Greetings and welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly guide to the weekend’s new movies. Tune in every Tuesday for the latest look at the upcoming weekend, and then check back on Thursday night for final projections based on actual theatre counts.
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1. How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Animation/Paramount) – $15.5 million -21%
2. The Back-up Plan (CBS Films) – $13.7 million N/A (down .5 million)
3. The Losers (Warner Bros.) – $12.4 million N/A (up .6 million)
4. Date Night (20th Century Fox) – $11.2 million -33% (same)
5. Kick-Ass (Lionsgate) – $10.5 million -47% (same)
6. Death at a Funeral (Sony/Screen Gems) – $10.0 million -38% (same)
7. Clash of the Titans (Warner Bros.) – $9.0 million -42% (same)
8. Oceans (Disney) – $5.6 million N/A (same)
9. The Last Song (Disney) – $3.8 million -38% (up .1 million)
10. Alice in Wonderland (Disney) – $1.9 million -35% (down .4 million)
With April coming to an end and summer about to begin, it’s time when studios start dumping their weaker movies hoping for the best. With that in mind, this weekend looks to be an intermediary one where the three new movies will have to contend with competition from stronger returning films.
While we have our fingers crossed that Sylvain White’s The Losers (Warner Bros.), based on the Vertigo Comics series by Andy Diggle and Jock, will do well, we have this sinking feeling that the return of Jennifer Lopez in the romantic comedy The Back-up Plan (CBS Films) will end up beating it, not just due to the higher theater count, but also because it’s a much easier sell for a specific demographic without as much direct competition from another similar movie.
Granted, The Back-up Plan is likely to get trashed by critics right, left and center, but there’s no denying it’s the type of movie that will appeal to women due to the humor inherent in the pregnancy premise and the return of Jennifer Lopez. The Losers should be of interest to younger guys in urban areas, and the cast should help but with a late-in-the-game marketing campaign , but clearly playing third fiddle to Warner Bros.’ more prominent April releases, it’s hard to imagine it really breaking out, instead vying for fourth place against last week’s movies. Neither movie seems like it could be strong enough to win the weekend though as DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train a Dragon reclaims the top spot after just missing out on it last weekend.
Released on Thursday to coincide with Earth Day, Oceans (Walt Disney Pictures) is looking for similar success as last year’s Disneynature offering earth (see below), with school groups and the like going to see it on Thursday and Friday and families with small kids checking it out over the weekend, although we think it will fall just short merely due to the amount of similarities to similar G-rated nature films.
This week’s “Chosen One” is Leslie Zemeckis’ Behind the Burly Q (First Run Features), looking at the burlesque acts that were popular during the first half of the 20th Century. You can read more about it below.
This weekend last year saw a surprise smash in the Beyonce Knowles thriller Obsessed (Screen Gems), which opened with $28.6 million in just 2,514 theaters, averaging over $11k per venue. The Channing Tatum drama Fighting (Rogue Pictures) opened in a distant third with just $11 million, while the Robert Downey Jr.-Jamie Foxx vehicle The Soloist (DreamWorks) did even worse, making $9.7 million for fourth place. Disneynature’s nature doc earth (Walt Disney Pictures) opened in fifth place with $8.8 million in 1,800 theaters. The Top 10 grossed just over $100 million and this weekend might have a hard time besting that.
THE BATTLE CRY
It’s been a few weeks since our last “Battle Cry”our apologies, though I think it’s always been clear this was going to be sporadic at best based on the Warrior’s time and amount of ideas.
This week, I wanted to explore whether fanboys make good film critics or whether the two camps should remain separate?
Not that I’m trying at all to alienate any of our readership, which I imagine is largely made up of movie fans and/or the “geek crowd” who enjoy genre films of all types. In most cases, I’m right there with you. Even so, it’s certainly a viable question in this day and age where film critics and moviegoers are already separated by such a large divide on so many movies.
