Weekend preview: Will star power and geek mega-hype translate into a box office dream for “Inception”?

Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt wisely keep their guard up in

A confession: I probably won’t even get a chance to see it for a few more weeks, but I’m already a little tired of Christopher Nolan’s latest blockbuster-in-waiting. Hailed as an instant classic in some quarters, including over at Bullz-Eye by our own David Medsker, the science-fiction brain-caper, “Inception,” is also reviving some rather tiresome movie geek and cinephile controversies left over from “The Dark Knight.” If you’re not aware of it and want to be know all about the cine-annoyance, Jim Emerson does a great job of boiling it down and, earlier in the week, Dennis Cozzalio did an interesting takedown one of the worst abusers over at the L.A. Times.

All I’m going to say is that it’s only a movie and we’re all allowed to react to it however we like. If you find yourself loving it beyond all reason and agree with David that it’s time to consider Nolan with the greatest directors of all time or if you think he’s nothing more than a Michael Bay with a literature degree, please do not assume that anyone who thinks differently is putting on some kind of show. No doubt, there are fools and pretentious twats aplenty in this world, but most of us come by our moviegoing opinions honestly.

Of course, all of this means almost nothing to your ordinary rank and file moviegoer — the kind who don’t care what the movie scored on Rotten Tomatoes and who don’t read posts like this one — and commercially speaking, that’s really the question here. Can a hard-to-describe premise of the Phillip K. Dick school be counterbalanced by the promise of amazing action and visuals, brain candy, and a stunning all-star cast headlined by Leonardo di Caprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Cillian Murphy and even a part for promising newcomer Michael Caine?  Perhaps.

The Warner Brothers awareness machine is working over time on this one and there’s certainly no way this film doesn’t win the weekend.  How the movie does beyond that is pretty much up to the whims of the public. Lacking a well known marketing hook, it’s really anyone’s guess whether the film enjoys a modest reception and goes into Nolan’s “one for me” file, or whether it breaks out into becoming the kind phenomenon that will  really justify it’s no-longer-unusually-enormous $200 million budget. Checking in with jolly Carl DiOrio over at THR, he’s calling it at between $50-60 million, though I personally can see the movie making nearly half as much or twice as much as that. It just sort of depends on what people are in the mood for right now.

Nicholas Cage and Jay Baruchel in
Now, there is another movie that will be doing battle with last week’s #1 holdover for the family/tweenage, and that’s Disney’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” which has Nicholas Cage doing his eccentric-guy act as the sorcerer and Apatow-alum Jay Baruchel stepping into some literally big shoes in taking over a part originated by Mickey Mouse in the most popular episode of 1940’s “Fantasia.” Attempting to get a couple of day’s jump on the PG-13 “Inception,” Disney released “Sorcerer” on Wednesday but, as per Nikki Finke, there’s no reason to expect this film to make huge numbers and she guesses it will gross roughly $30 million for the entire five days. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if it came in at the #3 for the Friday-Sunday contest after last week’s box office winner, “Despicable Me,” given that it’s a strong family film which made $56 million and has every reason to suffer only a very modest decline in its second week.

On the limited release circuit, “Standing Ovation” will be on over 600 screens and is aimed at the same family/tween demographic that goes gaga for “High School Musical” style movies. However, lacking any big names or marketing muscle and getting very bad reviews from the few critics who’ve even bothered to see it, I don’t see how this film stands a chance. On the other hand, the two probable indie hits of the summer will be expanding significantly across the country, so stand by for Sunday for news on “The Kids Are Alright” and “Cyrus.”

John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, and Marisa Tomei whoop it up in

  

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Bobcat in “Disgrace”

Bobcat Goldthwait is currently basking in the critical acclaim he’s been receiving for his latest directorial effort, “World’s Greatest Dad,” which he also wrote. So what project does he have his eye on as a follow-up?

Would you believe a musical version of the Kinks’ 1975 album, Schoolboys in Disgrace?

True story. And this isn’t just an idle rumor, either: the Kinks’ main man, Ray Davies, has already taken a meeting with Goldthwait about the concept.

“Oh, man, it was totally ‘The Chris Farley Show,’” Goldthwait said of the conversation. “I was sweating, and I was, like, ‘Remember when you did that album? That was cool.’ And in the middle of it, I even told him that. I said, ‘Did you ever see that sketch with Chris Farley when he meets Paul McCartney?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah.’ ‘Well, that’s what I’m doing right now!’ And he goes, ‘Don’t worry, it’s gonna be okay.’”

It still took Davies a bit of time to warm up to Goldthwait’s pitch, however.

“I think he was confused,” said Goldthwait. “He was asking, ‘Well, who do you think would go see this as a movie?’ And I was, like, ‘All the kids who fucking hate ‘High School Musical.’ And he smiled and kind of went, ‘Okay.’ And then he went and watched ‘World’s Greatest Dad,’ and I got the thumbs up. He said, ‘Tell Bobcat to go ahead and write the script.’”

Which is where the project stands at the moment. In fact, it’s in such early stages that it hasn’t even been added to Goldthwait’s IMDb page…and given how even the slightest rumor of a project generally ends up with its own listing, that’s early. But, of course, that doesn’t mean that we can’t start throwing out casting ideas for “Schoolboys.”

I guess Alan Rickman’s probably too overused in stern authoritarian roles these days to suggest that he play The Headmaster, so I’m putting out left-field requests for Richard Ayoade, of “The I.T. Crowd” or Julian Barratt of “The Mighty Boosh.” As for the various schoolboys, perhaps Skandar Keynes (the “Narnia” films), Mike Bailey (“Skins”), and Simon Bird (“The InBetweeners”)…? And for the female student who’ll make our naughty little schoolboy swoon, I’m throwing my vote to Karen Gillan, otherwise known as the upcoming companion for the new Doctor Who.

Am I wrong…? Feel free to offer up your own suggestions below, and be sure to check out our interview with the illustrious Mr. Goldthwait in full next week on Bullz-Eye.com!

  

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