Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Box Office Report: Sept. 21-23

Yet another third installment in a film series managed to take the top spot at the box office over the weekend. But unlike the success of “Spider-Man,” “Shrek” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequels, this one was a bit more of a surprise. “Resident Evil: Extinction” grabbed $23.7 million to easily hold off “Good Luck Chuck,” starring Dane Cook and Jessica Alba, for first place. The debut was the biggest of the three in the inexplicably popular “Resident Evil” series, which is based on a video game.

“The Brave One,” last week’s number one, slid down to third place, with $7.3 million. “Eastern Promises,” the latest from director David Cronenberg, expanded its release and took fifth place.

1. “Resident Evil: Extinction”
(Weekend domestic gross - $23.7 million)
(Worldwide gross - $23.7 million)
(Budget - N/A)
2. “Good Luck Chuck”
(Weekend domestic gross - $13.7 million)
(Worldwide gross - $13.7 million)
(Budget - N/A)
3. “The Brave One”
(Weekend domestic gross - $7.3 million)
(Worldwide gross - $25.5 million)
(Budget - N/A)
4. “3:10 to Yuma”
(Weekend domestic gross - $6.2 million)
(Worldwide gross - $39.4 million)
(Budget - $55 million)
5. “Eastern Promises”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.6 million)
(Worldwide gross - $6.4 million)
(Budget - N/A)
6. “Sydney White”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.2 million)
(Worldwide gross - $5.2 million)
(Budget - N/A)
7. “Mr. Woodcock”
(Weekend domestic gross - $4.9 million)
(Worldwide gross - $15.6 million)
(Budget - N/A)
8. “Superbad”
(Weekend domestic gross - $3.1 million)
(Worldwide gross - $126.1 million)
(Budget - $20 million)
9. “The Bourne Ultimatum”
(Weekend domestic gross - $2.9 million)
(Worldwide gross - $365.4 million)
(Budget - $110 million)
10. “Dragon Wars”
(Weekend domestic gross - $2.6 million)
(Worldwide gross - $64.3 million)
(Budget - N/A)

2007 Year-To-Date
1. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

(Worldwide gross - $960.6 million)
(Budget - $300 million)
2. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
(Worldwide gross - $932.0 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
3. “Spider-Man 3”
(Worldwide gross - $890.5 million)
(Budget - $258 million)
4. “Shrek the Third”
(Worldwide gross - $785.0 million)
(Budget - $160 million)
5. “Transformers”
(Worldwide gross - $695.3 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
6. “The Simpsons Movie”
(Worldwide gross - $504.2 million)
(Budget - $75 million)
7. “300”
(Worldwide gross - $456.1 million)
(Budget - $65 million)
8. “Ratatouille”
(Worldwide gross - $413.1 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
9. “Live Free or Die Hard”
(Worldwide gross - $368.3 million)
(Budget - $110 million)
10. “The Bourne Ultimatum”
(Worldwide gross - $365.4 million)
(Budget - $110 million)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Movie Review: "Fracture"


Starring Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Fiona Shaw, Bob Gunton
Directed by Gregory Hoblit

Official Web site

Highlighted by the pairing of a former Oscar winner (Anthony Hopkins) with an up-and-coming star (Ryan Gosling) who just earned his first Academy Award nomination last year, “Fracture” is watchable, but a bit less than the sum of its parts.

The thriller is at its most interesting when Hopkins and Gosling are pitted against each other, as murder suspect and attorney for the prosecution, respectively. The rest of the time the movie tries to keep the audience interested in the somewhat farfetched courtroom activity as well as the clich├ęs that Gosling’s character has to wade through.

Gosling plays Willy Beachum, a rising young talent in the district attorney’s office who has managed to attain a flawless case record, growing a fairly insufferable ego in the process. District Attorney Joe Lobruto (David Strathairn) knows that Beachum is good, and also knows that he’s looking to advance his career to a higher paying job at a major legal firm.

But before he heads out the DA’s door, he’s given a seemingly cut-and-dried case of a husband shooting his wife, who has fallen into a coma as a result. However, Beachum quickly learns that the case is going to be tougher than he imagined, as the husband, Ted Crawford (Hopkins), chooses to defend himself and proves to be a tricky
opponent.

Some of the scenes between Hopkins and Gosling bring to mind (likely not too much of an accident) mental showdowns that Hopkins had with Jodie Foster in “Silence of the Lambs,” another film that had the star imprisoned for much of the running time. Gosling proves to be a good match in these scenes, showing the confidence of a young attorney slowly being stripped away by a cunning criminal. By showing Crawford shooting his wife (Embeth Davidtz) early in the film, his character’s guilt is never brought into question. It’s simply left up to Beachum to try and outsmart an adversary who seemingly knows how to make the legal system work in his favor.

