The news is spreading: New Line is about to get a reduced staff and some of the top executives are leaving. This should be a surprise to no one reading this column on the regular, or people following the company, who’ve acted like gamblers on a bad run, but can’t stop laying down bad cards thinking they might turn it around. Though The Golden Compass may turn a profit through its international release and ancillary sales, it was a final straw, whilst word on Semi-Pro is not promising. Though New Line still has two trump cards to play with The Hobbit and its second film, and a number of films in production and/or in the can, it looks ike Robert Shaye’s time in the sun is over. We shall see.

HIMBOTEC

It seems Mathew McConaughey has found his niche. Whereas Heath Ledger and Vin Diesel were partly abandoned by Hollywood when they didn’t take, McConaughey kicked around and was allowed to flop around from misfire (EdTV) to misfire (Reign of Fire) to misfire (Two for the Money) to misfire (We Are Marshall). There is one genre where he hasn’t floundered, and where he will likely stay: The romantic comedy. He’s become the Jean Claude Van Damme of Romantic Comedies. He keeps showing up, and you feel like it’s half sad, but you’re also happy that he keeps working. Ultimately, McConaughey will (in my mind) never top his work in Dazed and Confused. There hasn’t been much that’s challenged him where his response wasn’t to go over the top, though I thought he was okay in 13 Conversations about One Thing (the film itself was eh). But even directed by Spielberg (Amistad) or Zemeckis (Contact), the man is just too associated with being a fun loving party-boy for him to shake the stigma.

Whatever. He’s found his genre. Maybe someday another director besides Richard Linklatter will find a purpose for him. But until that day, expect Februaries (where he got How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days to 100+ Million) to feature a McConaughey vehicle until the formula runs dry.

WELCOME HOME BROTHER CHARLES

The actual title of a film opening this weekend is Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. But it seems to me that director Malcolm D. Lee is a fan of Jamaa Fanaka, and wanted to pay homage to one of the greatest exploitation films of the 1970’s (aka Soul Vengeance). I hear that Martin Lawrence’s penis grows to eighteen feet and strangles Mike Epps in a dream sequence. That’s keeping it real, isn’t it?

PREDICTING, YES I AM PREDICTING, AND SHE KEEPS CALLING ME BACK AGAIN

Let me be short. I’m six four, and it’d be interesting. (rim shot). Fool’s Gold is likely shit, but with the taste of Cloverfield out of people’s mouths, and the success of Hannah Montana and her evil Spock counterpart Miley Cyrus having run off the awesome fake-out of their  supposed one-week gig, expect some Sulfide Pyrite from the reteaming of Matt and Kate (Hudson), even if no one actually cares. With an empty plate, Welcome Home should also attract an audience. Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show and The Hottie and The Nottie also open this weekend, though the latter only on about 111 screens. Can you say pitstop before DTDVD?

Hannah should then keep chugging along, while 27 Dresses (and a bitch ain’t one) should hold a bit better than The Eye.

So let’s do this:

  1. Fool’s Gold - $24 Million
  2. Welcome Home Brother Roscoe- $21.1 Million
  3. Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Not Even Barely Legal - $15.5 Million
  4. 27 Dresses - $7.1 Million
  5. The Eye - $6.8 Million

And then on Sunday? I’ll read T.S. Elliot’s The Waste Land again. Never gets old.