Weekend Forecast for September 17-19, 2010
By Reagen Sulewski
September 17, 2010
Only three weekends into September, and this month’s releases have been chewed up and spit out already, at least for the most part. With just one returning film likely to earn over $5 million this weekend, Hollywood takes the opportunity to fill multiplexes back up with four new wide releases.
Leading the way is the film that will finally, no seriously this time, no foolin’, will kick off the 2010 Oscar race. The Town, written, directed by and starring Ben Affleck … and I’ve lost you. But anyone who’s seen Gone Baby Gone should realize now that Affleck, despite his late '90s and early '00s missteps, is actually a directorial force to be reckoned with. In any case, Affleck returns to the Boston milieu with this adaptation of a Chuck Hogan novel about a crew of bank robbers in the Charlestown district.
Affleck leads this crew, which also includes Oscar-nominee Jeremy Renner, to pull off the mythical one-last-heist, and in the process accidentally kidnapping a bank teller (Rebecca Hall). Trying to make sure that she doesn’t know anything about them, Affleck initiates a romance with her – much to the chagrin of his crew, who see him pulling away from their loyalty. Meanwhile, an FBI agent (Jon Hamm) attempts to bring down Affleck’s crew while navigating the tumultuous Boston criminal underworld.
Where Takers was this summer's high school production of Heat, The Town may be closer to the real deal, with actual actors who can read lines naturally. One of the best reviewed movies of the fall so far, The Town looks to be a tense thriller with Affleck proving himself to be a stunningly capable director. I know, I'm scared too. More likely to be a film that builds than opens big, The Town should still manage to take top spot at the box office with around $18 million.
It's difficult to know what to make of Devil. It's a rare beast in being a horror film with a concept that I don't think has ever been tried before – five strangers are trapped in an elevator, with one of them, possibly, maybe, being the devil. On the other hand, it's based on an idea from M. Night Shyamalan, who also produced, and I wouldn't trust him to direct traffic at this point. His dime-store religious moralizing has also infected his film-making as well, and I put low odds on him not inserting that into the film as a producer.
Of course, not everyone shares my opinions of Shyamalan, though that group of people is growing, enough that his name induced groans at most theaters when the trailer for this film came up. Is the concept just too good to screw up? Unlikely, though a great hook will at least bring those that haven't been completely burned on him yet.
It certainly won't be because of the cast, which is a group of nearly anonymous actors (arguably the most famous being Mr. Christina Hendricks, Geoffrey Arend. “Who?” you ask? Exactly). And it's impossible to tell if the film actually works, as it wasn't submitted for critics (which of course means it doesn't). Horror fans haven't proven themselves to be that discriminating of late (The Last Exorcism? Really?), so this is probably good for that upper teens range that many of them have earned of late – let's say $16 million.