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Weekend Forecast for January 18-21, 2007

By Reagen Sulewski

January 18, 2008

We've got to try to get our sex tape just right before it goes public.

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There's an unusual treat for movie-going audiences this holiday weekend; the ultra-rare January blockbuster.

Although this has been changing in the past few years, January has remained one of the few dead zones on the schedule for new movies. It's been a time for expanding Oscar hopefuls and the dreck that couldn't make the fall schedule. This week's Cloverfield, however, is a novel approach to this month's slate, a big budget monster movie that could have found a home in the summer.

The film is a first-person perspective film about an attack on New York City by some sort of mysterious (Godzilla? C'thulhu?) creature, essentially asking, what would it be like to be at ground level for an attack like this. Shot handheld, Blair Witch style, it follows a group of young New Yorkers (played by a bunch of relative unknowns, for deliberate effect) as the attacks happen, and as they search for safety with calamity surrounding them.

Befitting an unusual film, it announced itself in an unusual way. A completely secret project, its first evidence of existence was its trailer, in front of July's Transformers, which was a single sequence which depicted the initial attacks, up to the point of the now somewhat-iconic shot of the head of the Statue of Liberty falling in the middle of a New York street. The trailer had no title, no credits, and only a brief flash of what turned out to be a release date. The "leave ‘em wanting more" strategy was a masterstroke for creating initial buzz, and releasing it in the dead zone means it has our full attention.




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Cloverfield was the brainchild of JJ Abrams, creator of Alias and Lost, though the directing duties fall to Matt Reeves, who co-created Felicity with him, and it's written by Drew Goddard, a veteran of both Abrams and Joss Whedon's shows. Abrams is well known for creating brilliant pilots, which is kinda, sorta analogous to a movie, so it's not unreasonable to think they've delivered on their high concept here. Anticipation among younger audiences is through the roof, though I'm expecting the appeal to be fairly narrowly focused. I look for a four-day total of about $45 million.

27 Dresses is the romantic comedy option for this weekend, though I say without any fear of being unfair, that this film is firmly in the "chick-flick" category, rather than anything that truly counts as a date movie.

Katherine Heigl stars as a "professional bridesmaid", who's planned and served in 27 different weddings (hence the clever title). Tired of always being the sidekick, she wonders when it'll be her turn to marry her dreamboat, who happens to be her boss, played by Ed Burns. Prodded on by her sidekick (played, in an ironic twist, by professional "movie best-friend" Judy Greer") she is about to make her move when her sister pounces on him before her, gets engaged, and asks Heigl to be her maid of honor. Oh, what wacky fun!


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