This week we bring you an exclusive look from the DVD release of Smart People, starring Dennis Quaid and Ellen Page as a father and daughter whose intellect outweighs their social graces; imagine a higher-strung Juno obsessed with high test scores instead of hamburger phones. Also check out what’s new on DVD: Stephen Chow‘s CJ7, new seasons of South Park, The Wire, and Prison Break, and the ickiest father-daughter romance of the week, starring David Duchovny and Juno sidekick Olivia Thirlby.

Smart People



Tomatometer: 49%

A high IQ does not a happy person make, as the smarty pants in Noam Murro’s directorial debut prove. Father and daughter Lawrence (Dennis Quaid) and Vanessa (Ellen Page) are an intellectually superior but socially self destructive pair in this textbook Sundance flick. Critics were split, which means checking it out on DVD could be a smart move (pun intended).

Bonus Features:

Smart People assembles a fine cast, who all appear in bloopers, outtakes, interviews and features on the DVD. Exclusive footage from the film’s Sundance Film Festival premiere adds a nice touch. Director Murro and writer Mark Jude Poirier also contribute a commentary.

Watch an exclusive clip from the Smart People DVD below, in which Quaid and the filmmakers reveal why and how they developed his grumpy character, Lawrence. Smart People is out this week on DVD.

South Park, The Wire, Prison Break, and more! Click for this week’s new releases!



CJ7



Tomatometer: 49%

Actor-director Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer) switches gears to bring us his oddly sweet take on the family film, with a nod to ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, Lilo & Stitch, and a sprinkling of CGI kung fu action. Chow stars as Ti, a father who brings home a glowing green toy that turns out to be a doglike alien with magical powers.

Bonus Features:

Chow contributes a brisk full-length commentary track, and a handful of featurettes provide insight into the making of the film. Plus, learn “How to Bully a Bully” from Stephen Chow himself.

Irina Palm



Tomatometer: 72%

Rock icon Marianne Faithfull stars in this drama as Maggie, a 50-something grandmother who desperately takes a job as a hostess in a London sex club in order to pay for her grandson’s operation. Why they call her “Irina Palm”…well, let’s just say the name fits the service. Ahem.

Bonus Features:

Besides trailers and cast and director interviews, there’s not much in the way of bonus material. Critical praise and sheer curiosity value considered, however, Irina Palm should be one of the week’s more interesting releases.


South Park: The Complete Eleventh Season


Tomatometer:
N/A

If the kids of South Park aged in real time, Cartman would be elephant-walking his way through freshman orientation and hazing Kyle, Stan, and Kenny in college. But by Season 11, the boys are still where they belong: elementary school. Check out South Park: The Complete Eleventh Season in all of its uncensored, foul-mouthed glory for episodes like “Guitar Queer-O” and the three-part, Emmy-nominated “Imaginationland” saga.

Bonus Features:

Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker offer mini commentary tracks on all 14 episodes.



The Wire – The Complete Fifth Season


Tomatometer: N/A

Complete your collection of one of HBO’s most celebrated original series when the fifth and final season of The Wire hits DVD this week. The Peabody Award-winning show — a gritty, sprawling portrait of urban Baltimore that centers on a different crumbling Baltimore institution each season — ends with a focus on the city’s news media. Pick up Season 5 and finish the series some television critics called better than The Sopranos.

Bonus Features:

Ex-cop and creator David Simon joins cast and crew members on six commentary tracks. A documentary on the role of the media augments Season 5’s theme, while a show retrospective revisits the milestones of the previous four seasons.


Prison Break – Season Three


Tomatometer: N/A

Who ever thought a primetime drama about a guy breaking out of jail would turn into a hit show, let alone run for four seasons? In Season 3, we find Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) and his prison buddies on the lam in Panama — but more importantly, fans get a shocking surprise appearance, a la Se7en, by Michael’s sweetheart, Dr. Sara Tancredi.

Bonus Features:

The 13 hour-length episodes come with featurettes, “director’s takes” on characters and life on set, spotlights on cast members, and a bonus episode of The Unit.


The Secret


Tomatometer: N/A

Each week plenty of direct-to-DVD films flood the market, and if you’re like us, you ignore most of them. But sometimes a title catches your eye, and you wonder, what were they thinking? Enter The Secret. (Enthusiasts of the best-selling self-help book, beware; this is not an adaptation.) David Duchovny stars as a man whose wife (Lili Taylor) and 16-year-old daughter (Olivia Thirlby) are involved in a fatal accident, leading the mother’s spirit to inhabit her daughter’s body. Still in love, Duchovny and Thirlby (as the mom) struggle to help their daughter’s spirit survive — and, you know, avoid technically committing incest. Ick.

