January 26, 2007

New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Blood & Chocolate, Catch and Release, Epic Movie, Smokin' Aces

This week brings seven more movies in on the wind. Among the seven, four are new releases and three are 2006 films that are expanding into my viewing radius. What this makes for is a a busy weekend for yours truly. Fortunately, I may have some free time next week to try and squeeze in all that I would like to. Between the new films and the expanding ones, there would appear to be a great disparity in quality. Taking those factors into consideration, this could be an interesting weekend with whatever I make it out to see.

Blood & Chocolate. (2007, 98 minutes, PG-13, horror, trailer) First let me say that I think the title is very silly, yes I know it is the name of the book on which it is based, but I still think it is silly. This comes from the producers of the Underworld films, and has a similar look on what appears to be a more restrained budget. The commercials strike me as a cross between the previously mentioned Underworld and An American Werewolf in Paris. It is set in modern Bucharest and centers on a young woman, played by Agnes Bruckner, who has spent her life trying to get away from the fact she is a werewolf, then she falls in love with an American. It is a romance that threatens to expose her clan. It is directed by Katja von Garnier.

Catch and Release. (2007, 124 minutes, PG-13, romantic comedy, trailer) I could have sworn that this had already been through theaters and I had just missed it. It had actually crossed my mind a few weeks back, before I started seeing the commercials again. I didn't know the name, I just found myself wondering what happened to that comedy that Kevin Smith was acting in. Anyway, here it is, I guess I didn't miss it. It is the story of a woman (Jennifer Garner) trying to piece her life back together following the untimely death of her fiancee. It may not be great, but I am actually looking forward to this. Susannah Grant directs from her script, she also wrote the screenplay for Charlotte's Web.

Epic Movie. (2007, 86 minutes, PG-13, comedy, trailer) I have to say that the prospect of sitting through this is not something that I relish. It is from the "brilliant minds" behind the brutally unfunny Date Movie from this time last year. This time out they turn their eye of parody towards the epics that have held us in thrall over the past few years. Frankly, the commercials for this do not look good. I actually think the epic film comedy presented in last summer's Clerks II will have been funnier than anything and everything in this movie. I wish Kal Penn would find better material, a new agent, or both. From his involvement in the sub par Van Wilder 2 to this, what is a guy to think? I know he has some skill, and was decent in Superman Returns and had a nice dramtic turn at the down of the new season of 24.

Smokin' Aces. (2007, 108 minutes, R, action, trailer) OK, now we're talking. This looks like one of those hyper, over the top, batsh!t wild movies that grabs a hold of your throat and doesn't let go. On the other hand, it could turn out to be a lame series of explosions. I am hoping for an experience not unlike last year's Running Scared which surprised the heck out of me with the non-stop thrills and the wild story, not to mention making Paul Walker watchable. This movie has a Vegas entertainer (Jeremy Piven) turning state's evidence, forcing a crime boss to put out a hit. It is up to a pair of FBI agents (Ryan Reynolds and Ray Liotta) to keep Aces in union with his life as a wild assortment of killers descend on their location. I cannot wait.

Notes on a Scandal. (2006, 91 minutes, R, thriller, trailer) This is a film that I can say I have not had much interest in seeing, for no reason in particular. Recently, that has changed. I have seen a commercial for it and I have heard Philip Glass' wonderful score and I have flipped my non-interest into a growing interest. I have heard nothing but good things about Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench. Plus there are the four Oscar noms that it has received. The film was directed by Richard Eyre.

The Painted Veil. (2007, 134minutes, PG-13, drama, trailer) This film is set in the Far East and centers on the unhappy marriage of a doctor and wife, played by Edward Norton and Naomi Watts. They travel from England to China (shot on location) where he is to help a village during a cholera epidemic. She embarks on an affair which opens her eyes to self discovery. The cinematography looks absolutely gorgeous, but the film looks like it could be dry. Still, I am intrigued by the setting, and Norton is always sure to turn in a good performance. It was directed by John Curran.

Volver. (2007, 135 minutes, R, drama, trailer) The latest from Pedro Almodovar has helped earn Penelope Cruz an Oscar nomination. Although, it was not nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, I was actually a little surprised by that (moot point as it is, my money is on Pan's Labyrinth). Still, I have to admit to being interested in seeing the film. 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.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • Seraphim Falls

Box Office Predictions

Stomp the Yard retained its spot atop the box office field, narrowly fending off a challenge from Night at the Museum to retain its throne, a throne held for three weeks. Will it be able to make it three? I doubt it. I have a sinking suspicion that Epic Movie may climb to the top. We also have the re-expansion of The Departed which could find itself back in the top ten. As you al have witnessed in the past weeks and months, I am not the best at predicting where the films will land, but hell if it ain't fun to try.

Here is how I think the top ten field will play out:

RankTitleBox Office
1Epic Movie$13.5 million
2Smokin' Aces$11 million
3Night at the Musem$9 million
4Stomp the Yard$8 million

Blood & Chocolate

$7.5 million
6Catch and Release

$6 million

7The Pursuit of Happyness$4.5 million
8The Departed$4 million
9The Hitcher$3.5 million
10Freedom Writers$2.5 million

What are you seeing this weekend?


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