Archive for Box Office

Cory Monteith’s final film “McCanick” opens in theaters to mostly negative reviews

McCanick – Cory Monteith’s final film, opened in theaters yesterday, to mostly negative reviews.  The film, directed by Josh C. Waller, stars David Morse (as title cop McCanick) Monteith (as Simon Weeks) and Ciarán Hinds, has been called, by outlets such as the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Variety as “dour,” “derivative,” “thin,” “clicheed” (including a subway door closing just in time) and “implausible.”

That’s too bad.  While I was no fan of his and when he died I thought he was given too much undeserved tribute for what accomplishments he did have, I wouldn’t have been averse to seeing his last movie role end up as part of a better final product.

According to IMDb:

When narcotics detective Eugene “Mack” McCanick discovers that Simon Weeks has been released from prison, he instigates a brutal manhunt, without permission from the Chief of Police. The frenzy of paranoia and violence that follows pushes Mack and his partner to the edge of the law. The closer Mack gets to his prey, the closer he gets to a secret from his past-one that only Weeks can expose.

It is anticipated that the film will enjoy limited theater release; even the most generous reviews suggest that the movie will only be sought out by Monteith fans eager to have one final memory of the late star.  It’s a pity that this final impression will apparently not be delivered by way of a better vehicle.

“Star Wars VII” to be set 30 years after “Return of the Jedi “

Star Wars fans, listen to this – the next installment in the “Star Wars” series will be set 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi.” This news was announced by Walt Disney Company’s CEO Bob Iger on Tuesday (March 18) in Portland, Oregon at the company’s annual shateholder’s meeting.

The movie will be filmed at the renowned Elstree Studios in Bristol , England. (Bear in mind, Darth Vader was played by Bristol native David Prowse.) “Episode VII” will be released on December 18, 2015 and will be directed by J. J. Abram, who also led the recent “Star Trek” series films.

In 2012 Disney purchased LucasFilm, the Star Wars production company, for $4.05 billion and said that it would release three more films in the popular franchise.

Aside from saying that R2D2 (played by R2D2) would return Iger said, “There will be some very familiar faces along with a trio of new young leads.” Of course, there’s a lot of speculation that the returning veterans would be Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Rumors have been circulating for a year regarding the possible return of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. The current feeling is leaning towards Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o and “Girls” actor Adam Driver.

Now would be the perfect time for the film’s creative leaders and casting team to find a way to find roles Lucy Liu. I think she’d be a perfect fit here. Of course, I always think that.

Academy Award winners’ biggest personal fortunes

The rankings may or may not surprise you, but according to figures released by Wealth-X Research, the top five wealthiest Oscar winners are jack Nicholson ($390 million) Tom Hanks ($350 million) Robert De Niro and Barbara Streisand ($310 million)

Sean Connery came in fifth with $250 million, then George Clooney with $220 million, Michael Douglas with $200 million, Anthony Hopkins with $160 million and Robin Williams with $150 million. Sandra Bullock, who won the award for Best Actress for “The Blind Side” on 2010 and is nominated for Best Actress again for “Gravity” tied with Robin Williams at $150 million and is the only woman besides Streisand in the top 10.

It’s no real surprise to see Jack Nicholson at the top of the list. He has two Best Actor awards, for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “As Good As It Gets” and. Best Supporting Actor award for “Terms of Endearment.” He is well known for his considerable art collection, which includes works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, and he owns expensive real estate in Beverly Hills – not such a bad location, wouldn’t you say?

I was a little surprised to see Tom Hanks in this list but I suppose it makes sense. He is one of only five actors to win back-to-back Oscars; the others were Louise Rainer in 1936 for “The Great Ziegfeld” – the first Oscar for a role portraying a real-life person – and 1937 for “The Good Earth.” She’s one of only two German-born actresses to win the award, the other being Simone Signoret. Rainer is also one of only six actors to win the only two times they were nominated.

Spencer Tracy won on 1937 and 1938, for “Captains Courageous” and “Boys Town” (Quite a switch, eh? A Portuguese fisherman and a socially activist priest) perhaps fittingly, Katherine Hepburn, Tracy’s long-term, fabled romantic interest, won in 1967 and 1968, for “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” (Tracy’s last role; her tears, in the final scene – Tracy’s remarkable monologue – were real, as Tracy was dying) and “The Lion on Winter” a noteworthy battle between her and Peter O’Toole.

