http://chud.com/nextraimages/rotundoheadlock.jpgI receive a little reader mail (I’d guestimate 80% is positive, and 15% are corrective notes like “Hey, you were wrong about Lolita’s gross you nattering nabob!”* And then I check my bank accounts, see that my investments in India have paid off, and cry myself to sleep on piles of money.). But I did receive a note criticizing me for my Tyler Perry write-up, which suggested that in not being appreciative of Perry’s art that all I want is to see black people play hoes and pimps. And here I was thinking I was walking the fine line of silliness and commentary. Alas. You can’t please everyone all the time, though (in fairness) nothing I said could have conceivably led to that conclusion – though Perry being seen as a reaction to and a welcome respite from the number of hood pictures and Blaxploitation films that have often made up the majority of black-centric cinema is undeniable. I thought I made it clear that I support what Tyler Perry stands for theoretically, even if his art may be lacking. But if not, and I offended someone, I do convey my regrets.

But I would like to say that I have appreciated all the feedback I’ve gotten both in Email and on the boards, so thank you.

I would also like to convey my desire to see a TV show starring David Bowie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop as themselves, fighting crime.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE, MOVE ALONG

When you have six wide releases that generally means that no one studios is scared of another release, or the majority of films coming out are considered losses. Such is this weekend. The Assassination of Jesse James will expand to 300 theaters this weekend, and is the film to see, while Into the Wild hits nearly 700. Look, these are two of the best films of the year, and even if you think I’m full of beans (currently, no, but I have some black beans on the backburner, and my my my! Are they delicious!), see these films and tell me that. To my face.

Of the wide releases only 30 Days of Night looks to perform strong, and should easily take the weekend. It has the benefit of being a horror film opening before Halloween, and a somewhat different take on the vampire mythos – look for a near 20 take, which is solid. The Comebacks looks to be pure shit, but again, like a January opening for Epic and Date Movie, this is a good weekend for a cheap film to turn a quick buck, and though it’ll be a fast burn, expect a solid ranking by the end of the weekend.

Sadly, for films like Gone Baby Gone, Rendition, and Things We Lost in the Fire, they seem abandoned. Gone should do the most business of the bunch, which is good as the Afflecks are having a heck of a year (especially Casey, who looks to be batting three for three, and was easily the best part of Ocean’s Thirteen). Rendition looked to be a strong Oscar contender on paper, but by the time all is said and done, it just doesn’t have the muscle, nor does the subject matter help. Roger Ebert’s four star rave is counterbalanced by a very weak critical reception. The question is this: Right now everyone is predicting doom and gloom for the Iraq genre (including me, for that matter). Especially after a couple of non-starters like In the Valley of Elah. Will there come a film to buck this trend? Does Charlie Wilson’s War count? If Charlie doesn’t find an audience, will it be Iraq’s fault? I’m going to ponder this, meditate on it. What about a feel good Iraq film? Could that work?

If the year was weak in actresses, we might see a chance for Halle Berry to net her second nom, and the Academy is doing what they can to spread the word to voters by sending out screeners of the film this week. Even if Benicio Del Toro gives a great performance, the film is on the altar, and will be sacrificed to the October winds. Del Toro is supposedly a champ in it, but the male acting category is always a strong one, and the taint of failure is still taint enough to keep the Academy away. Or as my grandmother (god rest her soul) always said: “A taint a day keeps the Oscar away.” Jeremy Smith disagrees with me, but I’ll stick to my guns. It all depends on how the screeners go over, which I think was an excellent play on their part. If you get a screener the day a film opens, why not watch it at home? It feels like privilege, and privilege may feel like victory.

There’s also an independent going wide (Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour) and a redress of The Ten Commandments in CGI cloth, and if they crack the top ten, then I’m sure someone will be happy somewhere.

Next week offers Saw IV and Dan in Real Life, and then things really kick into gear in two weeks with Bee Movie and American Gangster. Such is life.

YOU, YOU GOT WHAT I NEED, BUT YOU SAY IT’S JUST A PREDICTION, YOU SAY IT’S JUST A PREDICTION, OH BABY!

Tyler Perry made a commanding 21 Million last weekend, but his pictures generally don’t have legs. 30 Days and Comebacks will easily trump. The question is how well will these smaller titles do, and how well will The Game Plan hold? I’m going to guess a little something like this:

1. 30 Days of M. Night - $21.6 Million
2. The Comebacks - $10.6 Million
3. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married? - $9.8
Million
4. Gone, Baby, Gone - $8.5 Million
5. The Game Plan - $7.4 Million
6. Rendition - $7 Million
7. We Own The M. Night - $6.5 Million
8. Michael Clayton - $6.2 Million
9. Things We Lost to Arcade Fire - $4.2 Million

And then Sunday, I’ll start getting the fevers again.

*actually that Email was also polite, I just like making with the jokes. Also I was wrong about Lolita’s gross. The original, that is.