Welcome to yet another What a Tease! column. Number 8 for those counting at home.
I’m feeling under the weather today and want to get this done in time to catch some Z’s. So without further ado…
Coming Soon :
Starring: Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sissy Spacek, Woody Harrelson, Sean Bean
Release Date: October 14th, 2005
Plot: When Josey Aimes returns to her hometown in Northern Minnesota after a failed marriage, she needs a good job. A single mother with two children to support, she turns to the predominant source of employment in the region – the iron mines. The last thing the miners want is women competing for scarce jobs – women who, in their estimation, have no business driving trucks and hauling rock anyway. When Josey speaks out against the treatment she and her fellow workers face it takes her farther than she ever imagined, ultimately inspiring countless others, and leading to the nation’s first-ever class action lawsuit for sexual harassment.
Analysis: Theron has picked another great project, this only her second film since winning the best actress award for her role in the 2003 film Monster. Technically it’s her third but one was the made for TV movie The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (a fine watch if you ever get the chance). Not even released yet, North Country is already getting a lot of award buzz. It’s too bad after this we need to put up with Aeon Flux and the Italian Job sequel. Spoilers are in it, but most are needed to let the viewer understand the mood of what’s to come.
Overall Rating: 8
Starring: Boris Kodjoe, Idris Elba, Nona Gaye, Clifton Powell, Aloma Wright
Release Date: October 7th, 2005
Plot: A young singer turns his back on God and his father’s church when tragedy strikes. He returns years later to find the once powerful congregation in disarray. With his childhood nemesis creating a “new vision” for the church, he is forced to deal with family turmoil, career suicide and relationship issues that send him on a collision course with redemption or destruction.
Analysis: The Gospel doesn’t look too bad but it will only attract a small audience. Not a whole lot is given durring the trailer, that’s mostly because the trailer is the choir (for some reason it took me about 8 attempts to correctly spell that word) singing a song. Besides that it gives the basics of what the movie is going to be about. It looks alright, but will it get anyone who isn’t religious to go see it? We’ll have to wait and find out.
Overall Rating: 4.5
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Amy Smart, Anna Faris, Chris Marquette, Chris Klein
Release Date: November 23, 2005
Plot: When a likable everyman is rejected by his true love, who says she wants to be just friends. So, he moves across the country and transforms himself into a selfish womanizer, only to return to his past persona when he reconnects with the girl who broke his heart.
Analysis: They can try mixing up the people, places and things all they want but this is a movie we’ve all seen countless times before. Boy wants girl, girls likes their platonic friendship, boy leaves town, boy’s life gets better, he comes home after years away, meets up with said girl, tries to win her over, hilarity ensues, he gets the girl. There I just saved you 10 bucks. It’s a movie that will be worth a rental or watching late at night on HBO, but why pay to go see a movie you’ve already seen?
Overall Rating: 5
The Squid and the Whale
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, Halley FeifferRelease Date: October 5th, 2005 (NY)
Plot: Bernard Berkman, the patriarch of an eccentric Brooklyn family, claims to have been a famous novelist but is now reduced to teaching. His wife Joan discovers a literary talent of her own, and it breaks up the family, leaving the two teenage sons, Walt, 16, and Frank, 12, divided between their parents. The wife starts an affair with her younger son’s tennis coach, while the husband starts sleeping with a student whom his elder son is courting.
Analysis: Here I was praying for an epic film featuring a giant squid versus a moderately sized whale in a fight to the death, I guess I’ll have to keep hoping for that to come to pass. But I digress, this looks like another great release by Sony’s independent studio and yet another movie to try and revive Jeff Daniels career. It’s a bit heavy on the spoilers side and watching it I can’t help but compare the trailer to American Beauty.
Overall Rating: 6
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: Oh Johnny Knoxville… how you mock me. Week in and week out I get stuck with one of his trailers, it’s never ending. I wonder if the ringer’s logo has so many stars on it because the studio knows any respectable critic isn’t going to give this movie any when they review it. This movie actually looks more offensive since watching the teaser trailer a couple days ago. Brian Cox your lucky you have work on Deadwood next season, because this is an all time low for you.
