(Photo by Consolidated Pictures Group/courtesy Everett Collection)
Dogs: Man’s best friend, movie’s most endangered hero. Seriously, how many times have we gone into a dog movie hoping we didn’t just get suckered into another one where the dog dies in the end? But some of those movies make up the classics. And some of those movies where the dog lives happily after ever, with a nice house and a bowl of kibble and a robust 401k, are also classics. And some dog movies ain’t so classic, but people love ’em anyways, so we’re including those, and all the other good boys and girls of canine cinema for our guide to the 80 Best Dog Movies, ranked by Tomatometer!
First, we’ve retrieved all the golden films of yesteryear, like Old Yeller, Lassie, and The Incredible Journey. Then we rescued those nearly forgotten from the kennels of history, including Wendy and Lucy, Sounder, and Megan Leavey. After that, we introduced them to the tearjerkers of today, such as Hachi: A Dog’s Tale and Marley and Me.
Because dogs can take on new dimensions of ferocity and cuteness in animation, there’s plenty to see here in this list. Take the Disney classics (The Fox and the Hound, Bolt). Add a little stop-motion (Isle of Dogs, Frankenweenie). And, of course, bring along the ones that can solve mysteries (Scooby-Doo), hold a job (Wallace, he of Gromit), and pilot their house (Snoopy, Come Home).
And we approached the dogs that could benefit from a little obedience school, like the ones in Cujo, White Dog, and its reverse friend White God. Also, because seekers of dog movies don’t necessarily mind some treacly sentiment the way critics do, we’re opening the doggie doors to some movies rated Rotten that audiences adore, like Balto and All Dogs Go to Heaven.
Finally, we took home some films that aren’t strictly known as dog movies (e.g. Umberto D, As Good As It Gets, I Am Legend) but whose (canine) stars play a significant role in the plot, and generate (human) character development.
Time to let all of them off the leash for the 80 Best Dog Movies, ranked by Tomatometer!
This week on DVD we’ve got a sweeping historical epic from Down Under (Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, plus an exclusive deleted scene), a tale of talking pooches (Beverly Hills Chihuahua), and a Certified Fresh drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long). For those whose interests are piqued by the words “direct to DVD,” we’ve also got two new animated adventures (Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic, Wonder Woman) and a titillating vengeance pic (Stiletto, starring Stana Katic, Tom Berenger, and Michael Biehn), plus a bayou thriller adapted from a James Lee Burke bestseller (In the Electric Mist, starring Tommy Lee Jones). Lastly, we offer the latest from Crow T. Robot and Co. (Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol. 14) and a Blu-ray offering that will go well with some fava beans and a nice Chianti (Silence of the Lambs on Blu-ray).
Baz Luhrmann‘s epic tale of war and love in mid-century Australia was, to say the least, an ambitious undertaking; addressing the nation’s history of class inequality and its people’s can-do spirit against the backdrop of World War II via an opposites-attract romance and a dash of Aborigine mysticism — with an homage to The Wizard of Oz thrown in to boot — sounded complicated enough on paper, let alone brought to life onscreen. And yet, for better or worse, that is precisely what Lurhmann did.
Australia isn’t for everyone; cynics thought it cloying, while fans thought it wondrous, although all agree its nearly three-hour-runtime is an endurance test. But if you’re a fan of stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman (or want to watch young Brandon Walters’ breakthrough debut performance, a child actor debut to rival those in Slumdog Millionaire) then Australia might be your cup of tea.
Unfortunately, your options are limited as Australia is available only as a single-disc DVD (with two deleted scenes and nothing more) or on Blu-ray, with a handful of extra featurettes. Below, watch one of the deleted scenes, in which Lady Ashley (Kidman) is served a rude dinner by her angry household staff.
Next: You know you want it — Beverly Hills Chihuahua
If you, like us, secretly chuckled to yourself when those Taco Bell commercials came on, then you might get another sly kick out of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. The dog-out-of-water tale follows a spoiled LA pooch (voiced by Drew Barrymore), who gets lost in Mexico and must find her way home with the help of some canine friends. Photo realistic pups talking with the aid of CG — and, unfortunately, often in stereotypical accents — sound silly, but will no doubt warm over the kiddies (moreso than most adults). A handful of bonus extras will keep fans entertained for an extra hour or so after watching the film, including the darn-catchy “Chihuahua!” song sung by a horde of choreographed Mexican Chihuahuas.