While Beachum struggles with his case, he’s also attempting to set up his future with the legal firm, receiving help from a rising attorney (Rosamund Pike). Gosling and Pike have a fairly good chemistry in their scenes together, yet the movie trots out the seemingly obligatory romance that not only feels unnecessary, but also farfetched.

Director Gregory Hoblit keeps the story moving, yet doesn’t bring as much to the table as he did in “Primal Fear,” another courtroom centered thriller that featured a superior story and a breakout performance from Edward Norton.

“Fracture” is best defined as a solid, yet unexceptional genre piece that features two strong lead performances. Some of the characters’ actions play out a bit too conveniently for the plot, but the stars should at least keep you interested until the final credits roll.

Grade: B-
(Rated R for language and some violent content.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Box Office Report: Sept. 14-16

Showing she still has the ability to open a picture after all these years, Jodie Foster’s new crime drama, “The Brave One” opened at number one over the weekend, taking in $13.5 million. Last week’s number one, “3:10 to Yuma,” dropped to second with $8.9 million. The long delayed comedy, “Mr. Woodcock,” starring Billy Bob Thornton, was able to snag third place, while “Dragon Wars” (your guess is as good as mine) debuted in fifth.

The worldwide top 10 movies remained locked in their positions for the second straight weekend, with little chance of movement anytime soon.

1. “The Brave One”
(Weekend domestic gross - $13.5 million)
(Worldwide gross - $13.5 million)
(Budget - N/A)
2. “3:10 to Yuma”
(Weekend domestic gross - $8.9 million)
(Worldwide gross - $28.8 million)
(Budget - $55 million)
3. “Mr. Woodcock”
(Weekend domestic gross - $8.8 million)
(Worldwide gross - $8.8 million)
(Budget - N/A)
4. “Superbad”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.1 million)
(Worldwide gross - $114.4 million)
(Budget - $20 million)
5. “Dragon Wars”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.0 million)
(Worldwide gross - $59.9 million)
(Budget - N/A)
6. “Halloween”
(Weekend domestic gross - $4.9 million)
(Worldwide gross - $51.1 million)
(Budget - N/A)
7. “The Bourne Ultimatum”
(Weekend domestic gross - $4.1 million)
(Worldwide gross - $339.9 million)
(Budget - $110 million)
8. “Balls of Fury”
(Weekend domestic gross - $3.32 million)
(Worldwide gross - $28.9 million)
(Budget - N/A)
9. “Rush Hour 3”
(Weekend domestic gross - $3.3 million)
(Worldwide gross - $195.7 million)
(Budget - $140 million)
10. “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”
(Weekend domestic gross - $2.7 million)
(Worldwide gross - $218.2 million)
(Budget - N/A)

2007 Year-To-Date
1. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

(Worldwide gross - $960.4 million)
(Budget - $300 million)
2. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
(Worldwide gross - $928.5 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
3. “Spider-Man 3”
(Worldwide gross - $890.5 million)
(Budget - $258 million)
4. “Shrek the Third”
(Worldwide gross - $780.2 million)
(Budget - $160 million)
5. “Transformers”
(Worldwide gross - $692.2 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
6. “The Simpsons Movie”
(Worldwide gross - $491.0 million)
(Budget - $75 million)
7. “300”
(Worldwide gross - $456.1 million)
(Budget - $65 million)
8. “Ratatouille”
(Worldwide gross - $404.1 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
9. “Live Free or Die Hard”
(Worldwide gross - $364.4 million)
(Budget - $110 million)
10. “The Bourne Ultimatum”
(Worldwide gross - $339.9 million)
(Budget - $110 million)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Box Office Report: Sept. 7-9

It was hardly an exceptional opening weekend for “3:10 to Yuma,” but the western starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale managed to round up $14 million worth of business to take the top slot. Last week’s number one, “Halloween” dropped to $9.5 million, good enough for second place.

The only other major debut, “Shoot ‘Em Up,” with Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti, did a surprisingly tepid $5.4 million, which could only grab the sixth slot.