What brought this thought to the forefront was the recent reaction to Louis Letterier’s Clash of the Titans compared to that of Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-Ass a week later – one got trashed while the other was praised almost to the point of being overhyped. For the sake of transparency, I gave both movies the same score of 7.5/10, and I was a much bigger fan of the “Kick-Ass” graphic novel than I was of the original Clash of the Titans. In that sense, I was probably a lot more critical of the former than of the later, but I still felt both were perfectly viable and acceptable, entertaining movies for what they were meant to be. This week, I’ll be reviewing The Losers, another comic book that I enjoy, which will probably make it just as hard to critique it without biases and expectations created from reading the comic book.
From what I gathered, many critics who reviewed Clash of the Titans had seen the original movie and for whatever reason, they remembered it quite fondly. To be honest, when I first saw it a year ago, I could not understand why, since it wasn’t a great movie. Sure, there probably was a certain nostalgia factor of having seen it thirty years ago, when most of them were younger. On the other hand, for many critics, watching Kick-Ass was the first time they’d experienced much of the dark humorous situations that came right out of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s comic book. There wasn’t the nostalgia and the sentimentality that had critics so ready to blame Louis Letterier for destroying the movie they loved with his remake, while Vaughn was essentially praised for taking stuff right from the comic book and putting it on screen.
This has been something that’s been brewing for a long time now, where fans of whatever is turned into a movie will immediately attack any critic who reviews that movie negatively or they’ll question whether that critic is the right person to review a movie if they admit to being unfamiliar with the original source material. It raises a lot of questions in fact. Does a critic need to have read and enjoyed Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” books to be able to watch and critique the movie properly? Do they need to have a complete knowledge of the history of the Marvel or DC Universe to tackle a review of a comic book movie? Must they have seen the original movie to consider a remake viable or not?
It’s hard to deny that if you’re a big fan of something that’s turned into a movie then a.) you’re likely to see it regardless of reviews; b.) you’re likely to have expectations, either good or bad; c.) You’re likely to be on one end of the gamut of either being overly critical or overly accepting; and d.) If the new version doesn’t live up to your expectations, you’re going to hate it even more.
Thanks to the internet, much of the online criticism we read these days comes from those who originally started out as “fanboys” whether it’s of movies or comic books or just general genre: horror, sci-fi, etc. Because of this, the majority of online reviews of genre movies, whether they’re remakes or material from other sources, comes from people who are fairly familiar with that source material, which means that those four things above probably apply to them.
This summer, we’re getting a bunch of movies that are going to survive or fail based on how the fans of the original movies accept them. There’s a remake of The Karate Kid the same week that filmmaker Joe Carnahan takes on the popular television show The A-Team; less a month later, M. Night Shyamalan does his own live action adaptation of the Nickelodeon cartoon The Last Airbender, which already has gotten a lot of criticism from the fans due to the casting choices. Regardless of reviews, the fans of the originals will either accept or hate the above based on their own expectations, but where does that leave critics? Should their own personal feelings and knowledge about the source material affect whether they consider them good or bad movies on their own merits?
When it comes to adaptation and remakes, it almost seems like more and more film critics need to shut off the side of their brain that involves personal preferences and biases, including being “fanboys” of something, as hard as that might be. It may be an impossible task, but wouldn’t it be more fair if they’re analyzing or judging those movies by the same criteria they are movies from original premises?
It’s true that whether something adheres or wavers from what made the source material so enjoyable is an important point to consider, which is why at least having some knowledge of it does improve one’s credibility as a critic/reviewer. Then again, one has to consider that almost every movie based on something else is hoping to appeal to more than just the fans. For instance, if all 100,000 people who read “X-Men” comics on a monthly basis are the only people who go see a movie, it won’t make enough money to be profitable.
This is where the critics come in – for the people who don’t know the material or don’t have the familiarity of the fans but might still be curious about the movie. That’s also why it’s sometimes good to have critics who aren’t as familiar with the original material coming into a movie fresh, because they’re essentially reviewing the movie for the non-fans. It makes for a nice balance, and it means that reviews aren’t just coming from that polarizing fanboy perspective but coming from someone who is judging the movie on other merits.
