Welcome to the start of the stretch run towards the end of the year. From here on out we will get a mix of potential big money hits and Oscar hopefuls. This week sees the arrival of a big money remake of a science fiction classic from the 1950s, a lame looking animated feature, a holiday film, and a widening Oscar hopeful. Where will you be spending your time?
The Day the Earth Stood Still. (2008, 110 minutes, PG-13, science fiction, trailer) This should prove to be interesting. Ever since this remake was announced there has been endless discussion as to the worth of going back to the science fiction classic. I was one of those who did not think it was necessary, although I am curious as to how this new take will turn out. Keanu Reeves always seems to catch a lot of flack, but I like the guy — he steps into all sorts of roles and while not a great actor, he does the job. For the role of Klaatu he does seem like a good choice when compared to Michael Rennie who filled the role in the original. I am also curious to see how the story has been adjusted to increase its relevance for a modern audience. Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) handles the directing job working from a screenplay by David Scarpa (The Last Castle).
Delgo. (2008, 107 minutes, PG, animation, trailer) This looks bad, real bad. I actually plan on skipping this one. It reminds me of Doogal and Space Chimps, all featuring poor animation and a number of recognizable names in the cast list in the hopes of getting people in the seats. I am actually surprised to see it getting a wide release. It is the story of another world where hostilities exist between two races until a Romeo and Juliet-style romance is sparked and an exiled ruler makes his move to come back. Ugh, it just looks bad. The voice cast includes Freddie Prinze Jr., Chris Kattan, Anne Bancroft, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Val Kilmer, Malcolm McDowell, Michael Clarke Duncan, Louis Gossett Jr., Eric Idle, Burt Reynolds, and Kelly Ripa.
Nothing Like the Holidays. (2008, 99 minutes, PG-13, comedy, trailer) This looks like it could be fun. It is the second Christmas-themed film of the season, following Four Christmases. This looks to be a definite step up. The story centers on the Rodriguez family and the convergence of the far-flung family members on the Chicago home of their parents. Their time together will rekindle old romances, spark rivalries, and lead to family revelations that will surely shock them all. It looks funny and heartfelt. The cast includes Alfred Molina, Elizabeth Pena, Freddy Rodriguez, Luis Guzman, Jay Hernandez, John Leguizamo, and Debra Messing.
Milk. (2008, 128 minutes, R, drama, trailer) Here is a movie that has been getting a lot of attention as we head deeper into the awards season. It is the story of Harvey Milk, portrayed by Sean Penn. Milk was the first openly gay man to run for and win public office. He was subsequently assassinated. The trailer is good, the cast is strong, and it looks like a good film. I do have to admit to not being a big Penn fan; he is a good actor but there is something about him that bugs me, just cannot put my finger on it. The film was directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Dustin Lance Black.
Also opening this week, but not near me:
- Dark Streets
- Gran Torino
- Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
- The Reader
- Wendy and Lucy
- What Doesn’t Kill You
- Where God Left His Shoes
Box Office Predictions
After last week’s tepid but still decent box office, this weekend should kick things up with the first big release of the month. I have a good feeling that Keanu and his warning will rise above all else and dominate the box office much like Will Smith did with I Am Legend last year. I also suspect that Nothing Like the Holidays will do well, while Delgo will be a flop.
Here is how I think the top ten field will play out:
|1||The Day the Earth Stood Still||$45 million|
|2||Four Christmases||$10 million|
|3||Nothing Like the Holidays||$8 million|
|7||Quantum of Solace||$3.5 million|
|8||Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa||$3 million|