Thanks to Megan for this :)
Stallone’s ‘Driven’ is a hit
LOS ANGELES (AP) – “Driven,” Sylvester Stallone’s car-racing
thriller, coasted to a first-place finish at the
weekend box office, debuting with $13.1 million. It bumped off
“Bridget Jones’s Diary,” which slipped to
second place with $7.5 million in ticket sales, according to
studio estimates Sunday. Three other new films –
“Town and Country,” “One Night at McCool’s” and “The Forsaken”
– had dismal openings. “Driven”
reunited Stallone with director Renny Harlin, who made
“Cliffhanger,” Stallone’s last big hit in 1993. “Town
and Country,” a long-delayed romantic comedy starring Warren
Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and
Garry Shandling, bombed with a seventh-place opening gross of
$3.1 million. The black comedy “One Night
at McCool’s” also bombed, opening at No. 12 with $2 million.
The movie stars Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, Paul
Reiser, John Goodman and Michael Douglas. The box office
overall took a big dive. The top 12 movies
grossed $55.2 million, down 20% from the same weekend a year
Thanks to Sheila for these :)
The Forsaken (Horror, color, R, 1:30)
By Joe Leydon
HOUSTON (Variety) – Shamelessly derivative and exuberantly junky, “The Forsaken” is a brisk and bloody horror opus designed for a fleeting, smash-and-grab theatrical release and long shelf life on homevideo.
Writer-director J.S. Cardone (”Outside Ozona”) stages some first-rate action set pieces and introduces a few fanciful twists to conventional vampire mythos. Even so, there’s a generic feel to most of the enterprise, and an annoying inattentiveness to narrative coherence in the final reels. Chalk it up as a middling B-pic that, with a bit more wit and style, could have been at least a cult item.
Kerr Smith (“Final Destination,” TV’s “Dawson’s Creek (news – Y! TV)”) capably tackles lead role of Sean, assistant editor for an L.A. production company that, judging from the posters on display, has strong ties to Troma Pictures. Eager to attend his sister’s wedding in Miami, but unable to afford a plane ticket, Sean takes a job driving a vintage Mercedes from California to Florida.
But out in the Arizona desert, Sean blows a tire and loses his wallet. Despite having been warned not to pick up hitchhikers, he reluctantly gives a ride to a seemingly aimless slacker, Nick (Brendan Fehr), who agrees to pay for gas.
At a roadside diner, Nick, a singularly cynical conversationalist, says he likes his steak very, very rare. Latter quirk is only the most obvious indication that Nick isn’t all that he seems. When But it isn’t until the two guys come across a dazed, confused and frightfully disheveled young woman, Megan (Izabella Miko), that the hitchhiker begins to disclose his true colors.
In a seedy hotel, Nick strips Megan, checks her body for telltale marks, dumps her into a bathtub — and pumps her full of sedatives. “She’s got a blood disorder,” Nick evasively explains. Pressed, he reveals the awful truth: She was bitten by a vampire, and will turn into a full-fledged bloodsucker if Nick doesn’t “kill the source” of her infection. And how does Nick know? Well, you see … he’s a budding vampire himself.
But wait, there’s more: Since Megan bit Sean’s hand while he was restraining her in the bathtub — Sean, too, is infected.
“Forsaken” disdainfully pooh-poohs the whole Dracula/Vlad the Impaler legend, and offers an alternative explanation for the existence of vampires, something involving eight French knights who gained immortality but lost their souls during an 11th-century Crusade. Fast-forward and we have Kit (Johnathon Schaech), one of the original godforsaken knights, leading a merry band of bloodsuckers throughout the American Southwest.
Kit is not your father’s vampire — instead of sleeping in a coffin, he spends his days in the trunk of a souped-up Dodge Challenger — but he’s still a traditionalist when it comes to exerting “telegenic” control over those he has bitten. And that’s just fine with Nick: He figures to use Megan to draw Kit to sacred ground, which, of course, is the only place where a knight-turned-vampire can be slain.
Cardone adds genuinely clever touches to provide a rational underpinning for his fantastical melodrama. (At one point, Kit explains that he’s able to delay his own transition to vampirism by taking drugs originally concocted by AIDS (news – web sites) researchers.) During the last third of pic, however, niceties such as logic are tossed out the window like empty beer cans chucked from a speeding Challenger. Nick, Sean and Megan wind up at a remote store run by a shotgun-wielding matron (Carrie Snodgress), to take a last stand against Kit and his sexy disciple (Phina Oruche). What happens next is, at best, only sporadically comprehensible, suggesting that way too much got left on the cutting room floor.
Fehr (”Roswell”) hits an effective balance of sarcasm and desperation as the peripatetic vampire hunter. And Schaech manages to be aptly larger than life without undue scenery chewing. As Megan, Polish-born Miko spends much of the pic’s first half in various stages of undress — she’s introduced while taking a shower and scrubbing her ample, blood-smeared breasts. She doesn’t have much dialogue, and her performance is scarcely better than a good try, but she provides sufficient eye candy to please many in pic’s target demographic.
