Monday, September 26, 2005

Box Office, September 23 - 25

Numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo.

1. Flightplan $24.6 million
2. Corpse Bride $20.1 million
3. Just Like Heaven $9.8 million
4. Roll Bounce $8 million
5. Exorcism of Emily Rose $7.5 million
6. Lord of War $4.9 million
7. 40-Year Old Virgin $4.3 million
8. Constant Gardener $2.2 million
9. Transporter 2 $2.2 million
10. Cry Wolf $2.1 million

Huge weekend, as this week is a 51% improvement over the same weekend last year. Some big dropoffs (Emily Rose down 49.5%, Lord of War down 47.8%, Transporter 2 down 46.4%). 40-Year Old Virgin should break through the $100 million mark this week, the 13th film this year to accomplish it. As expected, Wedding Crashers passed Batman Begins to become the third highest grossing film of 2005 and 58th all time. Lord of War looks like it's going to top out around $25 million, which means it will need huge DVD sales/overseas business to break even. Same story for Brothers Grimm (cost $88 million to make, thus far has earned $37 million). Finally, Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist opened in 5 theatres and grossed $69,000, an impressive $13,800 per screen average.

Opening wide this week (links courtesy of IMDb:

Golf drama The Greatest Game Ever Played.
Treasure Hunting/Drug Drama/Action Film/Undersea Adventure/Jessica Alba vehicle Into The Blue.
Sci-fi flick Serenity. My bud Austin will be at every showing this weekend in Hamilton.
Also, Oliver Twist and A History of Violence open wide this weekend.

That's all, folks.

House: Season 2 Episode 2

Complete episode synopsis is here.

Another great episode, as a sickly House opts to forego traditional recovery measures to wrestle with the issue of Andie, a terminal cancer patient (who also happens to be a 9-year old girl).

Some of the excellent points of this episode is House's cynicism coming face-to-face with the bravery of Andie. House actually is so disbelieving of Andie's inner strength, that he believes a tumor must be lodged near the amygdala (fear centre of the brain), causing the "irrational" bravery. The disbelief shown by the team members is equalled when they find out that Chase actually gave Andie a kiss prior to administering tests. The team gets great parts this week, especially Chase, who develops a special friendship bond with Andie, staying with her through the many procedures she undergoes during the episode. House even drops the cynical wall long enough at the end to share a hug with Andie before she leaves the hospital.

Two brutal surgical procedures are performed. The first involved the temporary removal of Andie's heart to shave a tumor off the exterior wall. The decision to perform the surgery was based on House identifying an irregularity in Andie's heartbeat. He convinces his team of this in typical House-ian fashion, recording her ECG on an i-Pod and replaying Andie's heartbeat through speakers in the shower room. During the procedure, Chase notices a bleed in Andie's eye, which leads to House's amygdala argument. The decision is made to induce cardiac arrest, lower the body temperature and drain and replace two pints of blood to identify the location of the tumour. The last 30 minutes of the episode is non-stop tension, punctuated by moments with Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) talking with Andie's mother and seeing her emotional reaction to the whirlwind going on around her.

The successful surgery is the end of the episode, but it is a pyrrhic victory, as Andie is still left with only a year to live. A terrific, emotional episode that continues House's winning streak and further convinces me that it may be the best show on TV.

Friday, September 23, 2005

CSI:Miami Season 4, Episode 1

Plot synopsis and analysis can be found here.

The analysis above points out something very interesting and a little aggravating about all of the CSI shows. Here's a case where the Mala Noche is identified as the "new Florida Mafia", which implies a serious group of badasses. Then, in a single episode, Horatio and his crew bring down the whole gang and H himself shoots Diablo, the leader of the gang. There endeth the new Florida Mafia.

Sometimes, I think it would be interesting to see the CSI's take on a bad guy that keeps them guessing. A baddie that builds over the season and leads to a head-to-head season finale that allows for some character development/emotional challenges to happen would be really beneficial to the shows. Once you get past the novelty of the cases and the science, there's not much there and some challenging adversaries just might freshen up the shows.

