July 5, 2006

This Week in Australian Cinemas

I won't be on tomorrow (I'm going to Melbourne to see three movies, omgsoexcited!) so I'm doing this now. Not much happening this week other than you know what.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, 2006, dir. Verbinski
The original Curse of the Black Pearl was a corker of a movie and now comes the sequally. It looks to be just as fun, just as hyperacting and just as long by 20 minutes (or so the reviews say). I'm looking forward to seeing Depp do his Jack Sparrow thing again as it was one of my favourite performances of the last few years (#17 on my Top 100 Performances of the 2000s). So, I'll definitely be seeing it, but considering how lax I've been with the big movies lately (only just seeing Cars, not seeing Superman Returns yet, waiting several weeks for X-Men 3 and not seeing Da Vinci Code at all), but 'tev. It'll be showing for ages.

Solo, 2006, dir. O'Neill
This is the first film to come out of Australia's version of "Project Greenlight", which aired on Foxtel so I didn't get to see it. The big difference between our version and the American version is actually that they're so similar. The American winner got $1mil to make their screenplay into a film, in Australia the winner (Morgon O'Neill) also got $1mil. Thing is, one million dollars for an Australian film is a lot, whereas it's quite small for an American film - even a small independent film.

Thankfully that $1mil means O'Neill has made what is apparently a quite decent genre flick, the kind of which Australia doesn't produce very often. The story is familiar, but apparently the execution is good and O'Neill films it in a great manner - very professional. It's got a great cast including Colin Friels channeling Tom Cruise's contract killer in Collateral (right down to the grey hair), along with Vince Colosimo (my boyfriend), Bruce Spence, Tony Barry, Chris Haywood, Anh Do. The best performance from what I've read and seen belongs to relative newcomer Bojana Novakovic. Sounds pretty good, but I might wait for DVD on this one.

Don't Come Knocking, 2005, dir. Wenders
Wim Wenders and Sam Shepherd make a film together! I absolutely love their 1984 project Paris, Texas, but I'm not as enthused about this one. It has a similar story and has a great cast, but I'm just not sure. It hasn't been getting the sort of press that would make me excited either. It's got a great cast - Shepherd, Jessica Lange, Sarah Polley, Tim Roth, Fairuza Balk, Eva Marie Saint, Gabriel Mann and George Kennedy - and certainly looks great production wise and I absolutely adore the poster (to the left) but... sorry Wim. I also didn't appreciate The End of Violence thank you very much. That was woeful.

River Queen, 2006, dir. Ward
IT ARRIVES. One of the most trouble-plagued filmings I can remember finally makes it to the cinema (I believe only New Zealand and Australia have now had official releases, plus several festival screenings). Samantha Morton stars as a woman who gives birth to the son of a Mauri man (Indiginous New Zealanders). The son is then kidnapped by a village elder... or something. Then a civil war break out? And the locations are pretty. That's pretty much all I get out of reading and hearing about it. David Stratton didn't like it at all, but Margaret Pomeranz sorta did (more for the visuals than anything else. That does appear to be the main positive, the visuals - and I admit the clips they showed look gorgeous, but overdone and so I don't think this will be good. That's a shame considering the cast - Morton, Stephen Rae, Temuera Morrison, Kiefer Sutherland, Cliff Curton - and the director involved, who I've never seen anything from, but is apparently quite good. Oh well. I remember when Nat was predicting this to be an Oscar nominee. How the times change...

1. Superman Returns (1)
2. Click (2)
3. Over the Hedge (2)
4. Cars (4)
5. The Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift (3)
6. The Break-Up (4)
7. Stick It (3)
8. The Da Vinci Code (7)
9. Wah-Wah (2)
10. Ten Canoes (1)

Wow, does anyone care about Superman Returns? It debuted at #1 with a rather blah $5.2mil (equating to a $52mil US opening, which is what it earned over Fri-Sun over there too!). It had the best average per venue in the top 10 by $2,000 (over Ten Canoes) but considering it was on 409 screens isn't that great. This is looking like another X-Men 3: The Last Stand (which fell out of the Top 10 this week).

The only other new release was Rolf de Heer's Aboriginal tale Ten Canoes, which made #10 on 30 screens and with an average of $10,597 - a great result no matter how you split it. It now has $418,000 after it's debut week plus last week's advance screenings. This movie could get very big if Palace films play their cards right and really take a leap. They got the reviews (multiple 4.5/5 reviews and some stunning press). Here's hoping.

The rest of the chart is very whatever, with the usual suspects. Click is going fine, as is Over the Hedge, which could overtake Cars soon enough - I hope not, but it's the truth. More people probably want talking animals making jokes about modern suburbia than talking cars making jokes about nostalgic suburbia. Fast and the Furious 3 is making nice cash, as is The Break-Up. Stick It falls a scant 18% in it's third week as it crosses the $3mil mark. Way to go! The DaVinci Code also managed to cross $26mil, a damn impressive feet! Richard E Grant's Wah-Wah falls a tiny 8% in it's second week (plus advance screenings) as it approaches $1mil. Nice one.

Outside of the Top 10, IMAX's Deep Sea 3D continues to make giant averages ($44,449 on 2 screens). Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story debuts at #14 with $90,000 ($8,154 average) and Junebug debuts unranked with $23,913 and an average of $3,986 - that's what you get for delaying releases for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Other than that there is nothing else to report. So long.

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