Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be

Make sure you read this excellent article on Walt Disney, written by Jon Favreau. Good stuff!

David Fincher says that his potential Dragon Tattoo sequels would shoot back-to-back which makes sense. Very curious to see what sort of reception the first one gets over the next few weeks.

Spike Lee is having some trouble putting a cast together for his Oldboy remake and has now offered roles to Mia Wasikowska and Clive Owen.

Cinema Blend picks the year's 10 best performances from terrible movies. Always a fun type of list to discuss. Although, can we really trust any list that cites Channing Tatum in a good light?

Weekend Box Office Results
Quite a disappointing weekend at the box office. In fact, I saw one report that pegged this as lowest grossing weekend in December since 1999. Ouch! The disappointing take for Sherlock is the biggest surprise, down $22 million from the debut of the first film. I didn't make it out myself but a Sherlock Holmes viewing is in my near future and I can't wait to check out MI4.

1. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - $40.02M
2. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked - $23.5M
3. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - $13.6M
4. New Year's Eve - $7.42M ($24.82M)
5. The Sitter - $4.4M ($17.72M)
6. Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I - $4.3M ($266.4M)
7. Young Adult - $3.65M ($4.09M)
8. Hugo - $3.62M ($39.07M)
9. Arthur Christmas - $3.6M ($38.54M)
10. The Muppets - $3.45M ($70.93M)

New to DVD
What I'll Be Renting This Week
Midnight in Paris - Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates
This is the last of the real awards contenders that will hit DVD before the year is up. I stayed away when Midnight had its theatrical run this summer, mainly because I've never been a big fan of Woody Allen. I understand the genius and appreciate it, I'm just not a fan of his style. But the unending wave of positivity has won me over and it seems like a strong candidate for a "bottom of the list" Best Picture nominee.

What I've Seen and You Should, Too
Warrior - Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte
If I had to pick a "Favorite Sports Movie of the Year" it would definitely be Warrior and Moneyball wouldn't really be that close. There are some differing opinions out there regarding this movie (and by people that I usually agree with) but I think Warrior hits on all fronts: it provides outstanding and realistic sports scenes to go along with a set of wholly compelling plot points and brought together by three stellar performances. Nolte and Hardy have gotten all of the attention (Nolte could have an outstide shot at a Best Supporting Actor nod) but for me, it is Edgerton's personal and genuine portrayal that makes the film work. Warrior could find a spot in my top 10. We'll see. (Also worth your time: Blackthorn and Dolphin Tale.)

What I Haven't Seen and Neither Should You
Colombiana - Zoe Saldana, Michael Vartan, Jordi Molla
This was supposed to be Saldana's jump into the realm of leading lady. Instead, it turned out to be a complete disaster that no one (and I really mean no one) could recommend with a straight face. Jump over to Rotten Tomatoes and look this one up. Virtually every fresh review is a "sure, but" review as in, "Sure it's full of plot holes, bad acting, and meaningless explosions but it's a relatively harmless way to spend two hours." I've written my share of "sure, but" reviews and I would never want to watch any of those movies again. Also, it resulted in this magnificent piece from IFC identifying just five of the bigger anachronisms within this film.

Also New
Dolphin Tale - Nathan Gamble, Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr. (Perfectly reasonable family fare)
Blackthorn - Sam Shepard, Eduardo Noriega, Stephen Rea (Butch Cassidy back in action; quality performance by Shephard)
Margin Call - Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey (Slight possibility at a nomination or two)
Catch .44 - Malin Ackerman, Bruce Willis, Forest Whitaker
Glee: The Concert Movie - Who cares
Straw Dogs - James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard
The Tempest (2010) - Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones
A Farewell to Arms (1957) - Rock Hudson, Jennifer Jones, Vittorio De Sica

Coming to a Theater Near You
This week, as always, is a monster. No less than eight mainstream movies and a host of indie films will hit theaters over the next 10 days, making it virtually impossible for a completist like myself to get through everything in time for my end-of-year rankings columns. (Seriously, Hollywood, couldn't you have released even a couple of these movies between Thanksgiving and now? Boooo.) Anyway, what you're getting this week is a mixed bag of fun and exciting "movies you take the family to see after all the presents have run out of newness", smaller films looking to grab a piece of the award pie, and Oscar bait of the highest order. Also, this year you can treat yourself to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, quite possibly the most disturbing movie you'll ever see on Christmas.

War Horse - Jeremy Irvine, Tom Hiddleston, Emily Watson
I saw War Horse last week (review to come soon). I'm not entirely sure what I think about it yet. It's definitely Spielbergian and it's definitely a good movie. Not sure how great it is, though, and I haven't really framed my feelings yet. It's a near lock for a Best Picture nod, however, and will likely pull in more than its fair share of the Christmas Box Office market. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 91% (That is as close to a shot in the dark as I could possibly make. I have no idea how well this film will be received.)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer
I need all of my readers to pay attention here as this is probably one of the most important things I have ever or will ever say in this space: if you haven't read this book, seen the European version, or at least done a cursory Google search into this film's plot, do not, under any circumstance, see this movie. I mean this. I read the book. It's incredible and I imagine this film will be incredible as well. But as a friend of mine said, "There are scenes in that book that horrified me while reading them and I cannot imagine seeing them in a movie and having them forever burned into my memory." I concur. More importantly than ever before: KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO before heading into the theater. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 88%

We Bought a Zoo - Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church
Currently sitting at 58% (and rotten) at the time of this writing, the reviews are wide ranging in tone. The positives are overwhelmingly so and the negatives are pretty harsh. Personally, I'm still optimistic that We Bought a Zoo will at least equal out to Dolphin Tale as a worthwhile family movie. But then again, I'm rooting HARD for anything and everything related to Cameron Crowe (except Vanilla Sky) so... Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 63%

The Adventures of Tintin - Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig
Tintin has already been Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (currently sitting at 82%) and it seems to be one of those movies that you either love or hate. The motion capture shooting method has met a somewhat unspectacular reception but it's never been in the hands of a craftsman like Spielberg. The real question is will American audiences care about a movie based on a comic they've never heard of?

The Darkest Hour - Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella
Yikes. I mean...this looks pretty horrible. And with serious competition for the "teenager on Christmas break" money, why release this movie now? Why not hold it until the first or second week of January which is clearly when this movie should be released? Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 21%

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock (Limited)
The big question with this movie is, will it turn out as a genuine and stirring tale of father and son or will it play like stuffy and contrived Oscar bait? Stephen Daldry has never NOT been nominated for a Best Director so this movie is in good hands but still, the questions remain. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 96% (Shot in the dark part two.)

Also Available
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, rapidly becoming one of the more appreciated popcorn films of the year, expands from IMAX to wide release...Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy gets a slightly wider release, though not nearly large enough dadgumit...In the Land of Milk and Honey, directed by Angelina Jolie, will find a few theaters...and A Separation, which has made its way into a number of important top 10 lists, also gets released in a few arthouse theaters.

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