Notwithstanding, this was an exceptional episode. There was good action and a challenging storyline. It looks like we are going to spend some time this season looking into Horatio's past, as he spends time in confession at the outset of the episode and then his buddy, Rick, shows up talking about how he met some folks in NYC that know Horatio.

A good, not great, start to the season.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Everybody Loves Raymond - Season 5

According to TV Shows on DVD, season 5 of Everybody Loves Raymond will street on December 6. That is turning into just a ridiculous release date, as it is already crowded with season 5 of CSI:Vegas, season 4 of 24 and season 5 of The West Wing. Yikes! At that rate, you'll need to take out a second mortgage to keep up.

News on Raymond, including an episode list, box art and special feature list, can be found here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

CSI:NY and CSI:Vegas Premieres delayed

President Bush's message to the US regarding Katrina relief efforts forced a juggling of the CBS schedule, so CSI:NY and CSI:Vegas will now premiere their new seasons on September 28 (CSI:NY) and September 29 (CSI:Vegas). I will have a review of CSI:Miami's premiere episode up later.

HatTip to CSI Files.

Update: I misread the original post. Only CSI:NY is affected. Vegas premiere is still on for TONIGHT (September 22). Thanks to CL for pointing this out.

Cover art for Season 4 of 24 on DVD

Coming to a store near you December 6. Pre-order at

Image hosted by

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

House: Season 2, Episode 1

Episode recap here.

This may well be the best show on TV today.

A great start to the second season, as House (Hugh Laurie) bucks both Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and ex-girlfriend (and new hospital counsel) Stacy (Sela Ward) to bring death-row convict Clarence (LL Cool J) to the hospital to be treated for an apparent heart attack. Meanwhile, this week's B-plot centers around Dr. Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), who has to deal with telling a young woman who walked into the hospital clinic that she has terminal cancer.

The show picks up where it left off last season, as House (Hugh Laurie was ROBBED of an Emmy, I say) immediately starts taking advantage of Stacy while bullying Cuddy into getting what he wants. While doing this, the gloves come off between House and Cameron over Cameron's desire to run a series of increasingly esoteric tests on her terminal cancer patient. House immediately tells Cameron that the girl is terminal and lectures Cameron on the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and how she is exhibiting them. Cameron tries to make the argument that House is refusing her tests as a way to get back at her for their date going badly. "I'm over you" she snarls, like that's going to score points.

Meanwhile, Clarence continues to struggle as House initially thinks he is reacting to a heroin overdose. However, a blood test reveals anion gap acidosis, causing Cameron to toss out the possibility of a reaction to a tuberculosis drug INH (leading to a great House reaction: Yahtzee!). House dispatches Chase (Jesse Spencer) to the prison to find Clarence's secret stash. Chase tells House that he found, among other things, copier fluid in his cell. House twigs to the possibility that Clarence tried to commit suicide by drinking the fluid, which is rich in methanol. He marches into Clarence's room and begins drinking 150-proof rum shots with him. After telling Clarence he knew what he drank, he tells him that the ethanol in the rum he just drank will counter the methanol and "he'll just pee out the toxins". A later problem with a necrotic bowel leads House to send Clarence for an MRI, which, due to the heavy metal ink in his tattoos, is a VERY painful experience for him. The results of the MRI lead to the determination that Clarence has a tumor that sends additional adrenaline into his system. It is removed and Clarence goes back to death row.

An absolutely excellent episode. As usual, a tricky medical problem drives the story while all of the characters undergo more rich development. House and Dr. Foreman (Omar Epps) clash over the question of whether Clarence's environment caused him to commit the crimes he did and Foreman and Clarence have a number of discussions on the same subject. Cameron and House clash everywhere in this episode, over the cancer patient's diagnosis, House's decision to focus his energies on a death row con, rather than a young, vibrant girl with her whole life apparently ahead of her. And, of course, there's House knocking heads with Cuddy and Stacy. Dr. Wilson (the great Robert Sean Leonard) continues to be House's conscience as they have a great back and forth while House has lunch and watches TV in the room of a man in a coma. Funny, challenging and not a little bit emotional, just the way a House episode should be. Good start to the season.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Weekend Box Office and other stuff