Next: Kristin Scott Thomas in I’ve Loved You So Long
Philippe Claudel’s quiet character study reveals Kristin Scott Thomas as you’ve never seen her before, makeup-free and haggard-looking (but still gorgeous), distant and tortured (and speaking fluent French) in the role that earned her nominations from the BAFTAS, César, and Golden Globe Awards. Thomas plays Juliette, a woman struggling to re-enter society after serving a prison sentence for killing her own child; Elsa Zylberstein plays her sister Lea, a mother herself who is the only friend Juliette has left in the real world. While bonus materials are sparse, you can watch deleted scenes and access an alternate audio track dubbed in English.
Next: Our Direct-to-DVD Pick of the Week — Stiletto!
Stana Katic (The Spirit, Quantum of Solace, and the upcoming ABC show, Castle) stars in this direct-to-video action thriller as Raina, a gorgeous assassin who sets her sights on a former lover, a Greek crime boss (Tom Berenger), and a circle of ill-fated goons. Her weapon of choice? A stiletto knife, naturally. But wait, that’s not all! This R-rated vengeance flick not only hearkens back to the days of the female exploitation tales of the 1970s, it stars a veritable Walk of Fame of bad-ass actors (most of whom have seen better days): Michael Biehn, William Forsythe, Tom Sizemore, D.B. Sweeney, Kelly Hu, and Dominique Swain. Give Stiletto a rental and chalk it up as another guilty pleasure.
Next: Tommy Lee Jones Goes Direct To Video With In the Electric Mist
Joining Stiletto in direct-to-video land is In the Electric Mist, a fantasy- thriller that boasts a decidedly stellar cast led by Tommy Lee Jones. Adapted from James Lee Burke’s bestselling novel of the same name and directed by European auteur Bertrand Tavernier (‘Round Midnight), In the Electric Mist is born of impressive pedigrees, yet missed out on a theatrical release after screening at the Berlin Film Festival. In it, Detective Dave Robicheaux (Jones) is on the hunt for a serial killer in the Deep South, an investigation complicated by encounters with a band of Confederate soldiers…
Next: Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic
Like a visual version of a book on tape, Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic serves up the landmark Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel as a page-by-page story, enhanced with Flash animation and narrated by actor/veteran audio book narrator Tom Stechschulte, who even does the female voices. While the appeal of this 2-disc set might extend only to Watchmen diehards — probably the only people willing to sit through this 5-hour-plus version of Watchmen — it also comes with a sneak peek at this week’s Wonder Woman and $7.50 towards a ticket for Friday’s Watchmen.
Next: DC’s Animated, Feature Length, and Feminist Wonder Woman
A host of Hollywood all-stars (Rosario Dawson, Virginia Madsen, and…Vicki Lewis) lend their voices to this direct-to-video animated film, which tells the origin story of DC Comics’ super-heroine, Wonder Woman, and gives her a modern-day adventure to boot. Keri Russell voices Princess Diana (AKA Wonder Woman), the heir to a race of Amazon women who is charged with returning a wayward pilot (Nathan Fillion) to New York City while defeating the evil god Ares (Alfred Molina); violent enough to earn a PG-13 rating, Wonder Woman also serves as a devoutly feminist diatribe (and is directed by a woman, Superman: Doomsday co-director Lauren Montgomery), for better or worse. Bonus episodes of Justice League, a commentary track, two feature-length documentaries and a sneak peek at DC’s next animated flick, Green Lantern, highlight the special features.
Next: Mystery Science Theater 3000 is Back!
Joel, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot are back in the latest installment of the adventures in movie watching known as Mystery Science Theater 3000. Volume 14 comprises episodes with four MSTK3K classics, each with its own case: Mad Monster (the 1942 mad scientist-werewolf flick), Manhunt in Space (a multi-episode feature from the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger television series), Soultaker (starring Joe Estevez, who also gives a new interview on the disc), and Final Justice (a Joe Don Baker vehicle directed by Greydon Clark, who also graces this set with an interview).
