Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Box Office Predictions: July 2 - 4; Spider-Man 2 Daily Breakdown

1. Spider-Man 2
Wednesday: $48M (biggest single day take in history!)
Thursday: $25M
Friday: $35M
Saturday: $45M (third biggest single day take in history!)
Sunday: $26M
Monday: $18M

3-day: $106M
5-day: $179M
6-day: $197M

2. Fahrenheit 9/11 - $18M
3. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - $11M
4. The Terminal - $9M
5. The Notebook - $8.5M
6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $7.5M
7. Shrek 2 - $7M
White Chicks - $7M
9. Garfield - $4M
10. Two Brothers - $3.5M

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Weekend Box Office Estimates - Fahrenheit Burns

1. Fahrenheit 9/11 - $21.8M
2. White Chicks - $19.6M
3. Dodgeball - $18.5
4. The Terminal - $13.9M
5. The Notebook - $13M
6. Harry Potter - $11.4M
7. Shrek 2 - $10.5M
8. Garfield - $7M
9. Two Brothers - $6.2M
10. The Stepford Wives - $5.2M

You gotta be nervous when an election is fastly approaching and the #1 movie in the country is a documentary (of all things!) completely bashing you. In a summer filled with surprises - mostly bad - this weekend saw the biggest of all: the first documentary ever to be at #1. Like The Passion of the Christ earlier this year, Michael Moore's acclaimed Palm D'Or winner took advantage of a niche audience, leading to long lines at the less than 900 theatres it played at. Now, everyone makes a big deal about per screen averages (9/11's was around $25K) but I'm here to once and for all debunk them: they really don't mean anything. If Fahrenheit 9/11 had debuted in more than 3500 theatres, the most it would have made would be $35M. Some people seem to have this notion that the PSA (per screen average) would be the same no matter what. No. For instance, in Lost In Translation's first week, it garnered about $40K PSA playing only in a few markets. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind debuted in about 1200 theatres, with just as good if not better reviews than Lost and just as much anticipation, but its PSA was circa $6K. People, PSA's don't mean that much. They just mean that the theatres that were playing it were busy. That is it. Good for them. Anywho, The Notebook debuted strongly and could hang around because of positive word of mouth. Two Brothers disappointed in 9th, while White Chicks scored with $26M in its 5-day, but should die fast in the coming weeks. Spider-Man 2 predictions will be up on Tuesday.

Friday, June 25, 2004

New Poster: Vanity Fair

Cursed started out as my most anticipated movie of the year, but after so many reshoots and so little buzz being built, another film has soared to the top of the list at 2004's mid-point: Vanity Fair. In addition to the trailer which was released a few months back, the wonderful people at the amazing Focus Features have released the poster. Granted, this is a relatively small look, but it gives you a sample. I love it. Reese has that evil bitchy look on her face like she just did something bad...like star in Legally Blonde 2. Vanity Fair hits theatres September 1.

New Teaser Trailer: Kinsey

Liam Neeson and the amazing Laura Linney star in this biopic of (in)famous sex doctor Alfred Kinsey. Peter Saarsgard (Shattered Glass) costars. The film is from the writer-director of Gods and Monsters who received an Oscar nomination for his screen adaptation of Chicago.

Trailer here.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Random Thoughts: The Terminal


Steven Spielberg continues a light streak after the jazzy, superior Catch Me If You Can with The Terminal, an engaging dramedy with unexpected warmth. Tom Hanks stars as Viktor Navarski, a man from a fictional Russian country that has just been overthrown due to a military coup. He finds himself in a NYC airport with an invalid passport and useless papers. Stanley Tucci as some airport higher-up forbids him from flying or leaving the terminal, thus making Hanks an airport Cast Away. In his many months there, he mingles in the lives of airport employees including fixing up coworkers as well as creating a mini-home in an unfinished gate. Catherine Zeta-Jones is thrown in the mix as Amelia, a flakey flight attendant whom tells Hanks that she is bad for him. Her optimism draws him in despite her telling him that she has the worst luck with men. (Amelia = America. Ah, symbolism.) Hanks is front and center like always, and a reminder of his ability moreso than any other actor working to carry a movie. This obviously isn't his best work, but its a memorable turn. Zeta-Jones is also good in a change of pace performance from her usual bitch, though some people can't tolerate her character (the Christina Ricci in Monster sydrome?) Tucci is good, but his character starts out interesting but becomes more and more one dimensional as the film progresses. Spielberg lets the story tell itself, as his direction almost disappears (and I don't mean that in a bad way.) Frequent Spielberg collaboraters Jamiz Kaminski (sp?) and John Williams provide solid cinematography and a flowing score. Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana and The Royal Tenenbaums' Pagoda round out the cast. The latter is a great scene-stealer, getting some of the film's best lines. Story is from Andrew Niccol, creator of Gattaca, Simone and The Truman Show. All four of these films involve someone observing someone from afar, which is just a little trivia. The Terminal could've been cut by about 10 or 15 minutes, but there's a surprisingly emotional scene towards the end that almost had me in tears. Its a solid crowdpleaser for the crowd not interested in big action.

