directed by Adam McKay
Funny guys Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are paired yet again in—what else?—a screwball comedy about men refusing to face adulthood. Co-written by Ferrell and director Adam McKay, Step Brothers is the third and final film in the writers’ contract with Sony Studios (Anchorman and Talladega Nights round out the trio). Ferrell and Reilly play new step brothers who must learn to live and tolerate one another as they suffer through the qualms of being 40 going on 12. Though there’s hope that Ferrell can keep this film afloat (unlike fellow “Saturday Night Live” alums Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy, whose recent films flopped at the box office), there’s no denying that the actor’s projects are gradually becoming repetitive and mediocre. It makes one wonder if Ferrell and McKay should just stick to the small stuff, since their hilarious shorts on their popular Website, Funny or Die, deliver every time.
The X-Files: I Want to Believe
directed by Chris Carter
Reunited and it feels so good. Golden Globe winners David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are back together as FBI agents Mulder and Scully, respectively, in the latest big-screen installment of Chris Carter’s beloved television series. Carter has done a damn good job at heightening anticipation, revealing trailers that are as shady as the Cigarette Smoking Man and offering a one-word description of the plot: Unknown. During production, the film’s script (the plot of which has by now been leaked) was even kept under tighter surveillance than Area 51. Despite only knowing that there will be aliens, government conspiracies and Duchovny eye candy, the film should expect a strong showing at the box office. “The X-Files” made believers out of all of us and maybe this time, we’ll finally discover what’s out there.
directed by Julian Jarrold
An adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel of the same name, this saucy period piece follows Charles, an officer in the British Army during WWII who looks back on his time spent with an Oxford schoolmate at his family’s lavish estate. Originally under the direction of David Yates, the film was set to star Hollywood A-listers Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly and Jude Law. But when Yates dropped out to direct the next installment of Harry Potter, he was replaced by Becoming Jane director Julian Jarrold and a whole new set of British up-and-comers who hope to frown and pout their way to the top of awards season.
directed by John Crowley
A small and unassuming film that was initially made for British television, Boy A has had an impressive run across the pond, winning numerous BAFTA Television Awards including Best Director for John Crowley and Best Actor for up-and-comer Andrew Garfield. After a strong showing at the 2008 Tribeca and Berlin International Film Festivals, this adaptation from the Jonathan Trigell novel of the same name is more than ready for the big screen. Independent moviemaking at its finest, Boy A has all the necessary elements to be an arthouse hit: A brooding lead actor, brilliant cinematography and an intensely crafted script. Hopefully, it will translate well to American audiences.
directed by Nanette Burstein
American Teen made quite an impression at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize and received the prestigious Directing Award. Documentarian and Academy Award nominee Nanette Burstein chronicles the lives of four high school seniors living in the small town of Warsaw, Indiana, introducing each teen as a clichéd stereotype only to then dig deeper beneath the surface. If you need a parallel, it’s just like “Laguna Beach” except, you know, unscripted. After attending a screening at Sundance, Jason Reitman, Oscar-nominated director of Juno, claimed that American Teen was his favorite film at the festival. Though documentaries are often adored at festivals, they continue to have poor showings when they premiere before a national box office. Can American Teen change the current tide? Check back at MovieMaker.com each Monday for our weekly Top of the Box Office report.