This Week’s Theatrical Releases.

1. Superbad (2,800 Theaters, Rated R): At last! It seems like they started advertising this film in 2004!

Yes, if there were Academy Awards for Best Marketing Program, Superbad might have a lock on the Oscar. Its trailer started appearing at the beginning of the summer, its internet-only, R-rated, red-band trailer set the trend for marketing R-rated movies, and the movie has been trumpeted in all forms of media (including its stars, Michael Cera and Jonah Hill, sharing the number 12 spot on Entertainment Weekly’s “The EW 100 The Star We Love Right Now” list in its June 29th/July 6th issue).

At first, the movie seems like a classic, 80s-style, teenage sex comedy. Hill and Cera play high school seniors who try to use alcohol to sleep with much more attractive and popular girls.

But this is filtered through the unique vision of producer Judd Apatow and co-writer and co-star Seth Rogen. I have been a fan of Apatow since The Ben Stiller Show (which feature the producer/director doing a hilarious Jay Leno impersonation) and I like both from The 40-Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. Their careers to this point have built up a lot of good will in me, and hopefully, Superbad will continue that trend.

2. Invasion (2,700+ Theaters, Rated PG-13): I wonder if Jack Finney knew when the first installment of his “The Body Snatchers” appeared in Collier’s magazine in 1954 the effect it would have on the world of movies.

Invasion is the fourth time the story was adapted for the silver screen. It first made the leap to celluloid with 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers and was remade in 1978, 1994 and now 2007.

The main crux of the story, aliens land on Earth and slowly take replace the human race, is a timeless one that resonates with any generation. It taps into human’s fear of change, both personal and to the world around them. Especially, it connects with the fear that such change is beyond our control. That fear will most likely never go away. So more “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” adaptation are destined to come.

Outside of it’s lineage, this particular adaptation is interesting for many other reasons. One, the studio, after seeing an early version of the film, called for on rewrites by the Wachowski Brothers (of Matrix fame) and the rewritten scenes were reshot by Wachowski associate James McTigue (director of V for Vendetta). This kind of reworking usually is a sign of trouble and, in most cases, the movie suffers for it.

Two, Nicole Kidman, an Aussie, and Daniel Craig, a Brit, put on American accents for the movie. It is always interesting to see actors from other English speaking countries try to sound American Finally, Kidman and Craig will reunite later this year for The Golden Compass.

3. The Last Legion (2,000 Theaters, Rated PG-13): Another story that has been brought to movie screens repeatedly is the King Arthur legend. From 1963’s The Sword and the Stone to 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail to 1981’s Excalibur to 1995’s First Knight to 2004’s King Arthur, the story of the legendary King of the Britons has been a Hollywood favorite.

The reason for its popularity? Probably because of the way the legend can bear and encourage a wide variety of interpretations. Just looking at the list above you can see that the tale is just as at home in family fare as it is in comedy, in romance as it is in action.

This latest installment ties the legend into that of the Roman Empire in a story that focuses on the quest for the legendary sword Excalibur.

From the trailers, the film appears to be a little of Lord of the Rings mixed together with a bit of HBO’s Rome series. I can’t say if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Unfortunately, iFilm does not give me the option of embedding the trailer. If you want to take a look at it, you can see the preview here.

Now, on to my predictions, starting with last week. This is what I thought that weekend’s top 5 would look like:

  1. Rush Hour 3
  2. The Bourne Ultimatum
  3. The Simpsons Movie
  4. Stardust
  5. Underdog

And this is how it turned out:

  1. Rush Hour 3
  2. The Bourne Ultimatum
  3. The Simpsons Movie
  4. Stardust
  5. Hairspray

4 for 5! Underdog faded faster and farther than I thought it would, darn it! That makes me 7 for 10 after 2 weeks here at FilmBuff Online, with an accuracy percentage of 70%

How do I think this weekend will look?

  1. Superbad
  2. Invasion
  3. Rush Hour 3
  4. The Bourne Ultimatum
  5. The Simpsons Movie

I think the mix of marketing, the creators involved, and the popularity of that type of story with make Superbad the number one movie this weekend. I think the acting and new approach will make Invasion hop over a falling Rush Hour 3 for the second spot. What do you think?

Bill

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About William Gatevackes 1937 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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