And with that out of the way, we have another cool contest and a giveaway! (I’m really hoping to do these more often, but I say that about “The Battle Cry,” too!) Tying into this past weekend’s release of Kick-Ass, we’re giving away a copy of Mark Millar’s behind-the-scenes book “Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie”! (Courtesy of Lionsgate)
To enter, you have to EMAIL me at warrior at comingsoon dot net with the answer to the following question and your mailing address, the first correct response wins the book! (Sorry but this is only open to U.S. and Canada; please don’t post your response in the comments!)
With which other writer did Mark Millar first make his entry into American comics, and what was the comic book that Millar then continued to write on his own?
Email me the name of the writer and the comic they did together. (They did a few comics together, but Millar only continued one of them on his own.)
And we already have a winner!! You people are WAY too smart!
The Back-up Plan (CBS Films)
Starring Jennifer Lopez, Alex O’Loughlin, Eric Christian Olsen, Michaela Watkins, Noureen DeWulf, Melissa McCarthy, Danneel Harris
Directed by Alan Poul (“Sex and the City,” “Rome,” “Big Love”); Written by Kate Angelo (“Will & Grace,” “The Bernie Mac Show”)
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Tagline: “A comedy about first dates and due dates.”
Plot Summary: Determined to be a mother before she gets too old, Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) has herself artificially inseminated, but then she meets the handsome Stan (Alex O’Loughlin) and proceeds through the dating process knowing that in a few months, she’ll have to explain how she got pregnant and that it isn’t his baby! (Good luck with that one!)
You can tell it’s April when you start getting movies like this, a silly romantic comedy that marks the return of Jennifer Lopez to the screen for the first time since 2007’s musical biopic El Cantante, which teamed her with her husband Marc Anthony.
It’s the second movie from CBS Films, who are trying to become a player in the studio business, but so far, seem to be floundering at getting people into theaters to see their movies going by how poorly the drama Extraordinary Measures fared, despite starring Harrison Ford in his first movie in some time. At least this time they have a much easier-to-sell premise that’s almost perfect for the actress/singer whose success has been up and down like a yo-yo since she first came onto the scene. Her last big hit was Monster-in-Law opposite Jane Fonda five years ago, which grossed $82.9 million, her second-biggest hit after the romantic comedy Maid in Manhattan three years earlier. In between, she ran into troubles with the biggest one being a movie called Gigli, which we’ll say no more about. In recent years, Lopez has been having a difficult time with her recording career with her record company deciding not to release her new album, and various recent appearances being received cynically, such as a New Year’s Eve performance where her choice of attire was less than flattering. A few weeks later, Lopez hosted and performed on “Saturday Night Live” a few months ago, which also wasn’t thought of as a high point of the season.
As has been the case with many recent romantic comedies, Amy Adams’ Leap Year for instance, the female star is significantly better known than the male lead, and J-Lo’s romantic interest, Australian actor Alex O’Loughlin, is better known for his television work, as is the film’s director, Alan Poul.
Even so, Lopez certainly has her fanbase of women that would probably enjoy this type of birth-related comedy. 2007 was a banner year for the comedy subgenre with Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up and Jason Reitman’s Juno being enormous blockbuster hits, while the late Adrienne Shelley’s indie comedy Waitress also did well.
While the movie probably won’t set any box office records, it should open moderately well, helped by the release into over 3,000 theaters, although business may be somewhat skewed to certain areas over others. (Put it this way, we don’t expect the movie to do that well in the Bible Belt.)
Opening against the stronger comedy Date Night won’t help although being in its third weekend, it should start tailing off, allowing for those women looking for something new to give this a look. It’s doubtful the movie will have much in the way of legs even with little competition for female audiences, because it’s generally not a good movie and word-of-mouth won’t help like it’s helped stronger comedies.
Why I Should See It: If you ever wondered what Knocked Up would look like if it wasn’t funny…
Why Not: If this movie does well, we’ll continue to see more movies like this.
Projections: $13 to 15 million opening weekend and roughly $40 million total
The Losers (Warner Bros.)
Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans, Idris Elba, Columbus Short, Holt McCallany, Oscar Jaenada, Jason Patric, Peter Macdissi
Directed by Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard, Trois 3: The Escort); Written by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Very Bad Things), James Vanderbilt (Zodiac, The Rundown, Darkness Falls, upcoming “Spider-Man” reboot)
Genre: Action, Thriller, Comedy
Tagline: “Anyone Else Would Be Dead By Now.”
