If you’re looking for a good time on DVD this week, you’re in luck — as long as you navigate the minefields of the rotten (Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Hot Rod) and the even worse (Lindsay Lohan‘s career-murdering I Know Who Killed Me) to pick up a genuine charmer (Waitress), a solid familial tale (The Namesake), a mind-boggling anime import (Paprika), or our personal pick, the return of Futurama (Bender’s Big Score)!
Small town waitress Jenna (Keri Russell) desperately wants out of her abusive marriage and her dead-end life, passing the time baking delicious and whimsically-named pies while dreaming of leaving town. When she finds out she’s pregnant, everything changes, thanks to a secret romance with the local OB-GYN (Nathan Fillion), a chance at winning a $25,000 at a pie bake-off, and the newfound joys of motherhood. Bolstered by a warmly quirky supporting cast, this southern charmer comes to DVD as a bittersweet coda to the life of writer-director and co-star Adrienne Shelly, who was tragically killed last year. Months after her death Shelly’s film was accepted into the Sundance Film Festival and picked up for distribution, and opened to critical acclaim the following spring.
Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair) returns to form with this solid adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, about the culture clash between two generations of an Indian immigrant family. Comic actor Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle) goes dramatic as American-born son Gogol, who struggles to balance his dueling identities and his relationships with two different women; Indian cinema stars Irfan Khan and Tabu play the beleaguered traditionalist parents, who find that their children have grown up very differently than they had imagined.
When a mind-invading device goes missing, doctors enlist Paprika, an electronic persona, to navigate the hallucinogenic dream world and find the culprit. Director Satoshi Kon employs eye-popping visuals and a surrealist touch to invoke the experience of sub-conscious reverie in his artful (if nonsensical) adaptation of the 1993 science fiction novel of the same name. Four featurettes on the disc give insight into the production of the film, but this one is worth it for the film alone.
Good news, Futurama fans! In this first of four new films, evil aliens send misanthropic robot Bender back in time to help them take over Earth, sparking a chain of events that could change the course of history; more importantly, series fans get the return of characters like Zapp Brannigan, Nibbler, Robot Santa, Al Gore as himself, and Kwanzaabot, voiced by the inestimable Coolio. Cast and crew commentary, featurettes, a full 20 minutes of Hypnotoad and more await you in the bonus menu. And remember, the return of the Best. Animated. Series. Ever. hinges on the sales of this and the next three Futurama DVDs, so if you really care about the fate of Planet Express and its dysfunctional delivery crew, snap up this release! (And check out our chat with director Dwayne Carey-Hill and producer Claudia Katz!)
This slow-simmering noir follows a slick-talking salesman (Guy Pearce) whose ominous visit to a roadside fortune teller (J.K. Simmons) portends success — and death — on the horizon. Critics were split on whether first time director Mark Fergus (screenwriter of Children of Men and the forthcoming Iron Man) effectively builds tension in his story or deflates it, but the cast in this indie thriller is certainly notable. Besides, it’s supporting actor William Fichtner‘s birthday today, if that’s enough of a reason to give this flick a chance.
Mr. Bean’s Holiday
The irrepressible Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) returns to theaters a full decade after his first big-screen endeavor (Bean), and despite improving upon that 36 percent Tomatometer effort, he’s still got the scribes befuddled. This time the silent funnyman finds himself on a prize vacation to Cannes, France, recording his travels en route to the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. If you’ve seen any of the classic television show, you already know what you’re in store for; if not, be happy knowing there will be no more additional Bean movies to suffer through.
Saturday Night Live enjoyed an energy boost when the Lonely Island comedy trio of Jorma Taccone, Akiva Schaffer, and Andy Samberg signed on (what fan could live now without SNL‘s brilliant Digital Shorts?), but their first feature film — about an aspiring stuntman named Rod — failed to capture the hearts of the critical mass. We say, what up scribes? Hot Rod‘s got a killer 1980s hair metal soundtrack, a punch-dancing sequence, and enough silly laughs to make us want to drop a Hamilton on some crazy delicious cupcakes.
Canadian horror, eh. A half-blood werewolf boy is the key to ending an age-old curse in one small town, but a band of bloodlusting lycans aim to keep the curse alive. Howlingly bad? You be the judge (or trust us, and listen to the critics on this one).
We know, we know. Who would have thought that a stereotype-reinforcing, live action version of a children’s toy line aimed at pre-teen mallrats could be anything but stellar fare?
Ouch. Lindsay Lohan‘s latest couldn’t even beat the irredeemable Bratz movie’s Tomatometer (some might say it single-handedly killed her career). Comparisons to movies like Boxing Helena and unnecessarily gory torture porn flicks don’t help, either. Sadly, we know as well as TriStar Pictures that the extended stripper sequence will boost DVD sales exponentially…
Take aim, home theater enthusiasts. May your DVD-hunting arrows fly true.