Jason Robards won the Best Supporting Actor two years in a row, for “All the President’s Men” in 1986 and “Julia” on 1977.

It may before to make the case that Barbra Streisand owes her wealth to her Oscar win, since she was a singer before “Funny Girl” in 1968, and Heaven knows how much money she has earned as a singer/entertainer in the years since. After all, she can still schedule 12 concerts almost anywhere, set ticket prices at $2,500.00 of more and have them all sell out in minutes, with boatloads of upper-echelon celebrities in the first few rows.

This bit of background is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s more than enough material here to fill a book, or at the very least, a significant magazine article, but I’ll end things here. Whether you like or love or can’t stand the people on this list, I think you have to admire the years of hard work, and the staying power, that helped establish and maintain their careers.

Another bad movie remake idea: 22 Jump Street

Is this a recipe for movie success?

Let’s start with a reasonably successful series, such as TV’s “21 Jump Street,”  which ran from 1987 to 1991.  In the case were Holly Robinson (very easy on the eyes – she was not married Rodney Peete yet), Johnny Depp and Dustin Nguyen.  The series, created by Stephen J. Cannell, had the following theme, according to IMDB.com:  “The cases of an undercover police unit composed of young looking officers specializing in youth crime.”

Now let’s move ahead about 10 years.  Hollywood looks around for a new movie to make, and they – just maybe – want to aim at the youth market.  Naturally they look backward to a youth-oriented TV crime/drama series involving young, undercover cops who solve cases involving “youth crime.”  That’s right, they hit upon 21 Jump Street.  But here’s the kicker – they decide, for some reason, that another youth-oriented crime/drama/action movie wouldn’t be quite good enough.  So what do they do?  Yes, that’s right!  They make it into a comedy – with Jonah Hill as one of the stars.  Not only is he one of the stars, but he also gets a writing credit for the story.

That’s where they lost me.

Let’s start with Jonah Hill.  He seems like a nice guy.  Any time I’ve seen him interviewed, he appears to be a decent individual.  He was pretty good in Moneyball, which got reviews that spanned the spectrum from very good to very bad.  That doesn’t mean I want to see him in a comedy, or almost anything else.

Now, let’s take a look at the box office numbers.  According to BZoxOffice.com, the total domestic gross for 21 Jump Street was $138,447,667, and the worldwide gross was $201,938,263 on a total budget of $78,000,000.  (THat must include advertising and marketing and other expenses, as IMDB.com lists th production budget as $42,000,000.00.)  IMDB gives the total adjusted gross as $137,651,800.00 and it grossed #35,000,000.00 in its first weekend from March 16 – March 18, 2012.

Apparently that kind of success was all the impetus Hollywood needed for a sequel.  That should have set off red flags to investors everywhere.  How many sequels are as good as or better than the original?  A few, sure.  Perhaps The Godfather II and Rocky II were at least as good as the original movies.  But The Godfather III didn’t stand up to the first two installments, and we don’t even have to think about any of the follow-up Rocky efforts.

For every successful sequel, however, there’s a dud.  Consider, if you will, Speed II, Caddyshack II, Crocodile Dundee II or Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.  The original Crocdile Dundee was a charming movie with an easy humor and characters you grew to care about.  The scene in which Linda Kozlowski bends overs in a thong, still stands out in my memory.  The question is, was 21 Jump Street such a well-made, talked-about, admired movie that the movie-going public cried out for more?  So it would seem – at least, that’s what Hollywood seems to think.

As a result, the sequel – cleverly named 22 jump Street, as opposed to, let’s say, “21 Jump Stret – The Next Jump” or, “Return to 21 Jump Street” or even “21 Jump Street: Takin’ the Streets Back” or “21 Jump Street:  The Next Generation.”  Why the change of address?  Are they looking to isolate or insulate themselves from the original?

As it turns out, the real theme is more about personal relationships than solving youth-centered crime.  Here’s the storyline, as written by Sony Pictures Entertainment:

After making their way through high school (twice), big changes are in store for officers Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) when they go deep undercover at a local college. But when Jenko meets a kindred spirit on the football team, and Schmidt infiltrates the bohemian art major scene, they begin to question their partnership. Now they don’t have to just crack the case – they have to figure out if they can have a mature relationship. If these two overgrown adolescents can grow from freshmen into real men, college might be the best thing that ever happened to them.

