June is going home for her sister’s wedding toting a mess of car parts from a junkyard in Wichita apparently the best place in the country for scrap parts. At the airport she twice bumps into a mysterious fellow with dynamite bangs. Just when she feels she might be falling for him she returns from the airplane lavatory to find he has killed everyone onboard. What follows is 110 minutes of your life siphoned painfully from you that you can never reclaim.
Knight and Day is the pinnacle of studio laziness: two pretty people forcefully crammed into an empty vessel in the hopes that their celebrity will dupe more than a few rubes into buying a ticket. This movie is lifeless; it has no pulse from beginning to end. I’m not naive. I know why movies like this exist and I know that I am not the target audience. But what really burns me about Knight and Day is that it fails to deliver on the one note on which movies like this typically bank: cheap romance.
The principal design of a film like this is to provide masturbatory fantasies for people who read gossip magazines. When you are making a film in that vein the only requirement of you is to create chemistry and steaminess between your two leads. Knight and Day managed to fashion a film like that without spending a lick of effort to create sexual tension between the characters. At no point in the film did I feel like they had a relationship -- or that they were even interested in one another -- until I was explicitly told that it was true.
Most of the absence of heat between them is a product of two veteran movie stars who obviously could not care less about the film they are making. If you are a fan of either Tom Cruise or Cameron Diaz I would highly suggest taking a trip to Madame Tussauds and staring at their wax likenesses because they will offer more skilled performances cast in wax than they did on screen. If Cruise’s performance were any more phoned in AT&T would’ve sponsored the film. To counterbalance that Diaz is a complete doorknob. Her “fish out of water” routine more often than not devolves into completely inauthentic stupidity and emotionless non-reactions. And I’m sorry Tom but even you have to exert yourself just an iota to be charming.
The plot of the film isn’t just generic it’s insultingly stupid. Take the actors out of the film -- hell take away the fact that the film exists -- if you were to recount the plot points of Knight and Day to someone as if it were a story that person would think you a moron. MacGuffins about batteries characters identified by their naiveté suddenly becoming fully cognizant of complicated schemes and being pretty serving as the only criterion for graduating to superspy all expected to be swallowed as fact.
At least it’s an action film so there are moments of sheer entertainment right? Wrong! The action scenes are as bland and unsatisfying as the rest of the script and offer little more than sweet retreat from the idiocy of the plot and the inadequacy of its cast. Please do not waste your time money or brain cells on this unmitigated garbage. If we collectively say no to movies like this perhaps the next summer vehicle for pretty people will have the good decency to be mediocre.
When infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) gets captured in late 19th century Arizona the plan is to transport him to a train en route to Yuma prison(leaving at 3:10 of course). But in the 1800s bringing someone to justice is as arduous as it sounds especially since horses are the only mode of transportation and their carriages the only place to house a prisoner. Across “town ” rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale) is struggling mightily to support his wife (Gretchen Mol) and kids (Logan Lerman and Benjamin Petry) following a drought and needs to build a well for his family. So when he receives a nominal financial offer to help transport the notorious felon he jumps at it dutifully and desperately. While on the trail that leads to the train station no amount of physical or verbal threat is too much for Wade to break free of with ease. But when it comes to the law-abiding rancher for whom Wade has a certain respect his escape becomes much more complicated than getting out of handcuffs. 3:10 to Yuma’s pairing of Batman and Cinderella Man is perfect in concept and execution and watching the two stars is more than a sight to behold—it is transfixing like watching any two longtime professionals make something difficult look easy. It’s the first of two such powerhouse pairings for Crowe this fall—he co-stars with Denzel Washington in November’s American Gangster—and if this small sample size is any indication big-name costars bring out the best in him. Crowe evokes the kind of real humanistic villain that could only exist in a Western and by playing Wade with equal parts amiability and evil the Oscar winner turns in what is probably his most purely charismatic performance to date. Bale’s character on the other hand—and per usual—is loath to crack a smile a quality the actor has mastered. The Yoda of dialect Welsh-born Bale also has no difficulty switching over to Ol’ West speak but it’s the way he conveys the rancher’s stoicism and will that makes him even more credible. Among the supporting turns Ben Foster (Alpha Dog) stands out as a cranked-up trigger-happy member of Wade’s gang and stalwart Peter Fonda is perfectly cast as a tough ‘n’ gruff bounty hunter. When director James Mangold turned Johnny Cash’s life story into Walk the Line it was the romantic version of a much darker tale. For 3:10 to Yuma a remake of the beloved 1957 Glenn Ford-starrer Mangold gives the Western the same treatment. In attempting to reel in today’s action-happy audience Mangold waters down the drama and speeds up the pace. Minor tweaks for this modern update equal a bit of a departure from true Western style with the dialogue for example as snappy as one of today’s action comedies. But it’s all in good fun. The Old West looks completely authentic and the unforgettable ending is perhaps made possible by the director’s innocuous first two acts. Even so his efforts and those of the screenwriters (Derek Haas Michael Brandt and Halstead Wells who wrote the original) aren’t enough to perform CPR on the Western—not that it’s fair to rest the fate of entire dying genre in their hands.
