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New Tarantino Film Tops US Most Popular Movie List

Quentin Tarantino's first film in six years is a box office killer. Extravagantly violent and bloody, it nevertheless opens in first place at North American theaters. Also new to the box office chart this week: a family comedy featuring a talking dog from outer space and an adult comedy about love and divorce.

Denzel Washington plays a small town police chief whose romantic entanglements drag him into a murder investigation in which he is the number one suspect. Out Of Time ends up in fifth place.

The new sentimental comedy Good Boy! is about a boy and his dog; but this dog comes from outer space . . . and he can talk.

Matthew Broderick is the voice of Hubble, the dog; Liam Aiken is lonely little Owen who adopts him or is it the other way around? The cast also includes Molly Shannon and Kevin Nealon as Owen's parents; Nealon admits that he thought about the famous warning by long ago star W.C. Fields n-o-t to work with dogs or small children.

"I know that W.C. Fields saying, but working on this film, I didn't have a lot of contact with the dogs and the stuff I did with them was very easy. They were very well trained and smart dogs and they hit their marks," says Nealon. " As for working with Liam, he was just really unique. He wasn't like one of these spoiled child actors. He's doing this film, but he's a kid. He rides his bike and plays video games. He has friends and he lives in New Jersey. Watching the film I thought 'man, he is really good' with his subtle nuances and a kind of minimalist approach. I learned a lot from just watching him. "

Good Boy! laps up a fourth place opening.

The writing-directing Coen Brothers reunite with George Clooney for Intolerable Cruelty, a razor-sharp, screwball send-up of love and marriage. Catherine Zeta-Jones plays a conniving divorcee; Clooney is the slick divorce lawyer who falls for her.

"I think the fun part about these characters is that they both don't realize the trouble they're in emotionally until they run into each other. They're both romantics in this horrible, screwed-up life that they live," explains Clooney. "That's sort of the fun of it. That's the idea of a good screwball romantic comedy. We all know the ending of a romantic comedy and the truth is that's why actors don't do them that often anymore. It's very hard to do a romantic comedy: hey, surprise, they're going to get together . . . there's a shock. So these elements and the ones in this film seemed more fun because we know what's going to happen, but it seemed like the journey was more interesting and a little darker."

Intolerable Cruelty debuts at number three.

The School Of Rock stars Jack Black as an immature 'wannabe' entertainer who refuses to give up his rock star dreams no matter how often people scold him to 'grow up.'

"I didn't want to say that to him. I wanted to say 'go, don't listen to those people who tell you can't.' Yes, it is a celebration of immaturity and in many ways that's my whole bread and butter," he says.

He forms a new rock band with the young school kids and each learns a lot about growing up. The School Of Rock is in second place, bumped from the top by the debut of writer/director Quentin Tarantino's cinematic celebration of big screen violence.

Kill Bill Volume 1 stars Uma Thurman as a betrayed assassin who seeks violent revenge on her former partners in crime.

"I have to say it was tough to get there from where I started, but when I watch the movie I was kind of amazed because, you know, he walks that black comedy line and I always had this sneaking fear that maybe the joke was I wasn't going to succeed," says Thurman. "That's what would be really funny about me doing all these things: the sword fighting and the two styles of kung fu and knife throwing and speaking Japanese. He couldn't have written me a longer list of impossible tasks to attempt and be expert at."

Graphically gruesome with beheadings, dismemberments and various other extremely bloody scenes Kill Bill Volume 1 opens a new chapter at North American theaters, starting its run at number one on the box office chart. The story concludes with Volume 2, due out next February.