Weekend box office preview: It’s a “Nightmare” all around

So, we have just two major releases this week and while one is hard-edged remake of a franchise-spawning eighties horror hit and the other is a purported family film, to me all signs this weekend in terms of major new releases (and one tiny release) scream: “Be afraid, be very afraid.” For the most part, the critics aren’t disagreeing.

For starters, we have “A Nightmare on Elm Street” which brings us Jackie Earle Haley in the role made famous by Robert Englund — the child-murderer of everyone’s dreams with the specially augmented fingers, Freddy Kruger. Now, as someone who is such a wuss that he was unable to get past the first twenty minutes or so of the original on VHS — that Wes Craven guy really knows how to scare people — I’m not really one to judge. However, the critics are thoroughly unimpressed with the new version directed by another music video alum, Samuel Bayer, granting it a dismal 11% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing.

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Still, even if the original version is regarded as something of a classic today by critics, this movie has “critic proof” written all over it. Indeed, jolly Carl DiOrio, assures us that it’s “tracking” very well and will top the box office with “as much as” $30 million for Warner Brothers. He also gets a bit less jolly in his video this week and actually complains about the use of the word “reboot” to describe films like “Nightmare.” Well, considering that you’re starting over an existing franchise as if the original had never happened, I’m not sure what you’re supposed to call it. It’s not only a remake.

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Night Court: The Complete Third Season

“Night Court” is one of those series which is fondly remembered as a sitcom staple of the ‘80s, but as much as I watched it during the course of that decade, it’s one which has always left me looking back and wondering, “Did I only like it because I was a goofy kid?”

My predominant recollections of the show always seemed to involve Judge Harry Stone (Harry Anderson) making bad jokes and pulling wacky faces afterwards or Bailiff Bull Shannon (Richard Moll) being a loveable dimbulb as he stared blankly at the bizarre events unfolding around him, saying only, “Ooooooookay.” Obviously, I remembered lascivious prosecutor Dan Fielding (John Larroquette) and his never-ending stream of come-ons, but was it possible that they were merely a sporadic oasis of legitimate humor in the midst of a whole lot of silliness? In short, what if – God forbid – “Night Court” had aged poorly and wasn’t nearly as funny as I’d remembered it?

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Forever Typecast: 15 Actors Who Can’t Escape Their Characters

We here at Bullz-Eye always knew that we wanted to run a piece in conjunction with the release of “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince,” but what we didn’t know was what kind of piece it would be. We considered the matter, and we came to the conclusion that it would’ve been a little too easy to whip up a list of our favorite Hollywood wizards. In the midst of the discussion, however, an observation was raised about the film itself: what’s going to happen to these kids – Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson – after the last of the “Harry Potter” books has been adapted for the silver screen? Will they be able to rise above their roles and find work elsewhere, or are they destined to be remembered solely as Harry, Ron and Hermione? From there, we quickly began to bandy about the names of other folks who have and haven’t been able to score success in other cinematic identities, and the piece began to write itself. Ultimately, only one of our selections seemed impossible to pigeonhole as either “Forever Typecast” or “Escaped Typecasting,” and when you see that actor’s name, we think you’ll nod your head knowingly and understand exactly why we had that problem.

Here’s a sample of the piece, to hopefully tempt you into checking out the whole thing:

Mark Hamill, AKA Luke Skywalker:

Mark Hamill may not have had much in the way of cinematic credits when he was introduced to the world as Luke Skywalker, future Jedi, in “Star Wars,” but he’d sure as heck done his time on the TV circuit, appearing on everything from “The Partridge Family” to “The Streets of San Francisco,” even playing a guy named Doobie Wheeler on “The Texas Wheelers.” But when you’re the star of the greatest space opera of all time ,you’ve got to expect a certain amount of blowback, and Hamill got it in spades. Despite starring in the fondly remembered “Corvette Summer” with Annie Potts and being directed by Samuel Fuller in the critically acclaimed “The Big Red One,” things just weren’t happening for the guy outside of the “Star Wars” universe…well, unless you consider being third-billed to Kristy McNichol and Dennis Quaid in “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” to be happening, that is. Post- “Return of the Jedi,” Hamill did a few straight-to-video features before realizing that he might well find more luck off the camera and in the recording booth. Having already worked for Hanna-Barbera in the early ’70s, it was a quick transition for Hamill to return to the world of voiceover acting, and it was a move that paid off in a big way. Whether you’ve known it or not, you’ve heard his dulcet tones providing voices for “The Adventures of Batman & Robin” (The Joker), “Spider-Man” (Hobgoblin), “Avatar: The Last Airbender” (Ozai), and “Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!” (The Skeleton King), among dozens of others. Good for him, we say. But the truth of the matter remains: when you see his face, Mark Hamill is still Luke Skywalker.

Got the idea? Great! To see the rest of the feature, either click right here or on the big ol’ image below:

  

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Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer

These days, it seems like every film buff with a camera thinks they have what it takes to make the next great cult film. What many don’t realize, however, is just how good movies like “Evil Dead” and “Shaun of the Dead” have to be in order to enjoy success beyond the late night movie marathons and festival circuits. “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer” may not be as cheesy as it looks, but it’s still cheesy enough to ensure that it will never be part of that elite group of horror comedies. The film stars newcomer Trevor Matthews as the title character, a twentysomething loner who’s had anger management issues ever since his family was killed by a monster during a camping trip as a kid. Now, he’s a burnout plumber taking a night class at the local community college, and when he unknowingly sets free an ancient evil that transforms his professor (a sublimely funny Robert Englund) into a slimy beast from Hell, Jack must tap into his rage to save his fellow classmates and, eventually, the world. What sounds like a really cool concept at first quickly turns in to one of the least horrific, least comedic horror comedies you’ll ever see. The film’s main three monsters are an absolute joke, while Matthews himself is about as charismatic as a piece of wood. If there’s any reason to sit through this piece of low-rent garbage, then it’s for Englund’s enjoyable turn as the unlucky professor. He alone makes “Jack Brooks” worth the price of admission, but once he’s replaced with an animatronic puppet straight out of Chuck E. Cheese, you might be inclined to ask for your money back.

Click to buy “Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer”

  

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