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New Movies and Box Office Predictions: Featuring Slither

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March comes to a close with a variety of films for a variety of audiences. We are offered family comedy, urban drama, a horror/comedy hybrid, and a sequel to an aging thriller. This could be a good weekend, one of those films will be a huge hit, and the first $100 million earner of the year; the only question is how long will it take?

ATL. (2006, 100 minutes, PG-13, trailer) This is a coming of age story of four working-class teens in Atlanta. This looks like it could be pretty good. A story of overcoming adversity and dealing with the problems of everyday life as they prepare for the end of high school. Time will tell how good it turns out to be. It was directed by Chris Robinson, his first feature project.

Basic Instinct 2. (2006, 113 minute, R, trailer) I have to ask, was this film necessary? Honestly, is there anyone out there clamoring for this sequel? It strikes me as a bad idea. Whatever the reasons, beyond the potential dollar signs, it is here, for better or worse. Sharon Stone returns to the role that solidified her stardom some 14 years ago. Once again, she is a murder suspect, this time in London, where she matches wits with a criminal psychologist assigned to evaluate her. I have serious doubts about this one. It was directed by Michael Caton-Jones, who was also behind films like City by the Sea and Rob Roy.

Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. (2006, 90 minutes, trailer) Here, my friends, is your box office champion for the weekend, possibly two. The gang gets back together as the ice age comes to an end and the melting begins. What else do you need to know, other than the trailers look quite good. The voice cast includes Dennis Leary, Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, and series newcomer Queen Latifah. Should be fun.

Slither. (2006, 96 minutes, R, trailer) Slugs and zombies and slime, oh my! I cannot wait for this corny journey into cinema. This is a comedy/horror hybrid is about to slime its way onto the screens. The trailer just cracks me up, watching the slithering slugs, the guys spitting slime, and the sheer goofiness. It is from writer/director James Gunn, who also wrote the recent Dawn of the Dead remake. It stars Nathan Fillion (Serenity), Elizabeth Banks, and Michael Rooker.

Thank You for Smoking. (2005, 92 minutes, R, trailer) Beginning its run at the local arthouse is this hilarious-looking satire. I have to say, when I first saw the trailer for this, I knew I had to see it. It takes a look at the tobacco lobby and its attempt to fend off those who seek to protect humanity from itself. It stars Aaron Eckhart as the tobacco representative, William H. Macy as an opposing senator, Katie Holmes as a reporter, and Robert Duvall as a tobacco baron. It was directed and written for the screen by Jason Reitman, making his big screen debut. Can’t wait for this one.

The Beauty School of Kabul. (2004, 74 minutes, NR, trailer) This is also beginning an arthouse run. It is a documentary that follows a group of Americans and Afghans who travel to Kabul to open a beauty school. I find it hard to believe that amid all of the instability, wars, riots, and bloodshed — not to mention burkas — being allowed by their religious men to get made up. This could be an interesting tale of the similarities between the two cultures.

Also opening this week, but not near me:

  • Awesome: I F%!#in’ Shot That
  • Brick
  • The Devil and Daniel Johnston
  • Drawing Restraint 9
  • Iron Island
  • Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing & Charm School

Let’s take a look at how I think the weekend will play out:

  1. Ice Age 2: The Meltdown. Is there any doubt that this will rule the weekend?
  2. Inside Man. I think the star power of this thriller will keep this near the top.
  3. Slither. I have hopes for this comic/horror hybrid, let’s hope it pays off.
  4. V for Vendetta. This should still have some legs.
  5. Basic Instinct 2. This is an unnecessary film, but it will still draw some people.
  6. Failure to Launch. I bet this has another week or 2 on the list.
  7. ATL. Appears to have a limited appeal, but could do well.
  8. The Shaggy Dog. No interest in this.
  9. Larry the Cable Guy, Health Inspector. Partially enjoyable, but will fall quickly.
  10. She’s the Man. Entertaining film that is just about done.
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