Bohemian art scene?  Is that so?  That sounds almost as inspired as having Denise Richards play a nuclear physicist in The World Is Not Enough or having Matthew Broderick play a paleontologist in Godzilla.  I like both actors but there has to be some basic level of believability associated with their characters, and in these teo cases, there was little.  I like both of them, and I understand the desire for actors to fight against typecasting, but these roles were just not credible.

The cast for 22 Jump Street is at least partially the same cast as for the original, for the moment.  The full cast hasn’t been finalized.  Brad Pitt, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill and Ice Cue are set, but Amber Stevens, Rob Riggle, Dax Flame and Johnny Pemberton are listed as “rumored.”

All of this makes me want to run out and see it the instant it’s released.  Then again, I wonder if I would be happier spending the cost of a ticket on a couple of really good sandwiches.

The Best Movies of 2013

This has been quite a year at the movies.  Vanity Fair even goes so far as to ask, “Is 2013 the best year for movies since 1939?”  I’d say that’s an emphatic “No!” when 2013′s offerings are stacked up against this short list of films released in 1939:

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • The Women
  • Love Affair  (the original An Affair to Remember)
  • Goodbyem Mr. Chips
  • Stagecoach
  • Wuthering heights
  • Gunga Din
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Ninotchka
  • Beau Geste
  • Young Mr. Lincoln
  • The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
  • Intermezzo: A Love Story
  • Jesse James
  • Drums Along the Mohawk

Be that as it may, 2013 gave us a very decent number of quality movies. This year’s Golden Globe nominations cite 12 Years A Slave, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena and Rush as the the options for Best Drama.  It’s interesting to note that while Philomena and Rush are not mentioned on any of the lists below, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and Captain Phillips are mentioned on most of them.

It’s also noteworthy that Star Trek Into Darkness appears on one of the lists below, but also appears on several lists for the worst movies of the year.  As I noted in my earlier blog post about the worst movies of the year, everybody is different, and opinions and preferences vary- and that’s as it should be.

With that in mind, take a look at the lists.  How many of these movies did you see? Are any of your favorites ranked unfairly low, or not selected at all?  Such lists make good subjects for discussion, or argument, if it comes to that.  Are any titles listed that you never even heard of?  I found several that were not at all familiar to me.  How about you?

IMDB.com

  1. The Past
  2. Prisoners
  3. The Great Beauty
  4. Gravity
  5. Only God Forgives
  6. The Best Offer
  7. Captain Phillips
  8. Stoker
  9. Traffic Department
  10. Child’s Pose
  11. New World
  12. Side Effects
  13. Man of Steel
  14. Oblivion
  15. The East

Huffington Post

  1. Nebraska
  2. 42
  3. InstructionsNot Inckuded
  4. The way Way Back
  5. Enough Said
  6. Frozen
  7. The Book Thief
  8. Fruitvale Station
  9. Before Midnight
  10. August: Osage County

FoxNews

  1. Saving Mr. anks
  2. Nebraska
  3. The Wolf of Wall Street
  4. 12 Years A Slave
  5. Gravity
  6. Prisoners
  7. The Place Beyond the Pines
  8. August: Osage County
  9. The Way Way Back
  10. The World’s End
  11. Star Trek Into Darkness
  12. Side Effects
  13. About Time

New York Daily News

  1. Stories We Tell
  2. Her
  3. 12 Years A Slave
  4. American Hustle
  5. Inside Llewyn Davis
  6. Gravity
  7. Don Jon
  8. We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks
  9. All Is Lost
  10. Dallas Buyers Club

BBC,com/culture

  1. Inside Llewyn Davis
  2. American Hustle
  3. Before Midnight
  4. The Great Beauty
  5. Her
  6. A Touch of Sin
  7. The Act of Killing
  8. Fruitvale Station
  9. All Is Lost
  10. Enough Said

US Weekly

  1. Gravity
  2. Her
  3. Fruitvale Station
  4. Enough Said
  5. Blue Jasmine
  6. Captain Phillips
  7. American Hustle
  8. Before Midnight
  9. 12 Years a Slave
  10. Frozen

The Guardian.com

1.  The Act of Killing
2.  The Great Beauty
3.  (tie) Behind the Candelabra
Gravity
5.  Django Unchained
6.  Before Midnight
7.  For Ellen
8.  Only God Forgives
9.  I Wish
10. Wadjda

Another bad remake idea – “Gilligan’s Isalnd” movie in the works

Talk about bad ideas.

