This is the very first review of the BILL MAHER documentary, RELIGULOUS. It’s from VARIETY and it’s a RAVE! READ IT HERE
90120 and RAISING THE BAR launch this upcoming week, HBO’s VAMPIRE SAGA getting good advance buzz, CHRISTIAN SLATER hopes TV is good to him and THE VIEW enters season 12
CW badly needs its Beverly Hills 90210 sequel show which is simply titled 90210 to be a hit. By fledgling network sub-par standards, that would mean pulling in 5-8 million viewers a week. The show is on the cover of TV guide this week, so that should solidify enough curiosity seekers to get it out of the gate when it premieres Tuesday September 2nd. If the program gives significant screen time to the veteran cast, lead by Jennie Garth and Lori Loughlin, I think it will be fine. As a fan of the original I’m curious to see how it will compare.
On Labor Day night, TNT will premiere its new legal drama from STEVEN BOCHCO titled RAISING THE BAR. The show stars MARK-PAUL COSSELAAR who was on Bochco’s long running series NYPD BLUE for its last two seasons. He’s best known for playing Zack on Saved by the Bell. While reviews for the pilot have been somewhat tepid, I’ll give this show a chance just because it’s a Bochco production. TNT has become a force to be reckoned with as its original program is attracting sizable audiences. Its show’s THE CLOSER and SAVING GRACE have pulled in better than 7 million viewers an episode and have gotten plenty of Award accolades to boot.
I have to admit I’m going to be rooting for NBC’s split personality spy drama, MY OWN WORST ENEMY, to be a hit when it premieres October 13th. Why? – because it stars Christian Slater, an actor I’ve always liked. It’s no secret his personal demons have derailed a once promising career so hopefully he can be re-discovered on Television.
ABC’s gabfest, THE VIEW, returns from hiatus Tuesday September 2nd for its 12th season with the same panel lead by Whoopi Goldberg and, the always annoying, Elisabeth Hasselbeck. With the presidential race in full swing, the hot topic segment should be a fun watch.
One other bit of TV news – NBC will kick off the NFL football season with the REDSKINS at the GIANTS on Thursday September 4th. John Madden continues to be an American institution.
According to Bloody Disgusting, director Vadim Perelman is in serious talks with MGM to helm their planned remake of the 1982 film POLTERGEIST. While I’m on record as not being a fan of remaking this classic supernatural thriller, Perelman is a very respectable choice. While he’s never done a movie in this genre before he did do the very solid adult oriented drama, THE HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG in 2003, starring Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley. It at least showed he can mount a solid film, and is not a hack whose only credit is an MTV style TV commercial.
After reading that the Coen brothers newest film, BURN AFTER READING, is getting pretty tepid advance reviews I couldn’t help but think about the choices GEORGE CLOONEY has made in his movie career. First, I have to point out that I still believe the best work Clooney has ever done as an actor was that of Dr. Doug Ross on the NBC medical drama ER. That part fit him like a glove and elevated him as ‘the next big thing’ in Hollywood leading men. Make no mistake, I think Clooney’s a very good actor, but to me it seems like he runs his career as if he were living forty or fifty years ago.
Good looks and charm are great but a few big projects with mainstream appeal would also be nice. If you throw out the OCEAN’S ELEVEN franchise, which George could do in his sleep, the only big mainstream hit he’s had was Wolfgang Peterson’s, A PERFECT STORM. Maybe it’s just me but I would have loved to see Clooney in the PLANET OF THE APES remake (with a better script of course), I AM LEGEND or say a remake of SOYLENT GREEN. Or even better, how about starring in Universal’s planned new EARTHQUAKE movie! While I don’t mind George having fun goofing around on screen in films like LEATHERHEADS or INTOLERABLE CRUELTY, I really would like to see him in bigger high concept projects with mass appeal. Please George, don’t let BATMAN AND ROBIN scare you away from that and start re-thinking your career path!
THE STRANGERS to return, An American classic is 15 years old, a chance to catch up on LOST, and BILL MAHER’s back – just in time to save the world!
