Another seven days has come and gone and left us with a new slew of movie news, box office info, new official websites for upcoming movies and new trailers. Before we get into all that though, let's check out what I watched this week.
WHAT DID GALLAGHER WATCH THIS WEEK?
Not sure why this was as "critically acclaimed" as it was. Just didn't get the entertainment value in this shoddily produced flick about a doofus who gets a random invitation to a Murder Party on Halloween Eve... and decides to go, ultimately finding out that he is the one to be murdered. The story isn't that terrible, but the acting surely is and don't buy into the whole "Napoleon Dynamite Meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre" comparison they make on the back of the package. Not even close, in both respects. CLICK HERE for my full review.
Demetri Martin. Person:
I don't watch these Comedy Central stand-up shows nearly as much as I used to, but I'm glad I got this one on DVD because it's pretty damn funny stuff, folks. Martin has a wonderfully deadpan style that's reminiscent of Steven Wright and his routine of one-liners all strung together is rather hilarious almost all of the time. Sure, some stuff doesn't work, but no one's perfect. Well worth checking out, folks. CLICK HERE for my full review.
This is one powerful documentary about a relationship between two normal people that eventually catapulted this insanely odd couple into the thrust of the national spotlight. It deals with the power of love and obsession and the increasingly thin line that goes between the two. It's really something you have to see for yourself, folks. CLICK HERE for my full review.
I finally got around to seeing this true-story drama in the theater, and it was everything I was hoping it would be. I must say that it wasn't quite what I expected it to be, but it was still as good as I thought it'd be.
We Own the Night is based on a true story of the late 80s war in New York City between the cops and the drug-dealing underworld, and the family that had connections on both sides. This weird family of patriarch Burt Grusinsky (Robert Duvall), an police chief for the NYPD, his son Joseph (Mark Wahlberg), an up-and-coming cop and Bobby (Joaquin Phoenix), a nightclub manager with criminal ties, is at the heart of the movie, and they all make for one incredibly powerful movie trio. Oh, there's also the luscious Eva Mendes in a tasty performance as Bobby's girlfriend.
I haven't seen either of writer-director James Grey's two previous offerings (Little Odessa, The Yards) but it seems like he's one of those filmmakers that likes to take his time, since it was six years between Odesssa and Yards, and seven years between Yards and this flick. I'll definitely try to watch those other two flicks, after this wonderful flick and I can only hope I don't have to wait another six of seven years before his next movie.
4.5 stars out of 5
I'm very glad these guys are starting to get back into the swing of things again. They kind of fell off the grid a bit after their directorial debut Screwed flopped, but they came back big with 1408 this summer and now they're set to write and direct this very odd little biopic about a husband who put his own name on his wife's paintings. These guys are best known for their biopics (The People vs. Larry Flynt, Man on the Moon) and, while this isn't exactly a "famous" couple, it sounds right up their alley. Best News of the Week Nominee.
I'm not a huge Star Trek fan, by any means, but damn. This cast is looking HUGE lately, and the addition of the wonderful Chris Pine as the iconic Captain Kirk is just the icing on the cake. After his smashing performance in Smokin' Aces, this young man is getting deals after deals thrown at him, and for good damn reason. I mean, he had to turn down a role in White Jazz, co-starring with George Clooney and being directed by Aces' Joe Carnahan to take this role, and he has many more in development. This will make him a household name, and I can't wait to see how big this great actor gets. Best News of the Week Nominee.
I'm not sure if this sounds weird or cool, folks. It's about a soldier in Iraq who goes makes some rather elaborate plans in case of his death in the war. Apparently he set aside $100,000 for a party to celebrate his life, in case of his death... which ended up happening in 2005. One of his Green Beret buddies sent out an email to all of his friends, saying that he was dead and inviting them all to this big party to remember him. Yeah. I'm not really sure what to make of this whole thing. It doesn't seem like the sort of thing I'd want to watch a movie about. It seems like it'd be a nice magazine story or something, but I don't know about it being fleshed out into a feature film. It doesn't surprise me that New Line picked this up, since they usually seem to be desperate for material. Still... this might be a little too much. Worst News of the Week Nominee.
At first glance, this doesn't seem like much of a movie. A biopic about the guy who invented the cigarette boat. Whoop-de-frickin-doo, right? Well, when you take into account how Columbian drug smugglers favored his boats for their trade, and then the US government gave Aronow a $20 million contract to build THEM boats to catch the drug runners' boats and then that Aronow was gunned down in a mobster-ish hit, this sounds a lot more intriguing, don't it? Tony Scott directing here is another plus. His last few flicks floundered somewhat, so it'd be really cool for a project to get him back on track. Best News of the Week Nominee.
OK. Before you get all worked up into a tizzy about this, think about what they're REALLY saying here. Yes, I know they're probably going way too far with this series (even with a 4th one...), but I think this is just a strategic way of planning an exit strategy. In other words, it appears they might not be as confident in Saw IV as they were with previous flicks. Each other flick was greenlit the weekend after the latest one had debuted, going through pre-production, filming, and post all in almost exactly a year each time. This time, they are going to take a year off, skipping the Halloween 2008 date and then possibly going back-to-back with 5 and 6, for a who-knows release date. They're doing this all with David Hackl directing, who hasn't directed anything before but was the Second Unit Director on 3 and 4 and was the Production Designer on 2, 3 and 4. Yeah. I wouldn't be so confident either. I'm taking this as the beginning of the end for the Saw series, so, in my eyes, it's a Best News of the Week Nominee.
