Welcome to Defamer Attractions, a new feature previewing the latest, greatest and thoroughly misadventurous in weekend moviegoing. We'll be breaking the next three days into a few key categories, including a basic rundown of "What's New," flops-to-be in "The Big Loser," one worthy indie in "The Underdog," and, "For Shut-Ins," a quick look at highlights among new DVD's. Our opinions are our own, but they're impeccable and as close to exact science as Defamer gets. We hope you'll check in weekly!
WHAT'S NEW: Slim pickings, to be sure. The latest entry in the stultifying End-of-Ideas canon, the PG-13 slasher remake Prom Night is set to take the sluggish weekend with what most observers are predicting as a $14 million weekend in wide release. The only other release set to crack the top five is the Keanu Reeves cop-bomb Street Kings, which is tanking at Rotten Tomatoes as we speak and should top out between $10-$11 million. Also opening: the Ellen Page/Thomas Haden Church/Dennis Quaid comedy Smart People; the octogenarian-punk-choir doc Young@Heart; and an English-language version of France's Oscar-nominated animated film Persepolis, with voice contributions from Catherine Deneuve and Sean Penn.
THE BIG LOSER: Surprise hit 21 will no doubt slow down in its third week, but few recent releases will hit a wall as violently as George Clooney's Leatherheads. Poor word-of-mouth from reviews and a third-place finish on opening weekend will yield a poisonous turnout of no more than $6 million, mostly from Renee Zellweger obsessives eager for a second look after enjoying her hijinks at the London premiere.
THE UNDERDOG: After recent, high-profile berths at the Toronto and Sundance Film Festivals, the tiny ensemble drama The Visitor finally arrives in theaters. Directed by Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent), the film features Six Feet Under veteran Richard Jenkins as an emotionally withdrawn college professor who finds a Middle Eastern stranger crashing in his New York apartment. The "visitor," an illegal immigrant, teaches our mild-mannered hero the meaning of life through hand-drum lessons until he's arrested and deported. Thankfully the professor is a decent enough human and drummer by that point that he manages to score with the man's visiting mother. But, you know, in a good way. Just trust us, we liked it.
FOR SHUT-INS: New DVD's include There Will Be Blood, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Lions For Lambs, Sweeney Todd and, in a long-awaited coup that's kept us tethered to our living rooms since Tuesday, the first season of Matlock.
Are you excited yet? Aside from wagering with us on Leatherheads' box-office plunge, what are your own plans for a slow-ish movie weekend?