According to Variety, Rouge Pictures will move forward on a sequel to its hit horror film THE STRANGERS. No surprise here as the film did 56 million domestically on an economical production budget of just 9 mill. My point of concern would be the interest in a follow-up. There’s no doubt that Rouge Pictures cut one of the very best trailers for any film released this year and it really created anticipation but the film itself drew a so-so reaction. Some of the suspense scenes went on way too long with little or no break in the tension and the ending was pretty bleak which I know bummed out the mainstream crowd. Reports also have it that Liv Tyler will be back to headline. I’m somewhat surprised by that news as they would probably be better off selling the premise of the creepy villains as sort of anti-heroes to the SAW and HOSTEL crowd. I’m sure they’re hoping for a long and profitable franchise! If they can keep the budget under 10 mill, that will be a good possibility. Anyway, it will be interesting to see the direction they take the story in a second chapter.
Boy, how time flies -This upcoming weekend will be the 15th Anniversary of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. The movie, which was beat out for best picture in 1994 by FORREST GUMP, is a true American classic and the signature film in the careers of both Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. I believe it will stand the test of time as it has to be considered one of the top 50 movies ever made! There’s also little doubt that its director, Frank Darabont, is of the great talents in Hollywood. Since the film was mostly shot at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, there will be a three-day fan celebration starting this weekend on location. Good for them – this film deserves to be celebrated as it’s nothing short of a masterpiece. READ THE STORY
The Sci-Fi channel will begin airing LOST repeats every Monday night starting September 15th, starting with the show’s original pilot. As for new episodes on ABC – look for the new season to start early 2009. Like they say, all GOOD things are worth the WAIT!
One other bit of TV news of high interest – HBO’s BILL MAHER REAL TIME discussion show comes back tonight – Friday August 29th. Good to have you back Bill! Your voice is always welcome!
Will the HALLOWEEN franchise ever DIE? and an interesting article about the state of BATMAN 3 well worth reading
According to Bloody Disgusting, Dimension Films are in the planning stages of doing a sequel to Rob Zombies remake of John Carpenter’s classic HALLOWEEN, although Zombie will not be involved. Personally, I don’t know how they’ll be able to pull that off as his interpretation didn’t leave much room for a continuation. Also, about Zombies version, while I liked certain aspects of the film, specifically the first 45 minutes or so, it’s hard to respect his decision to write the Laurie Strode character like an underwritten afterthought. That same character, played by Jaime Lee Curtis back in 1978, was the heart and soul of Carpenter’s original classic. Zombie’s fixation on the Michael Myers character robbed the concept of the power of mystery and his brutally violent style of filmmaking wasn’t right for this material. While I won’t say I wouldn’t watch another Halloween film (because I would), there’s only so much you can do with a concept that has been repeated to death! We’ll see…
Here’s a LINK to an article in today’s HOLLYWOOD REPORTER about the state of a BATMAN 3 and how Warner Bros reacted when learning about the death of Heath Ledger! It’s a pretty good read!
More ZOMBIE action on the WAY, Two upcoming MOVIES not screened in ADVANCE for critics and the return of DEXTER!
Casting news of interest- According to The Hollywood Reporter, Woody Harrelson has attached himself to ZOMBIE LAND, yet another undead epic in which he will play a zombie hunter named Alburque. The story will center on a mismatched pair living in a world overrun by zombies. The movie will be produced by Columbia pictures. This is the second big studio zombie film in the planning stages as DAWN OF THE DEAD director, Zach Snyder, is producing ARMY OF THE DEAD – about a father who goes to Las Vegas in search of his daughter in a zombie ridden city. Warner Bros is backing that project. I’m glad to see big studio involvement in this genre as the bigger in scope these films are, the more interesting they turn out. Snyder did wonders with the 50 million WB gave him for his Dawn of the Dead remake.
According to Sci-fi Movie page, 20th Century Fox will not screen the new Vin Diesel actioner, BABYLON A.D. for critics in advance. That film opens this Friday. Lions Gate will apply the same strategy with its Nicolas Cage, BANGKOK DANGEROUS, opening a week later. The bottom line here – the summer season ended with TROPIC THUNDER! Speaking of Vin Diesel, in a recent interview with MTV, the actor is quoted as saying David Twowy is writing scripts for two more Riddick movies. Considering the last poorly received Riddick movie grossed just 57 million four years ago, and Diesel has pretty much disappeared from the scene since then, I find it hard to swallow that Universal will bankroll another entry in this franchise. Hey, who am I to knock wishful thinking!
