In a few short years, director Frank Coraci has gone from being an independent filmmaker to directing big budget Hollywood movies. His collaboration with longtime friend Adam Sandler has granted Corac...
A very crowded weekend in store as Liam Neeson in Taken 2, battles a bevy of newcomers including Warner Bros.' Argo, Lionsgate’s Sinister, Sony’s Here Comes the Boom, CBS Film’s Seven Psychopaths and Atlas Distribution’s Atlas Shrugged Part 2.
Twentieth Century Fox’s Taken 2 led the charge last weekend with nearly $50 million and helped the industry enjoy a 50% uptick vs. the comparable weekend in 2011. The PG-13 action crime drama nearly doubled the Friday through Sunday gross of the 2009 original and in the process proved that Liam Neeson (at age 60) is one the most viable (and popular) action stars working today. In its second weekend an expected 50% drop would still give it a shot at repeating at number one with a gross in the $23 to $24 million range and a 10 day total of around $85 million.
Debuting this weekend is Warner Bros.’ Argo, directed by and starring Ben Affleck in the stranger-than-fiction true life story of a ruse designed to free six American hostages hiding out at the Canadian Embassy during the infamous Iranian hostage crisis of the late ‘70’s. The film is already generating huge Oscar buzz along with great reviews and should become a word-of-mouth darling in the coming weeks. Featuring a solid ensemble cast including Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman and Tate Donovan, projections this weekend range from the high-teens to the low $20 million range and thus it could be a contender for first place if it comes in on the high end of expectations. Argo is definitely a “must see” movie and should be in the top tier of any film buff’s movie-going list.
Third, fourth and fifth place will likely find three films in a major tug-of-war with grosses ranging from $15 to $18 million with Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania in its third weekend going up against newcomers Here Comes the Boom also from Sony and Lionsgate’s horror-entry Sinister.
Boom stars Kevin James as a high school teacher who mixes it up in the world of MMA (Mixed-Marshal Arts) to raise money for his school’s faltering after-school programs and co-stars Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler. Frank Coraci, who also directed numerous Adam Sandler comedies, referees this PG-rated comedy.
On the other side of the genre spectrum is the R-rated horror-thriller Sinister starring Ethan Hawke as a novelist whose family is terrorized by supernatural powers within their new home where a family was once murdered. Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) directs from his script co-written with C. Robert Cargill.
Universal’s PG-13 music-themed comedy Pitch Perfect, will enjoy a very strong third weekend with a showing just outside of the top five with a potential gross of $10 to $12 million while Sony’s R-rated time travel hit man movie Looper starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis will continue to be a threat in the neighborhood of $8 million. Disney will have Tim Burton’s well-reviewed Frankenweenie making a mark with around $7 million.
Another notable debut this weekend is CBS Film’s critical favorite and Toronto Film Festival Audience Prize winner Seven Psychopaths in 1,480 theaters. The R-rated crime comedy features a cooler-than cool cast that includes Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish and Olga Kurylenko and is directed by In Bruges helmer Martin McDonagh. An innovative marketing campaign that includes a set of one-sheets with each featuring one of the key cast members and a “Psycho Cats” faux-trailer starring real felines already has generated quite a lot of buzz for the film that will expand into more theaters on October 26. The film is expected earn around $7 to $8 million this weekend and a thus solid per-theater average should await these seven psychopaths.
Fox's The Perks of Being a Wallflower adds 505 theaters and should take in a solid $4 million in this its fourth weekend of release. Finally, opening in 1,012 theaters is Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 with an expected weekend gross of around $3 million for the film based on the epic novel by Ayn Rand.
This should prove to be another solid but very crowded weekend at the multiplex with the high class problem of choosing which of the many appealing films to see will vex moviegoers around the country.
The Mexican beauty's daughter Valentina is usually a regular on mum's film sets, but Hayek didn't want the four year old seeing her in action as the ruthless leader of a drug cartel in Oliver Stone's new project and refused to take her to work.
Hayek says, "She loves to come to the set. She doesn't get bored, she wants to be there... (But) she's not gonna watch this movie, no. Actually it was the only movie that she was not on the set."