Next: Wong Kar-Wai’s Ashes of Time Redux
Unlike many of his peers in Asian cinema, Wong Kar-Wai is not a director known for action spectacles or historical epics. But in 1994, he made just that: Ashes of Time, the story of an embittered ex-swordsman and the people who come in and out of his life, all adrift and consumed with their memories, lost loves, and their own selfishness — like an emo wuxia film, if such a hybrid could exist. A box office failure during its initial release, Ashes of Time got a shiny new redo from Wong himself in 2008, resulting in a much shorter, remastered version of the flick, also bolstered with new music from Yo-Yo Ma. Retrospective making-of interviews with Wong, longtime DP Christopher Doyle, and cast members like Tony Leung Ka-Fai highlight the DVD, along with an extensive Q&A session between Wong and Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman.
Next: Silence of the Lambs Blu-ray
We close this RT on DVD by recommending one of the standout Blu-ray releases of the week: MGM’s Silence of the Lambs Blu-ray, which has been delayed numerous times so far. Was it worth the wait? If you’re a Hannibal Lecter fan ravenous for tons of bonus materials and behind-the-scenes stories about the making of Jonathan Demme’s serial killer thriller, you’ll enjoy the assortment of deleted scenes (count ’em — 22 total!), featurettes, outtakes and making-of documentaries included here. Add to that the film’s lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and 1080p visual presentation, and you’ve got the perfect way to revisit this chilling classic — along with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
Until next week, happy renting!
With critical success for Slumdog Millionaire last week (94%), we have more award-friendly fare in the UK cinemas this Friday in Darren Aronofsky‘s spandex-tastic The Wrestler. Also out this week is Will Smith‘s latest, the emotional drama, Seven Pounds, with kids-flick Beverley Hills Chihauhau yapping at its heel. Plus My Bloody Valentine 3D splatters onto and out of our screens via some nifty technology and ropey looking specs. But what did the UK critics have to say?
Fresh from winning two Golden Globes (Best Actor, Best Original Song), bathed in critical acclaim from the festival season, and surrounded by pre-Oscar hype, The Wrestler finally body-slams into the UK cinema screens, but does it live up to expectations. With seven 5-Star ratings tallied from respected UK sources including Empire, Channel 4, Total Film and The Daily Mail, it seems like The Wrestler is destined for glory at 98% on The Tomatometer. Plaudits have not just been reserved for Mickey Rourke who puts in his best performance for years as past-it pro-wrestler Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson, but praise has rightly been heaped on director Darren Aronofsky for his own comeback of sorts after the critical kicking of his last film The Fountain (51%). Chris Hicks of Total Film summed up the critical response to The Wrestler:
“Aronofsky’s most authentic film refuses to ridicule the amateur wrestling circuit, while Rourke’s portrait of a has-been will surely be the comeback of the year.”
Will Smith returns to our screens this week following the decidedly iffy Hancock (39%), reteaming with the director of The Pursuit Of Happyness, Gabriele Muccino, for the emotional drama Seven Pounds. Plot details have been kept tightly under wraps due to a twist ending, but the critics weren’t too impressed despite being kept in the dark. Seven Pounds currently stands at a Rotten 27% on The Tomatometer, with the main criticisms being aimed at the film’s illogical and convoluted plotting, mis-handling of a heavyweight subject, and at Smith himself, with Matthew Turner of View London calling it “a career worst performance”. Don’t waste your £7 on Seven Pounds.
Beverley Hills Chihuahua, from Disney, is as silly as it sounds, and features pampered pooches who talk, naturally. It currently stands at a Rotten 40% on the Tomatometer, with most critics dismissing the film as made-for-kids fodder. The critics agreed that it’s probably suitable for youngsters, with the canines putting in better performances than most of the humans involved. The critics wouldn’t write it off completely though, with the traditionally hard-to-please Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian saying:
“This piece of egregious silliness from Disney – featuring live-action canines with CGI moving mouths – isn’t quite as awful as it sounds.”
My Bloody Valentine 3D is a remake/sequel to the 1981 slasher-film original. Utilising the latest 3D technology and making the most of its 18 certificate, My Bloody Valentine 3D promises horror thrills never seen before on the UK screens. With early reviews counted, the film currently stands at a healthy 71% on the Tomatometer, with Nigel Floyd of Time Out gushing “This is why 3D was invented”. Most of the critics were wowed with the polished and impressive use of 3D technology, despite the film itself never really transcending its clichéd slasher roots. Anton Bitel of Channel 4 said:
“It is a vacuous trawl through horror’s more sensationalist tropes… but that is just another way of saying that this is popcorn cinema at its most unapologetic and unpretentious, guaranteed to delight gorehounds and to bring young lovers closer together.”