Random Thoughts: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Harry Potter returns to the big screen in his most glorious outing. The series was setup with the decent Sorcerer's Stone, then followed by the much better Chamber of Secrets. I'm very happy to report that Prisoner of Azkaban is not only the series' best film, but also one of the best films released this year. Credit new director Alfonso Cuaron, whose track record includes some real gems: Y Tu Mama Tambien, 1998's dazzling Great Expectations, and A Little Princess. Gone is the child's play, as POA is much more grown-up. Potter deals with the possibility that the man responsible for his parents' death is now coming for him. The three leads are growing up fast and seem more assured in their characters the older they get. Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and Robbie Coltrane are back, with limited screen time. Joining in on the fun this time is Emma Thompson and Gary Oldman, and while Oldman's Syrius Black is pivotal to the story, both of these new characters are simply extended cameos.

Imaginitive visual effects, gorgeous cinematography and a revised score by John William (using a slightly Mexican theme probably thanks to the director) create a visual stunner of a film that finally manages to evoke an arresting sense of wonder that would've made the first film a good one. The second one hit it in strides, but POA luckily nails it for about 95% of its 2hrs 19min runtime. The first 20 minutes of the film lag a bit, but once Harry arrives back at Hogwarts, the film takes off. I think Cuaron realized these films are more like fairy tales for adults, instead of trying to aim them towards a younger crowd the way Columbus did. I was also pleasantly surprised by what happens toward the end of the picture with a normally played out plot point, that ends up being brilliantly utilized and leaves no holes. Its sad to note that Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mona Lisa Smile) will take over the helm of the fourth film. This might mean POA is the high point in the series, but let's hope Newell will continue to let the kids grow up.

OscarWatch: 100 Years, 100 Songs

The wonderful wits over at OscarWatch have come up with their own combined list as a response to AFI's recent list. I much prefer the OW list. They just have a top 10, followed by 90 other songs. I'd also like to point out both lists exlude "The Sounds of Silence" from The Graduate, which is one of my favorites. And as far as recent musicals, I much rather prefer "Nowadays" from Chicago than "All That Jazz," but "Nowadays" wasn't the tune being played 6 times at the 2003 Oscars.
**** - Darren Favorite
1. Over the Rainbow - Wizard of Oz
2. Singin' In the Rain - Singin In the Rain
3. All That Jazz - Chicago ****
4. Mrs. Robinson - The Graduate ****
5. Save Me - Magnolia ****
6. Beauty and the Beast - Beauty and the Beast
7. As Time Goes By - Casablanca
8. Circle of Life - The Lion King
9. America - West Side Story
10. Moon River - Breakfast at Tiffany's ****
not ranked:
A Whole New World ALADDIN (1992)
Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) AGAINST ALL ODDS (1984)
All the Way THE JOKER IS WILD (1957)
Amazing Grace SILKWOOD (1983)
Aquarius HAIR (1979)
Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) ARTHUR (1981)
Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing EYES WIDE SHUT (1999) ****
Baby Mine DUMBO (1941)
Be Our Guest BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991)
Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo CINDERELLA (1950) ****
Bohemian Rhapsody WAYNE'S WORLD (1992) ****
Born To Be Wild EASY RIDER (1969)
Cabaret CABARET (1972)
Can You Feel the Love Tonight THE LION KING (1994) ****
Cheek to Cheek TOP HAT (1935)
Chim Chim Cher-ee MARY POPPINS (1964)
Colors of the Wind POCAHONTAS (1995)
Come What May MOULIN ROUGE! (2001) ****
Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953)
Don't Cry For Me, Argentina EVITA (1996) ****
Don't Rain On My Parade FUNNY GIRL (1968)
Don't You (Forget About Me) THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985) ****
Everybody's Talkin' MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) ****
Fight the Power DO THE RIGHT THING (1989)
FlashdanceÉWhat a Feeling FLASHDANCE (1983) ****
Friend Like Me ALADDIN (1992)
Gangsta's Paradise DANGEROUS MINDS (1995) ****
Ghostbusters GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)
Good Morning SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944)
Hazy Shade of Winter LESS THAN ZERO (1987)
Hopelessly Devoted To You GREASE (1978)
I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU? (2000)
I Could Have Danced All Night MY FAIR LADY (1964)
I Don't Know How to Love Him JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR (1973)
I Say a Little Prayer MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING (1997)
I Want To Be Like You THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967)
I Will Always Love You THE BODYGUARD (1992) ****
If I Only Had A Brain/Heart/The Nerve THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
I'm Tired BLAZING SADDLES (1974)
In Dreams BLUE VELVET (1986)
In Your Eyes SAY ANYTHING...(1989)
It Had to Be You WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (1989)
Let the River Run WORKING GIRL (1988) ****
Lose Yourself 8 MILE (2002) ****
Luck Be A Lady GUYS AND DOLLS (1955)
Make 'Em Laugh SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) ****
Miss Misery GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)
My Heart Will Go On TITANIC (1997) ****
Oh, Pretty Woman PRETTY WOMAN (1990) ****
People FUNNY GIRL (1968)
Rainbow Connection MUPPET MOVIE, THE (1979)
Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)
Roxanne MOULIN ROUGE! (2001) ****
Secret Garden JERRY MAGUIRE (1996) ****
Somewhere Out There AN AMERICAN TAIL (1986) ****
Somewhere WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
Springtime For Hitler THE PRODUCERS (1968)
Stayin' Alive SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977)
Streets of Philadelphia PHILADELPHIA (1993) ****
Stuck In The Middle With You RESERVOIR DOGS (1992) ****
Suicide is Painless M*A*S*H (1970)
Summer Nights GREASE (1978)
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious MARY POPPINS (1964)
Take My Breath Away TOP GUN (1986) ****
The Bare Necessities THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967)
The Hands That Built America GANGS OF NEW YORK (2002)
The Rain In Spain MY FAIR LADY (1964)
The Sound of Music THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)
The Way You Look Tonight SWING TIME (1936)
Things Have Changed WONDER BOYS (2000)
Tiny Dancer ALMOST FAMOUS (2000) ****
Tonight WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
Twist And Shout FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF (1986)
Unchained Melody GHOST (1990) ****
Under the Sea THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989) ****
Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956)
What's Love Got To Do With It WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT (1993)
When She Loved Me TOY STORY 2 (1999)
When You Wish Upon A Star PINOCCHIO (1940)
White Christmas HOLIDAY INN (1942)
Wilkommen CABARET (1972)
You Never Can Tell PULP FICTION (1994) ****
You're The One That I Want GREASE (1978)
You've Got a Friend in Me TOY STORY (1995)

