Another seven days has come and gone, and has brought us a new slew of movie news, box office figures, new official sites for upcoming flicks and new trailers. I've been pretty busy over here lately so I didn't even get around to watching any movies this week, so lets get this column started with this week's Notables.
I seriously forgot all about this project. I remember being pumped about it way back in 2002 when writer Marc Bowden and Joe Carnahan were both fairly hot; Bowden coming off the successful adaptation of his book Black Hawk Down and Carnahan coming off his spectacular debut film NARC. I thought, at the time, that this would be Carnahan's follow-up to Narc, but it just wasn't to be. Now it seems this long-gestating project will finally go before camera in the near future and with some smashing leads as well in Christian Bale and Javier Bardem. Since this is greenlit, it looks like this should be Carnahan's next project and that's some very very good news for me and anyone else who thought a Smokin' Aces prequel was a bit too much (even though I loved the first one). Best News of the Week Nominee.
I've only seen a few of Cronenberg's movies and, aside from his mainstream "debut" of A History of Violence, his movies could easily be described with one word: weird. Sure, they're good too, very good actually, but they're just really really weird. It seems his early weirdness is getting sort of a renaissance with the remaking of this movie and his cult classic Scanners (which I really really want to see but haven't yet). This Cory Goodman kid is fairly untested yet, but he must be pretty damn good at pitching to score two rather high-profile deals within the past month or so. The story here sounds rather cool too: a woman who is able to literally use her inner rage on other people. Nifty. Let's see if this guy can write as well as he can pitch. I hope so because this sounds like a winner to me. Best News of the Week Nominnee.
OK, I loved both of Peter Morgan's movies last year, both of which produced the Best Actor and Best Actress Oscar winners (The Last King of Scotland, The Queen), but this might be going a little too far. If The Queen was the second leg of his "Blair trilogy" then why the crap was it called The Queen? Sure, Michael Sheen did a fine job as prime minister Tony Blair and it was an important role, but the movie wasn't called The Prime Minister... Now Morgan wants to end his trilogy (which started with a English telepic called The Deal, by the way) by doing a movie about how Blair poorly dealt with the transition of power from Clinton to Bush. Gee, that should be a real toe-tapper... Worst News of the Week Nominee.
This sounds rather interesting. Swain will star as an actress who takes a gig starring in this flick set out in the desert, only to discover that it's a snuff film and the cast is being killed off for real and she has to survive, and stuff. It kind of sounds like a hybrid of a lot of different movies like Scream 3, Mindhunters and others. No, those weren't the greatest flicks in the world, but with this in more of a slasher/horror setting, it could really work. Besides, we don't see the lovely Swain in enough stuff these days. Best News of the Week Nominee.
Unreal. Retarded. This sounds like an evil hybrid of Toy Story and Child's Play with a toy jack-in-the-box who discovers he's been banished to the "old toy" bin and he won't be played with again. There he discovers a toy "spirit" called The Plucker who hatches an evil plan against the toys' young owner. I never thought New Line would be THIS desperate... Worst News of the Week Nominee.
Remember when I said I never thought New Line would be THIS desperate? Well, apparently Vin Diesel and Paul Walker are in the same boat as the studio. Walker is coming off a series of flops, so his involvement doesn't surprise me, but Diesel, with his surprise hit in The Pacifier two years ago and a fine turn in the indie Find Me Guilty last year, as well as some big budget flicks in the making, doesn't seem to need this as much. Maybe he just liked putting on that tight white t-shirt so much at the end of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift so much that he wanted back in. Who knows. Personally, I think the first has the best acting and the worst action and these movies have gotten worse with the acting and better with the action with each one. I thought Walker and Diesel complemented each other nicely in the first one, even though their script fed them awful lines to say. Who knows. Maybe they'll finally even out this time, with Tokyo Drift director Justin Lin back at the helm. Part of me hates to say this, but... Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
Since we're out of September that means the movie doldrums are over... umm, right? Wrong. The first weekend in October did nothing to shake up the current blase-faire of the movie world, with last weekend's holdover winner staying put. The Game Plan displayed some surprising staying power, dropping only 27.6% from last weekend, and keeping its crown with a semi-decent haul of $16.6 million. Even with the two wide-released newcomers, Game Plan still had the best per-screen average of the weekend amongst the top 10 with a solid $5,349 average from 3,105 theaters. It stands at $43.1 million after 10 days and, while that isn't earth-shaking, it'll be a whole lot more than the other newbies will likely get in their first 10 days.
The Heartbreak Kid apparently shocked industry analysts with its second place finish and meager gross of just over $14 million. It didn't really shock me one bit, though, especially after the critics only gave it a 30% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes (the same rating The Game Plan has now) and because I've never subscribed to the notion that people flock to the movies solely because of the star. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm surprised everyone thought this was going to make huge bank just because Ben Stiller is in it and his last few movies have made more than the gross national product of Liechtenstein (It's a country. Google it, suckas). Anyway, to get off this tangent of mine, Heartbreak Kid had the widest release of the weekend with 3,229 theaters, but could only muster a $4,342 per-screen average. Budget figures weren't released, but I doubt this flick cost much to make and I'm sure they'll turn a profit... somehow. The Kingdom suffered an average drop of 43.3% to take the bronze medal this weekend with $9.7 million. After that, the movies in the 4-10 slots were so mushed together they were separated by only $2.2 million. Exciting, eh?
