October 20, 2006

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Flags of Our Fathers, Flicka, Marie Antoinette, The Prestige

This weekend strikes me as more of a November weekend based on all of the dramas being released. The one lone exception is a reissue of sorts. There is the Oscar hopeful war drama, a family drama, a period drama, and another period drama with a touch of the mystical. I would have expected a bit more varied schedule with, perhaps, a comedy and almost definitely a horror release. Anyway, there are still a few promising films to see this weekend.

The Nightmare Before Christmas is the first film to reach the big screen utilizing a new 3D process. It is opening at 168 locations, nationwide, and will be utilizing the polarized style glasses, no red/blue anaglyph to be had here. I love this movie and I regret never seeing it on the big screen. I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to see this on the big screen. The songs, the animation, the quirkiness, what's there not to like?

Flags of Our Fathers. (2006, 132 minutes, R, war drama, trailer) Clint Eastwood's follow up to Million Dollar Baby is a war film set during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The fascinating aspect of this film is that it is one of two that Eastwood has made, he made a second film at the same time only focusing on the Japanese perspective. I believe that is slated for release later this Fall. The centerpiece of this film, based on the advertising, is the photo that helped unite the country, the photo of the US flag being raised. It is truly an amazing photograph, and I look forward to seeing Eastwood's tale on the silver screen.

Flicka. (2006, 100 minutes, PG, drama, trailer) To be completely honest, I have zero interest in this movie. It is not because it is a family film, but because I am just left completely cold when I see the trailers. Frankly, it looks like a made for TV drama. I am willing to be proven wrong, but I am not willing to drop down the cash required to witness it in a theater. It is the story of a teen girl who dreams of working on her father's farm, tames a mustang, and learns about herself.

Marie Antoinette. (2006, 118 minutes, PG-13, period drama, trailer) Sofia Coppola's follow up to the wonderful Lost in Translation does not seem to be faring all too well with the critics. I have seen stories saying that it has been booed at screenings, the star, Kirsten Dunst, has been criticized, and historians have attacked it for not being terribly accurate. I have seen the trailer and I think it does seem like slight entertainment, but I would be lying if I was not intrigued. I believe that I will be making time to see this one.

The Prestige. (2006, 135 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) This is arguably my most anticipated new release. After being disappointed by The Illusionist, my hopes for an entertaining magician themed film are pinned here. The first thing to grab you has got to be the cast, it is a great lineup of talent, featuring Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and Michael Caine. Next is the director, Christopher Nolan, a man making quite a name for himself since making a splash with Memento and increasing his draw with the excellent Batman Begins. I may be making a mistake by basing my hopes on the pedigree of those involved, but I dount that I will be let down.

Old Joy. (2006, 76 minutes, NR, drama) This film is beginning its run at the local art house, and was the winner of best film at the Rotterdam Film Festival. It was directed by Kelly Reichardt and concerns a man who, on the verge of fatherhood, is invited to go on a hiking trip by an impulsive friend. He decides he should go and his wife steps out of the way. It is described as a minimalist tale of friendship and alienation. I can honestlysay that I am not all that interested in it, however, given a chance I would be more than willing to give it a shot.

The Queen. (2006, 97 minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) Helen Mirren is being talked about for Oscar gold in her role as Queen Elizabeth II in this latest outing from Stephen Frears. The film concerns the reactions to the tragic death of Princess Diana as the subjects of her monarchy watch for her reaction to the loss. It also has Tony Blair, the newly elected Prime Minister struggling with just how public a display there should be. Frears incorporates news and archival footage to help set the mood. I have not seen a single frame from this, yet amd very interested in seeing it. This is also playing locally at the local art house theater.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Don
  • Jaan-E-Mann
  • Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
  • Requiem
  • Running with Scissors
  • Sleeping Dogs Lie (aka Stay)

Box Office Predictions

Three wide releases and one medium release are vying for spots in the top ten. It will be interesting to see how things play out. I suspect that The Grudge 2 is going to have a big drop off and The Departed will begin a bit of a slide. I have a feeling that The Prestige, and the marketing machine behind it, will take the top slot. I think I may be overestimating Flicka, but I will stick to my prediction. Here are my thoughts on the rankings:

RankTitleBox Office
1The Prestige$21.5 million
2Flags of Our Fathers$18 million
3The Departed$15.5 million
4Flicka$11.5 million
5The Grudge 2$10 million
6Open Season $8 million
7Man of the Year$7.25 million
8Marie Antoinette$5 million
9The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning$4 million
10The Guardian $3.25 million

What are you seeing this weekend?


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