Plot Summary: A team of Special Forces operatives are sent to Bolivia on a mission but they’re betrayed by the man known as Max and left for dead. Years later, the five men–Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short) and Cougar (Oscar Jaenada)–decide to get revenge on Max with the help of the beautiful and mysterious operative Aisha (Zoë Saldaña). Remaining undercover, they must stop him before he starts a high-tech war.
Even though it was just last week we were discussing a movie based on a lesser-known comic/graphic novel, here we have our second in two weeks, this one probably having a bit more of an uphill battle at getting audience but still being strong enough to get an ultrawide release by Warner Bros. The original comic The Losers, an action-packed military thriller by Brits Andy Diggle and Jock, was published by DC’s Vertigo Comics imprint starting in 2004 to moderate success. The film rights were quickly scooped up and the series adapted by filmmaker Peter Berg, material that was right up his alley, but then he went off to do Hancock and Joel Silver’s Dark Castle Productions came on board to finish up the film, going with the less than obvious choice of Stomp the Yard director Sylvain White to direct.
What’s interesting is that this is the first of three or four ensemble action movies this year, putting a group of mercenaries against insurmountable odds, although this one has gotten a lot less geek attention than the summer movies The A-Team, based on a hit show, and The Expendables, which brings together some of the biggest action stars of the last three decades.
Regardless, the material was strong enough to bring together an impressive cast including a number of actors who have done comic-related material, most notably Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who starred amongst the ensemble of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, and Chris Evans, who played the Human Torch in two “Fantastic Four” movies (directed by Tim Story, who at one point was going to direct this).
The real sell of the movie will probably be ultra-hot Zoë Saldaña, who starred in last year’s mega-hit blockbusters Star Trek and Avatar, and wisely, she’s being featured in the trailers and commercials as the sexy mercenary Aisha, which should offer some motivation for horny guys to see the movie. Lastly, it stars popular dancer/singer Columbus Short, who appeared in last week’s Death at a Funeral along with Saldaña and in the 2009 action-thriller Armored. Short’s female fanbase probably won’t have much of an interest in this movie.
Although Warner Bros. began marketing the movie a little late after futzing around with the release date, the movie’s trailers, commercials and posters are all cool enough that older male action fans may be intrigued enough to check it out. That is, if they even know about it. Because of its PG-13 rating, teens will be able to see the movie without having to buy tickets to something else and sneaking in. Unfortunately, the comic isn’t as well-known or as popular even as the comic for Kick-Ass, nor has the movie been nearly as ever-present in terms of its marketing. More importantly, The Losers‘ biggest stopping block is that it’s opening a week after two strong movies that appeal to the same audiences who might see this, essentially guys and urban audiences; both of last week’s movies could have strong enough word-of-mouth to make it harder for this to open big.
The Losers is the kind of movie that can find an audience looking for action and explosions that may not be aware of the movie’s comic roots, essentially the comic book and gaming crowd, who aren’t always that reliable. Even so, combine that with the great title and the PG-13 rating, it should do moderate business though nothing mind-blowing. Unfortunately, it also has to face the release of the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street next week and then Iron Man 2, so it has very little chance of legs but like some of the action movies of the ’80s, it’s likely that many more people will discover this on cable and DVD down the road.
Why I Should See It: The comic is pretty effin’ cool, and everything we’ve seen shows promise that the movie will have a similar look and tone; action fans should approve.
Why Not: Can a movie capture the tone of the violent comics with a PG-13 rating?
Projections: $10 to 12 million opening weekend and roughly $25 to 26 million total.
Starring Pierce Brosnan (Narrator)
Directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud (Winged Migration); Written by Christophe Cheysson, Jacques Cluzaud, Laurent Debas, Stephane Durand, Laurent Guadé, Jacques Perrin, François Sarano
Genre: Documentary, Nature
Tagline: “Explore the depths of our planet’s oceans. Experience the stories that connect their world to ours.”