And the actress doubts Stone would have appreciated having the tot bossing people around on his set.
She explains, "I usually bring her on the set and she always likes to sit right next to the monitor and she bosses everyone around. I did a movie (Here Comes the Boom) with this director, Frank Coraci, and she would say, 'Can I say, 'Action' on this one?' And he's like, 'Er, OK', so she'd scream 'Action' a couple of times and Kevin James and I are following the orders.
"I'm doing Grown Ups 2 and also Dennis (Dugan, director) is letting her say 'Action' (too), but I know Oliver Stone would have not (sic) let her just come in and say, 'Excuse me Oliver, let me just come in and take over the set'!"
Anyone who’s been to the zoo has considered the possibility that once all the visitors and the zookeepers go home the animals come out from their enclosures and talk about the day. And so while Frank Coraci's Zookeeper is kind enough to show us what that fantasy looks like it isn’t kind enough to show us much else.
In Zookeeper Kevin James plays Griffin Keyes who’s so in love with his girlfriend Stephanie (played by Leslie Bibb) that he doesn’t realize she’s terrible until he proposes to her and she says no because she doesn't like his job. After the breakup Griffin focuses on his work and is totally aware of how he wishes he had someone in his life to care for him the way he cares for the wildlife at the Franklin Park Zoo. When the animals (being the astute creatures that they are) notice how badly their favorite zookeeper has been feeling since the demise of his relationship they decide to break their vow of silence to show their appreciation for him by sharing all the tips and tricks that have helped them all get mates. The imparting of this knowledge paves the way for Kevin James to regurgitate onto the audience all the talent for physical comedy he’s accumulated over the course of his acting career and it means Griffin spends the majority of the movie rubbing his back against a tree like a bear or peeing on a tree like a wolf because he thinks his ex-girlfriend will take him back if he asserted his dominance more.
One of the more skillful things the film does is give each of the animals their own personalities in a relatively short period of time and credit should be given to the actors who voiced them. Sylvester Stallone’s Joe the Lion was the leader of the group and his frequent lover’s quarrels with Janet the Lioness (voiced by Cher) will particularly resonate with parents. Adam Sandler’s Donald the monkey delivered some nice one-liners and unapologetically bragged about his opposable thumbs. Judd Apatow Maya Rudolph Jon Favreau and Faizon Love also provided worthy comedic contributions to the animal group but it was Nick Nolte’s role of Bernie the gorilla that particularly stood out. After an incident with an abusive zookeeper (strangely played by Donny Wahlberg) where Bernie gained the reputation of being dangerous he was extricated from his beautiful and open enclosure and dropped down into a cement pit to be punished over a misunderstanding. But even though Bernie was out of site and otherwise inaccessible to the zoo’s patrons Griffin didn’t forget about him and worked arduously to convince him that not every human is cruel by putting a yellow polo shirt on him and taking him to T.G.I. Fridays. Though completely random and almost irrelevant the sentiment was very close to nice.
But the movie's biggest problem isn’t the fact that its animals talk or that Griffin listens to them without realizing he’s trying to win back a human by acting like a wombat. It’s that because Griffin's first love Stephanie was a bad person filmmakers were burdened with concocting a new love figure for him (because like all protagonists he's supposed to rediscover his self-worth and self-respect after it has been misplaced). The director acknowledged this challenge by manufacturing Rosario Dawson’s character Kate the eagle expert/veterinarian. Kate’s close proximity to Griffin at the zoo and possession of a slinky black dress meant she became his accomplice when he tried to use the skills the animals taught him to win Stephanie back at his brother's wedding. Eventually it becomes clear that the audience is supposed to root for a union between Griffin and Kate but it's an almost impossible task because Griffin barely has any screen time with Kate and because of all the talking animals going on there is no room for a relationship when the film is already busting at the seams.
Theoretically Zookeeper sounds decent. And for the most part the scenes where the animals are coaxing Griffin are actually enjoyable. But the framework of the film makes the plot unnecessarily complicated…which means not only do audience members not get enough of what they wanted but they also get a whole bunch of other things they didn’t sign up for.