This week at the movies, we’ve got wacky cops (Rush
Hour 3, starring
Jackie Chan and
Chris Tucker), fairy tales (Stardust,
starring Robert De
Michelle Pfeiffer), the great outdoors (Daddy
Day Camp, starring
Cuba Gooding Jr.),
and lycanthropes (Skinwalkers).
What do the critics have to say?
Making the most of Jackie
Chan‘s deft physical comedy skills and
Chris Tucker‘s brash
affability, Rush Hour
was a refreshing, breezy take on the cop/buddy action/comedy subgenre. However,
two sequels later, critics say the thrill is gone, and formula has set in. In
Rush Hour 3, our
heroes head to Paris to take on the Triads; action, wisecracks, and cultural
misunderstandings ensue. Pundits say Rush Hour 3 simply doesn’t add
enough new elements to the mix to make it worthwhile; worse, they say there’s a
lack of energy that makes schlepping through an incomprehensible plot pretty
difficult. At 23 percent on the Tomatometer, this franchise’s Hour may be
up. (Check out RT’s interview with Tucker and director Brett Ratner
A mashup of fantasy, adventure, romance, and comedy, critics are calling
Stardust one of the
best big-kid fairy tales since
The Princess Bride.
Based upon Neil Gaiman‘s
fantasy novel, Stardust spins a tale of a young man who sets out to prove
his love to the girl of his dreams by presenting her with a fallen star; he
embarks on a journey through a forbidden kingdom, encountering witches, pirates, and other magical folks along the way. The pundits say the cast —
which features Robert
De Niro, Sienna
Claire Danes, Peter
Charlie Cox — is top-notch, and helps to enliven director
imaginative fantasy world. While some pundits say the movie has moments of
unevenness, it has enough visual razzle-dazzle, good humor, and well-drawn
performances to compensate. At 76 percent on the Tomatometer, Stardust
Apparently, the people behind the werewolf flick
afraid those pesky critics may have revolvers full of silver bullets, since it
wasn’t screened prior to release. Skinwalkers tells the tale of two packs
of hairy, sharp-toothed creatures waging a battle for control of a small town —
with two of the locals caught in the middle. Kids, change out of those torn
clothes and Guess the Tomatometer!
Recent Robert De Niro Movies:
Arthur and the Invisibles (2007)
56% — The Good
12% — Hide
and Seek (2005)
Bridge of San Luis Rey (2005)
38% — Meet the
Another wide assortment of summer offerings will hit the multiplexes across North America this weekend. The action-comedy sequel Rush Hour 3 leads the way as the main course and will be joined by side dishes like the fantasy adventure Stardust, the family comedy Daddy Day Camp, and the horror flick Skinwalkers. The third mega-opening in a row should keep overall ticket sales abnormally high for this time of year.
Six years and one week after the last installment opened, Rush Hour 3 hits theaters from coast to coast hoping to recapture the magic that made its two predecessors shatter industry expectations. Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, and director Brett Ratner have all reteamed (with some handsome raises) for a story about the world’s biggest organized crime syndicate whose secrets are hidden in Paris. The first Rush Hour smashed the September opening weekend box office record with a $33M launch in 1998. Rush Hour 2 set a new August opening record in 2001 with its $67.4M debut which it held until last weekend’s The Bourne Ultimatum arrived. Together, Carter and Lee have arrested $367M domestically and $575M worldwide with their pair of cross-cultural buddy cop hits.
But a lot of time has passed since the last Rush Hour film and some fans may have lost interest in a formula that can easily get tired the third time around. The new pic should play mostly to existing fans and will not create too many new ones. Still, Rush Hour 3 does offer the most ethnic starpower of any film this summer so business from multicultural moviegoers should be very strong. Jason Bourne’s second weekend will provide ample competition for the action crowd, then again Rush Hour 2 had to deal with the second weekend of Planet of the Apes which opened the week before with a similarly potent $68.5M which at the time was the second biggest opening in history. So Chan and Tucker can handle the pressure. Expect those who like this dish to come back for a third helping for what should be the final big bow of the summer season. Crashing into more than 3,100 theaters, Rush Hour 3 could speed to about $61M this weekend.
Fox’s hit toon The Simpsons Movie, already the third highest grossing animated film of the year after the ogre threequel and the rodent comedy, should stabilize this weekend after its hefty sophomore slump of two-thirds. A 50% decline would give Homer and pals around $12.5M for the weekend and a 17-day total of $153M.
