Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your indispensable guide to what's new, noteworthy and/or totally doomed this week at the movies. Today we welcome Shia LaBeouf and his million-dollar pinkie back to theaters alongside Spike Lee, Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Charlize Theron and Kirk Cameron (!), while facing a robust litter of potential arthouse underdogs and DVD release for the agoraphobes among us. As always, our opinions are our own, but if Josh Groban can steadfastly see it our way, shouldn't you as well?WHAT'S NEW: Shia LaBeouf reunites with his Disturbia director DJ Caruso for the thriller Eagle Eye, featuring our young hero as a man trapped (alongside Michelle Monaghan) in a mysterious mire of surveillance, espionage and murder also featuring Billy Bob Thornton and Rosario Dawson. Hitchcock comes up in more discussions of the film than he doesn't, with the rap being that Eagle Eye represents North by Northwest to Disturbia's too-influential-for-comfort Rear Window, but that's just adults being adults. The kids will toss rose petals and dump around $30.6 million out their wallets, further anchoring LaBeouf as his generation's most bankable star without a driver's license. Congrats, Shia! Meanwhile, that generation's parents can shuffle into the auditorium next door for the Gere/Lane reteaming Nights in Rodanthe, adapted from a
Hallmark card novel by Nicholas Sparks with enough inoffesnsively creaky cliche and Mom Jeans-wetting romance to attract around $13.1 million. Also opening in limited release: The Palahniuk adaptation Choke; the Charlize Theron-led propaganda ensemble Battle in Seattle; Tim Robbins' and Rachel McAdams' Iraq-themed The Lucky Ones; Wayne Wang's modest immigrant mish-mash A Thousand Years of Good Prayers; the misanthropic Easter bunny comedy Hank and Mike; the race-baiting terrorism saga Shoot on Sight (tagline: "Is it a crime to be a Muslim?"); the Filipina-tranny doc The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela; and the lyrical, Indie Spirit Award-winning drama August Evening. THE BIG LOSER: It's not like we actively root against films around Defamer HQ (all right, maybe that one time; it had it coming), and we really would like to see Spike Lee pull off Miracle at St. Anna, his epic WWII semi-mystery focusing long-overdue attention on the Army's 92nd Infantry Division — the only all-black unit to see combat in Europe. He may yet do it with Disney's micro-marketing prowess, but let's be honest: The reviews are brutal, it's 160 minutes long, it's rated R, it rotates between English, German and Italian, and at least a quarter of its intended audience is likelier to defer to one of two sturdy holdovers — Burn After Reading or The Famliy That Preys. If this breaks $5.5 million, we'll be shocked. Sorry, Spike; there's always Inside Man 2.
THE UNDERDOG: We alluded to it earlier this week, but Kirk Cameron's Fireproof — with its born-again title, God-fearing creds and bankable-enough star among Christian audiences — should sneak up on the mainstream, possibly pulling in as much as $4.2 million on 800 screens. Those are Dane Cook-beating numbers, and Lord knows a good Dane Cook beating is something to behold. FOR SHUT-INS: New DVD's this week include Sex and the City, Leatherheads, the underrated Simon Pegg comedy Run, Fat Boy, Run, Dario Argento's gore opus Mother of Tears and, at long last, Two and a Half Men: The Complete Fourth Season. So are you planning to drive Shia to the theater, or is it more of an old-people-fucking kind of weekend for you? Are we giving Spike a fair shake? And what to do about this glut at the art house? Call your shots!