Quote Of The Week
“Not that anybody would expect perfection from a film called Beverly Hills Chihuahua, but the chewed bone of a story makes it all mutts ado about nothing.”
Beverley Hills Chihuahua. Elliot Noble, Sky Movies.
In one of the bigger upsets in recent box office history, the canine
adventure Beverly Hills Chihuahua
remained at number one with the highly touted and highly pedigreed Body of Lies
landing with a thud in third.
The rich dogs of Beverly Hills took pole position at the box office once again
this weekend as Beverly Hills Chihuahua
lapped up another $17.5M, according to estimates, a fall of 40% from last
weekend’s debut. The total for the PG-rated family adventure stands at $52.5M
with the $100M brass ring now within site.
Second place was a surprise with the Sony horror flick Quarantine
scaring up an estimated $14.2M for a per screen average of a strong $5,770, tops
in the top 10. Wit Halloween just around the corner, moviegoers were looking for
a couple of good scares and the well-marketed Quarantine was just the ticket.
Landing in third place with a very loud thud was the (former) Academy Award
hopeful Body of Lies.
With past Academy winners and nominees taking part in all aspects of the film
including writing (William Monahan), directing (Ridley Scott)
and acting (Leonardo DiCaprio and
Russell Crow), Lies was expected to easily debut at number one but instead
the war-on-terror story set in the Middle East did not resonate with audiences.
Lies grossed $13.1M this weekend, according to estimates, for a per screen
average of $4,841 while playing on 250 more screens than Quarantine.
The highest grossing film of the season, Eagle Eye,
fell to fourth place this weekend with an estimated $11M, a drop of 38% from
last weekend, bringing it’s cume to $70.5M. Fifth place belonged to another
holdover, the teen dramedy Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
which took in $6.5M this weekend, according to estimates, bringing its total to
$20.8M. Look for a final gross in the $40M range.
Debuting quietly in sixth place was the Universal football drama The Express
with an estimated $4.7M. The story of Heisman-winning running back Ernie Davis
failed to connect with moviegoers but should see better results on DVD.
Seventh place belonged to lovers as Nights in Rodanthe
fell 37% to $4.6M, according to estimates, bringing it’s total to $32.3M.
The battle for eighth and ninth was a close one as the reported difference
between the two films was only $18,000. Currently in eighth is the Warner
Brothers western Appaloosa
which roped in an estimated $3.34M this weekend, bringing its total to $10.8M.
Rising into the top 10 at number nine was the period drama The Duchess with an
estimated $3.32M bringing its cume to $5.6M for Paramount Vantage.
Crash landing at number 10 was the debuting fantasy film City of Ember
from Fox. The story of an underground city on the verge of collapse was yet
another film that failed to connect with paying audiences, grossing an estimated
$3.2M for a poor per screen average of $1,583, the lowest in the top 10.
The top ten films grossed $81.5M which was up 1.5% from last year when Why
Did I Get Married? opened in the top spot with $21.4M; and down 15.5% from
2006 when The Grudge 2 debuted at number one with $20.8M.
This weekend a jam-packed slate of eight new films opening or expanding nationwide flooded the multiplexes but it was a pampered little dog that ticket buyers wanted turning Disney’s family comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua into the box office king. Younger-skewing movies ruled the charts while an assortment of niche pics targeting specific audiences found some success elsewhere in the top ten. Three new films opening in over 1,000 theaters each failed to even make the top ten proving that the marketplace can only handle so much content. But the variety of product did lead ticket sales well ahead of year-ago levels starting October on a positive note.
Moviegoers just couldn’t resist talking animals and the Disney brand name as Beverly Hills Chihuahua delivered a powerful number one opening with an estimated $29M over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Averaging a stellar $9,020 from 3,215 locations, the PG-rated tale of a rich dog lost in Mexico connected with kids and parents and posted the best opening for a kidpic since June’s WALL•E launched to $63.1M. It was the second best family film opening ever in the September-October corridor trailing only Will Smith’s Shark Tale which debuted to $47.6M in October 2004. Also helping the Mouse House this weekend was the lack of good family movies over the past couple of months. The road ahead looks rosy as few options for children stand in the way of Chihuahua over the next month. Between now and the November 7 launch of the DreamWorks sequel Madagascar Escape 2 Africa there is High School Musical 3, but that belongs to the Disney empire.
