Friday movie roundup – July 21

My, what a busy week! Four new films open in wide release today, and not one of them is going to knock “Pirates of the Caribbean” off its perch. Even if it drops 50 percent from last week, that’s still $31 million.

Curiously, three of the four films have potential to do extremely well, just not well enough. “Clerks II,” the long-awaited sequel to the 1994 indie classic, has a wide base of rabid fans, but the film’s hard-R rating will keep its numbers low-ish.

“Lady in the Water” is the latest from M. Night Shyamalan. His films have opened huge ever since “The Sixth Sense,” and I think this one will be no different. Many of my brethren in the business, however, think audiences are getting tired of M. Night and “Lady in the Water” won’t open particularly well. The mostly negative reviews (including from me) certainly won’t help any.

“Monster House” is aimed at kids (a sure bet in July) and is getting mostly positive reviews. It’s also opening on more screens than the other new releases. Hence, many predict it will be the No. 2 film (after “Pirates,” of course). I just don’t see it, though. I don’t think there’s any anticipation for this movie. But maybe that’s because I don’t have kids watching 11,000 commercials for it on Nickelodeon every day.

The fourth new film is “My Super Ex-Girlfriend,” which nobody cares about, not even the people who made it.

I got to see “Clerks II” way back on June 8, the extra-early date being because the two stars were going to be available for phone interviews and of course we’d want to see the movie before we talked to them. I passed on the interviews, but not on the early screening, which was well-attended by local press and quasi-press. (“Press” people come out of the woodworks when there’s a hotly anticipated movie being screened.)

“Monster House” had about 10 evening promo screenings over the last month, including one last night. I saw it almost four weeks ago, on a record-settingly hot Monday evening. My pal at Willamette Week, David Walker, who had little interest in the film itself and wasn’t obligated to review it, showed up simply because he wanted to go someplace that was air-conditioned. Don the Movie Guy, who runs many of the local screenings, had chocolate for the kids, the leftovers of which he put in his trunk afterward and forgot about. So you can imagine how that turned out.

“Lady in the Water” screened this past Tuesday and “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” last night. I have no anecdotes to share regarding either experience, except to say that there was a woman at “Lady in the Water” who laughed LOUDLY at EVERYTHING in the film. I mean, I got some unintended giggles out of it, but this woman was GUFFAWING at stuff that wasn’t meant to be funny. Maybe she thought the movie was hilariously bad, or maybe she’s just one of those dimwits who laugh at everything.

Remember how “In the Dark” will send you an e-mail every week with the latest reviews, DVD releases and other important movie stuff? Well, it will.