Collected around the web. First, from Canoe, a list of big winners from the Emmys:

Drama Series - Lost
Drama Actor - James Spader, Boston Legal (BOO!)
Drama Actress - Patricia Arquette, Medium
Drama Supporting Actor - William Shatner, Boston Legal
Drama Supporting Actress - Blythe Danner, Huff
Comedy Series - Everybody Loves Raymond
Comedy Actor - Tony Shalhoub, Monk (YAY!)
Comedy Actress - Felicity Huffman, Desperate Housewives
Comedy Supporting Actor - Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond
Comedy Supporting Actress - Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond

Generally, I agree with these. Raymond was going to get the big sendoff with a truckload of Emmys and, if a Desperate Housewife had to win, Felicity Huffman is the one I choose since she's the only one I've ever seen in a show I liked (the criminally underrated Sports Night. Great to see Tony Shalhoub get recognition for his remarkably funny and complex Monk, but who did David Kelley pay off to get two awards for Boston Legal? And, more importantly, how in the world did James freakin' Spader beat both Kiefer Sutherland and House's Hugh Laurie? Well, there's always next year.

Next, the box office numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo:

Just Like Heaven $16.5 million
Exorcism of Emily Rose $15.3 million
Lord of War $9.2 million
40-Year Old Virgin $5.8 million
Cry Wolf $4.5 million
Transporter 2 $4 million
Constant Gardener $3.7 million
Red Eye $2.9 million
March of the Penguins $2.5 million
Wedding Crashers $2.5 million

Another successful weekend, as box office revenues are up 13% compared with the same weekend last year.

Reese Witherspoon proves again that she can open romantic comedies with a big splash, but it's nowhere near her best (Sweet Home Alabama rang up $35 million for the best September opening weekend ever). Nicolas Cage disappoints as Lord of War fails to break $10 million. 40-Year Old Virgin breaks through $90 million and should become the 13th film of 2005 to break $100 million. Wedding Crashers breaks through $200 million and should pass Batman Begins for 3rd place among 2005 top grossers. As expected, Emily Rose dropped 49.1% from last weekend, but at $52 million over two weeks, it could reach $100 million.

Opening wide this week (Links courtesy of IMDb): Jodie Foster's lost child on a plane thriller Flight Plan and Roll Bounce, a comedy about kids growing up in the 1970's and hanging out in the roller rink. Expanding from limited release to wide release is Tim Burton's latest animated flight-of-fancy Corpse Bride.

Latest news from TV Shows on DVD:

The great early-90s sitcom, Wings, as well as The Love Boat and Melrose Place, is expected to arrive in 2006.

Season 2 of Miami Vice is scheduled to street on November 22. Information on the contents can be found here and here.

Season 1 of the classic Rockford Files is coming out December 6. Get your fix of cover art, release info and a promised interview with star James Garner here.

Finally, The Digital Bits informs that the Terry Gilliam-directed The Brothers Grimm, starring Heath Ledger and Matt Damon, will arrive December 20. Also, on Boxing Day (December 26), Pixar sends the Special Edition of Toy Story 2 into stores. Info on TS2 can be found here. Also, if you want the most comprehensive list of upcoming DVD releases, including cover art and direct shopping links to, check out the Bits' Upcoming DVD art section right here.

Finally, I have to tell you all that I started reading the Harry Potter books about a month ago. I am blowing through these things at a rate of about one a week and they are absolutely GREAT. Prisoner of Azkaban may well be one of the twistiest tales I have ever read.

Finally finally, I watched Austin's favourite TV show ever, Firefly. A couple of great episodes, especially the one where Wash and Mal are captured by Niska and the final epsiode, with a terrific performance by Richard Brooks as the slightly mental bounty hunter Jubal Early. Suffice to say I liked it enough to make seeing Serenity a priority, just because I hope they close off some of the loose ends left by the abrupt killing of the series by Fox. Maybe Space or some other specialty station will pick the show up and allow them to continue on.