1. “3:10 to Yuma”
(Weekend domestic gross - $14.0 million)
(Worldwide gross - $14.0 million)
(Budget - $55 million)
2. “Halloween”
(Weekend domestic gross - $9.5 million)
(Worldwide gross - $43.7 million)
(Budget - N/A)
3. “Superbad”
(Weekend domestic gross - $7.6 million)
(Worldwide gross - $103.2 million)
(Budget - $20 million)
4. “The Bourne Ultimatum”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.67 million)
(Worldwide gross - $308.3 million)
(Budget - $110 million)
5. “Balls of Fury”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.63 million)
(Worldwide gross - $24.2 million)
(Budget - N/A)
6. “Shoot ‘Em Up”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.4 million)
(Worldwide gross - $5.4 million)
(Budget - N/A)
7. “Rush Hour 3”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.3 million)
(Worldwide gross - $182.1 million)
(Budget - $140 million)
8. “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”
(Weekend domestic gross - $3.4 million)
(Worldwide gross - $214.6 million)
(Budget - N/A)
9. “The Nanny Diaries”
(Weekend domestic gross - $3.2 million)
(Worldwide gross - $20.9 million)
(Budget - N/A)
10. “Hairspray”
(Weekend domestic gross - $2.0 million)
(Worldwide gross - $147.6 million)
(Budget - N/A)

2007 Year-To-Date
1. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

(Worldwide gross - $960.2 million)
(Budget - $300 million)
2. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
(Worldwide gross - $923.9 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
3. “Spider-Man 3”
(Worldwide gross - $890.4 million)
(Budget - $258 million)
4. “Shrek the Third”
(Worldwide gross - $772.0 million)
(Budget - $160 million)
5. “Transformers”
(Worldwide gross - $689.9 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
6. “The Simpsons Movie”
(Worldwide gross - $484.5 million)
(Budget - $75 million)
7. “300”
(Worldwide gross - $456.1 million)
(Budget - $65 million)
8. “Ratatouille”
(Worldwide gross - $392.5 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
9. “Live Free or Die Hard”
(Worldwide gross - $357.2 million)
(Budget - $110 million)
10. “The Bourne Ultimatum”
(Worldwide gross - $308.3 million)
(Budget - $110 million)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Box Office Report: Aug. 31-Sept. 3

Director Rob Zombie’s remake (or reimagining, or whatever) of “Halloween” was good enough to take the top spot at the box office for the Labor Day weekend, pulling in $31 million. “Halloween” on Labor Day? OK, that makes sense.
“Balls of Fury,” the long awaited look at the seamy underbelly of ping-pong (or table tennis for you purists) earned close to $14 million in its debut, while “Death Sentence,” starring Kevin Bacon, snagged a paltry $5.2 million for eighth place.

1. “Halloween”
(Weekend domestic gross - $31.0 million)
(Worldwide gross - $31.0 million)
(Budget - N/A)
2. “Superbad”
(Weekend domestic gross - $15.6 million)
(Worldwide gross - $92.4 million)
(Budget - $20 million)
3. “Balls of Fury”
(Weekend domestic gross - $13.8 million)
(Worldwide gross - $16.8 million)
(Budget - N/A)
4. “The Bourne Ultimatum”
(Weekend domestic gross - $13.2 million)
(Worldwide gross - $277.4 million)
(Budget - $110 million)
5. “Rush Hour 3”
(Weekend domestic gross - $10.4 million)
(Worldwide gross - $162.4 million)
(Budget - $140 million)
6. “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”
(Weekend domestic gross - $8.1 million)
(Worldwide gross - $210.6 million)
(Budget - N/A)
7. “The Nanny Diaries”
(Weekend domestic gross - $6.4 million)
(Worldwide gross - $16.5 million)
(Budget - N/A)
8. “Death Sentence”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.2 million)
(Worldwide gross - $5.2 million)
(Budget - N/A)
9. “War”
(Weekend domestic gross - $5.1 million)
(Worldwide gross - $18.1 million)
(Budget - N/A)
10. “Stardust”
(Weekend domestic gross - $3.9 million)
(Worldwide gross - $46.0 million)
(Budget - $70 million)

2007 Year-To-Date
1. “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”

(Worldwide gross - $959.3 million)
(Budget - $300 million)
2. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
(Worldwide gross - $911.7 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
3. “Spider-Man 3”
(Worldwide gross - $890.2 million)
(Budget - $258 million)
4. “Shrek the Third”
(Worldwide gross - $757.3 million)
(Budget - $160 million)
5. “Transformers”
(Worldwide gross - $685.3 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
6. “The Simpsons Movie”
(Worldwide gross - $469.4 million)
(Budget - $75 million)
7. “300”
(Worldwide gross - $456.1 million)
(Budget - $65 million)
8. “Ratatouille”
(Worldwide gross - $373.4 million)
(Budget - $150 million)
9. “Live Free or Die Hard”
(Worldwide gross - $353.9 million)
(Budget - $110 million)
10. “Ocean’s Thirteen”
(Worldwide gross - $305.4 million)
(Budget - N/A)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Fall 2007 Movie Preview (Part 2)

Shifting into October, there are Oscar-winning actors popping up all over the place, as some of the subject matter covered by these films grows noticeably more serious (with a few exceptions, to be sure). Still, there’s only a handful of these movies that look like they have real potential to be big box office hits.