PETA members will gather outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday (06Jul11) for a face-off with stars James, Adam Sandler and Rosario Dawson and Zookeeper director Frank Coraci.
The protest follows the death of a giraffe named Tweet, who suddenly collapsed and died last year (Sep10) during the production of the movie - according to PETA bosses.
The activists also claim elephants featured in the film were provided by a company exposed for its cruel training techniques in a recent Animal Defenders International film.
PETA director Delcianna Winders says, "Wild animals exploited by filmmakers are scared, confused, and out of their element, but time is money, so if they don't perform on cue, they can expect to be beaten or given an electric shock.
"The makers of Zookeeper hired confirmed animal abusers, so moviegoers should steer clear of this film and all others that use exotic animals and should support only willing human performers.
"The American Humane Association's certification stating that 'No animals were harmed in the making of this film' applies only to what transpires on the set, not to what happens during off-set training sessions, where abuse is most likely to occur."
Tweet, the giraffe star of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and James' new movie, died in its enclosure at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, Massachusetts after completing its scenes in the film.
PETA activists allege the 18-year-old animal was mistreated and has asked for an investigation. The American Humane Society, which oversees creature treatment on movie sets, denies mistreatment.
Have you ever wanted to revert back to your extremely immature days when you were a toddler? Back when you thought that if you cried loud enough, wailed long enough, threw a tantrum to end all tantrums, that you would eventually get your way? I feel like right now. I want to just start screaming and crying until this goes away. Make it stop Sony, make it stop.
Anyway, as previously reported, Kevin James will play a fat chemistry teacher that takes up getting punched in the face to help save the arts program. Lucky for us, this next great feature of American cinema has found a director - the Zookeeper’s Frank Coraci.
Can we all just create a massive tantrum-throwing flash mob? Here, I'll start:
Oh cruel technology! With so many remote controls for so many devices Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) always clicks the wrong power button. He’s sick of it. The workaholic is also sick of being too busy to find time for his family. On a late-night trip to Bed Bath & Beyond in search of a universal remote he kills two birds with one stone. After passing the bed section and the bath section Michael reaches the “beyond ” where he meets an eccentric man named Morty (Christopher Walken) who offers a remote to control his life. No more wasting time or missing out--he can fast-forward rewind and pause; his life is his own personal TiVo. It’s all well and good until he abuses the fast-forward button and misses all the beautiful minutiae of life. Before long he’s old sick and alone and realizes--thanks to the rewind button--that he was never there for his family. It’s a simple twist of fate for Michael but it’s neither his only one nor his simplest. With Click some Sandler fans may fear he’s veering towards the Jim Carrey path of gradually more earnest roles. No fear necessary however for this is not Carrey’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (similar as the broad existential strokes may be) and it’s not even Punch-Drunk Love. It’s merely light tear-jerking Sandler-style. He does prove in addition to his beaten-path shtick-y performance that he has some drama in him after all these years--which may or may not foretell more serious roles down the road. But there’s still an abundance of his trademark goofiness to go around. As Sandler’s onscreen wife Kate Beckinsale might go unnoticed if not for her scene-stealing beauty. Her interplay with Sandler is husband-wife cute if nothing else. Consistently funny supporting turns from Walken and David Hasselhoff--as Sandler’s jerk of a boss--provide the usual semi-big names that Sandler movies typically boast. Click is a high-concept film--too bad it’s all “summer-ed” up (or down) because film might be the best medium to explore such a fascinating and potentially deep notion. But this is summertime Sandler after all and who better to keep the serious stuff from getting too serious than Sandler’s pal/collaborator (and director of The Waterboy and The Wedding Singer) Frank Coraci? The director has the Sandler fan base at heart and the result is thus decidedly unsubtle and not always pretty for a movie that should’ve in all honesty gone with more gusto towards the morose undertones the story puts into place--though the director at least didn’t completely steer away from dramatic elements. The usual goods are still here (i.e. fart jokes Sandler’s at times hilarious yapping) but the pivotal flashbacks and life themes feel crammed adding to the movie’s general unevenness. Bruce Almighty writers Steve Koren and Adam O’Keefe add their supernatural twist to straightforward comedy but they fail to produce anything beyond a slightly less-funny Bruce with a side of Multiplicity and Mr. Destiny.
