Weekend Openings (July 8-10)


Hope everyone had a good Independence Day weekend last week.  Let’s see what new releases will be helping us recover from the resulting hangover…

Jennifer Aniston explores her kinky side... Those under the rule of a tyrannical supervisor may find some catharsis in Seth Gordon’s dark comedy Horrible Bosses, about three men who conspire to assassinate their psychotic bosses with disastrous results.  Perhaps the film’s biggest selling point is that it boasts the most impressive cast of any comedy released so far this year: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx form quite the ensemble.  Most critics are somewhat disappointed at the film shying away from its potentially darker edges, but the actors are all so funny and the laughs consistent enough to get high marks all around.  This summer has been a banner season for R-rated comedies, and I see no reason why this won’t be at least a decent-sized hit with $25-30 million at the end of the weekend.  There’s only one thing holding it back from weekend dominance…

Also opening in wide release, though it’s been in some U.S. theaters for over a month, is Terrence Malick’s polarizing, ambitious drama The Tree of Life.  Our own Joey Magidson and John Foote have given their opposing takes, and I’ll be weighing in with my own thoughts on the film itself as well as its Oscar potential very soon.  Now it will be available for everyone on the site to debate, discuss and write about this weekend.  Whether it’ll benefit from such a wide release is another matter entirely, as the film is certainly not catered to mainstream sensibilities.  Perhaps the buzz will propel its weekend take to something in the realm on $8-11 million, but not much farther than that, especially with another film poised to conquer the box office…

Those of you looking to be miserable might want to check out Zookeeper, and don’t tell me that I shouldn’t judge this film before seeing it.  It’s obvious just from its synopsis that the film is a lazy copy of Night at the Museum; just replace “museum” with “zoo” and “Ben Stiller” with “Talentless Idiot.”  Oh wait, Paul Blart: Mall Cop was a box office success, so I suppose I just don’t “get” Kevin James’ brand of comedy.  Reviews have been – predictably – negative, but that won’t stop families looking to distract their kids for an hour and a half and give the film a respectable $20-25 million opening.  At the end of the weekend, though, I just don’t see how Transformers: Dark of the Moon won’t be #1 again, especially since fans seem to be overjoyed at it not sucking as hard as its predecessor.

Are we looking at the Best Documentary Oscar winner? In limited release, Terrence Howard, Patrick Wilson and some other guy star in a thriller about a man who appears to be threatening suicide for mysterious reasons in The Ledge.  I won’t reveal why (even though the trailer is more than happy to spoil it), but the reviews are enough to make anyone jump off a building.  So far the critical reactions collected on Rotten Tomatoes are unanimous in dismissing The Ledge as heavy-handed, melodramatic tripe.

Also in limited release is Project Nim, James Marsh’s first documentary feature since his critically-acclaimed, Oscar-winning Man on Wire.  The film centers on Nim, a chimpanzee who became part of an experiment that tried to determine if an ape could communicate with humans if raised as one.  So far this looks like another critical triumph (and a possible second Oscar) for Marsh, with many critics saying that the film is not only fascinating but also emotionally affecting.

Finally, John Carpenter returns to the big screen after a nearly decade-long absence with The Ward, about a young hottie who is terrorized by a ghost in a mental institution.  Anyone looking for the horror master to make a triumphant comeback will have to keep waiting; critics have slammed Carpenter’s latest as a cliché-ridden mess that simply isn’t scary.

So there you have it, folks.  Let us know what you ended up seeing right here on The Awards Circuit!