TV news of interest – DEXTER will return for its third season on Showtime Sept 28. I can’t say enough about this series as it’s easily one of the best things on Television. The show’s star, Michael C. Hall, is nothing short of terrific as the serial killer with a heart of gold.
Universal released the coming attraction trailer to FAST AND FURIOUS, its fourth entry in the FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise. While I’m not a huge fan of this series, what does make it somewhat interesting is that it will star both Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Diesel took a pass on the second and third installments, while Walker was absent from the third. It’s fairly rare when starring actors come back to a franchise after they’ve left. But here you have it. While I like Diesel as an actor [I though he was quite good in the movie BOILER ROOM], I don’t really like him as an action guy as his demeanor is all wrong. HERES A LINK TO TRAILER
WEEKEND BOX-OFFICE: TROPIC THUNDER holds TOP spot for second straight week, THE HOUSE BUNNY surprisingly SCORES and THE ROCKER doesn’t play very well
Listen to our newest Radio Podcast as my co-host Michael Cooper and I talk about our TOP TEN DISASTER movies. One of our goals here at ENTERTAINMENT TODAY AND BEYOND is to deliver the very best and most entertaining broadcast you can find on Movies and Television on the internet. I believe at this point we are well on our way to doing that. Using our background in radio broadcasting and producing we can assure you that the ENTERTAINMENT TODAY AND BEYOND RADIO PODCAST will be a must hear weekly event for real movie and TV fans. We INVITE you to LISTEN and judge for yourself!
For the second straight weekend the Ben Stiller directed action comedy TROPIC THUNDER was the nation’s most popular movie, becoming only the third film released this year to hold the top spot for two straight weeks. The entertaining high concept movie took in 16.1 mill giving it a 12 day total of 65.6 mill. While these numbers are alright; they have to be considered somewhat soft given the film’s cost.
Sony got a surprise 15.1 million dollar opening out of its relatively low budget comedy THE HOUSE BUNNY starring Anna Faris. Written by the same team that created the Reese Witherspoon hit, LEGALLY BLOND, this film followed some of the same marketing angles including the color pink prominently on display in the posters. This is good news for actress Faris (Scary Movie) who proves she can get a film out of the gate!
DEATH RACE, the remake of the 1975 David Carradine film of the same name starring Jason Stratham placed third with a so-so 12.2 mill opening. That’s certainly disappointing as successful B action films are almost always frontloaded since box-office legs are never long. THE DARK KNIGHT continues to be a steady draw as it pulled in another 10.3 mill giving it a six week total of 489.2 and making it a shoo-in to pass the 500 mill mark. Worldwide Chris Nolan’s newest Batman film has pulled in 870.4 mill and is going strong. STARWARS: THE CLONE WARS placed fourth with just 5.5 mill. That’s a 70% fall-off in ticket sales week to week. Even the most hardened Star Wars fanatics have expressed disgust with the way George Lucas has watered down this once great franchise.
A few other bits of box-office news to mention: Weinstein Company’s THE LONG SHOTS, about a Pop Warner football team with a female quarterback run by Ice Cube, bombed. Despite an aggressive marketing campaign, the movie pulled in a very weak 4.3 mill in receipts. This is an example of a total miscalculation by the studio as far as the film’s potential audience. It turned out there was none! Even worse was Fox’s comedy THE ROCKER, starring Rain Wilson of The Office fame, as that film did a disastrous 2.7 mill, finishing out of the top ten in its first week in release. It’s safe to say Wilson won’t be headlining too many movies in the very near future.
With Labor Day just one week away, potential blockbusters will be few and far between until at least November when studios start releasing high quality product into the marketplace in time for the holiday season. So, expect openings overall to get smaller and smaller and a lot of sub par product to be released until then. Here’s a LINK to the Weekends TOP TEN