Based loosely on the 19th century Jules Verne novel 80 Days revolves around two unlikely heroes--the eccentric and reclusive inventor Phileas Fogg (Steve Coogan) and his (French?) valet Passepartout (Jackie Chan). While Fogg's "wacky" inventions actually make a lot of sense to us modern-day folk including his insights on flight electricity (which he has rigged so that light illuminates with a whistle) and even Rollerblades to his turn-of-the-century contemporaries the scientist is a giant crackpot. Desperate to be taken seriously Fogg makes an outlandish bet with Lord Kelvin (Jim Broadbent) the head of the London's Royal Academy of Science that he can circumnavigate the globe in no more than 80 days. Impossible you say? Not to Fogg whose obsession with facts and schedules makes him the perfect candidate for such an adventure. With the ever-faithful Passepartout by his side--who has his own secret reasons for joining in on the fun--Fogg heads out on his frantic heart-pounding journey picking up a third traveler a beautiful French artist named Monique (Cécile de France) in the process. But of course the trip doesn't go exactly as scheduled and Fogg as well as Passepartout learn more than a few valuable life lessons along the way. How sweet. Got a toothache yet?
Jackie Chan knows precisely what works for him. Differing slightly from the 1956 adaptation this 80 Days is all about Passepartout as the story tapers itself to fit Chan's specialties. This means you get to marvel once again at his masterful martial arts skills as well as chuckle at his innate sense of physical comedy. As another perfect straight man to Chan's Chinese sensibilities and kung-fu shenanigans Coogan (24 Hour Party People) also does a nice turn as the befuddled and veddy British Fogg while the lovely de France as Monique breathes some fresh air into her ingénue role (and is much more substantial to the plot than the original's Shirley MacLaine who played an Indian princess). Broadbent is adequately sleazy as the pompous Lord Kelvin full of as much hot air as the balloon Fogg and company take a ride in. But 80 Days's extensive list of cameos is the most fun--from Owen and Luke Wilson as the bickering Wright brothers to Rob Schneider as a malodorous San Franciscan hobo to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Arabian prince (please tell me he made this before he became California's governor). Plus any movie in which Kathy Bates plays Queen Victoria British accent and all has got to be worth seeing .
Minus all the silly songs 80 Days is splashy family fare reminiscent of such films as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factoryand the original 1967 Doctor Dolittle (you know the one with a giant pink sea snail). Supported by glorious sets and costumes director Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer) clearly loves the fanciful adventure of it all creating colorful transitions from one place to the next as Fogg Passepartout and Monique traverse across the globe. But there's always an inherent problem with films of this nature--they tend to be long-winded. The 1956 version of 80 Days which even with a stellar cast including David Niven and Cantinflas drags quite a bit. But with a feisty martial arts expert in the mix this updated 80 Days maintains its momentum for the most part only losing steam towards the end especially after the whole Passepartout subplot in which he has to return a priceless Buddha to his Chinese village is resolved. Suddenly the film becomes just about the race back to London and less about fighting off evil Chinese assassins. Honestly we don't care much about how an uptight British inventor can build a plane out of a boat that will get him back to his final destination in time so he can give a monologue about how his adventure afforded him to make new friends and fall in love. If it's a Jackie Chan movie it's the awesome fight sequences we want to see.
NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2000 — It used to be impossible to step out to the movies and not bump into Quentin Tarantino, not in the popcorn line, of course, but up on the screen. As director, screenwriter, producer and even actor, the wünderkind had a career that took off like a bat out of hell in the early '90s with such hits as "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction."
Alas, Tarantino's acting turns in films like "Destiny Turns on the Radio" and "From Dusk Till Dawn" were, um, not terribly memorable, but who cared? Tarantino was so hot he was even cool in lukewarm roles.
But Tarantino got cold. Just like that, one of the busiest, most visible filmmakers of the '90s seemed to disappear.
Now comes word that Tarantino is back as an actor, and we have director Steven Brill, New Line Cinema and Adam Sandler to thank. The prematurely retired filmmaker has a "significant" role in New Line's upcoming "Little Nicky," which boasts Harvey Keitel starring as the devil and Sandler as his son, who takes off for New York City in search of his little brother.
