Welcome to yet another riveting edition of What a Tease! and on time no less!
I was able to catch a few movies this week, Cinderella Man,War of the Worlds,Hustle & Flow and Bad News Bears. And watching them I ran across a few trailers I wanted to put in the column but I can’t find them anywhere on the net. So I’ll have to hold them off until another time. For the record, Cinderella Man is by far the best movie to be released this year.
Now to the trailers.
Wallace & Gromit Movie: The Curse of the Wererabbit
Starring: Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, John Thomson, Peter Kay
Release Date: October 7th, 2005
Plot: Wallace and Gromit are cashing in with their humane pest-control outfit, “Anti-Pesto.” With only days to go before the annual Giant Vegetable Competition, business is booming, but Wallace & Gromit are finding out that running a “humane” pest control outfit has its drawbacks as their West Wallaby Street home fills to the brim with captive rabbits. Suddenly, a huge, mysterious, veg-ravaging “beast” begins attacking the town’s sacred vegetable plots at night, and the competition hostess, Lady Tottington, commissions Anti-Pesto to catch it and save the day. Lying in wait, however, is Lady Tottington’s snobby suitor, Victor Quartermaine, who’d rather shoot the beast and secure the position of local hero – not to mention Lady Tottingon’s hand in marriage. With the fate of the competition in the balance, Lady Tottington is eventually forced to allow Victor to hunt down the vegetable chomping marauder. Little does she know that Victor’s real intent could have dire consequences for her…and Wallace & Gromit.
Analysis: I haven’t seen these two in years, I remember watching them on tv years back, none of the material is coming to mind, but it was humorous. I hope parents bring their kids to this one just because so much animation is being switched over to computers, it’s good to see animators working with their hands instead of something that requires a keyboard and mouse. Not many spoilers to speak of, it keeps things light but still doesn’t keep you so far in the dark about the plot you have no clue about what’s going on.
Overall Rating: 6.5
Memoirs of a Geisha
Starring: Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Gong Li, Michelle Yeoh, Koji Yakusho
Release Date: December 9th, 2005
Plot: In 1929 an impoverished nine-year-old named Chiyo from a fishing village is sold to a geisha house in Kyoto’s Gion district and subjected to cruel treatment from the owners and the head geisha Hatsumomo. Her stunning beauty attracts the vindictive jealousy of Hatsumomo, until she is rescued by and taken under the wing of Hatsumomo’s bitter rival, Mameha. Under Mameha’s mentorship, Chiyo becomes the geisha named Sayuri, trained in all the artistic and social skills a geisha must master in order to survive in her society. As a renowned geisha she enters a society of wealth, privilege, and political intrigue. As World War II looms Japan and the geisha’s world are forever changed by the onslaught of history.
Analysis: Since when did Zhang Ziyi start calling herself Ziyi Zhang? Not a lot of talk about this movie right now, but this December I’m sure critics will be all over it. From the trailer it certainly is worth adding to a “watch list” of movies this holiday season to keep an eye out for. Spoilers are sparse and overall it’s a very enjoyable thing to watch.
Overall Rating: 7.5
Starring: Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore, AndrÃƒÂ© Benjamin, Mem Ferda
Release Date: January 26, 2006 (Limited)
Plot: Hotshot Las Vegas gambler Jake Green is rarely allowed to play in the casinos because he’s a winner. Jake has taken in so much money, in fact, that he’s the only client of his accountant and older brother, Billy. Jake, Billy and their other brother Joe are invited to sit in on a private game. Crime boss and casino owner, Dorothy Macha is sitting in on the game, too. Though he’s a terrible player he always wins because people are scared to lose to him. Jake not only beats Dorothy but insults the man. Macha puts out a hit on Jake, but Jake ends up working for and being protected by a pair of brothers, Avi and Zack, who are out to take Dorothy down.