I was skeptical enough when I learned that Terminator is being reprised.  Now, I like Emilia Clarke – who will play Sarah Connor, but is this a movie that cries out for a remake?  Did anybody need more than one Crocodile Dundee?  How about Caddyshack?  I cvan answer those questions – no, no and no.

Now comes word that someone (Warner Bros.) has decided that the universe needs a “Gilligan’s Island” movie. The original TV show was on the air from 1964 to 1967 and virtually endless reruns ever since then. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why.  The effort is, according to Deadline.com, intended as a starring springboard for Josh Gad, one of the stars of “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway.  In a further attempt to strain credibility, there is a possibility that he will be case as Gilligan.  If that’s even remotely true, I’d ask the producers – Lloyd and Ross Schwartz (sons of Sherwood Schwartz, the original producer, and writer of the show’s theme song), Tracey Silvers and Cathy Silvers will be executive producers – what in the Sam Hill are they thinking?  Have they actually seen Josh Gad?  Good grief, he’s The Skipper, not Gilligan.  The body types aren’t even close!

And who, you may ask, will be writing this doubtless Oscar-worthy vehicle?  Benji Samit, Dan Hernandez and – wait for it – Josh Gad.  Brilliant.

Ok, so who’s going to play the part of Ginger – Melissa McCarthy?  Kristin Chenoweth?  Now, they’re both very nice people, talented, popular – and I like Kristin a lot – but give the public a little credit for having an iota of intelligence.  Kristin could certainly play Mary Ann, no doubt about it.  But really – having Gad play the role of Gilligan is about as smart as having the Stay-Puft Marchmallow Man play Macbeth.  Come on, Hollywood!  Please!  Give us some credit!

“It’s A Wonderful Life” sequel due in 2015 – good idea?

Nov. 19, 2013

“It’s a Wonderful Life,” the classic Frank Capra film from 1946 that has become a holiday season staple, will get a sequel almost 70 years after its initial release, Variety reports.

Although original stars Donna Reed (“Mary Bailey”), Jimmy Stewart (“George Bailey”), Lionel Barrymore (“Henry Potter”), Thomas Mitchell (“Uncle Billy”) and Henry Travers (“Clarence”) won’t be able to return for the sequel, Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s (Jimmy Stewart) daughter Zuzu played Zuzu, will appear as an angel.

“It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story” is being planned for a 2015 release in theaters, and will have a direct connection to the original with the inclusion of Grimes.  She is set to play an angel who teaches Bailey’s grandson (also called George) the same lesson an angel taught his grandfather — what the world would have been like if he were never born. What’s the plot device this time? While Grandpa George was the town’s savior, and his little town went to seed without his contribution, grandson George is not a likable person and the world would have been better off without him.

“The storyline of the new film retains the spirit of the original — every life is important as long as you have friends,” says producer Bob Farnsworth, who co-wrote the screenplay with Martha Bolton.

Hmmm… some sequels, such as The Godfather II and Rocky II were very good, there are perhaps even more sequels that were not such good ideas.  (Caddyshack II comes to mind.)  Then there are some movies – some classics, some not necessarily so – that do not cry out for reprises.  The original was – and still is – charming, and warm, and had fine performances by the stars and the supporting players alike.  (Beulah Bondi is just one prime example.)  I don’t see how any amount of Hollywood “good intent” could possibly do justice to the original.  I hope the sequel turns out to be a good effort, but all I can muster up is a very healthy dose of skepticism over the whole effort.  It will be impossible not to judge it, or measure it. against the original

“Beetlejuice 2″ sequel in the works?

Winona Ryder may be joining the cast of “Beetlejuice 2,” the sequel to Tim Burton’s 1988 horror-comedy, the actress told The Daily Beast in a recent interview. “I’m kind of sworn to secrecy,” Ryder said. “But it sounds like it might be happening.”

Rumors of a second “Beetlejuice” began circulating last month when news slipped out that Burton was in talks to direct and that Michael Keaton was expected to reprise his role as the titular wisecracking ghost. The script was written by Seth Grahame-Smith – author of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer,” which Burton produced, as well as the script for Burton’s “Dark Shadows” – and takes place a few decades after the original.

“It’s not a remake,” Ryder said. “It’s 27 years later. And I have to say, I love Lydia [Deetz, her character] so much. She was such a huge part of me. I would be really interested in what she is doing 27 years later.”