..and Wind Beneath My Wings BEACHES (1987)****

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Box Office Predictions: June 25 - 27

1. White Chicks - $22M (5-day: $32M)
2. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - $17M
3. The Notebook - $12M
The Terminal - $12M
5. Fahrenheit 9/11 - $10M
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $10M
7. Shrek 2 - $9M
8. Two Brothers - $8M
9. Garfield - $6M
10. The Chronicles of Riddick - $4.5M
The Stepford Wives - $4.5M

AFI's 100 Years 100 Songs

Another American Film Institute List...

100 Greatest Movie Songs...

1. Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz, 1939)
2. As Time Goes By (Casablanca, 1942)
3. Singin' in the Rain (Singin' in the Rain, 1952)
4. Moon River (Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961)
5. White Christmas (Holiday Inn, 1942)
6. Mrs. Robinson (The Graduate, 1967)
7. When You Wish Upon a Star (Pinocchio, 1940)
8. The Way We Were (The Way We Were, 1973)
9. Stayin' Alive (Saturday Night Fever, 1977)
10. The Sound of Music (The Sound of Music, 1965)
11. The Man That Got Away (A Star Is Born, 1954)
12. Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953)
13. People (Funny Girl, 1968)
14. My Heart Will Go On (Titanic, 1997)
15. Cheek to Cheek (Top Hat, 1935)
16. Evergreen (Love Theme From `A Star Is Born') (A Star Is Born, 1976)
17. I Could Have Danced All Night (My Fair Lady, 1964)
18. Cabaret (Cabaret, 1972)
19. Some Day My Prince Will Come (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937)
20. Somewhere (West Side Story, 1961)
21. Jailhouse Rock, (Jailhouse Rock, 1957)
22. Everybody's Talkin' (Midnight Cowboy, 1969)
23. Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969)
24. Ol' Man River (Show Boat, 1936)
25. High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin') (High Noon, 1952)
26. The Trolley Song (Meet Me in St. Louis, 1944)
27. Unchained Melody (Ghost, 1990)
28. Some Enchanted Evening (South Pacific, 1958)
29. Born to Be Wild (Easy Rider, 1969)
30. Stormy Weather (Stormy Weather, 1943)
31. Theme From `New York, New York' (New York, New York, 1977)
32. I Got Rhythm (An American in Paris, 1951)
33. Aquarius (Hair, 1979)
34. Let's Call the Whole Thing Off (Shall We Dance, 1937)
35. America (West Side Story, 1961)
36. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (Mary Poppins, 1964)
37. Swinging on a Star (Going My Way, 1944)
38. Theme From `Shaft' (Shaft, 1971)
39. Days of Wine and Roses (Days of Wine and Roses, 1963)
40. Fight the Power (Do the Right Thing, 1989)
41. New York, New York (On the Town, 1949)
42. Luck Be a Lady (Guys and Dolls, 1955)
43. The Way You Look Tonight (Swing Time, 1936)
44. Wind Beneath My Wings (Beaches, 1988)
45. That's Entertainment (The Band Wagon, 1953)
46. Don't Rain on My Parade (Funny Girl, 1968)
47. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (Song of the South, 1947)
48. Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) (The Man Who Knew Too Much, 1956)
49. Make 'Em Laugh (Singin' in the Rain, 1952)
50. Rock Around the Clock (Blackboard Jungle, 1955)
51. Fame (Fame, 1980)
52. Summertime (Porgy and Bess, 1959)
53. Goldfinger (Goldfinger, 1964)
54. Shall We Dance (The King and I, 1956)
55. Flashdance ... What a Feeling (Flashdance, 1983)
56. Thank Heaven for Little Girls (Gigi, 1958)
57. The Windmills of Your Mind (The Thomas Crown Affair, 1968)
58. Gonna Fly Now (Rocky, 1976)
59. Tonight (West Side Story, 1961)
60. It Had to Be You (When Harry Met Sally... 1989)
61. Get Happy (Summer Stock, 1950)
62. Beauty and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast, 1991)
63. Thanks for the Memory (The Big Broadcast of 1938, 1938)
64. My Favorite Things (The Sound of Music, 1965)
65. I Will Always Love You (The Bodyguard, 1992)
66. Suicide Is Painless (M*A*S*H, 1970)
67. Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)
68. Streets of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1993)
69. On the Good Ship Lollipop (Bright Eyes, 1934)
70. Summer Nights (Grease, 1978)
71. The Yankee Doodle Boy (Yankee Doodle Dandy, 1942)
72. Good Morning (Singin' in the Rain, 1952)
73. Isn't It Romantic? (Love Me Tonight, 1932)
74. Rainbow Connection (The Muppet Movie, 1979)
75. Up Where We Belong (An Officer and a Gentleman, 1982)
76. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Meet Me in St. Louis, 1944)
77. The Shadow of Your Smile (The Sandpiper, 1965)
78. 9 to 5 (9 to 5, 1980)
79. Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) (Arthur, 1981)
80. Springtime for Hitler (The Producers, 1968)
81. I'm Easy (Nashville, 1975)
82. Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead (The Wizard of Oz, 1939)
83. The Rose (The Rose, 1979)
84. Put the Blame on Mame (Gilda, 1946)
85. Come What May (Moulin Rouge! 2001)
86. (I've Had) the Time of My Life (Dirty Dancing, 1987)
87. Buttons and Bows (The Paleface, 1948)
88. Do Re Mi (The Sound of Music, 1965)
89. Puttin' on the Ritz (Young Frankenstein, 1974)
90. Seems Like Old Times (Annie Hall, 1977)
91. Let the River Run (Working Girl, 1988)
92. Long Ago and Far Away (Cover Girl, 1944)
93. Lose Yourself (8 Mile, 2002)
94. Ain't Too Proud to Beg (The Big Chill, 1983)
95. (We're Off on the) Road to Morocco (Road to Morocco, 1942)
96. Footloose (Footloose, 1984)
97. 42nd Street (42nd Street, 1933)
98. All That Jazz (Chicago, 2002)
99. Hakuna Matata (The Lion King, 1994)
100. Old Time Rock and Roll (Risky Business, 1983)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

