Sorry, I couldn’t not use the image above, since it graphically demonstrates what happens when the studios release a trio of unexciting-to-detested entries into a Labor Day market full of strong, and strongly violent, competition. It starts with this week’s b.o. winner. It might not be anything resembling a critical darling, but “The Final Destination” boasts the power of gimmicky horror added to the additional gimmick of 3-D, offering some pretty easy to sell ghoulish fun to audiences, who bought it to tune of an estimated $15.4 million over the long weekend.
And this year’s cinephile sensation is also a hit with audiences. “Inglourious Basterds” held beautifully in its third weekend and only came in a few points below its “Final” competition with an estimated $15.1 million. Word of mouth, or tweet, or whatever is obviously working in the long-awaited WWII-flick’s favor — as may be the fact that every film geek in the world is probably going to see it at least twice, if not thrice.
Variety‘s Pamela McClintock also reports that “Basterds” actually won the day on Sunday. She also mentions that with a domestic “cume” of $95.2 million, the wartime fantasia is now Tarantino’s second biggest earner after “Pulp Fiction,” which made just below $108 million back in 1994. Adjusted for inflation, that number may still be hard — though not impossible — to beat. Not adjusted for inflation is looking easier all the time to me. When you consider the near absolute certainty of at least two or three Oscar nominations (quite possibly several more at this point), I’m not sure when this thing stops earning signficant money. Also, THR reports “Basterds” topping the international charts in a slow overseas weekend.
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Man, I love “The Closer.”
This should be already be evident to anyone who’s read my reviews of the show’s previous DVD sets over on Bullz-Eye, but even as the show continues onward through its fourth season (tonight brings us the mid-season premiere), it continues to produce episodes which are just as strong now as when it originally premiered. Part of that comes from the fact that its structure feels a bit more free-flowing than your average drama, moving in and out of both the professional and the personal lives of Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson – played with a it-grows-on-you Southern drawl by the lovely Kyra Sedgwick – and her fiance, FBI Special Agent Fritz Howard (Jon Tenney). Mostly, though, it’s the combination of a diverse ensemble of actors and a writing team that makes sure to spread the storylines around the offices of the Priority Homicide Division of the LAPD.
As we return to “The Closer,” the wedding of Brenda and Fritz is coming ever closer, so Brenda’s parents – played in their usual fantastic form by Frances Sternhagen and Barry Corbin – have stopped off on their way to Hawaii to help their daughter get fitted for her dress…and find a venue for the ceremony…and pick out the cake. (If you’re surprised by Brenda’s procrastination, you clearly haven’t been watching the show enough.) As ever, however, Brenda finds herself caught up in a case, this time one with a suicide that possibly isn’t a suicide, and it takes up so much of her time that she ends up having to tell one of her patented well-intentioned lies to keep her mama and daddy in the dark. The episode features a horrifying moment that will chill longtime fans of the series to the bone, but it’s one which nonetheless manages to inspire Brenda to follow her intuition toward a break in the case that hadn’t occurred to her before.
Good stuff, as usual, which is no doubt why TNT so readily sent out an advance screener of the episode, but let me tell you in advance that you really, really don’t want to miss the February 9th episode, “Power of Attorney,” which offers an ending that will blow your freaking mind.
You have been warned.