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3 items from 2007

'Disturbia' tops slow frame as 'Spidey 3' looms

30 April 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

The North American boxoffice appeared to be marking time during the weekend as if waiting for Friday's expected blowout, when Sony Pictures' Spider-Man 3 comes knocking. None of a weak array of new arrivals managed to break through the $10 million barrier, so the teen thriller Disturbia remained king of the hill for the third frame in a row.

Of the newcomers, Buena Vista Pictures' The Invisible, tapping into the same younger audience as Disturbia, ranked second overall with an estimated $7.6 million. The Nicolas Cage sci-fi thriller Next, from Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios, had to settle for third place and an estimated $7.2 million, while the "Stone Cold" Steve Austin actioner The Condemned, from Lionsgate, entered the list in ninth place with an estimated $4 million. As for the Yari Film Group's Kickin' It Old Skool, starring Jamie Kennedy, it finished outside the top 10 with an estimated $2.8 million.

According to Nielsen EDI, the weekend represented a 23% drop from the comparable weekend last year, when Sony's RV led the pack with $16.4 million. But though the past two weekends have shown steep declines from last year, the spring season, which began March 9 and concludes Thursday, has set record numbers. With $1.231 billion in Hollywood's coffers, this spring is outpacing the record spring of 2004 that took in $1.2 billion. And while that year The Passion of the Christ dominated as the top grosser with $370.3 million, this year the wealth has been spread around a bit more since top grosser 300 has accounted for $207 million.

For Paramount, it was a good news/bad news weekend. The studio's Disturbia, from DreamWorks and Montecito Pictures, ranked first for the third weekend in a row as it fell just 30% while taking in an estimated $9.1 million.

Directed by D.J. Caruso and starring Shia LaBeouf as a housebound teen who suspects a neighbor of murder, the film -- written by Christopher Landon and Carl Ellsworth -- crossed the $50 million mark, hitting an estimated $52.2 million. »

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27 April 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

The new Nicolas Cage action-thriller Next is about a guy who can see two minutes into the future, a precognitive ability that isn't too hard to believe since audiences for most Cage action-thrillers usually can tell what's going to happen well past the two-minute mark. The predictability here goes hand in hand with a lack of tension because anyone who can see into the future certainly can dodge any fist or bullet. As a shaggy-dog sci-fi tale, Next has enough goofiness and action to win average to above-average boxoffice, but it should be a quick payoff.

Despite an outlandish premise, Next suffers from being too conventional. Several writers took a crack at adapting a story by legendary science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Unfortunately, the result shies away from making its protagonist what he should be -- creepy.

Since age 3, Cris Johnson (Cage) has known he can see into the near future. But only his future, no one else's. He hides his freakishness through his job as a Las Vegas magician: Everyone thinks it's all a trick.

When the movie begins, though, for some unknown reason and despite his deliberate low profile nearly everyone is on to him. Casino security has discovered his uncanny ability to beat the odds. FBI agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) wants to use his talent to prevent a terrorist attack in Los Angeles. Even the terrorists want him dead.

The Vegas police also are after him. When Cris prevents a casino shooting, security guards become confused as to how the gun ended up in Cris' hand. This leads to a demonstration of Cris' extrasensory gifts: He manages to evade a legion of guards, exit the hotel, steal a car and lead the police on a chase, all with the knowledge of everything that will happen next.

He winds up in a chop shop run by an old man played with Columbo-esque rascality by Peter Falk. Callie does track down Cris using a LoJack device within the stolen car and tells him his country needs him to prevent a nuclear holocaust in Los Angeles. Only she doesn't -- Cris decides to leave before they can have this chat.

It's never clear why Cris wouldn't at least try to prevent 8 million deaths. He mutters something about his inability to see far enough into his own future to really help, but this is a lame excuse for a pursuit movie.

What's more, he apparently can see well into the future: He knows he will meet his dream girl, Liz Cooper (Jessica Biel), at a diner one morning around 9. Fortunately for him, the following morning marks the magic moment. After the film's one and only foray into comedy -- for a "meet-cute," he performs five different ways before he gets it right -- Liz offers him a lift to Arizona, completely unaware that she is helping him to flee the FBI.

This leads to the love story, but you wish the filmmaker hadn't bothered. There is little chemistry between the actors, and these characters just don't seem "destined" for each other. If only Liz were less normal. When the movie arrives at its climax in Los Angeles with Liz a hostage and the bomb ready to go off, the film does have one interesting twist in store.

There is little dimension to any roles. Cage, handcuffed by his character's amiability, delivers a performance that is routine verging on dull. Biel is simply a damsel in a mess, alternatively confused and terrorized. Moore is a single-minded bulldog. Meanwhile, to avoid the obvious -- terrorists with Islamic roots -- the baddies are an international bunch with some speaking French!

Director Lee Tamahori delivers action thrills smoothly but leaves no footprint of his own. Tech credits are proficient.


Paramount Pictures

Revolution Studios and IEG Virtual Studios present a Saturn Films/Broken Road production


Director: Lee Tamahori

Screenwriters: Gary Goldman, Jonathan Hensleigh, Paul Bernbaum

Screen story by: Gary Goldman

Based on a story by: Philip K. Dick

Producers: Nicolas Cage, Norm Golightly, Todd Garner, Arne L. Schmidt, Graham King

Executive producers: Gary Goldman, Jason Koornick, Benjamin Waisbren

Director of photography: David Tattersall

Production designer: William Sandell

Music: Mark Isham

Costume designer: Sanja Milkovic Hays

Editor: Christian Wagner


Cris Johnson: Nicolas Cage

Callie Ferris: Julianne Moore

Liz: Jessica Biel

Mr. Smith: Thomas Kretschmann

Cavanaugh: Tory Kittles

Roybal: Jose Zuniga

Irv: Peter Falk

Running time -- 97 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13


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Cage Holds Breath for Two Minutes on Letterman's Show

27 April 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Nicolas Cage held his breath for two minutes on David Letterman's talk show Wednesday night - for the first time in more than 30 years. The 43-year-old actor, whose new movie Next opens Friday in America, last went without air for 120 seconds when he was 12 and decided to give it another go. Before taking a deep breath, Cage said, "We were talking about the fact my character (in Next) can see two minutes into his own future and I said I can't do that. But I do recall when I was 12 I could hold my breath for two minutes. When I was 12. I don't know if I can do it again, but I will try." While he held his breath, television viewers were treated to the trailer for Next. And when a successful Cage finally emerged for air, he quipped, "I'd like to see Spider-Man do that!" »

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