I’ve been doing some stuff with geekweek.com. I do a weekly DVD column there, and today I appeared on their videocast with Jeremy “Mr. Beaks” Smith, which I’ll probably do again in the near future. The future of what producer/impresario Jeff Katz has imagined for the site, I think it’s a good corner of the web to check out. I may do the videocast next week when the guest star is Cerina Vincent of Cabin Fever fame, but not just to be next to that hotness. It’s on at four every Thursday.



DANCE OFF!

Step Up 3-D should get its ass handed to it by The Other Guys, unless the inflation of 3-D ticket prices somehow gives it the edge (doubtful).

Though The Other Guys should perform strong, I got the feeling that – though it’s loved by its fans (including me) – Step Brothers was a little off for some audiences as it didn’t have the narrative through-line of Talladega Nights. It still did over $100 at the box office, but there was some effort getting it there. And though Ferrell has been in some bombs (Land of the Lost), funny is funny and this looks funny. Though doingover $100 may not be the break-even number, I think they still get some mileage out of unrated cuts, and bonus features with films like this. They have their devotees.

I’m of two minds about the Step Up franchise. I’ve seen the third film, and in a classical narrative sense, it’s garbage. But films like this function in the same way porn movies of the 70’s do. I don’t know how seriously the makers treat these shopworn narrative hooks, and I would be surprised if anyone involved actually thought they were telling a good story, but they also have to do their job, so it’s possible they have some delusions. These films exist for their dance sequences, and I find those to be fairly well choreographed, with this film featuring a one shot dance sequence, and a number of great break-dancers.

When compared to films like Nine or Chicago, it’s nice to see a movie that actually hires dancers to dance, and as I am partial to a good dance number – though these can’t compare to the masterworks of people like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, or Gene Kelly at their prime – with so few alternatives, I’m inclined to forgive these movies their perfunctory narrative trappings. Dance is inherently cinematic because its art has to be captured in motion. Still photography only tells so much about movement. And most of the great modern directors think in rhythm – Spielberg has staged a couple of musical numbers (1941, Temple of Doom), as has Brian De Palma (Phantom of the Paradise). Spike Lee would kill to make a full on musical, and you can tell (it’s in his first picture, She’s Gotta Have It, and definitely in School Daze). Jackie Chan has always drawn upon the musical, as do most great fight scenes. They’re all about choreography and rhythm. If you love movies, you have to love the genre.

That said, the Step Up films (and films like them) tend to be done on a budget. Disney knows what they have with this: they made it for a number, they have no stars and the 3-D gimmickry (well used for a film like this… as a gimmick) might help boost numbers. I love that they cast a woman who looks and sounds a lot like Brianna Evigan to play a similar role in this film. Since there’s so little connective tissue as long as the films keep making money, they’ll probably keep going – even if 3-D suggests they think it’s peaked. We shall see.

PREDICT AND RUN, EVEN WHEN I WAS TWELVE….

Inception will lose its first weekend, but it will also be over $225 Million. $250 Million is happening, though next weekend it may fall out of the top five (then again…) It should be close if not over $250 by then, it all depends on how long it keeps playing. The Other Guys may also be in for the long play – ala Grown Ups – as the go-to comedy.

So let’s walk down to electric avenue:

1. The Other Guys – $33.5 Million
2. Step Up 3-D – $20 Million
3. Inception – 17.6 Million
4. Dinner for Schmucks – $11.7 Million
5. Salt – $10.8 Million

And then Sunday I will put my weight on it.