December 30, 2002 5:52am EST
Fantasy prevailed over reality this weekend as Steven Spielberg's fact-based Catch Me If You Can failed to con its way past the chimerical The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Together, however, they helped make the last weekend of 2002 the biggest Christmas weekend in box office history.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, wore the box office crown again with a regal $48.9 million*, while Catch Me If You Can managed to snare second place, bagging a crafty $30 million.
Marred by unfavorable reviews, Pinocchio--the only other film to open nationwide Friday--lumbered its way into theaters with a painfully truthful $1.1 million, averaging $954 in 1,195 theaters.
Gangs of New York expanded onto 686 more screens and made a bit of headway, scrounging another $11.2 million.
The top 12 films this weekend grossed $157 million--up 6.8 percent from last year when they totaled $147 million.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's PG-13 fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers hardly lost any sovereignty in its second week at the box office with a strong ESTIMATED $48.9 million (-21% at 3,622 theaters; $12,508 per theater).
After 12 days of release and a cume of approximately $200.1 million, The Two Towers is outpacing its predecessor The Fellowship of the Ring, which charmed audiences to the tune of $174 million in its first two weeks.
Directed by Peter Jackson, The Two Towers stars Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Ian Mckellen, Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler.
DreamWorks' PG-13 rated crime biopic Catch Me If You Can failed to catch the No. 1 spot, but still bilked an impressive ESTIMATED $30 million from moviegoers at 3,156 theaters ($9,506 per theater).
Catch Me If You Can is based on the true story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a successful con artist who assumed several different identities, all the while skirting an FBI agent hot on his trail.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen and Nathalie Baye.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice dropped a notch to third place with an ESTIMATED $16.1 million at 2,755 theaters ($5,849 per theater) in its second week. Its cume is approximately $43.6 million.
Directed by Marc D. Lawrence, it stars Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant.
Another romantic comedy, Sony Picture's PG-13 rated Maid in Manhattan, followed in fourth place in its third week with an ardent ESTIMATED $13 million (+21%) at 2,938 theaters (+72 theaters; $4,425 per theater). Its cume is approximately $57.4 million.
Directed by Wayne Wang, it stars Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Miramax Films' R rated period drama Gangs of New York fought its way down to fifth place in its second week with an ESTIMATED $11.2 million (+18%) at 2,190 theaters (+686 theaters; $5,114 per theater). Its cume is approximately $30.1 million.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz and Daniel Day-Lewis.
Twentieth Century Fox's sleeper hit, the PG-13 rated musical comedy Drumline, skipped one beat down to sixth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $8.3 million (+17%) at 1,668 theaters -169 theaters; $5,006 per theater). Its cume is approximately $36.8 million, heading for $50 million.
Directed by Charles Stone, III, it stars Nick Cannon, Orlando Jones and Zoe Saldana.
Paramount Pictures' PG rated animated family pic The Wild Thornberrys Movie dropped a peg to seventh place with an ESTIMATED $7.4 million at 3,012 theaters ($2,457 per theater). Its cume is approximately $18.4 million.
Written and directed by Jeff McGrath and Cathy Malkasian, it features the voices of Lacey Chabert, Tom Kane, Rupert Everett, Lynn Redgrave and Marisa Tomei.
Warner Bros.' PG rated fantasy sequel Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets gained a spot and finished eighth in its seventh week with an ESTIMATED $6.5 million (+49%) at 2,505 theaters (-245 theaters; $2,599 per theater). Its cume is approximately $240.3 million.
Directed by Chris Columbus, it stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.
Buena Vista's PG-13 rated comedy The Hot Chick slipped to ninth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.8 million (+5%) at 2,246 theaters (+29 theaters; $2,137 per theater). Its cume is approximately $22.2 million.
Directed by Tom Brady, it stars Rob Schneider and Rachel McAdams.
Rounding out the Top 10 was MGM's PG-13 rated spy actioner Die Another Day, which remained in tenth place with an ESTIMATED $4.5 million (+10%) at 1,875 theaters (-200 theaters; $2,373 per theater). Its cume is approximately $146.7 million.
Directed by Lee Tamahori, it stars Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry.
Miramax's G rated fantasy adaptation Pinocchio opened wide with a disappointing ESTIMATED $1.1 million at 1,195 theaters--with a wooden $954 per theater.
