Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your guide to what's new, noteworthy and potentially toxic in weekend moviegoing. Today we survey the victims of Prince Caspian's box-office menace (including a particular race-car driver still convalescing from last week's pile-up), pick our first-ever foreign-language Underdog and browse the DVD shelves for potential Sunday-morning-hangover alternatives. As always, our opinions are our own but they are also 100% accurate, so plan accordingly!
WHAT'S NEW: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is guaranteed to knock incumbent champ Iron Man from its box-office perch, with most observers predicting the second installment of the Disney franchise to muscle into first with as much as $79 million. And with merely five days before Indiana Jones 4 wheezes into multiplexes internationally, Disney is no doubt hoping that even that number is somehow on the low end. We don't think so; even without major counterprogramming, $74 million seems a little more reasonable what with holdovers Iron Man, What Happens in Vegas, Made of Honor and even Speed Racer still pulling in viewers who are just fine waiting for the DVD. Also opening: a light week overall, with the America Ferrera vehicle How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer and the acclaimed Norwegian drama Reprise playing small-ball in Caspian's shadow.
THE BIG LOSER: Iron Man may drop another 50% from weeks two to three, but with Speed Racer forecast to pull in less than $10 million in its own second week — potentially accumulating less than $30 million domestically in 10 days of release — the indignities just never end for the Wachowskis, Warners and everyone involved.
THE UNDERDOG: Back when Sangre de mi Sangre (Blood of my Blood) was known as Padre Nuestro, its Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival all but assured it the fest's long-suspected "best picture curse." But we knew at the time it was a remarkable debut feature for writer-director Christopher Zalla, whose identity-theft thriller about a pair of Mexican stowaways transplanted to New York was misread as everything from a globalization allegory to an overreaching effort at social realism. In fact, Sangre is all and none of these things, nothing more so than a riveting glimpse at two immigrants' reinventions: Villainous schemer Juan (Armando Hernández) and his "papa," cash-hoarding dishwasher Diego (Jesús Ochoa). The latter's tentative warming to his imposter son — while real son Pedro (Jorge Adrián Espíndola) scours Brooklyn for any clues to both men's whereabouts — is as dynamically acted and observed as any first film you'll see this year. And despite its precarious limited release, you should seek it out, and you should see it. Fuck the Sundance curse.
FOR SHUT-INS: Highlights among new DVD releases include Francis Ford Coppola's mind- (and patience-) bending comeback Youth Without Youth; Denzel Washington's late '07 Oscar bait The Great Debaters; the Diane Keaton/Katie Holmes/Queen Latifah trifecta Mad Money; the Criterion Collection's Louis Malle tandem The Lovers and The Fire Within; and — finally, thank God — Two and a Half Men: The Complete Third Season.
Does anyone want to go out on a limb for or against Prince Caspian's weekend reign? Did we miss anything on a sluggish week for new releases? Can you explain Youth Without Youth in 50 words or less? Don't be shy; the floor is yours.