Shia LaBeouf might be on his way to scoring another career $100M+ blockbuster as his latest actioner Eagle Eye enjoyed a good hold in its second frame. Last weekend’s top film dropped 39% to an estimated $17.7M and lifted the film’s ten-day cume to a solid $54.6M. Paramount and its soon-to-be-ex-wife DreamWorks should find their way to $95-100M.
Despite Eagle Eye‘s presence, Sony was still able to connect with teens and young adults with its comedy Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist which debuted in third place with an estimated $12M. Playing in 2,421 playdates, the PG-13 romantic comedy averaged a healthy $4,957. According to studio research, 55% of the audience was under 21 while 62% was female. With Chihuahua skewing very young and most other new releases aiming for adults over 30, Playlist was able to reach a crowd that had few viable options this weekend. The modest $13M budget should allow it to become a moneymaker too.
Richard Gere and Diane Lane suffered the worst drop in the top ten with their romance Nights in Rodanthe which fell 45% to an estimated $7.4M. With $25.1M in the bank, the Warner Bros. release should reach about $40M. By comparison, the actors charmed $52.8M from movie fans in 2002 with Unfaithful which amounts to about $65M at today’s ticket prices.
The Ed Harris-directed Western Appaloosa expanded nationally after a two-week limited run and enjoyed a respectable take of an estimated $5M from 1,045 theaters. Averaging $4,794 per location, the Warner Bros. title showed that there is still an audience for this classic genre of films. Cume is $5.6M. Samuel L. Jackson’s thriller Lakeview Terrace slipped only 35% to an estimated $4.5M in its third frame boosting the 17-day total to $32.1M for Sony.
Focus followed with Burn After Reading which grossed an estimated $4.08M, off just 34%, for a $51.6M cume. The Christian-themed hit Fireproof was close behind with an estimated $4.07M dropping a reasonable 41% in the second weekend. Budgeted at a mere $500,000, the Samuel Goldwyn release has captured a solid $12.5M in ten days and could go on to finish with an impressive $20-25M.
Vivendi Entertainment opened its first wide release with the David Zucker-directed comedy An American Carol which grossed an estimated $3.8M for a ninth place finish. Playing in 1,639 locations in the United States, the PG-13 film about a Michael Moore-type filmmaker who is visited by three ghosts who show him the true meaning of America averaged only $2,325 per site. Kevin Farley, Kelsey Grammer, and Leslie Nielsen star and reviews were not very positive. Carol opens in Canada this Friday.
Rounding out the top ten and scoring the second best average on that list was the Bill Maher doc Religulous which collected an estimated $3.5M from only 502 theaters for a potent $6,972 average. Directed by Larry Charles (Borat), the R-rated film that explores the merits of organized religion earned generally upbeat reviews for Lionsgate. The last film to open in the top ten in fewer theaters was the Spanish-language immigration drama Under the Same Moon with $2.8M from 266 sites in March.
A slew of new releases also debuted outside the top ten with most generating disappointing results. The one film which audiences did actually connect with was the Anne Hathaway drama Rachel Getting Married which scored a sensational $33,667 average from nine theaters after grossing an estimated $303,000 this weekend in its platform bow. The Sony Classics release about a surly young woman who goes back home for her sister’s wedding has been praised by critics and has earned Hathaway plenty of kudos buzz making her, at the moment, one of the frontrunners on Oscar night. Directed by Jonathan Demme, the R-rated pic expands into more markets in the coming weeks.
Universal stumbled with its Greg Kinnear drama Flash of Genius which opened in 1,098 locations collecting just $2.3M, according to estimates. With a weak $2,120 average, the tale of an inventor screwed by the auto giants just didn’t make moviegoers want to spend top dollar. Reviews were mixed.
Miramax’s new arthouse thriller Blindness was panned by critics and flopped in its nationwide opening. The Julianne Moore pic took in an estimated $2M from 1,690 sites for an embarrassing $1,185 average. The figures only represent the U.S. and not Canada. The Simon Pegg comedy How to Lose Friends and Alienate People attracted few people debuting to an estimated $1.4M. Averaging only $801 from 1,750 theaters, the MGM release saw weak reviews from critics.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $91M which was up a robust 44% from last year when The Game Plan remained in the top spot in its second frame with $16.6M; but off 7% from 2006 when The Departed debuted at number one with $26.9M.