Analysis: I had so much hope in Statham, but it seems like every movie he’s picked to make in the past four years have been horrible and from the trailer this one looks no different from the rest. Not much is given away in the trailer to draw any conclusions from, generally that’s a good thing but it’s all style over substance giving away little if any plot. I hope this is just poor marketing because Statham and Ritchie are magic together and god knows Jason needs a home run at the box office. UK readers can check this flick out in about 3 weeks while those in the US will be waiting until early 2006.
Overall Rating: 4
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Brian Cox, Katherine Heigl, Zen Gesner, Bill Chott
Release Date: December 23rd, 2005
Plot: When Steve Barker (Johnny Knoxville) finds himself running dead last in the corporate rat race, he sinks to an all time low…he attempts to rig the Special Olympics by pretending to be intellectually challenged. But, Barker is completely out-classed by his fellow Olympians, who are not only better athletes; they’re just plain better people. And they’re on to him. But rather than rat-out the rat, they join forces with him to once and for all beat Jimmy, the cocky reigning champion of the annual games. With a work-out regime uniquely their own, they train Barker to go for the gold and, in the process, show him what’s at the heart of a true winner.
Analysis: Knoxville playing a guy pretending to be mentally challenged? Yeah I could buy that, it’s classless and tasteless but I could believe it. This is only the teaser trailer and is probably going to be the only funny thing to come from the movie. I mean come on, a priest punching Knoxville and tossing him out of the church. In this day and age it really means something when even a man of the cloth feels he has more morals than you.
Overall Rating: 4
Starring: Meryl Streep, Uma Thurman, Bryan Greenberg, Jon Abrahams, Jerry Adler
Release Date: October 28th, 2005
Plot: Rafi is a recently divorced 37-year-old career woman from Manhattan, and Dave is a talented 23-year-old painter from Brooklyn who falls in love with her. Part counselor, part Jewish mother, Rafi’s therapist Lisa is gingerly helping Rafi out of her post-divorce slump and through the urgent alarm of her ticking biological clock. Although doubtful that Rafi’s new fling is an appropriate partner in the long term, Lisa encourages her patient to enjoy it and have fun. But once Lisa accidentally discovers that Rafi’s new boyfriend is, in fact, her son, Dave, she finds it increasingly difficult to act the good therapist while hearing intimate details of her son’s love life. Soon, the secret is out and cultures clash, complications arise, civil arguments erupt and a storm of opinions swirl around the couple at the center of all this comic fuss.
Analysis: Too much of the story is given away in this trailer, it’s fairly simple to come across spoilers while watching without even keeping an eye out for them. This movie’s a toss up, on one side the movie has Meryl Streep in it who I have never been a fan of, however this is a role where I think she’ll be tolerable. And on the other is Uma Thurman being hotter than hot. I never knew Uma was in to younger guys, I have a viable shot at getting her! Now to figure out how to convince her to lift those restraining orders…
Overall Rating: 5.5
Rumor Has It
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Shirley MacLaine, Kevin Costner, Mark Ruffalo, Mena Suvari
Release Date: December 25th, 2005
Plot: A young woman returns home to Pasadena, determined to unravel a family secret before she gets married. She learns “The Graduate” might have been based on her kin, and that her grandmother was the inspiration for Mrs. Robinson. Then she finds herself embroiled in an affair with an older man as history repeats itself.
Analysis: Why does Jennifer Aniston continues to believe she has the talent to become a movie star? OK, you were on the iconic Friends series, we get it. Now go brush up on your poker skills because your bound to appear on Celebrity Poker Showdown any time now with the rest of your fellow cast mates. So she’s playing the grand child of “Mrs. Robinson” falling in love with the real life version of “Ben Braddock” like her mother and grandmother before her? A movie based on real life events that were turned in to a book and then had a movie made based on it. This idea makes my brain hurt. The trailer is predictable and filled with spoilers. When this comes out just go rent the original The Graduate instead.
Overall Rating: 3.5
Fun With Dick and Jane
Starring: Jim Carrey, Angie Harmon, Tea Leoni, Jeff Garlin, Alec Baldwin
Release Date: December 21st, 2005
Plot: A wealthy couple loses their main source of income, causing both to turn to a life of crime — as they organize various heists on their rich friends’ accounts.