New Trailer: The Grudge

Sarah Michelle Gellar stars as Naomi Watts in this remake of the American remake of The Ring. Actually, that's not true. This is a remake of another Japanese horror film called Ju-on: The Grudge. The title The Grudge sounds a bit too much like a comedy, but I digress. Another remake of a Japanese horror film is on the way: The Eye which is being produced by Tom Cruise, possibly starring Naomi Watts or Sarah Michelle Gellar. Or both. No, that's a lie, too. (About Watts and Gellar. Tom Cruise is really producing a remake of that film. Also coming is a remake of Shall We Dance? starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere. Now that's scarier than any of these films.) Whatever. This trailer raises some serious goosebumps, but let's hope that been-there/done-that feeling isn't in the actual film.

Before you die, you'll get The Grudge.

Random Thoughts:.....

These are brief since I have a lot to catch up on....

The Company - 9/10 - Robert Altman's hypnotic docudrama set in the world of dance. Beautiful sequences, almost zero plot, and a surprisingly able Neve Campbell make this a rare gem. What most movies make as plot points, this one treats as just another event in the life of a dancer and another happening in the world of ballet.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - 4/10 - There is only so many times a person getting in the head with a dodgeball - or a wrench - can be funny. So I thought. Though everyone else in the theatre laughed just as hard each time. There's little energy and involvement in the film, which could've been solid piece of funtertainment in another director and writer's hands. Ben Stiller is so outrageous he provides little threat to the heroes, and you wonder just why you are rooting for them in the first place.

Raising Helen - 5/10 - Kate Hudson continues her streak of generic, TV-movie feature films. Garry Marshall offers nothing to the material, and the whole "Whip-It!" scene is so painfully obligatory. It, however, offers some laughs, and only a few manipulated tears. Nevertheless, solid work from Hudson, Joan Cusack and an underused Helen Mirren. Entirely forgettable, yet easily digestable.

Saved! - 6/10 - The teen dream team of Jena Malone, Macalay Culkin, Eva Amurri, and most notably Mandy Moore make this not-as-biting-as-it-should-be satire worth seeing. Though it offers lessons of tolerance when it comes to religion and its place in life, the film seems to be pulling back from what it really wants to say. I can't really see anyone being offended by this, but after Mean Girls, it would be nice to see what Saved! could've been under Tina Fey's pen.

Van Helsing - 5/10 - Say you have a Merchant-Ivory film and to sell it to an MTV crowd, you hire some music video director to take footage from the film and put it together to create a fast-paced, action packed trailer. Well, Van Helsing is that trailer. It sure is pretty and moves fast, but there's something a lot better behind it. Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale seem to have about three dozen lines between them, as the story is action-centered, which at least keeps the film moving. Visual F/X, cinematography, production design are best of the year, but you can't help but wonder how great this film could've been with a different approach. The opening black and white scene gives us a small peak.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Sequel News: 28 Weeks Later

I actually didn't think they'd do a sequel to 28 Days Later, but look it here, they are. 28 Weeks Later is currently in development with a new screenwriter and new director attached. No word yet on whether or not any of the original cast (led by Cillian Murphy, pictured, and Naomie Harris) will return. I loved the original, but I don't know how I feel about this yet. 28 Days Later grossed a surprising $45 million last summer at the domestic box-office.

