Weekend Forecast for April 18-20, 2008
By Reagen Sulewski
April 18, 2008
We might still have April's lackluster releases to get through, but there's a real sense of momentum, a building anticipation, as the week's releases get just a little bit better each week.
Most notably, we have Forbidden Kingdom, which gives us the first-ever pairing of two of the legends of Hong Kong cinema, Jet Li and Jackie Chan. This is something akin to Pacino and DeNiro finally appearing together in Heat, with the similar parallel of it happening about ten years too late.
Li and Chan play rival lung fu masters in ancient China who band together to free something called The Monkey King, after they are joined by a time-traveling American with a secret weapon. I'm sure this all made sense at the time.
Of course, the plots of these films are typically ancillary to the fight sequences, which are courtesy legendary choreographer Wo Ping, albeit with some heavy CGI influence. Chan is well past his prime but still has some moves, and Li has basically announced that he's bored with fighting in films, so one wonders if the choreography is enough to make this film. It at least looks like it doesn't take itself too seriously, so that's something.
Notably, it's a Western produced Asian film. These have generally never gotten the action quite right, but have puzzlingly, bafflingly been more successful. Forbidden Kingdom certainly won't be a Rush Hour, but then maybe that's a good thing at this point. It's a pretty strong bet to win the weekend box office, with about $17 million likely for an opening weekend total.
Walk Hard may have interrupted Judd Apatow's seemingly unstoppable march to the summit of Hollywood royalty, but one gets the feeling it was merely a speed bump. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is the attempt by his production company to restart his mojo, and simultaneously make a star out of yet another of the supporting cast of his other films.
Jason Segel has appeared in several Apatow productions, from Knocked Up to Undeclared and Freaks and Geeks, though he's probably best known lately as Marshall from How I Met Your Mother. He wrote this script for himself, starring as an ordinary schlub who happens to be dating a TV star (played by Kristen Bell - where'd they get that casting idea?). That is, until she messily breaks up with him.
After going on vacation to try and forget her, he ends up at the same resort where she is staying, with a new English rock star boyfriend in tow. Hilarity, emasculation and embarrassment ensue, but all is not lost. A hot young hostess (Mila Kunis) at the resort takes a bit of a liking to him, and starts to help him on his road to revenge. This, of course, leads to the classic, "which oh which hot woman will I have to chose from" dilemma. I mean, I'm just guessing here, the guy wrote a screenplay for himself to star in. It's what I'd do if I could get away with it.