he's been taking for the past few years. He is a pretty damn good serious actor as well, and, even though I think he's hilarious in that mode, I'd also like to see him take a meatier role as well. This sounds like just the right role for him.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Only one thing here, and that's Stallone taking on Death Wish for my Worst News of the Week. If we didn't already have Death Sentence and The Brave One already out there, I probably wouldn't have too much of a problem with it. Now, it just seems like overkill, especially since the first two were so bluntly taken from the Charles Bronson classic. Sly still is in great shape and I am semi-intrigued to see him in this role. It's just too bad Kevin Bacon and Jodie Foster beat him to the punch.
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. Peace in. Gallagher out!