This week at the movies, we’ve got hot dogs (Beverly
Hills Chihuahua, starring
and Andy Garcia),
young love (Nick
and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, starring
Dennings), magazine mishaps (How
to Lose Friends and Alienate People, starring
Simon Pegg and
vision loss (Blindness,
Julianne Moore and
Dickensian satire (An
American Carol, starring
Grammer), invention thievery (Flash
of Genius starring
Graham), and hired guns (Appaloosa,
starring Ed Harris
Mortensen). What do the critics have to say?
Rotten Tomatoes loves canines and we have an office located in Beverly Hills,
but even we couldn’t help but feel pangs of despair and embarrassment whilst
enduring the trailer to
Beverly Hills Chihuahua. So imagine our surprise when the movie comes out of the gate with a Fresh Tomatometer!
And imagine our non-surprise when it freefalls into Rotten territory. Drew
Barrymore, Andy Garcia, and George Lopez give voice to the dogs of BHC, a movie being praised by the critics for enthusiastic voice performances
but its lack of surprise or originality does little to separate it from anything
else littered throughout the family-movie bone yard. At 45 percent, your kids are barking up the right tree this weekend in
“Sorry, skinny dipping is beneath me.”
Michael Cera and indie rock have been a winning combination in the past, so does
fortune strike again for the Canadian kid? He co-stars in his new movie,
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, with Kat Dennings as two music loving-teens who meet-cute and go on an all-night quest for a secret show by one
of their favorite bands. Philosophical discussions, hipster ruminations, and
mutual appreciation ensues. Though it lacks a strong narrative drive or the easy
witticism of similar films like Juno or
Sixteen Candles, its unabashed romantic streak and strong central
performances drives its message home. At 71 percent on the Tomatometer, Nick and Norah’s
Infinite Playlist is music for the hip and the young at heart.
“Save me: this dude hasn’t changed clothes since Superbad.”
Like Ricky Gervais, whose Ghost Town barely made a box office blip a few weeks
back, Simon Pegg is another Brit who’s having a tough go at the movies in
America. Pegg’s latest,
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, finds him without his usual
collaborators (Edgar Wright and Nick Frost), trading company for Kirsten Dunst
and Megan Fox in an outrageous account of a British journalist who burns all
his bridges writing for a glitzy New York magazine. Pegg charms again,
but the critics cite his Toby Young character as irredeemably unlikable, and the
film’s comedy is too slapsticky and broad for any satire about the entertainment
industry to make an impact. At 37 percent, How To has lost the critics and may
Simon Pegg auditioning for Anchorman II: The Reckoning of Ron Burgundy.
With City of God and The Constant Gardener, Fernando Meirelles
established himself as an expert stylist in the realm of political thrillers.
However, critics say his latest, Blindness,
is over earnest and lacks the visceral punch of his previous works. The film
stars Julianne Moore as a woman who does not to succumb to an outbreak that
leaves much of the world’s population without sight; she hides her condition in
order to get the bottom of a sinister government quarantine of the blind. The
critics say Blindness has its moments, but it lacks the horror of Jose
Saramago’s source novel; it’s both emotionally muted and technically overdone.
At 38 percent on the Tomatometer, Blindness may not be worth seeing.
Danny Glover pioneering a new role: crazy blind pirate man cabbie.
Flash of Genius
may sound like your typical based-on-true-events, little-guy-takes-on-the man
movie, but critics say it’s a smart, compelling yarn with a few surprises up its
sleeve. Greg Kinnear stars as Robert Kearns, a college professor and amateur
inventor whose innovation — intermittent windshield wipers — was co-opted by
big auto manufacturers without giving credit; Kearns spends decades attempting
to right this injustice, and it takes a toll on his family. The pundits say Flash
of Genius is a solid underdog tale, featuring a driven performance by
Kinnear and a script that doesn’t hammer its points home. At 73 percent on the
Tomatometer, Flash of Genius is a clever invention.