Since I'm the marquee man......

this made me laugh out loud. A little movie theatre humor for your day:

Sunday, June 20, 2004

EW: Remake Article

Nearly half a dozen remakes have been released since the beginning of the year, and EW has an article about the upcoming ones including The Longest Yard, The Manchurian Candidate, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Pink Panter and To Catch a Thief. Also in the article is their list of the best and worst remakes.

The Best:
1. Ocean's Eleven (2001) A hellzapoppin' cast turned the Rat Pack's so-so 1960 caper into a glitzy love letter to Vegas.
2. Dawn of the Dead (2004) Bloody, hysterical and scary as hell. How remakes oughta be.
3. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) Made us forget Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway's steamy 1968 chess game.
4. Cape Fear (1991) Robert De Niro chewed the swampy scenery in Martin Scorsese's twisted take on the 1962 classic.
5. The Wiz (1978) Props for taking a risk and plunging Diana Ross' Doroty into a big-city ghetto....

The Worst:
1. The Wiz (1978)...but for most, thsi dreary take mars memories of the original.
2. Sabrina (1995) and The Truth About Charlie (2002) Dear Julia Ormond and Thandie Newton: Never try to channel our beloved Audrey Hepburn again. Love, EW.
3. Psycho (1998) Left anybody who saw it asking, WHY????
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) Like a WB show gone horribly awry.
5. Gloria (1999) Another nail in Sharon Stone's career coffin!

Sidenote: Isn't John Carpenter's The Thing suppose to be one of the best???

EW's Must: Debbie Downer

So Entertainment Weekly decided to change its annual it list to a must list. Whatever. The names on both their must list and my it list are Bryce Dallas Howard, Lindsay Lohan, Emmy Rossum, Mark Ruffalo and Kate Winslet. Others on their list of note include Wes Anderson, Christian Bale (obligatory cover boy! Really, EW, stop putting next year's superhero on this year's cover,) Cate Blanchett, Rachel Dratch, Will Ferrell, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson, Jude Law, Heath Ledger, Heather Locklear, Alfred Molina, Julianne Moore, Megan Mullally, Brittany Murphy, Chad Michael Murray, Mary Louise Parker, Alexander Payne, Julia Roberts, James Spader, Kevin Weisman, Dominic West and Reese Witherspoon. The less said about almost every other name on the list the better. Anyways, I'd have to give props to them for their #126. Here's what they said.

126 - SNL's Debbie Downer
Name: Rachel Dratch
Age: 38
Mustworthiness: For giving us the funniest TV moment all year with the May 1 SNL skit "Debbie Downer," about a frowny frump who ruins her family's trip to Disney World with an impressive array of conversation-killing asides (i.e. "Did you guys hear about that train explosion in northern Korea?" - punctuated by wah-wah trumpet refrains. But what elevated Debbie from funny to you-gotta-see-this-classic was the inability of the cast (Jimmy Fallon, Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz, Fred Armisen and host Lindsay Lohan) to keep a straight face; it started as a tiny lip quiver from Dratch and devolved into a tear-spouting, shoulder-shaking riot.
Seriously, What happened? "I don't really know," admits Dratch, who cowrote the sketch with Paul Pell. "I was freaking out in my head, like, Get it together! The worst was when I had to say, 'It's official - I can't have children.' I was like, Stick the landing! But, I just couldn't. It was looking at Jimmy like, 'Help me!'"
Debbie Downer: The Movie. Discuss: "Of course I'd want to be in a movie," jokes Dratch. "I'll start thinking about it."
Next: Both Dratch and Ms. Downer return to SNL next season. "Hopefully I'll be able to keep a straight face this time." Wah-wah!

I've seen that sketch about 20 times now, and the part that caused everyone to laugh was an off-cue trumpet "wah-wah!" It did it in the middle of Dratch's line, and after that, everyone lost it. If you have yet to see that one, I have it on tape. (If i haven't made you watch it already.) Also, look carefully in the sketch to see Lohan throw a piece of her waffle she was cutting up at Dratch to get her back on track.

Here's a New York Daily News article about Debbie.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Jennifer Aniston gets some Dickey...

Variety reports that Warner Bros. and Plan B will develop the story of war photographer Dickey Chapelle as a starring vehicle for Jennifer Aniston. Chapelle, a blonde, blue-eyed beauty who covered WWII for Look magazine and Reader's Digest, became a heralded photog because of her willingness to march to the front lines. She met her demise in Vietnam after tripping a landmine while accompanying Marines on a secret sabotage mission.

Sounds like a certain Friendly Good Girl wants an Oscar.....

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Darren Says What Is IT!

So here's the big one. These are my picks for IT. (I'm one-upping Entertainment Weekly and doing these the day before their issue comes out. Hopefully some of my peeps will be on there, too.) This is who and what you are hearing about right now and will be hearing about till this time next year. I'll start with the most prestigious ITs: IT Boy, IT Girl, IT Actor, and IT Actress.

