Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be

The 6 minute Dark Knight Rises prologue will play in IMAX theaters before next week's Mission Impossible 4 screenings. I'm torn on whether I want to seek this out or try to go into DKR next summer with as little information as possible.

At the beginning of the weekend there was some speculation that Benicio Del Toro would reinvent role of Khan for Star Trek 2. Then JJ Abrams came out and denied those rumors. Personally, I love the casting of Del Toro in the villainous role but I'd want to stay away from such an iconic character.

Starship Troopers is up for a reboot with Ashley Edward Miller (X-Men: First Class, Thor) set to write the script. There's a certain cheese-tastic appeal to the 1997 cult-classic but as a fan of the book it is based upon, I'm excited about a less campy film adaptation. We'll see.

Roger Ebert has announced, officially, that At the Movies will go on hiatus at the end of this month. In all likelihood, this will be the end of the show. I've been waiting for an official "cancellation" announcement to write a column about what a loss this is but this is probably close enough. I'll try to get through it this week. Simply put, At the Movies is the reason I'm writing about film right now. So bummed.

Top 10 Films gives us the top 10 Christmas movies from the '90s. While I don't agree completely (Jack Frost is awful), any list that is topped by Home Alone is a good one in my book.

Weekend Box Office Results
On behalf of America, I'd like to apologize to Jason Segel, Kermit the Frog, and everyone involved with The Muppets. I've been doing my best, guys. I gave your movie a stellar review, I've told everyone I've talked to that they have to check it out for themselves, and I even went to see it again this week. But clearly I have failed in my mission to get the word out seeing as my moviegoing cohorts have AGAIN made Twilight the number one movie of the weekend. Sure, Twilight got a nice boost in the form of the weakest new movie schedule in recent memory but still, couldn't some of you Twihards take a break from salivating over shirtless teenagers to help out Kermit and the gang? I'm so sad right now.

1. Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 - $16.9M ($247.3M)
2. The Muppets - $11.2M ($56.14M)
3. Hugo - $7.63M ($25.19M)
4. Arthur Christmas - $7.35M ($25.29M)
5. Happy Feet Two - $6M ($51.78M)
6. Jack and Jill - $5.5M ($64.31M)
7. The Descendants - $5.2M ($18.1M)
8. Immortals - $4.39M ($75.59M)
9. Tower Heist - $4.1M ($70.8M)
10. Puss in Boots - $3.05M ($139.52M)

New to DVD
The next couple of weeks will be big ones for you DVD nuts out there. Late summer hits (and misses) are the order of the day as you try to bulk up your Christmas lists.

What I've Seen and You Should, Too
The Help (2011) - Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer
Based on the best-seller of the same name, The Help follows the lives of several black housekeepers in 1960's Mississippi who are given the opportunity to tell their stories to an intrepid reporter (Stone). Despite its runtime (20 minutes too long) and some backlash from certain groups within the black community, I found The Help to be a touching and significant film that is full of outstanding performances. Davis and Spencer both will almost certainly receive Oscar nominations and the early money is on Davis to win (totally deserved). Plus, there's more than a handful of humorous moments that keep the pace moving.

What I Saw So You Wouldn't Have To
The Hangover Part II (2011) - Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms
The first Hangover was one of the funniest movies of the decade in my book. The sequel suffers from two major problems: 1.) Most of it is entirely devoid of humor and 2.) The parts which are funny are essentially shot-for-shot remakes of what was funny in the original. This is a classic example of a film that far exceeded expectations (highest grossing R-rated comedy ever) and had a hasty, sloppy sequel commissioned to capitalize on the craze. There are some cheap laughs but there's nothing here that's worth anything more than a late-night HBO viewing.

Also New
The Debt (2011) - Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain, Sam Worthington (Quality filmmaking and a compelling story. Not great but certainly worth a shot.)
Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011) - Jim Carrey, Carla Gugino, Angela Lansbury
Cowboys and Aliens (2011) - Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde (I didn't dislike this as much as others did; it's reasonable fun but nothing groundbreaking.)
Big Love: Complete Series (2010) - Bill Paxton, Ginnfer Goodwin, Chloe Sevigny
The Simpsons: Season 14 (2002) - Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Hank Azaria
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) - Martin Balsam, So Yamamura (Blu-Ray)
Mission Impossible Trilogy Blu-Ray Set (1996, 2000, 2006) - Tom Cruise

Coming to a Theater Near You
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy
I've been looking forward to this film all year. For my money, Gary Oldman is the greatest actor of his generation but it's rare (these days) to see him get the opportunity to headline a powerful, mainstream movie like this. TTSS opened overseas some time ago and has received good-to-great reviews consistently. Now that we're finally getting a chance to see it, I know where I will be on Friday afternoon. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 92% (Cheating a little here since it's already got 50+ reviews due to the overseas release.)

Young Adult - Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt (Limited)
Director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) doesn't miss when it comes to attracting award attention and Young Adult should be no exception. Theron is likely to draw a Best Actress nomination and even Oswalt has been bandied about as a possible Best Supporting Actor nominee. My expectation for the movie itself is that it will be less than the sum of its parts, meaning the actual movie will be overshadowed by the performances. Just a guess. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 88%

New Year's Eve - Ashton Kutcher, Zac Efron, Sarah Jessica Parker
A near-lock for a Worst Picture nomination at the Razzies. Just...blerg. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 12%

The Sitter - Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, Sam Rockwell
The best thing about The Sitter (and I use "best" in the loosest sense of the word) is that we'll get to see currently Skinny Jonah Hill hit the talk show circuit to promote a movie starring Fat Jonah Hill. That should make the interviews better. Otherwise, The Sitter is lucky New Year's Eve will take all of its negative attention because man, this looks awful. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 22%


  1. It would be good to see a real movie adaptation of Starship Troopers. It has great potential for a movie. The book is as much about political systems as it is about space war.

  2. Agreed. I'd like to see it done with a little more seriousness. But we'll see.


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