Bonus Features:

The disc includes interviews and behind-the-scenes features, but did we mention that parent-child sexual tension? Initial revolt aside, the French production (helmed by actor-director Vincent Perez) has skyrocketed to the top of our Netflix queue.

‘Til next week, happy renting!

How Street is Keanu’s Kings? Are Ellen Page and Dennis Quaid too Smart for the critics? Will the unscreened Prom Night win the box office tiara? Your RT editors tackle this weekend’s new flicks to let you know what’s worth seeing in theaters. Watch it now here!

As you can see, our third weekly RT Review Revue video round up has quickly become a fancy affair. By which we mean that two of us dressed up in costume to relive our bygone teen years, senior prom-style.

RT’s Dave Chung, Matt Atchity and Jen Yamato

This week we talk about the critical prospects of Keanu ReevesStreet Kings, in which he bravely attempts to convey corruption and dark, flawed soullessness as an alcoholic cop. (We don’t buy it, Neo — and neither do the critics!) Also in theaters is the indie character drama Smart People, starring smart actors like Dennis Quaid, Thomas Haden Church, and Juno — er, Ellen Page. Lastly, your friendly neighborhood editors chat up the not-really-a-remake Prom Night, which was, shockingly, not screened for critics.

Click here to watch this week’s RT Review Revue!

Next week: Jen as Al Pacino and Matt and Dave as RT’s own Jet Li and Jackie Chan as we bring you the critical skinny on 88 Minutes, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and The Forbidden Kingdom.

This week at the movies, we’ve got crooked cops (Street Kings, starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker), misanthropic academics (Smart People, starring Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker), and dead dance attendees (Prom Night, starring Brittany Snow and Idris Elba). What do the critics have to say?

On paper, Street Kings would seem to have the right ingredients for a sharp, thoughtful police procedural. Its director, David Ayer, scripted Training Day, and one of its screenwriters, James Ellroy, is the man behind L.A. Confidential. Unfortunately, the critics find Street Kings less than arresting. Keanu Reeves stars as a cop who’s trying to find the killer of his former partner; all signs eventually point to another member of the force. The pundits say Street Kings has plenty of flash but not enough grit, and its script is weighed down by clichés, overheated dialogue, and moral uncertainty. At 21 percent on the Tomatometer, Street Kings may be forced to turn in its badge and gun. (Check out this week’s Total Recall for our roundup of cinema’s nastiest corrupt cops.)



“Essentially, I want to make Point Break II.”

Smart People stands out from a long list of recent indie dramadies about terminally morose smarty-pants types simply by virtue of its impeccable cast. But critics say this one’s got too much brains and not enough heart. Dennis Quaid stars as an acerbic lit professor who, when not alienating his children, is courting a former student (Sarah Jessica Parker) and dealing with his slacker brother (Thomas Hayden Church). The pundits say Smart People is elevated by its excellent cast and patches of sharp dialogue, but ultimately, they feel it’s too thinly plotted and emotionally one-note to truly satisfy. At 44 percent on the Tomatometer, Smart People doesn’t quite make the grade.



“You’re pregnant again?”

The critics are getting stood up by Prom Night, which wasn’t screened prior to release. A remake of the not-so-hot original of the same name (36 percent), Prom Night is the story of a high schooler who, after surviving a traumatic experience, is revisited by sinister figures from her past on the night of her prom. (And you thought wearing the same dress as someone else was all you had to worry about.) Hey kids, try to muster up the courage to guess the Tomatometer!



“I wanted Mediterranean blinds!”

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Bra Boys, a documentary about Aussie surfers, is at 100 percent.
  • Young@Heart, a doc about a group of seniors performing songs by the likes of Sonic Youth and the Ramones, is at 89 percent.
  • The Dhamma Brothers a doc about a group of maximum security prison inmates finding solace in meditation, is at 83 percent.
  • The Visitor, a drama about a forlorn economics prof whose life changes after a chance encounter, is at 82 percent (check out an exclusive clip from the movie here).
  • Never Forever, a drama about a woman who takes desperate measures to conceive a child, is at 80 percent.
  • A Four Letter Word, a comedy about a gay playboy who decides to settle down, is at 67 percent.
  • Young & Restless in China, a doc that follows nine twentysomethings living and working in modern China, is at 67 percent.
  • Stalags, a doc about pornographic, Nazi-themed pulp novels in Israel, is at 40 percent.
  • Chaos Theory a comedy about a risk-averse guy who learns to cut lose starring Ryan Reynolds and Emily Mortimer, is at 38 percent.
  • Dark Matter, a drama about a young PHD student whose life devolves into violence, is at 31 percent.



“What did the five fingers say to the face?”