That's it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Jason and Joanne, this one's for you


Zances, this one's for you


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

More on the Fall 2005 TV Season

As promised in an earlier post, I am going to offer some commentary on the new TV season. I should preface this by stating that my VCR only allows me to program for six shows and, in a spirit of selflessness, I am giving up two of those spots to allow my wife to tape CityLine and Martha, Martha Stewart's new daily show. As a result, the remaining four spots go to my standards, CSIs Vegas, NY and Miami and House. Have to catch the new shows on either summer repeats or DVD.

So, here's what I'm going to do....I'll go day-by-day and just do a quick commentary on what I think will win and lose and what will be the interesting time-slot battles. Some info included is sourced from Entertainment Weekly's Fall TV preview.


The one-time TV graveyard has become home to many big shows, including ABC's monster lineup of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy. This lineup's main competition has come from Fox's animation-heavy lineup (Simpsons, King of the Hill, the revived Family Guy and American Dad). Fox has moved a new comedy, The War at Home, into Arrested Development's old slot after the Simpsons, with the idea that AD can carry Fox to Monday night success. The big battle will be the 8-9 PM time slot, as Extreme Makeover will not only be challenged by Fox's combo of Simpsons/War at Home, but also CBS' top-20 hit Cold Case (show #36A in the Bruckheimer canon), but by the arrival of former heavyweight The West Wing, which joins Law and Order CI and Crossing Jordan to form a potent lineup for NBC. Still, I think we'll give the night to ABC.


CBS has owned Monday for the last few years. This year, Everybody Loves Raymond's departure leaves a big hole that CBS hopes will be plugged by moving Two and a Half Men into Raymond's 9 PM slot and putting Ray Romano's pal Kevin James' King of Queens into the 8 PM lead-in spot. 8:30 and 9:30 bring two new sitcoms, How I met Your Mother (think Friends meets The Wonder Years) and Out of Practice a comedy about a dysfunctional family of doctors led by Stockard Channing and Henry Winkler. Practice and Men have a tall order this fall, facing Monday Night Football (in its final ABC season), Fox's hugely hyped and critically adored Prison Break and Las Vegas, which has seen it's audience grow since it's debut two years ago (and which I highly recommend on DVD). CSI:Miami had a small scare last season when Medium debuted to big numbers as a midseason replacement for NBC, but finished huge with a great run of episodes to the end. End result: I see Fox coming up roses here, especially if Arrested Development keeps its audience and Prison Break hits big. I also think Two and a Half Men will fail to be the comedy anchor for CBS and will really miss Raymond's lead-in. However, Miami is probably the most-liked of all the CSI's and it'll allow CBS to carry the night.


9-10 PM is absolutely wild. ABC debuts Commander-In-Chief, featuring Geena Davis as President of the U.S. (could happen) going up against my beloved House, CBS' Amazing Race and a wicked comedy double shot on NBC (Jason Lee's My Name Is Earl and The Office). Earl and Office each could be among the season's big winners and I am especially intrigued by Earl's concept (trailer park dude wins $100,000 on a scratch ticket, gets hit by a car and, in a karmic fit, decides to make amends with anyone he's ever wronged). The Office proved it had legs in it's limited spring/summer run. 10 PM should belong to NBC's Law & Order SVU, but CBS' Close To Home (show #47C in the Bruckheimer canon) could cut into it if it's any good. Sez here that CBS wins the night as Close to Home is good and Amazing Race owns the reality TV corner. Hopefully, NCIS rolls over According to Jim and Rodney and those two shows are banished forever.


