Category Archives: News

The Help Scores Box Office Win for Third Straight Week

The Help earned a title for itself that no other summer release can hold. The movie took the top spot at the box office for the third week in a row, the first film of summer 2011 to achieve such a feat. Kathryn Stockett’s film version of her bestselling book earned $14.2 million over the last weekend of summer.

Emma Stone Viola Davis The Help
It was a grown-up weekend at the box office as The Debt arrived in second place. The film about Nazi hunters from post-World War II Israel starring Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington nabbed over $9 million in ticket sales bringing its total since it opened August 31 to $11.6 million.

The third and fourth place finishers were new releases, Apollo 18 and Shark Night 3D. Both bucked bad reviews to sell $8.7 and $8.6 million in tickets respectively. The fifth most popular movie this Labor Day weekend was the film that hasn’t left the top five since its premiere, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The biggest news to arrive out of this weekend’s box office numbers was that Hollywood could pat itself on the back for out-grossing the summer of 2010.

Stay with Movie Fanatic for our Top 10 Movies of the year (so far) arriving later this week, sure to include some summer sizzlers.

Box office:
1. The Help, $14.2 million
2. The Debt, $9.7 million
3. Apollo 18, $8.7 million
4. Shark Night 3D, $8.6 million
5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes, $7.8 million
6. Colombiana, $7.4 million
7. Our Idiot Brother, $5.2 million
8. Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, $4.9 million
9. Spy Kids 4, $4.6 million
10. The Smurfs, $4.0 million

Warrior Trailer Shows Why Movie Inspires

Warrior arrives in theaters September 9 with an incredible amount of buzz, many critics comparing it to a modern day Rocky.

Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy in Warrior

In Warrior, Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton portray brothers who are Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters. Both are incredibly talented and are on a collision course to an enormous fight that will pit brother against brother.

Nick Nolte plays the fighters’ father, a former boxer who fell into a pool of alcohol and self pity that tore apart their family bond. Now, with the brothers on the verge of fighting greatness, will what ripped their family keep them from their destiny? Or perhaps, could it be possible that the brothers’ father will find it in his soul to pull himself together and become a part of the triumphant story instead of the reason for its failure?


Warrior Trailer

New Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Clip: Spy Game On!

In real life, gone are the days of Cold War type espionage, so why not relive the conduit to great suspense with the upcoming Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? In anticipation of the film’s arrival in the fall, we’ve got a new clip from the film sure to tantalize.

Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

The clip features the always astounding Mark Strong (Green Lantern) and the UK acting legend John Hurt in the dawn of the 1970s as the Cold War is at one of its iciest moments.

Hurt and Strong aren’t the only stellar players assembled to bring author John Le Carre’s literary stunner to the screen. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy also stars recent Oscar winner Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Ciaran Hinds (The Debt) and Tom Hardy (Dark Knight Rises).

The story follows George Smiley (Oldman) who is coaxed out of retirement from MI6 to weed out a Soviet spy in the British spy service.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is premiering this weekend at the esteemed Venice Film Festival and opens in the U.K. September 16, yet doesn’t arrive on American screens until December 9.


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: New Clip

Shark Night 3D Movie Review: Does It Bite?

Is America ready to get back into the movie water when sharks attack in Shark Night 3D? Jaws famously established the standard for the shark movie genre with Steven Spielberg crafting one of his best. Snakes on a Plane director David R. Ellis has taken the sharp-toothed underwater king of film terror tool and brought it into the 21st century, complete with the “all the rage” 3D format. The big question is: Does it have teeth?

Dustin Milligan in Shark Night 3D

Shark Night 3D has a good-looking cast ready for the folly of Ellis’ vision. The film is led by Sara Paxton and Dustin Milligan as a group of college kids from Tulane. The pals head to Paxton’s character’s family home that lies on an island in a salt water lake and yes, shark attacks ensue pretty much immediately.

First they meet a pair of unsavory locals that ought to make Louisiana natives a little annoyed at the stereotypical archetype that Shark Night 3D not only employs, but places at the center of its scare. Having its “villains” (out of the water at least) be so transparent is only the first strike against Shark Night 3D.

Given the film’s title, all the action must inherently take place in one single evening of complete horror and mayhem. The timeline established causes us to call strike two on Shark Night 3D for its unbelievability. It simply makes no sense in any realm or reality — cinematic suspension of disbelief or not.

The movie is a killer shark film, but it also is an ensemble piece with a cast that shows signs of talent, yet is never able to fully flex its muscle due to the weak script, over-bloated action sequences and the same “ham” acting that led to the Ellis directed Snakes on a Plane laughability. Like Snakes on a Plane, Shark Night 3D has a good premise that in the right hands could have resulted in one terrifying and thrilling piece of kitsch filmmaking. And also like Snakes on a Plane, the cast and supporting players are up for a game that is never allowed to become what it could be.

From American Idol alum Katharine McPhee to Avatar star Joel David Moore, the signs of promise not only lie in the film’s premise, but also in its players’ ability to hit a home run. The only problem is Shark Night 3D gets a strike three for its inability to take all the promising pieces and assemble them in a manner that is equally thrilling as it is terrifying. Shark Night, you’re out on called strikes.

In the end all shark movies require the same question upon completion: Does the film have bite? Bite, in the most positive of ways one hopes, and unfortunately, Shark Night 3D bites in a bad way.

Apollo 18 Movie Review: To the Moon!

Apollo 18 answers the question: Why did we stop at 17 missions to the moon? After witnessing the film, it is easy to see why. The reason is terrifying, albeit hallow in its presentation.

Apollo 18 still
The film is culled from “lost” footage that is compiled to present the movie Apollo 18. Its beginnings are simple enough. Three astronauts that had thought they had missed their window to put boots on the moon are told that there is one last mission to the moon and they are the lucky few chosen to lead the effort.

Instead of being led by NASA, their mission is directed by a top secret edict by the Department of Defense. They are told to take dozens of Westinghouse cameras to the moon for what they are informed are for the preliminary efforts to build an early detection missile defense system aimed at the Russians. The truth of their mission is much more devious and dangerous.

Apollo 18’s use of the “actual” footage gathered by the astronauts gives the audience a seat on the mission and for that, the filmmakers score. Yet, as is the case more often than not, found footage films are a risky endeavor. Sometimes it works intensely well, such as The Blair Witch Project or Paranormal Activity, but when it doesn’t, it is disastrous. Such is the case with Apollo 18. There are too many breaks in the footage, distorted images and moments of utter blackness that left us scratching our head.

There are periods of sheer terror and for that, credos are in order. But, when it comes to storytelling, instilling fear can only go so far. Filled with numerous loose ends, Apollo 18 suffers under the weight of its premise ironically. Audiences are given enough information to keep the story moving, but because of those plot holes, too many questions are left unanswered and therefore, hamper the film’s effort to be taken seriously.

We will say this, when the film is complete, the supposed entity responsible for pulling the footage and creating Apollo 18 the film, gives its web address. Apollo 18 peaks enough curiosity that as soon as this review is written, we are heading over to www.lunartruth.com to learn more about the film than what the movie could offer. In that sense, Apollo 18 misses in its endeavor to answer the question of why Apollo 17 ended our journeys to the moon. Simply, the answers that may lie on the lunar truth website, should have found themselves deeply rooted in the film itself.