It Boy: Cillian Murphy
After his breakthrough in last summer's sleeper smash 28 Days Later, the 28-year-old Scott has been working steady, but his most major role will be as the Scarecrow in next summer's Batman Begins. After that is Breakfast on Pluto in which Cillian (pronounced Kill-yin) will play a transvestite cabaret singer in the late 60's. He'll follow this showy role up with Red Light Runners, which features an all-star cast including Michael Madsen, Harvey Keitel, Peter O'Toole and and Crispin Glover. Murphy was also featured in Girl With a Pearl Earring, Cold Moutain and Intermission.

It Girl: Emmy Rossum
At just 17, Rossum has been featured in Clint Eastwood's Oscar-nominated Mystic River as Sean Penn's daughter and in this summer's blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow as Jake Gyllenhaal's crush. But up next is the biggie: the much sought after role of Christine in Joel Schumacher's The Phantom of the Opera. The role was one of the hottest in Hollywood, but with experience in the stage and opera, Rossum was the winner.

It Actor: Mark Ruffalo
Busy. Busy. Busy. The 36-year-old actor made his debut in 2000's acclaimed You Can Count on Me and has been working ever since. It seemed fame had eluded him for almost 3 years, but since he upstaged a nude Meg Ryan in In the Cut and then with this year's most acclaimed film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the Big hit 13 Going on 30, Ruffalo has officially made it. Roles in the late summer indie We Don't Live Here Anymore with Naomi Watts and Tom Cruise potential blockbuster Collateral will only add fuel to an already blazing fire. After that, Ruffalo joins Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Costner in a The Graduate spinoff.

It Actress: Kate Winslet
A critical darling since her debut in Peter Jackson's original great film Heavenly Creatures, mainstream success hit Winslet after she starred in the biggest movie of all time: a certain little movie about a ship. But instead of milking that and taking roles in generic romantic comedies, Winslet continued to work in small, offbeat and often period-set films. Three Oscar nominations, 2 husbands and 2 babies into her career, Winslet, 28, is about to embark on a plethora of possibly great projects for diverse directors like Woody Allen, John Turturro and Robert Altman. Now that the Nicole Kidmans and Renee Zellwegers of the times have Oscars, Winslet seems the highest priority on the list. It will only help that she earned the best notices of her career for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and her next role is a dying mom in the Johnny Depp drama Finding Neverland. In other words, a front row seat at the Kodak has already been reserved for next February.

It Scene-Stealer: Judy Greer
Just watch her bitchy alternative to the sweet Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30 and her deliriously hilarious turn on Arrested Development as the nutty secretary (try not to erupt in giggle fits when she yells out "MICHAEL BLUTH IS THREATENING ME!") and you'll know why this is an actress to watch. After roles in Jawbreaker, The Wedding Planner and Adaptation, the statuesque Greer, 29, will next be seen almost everywhere: M. Night Shyamalan's The Village, Wes Craven's Cursed and Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown. One thing is for sure: no matter who the movie is from or who she is with, all eyes will be on Judy.

It Brits: Romola Garai & James Purefoy
Want two more reasons to see Vanity Fair (after Reese and Mira, of course)?? Well, here you go. Garai brokeout in the period piece I Capture the Castle and was about the only memorable thing of this past February's Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Purefoy was previously seen in A Knight's Tale and Resident Evil. Their turns opposite Witherspoon, as bestfriend and hubbie, should make them It.

It Crossover: Gael Garcia Bernal
The poster child of Cannes (because the festival needed a break after three consecutive years of Nicole Kidman) will be seen in two controversial films this fall: Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education and the Che Guevera biopic The Motorcycle Diaries. Strong Oscar buzz surrounds both. The 26-year-old was previously seen in Y Tu Mama Tambien.

It Sweetheart: Rachel McAdams
Living up to the title The Hot Chick and more than enough proving she could be one of the Mean Girls, the lovely Canadian McAdams will next be seen in this summer's weepie The Notebook. After that, look for the 25-year-old as Luke Wilson's love interest in The Wedding Crashers. The actress was also just announced as a possible candidate for the role of Sue Storm in Fantastic Four.

It King: Clive Owen
Owen should finally enjoy becoming an action star when he steps into the role of the title character of King Arthur, co-starring last year's It Girl Keira Knightley (hey, that didn't hurt Johnny Depp.) Up next, a role opposite Julia Roberts, Jude Law and Natalie Portman in Mike Nichols' adaptation of the stage play Closer.

It Crush: Lindsay Lohan
With lauded turns in Freaky Friday and The Parent Trap, Lohan achieved A-List status with the box office smash Mean Girls, the wittiest teen movie since Clueless. Up next for the red-headed bombshell: a remake of The Love Bug and an untitled dark drama that will show off L.L.'s dramatic chops. But more importantly: turning 18. Mary Kate and Ashley who?

It Name: Dallas Roberts
Remember that name. Appearances on god knows which Law & Order led to Dallas earning a role as 1/3 the threesome madeup of Roberts, Colin Farrell and Robin Wright Penn in A Home at the End of the World, which is already earning rave reviews for the actors. Up next for Roberts (no relation!): a role in the Joaquin Phoenix/Reese Witherspoon/James Mangold Johnny Cash (did you follow that?) biopic Walk the Line.

