Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Free-For-All

Worst. Idea. Ever.

It's not every day that I go around tossing out phrases like "single worst concept for a film I've ever heard," but it's not every day that Variety reports Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh will be filming a rock n' roll musical version of Cleopatra. No, I am not on a patented Syrek Robitussin Bender(TM), this is ab-so-lutely real, to the tune of a budget ($30 million) and a cast (Catherine Zeta-Jones as Cleopatra and Hugh Jackman as Marc Anthony). Sweet pancake flippin' Mary and butter-on-toast spreadin' Joseph, what is happening? I mean, this is the guy who did Traffic, who is releasing a 2-part epic on Che this coming winter...forget the Oscar, this guy is actually very talented., Steve...WTF? Here's the one, small saving grace: Although I hate Broadway musicals-turned-films with a passion I usually reserve for smiting those most in need of urgent smiting, I do actually enjoy the occasional made-for-movie musical. Things like Moulin Rouge are actually enjoyable, so I guess this flick MAY have some chance at not making me want to gouge my eyes out, but it sure sounds like it has a high fork tine-to-eye ratio. Wow, you know, some days you wake up and you just get smacked in the face with weird news. I got rock musical Cleopatra pied-in-the-face today.

Weekend Battle Plan: If you're over 18 and see High School Musical 3, you're officially a creeper

Imagine that you are given free passes to a buffet and told you can eat as much as you like, only to discover that your choices are rancid liverwurst, moldy broccoli, and Colin Farrell. Welcome to the weekend of October 24-26! Your choices are as follows: (1) High School Musical 3 also known as HSM3 also known as Things I Wouldn't Like Even if I Were in the Target Demo; (2) Pride and Glory, which sports the most generic title this side of an Ashley Judd movie (speaking of which, I'm organizing a search party with a potential for a candlelight vigil for Ash soon); and (3) Saw V or as I call it Hey Horror Fans, F#*K You, This is the Best You Get. Seriously, if these three wide releases were contestants on a dating show that I was hosting, it may turn into a half-hour discussion of the benefits of self-pleasure. Lordy, lordy, lordy I can't recommend any of that stuff. So, that leaves us in the precarious position of having to choose something already endorsed. I'm throwing my weight and endorsement behind W, which is the first and only time I have supported the worst US President since Henry Harrison (oooh, buuuurned Harrison with that one). Seriously, this is a great performance by Josh Brolin and a very compelling and fascinating film. Give it a chance.

That's my recommendation: W, if the real doofus can get 2 terms, the better fictional version can get 2 recommendations.

On DVD: The Incredible Hulk was better than it seemed by box office accounts. Yes, it's stupid, but the Hulk isn't a philosophic character. Ed Norton is decent (but not as good as he thinks he is) as Bruce Banner and Liv Tyler is still hot. Plus, it's got a lot of shout outs to the old TV show AND features Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in a cameo AND the alternate opening has a very quick shot of Captain America buried in ice. That sound you heard was the nerd trumpet. It soundeth for thee.

Fearless, Flawless Box Office Predictions

Okay, enough of this crap. As I've said before and I'll say again, I'm really trying here. I analyze data, use screen counts, explore similar films and so far, I've been bungled by the freakin' dog movie and can't nail down the 5th spot to save my life. Much like a goalie in hockey that's too tall and can't squat, I've got a 5 hole problem. I wish I could say I was more confident going into this week, but I'm not. I have no idea how the damn preteen dancing flick is going to play (seriously, you try multiplying the obsessed female tween fans by the number of boyfriends they can trick into going by the number of closeted and outed homosexual tweens, it's mind boggling), I have no idea if the damn dog movie is gonna do well again, and who knows if Max Payne will hold ANY of its audience. I'm lost. My guarantee - If I don't do well this week (in the 80% range), I'm changing the game somehow.

Here's how I see it (wrongly):

1.) High School Musical 3: Senior Year - $43 million

I'm going high, high, high on this one...because if I'm doing the math right in converting the number of cable viewers to audience members in theaters, this movie should do one billion I cut that by a lot. Look, I don't know what kind of business this will do, as it is the first time a third installment of a series was the first one to hit theaters. The best I can do is guess or ask a tween, so I went with a blind guess.

2.) Saw V - $25 million

This sucks. I like good horror movies (a column on that is forthcoming in the print version next week), but I loathe the Saw series and its flag-bearing of the snuff core/torture porn movement. Where are the good or fun horror movies? Why are we content to watch this crap over and over and over again? HOW IS THERE A SAW V?!

3.) Pride and Glory - $9 million

Bounced around the schedule like a ping-pong ball on crack...or like Collin Farrell, this flick is destined for mediocrity. On the plus side, the groaner-of-a-cop flick Street Kings featuring Keanu Reeves did good money on DVD, so maybe Farrell DOES have a future!

4.) Max Payne - $8 million

So I have this great pitch for a movie: Marky Mark plays a crazed cop who deals with weird Norse mythology imagery and is paired with a wacky detective played by Steve Carrell who can't quite become a super spy. It could be Smart Payne or Max and Max or...

5.) Beverly Hills Chihuahua - $7 million

Don't you do it. Do you do it again.
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