A Year at the Movies 2005
Asylum: Natasha Richardson plays a psychiatrist’s wife, drawn to a patient (Marton Csokas) at the institution her husband helps run. Magneto also stars. As long as you can guarantee me this movie will have nothing in common with GOTHIKA, maybe I’ll consider it. But keep in mind I’m still scarred from GOTHIKA.
Paramount Classics, May/June.
Casshern: Director Kazuaki Kiriya presents an anime film that also adds some manga-like live-action bits, too. The pic is set in the mid-21st century after a half-century of chemical, biological and nuclear warfare.
Go Fish Pictures, fall.
The Constant Gardener: Ralph Fiennes, who seems to gravitate toward movies that have less-than-exciting titles, does so again. Of course, his instincts are usually good, and since this is based on a John Le CarrÈ book, co-stars Rachel Weisz and is directed by CITY OF GOD’s Fernando Meirelles, that seems likely here, too.
Focus Features, TBA.
Eternal: “A hard-boiled Montreal vice detective’s fascination with an attractive aristocrat leads him to a bloody trail of women’s bodies. Conrad Pla and Caroline NÈron star. Directed by Wilhelm Liebenberg and Federico Sanchez.”
here!/Regent Releasing, Spring.
Fascination: Jacqueline Bisset (and I’d recommend you rent THE DEEP if you’re not familiar with Jackie) gets remarried a little too soon after her husband dies, causing her son, Adam Garcia, to get suspicious over the new guy and his daughter.
MGM, Jan. 28.
Fear X: John Turturro is a Wisconsin mall security guard who becomes obsessed with the seemingly random murder of his wife in this film co-written by the guy who wrote REQUIEM FOR A DREAM.
Silver Nitrate, Jan. 28.
Flightplan: Jodie Foster’s daughter disappears on a flight and no one believes that she was ever on there. Why does this remind you of THE FORGOTTEN? It doesn’t–in fact, that movie needs to be forgotten, it was so bad. This one, well, let’s hope it’s better.
Touchstone Pictures, Sept. 30.
A History of Violence: Based on a comic, yes, but don’t worry, you’ll never know it. Viggo Mortensen plays a man whose quiet lifestyle is turned upside-down after a bloody incident forces him to return to his secret past to save his family. First of all, you know that Viggo’s not going to live a quiet lifestyle for long–he just ain’t built that way. And since it’s directed by freaky David Cronenberg and features freak-ass actor William Hurt, you know it’s going to be even weirder than that. With Maria Bello and Ed Harris, too.
New Line Cinema, TBA.
The Interpreter: As much as Sean Penn threatens to overwhelm a movie with his uber-acting, this one looks good from the trailer (which shows too damn much). Nicole Kidman is a U.N. worker who overhears a death threat, getting her involved in all kinds of intrigue. Directed by Sydney Pollack.
Universal Pictures, April 22.
The Island: No, not a remake of the Michael Caine Peter Benchley adaptation (although that one freaked me out as a kid), this is instead set in the future as Young Ob-Wan and Scarlett Johansson try to escape from an island where clones are being harvested. Directed by Michael Bay, so expect an explosion or six.
The Jacket: Adrien Brody, who’s done as much impressive post-Oscar work as Halle Berry (which means, not much, although he might break that streak here) is an amnesiac Gulf War veteran charged with murdering a police officer and confined to a mental institution where he is subjected to an extreme form of treatment. Keira Knightley and Kris Kristofferson are along for the ride, too.
Warner Independent Pictures, March 4.
Kontroll: “The labyrinthine Budapest subway is the setting for a race against time among three people, one of whom is a killer. With S·ndor Cs·nyi, Zolt·n Mucsi and Csaba Pindroch. Directed by NimrÛd Antal.” These kinds of movies always make me feel claustrophobic, but in a good way.
Layer Cake: A producer of LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS directs his first movie here, about a drug dealer who has a couple things to take care of before he can retire. Hopefully one of which is giving this movie a better name.
Sony Pictures Classics, April 15.
Mindhunters: How long has this been delayed? Not long enough, I don’t think. Christian Slater continues his push for obscurity, and drags down LL Cool J and Val Kilmer here, too. Eight FBI profilers in a remote locale come to realize that one of them is a serial killer blah blah blah. Directed by Renny Harlin.
Dimension Films, May 13.
Night Watch: The next great trilogy? In Russia, if not here? “The forces of dark and light face off in this adaptation of the first of Sergei Lukyanenko’s sci-fi trilogy set in contemporary Moscow. Directed by Timour Bekmambetov.”
Fox Searchlight, TBA.
November: Monica from FRIENDS plays some role or other as she tries to move beyond the murder of her boyfriend in a grocery-store holdup, but you know all you’re gonna be able to see is Monica from FRIENDS acting dramatic.
Sony Pictures Classics, July 22.
Nowhere Man: “After discovering his fiancÈe’s porn-star past, a distraught man cuts short the engagement ó but she exacts a really painful revenge.” He never wondererd how she could do all those tricks in the bedroom before?