BOX OFFICE CORNER
There was a record-breaking crowd at the theaters this weekend, with 8 wide-ish releases hitting the plexes, which made for a lot of pieces of the pie to be split up, and one winner that didn't get too big a piece at all. 30 Days of Night took home the box office crown this weekend, with a take that wasn't overly impressive, but kind of was considering the congestion. The vampire flick took home $15.9 million this weekend, bowing in 2,855 theaters and taking in a solid $5,587 per-screen average. The flick didn't get a lot of help from the critics, with just a 54% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it won't need much help in profiting from its $30 million budget, with over half that budget already made back in its first three days. A trio of holdovers took the next three spots with last weekends #1 flick Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? taking the #2 spot with $12.1 million, The Game Plan taking the bronze with $8.1 million and Michael Clayton holding on to the #4 spot from last weekend, taking in $6.6 million to continue its solid run.
A pair of newbies were in almost a dead heat for the #5 place, with The Comebacks barely eking out the 5-spot with $5.55 million and Gone Baby Gone right on its heels with $5.50 million. Interestingly enough, Comebacks was a critical bomb with just 6% "Fresh" rating on RT while Gone Baby Gone was a critical smash with a 93% "Fresh" rating for Ben Affleck's directorial debut. Weird...
The re-release of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D took 8th place with $5.4 million from just 564 theaters for an impressive $9,450 per-screen average, and Rendition took 9th in its debut weekend with a paltry take of just over $4 million. The flick had a solid 2,250-theater rollout, but performed terribly with just a $1,804 per-screen average. Reese and Jake Gyllenhaal in a box office bust? Say it ain't so...
We get the awesome trailer on the main page of the site and you have to click on what country you're in to enter the regular site. In About the Film we get a brief synopsis in The Story, a nice large Gallery and the Cast and Filmmakers menus have some nice bios on the people in front of and behind the camera. The Trailers/Video menu just has the normal trailer and one TV spot, the Downloads menu has some desktops, AIM Icons and a screensaver for your downloading pleasure, and Anatomy of a Hit is a very cool, and extensive video about how an entire hit was planned from start to finish. It's really cool stuff, folks. The Send a Hit thing is coming soon, but you can still grab The Killer App, which is a cool little mini-game you can add to your MySpace, Facebook or other pages of yours and become Agent 47 yourself and become a hitman yourself while also getting exclusive movie content. Cool stuff folks, and the movie looks even cooler. Hitman opens on November 21.
Well, you obviously can't tell from the trailer, but apparently this indie horror flick is shot entirely in 3D. That's right. They'll probably have those dorky little glasses at the theaters for this one, but it does look like a decent flick. There aren't any recognizable faces here, that I could tell, but with a gory flick like this entirely in 3D it could make some waves at the theater. It's been quite awhile since an adult-themed movie was done in 3D so this could be a new trend-setter. Scar is seeking a release date sometime in 2008, currently.
Well, the trailer gives us barely any footage, but it intrigues us with its numerous festival selections, critical ravings and that it's directed by Brian De Palma, who looks to finally break out of his longtime slump. Well, I loved The Black Dahlia but mostly everyone else seemingly didn't. Anyway, this looks like an interesting take on the many forms of media and information along with the current war in Iraq. While I'd like to see some more actual footage (almost a pun for what this movie is supposedly about), consider my fancy tickled. Redacted opens on November 16, in limited release.
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK
I'm going with the potential death of the Saw franchise for my Best News of the Week. I know, I know. They don't come right out and say this at all, but I still see it as a lack-of-confidence sort of move. I don't blame them either. Everyone that hasn't moved on from this franchise already seems to be gone after this latest flick that opens this week. None of the original writers or directors will be present and David Hackl, who apparently is graduating from production designing and second unit directing to take the reins of these fifth and sixths ventures into the Saw world. Basically, they want to take a break and, if somehow the fourth flick does good biz, they'll breathe easy over this break and do the fifth and sixth ones back to back, probably for a 2009 release. If the fourth one flounders, which I think it certainly will, well, I wouldn't be surprised if the "break" is extended indefinitely. After four straight years of Saw flicks done in amazingly swift fashion, I think this might just be a break-off of the whole series.
WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK
Only one thing here this week with this really weird death-life party flick for my Best News of the Week. For one, there just doesn't seem enough material that would warrant a feature here. They'll probably try to break the whole thing up with strategic flashbacks from his life from childhood moving through him going into the Army and then going to the present with his friends and family mourning his death... and going to a party about his life. I just don't know. It sounds too weird for me. I like a lot of weird stuff, but this is real-life weird and not movie weird. Maybe it'd work as a documentary if they have any video from the party, but this just doesn't sound right for a feature film.
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!