“The Forsaken” obviously was shot on a limited budget — a climactic fiery explosion is notably cheesy — but that somehow enhances its minor charms as a freewheeling exploitation pic.
Sean …….. Kerr Smith
Nick …….. Brendan Fehr
Megan ……. Izabella Miko
Cym ……… Phina Oruche
Pen ……… Simon Rex
Ina ……… Carrie Snodgress
Kit ……… Johnathon Schaech
Teddy ……. Alexis Thorpe
A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Screen Gems presentation of a Sandstone Pictures production. Produced by Carol Kottenbrook, Scott Einbinder.
Directed, written by J.S. Cardone. Camera (color), Steven Bernstein; editor, Norman Buckley; music, Johnny Lee Schell, Tim Jones; music supervisor, Alex Patsavas; production designer, Martina Buckley; sound (Dolby Digital), George Burton Goen II; assistant director, Sholto Roeg; second unit director, Michael Cardone; casting, Ferne Cassel. Reviewed at AMC Studio 30, Houston, April 26, 2001.
Boxoffice preview: ‘Driven’ to succeed
By Roger Cels
LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) — “Driven” holds the pole position in this weekend’s race for boxoffice riches.
The Warner Bros.’ release, which opens everywhere today, has the horsepower to produce a wire-to-wire win over its three freshman competitors: New Line’s “Town & Country,” Sony’s “The Forsaken” and USA’s “One Night at McCool’s.” Absent the theatrical equivalent of a crash into the wall, “Driven” will take the checkered flag come Sunday.
The magnitude of the first-place purse is decidedly less certain, however. “Driven” is not demonstrating blockbuster potential, and recent weeks have found audiences largely indifferent to Hollywood’s initiatives.
Although the competitive environment has been relatively benign, no new film has marshaled the resources to finish first its debut week during the month of April. Moviegoing is contagious, and the lack of a catalyst has kept customers from catching the bug.
The “Cliffhanger” team of director Renny Harlin and screenwriter-star Sylvester Stallone are reunited in “Driven,” a tale of conflict and camaraderie between a young race-car driver (Kip Pardue) questioning his commitment to the sport and a veteran competitor (Stallone) in the twilight of his career. Til Schweiger, Estella Warren and Burt Reynolds also appear in the picture.
Males understandably are the main market for “Driven,” with all age groups engaged. Women will not be in the pit.
What the mature component of the distaff trade will be watching is “Town,” a romantic comedy starring Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Garry Shandling as two couples questioning the case for continued marital fidelity. Peter Chelsom directed.
Given the cast and subject matter, young people view “Town” with the same anticipation they would if told that tonight’s party music will be old Perry Como records. Mature men are only marginally more intrigued.
Written and directed by J.S. Cardone, “Forsaken” follows the very bumpy ride of a vintage Mercedes-Benz traveling cross-country. Driver Kerr Smith (the WB Network’s “Dawson’s Creek (news – Y! TV)”) makes the mistake of picking up a hitchhiker (Brendan Fehr of the WB’s “Roswell”) who turns out to be a vampire hunter out to save the world from a pack of young bloodsuckers led by Jonathon Schaech. Izabella Miko and Matt Reid co-star.
Young males are indicating the only substantive interest, though their females counterparts can normally be counted on to join the frenzy.
“McCool’s” is an offbeat comedy about three men (Matt Dillon, John Goodman and Paul Reiser) who share 20 degrees of separation from the same woman (Liv Tyler). Michael Douglas produced and co-stars in the feature directed by Harald Zwart.
Mature audiences are exhibiting the only material response.
Lions Gate’s “The Golden Bowl” bows today in New York and Los Angeles. James Ivory directed the period drama set in England and Italy during the early 1900s about a marriage made for money that must be salvaged by the well-heeled wife. Uma Thurman, Jeremy Northam, Kate Beckinsale, Nick Nolte and Anjelica Huston star in the film based on the Henry James novel.
Universal Focus’ “Rat” plays only in Boston. Imelda Staunton and Pete Postlethwaite star in the Irish comedy about a hard-drinking patriarch whose transformation one evening into a rat sends his family into turmoil. Steve Barron directed.
Jour de Fete’s gay-themed “Boys to Men” opens exclusively in New York. Philip Bartell wrote, produced and directed the comedy that examines the sexual awakenings of a pair of adolescents (Brett Chukerman and Ema A. Tuennerman) during a summer in rural Illinois.
Miramax’s “With a Friend Like Harry,” which earned about $40,000 during its first week in two New York theaters, expands to the top 10 markets today. Dominik Moll directed the thriller about a family’s ill-fated excursion into the wilderness