JJ Abrams and Alfonso Cuaron have teamed up for a sci-fi TV series that will probably end up being somewhere between the greatest TV show ever and the greatest thing ever in the history of the world. (Overselling!!!)
Angela Lansbury has been cast in Wes Anderson's next film. Betting Lansbury is about to give ol' Betty White a run for her money.
Actor Johnny Lewis died last week and Hollywood reacted with sadness but, perhaps even more sadly, without shock. Mr. Lewis, who played an important supporting character on Sons of Anarchy for two seasons, had some serious demons, unfortunately.
Check out FlixChatter's "Small Role...Big Performance" blog-a-thon!
Fandango Groovers gives us his favorite movie concerning each respective sport. Great list!
Weekend Box Office Report
Well, at least September ended on a relatively high note. After a disastrous month with some of the lowest weekend totals of the year, a trio of new movies brought a few people back to the theater and will hopefully build some momentum for the industry as we move into Oscar warm-up season. Hotel Transylvania far exceeded expectations, scoring the highest opening weekend ever for a September release and the second highest opening for an Adam Sandler movie (behind 2005’s The Longest Yard). Looper, meanwhile, brought home a solid opening, though as a sci-fi nerd, I’m a little disappointed to see that it wasn’t embraced with more vigor from the action/sci-fi/nerd crowd. The R-rating probably didn’t help but I had hopes for a slightly higher box office total. Pitch Perfect illustrated the proper use of a limited release schedule, scoring a high per theater average and building great word of mouth for its nationwide expansion this weekend. On the other hand, Won’t Back Down only just managed to clip the top ten in its opening weekend with a total that makes it one of the worst wide opening films ever. I guess that shows that when you anger your target market, your film is in trouble.
1. Hotel Transylvania - $43M
2. Looper - $21.2M
3. End of Watch - $8M ($26.16M)
4. Trouble with the Curve - $7.53M ($23.72M)
5. House at the End of the Street - $7.15M ($22.22M)
6. Pitch Perfect - $5.2M
7. Finding Nemo 3D - $4.06M ($36.47M)
8. Resident Evil Retribution - $3M ($38.7M)
9. The Master - $2.74M ($9.63M)
10. Won’t Back Down - $2.7M
New to DVD
This week’s choices are more varied than what we’ve been treated to of late. On the down side, we have a host of CW TV shows that we’ve all been looking forward to (!!!), one of the worst films of the year (Dark Shadows), and a movie that would make my personal short list for “Film That Should Immediately Be Stricken From the Record and Forgotten Forever” (Annie). But on the plus side, we’re also being treated to the most recent season of two high quality sitcoms (New Girl, How I Met Your Mother) and two beloved classics (Cinderella, Princess Bride). Not too shabby.
People Like Us - Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer
Red Lights - Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver, Cillian Murphy
Peace Love and Misunderstanding - Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Olsen
How I Met Your Mother: Season 7 - Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Neil Patrick Harris
Magic City: Season 1 - Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kelly Lynch
Hart of Dixie: Season 1 - Rachel Bilson, Jamie King, Wilson Bethel
Nikita: Season 2 - Maggie Q, Shane West, Aaron Stanford
90210: Season 4 - Shenae Grimes, AnnaLynne McCord, Tristan Wilds
New to Blu
Cinderella (1950) - Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton
Pet Sematary (1989) - Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne
Masters of the Universe (1987) - Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster
Annie (1982) - Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett
The Thing You Should See
New Girl: Season 1 - Zooey Deschanel, Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris
You guys. New Girl is so ridiculously funny. It took a few episodes for it to find its groove. In fact, I almost quit watching after the third episodes. But in the fourth and fifth episodes, the show started to take off and from there it was just crazy good. Deschanel is certainly a great starting point but the real strength of the show rests on the shoulders of Johnson, Greenfield (who got an Emmy nomination, whatever that may be worth) and Morris. If you haven’t bought in yet, give this first season a run through. If I’m being honest, it’s possible that I look forward to New Girl more than any other sitcom each week. It’s that funny.
Dark Shadows - Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer
Ugh. That’s almost all the energy I can muster up in order to describe what a rotten movie Dark Shadows really is. The characters are one note, the plot is unbelievably perfunctory, and the tone is unnecessarily and unfittingly harsh. It’s a mess and worse yet, it’s a lazy mess. Here’s hoping this is the last Burton-Depp pairing for a while.
New to Blu Pick of the Week or Whenever I Feel Like It
Princess Bride: 25th Anniversary Edition (1987) - Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin
I don’t usually highlight films that have already received a Blu-Ray release. But when the film is The Princess Bride and it’s a 25th anniversary edition…exceptions must be made. I’m pretty sure everyone with access to the Internet has seen this movie and that Amazonian tribesmen know that rodents of unusual size do, in fact, exist. This is, quite simply, a modern classic.
Coming to a Theater Near You
I went three-for-four last week and would like to thank the critics for agreeing with my predictions and making me look at least sort of smart. Looper performed within the range I predicted, though a little higher (93% versus 88%), Hotel Transylvania fell slightly lower than I expected (43% to 50%), and Won’t Back Down angered critics almost as much as it did educators (30% versus 35% predicted). I missed wildly, though, on Pitch Perfect (73% versus 27% prediction) because I neglected to consider the “Girl’s Night Out” faction of the critics out there. My bad. I still stand by my assertion that the movie looks horrible for me personally.
A group of Serbians attempt to kidnap Bryan Mills (Neeson) and his family in order to exact revenge for the death toll Mills racked up in the previous film. I love this idea. Taken was one of the surprise hits of 2009, a rare worthwhile January release that oozes rewatchability. This plot idea is a perfect next step for this franchise as it immediately puts Neeson and his adversaries right back into the situations that made the first film so much fun instead of moving away from the tried and true formula. That also appears to be the biggest issue with the film, though, as most negative reviews (of which there are many) have pegged it as a near carbon copy of the first film. Personally I look forward to seeing Liam Neeson beat the tar out of anything so I’m in but we’ll see how it turns out. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Rotten, 26%
Frankenweenie - Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short
A young boy (Tahan) conducts an ingenious science experiment that brings his beloved dog back from the dead. Early reviews have been good and the idea is smart. But how many times is Tim Burton going to burn us? It seems like every time he’s made a movie in the last decade we get all excited about it, only to find that the movie stinks, just like the last one. Dark Shadows may have been the last straw for me. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 71%
Also New: A group of misfits find themselves confronted with an evil force in the found footage flick V/H/S…Two close families have their relationship put to the test in The Oranges…a young adopted girl (Yara Shahidi) goes up against an ambitious housewife for a town prize in Butter…Director Eugene Jarecki takes a look at the U.S. drug policy in The House I Live In…and Pitch Perfect expands wide.