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising took the 5th spot this weekend, earning a paltry $3.7 million in its opening weekend. It had a rather nice rollout with 3,141 theaters, but could only scrape up a horrible $1,192 per-screen average from those theaters. This one only got 18% "Fresh" from the critics at RT and the dark certainly seems to be rising for this flick. Feel the Noise took the 8th spot, earning $3.1 million in much worse conditions than The Seeker had. It was only released in 1,015 theaters but still fared better than Seeker with a $3,140 per-screen average. I know, I know, it's a sub-standard per-screen take, but Seeker's was so low that this looks astounding.
After all these boring figures, there were actually a few flicks that shined in limited release. Michael Clayton took in $719,910 from just 15 theaters this weekend, for a monstrous per-screen average of $47,994 and a new look at a sci-fi classic, Blade Runner Director's Cut took in $89,150 from TWO SCREENS for a wonderful $44,575 per-screen average. At least someone's making some decent money in the theaters...
They give us a nice intro here and the main homepage has an "Explore Frank Lucas" or an "Explore Detective Richie Roberts" links. Before we get to that though, they have a menu on the top right corner with the normal website goodies. The Story gives us a nice, but brief synopsis, the Notes and Cast and Crew menus are coming soon, Video gives us the amazing Trailer and a this A Look Inside video that gives us interviews with the main players in the movie. We also get some Images and Downloads with two desktops and two AIM Icons to download. The Explore deals for both men give us tons of wonderful background info on the characters and their trades on both sides of the law. The only thing I have against this is they might give away a little too much here on these Explore things, but they give us tons of background info on what I think will be the best movie of the year. American Gangster opens on November 2.
They have some nifty little gadget sort of things here, but in essence, it's a simple sort of site. They have the trailer for you right when the site starts up and you have to hit the Navigation deal to get the menu. In the Download menu you get some Wallpapers, AIM Icons, Screensavers and Posters to download, the Photo Gallery has all of seven photos, Video just has the trailer, no other vids, the Synopsis is decent and the News Feed gives you RSS Links, the IPhone menu has some IPhone wallpapers and the Enhanced Daylight Meter is basically a nifty little countdown thinger for the opening of the movie and it has a code you can embed this onto your own site. Some decent stuff here, but nothing groundbreaking. I Am Legend opens on December 14.
I really know nothing about Sweeney Todd except for the small bits and pieces they show us in Jersey Girl. We don't get much theater out in my parts, obviously. Nonetheless, this looks like a smashing good time with the re-teaming of Tim Burton and some of his old standards Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter along with the fabulous Alan Rickman and even Sacha Baron Cohen thrown in for good measure. This looks like some delightfully devilish fun to offset all that Christmas cheer shizzle. Sweeney Todd opens on December 25.
Well this just might be a first, ladies and gentlemen. This very might well be the world's first stoner horror flick. OK, to be technical they're not stoners they're... umm shroomers? No, that doesn't sound right. They're whatever you call people who do shrooms. There. Anyway, these American kids go to this remote countryside in Ireland where these exotic shrooms grow and, legend has it, strange things happen during shroom season. It sounds intriguing because of the nature of the drug and these odd sorts of things happening and the fact that they can't distinguish their trip and reality. Sure, there's a cast of no-namers here, but these no-name shroomers might have a decent flick on their hands. On a side note, this marks the most time I've typed shrooms in a single sitting... perhaps ever. Weird. Shrooms (one more) opens on November 17 in the UK.
There's a reason this movie didn't come out in the summer like it was originally planned, and probably a reason why the trailer says it'll come out on Thanksgiving and most other sites say sometime in 2008: this just looks inane. Take a equal parts of Failure to Launch and Mr. Woodcock add some absurdity and you have this one. We get Jon Heder, Diane Keaton (who I thought was so above this kind of crap), Jeff Bridges (who I knew wasn't above this kind of crap) and Anna Faris (See Jeff Bridges parenthetical) and this just looks like a big heaping pile of unoriginal mess. Mama's Boy opens sometime... not sure when... hopefully never.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with Christian Bale and Javier Bardem hooking up for a great true story biopic for my Best News of the Week. It doesn't seem that there's a better project-picker than Christian Bale and I wouldn't be surprised that the very news of his involvement in this picture was what caused this heavily-delayed project to finally come down off the shelf. Bardem is quite a talent as well and this could be his star-making role here in the US. I'm psyched that Joe Carnahan still stayed attached to this biopic about the late drug cartel chief and these three should make quite a team, and movie.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Easy pick here with The Plucker... ugh for my Worst News of the Week. First of all, the guy that created the graphic novel is one of those guys who has the balls to go by one name, and his is Brom. If I ever went by one name it'd be something cool like Salsa or Bam. I'm guessing Brom is some variation of his given name, but it doesn't pop, Brom. It sounds like a color you'd order drapes in or something. Anyway, Brom has a rather retarded story for us with a couple of toys who hatch a plot of revenge on their young boy owner for discarding them like cheap toys. Oh wait... they are toys. Darn. Life would be much better if every copy of the script or the bar napkin they wrote the proposal on (or even the graphic novel) was set ablaze and Brom went back to the drawing board, literally.
That's all for this week. Surf on by next week for more box office goodies, new 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!