March 3, 2006

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Featuring Ultraviolet

March kicks off with a bang with four films opening in the nations theaters. The year in cinema will start to heat up this month, as the slow build towards the summer season starts this month as the ratio of good to filler films begins to swing towards the good. This initial weekend of the March campaign has a promising look, with a new Bruce Willis flick and a good dose of action featuring Milla Jovovich.

16 Blocks. (PG-13, 105 minutes, trailer) Bruce Willis returns to the big screen for the first time since last year's Sin City. This time around, he's playing, surprise surprise, an aging cop. He is tasked with taking a witness, played by Mos Def, 16 blocks across New York City to a courthouse. The only problem with this simple task is that he is about to snitch on dirty cops, led by David Morse. On the surface this looks like it could be rather derivative, but after last year's excellent and underrated Hostage, I am willing to give this benefit of the doubt. Besides, Willis has mastered this type of role, and Mos Def has great screen presence. This also marks Richard Donner's first film since the awful Timeline, hopefully this will redeem him.

Aquamarine. (PG, 109 minutes, trailer) Looking to corner the tween girl market comes this tail of a beach club and a mermaid. Two girls discover a mermaid in the pool at a local beach club. Romance ensues between the fish and the pool boy, so the girls attempt to save the mermaid by returning her to the sea. Outside of the description, I know nothing about the film, and don't have a lot of desire to seek it out, but I am sure its audience will find it.

Dave Chappelle's Block Party. (R, 103 minutes, trailer) Chappelle makes his return to the big screen in this documentary about the party he threw in Brooklyn. It is a mixture of Chappelle's freestyle, unscripted comedy, musical performances, and watching Chappelle pull the whole thing together. Musical guests include The Roots, Mos Def (in his second film of the weekend), Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and the reunion of The Fugees. On top of all that, the film was directed by Michel Gondry, whose last film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, was one of the best of 2004. This could be a lot of fun.

Ultraviolet. (PG-13, 85 minutes, trailer) This is the one I have been looking forward to, a blast of adrenalized action, with a potentially interesting story. This is the story of a future, where a group of enhanced humans have been targeted by the government that created them for extermination. Milla Jovovich stars as one of those enhanced beings, fighting for survival against her former employers. I am sure there is more to it, but I am easily distracted by the hyperkinetic, stylized action on display in the trailer. It was directed by Kurt Wimmer, who made the excellent Equilibrium with Christian Bale a few years back. Ultraviolet is supposed to feature a more "pure" form of the gun-kata fighting style he developed that first appeared in Equilibrium. Hopefully I will not be disappointed, although I am a bit disheartened by the brief running time.

Mrs. Henderson Presents. (R, 103 minutes, 2005, trailer) This well reviewed film makes its way to the local arthouse cinema. It stars Dame Judi Dench as Laura Henderson, a recently widowed woman seeking to remain active in society. She revives a London theater during WWII, and while achieving early success, it quickly wanes. She changes her business, posing naked actresses as living art, she sees a boom in business, becoming an oasis for soldiers during the war. Dench costars with Bob Hoskins. It was directed by Stephen Frears of Dangerous Liasions fame.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Deep-Sea 3D
  • Joyeux Noel
  • Our Band is Crisis

Box Office Predictions. Let's see if I can do better than last week.

  1. Tyler Perry's Madea's Family Reunion. I vastly underestimated this last week, will it have the legs to be the first repeat number 1 of the year?
  2. 16 Blocks. This looks to be a high energy film, and Bruce can still open a film, I think. Anyway, this looks like fun, so I hope it does well.
  3. Eight Below. A delightful family movie, this turned out to be a real surprise. I hope it continues to do well.
  4. The Pink Panther. For some reason, this is showing some legs. This is not a good movie.
  5. Ultraviolet. I wish this well, but I think this will probably be as high as it goes.
  6. Aquamarine. This doesn't seem to have a terribly extensive ad campaign, but I am sure people will find it.
  7. Date Movie. As bad as this movie is, I am sure people will still be out to see it.
  8. Firewall. Running out of options, but this will still be around.
  9. Dave Chappelle's Block Party. Could this be the first documentary to crack the top ten? Will Dave's fans find him on the big screen?
  10. Running Scared. I really enjoyed this, I hope it clings on for at least another week.

What are you seeing this week?

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