Plot Summary: Disneynature and National Geographic present an in-depth look at the denizens of the world’s oceans from the tiniest creatures to the largest.
Mini-Review: The studio that brought you “The Little Mermaid” and “Finding Nemo” heads back under the seas for their second look at earth’s creatures in their natural habitat, and though the underwater region has been well-covered in past nature docs, you’ll still be awed by some of the amazing things you get to see, some for the first time. The movie acts as a primer to the ocean, either for younger kids or those who never really thought much about the enormous bodies of water that makes up the majority of our planet. It’s a gorgeous film, so perfect in its visuals that at times you may be unsure how much is real and how much is being enhanced or created via CG – some of the creatures are so more amazing in design than anything Hollywood can create. It’s impossible not to be impressed with the footage that Perrin, Cluzaud, and their team were able to capture, getting up close and personal to the largest of the sea’s creatures as well as the tiniest. As many new things the movie brings to the fore, including creatures so rare you may have never heard of some of them, let alone seen them, the movie does fallback on a couple old standbys, things that have become overused in recent nature docs, namely penguins and sea lions. When “Oceans” moves its story up to the Arctic, that’s the only time where it starts to falters, but only because we’ve seen those environments in many movies and there’s nothing particularly new about their coverage. In the last half hour, it does start to get a little preachy, bringing humans into the equation and how we’re damaging the oceans with pollution and fishing. While it’s become common practice to remind every moviegoer of global warming and how it’s affecting the creatures of the earth, here it almost seems as if it’s being done only because everyone else has done it before. The film would probably have been better without it. On the other hand, if the movie can get one less person to pollute or prey on the sea’s wildlife, than the filmmakers have achieved something far greater than just a gorgeous bit of entertainment. For the most part, it’s a great film for kids curious about nature and sea creatures, though there are a few scenes that might be somewhat horrifying to the more sensitive viewers like a segment that shows the birth of sea turtles, adorable as they crawl across to the ocean, only to be picked off one by one by predatory birds. Even so, the film does a fine job displaying the symbiotic nature of sea creatures, as well as the ever-present conflicts between them. The sharply written script, read by Pierce Brosnan in a surprisingly soothing tone, does a good job telling a story even if sometimes it plays up to the kids and the “awwww” crowd with cutesy one liners. The score beautifully enhances the viewer’s experience of swimming through the water similar to how “Winged Migration” allowed us to fly with the birds. The results are serene and sublime making “Oceans” the best nature doc since “March of the Penguins.” With or without the necessity of the ecological preaching, kids will love it! Rating: 8/10
We don’t have a ton to say in terms of analysis for Oceans, because nature docs like this one are fairly hard to analyze for many reasons, and that’s certainly true with the second movie from the Disneynature imprint done in conjunction with National Geographic Films.
What’s exciting about this one is that it marks the return of the filmmakers behind Winged Migration, Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud. “Migration” was a sleeper hit when it opened around this same time of year in 2003, eventually grossing $10 million without ever playing in wide release, after receiving an Oscar nomination. It would pave the way for the French nature doc March of the Penguins to do huge amounts of business as well as win the Oscar years later.
That move’s success likely helped convince Walt Disney Pictures to return to the tradition of the Buena Vista educational nature docs that were shown in schools from the ’50s through the ’70s, taking advantage of the new filming technology to present some amazing images that few people have ever had a chance to see.
Oceans is opening on Thursday in roughly 1,200 theatres, about 500 theaters less than earth, which is a shame because it’s a significantly better movie. Like that movie, opening on Earth Day should help it to bring in a lot of school groups on field trips to bring in a nice chunk of money out of the gate. After that, it’s likely to tail off a bit on Friday, but then pick up on Saturday when families with small children will be looking for things to do. The movie is fairly low-profile compared to Disney’s other offerings and not necessarily a word-of-mouth movie, but it’s the type of G-rated fare that can get business just based on being an alternative to all the R-rated fare currently in theaters.
Why I Should See It: It’s a gorgeous film that shows you a lot of things from under the seas you’ve never seen before.
