With the drama and devastation that befell the East Coast of America, with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy last week, US movie fans seem to have opted for the feel-good factor with their box office choices. Wreck It Ralph currently sits atop the US Box Office chart but the generation-spanning animation should prepare to be ousted this week, with the release of two major players: Skyfall and Lincoln.
Skyfall has already been hailed as the best Bond movie ever. Directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall marks the 50th anniversary of Bond movies and has already proved to be a box office sensation in the UK and Europe. There’s a question mark hanging over how much longer Daniel Craig will play Bond, which is only adding to the sense of urgency in getting to the movie theaters to check out Skyfall.
Lincoln gets a limited release this weekend, followed by a full release next weekend. The nature of the release structure may well prevent it from blasting Skyfall out of the water at the box office but you can rest assured, there won’t be many empty seats at Lincoln showings this weekend. Lincoln is already shrouded in a heavy Oscars buzz; Daniel Day Lewis can pretty much start writing those ”so honoured to be nominated” quotes right now because a Best Actor nod seems to be a thing of certainty. And Joaquin Phoenix may have publicly shunned the very notion of the Oscars but he’ll probably find himself on the list of nominees, too.
Rotten Tomatoes has awarded Lincoln a hearty 94% score; a unanimous hit with the critics. Barely a negative word has been said about Spielberg’s biopic – something that will surely help box office sales, in a week that finds US interest in politics buoyed with 2012 election fever. Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter) sums up the movie thus: “An absorbing, densely packed, sometimes funny telling of the 16th president's masterful effort in manipulating the passage of the 13th amendment.”
Realistically, Lincoln and Skyfall are going to be the two biggest players in theaters this week, the rest of the week’s releases will simply be picking up the scraps. Amongst those foraging for attention, will be In Their Skin, a thriller, with a shallow nod to Funny Games and The Shining. Starring Selma Blair, Rachel Milner, Joshua Close and James D’Arcy, In Their Skin seems to fall foul of the clichés of its genre, though one reviewer went so far as to describe it as “unnerving.” Which, presumably, is exactly what it’s supposed to be.
Flying the flag for comedy this week is Nature Calls, starring Jackass mainstay Johnny Knoxville and Patton Oswalt. Well, perhaps ‘flying the flag’ is a little generous, given that Nature Calls is pretty much dead in the water, before its even been released. Containing the kind of puerile humour that you’d expect to be associated with Knoxville, Nature Calls tells the tale of two brothers who take a scout group on an unscheduled outdoors expedition… with hilarious consequences. Except it’s simply not as hilarious as it’s supposed to be. With an embarrassing 7% score on the Rotten Tomatoes site, one particularly damning review from the New York Times suggests the severity of its failure: “ Its jokes won't appeal to anyone older than 8, but a parent who takes a child to this crass mess would be subject to prosecution.” Ouch! Don’t expect to see this one flying up the charts, then.
Watch the Nature Calls trailer: