What I Think of this Weekend's Other Box Office Contenders -- "The Box" and "The Fourth Kind" 


Everyone's predicting that "Disney's A Christmas Carol" will take the box-office crown this weekend. And it just might, that's why Warner Bros. and Universal are counter-programming with "The Box" and "The Fourth Kind," respectively.

For my review of "Disney's A Christmas Carol, click here. Now, here's what I think of:

"THE BOX"


Based on a Richard Matheson short story which later became a "Twilight Zone" episode called "Button, Button," "The Box" tells the tale of Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur (James Marsden), a suburban couple who receive a gift of a lifetime -- a simple wooden box that bestows upon its owner $1 million with just a press of a button.

One million dollars is a big deal specially since the film is set in 1976. So Norma and Arthur have the box, they'll get $1 million if they press the button, blah blah blah...but there's always a catch! Pressing the button will cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world, someone they don't know...or do they?

Written and directed by "Donnie Darko's" Richard Kelly, "The Box" is a trippy and edgy morality tale that knows its 70s tone and setting.

But here's my problem -- after a great set-up, Kelly did not quite know how to match its build up that the film suffers a lackluster final reel because of its pretentious albeit allegorical conclusion.

Still, "The Box" is a better than average run-of-the-mill horror movie (which we seem to get every week now). It will make you think twice about the true nature of humanity.

RATING: "The Box" gets :25k



"THE FOURTH KIND"

According to the film, there are four kinds of alien encounters.

The first kind is a U.F.O. sighting.

When evidence is collected, it's known as an encounter of the second kind.

When contact is made with extra-terrestrials, it is the close encounters of the third kind.

But when you're abducted, sorry dudes and dudettes, you just entered the fourth kind.

Intriguing right? Well, too bad the execution was clumsy!

Milla Jovovich, the reigning scream queen (she starred in the "Resident Evil" films, and the recent "A Perfect Getaway," which by the way, I kind of enjoyed!), stars as a shrink whose patients tell her the same stories -- are aliens to blame?

Honestly, "The Fourth Kind" is like an overlong, overwrought "X-Files" episode set against the questionable climate of Alaska. The film comes complete with government conspiracies and extra-terrestrial visitors,

Yes, "The Fourth Kind" has all the necessary elements to make it a satisfying thriller but I don't think writer-director Olatunde Osunsanmi has the creative wherewithal to make it all work -- to bring all the grand ideas together.

So the gimmicky presentations, such as the split screen technique where one side shows patients describing their gripping experiences while the other shows a "pseudo-documentary" footage of the events, come off laughable at times.

Add to that the uneven performances and you get a pedantic ho-hum flick! Another one of those run-of-the-mill horror movies we've discussed above.

There are some, very few scares, but "The Fourth Kind" tries soooooo hard to be this weekend's "Paranormal Activity" that it lands with a big, thud! Ouch!

Here's my suggestion: Don't abduct this film, wait for it on DVD or gosh, regular cable, not the pay-per-view kind!

RATING: "The Fourth Kind" gets :15k

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More Tranny Love News! Gwyneth Paltrow Romances Nicole Kidman in "The Danish Girl" 


Gwyneth Paltrow will join Nicole Kidman in "The Danish Girl."

Based on David Ebershoff novel, the film tells the story of a relationship between the first post-operative transsexual, Einar Wegener, and his wife Greta.

Paltrow replaces Charlize Theron who dropped out of the project. (See Tranny Love! Nicole Kidman Romances Charlize Theron in New Film)

The brilliant Swedish director, Tomas Alfredson, who gave us the equally brilliant "Let the Right One In" is set to helm. (See "Let the Right One In" Director to Helm Nicole Kidman in Sex-Change Drama!)

The script is written by Lucinda Coxon.

Kidman is attached to play Einar and Paltrow is set to play Greta.

Variety
reveals:

One afternoon in 1920s Copenhagen, Greta, a portrait painter, asked her husband to stand in for an absent female model. Slipping on a dress, stockings and woman’s shoes began a metamorphosis into Lili. When the photos became wildly popular, Greta encouraged her husband to do more, but a harmless game evolved into something deeper that threatens their marriage.


This sounds like a gripping true-life pic. Apparently, Greta stood by her partner through the sex-change procedure, and she finally let go upon admitting that the man she loved is no longer there. Aw :sad

I can't wait for this film!

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"Spider-Man" the Musical Finds Its Spidey! Who Will Don the Tights? 


"Spider-Man" the musical a.k.a. "Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark" has found its Spider-Man! Rocker Reeve Carney.

The rock singer will portray our crime-fighting hero and his alter-ego Peter Parker.

Finding Carney is a good sign that the lavish production is back on track. Work on the musical was stopped last summer because of financial problems.

"Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark" is still set to open sometime in 2010 at the Hilton Theatre. Dates will be announced soon.

The Broadway production is going to be directed by Julie Taymor with musical score by Bono and The Edge of U2. Its budget is said to be upward of $40 million, and the Hilton Theatre has undergone extensive renovation to accommodate the amazing production.

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Original "The Ring" Director to Hear "Voice From the Stone" 


Hideo Nakata is set to direct the supernatural thriller "Voice From the Stone." Nakata directed the original Japanese version of "The Ring" ("Ringu") and the English sequel "The Ring Two" starring Naomi Watts.

Mark Wheaton ("The Messengers," "Friday the 13th") has written the screenplay based on an Italian novel of the same name. The story revolves around a female child psychologist who takes on the case of a young boy who made a promise to his dying mother. The promise? He will remain silent until her spirit returns. Tan dan dan...

Nakata is the perfect choice to helm this project. "Voice From the Stone" has a strong female character and a perturbed young boy at its core, much like "The Ring" films with Watts' Rachel protecting her young son Aidan (David Dorfman).

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65 Countries Fight for Best Foreign Language Oscar Nomination 


From Albania to Vietnam, 65 countries are hoping that their film entries will get picked to fill one of the five slots for Best Foreign Language Film for the 82nd annual Academy Awards.

Five slots, 65 countries, the competition is fierce! Our friends from Variety gave us this list, is your country of choice one of the 65 hopefuls?

I'm happy that my home country, the Philippines, has a fighting chance with the dramedy "Ded na si Lolo" ("Grandpa is Dead"). Take a look at the complete list. Read More...

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