Analysis: Looks funny and could possibly be a surprise hit this winter but it’s too early to tell anything. A family loses their major sources of income so they start robbing people. I wouldn’t blame them, if gas prices keep going up I’m about to go hold up a 7eleven myself. The trailer I believe is a teaser and only gives out the bare essentials of what the audience needs to look forward to the movie with a perfect runtime using every second to its full potential. The only sore spot I can find in this movie is TÃƒÂ©a Leoni who can’t not come off as annoying on screen.
Overall Rating: 5.5
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper, Clifton Collins Jr., Mark Pellegrino
Release Date: September 30th, 2005 (NY/LA)
Plot: On November 15, 1959, the brutal murder of a family in a small Kansas town sent shockwaves through the nation and captured the attention of one of the most distinctive minds of our time. One-of-a-kind author Truman Capote was sent to Kansas to pen an article about the crimes for The New Yorker magazine. He ended up writing one of the most celebrated books of the century. Capote follows Truman Capote (Hoffman) on his odyssey to create the landmark bestseller “In Cold Blood.” With signature style and mordant wit – and his friend Harper Lee (Keener) in tow – Capote attempts to charm the locals and work his way into the story behind the murders. He’s soon shocked, however, to find himself forming a friendship with one of the killers, Perry Smith (Collins). As the book nears completion and execution day approaches, Capote finds himself torn in directions he never anticipated and is forever changed by his experiences.
Analysis: I’m in the dark about this biopic, I’ve never heard about the book nor the people this is based upon. From my perspective it could be something special and a story worth watching. There aren’t many spoilers that I can pick out in it. Currently there are two biopics being filmed about these events, the other one will be released some time next year. While that one will have more star power, this cast seems to be very motivated in their roles.
Overall Rating: 6.5
Opening this Week:
The Constant Gardener
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Danny Huston, Archie Panjabi, Bill Nighy
Release Date: August 31st, 2005
Plot: Based on the best-selling John le CarrÃƒÂ© novel and from the Academy
Award-nominated director of “City of God.” In a remote area of Northern Kenya, activist Tessa Quayle (Rachel Weisz) is found brutally murdered. Tessa’s companion, a doctor, appears to have fled the scene, and the evidence points to a crime of passion. Members of the British High Commission in Nairobi assume that Tessa’s widower, their mild-mannered and unambitious colleague Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), will leave the matter to them. They could not be more wrong. Haunted by remorse and jarred by rumors of his late wife’s infidelities, Quayle surprises everyone by embarking on a personal odyssey that will take him across three continents. Using his privileged access to diplomatic secrets, he will risk his own life, stopping at nothing to uncover and expose the truth – a conspiracy more far-reaching and deadly than Quayle could ever have imagined.
Analysis: This is the only worthy movie this week for you to spend your money on. Simple as that. The story, director & cast are all top notch. The trailer is compelling and mysterious not to mention beautifully shot. There are a couple of spoilers but I have a feeling that compared to the full picture, what’s reveled in this is only the top layer of what’s to come.
Overall Rating: 7
Starring: Michael Showalter, Michelle Williams, Elizabeth Banks, Justin Theroux, Peter Dinklage
Release Date: September 2nd, 2005 (LA)
Plot: What’s a “Baxter?” According to Elliott Sherman’s grandmother, a “Baxter” is a guy who never gets the girl. And Elliott certainly qualifies. An obsessive-compulsive accountant prone to wrong moves, Elliot could very well miss out on his perfect match as he pursues the blonde bombshell who will never love him but who just might marry him.
Analysis: I wanted to add this last week but it must have gotten lost in the shuffle, luckily last week it was only released in NY and this week in LA. Stella fans will go see it, there’s no doubt about that but will anyone else? It looks like it at least tries to appeal to a mass audience but I doubt that will happen (the limited release sure doesn’t help). Here’s hoping that this hits DVD as soon as possible.
