guys, I hope you week went well, and you filled out those tax forms and shit. Let’s see how wrong I am this week


We are in the off-season. Though you can now release a film any time of the year and have a nine-figure hit, January, April and September are still the dumping grounds. This may be why there are six films coming out wide this week.

So the most interesting film of the week… well it isn’t Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie for Theaters. Dev saw it and hated it, and even fans will probably wait for DVD. The only interesting thing about it is that it caused a terror alert. And it’s not Pathfinder, though that’s been collecting dust for quite some time and has a listed run time of eighty-eight minutes – which is interesting enough, granted. It seems that after Eragon, Fox is wary about making shit fantasy films, and now realizes that you need to have good source material, not the scribblings of a fifteen-year-old douchebag. The best story sure as shit isn’t Redline, which boasts Eddie Griffin and Tim Matheson. Nor Slow Burn, which also lists a scant running time of ninety-three minutes, and the teaming of Ray Liotta and LL Cool J. Nor even Disturbia, which looks to be a harmless teenaged riff on Rear Window. For anyone reading this thinking of seeing Disturbia this weekend who hasn’t seen Rear Window (the Hitchcock version, and not the Christopher Reeve version while we’re at it)… well, you know what to do. And then check out North by Northwest, Psycho, Vertigo, Strangers on a Train, Notorious, There’s a Girl in My Soup, To Catch a Thief, Marnie, The 39 Steps

The interesting story here is Perfect Stranger. This is a film starring Oscar have-r Halle Berry, Bruce Willis, and Giovanni Ribisi, and is directed by James Foley, who was once lauded for helming Glengarry Glen Ross, After Dark My Sweet, and At Close Range. This is the sort of film that should be interesting in the sense that maybe there’s some smuggling going on here, but Foley hasn’t shown any great chops since, though he was given some benefit of the doubt.

The film that launched this trend of off-season thrillers to greatest aplomb was 1999’s Double Jeopardy, which featured a naked Ashley Judd, and a clothed Tommy Lee Jones enacting some vengeance on her husband, with a little bit of Fugitive thrown in. It was rather disposable, but did $116 million with a September release date. Ashley Judd, Ruby in Paradise Ashley Judd looked to be a real actress. That, though, was fourteen years ago. The system put her in rom-com and thrillers (after the success, such as it was, of Kiss the Girls), and now she does independent films. Halle Berry has an academy award, which means she’s weathered Catwoman – a colossal cluster of fucking. Granted, she’s been in all three X-Men films, but is usually sited as the worst element therein (and that’s not just casual fan-boy racism), and stunk in the rather stinky Die Another Day, but that was profitably bad. The thing is you don’t suspect that Halle Berry is a good actress who found it hard to turn down the money and fame, but rather a modest actress who was well cast in a year of weak female performances. Still, she’s attractive, and has an Oscar.

And so you get a movie like Perfect Stranger being sold on her, and her "I almost killed myself, oh wait, let me retract that" story. This film will probably offer her in a bra and panties for a sequence or two, but won’t be all that sexy. The MPAA lists some nudity, but my guess is that it will come from one of the supporting players. I bring this up not because I like looking at boobies, which I do, but because this sort of film should fall under the auspices of being an erotic thriller. But there’s nothing particularly erotic about Halle Berry having sex with Bruce Willis. Or Giovanni Ribisi. Or Willis and Ribisi. That’s a very unsexy cast, all things. So my money’s on Nicki Aycox doffing top, simply because she’s seventh billed, and the MPAA lists nudity (worse comes to worse, it’s a Willis "getting into bed" ass shot).  Hey, I’m prognosticating, damn it. Speaking of Willis, how does he sneak into a movie like this? My guess is he simply doesn’t care any more and took the check. It’s sad cause he is still one of the real movie stars. Perhaps that era of his top-lining career is over, and we can only count on him doing good work when cast well by the likes of Robert Rodriguez, since the McClane chips are now cashed in. But I don’t think audiences are even going to buy this film. And yet we’ll get a special edition DVD with sexy unrated footage, because fuck you consumer, and you’ll get more Aycox. I say it can’t be Halle because of all the attention Swordfish got because she laid in a chair topless. That gimmick is shot.


CHUD-Pimped Everything’s Gone Green opens in one theater while Mike White’s Year of the Dog hits seven screens. Lonely Hearts, offering even more stars than Perfect Stranger (including John Travolta, Laura Dern, James Gandolfini, Salma Hayek, Scott Caan, and Jared Leto) goes to 20 screens. With a cast like that it’s hard to tell if this is getting dumped because it’s bad, or because these aren’t names that launch an interesting hard-sell that will likely get better European distribution. Private Fears in Public Places also hits four screens, and was directed by Alain Renais. This is the real film to see this weekend, if you can. That or Fight For Your Life at The New Beverly in Los Angeles on Sunday. Either or, really.


Well, Blades of Glory held strong last week, and even with the tide of new pictures, it should get to around ten million. Disturbia should top it, which is tracking at about the same level as Perfect Stranger for want to see. The top two should be pretty close, but I’m giving the edge to Disturbia because it simply looks like a better thriller. Meet the Robinsons will probably also hold well. The other releases mentioned are DOA.

Oh, and Grindhouse? If they’re lucky… Lucky, 30% drop.

Top Ten

1) Disturbia – $14.2 million
2) Perfect Stranger – $14.1 million
3) Blades of Glory – $14 million
4) Meet the Robinsons – $9 million
5) Are We Done Yet? – $8 million
6) Grindhouse – $7 million (and I’m being nice)
7) Aqua Teen Hunger Force – $6 million
8) The Reaping – $5.5 million
9) Pathfinder – $5 million
10) 300 – $4.5 million