August 14, 2009

New Movie Preview: 8/14/09

This week's wide releases -
Bandslam, District 9, The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard., Ponyo, and The Time Traveler's Wife, Paper Heart

The second full weekend of August is a busy one! There is a little bit for just about everyone. Sci-fi? Check. Action? Check. Comedy? Check. Animation? Check. Family? Check. Romance? Check and check. There is even a little bit of crossover between the films, which makes them even more enticing. It has been awhile since there was a weekend where I wanted to see so many movies. It is awfully crowded and I doubt I will be able to squeeze them all in! So, are there any that interest you?

Bandslam. (2009, 111 minutes, PG, family) I have not seen one commercial or trailer for this movie. That means one of two things, it could mean that the studio has no faith in it and have chosen not to do much to back it, or they are advertising on shows and programs I do not watch. I suspect the latter to be closer to reality. The film tells of a young musician who enlists a newcomer to manager her band as she prepares to take on her ex-boyfriend at a battle of he bands. Meanwhile, the new guy develops a romance with another musician played by Vanessa Hudgeons. I can say this one one does not hold much interest for me.

District 9. (2009, 113 minutes, R, science fiction) Here is one of my most anticipated films for August. I knew the moment I first saw the trailer that this was going to be a movie for me. It is a twist on the alien invasion story. Set in Johannesburg, South Africa, an alien ship has come to rest above the city, it is unable to leave and has fallen under control of humanity, but people cannot figure it out. Meanwhile, the alien inhabitants just want to go home, but their ship is hostage. They are also being segregated from the rest of the population, and the tensions are building. The film was directed by Neil Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson.

The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard. (2009, 89 minutes, R, comedy) Let me first say that the title is terrible. I thought it was just called The Goods and that would have been fine, but they had to tack on tagline material as part of the title. I any case, Jeremy Piven lead a team that has been hired by a car dealer to sell all the cars on the lot. It looks funny and a little demented. The problem is that it is coming in the wake of The Hangover, one of the funniest movies of the year.

Ponyo. (2009, 101 minutes, G, anime)When it comes to a new Hayao Miyazaki film, I am there. I do not care what it is about, I want to see it. Miayzaki is an absolute genius film maker, even his failures are successes. I also want to thank John Lasseter of Disney, as he has been instrumental in getting the films to America and then on the big screen. When it comes to this film, I am really not sure what it is, I can tell you it looks strange and beautiful. Hopefully I will be able to tell you more after seeing it. It is the story of a goldfish that wants to be human and a young boy that she befriends.

The Time Traveler's Wife. (2009, 108 minutes, PG-13, romance) Every time I see the trailer for this, I cannot help but be a little creeped out. It is the interaction between Eric Bana and the younger version of Rachel McAdams characters that seems odd as he tells her they are friends when she is "a lady." I am going to assume cinematic context will make that work better. Anyway, this is a sweeping romance with one lead unstuck in time. I want to see this and I want to like this, but I am not sure I will. I hope to have an experience similar to The Lake House, which I really enjoyed.

Paper Heart. (2009, 89 minutes, PG-13, mockumentary/romantic comedy) Is this a documentary? A mockumentary? A romantic comedy? Some combination? Is any of this real? I am not sure. At first I took the trailer at face value, but the more I think about it, the more I am not so sure. That said, I am looking forward to checking it out. It centers on Charlyne Yi who does not believe in love and her search to understand it, which leads to Michael Cera and a possible love connection.

Also opening this week, but not near me:
  • It Might Get Loud
  • Pool Boys
  • Spread

Box Office Predictions
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra won last weekend in rather easy fashion, posting a gross that outstripped most predictions. It arrived with an impressive $54 million. That said, will it have the strength to win a second weekend? On one hand I say yes, but on the other hand I am not sure how positive word of mouth has been, and I see two of this week's as having a possibility of taking that prized top spot. This is a weekend where we can see a few potential sleepers begin to climb the ranks as we get away from the epicenter of the Blockbuster season.

Here is how I think it could play out.

RankTitleBox Office
1District 9$28 million
2G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra$24 million
3The Time Traveler's Wife$18.5 million
4The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard.$15 million
5Julie & Julia$11 million
6Bandslam$7 million
7G-Force$6 million
8Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince$5 million
9Ponyo$4 million
10Funny People$3.5 million


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