At any rate, the following is the skinny on some of the more notable releases that October has to offer.

OCTOBER
“The Heartbreak Kid”
Starring Ben Stiller, Michelle Monaghan, Malin Akerman, Jerry Stiller, Rob Corddry
Directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly

Most people won’t remember the 1972 comedy that this movie is a remake of, yet audiences will certainly remember the teaming of Stiller with the Farrelly brothers in “There’s Something About Mary.” The three will certainly be hoping for a repeat of that successful film, with Stiller playing a newlywed on his honeymoon who realizes his new wife isn’t exactly who he thought he married. Complicating matters more is his sudden infatuation with a woman (Monaghan) he befriends. (Oct. 5)
Official Web site

“Michael Clayton”
Starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sydney Pollack
Directed by Tony Gilroy

A corporate lawyer (Clooney) has a crisis of conscience when he’s assigned a case involving one of his firm’s own employees (Wilkinson), who the firm is very scared will start talking about some of its less than noble activities. Feel free to interject your own joke here about lawyers and consciences. (Oct. 5)
Official Web site

“We Own the Night”
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes and Robert Duvall
Directed by James Gray

The careers of Phoenix and Wahlberg are both pretty hot right now, and pairing them together in a tale of a New York City club manager caught in the middle of a struggle between mobsters and his cop-filled family sounds like a smart move. (Oct. 12)
Official Web site

“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”
Starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Clive Owen, Samantha Morton, Abbie Cornish
Directed by Shekhar Kapur

Technically, this movie can qualify as a sequel as it tells the continuing story of Queen Elizabeth and brings back the director (Kapur) and top two stars (Blanchett and Rush). But this is also one of those rare sequels that has aspirations beyond making money, as 1998’s “Elizabeth” wracked up seven Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture. (Oct. 12)
Official Web site

“Reservation Road”
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Connelly, Mira Sorvino
Directed by Terry George

Reteaming Phoenix with director George (“Hotel Rwanda” and “Ladder 49”), “Reservation Road” is based on a novel by John Burnham Schwartz that documents the impact of a fatal hit-and-run accident on two young couples. Clearly, there’s not going to be a lot of laughs in this one, so grab your tissues, folks. (Oct. 19, limited)
Official Web site: Not available

“Gone Baby Gone”
Starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, John Ashton, Amy Ryan
Directed by Ben Affleck

Mock some of his decisions on acting roles if you will, but Ben Affleck has won an Oscar before (for co-writing “Good Will Hunting” with buddy Matt Damon). This time out, he’s co-written an adaptation of a Dennis Lehane (“Mystic River”) novel, and is even directing, with his younger brother, Casey, starring. With Freeman and Harris on board in support, this is a tough one to make fun of. (Oct. 19)
Official Web site

“Rendition”
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Peter Sarsgaard, Alan Arkin and Meryl Streep
Directed by Gavin Hood

In what might be the best cast of the fall movie season (and that’s really saying something), Witherspoon stars as a mother whose husband is secretly taken into custody by the U.S. government for his possible terrorist connections. Gyllenhaal is a CIA agent in charge of the interrogation, while Arkin and Streep are bereaucrats involved in the case. Oscar-winner Hood (“Tsotsi”) directs this timely political thriller. (Oct. 19)
Official Web site

“Saw IV”
Starring Tobin Bell, Scott Patterson, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Lyriq Bent
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman

Hmm, it’s about time for Halloween, which means it must also be time for ... another “Saw” movie. After three successful installments, does it really matter what the story’s about anymore? Expect a few laughs, a few tears and a little bit of blood shed. OK, maybe none of the two former and a lot of the latter. (Oct. 26)
Official Web site

“Things We Lost in the Fire”
Starring Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny, Omar Benson Miller, Alison Lohman, John Carroll Lynch
Directed by Susanne Bier

Since winning her Oscar for “Monster’s Ball” in 2001, Berry has been widely criticized for her film choices. But she might be onto something here, playing a woman struggling to cope after the death of her husband (Duchovny). She invites her husband’s troubled best friend (Del Toro) to stay with her and her kids in the hopes that they can heal each other’s pain.(Oct. 26)
Official Web site