Finally, props to Coastermonkey61 and unbreakable_samurai for coming the closest to guessing The Ruins‘ 38 percent Tomatometer. Nicely done, folks.

Recent Keanu Reeves Movies:

—————————————

60% — The Great Warming (2006)

36% — The Lake House (2006)

67% — A Scanner Darkly (2006)

52% — Ellie Parker (2005)

71% — Thumbsucker (2005)

Multiplexes gear up for another weekend of empty seats as Hollywood supplies three new films that are unlikely to energize the North American box office. The queen at the head of the class is the horror flick Prom Night which should scare up the most business and play to teens and young adults. The cop actioner Street Kings will target older males while adult women will be enticed by Smart People. The top ten could once again fall 25% below last year’s levels making this a spring season to forget.

If there’s one thing the geniuses at Sony’s Screen Gems unit know how to do it’s market fright films to teenagers. They get their latest shot with Prom Night, a loose remake of the classic 1980 Jamie Lee Curtis chiller about high schoolers stalked by a killer on their big celebratory night. Brittany Snow stars and the R rating of the old film has been replaced by a PG-13 which will be key to getting in the kind of kids who watch My Super Sweet 16. Horror film openings have gotten smaller and smaller this year as some fatigue has kicked in with consumers. But Prom Night has an appealing premise, a recognizable title, and a terrific marketing push behind it that is exciting the core crowd.

Sony hasn’t released a terror pic since last October so it’s had plenty of time to concentrate on getting this campaign right. And with trailers in front of its chart-topping studio stablemate 21, awareness is high with teens. Prom Night should perform better than this year’s other horror flicks and could post the best bow for the genre since Saw IV from last Halloween. The running time matches the amount of time Al Pacino has left to live and multiplexes are double-screening the pic so there will be plenty of showtimes to meet the expected demand. The one downside is the weak marketplace which has made overall moviegoing sluggish. Opening in around 2,400 theaters, Prom Night might debut with about $15M.


Nice to see Thing from The Addams Family getting work these days

Former high school slacker Ted, AKA Keanu Reeves, leads the macho cast of Street Kings, a new dirty cop thriller set in Los Angeles. The R-rated pic also features Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Jay Mohr, and Cedric the Entertainer. Adult men will be the primary audience here looking for a hard-boiled polce thriller so numbers should be in the same vicinity as the debuts for similar spring flicks like 16 Blocks ($11.9M) and Shooter ($14.5M). Fox Searchlight will be hoping to bring in many of those who saw Training Day, however Denzel Washington‘s starpower in that role overshadows all those in this pic. Competition isn’t too fierce which gives it a shot at connecting with the core demo. But overall demand is not too high. Street Kings lands in over 2,500 locations on Friday and could shoot up about $10M over the weekend.


“Turn in your badge and your gun!”

Miramax is making a play for adult audiences with its new dramedy Smart People starring Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, and Ellen Page. The R-rated film about a professor having a mid-life crisis should skew female and have no appeal to younger adults despite the presence of the Juno star. Mixed reviews will make many in the target audience toss it onto their Netflix queues instead of seeing it on the big screen. The promotional push has not been very strong and overall buzz is lukewarm. The cast includes some likeable folks, but not the kind of stars that make people rush out to the multiplexes and pay top dollar. Rolling into roughly 1,150 theaters, Smart People might take in about $3M this weekend.


“Come on, we both know you’re not the world’s unsexiest woman.”

After two weeks as the champ, the blackjack drama 21 will have to settle for a lower position on the charts. The Sony hit has been holding up well so a 35% decline would yield a $10M frame and boost the 17-day total to a solid $61M.

Fox’s Nim’s Island got off to a mediocre start last weekend posting a $3,760 average. But with no new films targeting families, competition will be light so a 35% drop may result. That would give the Abigail Breslin flick about $8.5M and a ten-day cume of $25M.

George Clooney attracted less-than-spectacular opening weekend sales for his football film Leatherheads and buzz has been mostly bad. A larger drop of 45% could be in order giving Universal a $7M take. The score would climb to just $22M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Paramount replaced itself at the top of the charts with the teen thriller Disturbia which surprised the industry with a potent $22.2M bow at number one. The Shia LaBeouf starrer went on to bank an impressive $80.2M. The studio’s Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory slipped to second after two weeks on top and grossed $13.8M. Both were supplied by DreamWorks. Disney’s Meet the Robinsons followed with $12.5M, also in its third round. Sony’s adult thriller Perfect Stranger underperformed with its fourth-place debut of $11.2M. A $24M final resulted. The studio’s Ice Cube sequel Are We Done Yet? rounded out the top five with $9M. Fox’s adventure film Pathfinder quietly opened in sixth with $5M on its way to just $10.2M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

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