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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Featuring The Hills Have Eyes

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This week brings with it three potential moneymakers, a 2005 leftover, a surprise addition at the second run theater, and a few limited run films at the arthouse. This could be a busy weekend.

Failure to Launch. (2006, 96 minutes, PG-13, trailer) Looking to launch onto screens is this romantic comedy about a guy in his thirties who lives with his parents, and the parents who hire someone to try and “encourage” him to strike out on his own. It will probably turn out to be mediocre, but I actually want to see this. The film features Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker as the targeted couple. It was directed by Tom Dey, who last directed 2002’s DeNiro/Murphy bomb Showtime. Hopefully this will surprise me — some of the clips I’ve seen have looked pretty funny.

The Hills Have Eyes. (2006, 105 minutes , R, trailer) Wes Craven’s 1977 film is the latest horror flick to get the remake treatment. Surprisingly, this looks pretty darn good! It has a gritty ’70’s look to it, while still remaining true to the present time. Alexandre Aja essentially auditioned for this with last year’s excellent-until-the-end High Tension. Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint — I could go for a nice disturbing little film about now.

The Libertine. (2006, 130 minutes, NR, trailer) I think that this was originally slated to be released at some point last year, but got put off for one reason or another. It made its festival debut in 2004, and played a number of others throughout 2005, but it was not until now when it got any type of release, and it is pretty slim at that. The film stars Johnny Depp as John Wilmot, a poet who gained notoriety after his death. He was known in life for womanizing, and other acts of debauchery. Depp is always dependable, even if the movie is bad, his supporting cast includes Samantha Morton, and John Malkovich. Directing the proceedings is first time director Laurence Dunmore.

The Shaggy Dog. (2006, 99 minutes, PG, trailer) Disney is now remaking itself again, with Brian Robbins (The Perfect Score) at the helm. The star of the show is Tim Allen, as the patriarchal mutt. The trailer looks awful — when was the last time Allen had a good movie? Anyway, I am sure the kids will get a kick out of it. Joining Allen are Danny Glover and Robert Downey Jr.

Shopgirl. (2005, 104 minutes, R, trailer) I have been wanting to see this since it was first released way back in October, but it never played near me. Now, I have the opportunity to catch it at the second run theater. The presentation may be lacking, but it’s cheap and I get to see it. The film was written by co-star Steve Martin, and stars Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman. The tale surrounds a disenfranchised young woman and romances with two very different men. Looking forward to seeing this one. It was directed by Anand Tucker, directing for the first time since 1998’s Hilary and Jackie.

The Boys of Baraka. (2005, 83 minutes, Not Rated) three shows only at Upstate Films, a brief layover for an interesting looking film. The film is a documentary about a group of “at risk” boys from the inner city of Baltimore who are taken to Baraka, in Kenya, to attend school. It is a school that has no television or video games or junk food, but rather has early morning exercise and encounters with exotic animals. The film sees the boys transformed in their new surroundings.

The Fallen Idol. (1948, 95 minutes, Not Rated) Coming to the arthouse is this film directed by Carol Reed, who also directed the classic The Third Man. This film is a tale of innocence lost, as a young boy in a lonely embassy is witness to the infidelities of his care-giving butler. I had never heard of this film before, but sounds like it could be interesting.

Independent America. (2005, 80 minutes, Not Rated) This is here for a single showing, and it is free to all at Upstate Films. It is a documentary about the resurgence of Mom & Pop stores and a backlash against the ever expanding chain stores. It contains interviews with economists, activists, political leaders, union members, entrepreneurs and concerned Americans, not to mention a top executive with Wal-Mart. The film was directed by husband and wife team Hanson Hosein and Heather Hughes; while filming, they traveled 13,000 miles through 32 states.

NOTE: Crash returns to 150 screens, including the local second run theater, following its Oscar win last Sunday. This was one of the most divisive films of the year, appearing in equal measures on “Best of” and “Worst of” lists. Besides trying to capitalize on the award win, perhaps they are doing this to justify the anti-DVD sentiment running through the broadcast, especially considering that Crash has been available on the shiny disks for some time, and the massive PR campaign that Lionsgate based around DVD distribution. Just a thought.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Ask the Dust
  • The Big Question
  • Duck Season
  • El Sueno del Regresso
  • Game 6
  • The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things
  • The Hidden Blade


Box Office Predictions

  1. Failure to Launch. This could be an interesting week as the top spot could go a few different ways. Something tells me that this may climb to the top.
  2. The Shaggy Dog. I am thinking that the families will flock to this one, and it will challenge for number 1.
  3. The Hills Have Eyes. This is another one that could rise to the top, but I think the R rating will prevent it from doing so.
  4. Madea’s Family Reunion. Then again, who knows, maybe we will have a three-peat? I think this week will mark the start of the decline, although it will still do decently.
  5. 16 Blocks. While not being a blockbuster, this will bring in some money, it is a good movie, and Bruce can be a decent draw.
  6. Eight Below. This Disney flick deserves the attention it has gotten, it is a good family flick.
  7. Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. Not reaching blockbuster status, but I think the word of mouth will help keep the money flowing.
  8. The Pink Panther. Hopefully this will finally drop down the list into obscurity.
  9. Ultraviolet. Bad word of mouth and reviews will kill this one quick. I am one of about 5 people to like it.
  10. Aquamarine. Eh, I don’t see this sticking around for long.

So, what are you seeing this weekend?

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