'Dark Knight' to Make Quick Work of Opponents 'Step Brothers,' 'X-Files' and Others
Welcome to the latest edition of Defamer Attractions, your regular Friday guide to another oversaturated summer weekend of new movies. While The Dark Knight sets up Batcamp for another week at number one, another brooding franchise goes up against Team Apatow in the also-ran camp. A British classic gets a fine art-house face-lift, meanwhile, and a windfall of new DVD's will keep the agoraphobes among us busy for a while. As always, our opinions are our own, but they're bulletproof, so read on for the only filmgoing advice that matters. WHAT'S NEW: The primary competition for The Dark Knight's second weekend will be... itself. You have to feel for Sony and Fox for dropping Step Brothers and X-Files: I Want to Believe opposite History's Greatest Film, but that's just the kind of extraordinary season it's been. Those films will perform decently enough, though — roughly $30 million for the Judd Apatow-produced Ferrell/Reilly comedy, $21 million for the sci-fi franchise adaptation — which is another bummer for Fox, which has only its overachieving The Happening to show for a long, lean summer at the box office.Also opening this weekend are the concert/protest film CSNY: Deja Vu; the oversexed '60s groupie chronicle Eight Miles High; Nanette Burstein's controversial pseudo-doc American Teen; the small-town gardener doc (seriously) A Man Called Pearl; and Minnie Driver's middling psychological drama Take. THE BIG LOSER: Not so much a "loser" as a handicapping interest of ours, Christian Bale's reported mum-thumping exploits — however blown out of proportion the actually are — could drop The Dark Knight a few percentage points more than it otherwise would have. But even if plunges by 50% (which it won't), it'll still nab $80 million, so again, save your pity for Fox.
THE UNDERDOG: When news hit in 2006 that director Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots, Becoming Jane) was taking on an adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited, skeptics seemed less anxious about a perversion of the author's elegant, class-crash tragedy than how the film would stand up to the epochal 1981 miniseries adaptation. We don't have time or space to even touch that, but it hardly seems to matter: Jarrold's Brideshead bites deep into the love triangle between middle-class Charles Ryder and the Catholic-burdened Flyte siblings Julia and Sebastian, aided by a cast of young British talent led by Hayley Atwell, Ben Whishaw and the extraordinary Matthew Goode (The Lookout, Match Point). Emma Thompson drops in as well for a stirring matron act, but it's Jarrold's scope and Goode's tone harmonizing so dynamically here that you almost can't imagine this story ever required nine hours to tell. FOR SHUT-INS: Among this week's new DVD's are the Gen-Y card-counting drama 21; the nifty Famke Janssen pool-shark indie Turn the River; the taut enviro-horror sleeper The Last Winter; and, at last, complete series collection of Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's Spaced. So is this your week to catch up on The Dark Knight? Or do you, as Fox so desperately hopes, want to believe? Can Step Brothers actually have more gags than those in its trailer? Go ahead — call your shots now before the August doldrums come to claim us all.