December 22, 2006

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: The Good Shepherd, Night at the Museum, We Are Marshall, Rocky Balboa, Black Christmas

This last weekend before Christmas features a lot of new movies hitting theaters around the nation. Some are seeking to bring out families for the holiday vaction, some are looking for Oscar consideration, and still others are looking to spill a little blood in the name of good taste. All I hope for is something that is worth watching (not that I have ever regretted any of my choices). Read on to see all of the weekend's fine choices.

The Good Shepherd. (2006, 160 minutes, R, drama, trailer) This is from Robert DeNiro and takes a look at the secret origins of the CIA. Whether or not this film is accurate in any way, I do not know. What I do know is that the trailer looks very good, and the cast is stockpiled with star power. It centers on Edward Wilson, a bright up and comer who is recruited for the super secret Skull & Bones Society and goes on to be among the first members of the CIA. The cast includes Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Robert DeNiro, and Billy Crudup.

Night at the Museum. (2006, 109 minutes, PG, comedy-fantasy, trailer) Ben Stiller stars as the newly hired night watchman at the Museum of Natural History. He is given the advice not to let anything out by Dick Van Dyke, advice that proves to be more than useful. There is an Egyptian curse which causes all of the exhibits to come to life once the museum closes each night. It is up to Stiller to find out what is going on, with the help of exhibits such as Robin Williams' Teddy Roosevelt and Owen Wilson as a miniature cowboy.

We Are Marshall. (2006, 116 minutes, PG, drama, trailer) Here is yet another inspirational football movie, following Invincible and Gridiron Gang. I have to ask, how many of these do we need? At least in such a short period of time. This one concerns the tragic plane crash which claimed the lives of the entire Marshall football team, and the efforts to rebuild the program. It looks pretty good, I am just not sure I am interested in yet another football movie. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, and David Strathairn. It was directed by McG, a distinct change of pace from his music videos and prior big screen outings, Charlie's Angels and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.

Rocky Balboa. (2006, 102 minutes, PG, drama, trailer) Sly Stallone returns for a sixth (I think) go around as the long lived boxer. The character began as the ultimate underdog in the Oscar winner from the 70's, Rocky. Now, Sly returns to the character that helped rocket him to fame to bid farewell one last time. This movie pits the old pugilist against a rising young superstar following a video game simulation pitting the new generation against the old guard, a sim where the old guard came out on top. I've never been a big Rocky fan and cannot say that the commercials have excited me all that much, although I believe I will make my way to the theater for it.

Little Children. (2006, 130 minutes, R, comedy-drama, trailer) This is the story of a dysfunctional middle class. Each of the people involved make decisions that will have long lasting effects on them. I have not seen much on this movie, but what I have seen looks pretty good. It is the second feature from Todd Field, whose first film as In the Bedroom. The cast includes Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Noah Emmerich, and Jennifer Connelly. This is nominated for three Golden Globes.

Volver. (2006, 120 minutes, R, drama, trailer) The latest from Pedro Almodovar is a study in the deep connections between three generations of women. Penelope Cruz stars as a working mother with a headstrong teenage daughter, a cranky sister, a friend dying of cancer, and a no-account husband. While juggling this, it appears that her dead mother (Carmen Maura) with whom she had “issues” has been making appearances in her small town in windy La Mancha. Nominated for two Golden Globes.

Opening Christmas Day:
Black Christmas. (2006, 107 minutes, R, horror, trailer) Back in 1974, Bob Clark unleashed a slasher film set during the Christmas holiday, if I recall correctly, it did not create much of a stir. Since that time, it has developed something of a cult following. Now there is a new take on how to do a little holiday bloodletting, directed by Glen Morgan (Final Destination). This time around, the killer has been given a backstory which ties into the house containing the young victims. I cannot say that this will be a good movie, I just hope for a decent horror film, they seem to be few and far between these days. The stars include Lacey Chabert and Michelle Trachtenberg.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Curse of the Golden Flower
  • Letters from Iwo Jima
  • No Restraint
  • The Painted Veil
  • Venus

On Christmas Day:

  • Children of Men
  • Notes on a Scandal

Box Office Predictions

Honestly, after last week's prediction debacle, I have no idea about how this week is going to go. I am not sure how the holiday will affect the outcome, but here are my complete guesses:

RankTitleBox Office
1Night at the Museum$28 million
2Rocky Balboa$12 million
3The Pursuit of Happyness$16 million
4We Are Marshall$15 million


$14 million
6Charlotte's Web$6.5 million
7The Holiday$5 million
8Happy Feet$4.75million
9Casino Royale$4.25 million
10Apocalypto$3.5 million

What are you seeing this weekend?


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