Monday, February 20, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be - 2/20

This week is a big one in the movie world because it is, of course, Oscar week. I'll be publishing a couple of reviews, like always (Safe House should be up tomorrow) in addition to a ranking of the last 20 Best Picture winners. Then on Friday, I believe I'll do the obligatory Oscar prediction piece that every movie writer must put together. So be on the lookout.

Also, please forgive the lack of updates in the layout. I'm working on something big for the site that I hope to launch next month and it's taking up most of my non-writing free time. Thanks for your patience!

Check out all of the week's most important movie news in the Weekly Digest

Weekend Box Office Results
This weekend I gave in and handed over my money to George Lucas (*head hung in slight shame*) and bought into Safe House twice. Twice, you say? Yes, twice. With the wife out of town for the weekend, I assembled a crack team of six manly men to see Safe House at our local theater. I expected that, since it was in its second week of release, we’d have no problems showing up 10 minutes before start time and finding seats for our group. When we walked into the theater, I don’t think there were six seats in the entire room, let alone together. So we ended up getting refunds and heading to another theater for a later showing. I tell you that to tell you this: I don’t think anyone could have anticipated Safe House retaining 60% of its overall take from the previous week and jumping up to the top spot. Seeing as this week brought with a couple of relatively high profile new releases and the fact that the movie received lackluster reviews overall, I would have bet good money on Safe House ending up between third and fifth place at the end of the weekend. So, good for Denzel, I guess.

1. Safe House - $24M ($78.3M)
2. The Vow - $23.6M ($85.52M)
3. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - $22M
4. Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - $20.08M ($53.2M)
5. This Means War - $17.55M
6. Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace - $7.86M ($33.73M)
7. Chronicle - $7.5M ($50.97M)
8. The Woman in Black - $6.64M ($45.25M)
9. The Secret World of Arrietty - $6.4M
10. The Grey - $3.03M ($47.92M)

New to DVD
What I’ll Be Renting This Week
Mary Marcy May Marlene (2011) - Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson, John Hawkes
The Way (2010) - Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez
Puss in Boots (2011) - Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis
I’m giving you a three pack here that could really turn into a four pack when it’s all said and done. (I’m sure I’ll end up watching J. Edgar at some point in the near future.) I recently renewed my “Half Price for a Month” deal at my local video store and I had this week in mind when I made the call. Mary Marcy May Marlene took up residence on numerous top ten lists from people I trust but I never got a chance to see it in theaters. I’m very much looking forward to checking out this career-making performance by Olsen that everyone has been talking about. The Way has the feel of a film that I’ll see because I think I should see it and will wind up disliking it. But the premise (a father takes a pilgrimage to overcome the loss of his son) sounds appealing enough. And after I watch those two potentially very heavy films, I’m going to need to lighten the mood, which is what Dreamworks animation is best at. Puss in Boots didn’t interest me enough to see it during its theatrical run but I’ll make time for it in an In Home Vieiwng.

What I’ve Seen So You Don’t Have To
Tower Heist (2011) - Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick
I probably shouldn’t put Tower Heist in this category because some critics and viewers I usually agree with really enjoyed it. But for me, it falls flat on almost every level. I didn’t laugh much, Murphy didn’t grab my attention the way I wanted him to, and the execution was porous. So, basically, it’s your typical Brett Ratner film. Not a complete waste of time but close enough.

Also New
J. Edgar (2011) - Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts
Mighty Macs (2011) - Carla Gugino, David Boreanaz, Marley Shelton
The Son of No One (2011) - Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche
Retreat (2011) - Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton, Jamie Bell
London Boulevard (2010) - Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Ray Winstone
Nurse Jackie: Season 3 (2011) - Edie Falco, Eve Best
Weeds: Season 7 (2011) - Mary Louise Parker, Hunter Parrish, Kevin Nealon

New to Blu
Unforgiven (1992) - Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman
Honey (2003) - Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer
Fort Apache (1948) - John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple

Coming to a Theater Near You
Last week I predicted Ghost Rider 2 would pull in a dismal 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If you are involved with that film, you’re wishing right now that I had been correct. Critics hated this film even more than I thought they would and it wound up with a 15% score at the time of this writing. OUCH. Also falling far below expectations was This Means War (52% prediction vs. 24% actual), which was surprisingly and almost unanimously despised. Meanwhile, The Secret World of Arrietty held strong at 93%, making it one of the highest rated films of the year so far.

This week is…uh… Well, this week is a total mail-in for Hollywood. With the Oscars on Sunday, the thought is that if you’re going to see a movie this weekend, you’re probably going to try to get take in a nominated film that you somehow missed. With that in mind, I give you a very brief look at the total crap we’re being offered this time around.

Wanderlust - Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Malin Ackerman
An over-worked couple takes refuge within a commune of hippies and learns some valuable things about themselves. The more I learn about this film, the less I like it. Aniston and Rudd seems like a decent-enough pairing but every trailer, every news blurb, every leaked detail leaves me more and more convinced that this is going to be terrible. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 20%

Good Deeds - Tyler Perry, Gabrielle Union, Thandie Newton
A businessman’s life is turned upside down when he befriends a single mom who works nights in his building. Tyler Perry. That’s all I have to say, right? Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 34%

Gone - Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Carpenter, Wes Bentley
Two years after escaping from her kidnapper, a young girl’s attacker returns to abduct her sister, leading to a frantic search with no aid from the police. I like Seyfried just fine but I don’t see her taking to this role with much flair. Also, Gone looks like the type of movie Ashley Judd would have been in during her heyday and I hated all of those movies. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 38%

Act of Valor - Nestor Serrano, Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez
A group of real-life, active-duty Navy SEALs star in an action-packed thrill ride centering on a rescue mission to save a CIA operative. I think the idea of having active SEALs showing off their skills and expertise is a good one; I also think the final result will not be good. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 40%

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