Why Not: Like far too many nature docs post-An Inconvenient Truth, this one gets a bit too preachy.
Projections: $3 to 4 million on Thursday’s Earth Day and another $5 to 7 million over the weekend and roughly $20 million total.
THE CHOSEN ONE:
The Good, The Bad, Weird (IFC Films)
Starring Kang-ho Song, Byung-hun Lee, Woo-sung Jung, Kyeong-hun Jo, Kwang-il Kim, Cheong-a Lee, Dong-seok Ma, Dal-su Oh
Written and directed by Ji-Woon Kim (A Tale of Two Sisters) with Min-Suk Kim
Genre: Western, Action
Plot Summary: In the lawless Manchurian desert of 1930, a bounty hunter named Do-won (Woo-sung Jung) has been sent to take down Chang-yi (Byung-hun Lee), the leader of a group of bandits, while a train robber named Tae-good (Kang-ho Song) has found a map that leads to a great treasure that everyone wants to get their hands on.
At this point, I’ve actually seen this Asian Western twice now, once at the Toronto Film Festival a year and a half ago and then once again earlier this year at Lincoln Center; both times, it was so late at night that I can barely remember it, but I did enjoy enough of the movie to recommend it as this week’s “Chosen One.” That said, I wouldn’t recommend it whole-heartedly to everyone, as much as those who already enjoy Westerns and fans of the quirky humor found in South Korean films should get a kick out of it.
Not that the latest movie from Ji-Woon Kim, director of A Tale of Two Sisters (remade here as The Uninvited), is nearly as weird as some of the movies from his peers, but that also makes it somewhat more accessible to those unfamiliar with Korean cinema. Taking place in the “Wild West” of 1930’s Manchuria, it involves a fairly simple plot of a treasure map and various groups trying to get their hands on it. There’s a straight-ahead good guy and bad guy, the latter played by G.I. Joe‘s Storm Shadow Byung-hun Lee, but the standout character is played by Kang-Ho Song, star of The Host and Thirst, an incompetent bandit who’s able to keep his hands on that map longer than anyone else. It’s a similarly stylish film as “Two Sisters” with lots of bright enhanced colors and at times it seems to be influenced by silent movies of the times, though much of that might come out of the physical humor in Song’s performance, which verges on being like Curly from the Three Stooges at times. The movie is a little bit long for what it is, but it does lead to one of the most amazing chases through the desert with hundreds of men on horseback and military vehicles, like something out of one of the “Indiana Jones” movie, and a fantastic showdown shoot-out between the three leads. For the most part, the action and humor keeps the movie entertaining even if the story and character archetypes sometimes leaves a bit to be desired, but if nothing else, The Good, The Bad, The Weird may be one of the easier entries for most Americans into Korean sensibilities.
It opens on Friday at the IFC Center.
Behind the Burly Q (First Run Features)
Starring Joan Arline, John Perilli, Alan Alda, Harry Lloyd, Lorraine Lee, Taffy O’Neill, Joni Taylor, Mike Iannucci, White Fury, Sunny Dare, Kelly DiNardo
Directed by Leslie Zemeckis (debut)
Filmmaker Robert Zemeckis’ wife, actress Leslie Zemeckis, makes her directorial debut by tackling a subject close to her heart that being the advent of burlesque shows in the country from the era of the Great Depression through the early ’60s. Essentially the movie is a series of interviews with those who were there during those times, most of them now in their 70s, combined with archival photographs and old super 8 film. Normally, this kind of subject matter wouldn’t be something I might have any interest in–old women talking about taking their clothes off–but there’s a bit of a misconception about what was involved in the burlesque shows, which included music, comedy and even acrobatic acts, not just strippers. All of the participants have interesting stories to share about a part of the entertainment world that hasn’t really been covered much in mainstream media. It’s very much driven by talking heads, but it’s filled with great stories and Zemeckis does a good job finding and assembling materials to embellish the talking. Maybe the most interesting appearance in the film is actor Alan Alda, who grew up with a father who was a comic on the burlesque circuit, so he spent a lot of time there. Not all of the stories are happy ones since many of the women come from bad pasts, and some of the stories seem rather nonsensical, not really having much to do with the subject at hand, but the results are a fairly comprehensive and somewhat bittersweet look at every aspect of this world and lifestyle.