Grossing $73.7 million and taking home the Academy Award for Best Makeup, “Beetlejuice” proved to be a breakout vehicle for Burton, Keaton and Ryder’s careers, something the actress still acknowledges. “That’s one of those movies where little kids stop me,” Ryder said. “I’m so associated with it. I think it gave me my career. I was such a weird looking kid.”

She recognized the concerns that some fans have expressed over a sequel. “It’s a very precious movie to people. So there are a lot (of) people like, ‘Don’t.’”  In any case, Winona seems excited for it, mentioning that if Burton and Keaton weren’t involved she likely would have passed as well (coincidentally, last year Ryder starred in the video for the Killers’ “Here With Me,” which Burton directed).

(Director Tim Burton, who piloted the first “Beetlejuice,” and star Michael Keaton are both also in talks to join the film.)  “I would never go near (it) if it was not Tim and Michael,” Ryder said. “Because those guys I love.”

I’d really love to see this sequel, if it does indeed happen.  The original movie was a lot of fun, had some good tunes, and didn’t take itself too seriously.  I liked it then and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the sequel.

Disney announces release date for new “Star Wars” movie

Star Wars fans, rejoice.  The Walt Disney Company announced on November 8th that the next “Star Wars”  movie – “Star Wars: Episode VII” – will debut on December 18, 2015.  The movie will be directed by J. J. Abrams, probably best known for directing the most recent incarnations of “Star Trek.”

The movie will begin filming in the Spring of 2014.  Bob Iger, Disney chief executive, said, “This, obviously, is one of the most important movies we have in the next few years, and we’ve chosen a date we believe will allow the creative team the time to make a great film.”  The previous six Star Wars films were all released in May, so this pre-Christmas release date is quite a departure for the franchise.

According to IMDb.com, the following cast members are all merely “rumored” at this point:

  • Harrison Ford – Han Solo
  • Mark Hamilll – Luke Skywalker
  • Carrie Fisher – Leia Solo
  • Billy Dee Williams – Lando Calrissian
  • Anthony Daniels – C-3PO

I’m going to cross my fingers and hope this ends up being a good one.

Transformers Dark of the Moon Review Part 1

Even though our lovely Megan is not in this movie, I decided to go and see how the story line developed without her in it. So here I sit blogging this as the movie is beginning. I’m curious to see how they “killed” off Mikaela. Will they simply ignore the fact that there is now an ugly blonde playing Sam’s love interest, or will they say something to the effect of them splitting up. Only a few moments and I’ll know. Stay tuned folks. Lets see how horribly Steven Spielberg messed up when he fired Megan….

“Eclipse” Eclipses Box Office @ Midnight Showings

In what looks to be an assault on the faltering summer box office, “Eclipse” raked in a staggering $30 million just in midnight showings on Wednesday (beating out the midnight screening grosses of “New Moon). Reviews for the film have all been split down the middle between top critics and regular critics but all of them agree on one thing: the third time’s the charm! Good luck trying to score some good seats this long 4th of July weekend!

Jonah Hex = Instant Failure

There are so many things that Warner Bros could’ve done to get better box office reception out of their new film “Jonah Hex”, but they didn’t. The new Josh Brolin-Megan Fox comic book flick opened yesterday in less than 2,500 theaters and only registered less than $2 million. So by industry standards, the movie could end up with a $5-6 million opening weekend, which would make it an even bigger disappointment.

Look at the factors the movie had going for it. It has starpower and the graphic novel has a fanbase. So where does the problem lie then? Let me explain it plain and simple: PROMOTION. Warner Bros. gave very little promotional push to the product. TV advertisements were scarce, you didn’t see billboards or busstop posters nor were there city busses driving around the city with Josh or Megan’s face plastered on the side.

And, on top of that, the cast did little to no promotion of the film. Malkovich is literally Missing-In-Action, Josh worked a bit and appeared in 3 or 4 late-night talk shows while Megan Fox has done ZERO late-night shows. In fact, the only TV interviews that Megan did were from a day-long press junket that was held just LAST WEEKEND. But she did appear on the covers of Allure and Interview Magazine, although it’s not as if appearing on a magazine cover ever helped. Oh, and let’s not forget, the movie’s premiere was held 24 hours before it’s release date! That’s not a good sign!

