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Comics of Asian Descent Put Themselves Onstage via @NYTimes

Appaloosa Archives -

Appaloosa Archives -

Mack Chico


2008/10/06 at 12:00am

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is tops at the box-office

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is tops at the box-office

“Beverly Hills Chihuahua” was barking up the right tree with movie-goers, who put the Disney comedy at No. 1 for the weekend with a $29 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday.

Featuring a talking Chihuahua with Drew Barrymore’s voice, the family flick about a pampered pooch lost in Mexico led a surge of new movies that boosted Hollywood business, which generally has slumped the last two months.

The top-12 movies hauled in $95.4 million, up 42 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when “The Game Plan” was No. 1 with $16.6 million.

The previous weekend’s No. 1 movie, the DreamWorks-Paramount thriller “Eagle Eye,” slipped to second-place with $17.7 million, raising its total to $54.6 million.

The PG-rated “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” took advantage of a long drought for movies aimed at families, who found the idea of a chatty Chihuahua irresistible.

Hollywood’s other new wide releases had fair to poor premieres.

Sony’s “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings as teens who fall for each other on a wild New York City night, had a sturdy No. 3 debut of $12 million.

The Warner Bros. Western “Appaloosa,” which had played two weeks in a handful of theaters, expanded solidly to come in at No. 5 with $5 million. “Appaloosa” was directed by Ed Harris, who stars with Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger.

Vivendi Entertainment’s “An American Carol,” a satire of Hollywood’s liberal politics from director David Zucker (“Airplane!”), debuted at No. 9 with $3.8 million. The movie stars Kevin Farley as a Michael Moore-type filmmaker aiming to abolish the Fourth of July holiday.

Universal’s “Flash of Genius,” starring Greg Kinnear as the engineer who invented intermittent windshield wipers then spent decades suing automakers over the innovation, opened weakly with $2.3 million, finishing at No. 11.

Two other movies, the comedy “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” and the apocalyptic “Blindness,” both bombed.

Miramax’s “Blindness,” featuring Julianne Moore, Danny Glover and Mark Ruffalo in a nightmare tale about a plague of sightlessness, took in just $2 million, averaging an anemic $1,185 in 1,690 theaters.

“How to Lose Friends and Alienate People,” released by MGM and starring Kirsten Dunst and Simon Pegg in a celebrity satire set at a slick magazine, did $1.4 million in 1,750 theaters for a feeble $801 average.

By comparison, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” averaged $9,020 in 3,215 theaters; “Nick and Norah” pulled in $4,957 in 2,421 locations; “Appaloosa” did $4,799 in 1,045 cinemas; “An American Carol” took in $2,325 in 1,639 sites; and “Flash of Genius” did $2,120 in 1,098 theaters.

In narrower release, Bill Maher’s documentary “Religulous” opened well, placing No. 10 with $3.5 million in 502 theaters, averaging $6,972. The Lionsgate release follows Maher as he travels the world to mock one of his favorite topics, organized religion.

Anne Hathaway’s “Rachel Getting Married” had a strong start in limited release, taking in $302,934 in nine theaters for a whopping $33,659 average. The Sony Pictures Classics drama stars Hathaway as an addict who leaves rehab to come home for her sister’s wedding and forces her family to relive the anguish of past tragedy.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Media By Numbers LLC. Final figures will be released Monday.

1. “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” $29 million.

2. “Eagle Eye,” $17.7 million.

3. “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” $12 million.

4. “Nights in Rodanthe,” $7.4 million.

5. “Appaloosa,” $5 million.

6. “Lakeview Terrace,” $4.5 million.

7. “Burn After Reading,” $4.08 million.

8. “Fireproof,” $4.07 million.

9. “An American Carol,” $3.8 million.

10. Religulous, $3.5 million.

Mack Chico


2008/09/17 at 12:00am


Rated: R for some violence and language.
Release Date: 2008-09-17
Starring: Robert Knott, Ed Harris
Film Genre:
Country: USA
Official Website:

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Appaloosa, based on the book by Bostonian writer Robert B. Parker, is not your Clint Eastwood western. It is unconventional, caustic, and dare I say, peculiar. Ed Harris, who directed, co-wrote and stars in the film missed an opportunity at creating an Oscar worthy film, if only he would have altered the novel’s story a bit.


The plot is about ruthless rancher, Bragg (Jeremy Irons), and his gang who shoot up the town of Appaloosa whenever they get the urge.  When three of the hired hands kill a man and rape his wife, the local marshal goes out to Bragg’s ranch and gets gunned down in cold blood. Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) are the exact problem solvers the town needs since they are “policemen” who do the dirty work no one else will do. The city aldermen hire them to bring Bragg to heel. Cole agrees to the job, and so the war begins. Somewhere along the way Cole falls in love with a harlot piano player (Renée Zellwegger) and tensions begin to flare amongst the men.


Overall, Appaloosa is not a bad movie, but just like the book, it was not laid out coherently. There are moments when you do not understand the character’s decision making, thus, making you question the entertainment value.


Nevertheless, the film’s best trait is the back and forth dialogue between Mortensen and Harris, and in some instances, Irons. The acting is sincerely superb, with the exception of Ms. Zellwegger, who just like in Clooney’s ‘Leatherheads’, brings the movie to a low. In addition, she has not been looking her best these days and is evident in close ups. I wonder if Harris has something against her, because there were a bevy of those. Coincidently, one of Parker’s most used (debatably over-used) themes is that of a good man loving a bad, feeble woman, one that Harris obviously agrees with. While juggling that theme with the war against Bragg, something does get lost. A little disinterest kicks in, as well as wariness.


Thankfully, Viggo’s presence, appearance and demeanor make up for the brief incongruous periods. To be frank, if the film dealt more with Hitch than Cole we could be talking about an Oscar candidate for best picture and actor for Mortensen. If only Harris would have adapted the novel rather than be so faithful to the book.


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