Chihuahua Attack Snares Michael Cera, Megan Fox and Others in Box-Office Bloodshed

STV · 10/03/08 11:25AM

Welcome back to Defamer Attractions, your weekly guide to everything new, thrilling and thoroughly unnecessary at the movies. And we've got plenty of each to go around today as seven films are opening or expanding on 1,000 or more screens, a pair of Oscar-chasing indies open small and a legion of talking dogs threaten to overtake the box office. You can't say we didn't warn you. So read on for our picks, poxes and DVD alternatives for those of you too overwhelmed to face the multiplex. We feel your pain. As always, our opinions are our own, but with unfailing taste and accuracy like this, why argue?WHAT'S NEW: This is the week we've been waiting for since May, when Disney ignored our urgent plea to immediately release Beverly Hills Chihuahua from its high-camp captivity. And now that it's here, we're kind of over it; blame it on last month's chihuahua-only sneak preview. Not like the sadists at Disney need us: BHC is this week's only new family release and will do business accordingly, setting up for around $32.3 million over the three-day. The Michael Cera/Kat Dennings effort Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist will ride teens and the date crowd to about $17 million, which still won't be enough to overtake Eagle Eye for second place. Nothing else will break $10 million; Greg Kinnear's windshield-wiper biopic (!) Flash of Genius is on too few screens, Julianne Moore's dodgy drama Blindness will fall victim to the angry blind lobby, and Ed Harris's expanding Western Appaloosa couldn't find traction when it was on 1,000 screens, let alone 2,000. Most of the remaining release slate looks like a gang of orphans hassling tourists for change: Jia Zhangke's acclaimed Still Life; the timely, revealing political doc Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, Rutger Hauer's psychological love-triangle drama Mentor; Obscene, the story of Grove Press publisher Barney Rosset; the Muslim stand-up concert film Allah Made Me Funny, and the Iraq-vet basket case drama The Violent Kind. THE BIG LOSER: MGM's hard-luck streak looks likely to continue with How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, the adaptation of Toby Young's thinly-veiled bestseller about his misadventures in the Conde Nast empire. It won't fail for lack of trying — at least not with a cast including Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox and Jeff Bridges rocking his best Graydon Carter impression — and a month ago, in less-congested times, this may have even had some multiplex leverage. But in this glut, with the reviews it's receiving and audience awareness less than half of what it needs to be, expect a $3 million opening and quick dispatch to DVD. Where, in fairness, the Fox connection will more than make up for it stillbirth at the box office.

Is Michael Cera 'Two or Three Steps From Being Over?'

AmyKSays · 09/29/08 01:50PM

As Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist approaches this weekend, everyone's clamoring to see if Michael Cera has what it takes to push past Ellen Page's preggo belly and Jonah Hill's girth to finally take center stage in a film. But things are looking tenuous for Cera and his "blank Pez-dispenser face," as he seems primed to reprise the dopey-but-endearing role in the new romcom. So will George Michael ever be a star?When Superbad was released, everyone was stoked on Cera and his skinny, off-beat quiet wit. He was ranked No. 1 on Entertainment Weekly's 30 Under 30 actors list. He had garnered comedic street cred from his stint on Arrested Development. And shucks, how could you forget those dimples? He was one of those cool, John Cusask-esque unlikely sex symbols! And yet now, film critic Jeffrey Wells says Cera is a mere "two or three steps from being over." His logic?

Today in Toronto Hell: Anne Hathaway's Shoes, Michael Cera's Backpack, Guy Ritchie's Vision

STV · 09/08/08 07:15PM

The Toronto Film Festival is right about at its midway point — an essential milestone from which to take stock of noteworthy developments and drama that we couldn't help but watch smolder from Defamer HQ. And while some of our principal plotlines either have yet to unwind (Paris and her doc show up tomorrow) or were resolved to our satisfaction (The Wrestler wins the fest's distribution sweepstakes), there remains a bundle of loose ends requiring maintenance and attention from a distance. That's Canada for you! · A National Post writer went to the party for Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, where Michael Cera bumped around wearing his backpack and Kat Dennings, ahem, "gave off the unpretentious dewiness that is a visa of sorts to the country of bigger fame for starlets-on-the-climb." And if that fails, there's always Robert Rodriguez's hot tub.· Tired of his besties at Warner Bros., Patrick Goldstein upgraded in Toronto with newfound documentary sensation LeBron James. The NBA star is featured in Hoop Dreams-ish coming-of-age saga More Than a Game, which tracks five kids — including James (it was only six years ago!) — from their "decrepit inner-city gym" to their contention for a national high school basketball championship. It apparently made James cry and made producer/music mogul Jimmy Iovine call Goldstein, who pimps it lovingly, noting that Lionsgate might be at the front of the line to pick it up. · At last night's Sony Pictures Classics dinner, Anne Hathaway's shoes deflected attention from Charlie Kaufman's public awkwardness. That was nice of them! · Which reminds us: Celebrities! Starlets! Ptooey! Canada for the Canadians! [Via David Poland] · Does anyone up there has a spare camera he or she can lend to Jeffrey Wells? "Three young apes" stole hisand his iPhone. And he missed The Wrestler. At least buy the guy a drink or something if you see him. · Jesus — first The Wrestler, now Zack and Miri Make a Porno. Todd McCarthy is turning into Harry Knowles. · Tasting a hint of assent from critics and the public alike, Guy Ritchie OD'd on confidence and announced an entire Rocknrolla franchise. Last we heard, Joel Silver was still shopping the first one.