It Replacement: Bryce Dallas Howard
So, you're M. Night Shyamalan or Lars Von Trier and your leading ladies (Kirsten Dunst and Nicole Kidman, respectively) have just decided they no longer want to participate in your film. What do you do? Well, you wouldn't think that "Call Ron Howard's daughter!" would be the first solution. But the NYU grad Bryce, 23, is just who the eccentric directors got for their films The Village and Manderlay (the follow-up to Dogville.) And you gotta wonder how good she is if she's going to replace talent like that.

It Child Actor: Freddie Highmore
Or perhaps It Johnny Depp Collaborater would also be suitable. Young Highmore stars as Kate Winslet's son in Finding Neverland, but next year will star as Charlie Bucket in Tim Burton's must anticipated reimagining of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Check him out this summer opposite Guy Pearce and some big kitties in Two Brothers.

It Baby: Apple Blythe Alison Martin
Genuine screen beauty, soothing vocals and a cool New York/UK sensibility??? The eighteen-or-so year wait should well be worth it.

IT For Your Emmy Consideration - Arrested Development
If this comedy series does not sweep the Emmy's this fall, there is no justice in TV world. Any TV show that combines incest jokes, low-carb fads, an adopted son named "Annyung," family problems, Iraqi real estate, Portia De Rossi, wacky guest stars and a business titled "Dip-A-Pet" is worth your time. Trust me.

IT TV Show - Desperate Housewives
Already being compared to American Beauty and Twin Peaks, this darkly funny drama must be damn good if ABC bumped its most acclaimed series (Alias) to 2005 to makeway for some serious bitchery. Starring Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman and Sheryl Lee.

IT Reruns - The X-Files
Check TNT, TBS and Sci-Fi. You know you love it. Though stay clear of those headache inducing government/conspiracy/ark-y episodes. Go straight to the monster stuff!

IT Summer Movie - Garden State
In a summer of hugely budgeted sequels and (so-far) big let downs, this much buzzed indie could be the sunshine you've been waiting for. Zach Braff of TV's Scrubs directs and stars, along with Natalie Portman and Peter Saarsgard.

IT Sequel - Before Sunset
Yes, you're dying to see Spider-Man 2 and The Bourne Supremacy. But give Richard Linklater's follow-up to his lovely Before Sunrise a chance this summer. Its like Lost In Translation. Only outside and with less quietness.

IT Scary Movie - The Woods
Agnes Bruckner, Patricia Clarkson, and Bruce Campbell co-star in Lucky McKee's Suspiria-esque chiller. After seeing McKee's May, I'm so there.

IT Fall Movie - The Aviator
What a cast! What a director! What an Oscar campaign!

IT 2005 Movie - Brokeback Mountain
Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play gay cowboys (no word yet on whether they like pudding) in Ang Lee's drama set in the 60's. Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams and the wonderful Anna Faris co-star. The film has already been given the nickname "Bareback Mountain."

And that is IT!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

New Trailer: Finding Neverland

Formerly titled J.M. Barrie's Neverland, this is Marc Foster's follow-up to his Oscar-winning Monster's Ball. It stars Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman and Julie Christie.

Check it out here.

Box Office Predictions: June 18 - 20

1. The Terminal - $28M
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $20M
3. Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - $18M
4. Shrek 2 - $15M
5. The Stepford Wives - $12.5M
6. Garfield - $12M
7. The Chronicles of Riddick - $11.5M
8. Around the World in 80 Days - $10M (3-day)/$15M (5-day)
9. The Day After Tomorrow - $7.5M
10. Raising Helen - $2.2M

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Kidman Kisses Little Man No More

kidman in rosemary's baby...err, birth, rather

No, not another story about her ex-husband. Nicole Kidman's upcoming film Birth is already creating some ripples. It was announced last week that a scene of Kidman kissing actor Cameron Bright (Godsend) in the shower will be cut. So that doesn't sound so bad. Did I mention that Bright is playing the ten year old incarnation of Kidman's dead husband??? There you go. Bright's mother spoke out about the controvery saying that the scenes were well done and not beyond her discretion. Birth has yet to have a release date but will likely hit this fall. The film is directed by Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) and co-stars Lauren Bacall, Anne Heche and Danny Huston. <

