This Week’s Theatrical Releases.

1. The Kingdom (2,792 Theaters, Rated R): This is how I imagine a phone call during the planning stages of this movie went.

STUDIO EXEC: Hey! Is this my star writer!
WRITER: Yes, it’s me.
EXEC: Great! I wanted to talk to you about that police procedural you wrote for me!
WRITER: What’s wrong with it?
EXEC: Nothing’s wrong with it. It’s great. I love the characters, the pacing is dead on, I was on the edge of my seat.
WRITER: Good!
EXEC: …but you have to change it.
WRITER: Why?
EXEC: What you have here, people can see for free on any of the 15 CSI‘s or 10 Law and Order‘s in the comfort of their own home. We need something to entice them to come out to the theaters. Something to separate this flick from the herd.
WRITER: Like what? Set it in a different country?
EXEC: I like the way you think, my boy!
WRITER: Which one?
EXEC: Who’s the writer here? Me, or you. Do you want me to think of everything?
WRITER: Okay, you’re right.
EXEC: But don’t set it in England or France or anyplace else like that. Too boring. It’s need to be someplace edgy and exotic.
WRITER: How about Iraq?
EXEC: No! Too edgy! Too exotic! But somewhere in the Middle East is good. What’s that country next to Iraq…
WRITER: Kuwait? Saudi Arabia?
EXEC: That last one! Saudi Arabia! Set it there! Our heroes will have a hard time with the local bureaucracy. Maybe one of them gets kidnapped by terrorists…
WRITER: Is there kidnapping in Saudi Arabia? I didn’t…
EXEC: It’s the Middle East! Meat and potatoes America equates all of the Middle East with terrorism! It will work! Now get to writing!

At least that’s the vibe I get off the movie.

2. The Game Plan (3,103 Theaters, Rated PG): The transition from actions star to comedy star sometimes goes well (Schwarzenegger inTwins) and sometimes it goes not so well (Stallone in Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot!). But it does serve to prolong their careers just a little bit.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is still a viable action star. Sure, the last pure action movie he made was Doom, and that was a clunker but his career in that genre was far from over.

But he has been branching out. He recently stared in the drama Gridiron Gang and received fairly good notices for it. This film is another step in diversifying his career.

And if you are going to break into family films, having the Walt Disney name on the flick is a good idea. They are synonymous with family fare. However, they are not always known as for good family fare. And this film doesn’t seem all that original.

It would seem the success of this movie will depend on how well The Rock’s natural charm translates into this new film type.

3. Feast of Love (1,200 Theaters, Rated R): Slowly, almost completely unnoticed, and new film genre has snuck up on us. It is the “ensemble cast examining love in all of its forms” genre.

From Singles to Love Actually, it seems Hollywood has become enamored with this type of movie. And this film is just the latest entry in the burgeoning category.

The movie does have a pretty good cast going for it, with one Oscar winner (Morgan Freeman), and two Oscar nominees (Greg Kinnear and Jane Alexander) in the ensemble. And it is directed by Oscar Winner Robert Benton.

But, from what I’ve seen of the previews, I can’t make out who is in a relationship with whom. It seems that the couples in the clips are different from the ones on the poster. Maybe the movie deals with mate swapping, which doesn’t really lend itself to love. Or maybe I just need new glasses.

It does have kind of a soft opening compared to the other movies this week, lest than half the screens of The Kingdom. It will be hard for the movie to make any impact, even with the sterling cast and director.

Now, the Top 5 predictions. This is what I guessed for last week:

  1. Resident Evil: Extinction
  2. Good Luck Chuck
  3. The Brave One
  4. 3:10 to Yuma
  5. Sydney White

And this is how it turned out:

  1. Resident Evil: Extinction
  2. Good Luck Chuck
  3. The Brave One
  4. 3:10 to Yuma
  5. Eastern Promises

Sydney White just barely missed the top five by $462,753. I guess a fairy tale redux is no match for a naked male sauna fight. This makes me 23 for 35 over 7 weeks, and brings my accuracy percentage up to 65%.

But what about this week?

  1. The Kingdom
  2. The Game Plan
  3. Resident Evil: Extinction
  4. The Brave One
  5. 3:10 to Yuma

We’ll see how we do next week.

Bill

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About William Gatevackes 1931 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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