Damn, but there are a lot of movies opening wide this week -- or in the case of two of them, that opened wide on Wednesday. So I'm going to go waaaaay out on a limb and make this bold prediction: This is the weekend that Night at the Museum FINALLY falls out of the top five. You heard it here first! Or second, or third, or you know, whatever.
Ghost Rider: Nicolas Cage is the cyclist with the flaming skull and Eva Mendes is the love of his life in this adaptation of the Marvel comic book. To paraphrase the song from Grease 2, "He's a ghooooost rider ... and if he's hot enough, he will burn you through and through, whoa, whoa!" Granted, I may be the only person in history to reference Grease 2 and Ghost Rider in the same sentence ... and I'm OK with that. The film, which is about cyclist Johnny Blaze -- who sells his soul to Mephistopheles to save his father's life, and must then become the vigilante Ghost Rider -- is high-profile to say the least, and it's the only action film opening, and it's showing on a whopping 3,619 screens. You do the math.
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Bridge to Terabithia: We swing to the other end of the moviegoing spectrum with another adaptation, this one of the Newbery (yes, that's how you spell it) Award-winning children's book. Josh Hutcherson (Zathura) is Jess, an introverted farm kid; AnnaSophia Robb (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is Leslie, the decidedly not introverted new girl who moves in next door. They become friends and create an imaginary kingdom, Terabithia, in the woods across the river. I saw the film last week, and, having read the book, I'll admit I was nervous at the prospect of this being turned into a fantasy flick, with what was only suggested on the page -- Terabithia and its inhabitants -- being made "real." But I shouldn't have worried. The movie manages to pump up the story's visual elements while capturing what makes the book special: the strength of Jess and Leslie's friendship, the power of imagination, and the joy and pain involved in having to grow up. Move over, Museum ...
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