Yes, yes... we get big explosions and giant fighting robots starting this Wednesday. First let's talk about last week. Your votes have been tallied, and most of you -- 34% to be precise -- picked "Year One," which flopped in at number four on the weekly charts with a $20 million box office take. What gives, people? Oh wait... I missed "Year One" too.
No, my $9.50 ticket price (thank you indie theater) instead contributed to the $27 million take for "The Hangover." The weekend's big box office winner was "The Proposal," which snagged 24% of your votes. I apparently misunderestimated the appeal of a Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds-led rom-com. Also, I made up the word "misunderestimated." Okay, fine... it wasn't me. "Dead Snow" rounded out third place with 20%; I hope you 20-percenters enjoyed it. I can't wait.
This week, the 50-ton transforming robot gorilla in the room is of course "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." I think the only real question I should be posing is whether you'll be seeing it on a regular screen or on an IMAX screen. Michael Bay tends to draw a crowd with his insane explosions and oh-my-god-is-that-REAL-?!?!!? special effects, and I have little doubt the same will be true of this sequel. I'm seeing it tonight, so maybe this will be my "Dead Snow" weekend.
Also opening this week -- on Friday, not Wednesday -- is director Nick Cassavetes' "My Sister's Keeper." This isn't a negative observation, but it sounds like a real downer. The story follows a family who bring a second child into the world so they can have a donor match for their leukemia-afflicted firstborn. Later in life, the younger sister mounts a legal campaign against her parents for the right to decide what to do with her own body.
The cast is solid -- including Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin, Jason Patric, Joan Cusack -- and Cassavetes has previously enjoyed success with "The Notebook." Still, I don't see this one making much of a dent in any of Bay's giant, extraterrestrial robots.
There are a bunch of limited releases hitting as well, and the two that catch my eye are "The Hurt Locker" and "Surveillance." The former, from director Kathryn Bigelow, follows a squad of Iraq War soldiers who are specially trained in the defusing and removal of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. There's been decent buzz for this one, and it features a strong cast topped by Jeremy Renner, Ralph Fiennes and Guy Pearce. Those outside the limited release areas will have to wait until July 24 for a wider opening however.
"Surveillance," directed by Jane Lynch ("Boxing Helena") carries with it the distinct taste of Akira Kurosawa's "Rashomon." A pair of Federal Officers are faced with three interviews, all of them relating to a single murderous rampage. Each interviewee offers a different angle on the events, and all seem to be hiding something.
The ensemble cast is top-lined by Bill Pullman and Julia Ormand, and the film is produced by (among others) David Lynch, also the director's father. It's worth noting that this one doesn't seem to be getting a wide release, as the DVD drops on August 18.
Your turn. Can you possibly resist the lure of giant fighting robots and the magnificent destruction that they cause?