Also, the feedback hasn’t been so positive neither. The reviews for the film praise Brolin’s performance but take a big dump on everything else from the length of the film (less than 80 minutes), to the script, to the news about the film’s less-than-receptive reshoots with a different director earlier this year, and to the release date (the movie was slated for August but moved up to June). I mean, what was Warner Bros. THINKING by opening this movie against “Toy Story 3″? Somebody over there is smoking crack because if they thought this film would perform better against Pixar, they better think of looking for another job.

To be realistic, “Jennifer’s Body” made more money but at least it won’t stink like “MacGruber”.

Tyler Perry talks about Madea’s demise

madeaMadea has been to the family reunion and she’s been to jail and now Tyler Perry wants to take the foul-tempered, pistol-packin’ matriarch to the great beyond.

The director-writer-producer wants to kill his cash cow.

“I would love to see Madea die a slow death in the next film,” Perry said.

The reason for the proposed character homicide is that it takes a lot of effort to turn the 6-foot-5-inch Perry into big momma Madea.

He knows she’s “a whole lot of fun to watch. But to do it is a nightmare,” Perry said. “It’s all one suit that I’m zipped into, so it’s all heavy. The hips are heavy. And the more I sweat, the heavier it gets. I see why women have back problems who have large breasts. Holding those things upright can be tough.”

“Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail” topped the U.S. box office last weekend with $41 million in its first three days of release, making it Perry’s all-time highest opening weekend. The character is also set to appear in “Madea’s Class Reunion.”

Perry said that it’s clear that fans want more of her. “As long as they want to see her, she’ll stay around. But, I’m telling you, if they ever stop coming, she’s going to die a quick death. ‘Madea’s Funeral.’ That’s what you look forward to.”

PEOPLE’s peek at the Presley twins

The Presley legacy expanded yet again when Elvis Presley’s only daughter, Lisa Marie, gave birth to twin girls Finley and Harper in October and PEOPLE magazine has the first peek at the new princesses of rock’n’roll. Exclusive photos of the twins will be included in this weeks’ edition of PEOPLE.

Lisa Marie tried for two years to get pregnant before conceiving this time.

“I really wanted these babies,” she said. “My blood was too thick and would clot, which caused several miscarriages. The moment I took blood thinners, I got pregnant.”

Father of the girls is her guitarist husband Michael Lockwood. Lisa Marie has a 19-year-old daughter, Riley and Benjamin, 16, from a previous marriage to Danny Keough. She married Lockwood in January 2006.

‘Sopranos’ actor cleared in slaying

“The Sopranos” actor Lillo Brancato Jr. was cleared in the killing of a police officer Monday.

Brancato was instead convicted of a lesser charge of attempted burglary and faces three to 15 years in prison. The former actor could get credit for time served because he has been behind bars for nearly three years during the trial process.

The results were met with criticism by the slain officers’s sister.

“What message is this sending out to the New York City police officers today? It’s wrong,” said Yolanda Rosa Nazario, sister of the victim.

Prosecutors said Brancato, 32, and accomplice Steven Armento broke into a basement apartment to steal prescription drugs after a night of drinking at a strip club in December 2005. Officer Daniel Enchautegui, 28, who lived next door and was off duty, came over to investigate.

Armento shot Enchautegui with his .357 Magnum, hitting him in the heart. The dying officer fired back and wounded both Armento and Brancato.

Brancato admits to problems with drugs and alcohol, said he was unaware Armento, 48, was carrying a weapon. He also argued he did not directly take part in the killing and was not armed.

Armento was convicted earlier this year of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Brancato left the courtroom in handcuffs. His sentencing is Jan. 9, and District Attorney Robert T. Johnson said he would seek “the maximum sentence that the law allows.”

‘BH Chihuahua’ is still the top dog

Apparently reality is so annoying that even a talking dog will get people in the door.

“Beverly Hills Chihuahua” remained the top dog this weekend with $17.5 million for a 10-day total of $52.5 million. Studio analysts are speculating that its success was thanks to the dire financial realities which drove people toward light-hearted family fare.

October’s horror crowd flocked to “Quarantine,” which debuted with $14.2 million for second place.

Next up was “Body of Lies,” a terrorism thrill starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott. It took in $13.1 million in its debut weekend. The Warner Bros. film centers on a CIA operative hunting the terrorist responsible for bombings around the world.

The weekend’s other new wide releases, “The Express” and “City of Ember,” opened weakly.

“The Express” – starring Rob Brown and Dennis Quaid in the story of Ernie Davis, the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy – came in sixth with $4.7 million.

