It was another interesting week of movie news in Hollywood, so lets get to the good, bad and the ugly in Notables.

NOTABLES

"Ehren Kruger set to pen John Carter of Mars” – Monday, October 11

Kerry Conran had his writing and directing debut in this year’s dud Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. It was clear to me that his directing did show a lot of promise, but his writing really didn’t, which is why I’m really not surprised to see an A-list scribe such as Kruger, who wrote the phenomenal thriller Arlington Road, to write Conran’s next project. I think with Kruger’s wonderful screenwriting and Conran at the helm, this project, based on an 11-book series of sci-fi novels, could be just great. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"INTERVIEW: Sam Raimi talks Spider-Man 3 and Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash” – Monday, October 11

We all knew that there was going to be a third Spider-Man movie...but Spidey 3 as the finale in the series? I just don’t get that at all. Comic book movies, especially ones like Spider-Man that have been on the shelves for umpteen-billion years, could spawn a lot more sequels, because the storylines are already in place in the comic. I can’t believe that they want to limit Spider-Man, easily the most successful comic-movie franchise, to only 3 flicks. Sony could make billions over many many years if they kept this series going, and I think Amy Pascal is full of dung if she thinks the fans want just one more Spidey flick and a “definitive finale.” I think there’s something else going on here. Maybe Tobey will refuse to make more than 3 movies? If that’s the case, then I would rather see it end with 3 movies, rather than them trying to bring in a new Spidey. But if they think the fans just want one more Spidey flick, they best think again. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Allan Graf to direct Turning the Tide” – Tuesday, October 12

Football flicks have been “in” for a few years now, most of the being based on true stories, and this true story adaptation definitely sounds worthy of a feature film. It centers on the 1970 college football match-up between the all-white Alabama Crimson Tide and the integrated USC Trojans. Apparently, movie folks are listening to Sports Illustrated these days, because SI ranked this game as the 6th most important moment in sports, and they also championed the book that current flick Friday Night Lights is based on as well. Friday Night Lights was a very solid flick, so SI just might know what they’re talking about after all. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"The A-Team gets set in motion once again” – Tuesday, October 12

It’s about God damn time! This has been languishing in development hell for a long time and it’s awesome that this is finally taking off again. The article doesn’t say what ever happened to Kevin Brodbin, the scribe who was to write the project and make his directorial debut as well, but apparently his script didn’t cut the mustard. The only thing that I don’t like about this, is the TV show’s creator Steven J. Cannell said that Mr. T definitely won't be reprising his role as B.A. Baracus. Why the hell not? The guy still looks like he’s in great shape, and I can’t really see anyone else playing him. Michael Clarke Duncan is too big, and no one else I can think of has that just naturally mean look. I guess I could see Ving Rhames play Mr. T, but I still think it should be Mr. T. Bring back T! Bring back T!! Anyway, this project getting off the ground...again, is still great news though, so it’s a Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Disney picks up Stick It” – Wednesday, October 13

This sounds utterly retarded. Screenwriter Jessica Bendinger has a very shaky resume, writing the pseudo-hit Bring it On, and the definitive dud The Truth About Charlie. So now she’s written a comedy about a rebellious girl who becomes a rebellious gymnast? No thanks...Worst News of the Week Nominee.

"Ray Liotta and Jason Statham set to star in Revolver” – Wednesday, October 13

This project definitely has the elements for greatness. Guy Ritchie directing Ray Liotta and one of his regulars Statham in a seedy gambling world? Sounds like Ritchie has fully recovered from his Swept Away debacle and is ready to get back to doing what he does best. With the always solid Liotta and Statham in the fold now, this definitely sounds like a winner. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx close to Miami Vice” – Thursday, October 14

When I first read this article, this pairing sounded rather odd. But Farrell definitely has the grit and range to play Crockett and Foxx has definitely honed his dramatic chops in recent years, so this could definitely be a winning pair. I am curious, though to see if they’ll bring back Crockett’s trademark white suit/pink undershirt ensemble thinger, because it would look very bizarre on Farrell...Anyway, this duo sounds good to me, and with the TV series creator and wonderful filmmaker Michael Mann scripting and directing, this should be solid. Best News of the Week Nominee.