LAST YEAR: Will Ferrell stayed put at number one with the hit comedy Talladega Nights despite a 53% drop to $22.1M in its second lap for Sony. Buena Vista raced past expectations with its teen sensation Step Up which bowed in the number two spot with a stellar $20.7M on its way to $65.3M. Paramount’s 9/11 drama World Trade Center debuted in third with $18.7M over three days and $26.5M over five days. The Oliver Stone pic went on to gross a solid $70.3M. The studio’s animated film Barnyard slipped only 39% in its sophomore session to $9.7M taking fourth place. Opening to mild results in fifth was the thriller Pulse with $8.2M on its way to $20.3M for The Weinstein Co. Sony crashed and burned in ninth with the kidpic Zoom which bowed to just $4.5M leading to a weak $11.6M final.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
If you like werewolves and are looking for a conversation starter for your living room, you’re in luck. After Dark Films is giving away one life-size Skinwalkers creature, designed by Stan Winston Studios. Tres chic!
Skinwalkers, opening Friday, is a tale of modern day warring werewolf clans (from Canada, eh) battling it out using guns, sex, and their own bloodthirsty urges. One life-size Skinwalker — a bit Teen Wolf-esque, as you can see from the picture below — will go to the lucky winner of After Dark’s drawing. Who needs a welcome mat when they have this hairy fella guarding the pad?
The contest asks you to send in your opening day Skinwalkers ticket stub (check the official rules for your entry options).
More on Skinwalkers, which appears to be not screening for critics: Thirteen-year-old Timothy (Matthew Knight) and his mother (Rhona Mitra) are about to find out that he’s half-werewolf and that their in-laws, full-blooded but benevolent werewolves, have been protecting them for years. A pack of blood-lusting werewolves — or Skinwalkers — are coming after Timothy, whose powers will decide the fate of their kind.
While action-horror flicks tend to bear the brunt of critical analysis, this one has a few interesting things going for it. Mitra, better known of late for her television roles (Nip/Tuck, anyone?), looks exceptionally lethal when packing heat, as we’ll see next year in Neil Marshall‘s Doomsday. Elias Koteas, who plays the good werewolf uncle, has matured into a decent character actor since his Casey Jones days (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, anyone?). And there’s Jason Behr (Roswell, anyone?), who is possibly the last actor you’d ever imagine as a bloodthirsty bad guy.
By the way, the Skinwalkers contest creature appears to be Behr’s jean-jacketed character, Varek, in full Skinwalker mode.
Check the official Skinwalkers site for more info.
Thursday at Comic-Con Lionsgate presented a trio of high-octane, blood-soaked titles, including the first-ever showing of a "Skinwalkers" clip, a fun backalley fistfight from "Crank," and a not-for-the-queasy scene from "Saw III."
The panel was packed with hungry gore-hounds, all salivating for a peek at the upcoming third installment to the "Saw" franchise. But first, the directors and stars of "Crank" sat down to share a clip of their film, which follows 24 hours in the life of a poisoned hitman (Jason Statham) who has to keep his adrenaline up in order to stay alive.
Statham himself appeared on the panel, to the crowd’s delight, as well as writer-directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. They were joined by “Napoleon Dynamite’s” Efren Ramirez, who plays Statham’s sidekick of sorts, and a fight scene was played for the audience.
In the scene, Statham’s Chev Chelios finds himself in an alley fighting at least two guys. He jumps into the scene by chopping off the gun-wielding hand of one assailant, and takes on the second guy while the camera wheels frenetically around the action. Meanwhile, a rollicking score rolls in the background (reminiscent of those great, cheesy action flicks from the 70s). As the goon gets the upper hand on Statham, out of nowhere a spindly figure lands a blow to the guy’s head with a baking pin and he turns his attention to the diminutive Ramirez. Just when it looks like Pedro is going to die a painful death, Statham picks up the first guy’s gun – severed hand still attached – and puts a bullet in the second guy’s head, painting a nice blood spray on the walls.
The crowd seemed to like the clip, which showcased Statham’s hard-boiled, deadpan acting (and action) style. Directors Neveldine and Taylor, who also shared camera duties, said they captured much of the action in scenes like car chases while riding skateboards; that sort of physical, cavalier attitude comes right through in the “Crank” clip, and gives good reason to look forward to their flick, out September 1st.
The clip, shown for the first time ever, takes place in the basement of a house where one of the werewolf factions are preparing for their full-moon transformation by securing themselves in leather-and-chain restraints. One man has secured a woman and two men when he hears a sound upstairs and goes to check it out. When he says, “I’ll be back,” we all know what’s gonna happen according to scary movie rules.
He gets killed quickly. Meanwhile, his companions are chained up downstairs, wondering frantically what’s going on. The dude’s dead body lands before them, and the rival group of were-people enter, demanding the whereabouts of the half-blood kid and his mom, who are the key to the future of their race. When the chained chick reveals that they don’t even know, she’s forced to watch as her buddies are knifed before her eyes. Ick.