“City of Ember,” with Tim Robbins and Bill Murray in a post-apocalyptic adventure set in an underground world, took in $3.2 million to finish at No. 10.

The top 10 list for the weekend is:

1. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” $17.5 million.
2. “Quarantine,” $14.2 million.
3. “Body of Lies,” $13.1 million.
4. “Eagle Eye,” $11 million.
5. “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” $6.5 million.
6. “The Express,” $4.7 million.
7. “Nights in Rodanthe,” $4.6 million.
8. “Appaloosa,” $3.34 million.
9. “The Duchess,” $3.32 million.
10. “City of Ember,” $3.2 million.

‘Chihuahua’ takes a bite out of the box office

“Beverly Hills Chihuahua” looked like a dog to me, but it was barking up the right tree with movie audiences this weekend. The Disney movie took the number one spot for the weekend with $29 million.

Last week’s number one, “Eagle Eye,” dropped to second place with $17.7 million for a $54.6 million haul overall.

The weekend wasn’t quite as sweet to other premieres. “Mick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” came in third with $12 million and “Nights in Rodanthe,” dropped to fourth place in its second week and hauled in $7.4 million. “Appaloosa” (in expanded but still limited release) took fifth with $5 million.

Two other movies, the comedy “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” and the apocalyptic “Blindness,” both bombed. “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” (which is a bit tiring just saying the name of) alienated viewers and pulled in just $1.4 million in 1,750 theaters. “Blindness” took in a bit more: $2 million in 1,69 0theaters.

The top-12 movies hauled in $95.4 million, up 42 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when “The Game Plan” was No. 1 with $16.6 million.

“We had a huge weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media By Numbers. “That’s really due to the little Chihuahua. The little dog made a big difference.”

The final rankings for the weekend were:

1. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” $29 million.
2. “Eagle Eye,” $17.7 million.
3. “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” $12 million.
4. “Nights in Rodanthe,” $7.4 million.
5. “Appaloosa,” $5 million.
6. “Lakeview Terrace,” $4.5 million.
7. “Burn After Reading,” $4.08 million.
8. “Fireproof,” $4.07 million.
9. “An American Carol,” $3.8 million.
10. Religulous, $3.5 million.

James Bond: Quantum of Solace tralier

Well I’m in Movie mode tonight and in my opinion I think this is going to be one hell of a film.
I actually found it difficult to accept Daniel Craig as the ‘new’ Bond and couldn’t get to grips with his first outing as Bond in Casino Royale, but I decided to give it another go and was completely gripped! He is a fantastic actor and has certainly made Bond his own, more gritty and sexy into the bargain.

So here’s a little taster of what is to hit our screens in the UK in November, enjoyL

Sneak peek at the long awaited ‘Watchmen’ film

Only a select few members of the press were allowed to preview this masterpiece with director Zack Snyder on Wednesday.

The film is based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ award-winning graphic novel of the same name about a group of subversive superheroes in hiding. The film was originally going to be set in modern times, but Snyder persuaded them to set the film in its proper era of 1985, which is when the graphic novel which the film is based on was set in.
There were three scenes viewed in all and Snyder is adamant that there won’t be a sequel, so I’m hoping that this trailer whets your appetite for the forthcoming movie, set to hit the big screens in March 2009.

‘Eagle Eye’ flies to the top of the box office

“Eagle Eye” soared to the top of the box office this weekend with $29.2 million, according to studio estimates.

In second-place was romantic drama “Nights in Rodanthe” with $13.6 million.

The previous box office champ, “Lakeview Terrace,” fell to No. 3 with $7 million for a ten-day total of $25.7 million.

And in a surprise fourth-place finish was Christian drama “Fireproof,” starring Kirk Cameron as a firefighter who turns to God to help save his marriage. It pulled in $6.5 million.

Spike Lee’s World War II drama “Miracle at St. Anna” opened with just $3.5 million, coming in at No. 9.

The top 10 list is:

1. “Eagle Eye,” $29.2 million.

2. “Nights in Rodanthe,” $13.6 million.

3. “Lakeview Terrace,” $7 million.

4. “Fireproof,” $6.5 million.

5. “Burn After Reading,” $6.2 million.

6. “Igor,” $5.5 million.

7. “Righteous Kill,” $3.803 million.

8. “My Best Friend’s Girl,” $3.8 million.

9. “Miracle at St. Anna,” $3.5 million.

10. “Tyler Perry’s the Family That Preys,” $3.2 million.