"Burt Reynolds and Willie Nelson join The Dukes of Hazzard” – Friday, October 15

While Willie Nelson is just a perfect choice to play Uncle Jesse, I’m quite perplexed as to why Burt Reynolds was tapped to play the “little fat buddy” Boss Hogg. He’s neither little nor fat...discuss. I don’t know what Danny DeVito has been up to, but just from his body type alone, he would be a perfect fit for Boss Hogg. Nelson will be money as Uncle Jesse, but even though Burt would probably be funny as Boss Hogg, I just can’t see it working that much. Worst News of the Week Nominee.

BOX OFFICE CORNER

Although Shark Tale doesn’t have anything to do with NHL’s San Jose Sharks (especially since this damn lockout!), the movie did score a hat-trick this weekend. The Dreamworks animated flick scored its third straight weekend at the #1 spot. Shark Tale grossed an estimated $22.1 million in its third weekend, dropping a miniscule 29.5% from last weekend. The flick is still in over 3,900 theaters and has a total gross of $118.8 million so far. With the theater counts still very high, and no probable blockbusters opening this weekend (The Grudge, Surviving Christmas) I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Shark Tale takes a 4th weekend at the top next weekend as well.

Shark Tale wasn’t the only flick that retained its ranking from last weekend. Friday Night Lights showed its durability by repeating in the 2-spot for its 2nd straight weekend. The Billy Bob Thornton football flick fared well this weekend, dropping only 35.5%, good for an estimated gross just over $13 million.

The weeks two new movies took the 3rd and 4th spots, respectively. The latest collaboration between South Park geniuses Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Team America: World Police, took the 3rd spot this weekend. The marionette action flick wasn’t in as many theaters as the top 2 performers, but it still took home $12.3 million for a solid debut. It still has some work to do, though if it hopes to earn a profit from its $32 million budget. Wait a minute. A flick with marionettes as actors and no stars doing voices cost $32 million to make? The flick was just hilarious, but I can’t see how it cost $32 million at all...

The other new flick this week, Shall We Dance, was in even less theaters than Team America, but still mustered a 4th place finish. The Richard Gere-J-Lo flick nabbed $11.6 million in its debut weekend. It had a solid per-screen average, with $6,539, but apparently not that many people wanted to dance after all...

GOING LIVE

Madagascar: (www.madagascar-themovie.com)

There’s a slick little intro to this site, but there really isn’t much here. After the intro, you see a bunch of animals fall out of the sky and stack up on top of each other. If you click on each animal, you get a very brief character description. The only other thing you can do here is watch the movie’s trailer. This site is just all style, no substance. Madagascar opens on May 27 of next year.

National Treasure: (nationaltreasure.movies.go.com)

This site starts out kind of slow, but there is some nice ineractive stuff here, as you have to “unlock” the site. There are a couple of other things you can do before you unlock the site, and they have a pretty cool little game that’s “Coming Soon” where you enter the serial number of a dollar. Once you get in the site, the games continue, as you have to find and light the torch. Hold on a sec...O.K., got the torch. Wow, they really let you play along here. If you’re ambitious, or just don’t have much to do, you can search for clues all day long on this site. I don’t have that kind of time, though, but they keep track of the clues you get, and when you get 15, there is some sort of “reward” for doing so. If you’re not in the treasure hunting mood, though, at the top of the site you can check out info on the movie, look at a photo gallery, download some stuff, watch some trailers and clips and play some more games. This is a very thorough site with just a ton do to here before the movie opens on November 19. This is one of the best sites I’ve reviewed here.

In Good Company: (www.ingoodcompanymovie.com)

This site, however, is not one of the best I’ve reviewed here. It’s a very dull site, with just a synopsis, photo gallery and trailer. Not much to see here, but there may be more here before this movie opens on December 29.

