Weekend Movie Preview (11.11.11)

When Adam Sandler’s cross-dressing comedy releases in the same weekend as Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar,” it must be November. “Jack and Jill” will look to keep the comedian on top despite its overall ridiculousness while “Immortals” studio Relativity Media is about to find out just how far the name “300” can take you. “J. Edgar” marks the first Oscar-buzzing release from

New This Week

Jack and Jill

Directed by Dennis Dugan
Written by Steve Koren, Robert Smigel, Ben Zook
Starring: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino

Summary: Jack is a wealthy family man in Los Angeles whose obnoxious twin sister comes in from the Bronx for Thanksgiving — and just won’t leave. Even Al Pacino takes a liking to her.

The Word: Sandler plays both Jack and Jill in this one, which continues his recent trend of family-based comedy. The comedian would probably like to reverse the trend of horrid critical reception with his last two, “Just Go with It” and “Grown Ups.” He’s never been known for making praised films, however, just lucrative ones, so it hardly matters.

Rotten Tomatoes: 0% (not worth jack)

My Thoughts: I think Sandler has even his most loyal longtime fans shaking their heads at this one. His string of critical duds has grown to offensive proportions with the release of “Jack and Jill” and I imagine even those who want to see it will have trouble watching him dressed as a woman for 90-plus minutes. After all, he’s not even good-looking as a man.

Recommendation: Jab your eyes out before someone subjects you to this.



Directed by Tarsem Singh
Written by Charley and Vlas Parlapanides
Starring: Henry Cavill, Freida Pinto, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt

Summary: When a king steals a mythical bow and is hell-bent on unleashing the angry titans that the gods narrowly defeated ages ago and ruling the world, Zeus chooses the heroic demi-god Theseus to lead the fight against him.

The Word: The more examples of sword-and-sandals action epics we get, the more “300″ appears to be the exception rather than the rule, but the producers of said film have given Tarsem Singh the chance to change all that. The director of “The Fall” and “The Cell” as well as next spring’s untitled “Snow White” film has been praised as a visual mastermind. Star Henry Cavill also has a chance to improve public opinion with regard to his upcoming turn as the new Clark Kent/Superman.

Rotten Tomatoes: 46% (mixed)

My Thoughts: ”Immortals” easily looks like the best thing from a visual/cinematography standpoint since “300″ and the cast of Cavill, Rourke, Freida Pinto, John Hurt, Stephen Dorff and others will certainly help bolster things. The least fantasy fans can hope for is to be riveted beyond compare in terms of visuals. Story, it seems, might leave something to be desired.

Recommendation: Action offerings basically disappear for the next month, so genre fans might want to see it eventually even if you’re not itching to go right away.


J. Edgar

Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by Dustin Lance Black
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts, Armie Hammer, Josh Lucas

Summary: The story of longtime FBI chief and compelling figure J. Edgar Hoover, the face of crime-fighting in America, whose personal life contained some secrets that threatened to destroy his reputation.

The Word: Hard not to see the word “Oscar” written all over Eastwood’s latest project and Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black’s second ever script, another from-scratch biopic after gaining notoriety for “Milk.” Then again, we all said that about his last film, “Invictus,” which was a good film but not on par with the best of 2009. DiCaprio also gets to work with another renowned director.

Rotten Tomatoes: 41% (mixed)

My Thoughts: It looks like we shouldn’t be taking the Oscar bait, which is a shame, but that doesn’t mean this film won’t have a lot to offer in terms of performances and some educational value. DiCaprio is supposed to be on his game here, but it looks like he still might have to wait to hold up his statuette.

Recommendation: The big Oscar films of this year will likely come in the form of independent features, so if you want the glitzy Hollywood sheen on your drama, this would be a must-see in theaters, otherwise it could wait.



Box Office Predictions

This weekend proves to be a tough nut to crack. Adam Sandler films are among the most bankable, but it’s safe to say Jack and Jill has the least appeal of any of his recent films. We’re not looking at a typical $30-million range opening for the comedian this time around, something between $25-30 million. If this weren’t a Sandler film I’d say $12 million given the story, so I won’t mind being wrong with this pick as it would mean the public won’t stand for this kind of crud.

In second I see Puss in Boots staying strong for $22-25 million. It has showed great staying power with an unexpected second weekend, has great word of mouth and I doubt “Jack and Jill” will pull many families away from it.

Next up is Immortals. When “300” is associated with any film, you can’t help but think to that film’s ridiculous $70-million opening back in 2007. However, this is a busier time of year than March and we are looking at an R-rated film (and a complicated one at that). The marketing blitz has been intense from Relativity, but I think anything more than $20 million would be a bonus for this one.

Despite competition Sandler, Tower Heist does have good word of mouth going for it (unless we’re talking the words from director Brett Ratner’s mouth lately, which which would mean abandon ship), so I think close to $15 million could be in the works.

Lastly, don’t underestimate Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio, let alone together. Despite a relatively quiet opening, J. Edgar should crack the Top Five with ease, probably with $10-12 million.

1. Jack and Jill
2. Puss in Boots
3. Immortals
4. Tower Heist
5. J. Edgar


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