Alas, the clip did not show any of the special effects that Stan Winston came in to promote, although Winston does promise fantastic-looking digital creatures. He also said he’s loved the “Skinwalkers” script for years, and that he hasn’t seen a good werewolf movie since “An American Werewolf in London.”
“This is not “Underworld,” Winston added, if that gives you any more idea of how “Skinwalkers” will turn out.
Lionsgate also screened a scene from “The Descent,” which opens August 4, and will feature the trailer for “Saw III” – the incredibly tense, bloody trailer that they showed next, which they hope the MPAA will approve (for the sake of young children and terribly squeamish people like me, I hope this trailer doesn’t make it to television. Ever.).
The “Saw III” trailer: A man named Troy wakes up in a small room, sitting in a chair with chains running from him to various points in the room. CHAINS ATTACHED TO HIS BODY. Seriously, they run through his hands, his shoulders, his tongue (and you know it’s only going to get sicker).
A television turns on remotely and tells Troy (essentially) that he (an ex-convict) has enjoyed getting in trouble so much, and has devoted himself to a life of crime and prison – and that a bomb will detonate in one minute. Is he willing to break his chains now, in order to live?
The answer is yes. Troy doesn’t want to die, but not dying requires him to RIP OUT every chain attached through his body parts, which he proceeds to attempt as the clock ticks down. He groans, we groan, it’s sick. One by one, the chains are torn out, but Troy runs out of time, and the room explodes into a title screen.
Oh yes, there will be vomit.
Geeks from across the world will converge at the San Diego Convention Center today to get their annual fix of comics, movies, and pop culture, and RT will be right there bringing you coverage of the panels, major announcements, interviews, and the daily B.O. levels from the floor (and I don’t mean Box Office).
RT’s Binh Ngo and Jen Yamato are in town for this year’s Comic-Con International, which lasts from Thursday – Sunday, and (as always) promises loads of fun, news, and previews of the most anticipated blockbusters and genre pics of the coming year. This Comic-Con promises gore ("Saw III," "Grudge 2," "Grind House"), fantasy ("Stardust," "Pan’s Labyrinth"), and animation ("The Ant Bully," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"); there’s also comic book adaptations ("Ghost Rider," "The Spirit," "Spider-Man 3") and plain-old fun ("DOA: Dead or Alive," "Borat," "Accepted," "SNAKES ON A PLANE")!
Thursday’s slate includes the much-anticipated "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" panel, a preview of Sony’s upcoming animation slate, and Lionsgate’s presentation of "Crank," "Skinwalkers," and…ick…"Saw III." Some of the earlybirds who made it to Wednesday’s preview night scored freebie "Saw III" posters, and even that was gory. If the poster’s scary, how freaky will the clips be???
Keep an eyeball out (ha!) for our panel reports, blog entries, and photos (booths! babes! nerds!) from Comic-Con, and check out our friends at IGN.com, who have dived into the action with their Comic-Con index!
Thanks to their awesome preview day photo gallery, the world can now meet Amazing Lego Batman!
I attend several film festivals each year, but there’s always one movie-centric event that I’d really love to attend: The San Diego Comic-Con. Movie geek heaven is what I like to call it. Read on to find out why…
From the pre-con report at Dark Horizons: "With a little over a week to go, the full schedule has been announced with this year’s various panels to include appearances and Q&As with the likes of Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson, Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Jason Statham, David Wenham, Rosario Dawson, Amber Tamblyn, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Eva Mendes, Kristen Bell, Ali Larter, AnnaSophia Robb, Nick Frost, David Arquette and The Wayans Brothers.
Joining them will be directing and producing luminaries such as Sam Raimi, Alfonso Cuarón, Bryan Singer, Kevin Smith, Richard Kelly, Robert Rodriguez, Guillermo del Toro, Stephen Hopkins, Jon Favreau, Edgar Wright, David Goyer, James L. Brooks, Mark Steven Johnson, Zack Snyder, Joel Silver and Stan Winston.
Potential footage debuts from the likes of ("Spider-Man 3"), "300," "Grind House" and possibly "Transformers" will draw much talk as well. Amongst the films getting panels or being shown footage from are: "300," "The Ant Bully," "The Children of Men," "Crank," "DOA: Dead or Alive," "Fantastic Four 2," "Flyboys," "Ghost Rider," "Grind House," "Happy Feet," "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Iron Man," "Open Season," "Pan’s Labyrinth," "The Reaping," "Saw III," "Skinwalkers," "Snakes on a Plane," "Southland Tales," "Spider-Man 3," "Stardust," "Surf’s Up," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning," "Transformers" & "The Wicker Man."