“Can’t think of anyone more unlikely to have a movie? Here’s the dude who
Sometimes a movie doesn’t have to break new ground to be satisfying. Critics say
that although Appaloosa
may not be the finest Western in recent years, it’s got good performances and
enough convention-defying twists to make it an amiable time at the movies. Ed
Harris (who also directs) and Viggo Mortensen star as a pair of hired guns who
are trying to bring order to a New Mexico town; however, their rapport is
challenged when they fall in love with the same woman (Renee Zellweger). The
pundits say Appaloosa harkens back to the classic Westerns of John Ford
and Howard Hawks, and though it doesn’t move at a particularly sprightly pace,
the leads’ chemistry and a playful sense of humor make it a smart, solid film.
At 73 percent on the Tomatometer, Appaloosa may be worth a visit.
“You had me at ‘Ayup.'”
“No, I don’t speak jive! Go away!”
Finally, Kirk Cameron bless you, Random_Jake: you came closest to guessing Fireproof‘s
percent Tomatometer last week.
Recent Drew Barrymore Movies:
Hollywood kicks off the fourth quarter with a stampede of new releases that will test the elasticity of the marketplace. Ambulances are already on standby to rush the high number of casualties off to local video stores. Seven films open or expand into 800 or more theaters each while an eighth picture debuts in more than 500 locations still hoping to reach moviegoers from coast to coast. Leading the way and likely to post solid results are Disney’s family comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Sony’s teen saga Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The rest of the menu will struggle to pick up the remaining scraps during a time when overall box office is not too busy to begin with.
The canine comedy Beverly Hills Chihuahua looks to dominate the multiplexes this weekend with Disney generating plenty of interest with kids and parents. The PG-rated tale of a pampered dog lost on the mean streets of Mexico features voices from Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, and Cheech Marin. Piper Perabo and Jamie Lee Curtis take up the human roles. A classic fish-out-of-water story coupled with the always bankable talking-animal formula means plenty of dough will be rolling in for this one. Competition is minimal with Igor in its third session being the only other choice for families right now. In fact there hasn’t been a hit comedy for children since June’s WALL•E so demand is intense. The top kidpic openings during the September-October corridor over the last three years have been $19.1M for Corpse Bride in 2005, $23.6M for Open Season in 2006, and $23M for The Game Plan in 2007. Opening in 3,215 theaters, Beverly Hills Chihuahua should exceed those films. A debut of about $26M could result this weekend.
Set to attract a fair share of teens this weekend is the romantic comedy Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. Cera’s stock price skyrocketed last year with Superbad and Juno which grossed a combined $265M. Here he safely is back in his zone which should register well with teens and young adults. Shia LaBeouf‘s got the only other major film for the under-25 set so direct competition will be light. That puts Nick in a position to make it into the top three this weekend and post a solid average. Sony’s marketing push has been commendable and the trailer is exciting the target audience. Plus the PG-13 rating opens the door to younger teens. As the frame’s second widest opener, Nick and Norah bows in about 2,300 locations and might gross around $13M this weekend.
Backed by lukewarm reviews, Miramax’s Blindness hits theaters with some buzz but will still face an uphill battle. The R-rated film about an epidemic that takes away a victim’s sight stars Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, and Danny Glover with Brazil’s Fernando Meirelles directing. The opening night selection at this year’s Cannes now enters the North American commercial market in search of serious adults looking for arthouse thrills. The lack of enthusiasm from critics will hurt the prospects for Blindness as will the abundance of options for the 30-plus crowd. An intriguing concept and the presence of indie film heavyweights will help, but pulling in business will still not be easy. Opening in 1,690 theaters, Blindness might debut with roughly $6M.
A British celebrity journalist enters the world of high society at a New York magazine in the new comedy How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, and Jeff Bridges star in the R-rated MGM release. Pegg has built up a small cult following on this side of the pond with films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but his starpower has not reached the heights where tons of ticket buyers come running to his next role. Fox’s return to the big screen after last year’s smash Transformers could score some points with young men though. Reviews have been mixed and a wide assortment of competing comedies will split the audience. Landing in 1,750 sites, a debut of about $5M could result.
The year has been light on biopics but Greg Kinnear plans to change that with Flash of Genius, the true story of the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper and his long battle with the automotive industry for recognition of his work. The PG-13 film will target adults looking for an underdog story, however starpower is lacking and the subject matter is a tough sell. Reviews have been good but not glowing. Universal is not going very wide so the film’s potential will be curtailed but its average may be respectable. Debuting in roughly 1,000 playdates, Flash of Genius could collect about $3M this weekend.