The film is a remake of the classic children's tale, which centers on a wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy.
Dirceted by Roberto Benigni, it stars Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi and Carlo Giuffre.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
This weekend also saw the arrival of four new limited releases, including Chicago, The Hours, The Pianist and Nicholas Nickleby.
Miramax's PG-13 musical Chicago opened with an ESTIMATED $2.1 million at 77 theaters, with a whopping $27,299 per theater average. The film expands Jan. 3.
Chicago is based on the 1975 Kander & Ebb/Bob Fosse Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn had three predecessors: the 1942 film Roxie Hart, starring Ginger Rogers, a 1927 silent film titled Chicago and, finally, the original play by Maurine Dallas Watkins.
Directed by Rob Marshall, it stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere.
Paramount's PG-13-rated literary drama The Hours opened to a solid $0.3 million at 11 theaters, with a per theater average of $40,000--the highest of any film this week. The film goes wide on Jan. 17.
The Hours revolves around three very different women--one being Virginia Woolf--in various time periods, all wrestling with issues of freedom, responsibility and identity.
Directed by Stephen Daldry, the film stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris and Claire Danes.
Focus Features' R rated drama The Pianist opened with an ESTIMATED $0.1 million at 6 theaters, with a $17,342 per theater average.
The film is based on the autobiography of the acclaimed Polish composer, Wladyslaw Szpilman, detailing his survival during World War II and his narrow escape from a roundup that sent his family to a death camp.
Directed by Roman Polanski, the film stars Adrien Brody.
Finally, MGM released the PG rated drama Nicholas Nickleby, which opeend to an ESTIMATED $.04 million at 5 theaters, with an estimated $8,600 per theater average.
The film is an adaptation of the classic novel by Charles Dickens.
Directed by Doug McGrath, it stars Charlie Hunnam, Jamie Bell, Nathan Lane, Christopher Plummer, Jim Broadbent and Anne Hathaway.
The top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $157.1 million, up about 18.47 percent from last weekend when they totaled $132.6 million.
The top 12 were also up 6.8 percent from last year when they totaled $147 million.
Last year, New Line's second weekend of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was first with $38.6 million at 3,359 theaters ($11,520 per theater); and Warner Bros.' fourth week of Ocean's Eleven was second with $16.9 million at 3,075 theaters ($5,498 per theater). The top two films one year ago grossed $55.5 million. This year, the top two films grossed an ESTIMATED $90.4 million.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Looks like people were ready for more Middle-earth action.
As if anyone is truly surprised, the second installment of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy dominated the box office this weekend with its continuing tale about some good-hearted Hobbits who want to destroy an evil Ring, while a bunch of nasty Middle-earth denizens try and stop them.
Over the three-day weekend, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers took in a whopping $61.5 million*, towering over the number two spot captured by the new Sandra Bullock/Hugh Grant film Two Weeks Notice. The romantic comedy only managed to take in about a quarter of The Two Towers' haul at $14.4 million.
Other openers this week included another epic saga, Gangs of New York, which came in fourth with $9.1 million and the animated The Wild Thornberrys Movie, which opened strong at number six with a respectable $6.1 million.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers opened with an amazing three-day weekend total, ESTIMATED at $61.5 million at 3,6 22 theaters ($16, 980 per theater) and also taking in almost half of the weekend's box office (46.4 percent). Since its Wednesday, Dec. 18, opening, the film has brought in an ESTIMATED $101.5 million in total over five days.
Directed by Peter Jackson, it stars Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler.
The middle part to J.R.R. Tolkien's literary fantasy epic clearly surpassed its predecessor by nearly 25 percent. On the same weekend last year, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which also opened on the Wednesday before Christmas, took in $47.2 million in three days. The film went on to pull in $94 million after its first five days, eventually grossing $313 million in North America and about $550 million overseas, according to Variety.
The Two Towers also posted the second highest domestic Wednesday opening ever, with a healthy $26 million, behind 1999's Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace at $28.5 million, according to New Line. Fellowship of the Ring was the previous holder of the December one-day record, opening with $18.2 million.
"We are pleased and astounded," New Line distribution president David Tuckerman told Variety of The Two Towers performance.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice opened in second place with an ESTIMATED $14.4 million at 2,755 theaters ($5, 229 per theater).
Directed by Marc Lawrence, it stars Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant.
This romantic comedy about a corporate lawyer's love/hate relationship with her boss is Bullock's second best opening in the last five films she has made. Her best opening was this summer's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which opened with a strong $16.1 million and went on to gross $69.5 million domestically. Bullock's top film Miss Congeniality opened to the smaller tune of $10 million in December 2000 but grossed $106.8 million domestically, proving the comedic actress has the star power to open films strong--and keep them that way.
