Weekend Preview (2.5.10)


In January, we went through a lot of junk. Nothing could bring down Avatar, now the highest-grossing movie in US history. I saw two decent films, The Book of Eli and Youth in Revolt, but I’d hardly want to be forced to advocate for them. So we move on to part two of the winter season, February. With Avatar poised to fall into the $20 million range, someone can snatch up that long-occupied No. 1 spot. But will it happen this week? Last week it was up to Mel Gibson, now it’s up to big baldy, John Travolta.

At least this week we have some post-Oscar nomination expansions. Crazy Heart, nominated for three awards, expands to more than 800 theaters today. A film that’s been out awhile, An Education, with a Best Picture and Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination (and some technical awards) expands to just more than 700. Both are worth checking out. Personally, I’m going to try and get to “Education” sometime next week to check off my final film on the 10 Best Picture nominees.

Now Playing

From Paris With Love

Directed by: Pierre Morel
Written by: Luc Besson, Adi Hasak
Starring: John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys Meyers


The Word: The Taken team of director Pierre Morel and writer Luc Besson brings us a Hollywood style buddy detective action thriller set in Paris and starring an American (John Travolta) and an Irishman (Jonathan Rhys Meyers).  After The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Travolta has found yet another way to wear his facial hair and be batsh*t crazy. I suppose if unlikely duo was the idea Lionsgate had in mind, then they found it. Travolta and Rhys Meyers are about as opposite and random as you can get. Together, they try and stop a terrorist plot using unorthodox methods.

My Thoughts: I’d normally be the first to jump on the wagon of the follow-up film of a director who does really well as Morel did with Taken, but this smells of sell-out. I don’t have a feeling that Travolta will be better than his annoying performance in “Pelham” and I don’t think Rhys Meyers, as much as I enjoy his work, has enough to balance him. With just 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, I’m just not buying it.

Recommendation: If Pierre Morel has indeed brought it again, I think I’d rather discover that on DVD.

Dear John

Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom
Written by: Jamie Linden, Nicholas Sparks (novel)
Starring: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried


The Word: Apparently Sparks is the king of romance now, according to Hollywood. In two months after Dear John comes out, The Last Song, starring Miley Cyrus, will come out – that would be another Sparks book. In Dear John, Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House RulesChocolat) directs the lovely and talented Amanda Seyfried and broad-shouldered pretty boy Channing Tatum in this story of a war-torn romance. But is it all good enough to reach the success of The Notebook as opposed to Nights in Rodanthe?

My Thoughts: Hallstrom’s attachment gives this film a shot and I’m a fan of Seyfried (she was the only good thing about Mamma Mia!). I also think somewhere in there, Tatum has the chops to be taken seriously. I gave this a chance at No. 10 in my Top 10, but word from all the top critics is that no one escapes the cliche writing and storytelling. 28% on RT.

Recommendation: Worth dismissin’ unless you’re a romantic sap.

Crazy Heart

Directed by: Scott Cooper
Written by: Scott Cooper, Thomas Cobb
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell


The Word: Jeff Bridges has already won two awards (Golden Globe, SAG) for his performance as washed-up and road-weary country singer Bad Blake. Naturally, as the leading candidate to take home an Oscar for the always-idolized Best Actor category, he’s earning a lot of press for this quiet little movie, co-written and directed by rookie filmmaker Scott Cooper. With the 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s safe to say Bridges has placed this film on his shoulders with a little support for the Oscar-nominated Maggie Gyllenhaal, playing a reporter that helps him see possible redemption.

My Thoughts: I’ve no doubts about Crazy Heart being a good movie, but my yen to see it is slightly tempered as this film received no other accolades but for its two largest performances and its theme song. I could certainly see myself going, however, especially since there isn’t much else out in terms of mainstream fare until next week.

Recommendation: Worth admission, but making this a top-priority rental on DVD doesn’t sound like a half-bad idea either.

Box Office Predictions

So, you’re probably wondering (okay, maybe only slightly interested to read about) whether I think the big blue king has enough to withstand goatee power. My answer is I hope so. I knew going in that no matter what Avatar would not survive Valentine’s Day weekend, but after the Oscar announcement, I think we have that last wave of people who are throwing up their hands and saying “maybe I should finally go see this thing.” Avatar should take another small hit this weekend. I’ll predict $25 million. So From Paris With Love should take second, I’m going to favor it a bit more than last week’s contender and say $20 million.

With the popularity of its actors among the teen audience, I think Dear John doesn’t have to even sweat to make it into third with about $15 million. Then Edge of Darkness should come in with about $9 million. Right behind that should be When in Rome as rom coms don’t tail off that fast. It should stave off The Tooth Fairy despite no knew kids movies until next weekend.

  1. Avatar
  2. From Paris With Love
  3. Dear John
  4. Edge of Darkness
  5. When in Rome


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