CSI:NY (show #3 in the Bruckheimer canon), gets a makeover, going from dark and dingy to high-rise and stylish. It better take, or viewers just might go back to the original L&O, which really got a boost from the great pairing of Dennis Farina and The Sopranos' Michael Imperioli as the new cops. Wednesday is also now the property of Lost, but the competition is ultra-stiff as CBS and ABC roll out new shows. CBS has Mandy Patinkin (Chicago Hope, Princess Bride) and Thomas Gibson (Dharma and Greg) in Criminal Minds (show #27F in the Bruckheimer canon), while NBC rolls out Dennis Hopper and ex-L&O cop Benjamin Bratt in E-Ring (show #28Q in the Bruckheimer canon). Fox, with Head Cases, is and innocent bystander. 8 PM should belong to NBC, as every other station's pair of sitcoms is set to get steamrollered by Mark Burnett and Martha Stewart's new version of The Apprentice. The verdict says Lost is a top 5 show this year, but NBC carries the night. CSI:NY becomes the first CSI to face the chopping block.


Yeah, like you need to ask who wins this night. NBC throws the Donald to CSI:Vegas (show #1 in the Bruckheimer canon), by moving Trump's Apprentice to 9 PM, and I suspect that ABC's updated Night Stalker will be on the scrap heap by Christmas. 8 PM should be fun, though, as ABC rolls out its popular Alias to go head-to-head with Survivor:Guatemala on CBS, the O.C. on Fox and Joey and Will & Grace on NBC. Odds here say NBC is left out at 8 and, with Trunp getting walloped nightly by Gil Grissom et al, ER has nothing to lead into it, further pushing it out to pasture as Without A Trace (show #13S in the Bruckheimer canon) further cements its ownership of 10-11 PM. Winner: CBS.


Can Jennifer Love Hewitt revive Friday nights? Probably not, as Friday becomes the new weekly dead zone. However, CBS is putting some pretty good stuff on, with Ghost Whisperer leading into two pretty brainy puzzle shows. At 9, there's the new Threshold, which gets major geek cred by casting TNG's Brent Spiner (aka Data) and Felicity's Robert Patrick Benedict in an Aliens-invade-Earth show. Returning at 10 is the critically acclaimed NUMB3RS. The hyped slot is 8-9 PM as Ghost Whisperer is countered by ABC's Supernanny, NBC's Dateline and Fox's Bernie Mac and Malcolm in the Middle, but, really, who's watching? The other interesting show on Fridays is NBC's Three Wishes at 9PM, as NBC tries to cash in on Extreme Makeover by sending Christian pop star Amy Grant to small-town USA to grant wishes of three people per episode. Hopefully it doesn't get lost in the noise.

Saturdays are reserved for movies and CSI repeats. 'Nuff said.

Feel free to debate/comment.

Monday, September 12, 2005

September 9-11 Box Office

"The Exorcism of Emily Rose" ran away and hid with the title this weekend, not only cracking $30 million, but also being the only film to earn more than $10 million this weekend. The film's opening weekend was also the third strongest September opening since numbers started being tracked.

Top 10 (courtesy Box Office Mojo):

1 The Exorcism of Emily Rose $30,200,000
2 The 40-Year-Old Virgin $7,901,000
3 Transporter 2 $7,200,000
4 The Constant Gardener $4,854,000
5 Red Eye $4,600,000
6 The Man $4,025,000
7 The Brothers Grimm $3,314,000
8 Wedding Crashers $3,225,000
9 Four Brothers $2,950,000
10 March of the Penguins $2,525,000

"The Man", starring Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy was savaged by critics and moviegoers avoided the film in droves. More proof that, despite the fact that Sam Jackson is one of the greatest character actors in movies today, he cannot open a bad movie on strength of name alone.

Big crash and burn for Virgin, Transporter, Red Eye and Brothers Grimm, as each film's revenue was over 40% lower compared to last week. Despite this, Emily Rose's opening powered the weekend to buck the trend of under-performing weekends seen through most of the summer. Box Office receipts were up 16% compared to the same weekend in 2004.

Opening wide next week: Just Like Heaven, a romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon and Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage.

