'Intolerable Cruelty,' 'House Of The Dead' Try To Top 'Kill Bill'

Family fare 'Good Boy!' also opens this weekend.

Movie theaters will be full of fresh carnage this weekend, from the evil mind games of "Intolerable Cruelty" to the full-on gore of "The House of the Dead." Heck, even the dogs in the kid-friendly "Good Boy!" are actually part of an invading alien army whose intention is to conquer planet Earth.

But if you ask its cast, "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" is the bloodiest of all this week's new releases ([article id="1479427"]click for photos[/article]). And if you check with most industry insiders, odds are that none of the above-mentioned movies will stand a chance at the box office against Quentin Tarantino's first movie since 1997's "Jackie Brown."

For the over-the-top tribute to just about every Hong Kong punch-up, spaghetti Western and blaxploitation flick Tarantino has ever loved, the cast had plenty of homework to do.

"We over-trained," Daryl Hannah said of her preparations for the fisticuffs-laden film. "I asked [Tarantino] for some movies [to watch]. Nobody really has the film education that Quentin has. Nobody holds that much information in their head but him. [My character] is drawn from a couple of things. There's an English thriller called 'Twisted Nerve' that [her] whistle comes from, and a Swedish porn film called 'They Call Her One Eye' that [her] eye patch comes from."

Beginning as a loose conversation between Uma Thurman and Tarantino while they were making "Pulp Fiction," "Kill Bill" evolved into a reportedly 200-plus-page script. After months and months of shooting, Miramax decided it would be best to release the movie in two parts (see [article id="1473958"]"Instant Sequel: Tarantino's 'Kill Bill' Chopped Into Two Parts"[/article]).

Despite its length, Hannah said, there were many holes in the script -- at least as far as the elaborate fight scenes were concerned. "I think my fight scene was described [on the page] as 'The greatest fight scene of all time,' " explained the actress, whose character won't actually square off against Thurman's until "Kill Bill: Volume 2," due in February.

"I trained for three months in Los Angeles," she said. "I trained for a month in China. I studied with Sonny Chiba, with Master Woo-ping [Yuen]. Most of the skills I learned, I didn't get to use. I learned [a lot] of stuff just in case."

Undoubtedly there will be plenty of people who've "over-trained" walking in to see "The House of the Dead" this weekend -- albeit their training will have come from years of playing the first-person-shooter video game upon which the flick is based.

Presumably there'll be no one shooting in "Good Boy!," a family comedy with a plot that answers that age-old question, "What if dogs are really just aliens sent here from outer space?" Space cadet Brittany Murphy supplies the voice of one of the dogs.

Directed and co-written by Joel and Ethan Coen ("The Big Lebowski," "Fargo"), "Intolerable Cruelty" is a comedy of the more adult variety, centering on a gold-digging soon-to-be-divorced woman (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and an attorney who falls for her (George Clooney). "Cruelty" is a reunion of sorts for the Coens and Clooney, who worked together on "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Clint Eastwood continues to sharpen his directorial chops with "Mystic River," a crime thriller starring Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon that opens in select cities this weekend. The movie will go into wider release on October 15.