Overall Rating: 4
Starring: Jason Statham, Alessandro Gassman, Amber Valletta, Kate Nauta, Matthew Modine
Release Date: September 2nd, 2005
Plot: Retired in Miami, ex-Special Forces operative, Frank Martin, makes a living driving for the wealthy Billings family. He’s a huge favorite with their two small boys, but when the kids are kidnapped and injected with a potentially fatal virus, Frank defies the FBI and works relentlessly to get the boys to safety and discover the kidnapper’s master plan.
Analysis: So in the sequel the transporter’s arch nemesis is a blonde haired woman who wears too much mascara, leather pants and a pink bikini top? Oh I’m sure she will be known for year to come as one of the most revered villains ever… oh wait no, she’ll be forgotten by next month. The entire concept makes no sense since The Transporter wasn’t even good to begin with. It’ll be a giant action fest and to some that’s all they need, but sometimes a movie has to make sense to begin with in order for viewers to shut their brains off and watch things blow up. Remember how I said Statham makes bad movie decisions? Yup.
Overall Rating: 3.5
A Sound of Thunder
Starring: Edward Burns, Catherine McCormack, Ben Kingsley, Jemima Rooper, David Oyelowo
Release Date: September 2nd, 2005
Plot: Set in a near future where time travel is possible, this is the story of a travel agency, Time Safari Inc. (owned and managed by Kingsley’s character), that arranges hunting trips for wealthy customers back in time to hunt dinosaurs. Each trip is carefully planned, with a scout identifying dinosaurs about to die, and then sending the clients back just seconds before, so the course of time is not altered by the kill. However, in this case, a nervous hunter steps off the trail, and steps on a butterfly. The historical repercussions of the death of a single butterfly, compounded by millions of years of effects, leaves the hunters to return to a future that is not quite the one they came from… Now, Travis Ryer (Burns), the lead dinosaur hunter, must team up with Sonia Rand (McCormack), the inventor of the time machine technology to stop the “time waves” that are rippling up from this event, threatening to erase humanity from existance.
Analysis: wasn’t this a Simpsons episode? You remember, the one where Homer goes back in time with a toaster he was fixing and wound up screwing up that space time continuum. Well this comes out tomorrow and I haven’t seen a single TV spot for it which has to mean the studio don’t want to put any more money in to this thing. And I can see why by how laughable the graphics in the trailer are.
Overall Rating: 2
Starring: Nick Cannon, Roselyn Sanchez, Shawn Ashmore, Cheech Marin, Kelly Hu
Release Date: September 2nd, 2005
Plot: A baby-faced 24-year-old detective, who never gets the respect he deserves because of his boyish looks, goes undercover in an elite private school where he stumbles upon an international auto-theft ring.
Analysis: What does Nick Cannon do when he can’t find work? That’s right become executive producer of a movie that he wants to be the lead in. The trailer has it’s moments but everything is rehashed from movies that did a better job with the material in the first place. The movie will get teen’s to go see it but in the end, it’s nothing special.
Overall Rating: 2
Number One Movie At the Box Office:
The 40 Year Old Virgin
Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen
Plot: 40-year-old Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) has done quite a few things in his life. He’s got a cushy job stamping invoices at an electronics superstore, a nice apartment with a proud collection of action figures and comic books, good friends, a nice attitude. But there’s just one little thing he hasn’t quite gotten around to doing yet–something most people have done by his age. Andy’s never, ever, ever had sex. His friends at the store consider it their duty to help, but nothing proves effective enough until he meets Trish (Catherine Keener), a 40-year-old mother of three. Andy’s friends are psyched by the possibility that “it” may finally happen…until they hear that Andy and Trish have begun their relationship based on a mutual no-sex policy.
Analysis: The trailer may still be filled with spoilers, but it doesn’t hide the fact that this is being called the greatest comedy to come out so far this year by just about every critic. Be sure to read Scott Sawitz’s review here and then go see this movie!
Overall rating: 6.5
And that wraps up this week.
All images courtesy of IMPawards.com, Apple.com & IMDB.com.