Tarantino plays a blind preacher, who may or may not project a "devil may care" attitude. Frank Coraci, who directed Sandler in "The Wedding Singer" and "The Waterboy," plays a hot-dog vendor. Rodney Dangerfield also has a cameo. Patricia Arquette, Reese Witherspoon and Jon Lovitz also join Tarantino in what amounts to one "hell" of a cast.
GOOD MEDICINE: "Scream 3" scared up an estimated $35.2 million for Miramax Films over the weekend, the company's biggest-ever weekend debut.
The stunning box-office performance was a much-needed coup for Miramax, which has failed of late to get filmgoers to line up the way it used to. Yes, Miramax has the Matt Damon-starrer "The Talented Mr. Ripley" for overseas, but stateside, Paramount is basking in "Ripley's" glory.
In addition to breaking records, the smashing weekend bow of "Scream 3" proved to be a terrific get-well card for Miramax's co-chairman Harvey Weinstein, also the film's executive producer, who got out of the hospital last week.
Weinstein, whose ailment and hospital digs remain mysteries even to Miramax execs, missed such important industry events as the Golden Globe Awards and Sundance. But because he is such a forceful figure, his absence made lots of news and won him plenty of plugs. Gwyneth Paltrow, of course, addressed Weinstein the moment she hit the stage at the Globes. And it was almost impossible to read a dispatch from Sundance that didn't refer to the New York-based mogul.
Happily, Weinstein came home just in time to celebrate his company's record-breaking "Scream 3" weekend. The film's stars and director Wes Craven couldn't have given a nicer present. Maybe Weinstein will return the favor and greenlight what is thought to be impossible -- "Scream 4."
LET 'ER RIP! We haven't had a film from prolific Oscar-winning producer Arnold Kopelson ("Platoon") since the Gwyneth Paltrow/Michael Douglas flick "A Perfect Murder" but Kopelson, say Those Who Should Know, will soon have "Riptide" in production.
Based on the novel about a surgeon who joins a professional treasure hunter on his family's island off the coast of Maine, "Riptide" is now quietly being cast. No actors are yet signed but what has been selected is the film's location -- not good news for U.S. crews. You guessed it -- "Riptide" looks to be headin' north to Vancouver, Canada, where a nickel almost gets you (and those economy-minded Hollywood studios) a tinny Canadian dime.
Kopelson, also known for such hits as "Falling Down," "Murder at 1600" and "Seven," spent years producing on the Warner Bros. lot. "Riptide" marks his debut feature for Kopelson Entertainment at its new berth at Fox, where he produces with his wife, Anne Kopelson. Let er "rip!"
BUZZ CUT: Which newly minted entertainment mogul is being followed around by CNN cameras and loving every minute of it?
Spent several years making music videos, travel documentaries, and short films
Directed Kevin James in the comedy "Zookeeper"
Again collaborated with Adam Sandler, directing him in comedy "The Waterboy"; also made cameo in film
Directed the Disney live action feature "Around the World in 80 Days," based on the classic novel by Jules Verne
Helmed action comedy "Here Comes the Boom," also starring James
Re-teamed with Sandler as director of "Click"
Collaborated with Adam Sandler on the comedy albums What the Hell Happened to Me? and What's Your Name?; also collaborated on the music videos "Steve Polychronopolous" and "The Lonesome Kicker"
Directed Drew Barrymore and Sandler in romantic comedy "The Wedding Singer"
Directed and co-wrote first feature "Murdered Innocence"
In a few short years, director Frank Coraci has gone from being an independent filmmaker to directing big budget Hollywood movies. His collaboration with longtime friend Adam Sandler has granted Coraci two of his biggest successes: "The Wedding Singer" (1998), co-starring the ever-adorable Drew Barrymore, and "The Waterboy" (1998), one of Sandler's biggest grossing movies to date. Even though "The Waterboy" was a hit, it would take Coraci five years to direct another feature, a sign that perhaps box office achievement d sn't always translate into carte blanche.