The third spot belonged to Sony Pictures' Maid in Manhattan, this season's other romantic comedy, which opened last weekend at number one. Falling 41 percent, it still managed to rake in an ESTIMATED $11 million at 2,866 theaters (+28 theaters; $3,838 per theater). It's cume to date is approximately $35.5 million.
Directed by Wayne Wang, it stars Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes.
Guess a historical period piece about 1860s New York can't beat Hobbits or romance. Miramax's highly anticipated R-rated Gangs of New York opened with a less-than-exciting ESTIMATED $9.1 million at 1,504 theaters ($6,064 per theater). Still, with the film's recent slate of Golden Globe nominations, the momentum should give Gangs a fair amount of shelf life.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz.
20th Century Fox's drum showstopper PG-13 rated Drumline continued to boom at number five with an ESTIMATED $7.6 million (-40%) at 1,837 theaters ($4,137 per theater). The little-film-that-could about an underdog high school band opened at No. 3 last week and has so far gained a respectable $22.8 million.
Directed by Charles Stone, it stars Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana and Orlando Jones.
Another new flick on the block this weekend was Paramount Pictures' PG-rated The Wild Thornberrys Movie, which opened in sixth place with an ESTIMATED $6.1 million at 3,012 theaters ($2,025 per theater).
Based on the hit Nickelodeon TV show, the animated film about a family of wildlife documentary filmmakers, is directed by Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath and includes the vocal talents of Lacey Chabert, Tim Curry, Rupert Everett, Lynn Redgrave and Marisa Tomei.
Chortling in at number seven is Disney's PG-13 rated The Hot Chick, taking in an ESTIMATED $4.5 million at 2,217 theaters ($2,030 per theater). Dropping 39 percent, the body-switching comedy bowed last week in fifth place and has made approximately $13.7 million thus far.
Directed by Tom Brady, it stars Rob Schneider, Anna Faris and Rachel McAdams.
Warner Bros. PG-rated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets dropped a couple of notches to No. 8 with an ESTIMATED $4.45 million (-30%) at 2,750 theaters (-275 theaters; $1,620 per theater). The second movie about our fab boy wizard and his adventures at Hogwarts has managed to eke out approximately $228.9 million in its six weeks at the box office. Not too shabby.
Directed by Chris Columbus, the film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Kenneth Branagh, Jason Isaacs, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane and Maggie Smith.
The once-popular franchise seems to have lost its steam. Paramount Pictures PG-13 rated Star Trek: Nemesis continued its disappointing run, slipping from its bow at second place last weekend to ninth with an ESTIMATED $4.4 million (-76%) at 2,711 theaters ($1,623 per theater). Its cume is approximately $26.4 million.
Directed by Stuart Baird, it stars Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Tom Hardy, Ron Perlman, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden and Marina Sirtis.
Tenth place belongs to Bond, James Bond. MGM's megahit, PG-13 rated Die Another Day, continued reaping the rewards with an ESTIMATED $4 million, dropping 49 percent at 2,075 theaters (-1,302 theaters; $1,928 per theater). One of the highest-grossing Bond films ever, its taken in approximately $138.4 million so far.
Directed by Lee Tamahori, it stars Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike, Toby Stephens and Rick Yune.
Three of the higher-profile independent films of the season opened in limited theaters this weekend, including Denzel Washington's Antwone Fisher, Spike Lee's 25th Hour and Narc starring Ray Liotta.
Fox Searchlight's PG-13 rated Antwone Fisher opened Thursday in 15 theaters at an ESTIMATED $217,500 ($14,500 per theater). The film, about a man struggles to come to terms with his abusive childhood, is directed by the Oscar-winning Washington, who also stars along with newcomer Derek Luke. Fisher will open wide Jan. 1.
Buena Vista's R-rated 25th Hour also opened Thursday in 5 theaters and took in an ESTIMATED $109,811 ($21, 962 per theater). The intense drama focuses on a drug dealer's last 24 hours before he goes to prison and how he chooses to spend it. Directed by Spike Lee, it stars Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox. The film opens wide Jan. 10.
Paramount's Narc opened in 6 theaters Friday, making an ESTIMATED $66,000 ($11,000 per theater). The gritty drama stars Ray Liotta and Jason Patric as two undercover narcotics detectives after a cop killer.
The top 12 films this weekend earned $132 million, up 46.4 percent from last weekend.
This time last year, New Line's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was number one at the box office with $47.2 million, while Warner Bros. Ocean's Eleven came in second with $14.7 million and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius third with $13.8 million.
*All estimates as reported by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.