Bad Education: (www.sonyclassics.com/badeducation)

The main page of this site is filled with some highly praising words from critics, and shows us that apparently filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is apparently going the Prince route. It says this is “A Film by Almodovar” on the site. Egotistical, aren’t we? Anyway, after a slow, lengthy intro, there is a decent amount of content here. There is a thorough synopsis, links to the cast, filmmakers, a link “About the Director,” a photo gallery, the trailer and even a link to find out showtimes for this flick. This is a pretty decent site, and you can check out the movie on November 19 in limited release.

TRAILER PARK

Hotel Rwanda:

This will surely be an Oscar contender, folks. It just looks like a gripping film, based on a true story of one man’s struggle against the strife in Rwanda in 1994. It looks like Don Cheadle gives a masterful performance, one that will possibly garner him his first Oscar nomination. This just looks like an incredibly powerful film, and one to definitely watch for, both on December 22 when it opens in limited release, and during the awards season.

The Ring 2:

We don’t get a whole lot of info on the plot here, but then again, it is a teaser trailer, and tease us it does. This looks just as creepy as the 2002 horror hit, but it’s too bad that Daveigh Chase, the young girl who played the creepy ghost Samara, isn’t in this sequel, even though they keep digging deeper into her past. This should be a solid flick, but I’m curious to see how they play it off without Chase being cast. The Ring 2 opens on March 24 of next year.

Oldboy:

This sounds like a very intriguing film. The premise is just wonderful: a man held hostage for 15 years then set free to find out why, and the trailer gives us a few highly praising testimonials from critics. This flick doesn’t currently have a release date yet, slated for sometime next year, but this surely looks like one to watch out for.

In Good Company:

Who would’ve thought that in 1999, when the comedy American Pie came out, that one of its directors, Paul Weitz would be nominated for an Academy Award? Well, he was, in fact, nominated for his wonderful dramatic-comedy About a Boy. It looks like he’s taking another stab at a little gold man again with his new dramatic-comedy In Good Company. He probably has a good shot too, with some great talent (Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson) and a wonderful story. It seems that American Beauty was a possible influence here, because of the younger boss/older “wingman” scenario. This looks like a wonderful film for everyone, and it will be interesting to see if Weitz gets a gold man nomination or two for this flick. In Good Company opens on December 29 in limited release.

Bad Education:

Writer-director Pedro Almodovar is one of those filmmakers that I haven’t quite caught up with yet. All I hear is rave reviews for his movies, and the trailer for his latest film, Bad Education, is filled with some more rave reviews. Too bad that’s about all we get in the trailer, besides a few quick shots of the film. Hopefully a more thorough trailer will come out before this flick hits theaters on November 19 in limited release.

BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK

It was a very difficult choice this week, but I’m going to have to go with Ray Liotta and Jason Statham firing up for Revolver, just barely over Ehren Kruger scripting John Carter of Mars. Ray Liotta is just marvelous at playing shady characters (See: Goodfellas, Narc, Unlawful Entry, etc.) and so is Statham. I’m sure all of the Guy Ritchie fans out there are pumped for him getting back to his roots with this project as well. With all of these great elements, I can’t see this flick failing at all.

WORST NEWS OF THE WEEK

This was also a tough choice this week, but a decision must be made and I’m going with Disney’s pick-up of Stick It. I can’t believe something that sounds this stupid was bought at all. I’m wondering how “rebellious” this girl will be in gymnastics, and, moreover, how does a rebellious girl get into gymnastics in the first place? Did Bela Karolyi bail her out of jail or something a la Trading Places? Maybe there’s a cute male gymnast who she wants to reform for? Maybe it’s even dumber than anything I can possibly comprehend? Seeing it was Jessica Bendinger who wrote this, and her spotty track record of Bring It On, The Truth About Charlie and First Daughter, which even sucked the first time I saw it...when it was called Chasing Liberty! Unless Lindsey Lohan plays the gymnast, there’s no way this will succeed.

Cinemark Movie Club