Behind the Burly Q opens at the Quad Cinema on Friday.
Also, The Tribeca Film Festival kicks off in New York on Wednesday, which you can read more about in our Preview piece which goes up in the next day or so.
Under the Radar:
Michael Paul Stephenson’s documentary Best Worst Movie (Area 23A) takes a look at the making of 1989 low-budget horror film Troll 2, one of worst reviewed movies of all time. Twenty years later, small-town dentist Dr. George Hardy, who was cast in the lead role, learns of the legion of fans the cult movie has created and sets out to revisit his cinematic past. The crowd-pleasing doc opens in Austin on Friday and then in New York on May 14 and a week later in L.A.
Hollywood screenwriters Kieran and Michele Mulroney (Sherlock Holmes 2) wrote and directed Paper Man (MPI Media Group) starring Jeff Daniels as Richard, a failed novelist who has moved out to the boonies of Long Island to try to revive his creativity despite constant distractions from his childhood imaginary friend, Captain Excellent (Ryan Reynolds). There, he connects with 17-year-old Abby (Emma Stone) who has her own troubled past and a friend (Kieran Culkin) who is concerned with her relationship with the middle-aged man.
Duncan Ward’s debut Boogie Woogie (IFC Films), adapted by Danny Moynihan from his own novel of the same name, looks at the conniving London art world where everyone is sleeping with everyone else. The ensemble cast includes Danny Huston and Stellan Skarsgard as competing art dealers trying to get their hands on a valuable painting owned by an aging couple. At the same time, various artists and art lovers are vying for their own chance at fame, and they’re willing to do anything or sleep with anyone to get it. Also starring Heather Graham, Alan Cumming, Gillian Anderson, Christopher Lee and Amanda Seyfried, it opens at the IFC Center in New York on Friday.
Opening on Tuesday (just to make things confusing) is Cheech & Chong’s Hey Watch This (Weinstein Co.), which follows the marijuana smoking comedy duo’s return to the road doing comedy for the first time in 25 years, becoming one of the most successful tours of 2008 and 2009. Besides its limited theatrical run, it will also be available on DVD/Blu-Ray, On Demand and streaming on Xbox 360 and PS3 systems on the same day.
The next day, country singer Kenny Chesney gets his own concert film as part of Sony’s The Hot Ticket, this one in 3D called Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D (Sony Pictures Releasing), playing in select cities for a limited engagement.
I saw Andrew Lancaster’s Accidents Happen (Image Entertainment, Inc.) at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and wasn’t too impressed. It stars Geena Davis as the loud-mouthed matriarch of a suburban family by a series of tragic accidents, including one that has divided the entire family. It opens on Wednesday.
Allen Wolf’s thriller In My Sleep (Morning Star Pictures) stars Tim Draxl as Marcus, a young man suffering from a sleepwalking disorder who wakes up holding a knife with blood on his hands and finds out that one of his friends has been stabbed to death. It opens at the Quad Cinema in New York.
Two years after it premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger (Monterrey Media), Cathy Randall’s Australian coming-of-age comedy will be released. Starring Danielle Catanzariti and Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) as two very different girls, Esther Blueburger (Catanzariti), a Jewish girl who escapes her Bat Mitzvah party, to hang with the school’s cool girl Sunni and her family.
Alyssa Milano stars in Daryn Tufts’ three-way romantic comedy My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend (Opus Distribution), and that’s probably all you need to know about a movie that’s shockingly not going straight-to-DVD.
Lastly, Connie Nielsen and Aidan Quinn star in Left Behind director Vic Sarin’s family drama A Shine of Rainbows (Freestyle Releasing) about a couple’s journey to adopt a young orphan, which will open in select cities.
Next week, Freddy Krueger returns, this time played by Jackie Earle Haley, in the horror remake A Nightmare on Elm Street (New Line/WB) and Brendan Fraser takes on the evil that is… Furry Vengeance (Summit)!
Copyright 2010 Edward Douglas