Friday, June 11, 2004

Random Thoughts: The Stepford Wives

behind every good woman is a great...plan

I hate writing reviews. So I'm introducing my "Random Thoughts" column to my blog. Yes, a column can have a column inside. Maybe I'm giving the wrong words. Anyways, I couldn't think of a more perfect (or flawed) film to kick off my "Random Thoughts" movie review column...that isn't really a review..or column. I love the original film. Its on my top 100 films. Of course, I was dying to see this because of that factor, and throw in that, ahem, to die for lead actress and the rest of the cast. The film sticks to the story of the original, while altering some scenes and almost the entire tone of the movie. Bordering on a spoof of the original, it adds a campy tone to the story (or perhaps, more campy tone) and some biting humor. The humor is dark and extreme, if slightly broad. Reality TV bashing? Check. AOL bashing? Check. Gender, religion and sexuality stereotypes? Check. You get the picture. The film has some big laughs, courtesy of mainly Roger Bart as Joanna's (Nicole Kidman)gay pal and Bette Midler as the jewish neurotic that Paula Prentis gloriously nailed in the original. The one-liners fly fast and hit their mark. Glenn Close and Christopher Walken are, well, Glenn Close and Christopher Walken: psychotically over the top and menacingly creepy. Faith Hill also makes her big screen debut (after turning down the Natalie Portman role in Cold Mountain.) Hill's part is malfuncioning wife Sarah Sunderson, which was a real scene-stealer in the original. I would've loved it if director Frank Oz and screenwriter Paul Rudnick had kept the "I'll just die if I don't get this recipe!" scene. That was a hoot. This brings me to leads Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick. Ferris is fine in his role, but not much is required. Kidman seems to be channeling her performances in The Others and To Die For. She's fully in charge at the beginning as the bitchy Manhattan career gal and makes the power-hungry nature of her character seem so simple. (And yes, she's great as the Stepford Joanna towards the end.) Plagued by a hellish production, only one time does the hectic behind the scenes fiascos show in the film: it seems unclear just what the Stepford Wives are. Are they robots with the same brain? Or the same woman with a chip in her brain. All that aside, its campy fun summer diversion comparable to both Addams Family movies, which Rudnick also penned. If you like those and their humor, you'll like this. The crowd I saw it with seemed into it and laughed at the right parts. If you have any intention of ever seeing the original, do so before seeing the new one. Also, this is a film that had I ever made is a filmmaker I wanted to remake. And surprisingly, they did the ending exactly the way I would've.
I'm brilliant. And The Stepford Wives is pretty damn fun.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Make a Date With Bridget This November

Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason has been bumped up from its original January 2005 expansion date to a wide release on November 19, 2004. Renee Zellweger returns to the role that garnered her first Oscar nomination, while Colin Firth and Hugh Grant are back in their respective roles.

New Trailer: Wimbledon

Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany serve up some love with their latest. So many potential puns, so little time. Anywho, I'm rather looking forward to this one as Dunst and Bettany seem like an interesting pairing, and both gave two of the best supporting performances in the past year with her work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and him in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Perhaps their real life significant others - Jake Gyllenhaal and Jennifer Connelly - can star in a movie about a love set against the backdrop of a dart contest.

Trailer here.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Box Office Predictions: June 11 - June 13

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $50M
2. The Chronicles of Riddick - $30M
3. Shrek 2 - $20M
4. The Stepford Wives - $15M
5. Garfield - $14M
6. The Day After Tomorrow - $12M
7. Raising Helen - $3.5M
8. Troy - $2.5M
9. Saved! - $2M
10. Mean Girls - $1.4M

McDormand Joins Theron

I don't get why this qualifies as news considering it was announced months back, but everyone else is just now reporting it. I might as well, too. Frances McDormand - Oscar-winning Best Actress for Fargo - has joined Charlize Theron - Oscar-winning Best Actress for Monster - in the adaptation of MTV's animated series Aeon Flux. The futuristic tale will be directed by Karyn Kusama (Girlfight). Filming begins autumn of this year in Berlin.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

New Trailer: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

Jim Carrey looking all creepy. A brief shot of Meryl Streep. And no sign of Jude Law's narration. Hmmm....

Check it out here.

New Trailer: The Aviator

One of my most (hell, everyone's most) anticipated movies of the year and, perhaps, biggest Oscar contenders finally gets its trailer.

Be sure to check out the latest from Leo, Cate, Jude, Kate, Alec, and Marty!

Trailer Here.

Box Office Projections: June 4 - 6

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $92.6M (????)
2. Shrek 2 - $37M
3. The Day After Tomorrow - $28.2M
4. Raising Helen - $6.7M
5. Troy - $5.7M
6. Mean Girls - $2.9M
7. Soul Plane - $2.8M
8. Van Helsing - $2.3M
9. Man on Fire - $1M
10. Super Size Me - $0.8M

Excuse me if I'd rather wait for the actual Harry Potter weekend numbers before removing the question marks. You see, Warner Bros. appears to be horrible at crunching numbers. First, they announced on Saturday that Potter had made almost $41M opening day. Then earlier on Sunday, they took it down to $38M, while announcing it plunged to $33M for its Saturday gross. Now, if $38M & $33M are the actual Fri & Sat grosses, that means the movie dropped to $21M for Sunday. This is nearly impossible for a family oriented film. Family movies usually increase on Saturday, and drop small on Sunday. But then again, judging from the crowds for the film, little kids seemed non-existant. So, who knows? Wait for Monday to get the real deal on Harry Potter. Nevertheless, another solid weekend for Shrek 2, which now will not only easily dethrone The Passion of the Christ as the year's biggest film, but poses a huge threat to Spider-Man 2 (opening June 30.) Another big weekend lies ahead: Universal's releases its so far greatly received The Chronicles of Riddick, 20th Century Fox's about-to-be widely panned Garfield, and the summer's biggest question mark: Paramount's remake of the 1970's cult classic The Stepford Wives. Fine Line's Saved! also expands to moderate release. My weekend estimates will be announced, as always, on Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Box Office Predictions - June 4 - June 6

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - $92M
2. Shrek 2 - $33M
3. The Day After Tomorrow - $32M
4. Raising Helen - $6.5M
5. Troy - $5.5M
6. Mean Girls - $2.5M

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Welcome to my blog. I'm Darren. You probably already know me. If you don't, leave.