Overall Rating: .5
The Family Stone
Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Diane Keaton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claire Danes, Craig T. Nelson
Release Date: November 4th, 2005
Plot: A man brings his ice-queen girlfriend home for Christmas to meet his eccentric family. Overwhelmed by the hostile reception, the girlfriend begs her sister to join her for emotional support, only to trigger more problems.
Analysis: So Sarah Jessica Parker follows up her 6 season run on Sex and the City with a movie where her character is similar to Carrie Bradshaw and a love interest who bares a striking resemblance to Mr. Big. Yeah that’s really a change of pace isn’t it? The trailer is cute and will probably get holiday season movie goers to check it out, but in the end it’ll more than likely wind up being yet another forgotten romantic comedy.
Overall Rating: 5
Opening this Week :
The Greatest Game Ever Played
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Stephen Dillane, Justin Ashforth, Peter Firth, George Asprey
Release Date: September 30th, 2005
Plot: An amateur player from a working class family, Francis Ouimet (Shia LaBeouf) shocked the golf world when at the 1913 U.S. Open, flanked by his 10-year-old caddie, he defeated his idol, the defending British champion Harry Vardon (Stephen Dillane). An unlikely match-up – the ingÃƒÂ©nue versus the seasoned champ – theirs was the greatest match the sport had ever known. Caught between a world of hardship and a beckoning life of privilege, Francis needed to prove his unfailing will and ability to make it to the tournament. Elias Koteas plays Francis’ tough, hardworking father. Newcomer Peyton List is Sarah Wallis, the beautiful young woman, who catches Francis’ heart. Joshua Flitter is Eddie Lowery, the pint sized caddie who helps Francis find his way through the troublesome fairways to victory.
Analysis: Shia LaBeouf was really good in The Battle of Shaker Heights, the flick wasn’t great but his performance was the best part of that movie. So this one has me interested in seeing what he can do now that it appears he’s trying to shake that “child star” image and do more serious stuff. It’s hard to rate spoilers since it’s “based on a true story” so if you know the story you know the outcome. If you don’t it has an average amount. Scott got an advance peek and you can read his review here.
Overall Rating: 7
Into the Blue
Starring: Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Scott Caan, Ashley Scott, Josh Brolin
Release Date: September 30th, 2005
Plot: Into the Blue is a thriller set in the deep, shark-infested waters of the Bahamas. When four young divers discover a legendary shipwreck rumored to contain millions in gold at the bottom of the sea, they believe their dream of buried treasure has come true. But nearby on the ocean floor, a sunken plane full of illegal cargo threatens their find. The friends make a pact to keep quiet about both discoveries so they can excavate the shipwreck before a rival treasure hunter uncovers their secret and beats them to the gold. But their plan goes awry when they realize dangerous smugglers are already closing in on the missing plane, and one of the friends makes a fatal decision that quickly turns the treasure hunters into the hunted.
Analysis: Is this supose to be a remake of the 1977 The Deep or something? Because the two of them are eerily similar. Well the theaters will be filled with 13 year old boys this weekend, that’s for sure. But will all the scantily clad swimsuits Alba wears and Paul Walkers washboard abs equal a good movie? Let me consult my magic 8 ball… “Reply hazy, try again” you heard it here first folks. Save your money and go rent The Deep instead.
Overall Rating: 2
Starring: Ben Kingsley, Barney Clark, Jamie Foreman, Frank Finlay, Harry Eden
Release Date: September 30th, 2005
Plot: Orphaned at an early age, Oliver Twist is forced to live in a workhouse lorded over by the awful Mr. Bumble, who cheats the boys of their meager rations. Desperate yet determined, Oliver makes his escape to the streets of London. Penniless and alone, he is lured into a world of crime by the sinister Fagin, the mastermind of a gang of pint-sized pickpockets.
Analysis: I’ll probably be smacked around by the culture zone for what I’m about to say, but I’ve never read Oliver Twist. As far as I can remember it was never even assigned in English class, then again I never paid attention in that class to begin with. Nor have I watched any of the countless made for TV movies or mini series on the subject. So I’m probably the last person to comment on the trailer, but I’m going to any ways. Off the bat it’s leaving me with mixed feelings. Ben Kingsley appears in top form as always but there’s one thing that makes me question a movie like this, and its leading stars that are kids. If a movie is centered around a child and the kid playing that role can’t make it authentic then it takes away any magic the movie had in the first place. Here’s to hoping that Roman Polanski keeps this faithful and also casts kids who can act.