September Movie Releases

Courtesy The Digital Bits. Visit them for a complete list fully linked to Amazon:

September 6:

Toy Story 10th Anniversary Edition
The Chase
Legacy Series editions of The Sting, To Kill A Mockingbird and The Deer Hunter
Greta Garbo Signature Collection (incl. Anna Christie, Anna Karenina, Grand Hotel, Mata Hari, Ninotchka and a collection of Garbo silents)

September 13:

Fever Pitch
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Man Who Fell to Earth (Criterion Collection)
Ben-Hur - 4-Disc Collector's Edition
Rumble Fish (Special Edition)
Coal Miner's Daughter - 25th Anniversary Edition
Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie

September 20:

Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D
Carlito's Way - Ultimate Edition
Mallrats - 10th Anniversary Edition
Outsiders - 2-disc Special Edition
Scary Movie 3.5
Longest Yard - Collector's Edition (Adam Sandler version)
No Direction Home
From the Earth to the Moon - Signature Edition

September 27:

Lords of Dogtown
Are We There Yet?

Fans of the thriller are in for some goodies in October, starting with THE definitive Alfred Hitchcock collection (includes 14 films, among them Psycho, Rear Window, The Birds and Vertigo), The Interpreter, reissues of the Fog, the Fly and the Fly II (the month of October is brought to you by the letter F) and a lot of major big-screen films, including BATMAN BEGINS.

Friday, September 09, 2005

September TV DVD Releases

These are just the ones I consider major. For a complete list, visit TV Shows on DVD.

September 6

21 Jump Street - Season 3
Buffalo Bill - Season 1 and 2
Bullwinkle - Season 3
Lost - Season 1
MacGyver - Season 3

September 13

Cheers - Season 6
Brady Bunch - Season 3
Everybody Loves Raymond - Season 4
Frasier - Season 6
Las Vegas - Season 2
Taxi - Season 3
Tony Orlando and Dawn - The ULTIMATE Collection

September 20

Battlestar Galactica - Season 1
Crime Story - Season 2
Desperate Housewives - Season 1
From The Earth to the Moon - Signature Edition
Pretender - Season 2
SpongeBob Squarepants - Absorbing Favourites

September 27

Amazing Race - Season 1
Law and Order: SVU - Season 2
SpongeBob Squarepants - Season 3
Enterprise - Season 3

October is also looking good, with season 1 of CSI:NY and the third Looney Tunes Golden Collection already on the books. Movie releases and Fall TV analysis still to come.

24 - Season 4

Coming out on December 6 (click here to pre-order for $69.99 on Here's a breakdown of the contents of the set, courtesy of The Digital Bits:

All 24 episodes will be presented in anamorphic widescreen, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras will include audio commentary on 7:00AM-8:00AM (by Joel Surnow and Mary Lynn Rajskub), 12:00PM-1:00PM (by Joseph Hodges and Jon Cassar), 1:00PM-2:00PM (by Kim Raver and Joseph Hodges), 2:00PM-3:00PM (by Stephen Kornish and Peter Lenkov), 3:00PM-4:00PM (by Evan Katz and Shannon Doherty), 4:00PM-5:00PM (by Nestor Serrano and Stephen Kronish), 8:00PM-9:00PM (by Tim Iacofano and Shohreh Aghdashloo), 9:00PM-10:00PM (by Roger Cross and Bryan Spicer), 12:00AM-1:00AM (by Jon Cassar and Sean Callery), 1:00AM-2:00AM (by Paul Gadd and Ken Kobett), 4:00AM-5:00AM (by Matt Michnovetz and Duppy Demetris) and 6:00AM-7:00AM (by Bob Cochran and Scott Powell), some 35 deleted scenes available for viewing in a branched mode within each episode (and also separately with optional audio commentary by John Cassar on Disc Seven), 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes (including Breaking Ground: Building the New CTU, Blood on the Tracks, Lock and Load and 24 Conspiracy: Minute One to Minute Twenty-Four), a preview trailer for Season Five, a trailer for 24: The Game, The Longest Day music video and a 24: Season Five Prequel video (shot on location during the production of Season Five, which bridges Season Four and Five).

The prequel video is a valuable feature. Fox provided a 15-minute mini-episode with the third season box that introduced Habib Marwan and Erin Driscoll and explained why Jack was no longer employed by CTU at the start of the season. The season 4 prequel will likely be crucial in helping Jack get back to the U.S. after being rendered persona non grata at the end of season 4.