March 23, 2007

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: TMNT, The Hills Have Eyes 2, Reign Over Me, Shooter, The Last Mimzy, Pride

The cineplex is under attack! The scene is grim, there are film cans scattered, bits of celluloid flutter about like leaves in the wind, and the people.... The people are wandering about like something out of a Romero film. They are just milling about, staring at the marquis. They have this glazed look in their eyes, these blank expressions on drawn out faces. Why, you ask? Well, have you looked at the sign? There are six, count them, six new films hitting wide release this weekend. Talk about chopping up an audience. You would think that they could have spread these out a bit better, rather than going head to head in competition for your cinematic dollar. This is a nightmare for those who like to see all of them on opening weekend.

The Hills Have Eyes 2. (2007, 89 minutes, R, horror, trailer) Last year, French director Alexandre Aja brought his vision of Wes Craven's classic low budget horror film to the big screen in disturbingly gruesome fashion. It was a tale of a family cutting across the desert in New Mexico. This year, Martin Weisz takes over the directorial reigns making his big screen debut, following his success in the music video world. This is not so much a remake of the original sequel, as it is a sequel to the remake. This features a group of National Guardsmen patroling in New Mexico who respond to a distress call and meet up with some cannibalistic mutants who live there. Sounds like fun! The script was written by Wes Craven's son, Jonathan.

The Last Mimzy. (2007, 90 minutes, PG, fantasy/family, trailer) What is a "Mimzy"? All I can remember is the mention of mimsy in the poem "Jabberwocky." Something tells me that the two are not all that closely related. This story concerns a couple of children who uncover a mysterious box of toys, soon after which they develop talents. What is happening, and why? It looks like it could be a good fantasy film. Stars include Joely Richardson. Rainn Wilson, and Timothy Hutton. It was directed by Bob Shaye, the CEO of New Line Cinema, directing for the first time since 1990's Book of Love.

Pride. (2007, 104 minutes, PG, drama, trailer) When I see the trailer, I can't help but feel I have seen this before. It looks like it is well made, but just how many more of these inspirational sports movies do we need? They just keep popping up out of the woodwork, and while none have been out and out bad, I find myself wearying of them. This one stars Terrence Howard who takes his dream of competitive swimming to the city of Philadelphia where he starts the first all-black swim team. Co-stars include Bernie Mac, Kimberly Elise, and Tom Arnold.

Shooter. (2007, 124 minutes, R, action, trailer) Mark Wahlberg is back on the big screen on what looks like the continuing adventures of Dignam from The Departed, of course it isn't, but it sort of has that look. It is about a world class marksman, who left the service after a mission gone bad. Now, he is drawn back in as there is a planned hit on the president. Rather than catching the killer, he is set up as the killer. Now, he must set about to get justice on those who betrayed him. Along with Wahlberg are Michael Pena, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, and Elias Koteas. It was directed by Antoine Fuqua, his first film since King Arthur.

Reign Over Me. (2007, 125 minutes, R, drama, trailer) When I first saw the trailer for this, I couldn't help but marvel at how much Adam Sandler looked like Bob Dylan, it is rather striking. Anyway, the film looks to be quite good, Sandler has proven himself capable of more mature roles, and Don Cheadle is always wonderful. This is the story of Sandler, who lost his family on 9/11 and has never recovered from the loss. One day, he bumps into his old college roommate who becomes determined to help him recover. I am looking forward to this one. It was directed by Mike Binder, who also helmed The Upside of Anger.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (2007, 90 minutes, PG, animated/action, trailer) OK, what child of the 80's didn't go through a turtle phase? From the cartoons, to that first live action movie, they were everywhere. Over the past couple of years they have had something of a resurgence, a new series, and now a new movie. This time the feature is animated, and it looks good. All I can hope for is that it is. The movie is set sometime after they defeated long time nemesis Shredder. They have grown apart, but Splinter brings them back together as a new wave of mysterious happenings sweep the city. Oh please, let it be good.

The Namesake. (2007, 122 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) It wasn't long ago that I was wishing that Kal Penn tried more challenging material, he has good screen presence and timing. I didn't have long to wait as this film seems to fit the bill. It is the story of an immigrant family, moving from Calcutta to New York, and their son who wants to be American. It sets up the struggle between the old and new worlds. It looks wonderful, and it is accompanied by an good score that plays up the two sides. It was directed by Mira Nair.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Air Guitar Nation
  • Color Me Kubrick
  • First Snow
  • Memory
  • Offside

Box Office Predictions
300 ran roughshod over the top films for the past two weeks, even with its precipitous drop between the first two weeks. Will it be able to continue its dominance? I would kind of like to say yes, but there is a lot of competition arriving this weekend that is going to be segmenting the audience to a large degree. The weekend is going to be a sprint, who ever can get out of the blocks fast on Friday is going to win. Who is going to play the role of leader? No idea, but I am sure I can guess. With so many new movies entering the field, the top ten is going to look very different come Monday. Will any of the 6 be flops? Who knows.

Here is how I think the top ten field will play out:

RankTitleBox Office
1TMNT$30 million
2300$22 million
3The Last Mimzy$20 million
4Wild Hogs$16 million


$15 million
6The Hills Have Eyes 2

$11 million

7Reign Over Me$9 million
8Pride$8 million
9Premonition$7 million
10Dead Silence$4 million

What are you seeing this weekend?


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