Warner Bros. expands its acclaimed Western Appaloosa from 14 to 800 houses nationwide on Friday. The Ed Harris film averaged $10,469 last weekend in limited release and will now test the waters across the country targeting older adults. A $3M take could result.
The right pokes fun at liberals in the new comedy An American Carol which features a heavy-set Michael Moore-type filmmaker being visited by three spirits who show him how great Uncle Sam really is. Directed by spoof king David Zucker, the PG-13 film should find better business in the McCain states than in the Obama ones. The release date is aimed at making the film relevant at a time when so much attention is on politics, but overall interest does not seem to be all that strong. Some more controversy, even if artificially manufactured in true Moore style, could have helped this one stand out in the crowded marketplace. Vivendi will attack 1,639 venues on Friday with An American Carol and it could end up with about $3M.
Those on the left should not feel abandoned. Comedian Bill Maher offers up his skewering of the world’s God squads in the documentary Religulous which opens in 502 theaters nationwide this weekend. Borat director Larry Charles is behind the camera of this R-rated pic which has been working extra hard to attract controversy only to find limited success in that department. This is a film that desperately needs news coverage in order to sell but with most media outlets only having the bandwidth to cover the elections and the financial crisis, Religulous is not getting its message heard by enough of its target audience. Sponsoring Joe Biden’s podium during Thursday night’s vice presidential debate may be the only true way for the film to reach its base. An opening of around $2M could result.
Last weekend, Shia LaBeouf scored another number one hit with Eagle Eye which generated the fourth best September bow ever. Word-of-mouth has been good and most of the new titles will not have much of a direct impact on the thriller’s teen and young adult audience. A 40% drop could result giving Paramount around $17.5M for the weekend and $54M in ten days.
Nights in Rodanthe‘s audience of older women typically do not rush out on opening weekend so a good hold could result. The Richard Gere–Diane Lane hit Unfaithful actually dipped a mere 29% in its sophomore frame in 2002 so their new collaboration should see more takers buying tickets this weekend. The Warner Bros. release may fall 35% to about $8.5M pushing the ten-day total to $25M.
The Kirk Cameron marital drama Fireproof shocked Hollywood with its fourth place opening last weekend despite playing in fewer theaters than any other film in the top ten. It also showed the industry the value of films that appeal to audiences not properly served by mainstream studio fare – something Tyler Perry has been proving year after year although with bigger grosses. With intense upfront demand, Fireproof may see a more sizable 45% slide to roughly $3.5M giving the faith-based pic a solid $12M after ten days.
LAST YEAR: For a second straight weekend The Rock and Disney joined forces to rule the top spot with the family hit The Game Plan which dipped only 28% in its second frame to $16.6M. Ben Stiller‘s R-rated comedy The Heartbreak Kid opened in second with a disappointing $14M on its way to $36.8M for Paramount. Universal’s military thriller The Kingdom ranked third with $9.7M and was followed by Sony’s threequel Resident Evil: Extinction with $4.5M. Debuting poorly in fifth was Fox’s The Seeker: The Dark is Rising with $3.7M leading to a weak $8.8M finish. The dance drama Feel the Noise landed in eighth with a $3.2M bow from just over 1,000 screens and ended with $5.9M for Sony.
Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com
Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s bestselling self-help book, He’s Just Not That Into You, has gone from the top of the charts to the cultural lexicon, to the point where the titular phrase has become popular shorthand for “wake up and move on, dummy.” It’s being turned into a movie, of course, courtesy of New Line and Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films — and now The Hollywood Reporter is offering an early rundown of the cast.
According to the article, Barrymore — who can be seen in next year’s South of the Border, with Cheech Marin and Salma Hayek — will star as “a woman perpetually confused by dating,” and could be joined by…deep breath…Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long and Ginnifer Goodwin. From the article:
Jennifer Connelly plays a woman stuck in a tired marriage with Cooper’s character. Kevin Connolly, meanwhile, is a man pining after a woman, still not cast, who is having an affair with Cooper.
Goodwin is a young woman obsessed with Kevin Connolly’s character who tries to set up accidental meetings with him only to run across his friend, played by Long, who takes her on as a “My Fair Lady” experiment.
Not a bad group of actors, all in all; the timing is particularly fortuitous for Connolly and Goodwin, who are enjoying small-screen success with HBO’s Entourage and Big Love, respectively. No word on when the movie will be hitting screens, but production is slated to begin in September.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter