Zach Braff turns 34 today. Hilary Rhoda is turning 22. Paul Rudd is 40. Tim Hasselbeck, the former NFL quarterback and husband of Elisabeth, is turning 31. Marilu Henner is 57. Filmmaker Barry Levinson is turning 67. HBO exec Sheila Nevins is 70. Nobel Prize-winning geneticist James Watson turns 81. Makeup artist Tim Quinn is turning 49. Soft-core cable access queen Robin Byrd is turning 52. And Candace Cameron, who you may remember as DJ Tanner from Full House, is 33.
Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your one and only guide to everything new, noteworthy and potentially noxious at the movies. This week sees Oliver Stone officially establish the land-speed record for producing an Oscar contender, joined by skull-cracking Mark Wahlberg, sex-driving Seth Green and our diva-colored underdog. As always, someone's gotta lose; we'll call our shot there, too, along with cherry-picking through a new crop of DVD's. As always, our opinions are our own, but we have little doubt they would look great on you. Try them on after the jump.WHAT'S NEW: No one would argue that Mark Wahlberg's video-game adaptation Max Payne won't win the weekend, but with Beverly Hills Chihuahua still barking in theaters (it actually expands by 32 screens this week), the sour-cop actioner might see a tiny bite out of its margin of victory. Still, $20.8 million is a reliable bet, with Disney's purse dog settling settling with around $11.5 million. The X factor is W., the Bush biopic which some forecasters see sneaking into second place with as much as $12 million. But to project any more than $10 million, maybe $11 million max is to overestimate it as anything more than a curio, an election-year stunt that wields neither the bite nor the influence that even we thought it would when the fall movie season began. Josh Brolin drawls and squints in fitful, fascinating bursts, and certain imagined powwows leading up to the 2003 Iraq invasion make for riveting ensemble drama. On the whole, though, W. connotes the rush job it was — undisciplined, tonally dissonant (Stone's professed empathy for Bush repeatedly knocks its head on low-hanging satirical fruit) and way, way too long. The American people deserve better, and at least until Nov. 4, they'll vote with their dollars. There will be no stealing this election. Also opening: Seth Green's R-rated romp Sex Drive; Roy Disney's boat-race vanity project Morning Light; critic Godfrey Cheshire's acclaimed doc filmmaking bow Moving Midway; the indie tolerance drama Tru Loved; and for those of you in New York (and the rest of you on VOD), Madonna's directorial debut Filth and Wisdom. (L.A. will get its theatrical engagement Oct. 31.) THE BIG LOSER: The Barry Levinson-directed/Robert De Niro-starring Hollywood satire What Just Happened is one of the year's finest case-studies in meta: A troubled, pedigreed film about troubled, pedigreed filmmaking, following in the flatlining tradition of every industry saga that preceded it. It false-started out of Sundance last January but finally found a taker at Cannes, and to its credit, Magnolia Pictures has aggressively pushed the film everywhere from baseball playoffs to presidential debates. Still, one half of that audience hates Hollywood, and the other half is off to see W. As recipes for disaster go — even in limited release — this one is ready to serve.
Our weekend trailers are usually about sci-fi and super heros and stuff going BOOM! But Barry Levinson's upcoming comedy What Just Happened?-starring Robert Deniro, Bruce Willis, Kristen Stewart, Stanley Tucci and John Turturro-looks pretty damn funny to me. My favorite part is that Willis plays himself, and is refusing to lose weight or shave his gigantic beard for a role. Clip after the jump.
Riding high on the wave that was his self-deprecating, actually funny tribute to Meryl Streep on Monday night, Robert De Niro is reportedly surging into Cannes' closing-night slot next month with his undistributed Hollywood satire What Just Happened? Directed by Barry Levinson, written by Art Linson and starring De Niro as a Linson-esque producer beset with divorce and a nightmarish film project, the movie's buzz fizzled after mixed reviews following its Sundance premiere. So what are the odds it'll seal a deal on the Croisette?