First Run Features, March 11.
The Other Side of the Street: Not quite REAR VIEW WINDOW: “Fernanda Montenegro stars as an elderly Brazilian woman who believes she witnessed a murder in her neighborhood and proceeds to get involved with the suspect.” Directed by “Central Station” screenwriter Marcos Bernstein.
Strand Releasing, March 4.
Red-Eye: Wes Craven tries for more “thriller” than “horror” with this tale of a woman, Rachel McAdams, on a flight to Miami when she learns that the guy next to her plans to kill a wealthy businessman, and she’s the key to the murder. Co-starring The Scarecrow from the upcoming BATMAN BEGINS movie, Cillian Murphy.
The Skeleton Key: Kate Hudson tries to develop a second expression as she appears in a thriller where she works as a live-in nurse to Gena Rowlands. Peter Sarsgaard hopefully knows what he’s doing here.
Universal Pictures, July 8.
Syriana: This movie’s going to get more attention for being the one where George Clooney had big health problems, but it’s also got a decent supporting cast (Chris Cooper, Matt Damon, Amanda Peet) and a good political storyline.
Warner Bros., Summer.
The Underclassman: Nick Cannon stars as a young detective who goes undercover at a top prep academy to break up an auto-theft ring. I’m sorry, but expecting me to think of a guy named Nick Cannon as anything but a porn actor is asking a lot.
Miramax Films, TBA
The Amityville Horror: They’re going to have to work hard to make this movie seem scary. I thought the James Brolin one was freaky… until I saw it again. Flies and a room painted red? An invisible pig-ghost? Yep, good luck to you, Ryan Reynolds and Melissa George. The day this movie opens is scarier to a lot of people.
MGM, April 15.
The Cave: “A group of American cave explorers finds more than it bargained for in the dark caverns hidden below a 13th century Romanian abbey.” Cole Hauser, Morris Chestnut, Piper Perabo and Eddie Cibrian star, which tells you what the budget on this one is.
Screen Gems, April 8.
Cursed: Was there ever a more fortuitously named movie? Kevin Williamson tries to conjure up another SCREAM, but not if the word on this movie is any indication. Delays, on-set fights, bad test-screenings, you name it. Nevertheless, Christina Ricci, Jesse Eisenberg and Joshua Jackson star in what’s supposed to be aun updated werewolves movie.
Dimension Films, Feb. 25.
Dark Water: THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES director, Walter Salles, directs Jennifer Connelly in this flick as a mom driven to extreme measures to protect her daughter when their new apartment takes on a life of its own in this remake of a popular Japanese film. It’s way too late for a HOT SPOT sequel, isn’t it?
Touchstone Pictures, TBA.
Devil’s Rejects: Rob Zombie’s sequel to HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES is sure to offend some people, if he’s done his job right.
Lions Gate Films, Aug. 12.
The Exorcism of Emily Rose: I like this twist on an old tale: “Laura Linney plays an attorney defending priest Tom Wilkinson in the death of a young girl officially recognized by the Catholic Church as being possessed.” And it’s got some good supporting actors, too, in the form of Campbell Scott and Shohreh Aghdashloo co-star.
Screen Gems, Sept. 9.
The Fog: Well, I was okay with the last John Carpenter remake, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, even if most critics weren’t, so let’s see how this one, about some deadly, er, fog, works out.
Columbia Pictures, Oct. 14.
George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead: Romero is back to reclaim his place as King of the Zombie Movies. This one, which picks up years after DAWN OF THE DEAD (and which is soon to be a comic adaptation from… someone), features a modern-day society in which the walking dead inhabit a wasteland outside the walls of the fortified city that houses the living. Asia Argento, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper star.
Universal Pictures, Oct. 21.
Hellbent: A gay slasher film set on Halloween night in the middle of West Hollywood’s outrageous street celebration. Yep, this one’s got a good chance of getting some press for one reason or another. Can’t imagine everyone will be GLAAD to see this.
here!/Regent Releasing, June 17.
High Tension: “The quiet weekend of studying planned by two French college students is disrupted by a late-night visitor with a knife. CÈcile De France, MaÔwenn and Philippe Nahon star. Directed by Alexandre Aja.”
Lions Gate Films, June 3.
House of Wax: There are so many good Paris Hilton jokes that can be made here, but I’ll pass on them, even though she co-stars here in this remake. It also features Elisha Cuthbert, so, you know, I might have to give it a look.
Warner Bros., June 3.
Saw 2: Writer-director James Wan and writer-actor Leigh Whannell offer this follow-up to last fall’s hit about a serial killer.
Lions Gate Films, Oct. 28.
Undead: Always happy to see more zombie movies. Meteorites rain on a sleepy fishing village, triggering a zombie feeding frenzy. Felicity Mason and Mungo McKay star. Directed by Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig.
Lions Gate Films, July 1.
Underworld: Evolution: Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman are both back, but if Speedman is still in that ridiculous blue half-vamp/half-wolf costume from the end of the first, well, good luck to it. Still, it’s a good premise if only they deliver on the potential.