Overall Rating: 7
Serenity (trailer 2)
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Alan Tudyk, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Release Date: September 30th, 2005
Plot: Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran on the losing side of a galactic civil war, now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family – squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal. When Mal takes on two new passengers – a young doctor and his unstable, telepathic sister – he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl. The crew that was once used to skimming the outskirts of the galaxy unnoticed find themselves caught between the unstoppable military force of the Universal Alliance and the horrific, cannibalistic fury of the Reavers, savages who roam the very edge of space. Hunted by vastly different enemies, they begin to discover that the greatest danger to them may be on board Serenity herself. This is the feature film version of the late, lamented sci-fi cult TV series “Firefly.”
Analysis: I haven’t seen a single episode of Firefly which is probably why this trailer doesn’t do much for me. This is my pick for next weeks #1 movie. Not because it will be good, but because of Joss Whedon’s rabid fan base and the fact they’ll all buy 5 tickets each. The trailer has some really bad edge enhancements, the audio is surprisingly well. I might have to add the Firefly series to my blockbuster Queue and see what all the fuss is about this show.
Overall Rating: 5.5
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper, Clifton Collins Jr., Bruce Greenwood
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. IP’s very own Matthew Romanada got a chance to see this a while back at the Toronto Film Festival, you can read his review of the movie here. You should also check out his 5 part recap of the festival part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.
Overall Rating: 6.5
Starring: Stephanie Leonidas, Gina McKee, Rob Brydon, Jason Barry, Stephen Fry
Release Date: September 30th, 2005 (Limited)
Plot: This is the story of Helena (Stephanie Leonidas), a fifteen-year-old girl working for her family circus, who wishes – quite ironically – that she could run away from the circus and join real life. But such is not to be the case, as she finds herself on a strange journey into the Dark Lands, a fantastic landscape filled with giants, monkeybirds and dangerous sphinxes. On her quest to return home, Helena searches for the Mirrormask, an object of enormous power, which is her only hope of escaping the Dark Lands.
Analysis: It’s Being described as a cross between The Wizard of Oz and Labyrinth, after watching that trailer I honestly can’t think of a better blend of twisted goodness. The trailer gives VERY little away as far as any story goes but visually it’s just breath taking. Honestly I think Mirror Mask just seems a bit too obscure for mainstream America, but it’ll surely find its niche audience once the DVDs hit store shelves.
Overall rating: 7
Number One Movie at the Box Office :
Flightplan (Trailer 3)
Starring: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Erika Christensen, Sean Bean, Haley Ramm
Plot: Flying at 40,000 feet in a cavernous, state-of-the-art E-474 aircraft, Kyle Pratt (Foster) faces every mother’s worst nightmare when her six-year-old daughter Julia vanishes without a trace mid-flight from Berlin to New York. Already emotionally devastated by the unexpected death of her husband, Kyle desperately struggles to prove her sanity to the disbelieving flight crew and passengers while facing the very real possibility that she may be losing her mind. While neither the plane’s Captain Rich (Sean Bean), nor Air Marshal Gene Carson (Peter Sarsgaard) want to doubt the bereaved widow, all evidence indicates that her daughter was never on board resulting in paranoia and doubt among the passengers and crew of the plane. Finding herself desperately alone, Kyle can only rely on her own wits to solve the mystery and save her daughter.
Analysis: Well you people chose to go see this over something more worth your time. Like reading a book, hell I’m sure Entertainment Weekly is more enlightening than this movie was. You made your bed now you have to sleep in it. Read McCullar’s review here on why you should spend you time and money on something better. The Association of Flight Attendants are having a fit over the portayal of flight attendants in this movie… yeah because it’s the actions of the stewardesses that make this movie so far fetched.
Overall Rating: 3
And that wraps up this week.
All images courtesy of IMPawards.com & Apple.com