This week brings a new trio of wide releases to my area, as well as a couple to the local art house. I don’t think any of them look like a surefire hit, but I have been known to be wrong. We are still in the build-up period to the blockbuster season, which begins in earnest next month when we see Mission Impossible III and The Da Vinci Code.
American Dreamz. (2006, 115 minutes, PG-13, comedy, trailer) This is the latest from writer/director Paul Weitz, who was behind About a Boy and In Good Company. This looks like it could be pretty good. First off it takes a few shots at the American Idol mentality of this country; for the record, I cannot stand the show. Plus it features a goofy presidential character, plenty of comedic potential there. There is also the cast which includes Dennis Quaid, High Grant, Mandy Moore, and Marcia Gay Harden. Not bad if you ask me. Whether or not it is actually going to be any good has yet to be seen.
The Sentinel. (2006, 108 minutes, PG-13, thriller, trailer) AKA 24 the Movie. This looks like a made-for-TV movie elevated to a much higher budget status. Kiefer Sutherland returns to the big screen, this time in a character that, judging by the commercials, is Jack Bauer in a suit. He is a secret service agent, with Eva Longoria as his partner, looking into a plot to assassinate the president. The primary suspect is played by Michael Douglas. The commercials also hint at the involvement of Kim Basinger, but I do not recall seeing her in them. The movie was directed by Clark Johnson, whose last big screen outing was S.W.A.T.
Silent Hill. (2006, 120 minutes, R, horror, trailer) This is my choice for the movie to see this weekend. Yes it is another horror film, but fortunately it has the R rating, and yes it is based on a video game, but those facts do not automatically make it bad. It does have a good director on its side, Christophe Gans, who was behind the excellent Brotherhood of the Wolf. He seems to have the right eye and a good visual style to render this on the big screen. Alternate dimensions, demons, evil, death, sounds like fun. Plus it has excellent character actor Sean Bean, he rarely disappoints.
Neil Young: Heart of Gold. (2006, 103 minutes, PG, concert, trailer) This was shot over the span of two concerts at the original location of the Grand Ole Opry, and a place that holds a special spot in Mr. Young’s heart. This is primarily a concert film with some interviews; there is no background on the production. It came about as a result of Neil Young’s brush with death, having undergone two surgeries for a brain aneurysm. I recall first seeing the trailer, and thinking that it looked like one helluva show. It was directed by Jonathan Demme, who has also made The Silence of the Lambs and The Manchurian Candidate (2004).
Shakespeare Behind Bars. (2005, 92 minutes, NR, documentary, trailer) This documentary is here for a brief three-show run, over three days, at Upstate Films. The film follows an all-male theater group that puts on a production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The catch here is that it is in a correctional facility in Kentucky. The group uses theater to bring themselves dignity, and a way of allowing themselves to grow beyond the mere definition of themselves based on their crime. This could be quite interesting.
Also opening this week, but not near me:
- The Celestine Prophecy
- In Her Line of Fire
- Standing Still
- Wassup Rockers
Box Office Predictions.
This week is little tough to judge, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Scary Movie 4 could still pull some weight and I don’t see this week’s new releases being huge draws. But, considering my lack of judging experience, I will probably get them all wrong. Here goes:
- Silent Hill.
- Ice Age: The Meltdown.
- The Sentinel.
- Scary Movie 4.
- The Wild.
- The Benchwarmers.
- American Dreamz.
- Thank You for Smoking.
- Lucky Number Slevin.
- Inside Man.
No clever tags or thoughts. Just a simple list. I really have no idea how things will shake out. I am just hoping that I haven’t embarrassed myself with this choices.