Screen Gems, Dec. 9.
The Woods: It’s not a movie with Morris Chestnut or the original title of M. Night’s last movie, but it is a new Bruce Campbell movie, anyway. Agnes Bruckner plays a lonely teenager dumped by her parents at a creepy boarding school where she begins to have gruesome visions.
United Artists, Sept. 2.
Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt: “The late, highly influential Texas singer-songwriter is profiled by filmmaker Margaret Brown. Willie Nelson, Steve Earle and Guy Clark are featured.”
Palm Pictures, summer.
Blossoms of Fire: “Maureen Gosling’s film illuminates the colorful culture of Mexico’s Isthmus Zapotecs, known for their work ethic and powerful matriarchy.”
New Yorker Films, TBA.
Deep Blue: “Michael Gambon narrates this natural history of the oceans that was culled from the BBC documentary series “The Blue Planet.” Directed by Andy Byatt, Alistair Fothergill.”
Miramax Films, April.
Dust to Glory: “‘Step Into Liquid’ director Dana Brown steps onto dry ground for this chronicle of the Baja 1000, a point-to-point endurance race that includes motorcycles and trophy trucks.”
IFC Films, April 8.
Gunner Palace: “In the months after the end of “major combat operations” in Iraq, U.S. soldiers housed in Uday Hussein’s bombed-out Adhamiya Palace fight a daily life-and-death struggle for survival. Directed by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein.”
Palm Pictures, March 4.
A League of Ordinary Gentleman: “Bowling legends Wayne Webb and Walter Ray Williams Jr. are among those featured in this look at attempts to revitalize the Professional Bowlers Assn. tour. Directed by Chris Browne.”
Magnolia Pictures, March 25.
Murderball: “Highly competitive quadriplegic athletes engage in a fast-paced, full-contact sport that tests their abilities to transcend their physical limitations. Directed by Henry-Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro.”
Mondovino: “Director Jonathan Nossiter (“Sunday”), who also happens to be a sommelier, consultant and wine writer, traveled across three continents to uncork the complexities and subtleties involved in the production, distribution and consumption of wine.”
Naked Fame: “After a successful career as a gay adult film star, Colton Ford attempts to make the leap into the music industry as a singer-songwriter. Directed by Christopher Long.”
here!/Regent Releasing, Feb. 25.
The Nomi Song: “New Wave singer Klaus Nomi sang pop music like opera and was an underground club sensation before dying from AIDS-related complications in 1983. Directed by Andrew Horn.”
Palm Pictures, Feb. 4.
Rock School: “Pint-sized guitar gods learn the riffs and licks of Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa from their exacting teacher in a Philadelphia music program.”
Newmarket Films, March.
Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus: “Roaring through the South in a beat-up 1970 Chevy Impala, alt-country singer-songwriter Jim White gives a guided tour to some of the off-the-interstate locales and milieus that inspire his music. Directed by Andrew Douglas.”
Shadow Distribution, April.
Tell Them Who You Are: “Director Mark Wexler explores his intricate relationship with his father, cinematographer and director Haskell Wexler.”
Up for Grabs: “Barry Bonds’ record-setting home run ignites a free-for-all over ownership of the baseball ó and more important, the right to sell it. Directed by Mike Wranovics.”
Crooked Hook Productions, April.
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill: “A homeless San Francisco street musician’s relationship to these exotic, escaped pets who breed in the wilds of the city leads him in an unexpected direction. Directed by Judy Irving.”
Shadow Distribution, March 4.
Year of the Yao: “Chinese basketball star Yao Ming makes the difficult transition to the NBA as a rookie center for the Houston Rockets. Directed by Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern.”
Fine Line Features, spring.
The Boys and Girl of County Clare: “Sibling rivalry tears at three Irish brothers when they meet up at a ceili music competition 30 years after they went their separate ways. Colm Meaney and Andrea Corr star. Directed by John Irvin).”
IDP/ Samuel Goldwyn Films, March 11.
The Producers: Once this is made, hopefully it can then go away in all forms, because, man, I’m kinda sick of it. Will Ferrell shows up alongside Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, reprising their roles in Mel Brooks’ astonishingly successful Broadway musical based on his 1968 movie about two schemers with the perfect plan to make a fortune by putting on a sure-fire flop. Stage director Susan Stroman makes her feature film debut.
Universal Pictures, Dec. 21.
Rent: I’m pretty sure this is based on the musical that appeared in TEAM AMERICA last year, but maybe I’m getting that wrong… “Jonathan Larson’s popular rock opera based on “La BohËme” (yep, I had that wrong) makes it to the screen with much of the original cast. Rosario Dawson joins Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin and Idina Menzel. Directed by Chris Columbus.”
Columbia Pictures, Nov. 11.
Romance and Cigarettes: James Gandolfini singing? Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet also star in writer-director John Turturro’s working-class love story about an ironworker who loses his way. He lost this viewer, too.
United Artists, TBA.
A Year at the Movies 2005